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    On the road, currently in Fort Morgan, CO
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    Aviation, travel, photography, astronomy, hiking, bicycling, tennis, golf, bowling

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  1. There are no ordinary camera filters that will protect your camera or your eyes. Neutral density filters do not reduce the UV or Infrared radiation from the Sun. Use only filters that are specifically solar filters for photographing or viewing the partial phases of the eclipse. For the total phase of the eclipse which will last a little more than 2 minutes, depending on where you are to view the eclipse, no filters are necessary for your eyes or your camera. If any tiny bit of the sun is directly visible, eye and camera damage can occur. Leading up to the total phase of the eclipse and following the total phase the sun will be partially eclipsed. Keep your solar eclipse glasses on when looking at the partial phases. The same with your camera. The total eclipse is a spectacular event, nothing else compares. A partial eclipse is a poor substitute. If at all possible, get into the narrow strip of totality to see the real thing. Check my, blog for more details and to see where we plan to view the show. I have given a number of links in my first and following posts. Some of the links deal with exact maps of the path of totality. Others have information on proper viewing, safe filters and how to photograph the eclipse. Good luck to all.
  2. Thanks Bill, great tips to add to my info. I'll have to put the drive to Telluride on my to do list... Had a nice Zin with dinner tonight. Going exploring in the mountains above Fort Collins tomorrow. We'll be off chasing the eclipse over the weekend. Tom
  3. Yes Carl, I've been to Nanaimo. I've even had Nanaimo bars. In fact we have friends at Sandpipers who make their own Nanaimo bars for us once in a while. Love them. We had lunch at the Dingy Dock Pub in Nanaimo! Highly recommend for the food and the experience. We never boondocked on Vancouver Island but on mainland BC we did overnight on some vacant parking areas. Got one hostile attitude at the mining museum north of Vancouver. We parked Sunday evening planning to visit on Monday morning. We went in to buy tickets and tour the museum and got greeted with basically, "Get that thing out of here." She did tell us where we could park nearby and we did. She told us we should park in an RV park. I told her there was nothing nearby that would accommodate our rig. After that experience we didn't encounter any resistance to parking on empty ground as just an overnight. We've done it periodically throughout Canada, never more than an overnight. Even found Walmart stores in Newfoundland that allowed overnight parking! All that said, I can't make a specific campground recommendation. It was 2006 on our way to Alaska when we were last camping there. I did check and AllStays Camp and RV has dozens of RV parks on Vancouver Island. A little bit of exploring the possibilities should help you find more reasonable accommodations. We have friends on Vancouver Island. They moved onto private land and work as house and dog sitters when the landowner is away. You might find a kind of workkamper arrangement. I know you can't work for pay in Canada but perhaps you could exchange some clean-up, gardening, landscaping or other work around the campground to help reduce your camping fees. From the AllStays Camp and RV web site I found the Stamp River Provincial Park. It looks to be a very nice Provincial Park on Vancouver Island. It has vehicle accessible sites for $18 and a senior rate in the off season (before June 14) for $9. Some of the sites can be reserved, others can not be reserved. Just one example. AllStays also has many inexpensive city parks and free parking places not necessarily on Vancouver Island but in many other areas.
  4. I've had paint jobs done at a variety of locations while we were full time. I've never had what I would call a bad job. Paint matching seems to be a given these days and the quality I've received have been very good. I just had a number of the storage doors that had been chipped or scratched repainted. The coach looks much better.
  5. Yesterday Louise and I played golf. As we started the back nine, I noticed the last quarter Moon high in the western sky. You can see the Moon in the morning sky before sunrise. It will be visible in the morning sky and even in the afternoon for the next few days. As it creeps closer to the Sun, it will be more difficult to find, a smaller crescent in the brightest part of the sky, near the Sun. On Thursday morning the waning crescent Moon will be above and to the right of a bright object in the pre-dawn sky, the planet Venus. Look again on Friday morning and you will be able to gauge how far the Moon travels in it's orbit in one day. The Moon will still be above and right of Venus but much closer on Friday Morning. By Saturday morning, the Moon will be almost directly below Venus. You would have to look very closely on Sunday morning to find the thin waning crescent Moon. Not only will the Moon be just over 1 day's travel in it's orbit from the Sun, you would only be able to see it in the light of dawn if you had a near perfect eastern horizon. Any hills, buildings or trees will block your view. On Monday, eclipse day, if you are in that narrow ribbon where the total eclipse will be seen, you should be able to find Venus to the west of the Sun. Even those seeing a near total eclipse (partial eclipse) may be able to find Venus as the maximum eclipse occurs at their location. If you know where to look, the planet Venus is visible in full daylight if it is far enough from the Sun in the sky. If you can find the Moon during the day on Thursday you may be able to use it as a guide to viewing Venus during full daylight. There will be another planet easily visible during the total eclipse. That planet is the largest of the planets in our solar system, Jupiter. Jupiter is visible in the evening just above the horizon in the western sky. So Jupiter is east of the Sun. During the Eclipse you should see Jupiter east of the eclipsed Sun. Those with a deep partial eclipse may also notice Jupiter to the east of the Sun, not far away. If you are looking for the planets during a partial eclipse. Take off you eclipse glasses, block the sun with your hand, a piece of paper or another object. Be sure to keep the Sun covered as you search the sky near the Sun for Venus and Jupiter. Never look directly at the Sun without eclipse glasses. We are camped on the high plains in Eastern Colorado. Our weather has featured fairly frequent afternoon and evening storms. This has been pretty consistent since we arrived on August 1. Areas where we plan to go had thunderstorms early this morning. The forecast for now seems to be improving for those areas (Casper, WY or Scottsbluff, NE). As eclipse day approaches I'll be watching the weather, on my smart phone and tablet as well as on the weather channels (WEA - The Weather Channel and WN - Weather Now). For the moment, we are planning on a car trip from our current location but if we have to travel further for clear skies we may leave the campground on Saturday or Sunday. Given two days we could roam from western Oregon to eastern Missouri. That is what I want, maximum mobility and the clearest skies I can find. I wish clear skies and good viewing to all.
  6. If you head west on I-90 you can literally do a drive through of Badlands National Monument. The main road parallels I-90 and there are numerous places where you can pull out to get out and stretch, view the scenery and then continue on your way. Stop by Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument near Custer, SD. The monument is under construction and there is a nice Native American history museum on the grounds and a restaurant as well. While in the area you may want to drive through Custer State Park. Most of the roads in the park are motor home friendly and you may find yourself driving through herds of Bison. From there you can drop south on smaller highways toward Scottsbluff, NE where you can pick up a little of the Oregon Trail and Mormon Trail history and early prairie history as well. Drive south from there on smaller highways and you'll come to I-80. From there, the easiest way to Utah will be on I-80 across Wyoming. Coming into Salt Lake City on I-80 you will have an extended curving descent to the valley floor. Use your engine brake and stay within recommended truck speed limits. Then go south out of Salt Lake City to I-15 and then I-70. That will take you right to Zion National Park. Camp nearby, don't try to take the motor home into the park. From there you can visit the north rim of the Grand Canyon. We stayed at a Forest Service Campground at Jacob Lake. No hookups but nice large sites, come with full water empty waste and plan to run the generator. This is the less visited rim of the canyon. Tourist activity on the south rim is a summertime mob scene. I wouldn't discourage you from a visit to the south rim but it is very busy. Bryce Canyon from there would be a good choice. There is a road from Zion to Bryce, Hwy 9, goes through a curving tunnel with an arched roof. Large vehicles have to travel the center line to get through so they require reservations, there is a fee and you are escorted through at a scheduled time. From Bryce we enjoyed the drive toward Capital Reef National Park. Continuing on east will take you to the area around Moab, UT and Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park and a host of others. You can access I-70 from there but you will experience some serious mountain driving on your way east into Denver. It certainly isn't impossible but will require all your attention, stay with recommended truck speeds even when the trucks are passing you. I would recommend a visit to Mesa Verde National Park in SW Colorado. There are spectacular cliff dwellings here, some require a bit of walking and in a few cases, climbing ladders to get into and out of them. Tours are ranger escorted in most cases. We stayed in a park that is right across the highway from the entrance. Not far from there is the Four Corners monument, a small fee, marker at the junction of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. There are many Native American vendors there including some artists with quite nice carvings and other work. We came away with some interesting works purchased directly from the artist. Just east of Mesa Verde is Durango, CO, the home of the Durango to Silverton Railroad. From there you can make your way through Colorado with some mountain driving or continue on east on US 160 to I-25 at Walsenburg which involves little driving that could be described as mountain driving. One alternate would be to stop by Great Sand Dunes National Park and then continue on north coming into Denver on the SW side of town. That route has some mountain driving but the pass really isn't that high. I-25 through Denver is very busy and a real challenge at rush hour. Take the bypass on the west side to I-25 on the north side of town. Another alternate of taking I-25 north into Wyoming and returning that way would be to turn east at Pueblo, CO and take US 50 into Kansas and across southern Kansas, visit Dodge City, Wichita on your way to I-35 north. I haven't recommended much in the way of campgrounds. We use RV Park Reviews on the computer and the AllStays Camp and RV app on smart phone/tablet to find the kind of parks that we like. Summer travel can be a challenge near the National Parks and the more popular they are, the busier the nearby campgrounds. Weekends tend to be busiest so we always try to find a park near where we want to be with an arrival on Thursday and stay through Saturday or Sunday night. Traveling to and from, you will have less difficulty if you aren't near a popular recreation area. Given that you are traveling with two large coaches you may want to make reservations in advance to get the sites that you want.
  7. Always glad to see another face on the forum. Welcome, and don't hesitate to join in, the more the merrier.
  8. Monaco customer service phone number is 877-466-6226. Call, ask for the parts department. Be ready to give them your coach number. Your coach number is the last six digits of the coach serial number. That is not the VIN. Look on the label on the wall behind the driver's seat. Find the serial number and write down the last six digits. That is the key. They can look up all the specifics of your coach and if parts are available they can supply them. If parts are not available, the salvage yards are a good choice. The price will be better, condition may be good or OK. There are many salvage yards located throughout the country and they do ship materials. The link above is an exhaustive list of salvage yards. Bookmark it for future reference. It is an invaluable resource for those of us who are maintaining older coaches.
  9. We have the same. I'll get around to removing it some day. For now, if you stand back about 20 feet you will hardly notice the cracks in the Diamond Shield. For casual observers from a distance, they can't see it at all. I have had repairs done and a body shop will not take the patience to remove the Diamond Shield without simply sanding it off and repainting. You could just have them do it, mine would need repainting anyway. I have a friend who has removed his Diamond Shield, also on a 2004 coach. His finished job looks great. It will be worth the effort either way. Without some protection, there will be chips. Even with it, my paint has chips. Travel long enough and you will pick up some serious hit that will chip your paint.
  10. I would agree, it suggests a hostile working environment and I would walk away from that job offer. If it were the only job available and you really needed it, or if the compensation were really way above other offers you might get, maybe it would deserve some consideration. I would tell them no and tell them why. Polygraphs are notoriously unreliable. If I'm not mistaken, they are not admissible as evidence in court.
  11. For both our new members, welcome. Poohbear, you should come to south Texas, there is a great full service campground just across the street from the south tip of South Padre Island. Isla Blanca County Park is just a short walk to the beach. It's a great place to spend the winter if you like the beach! Windsurfing, deep sea fishing, and seafood restaurants are just a few of the attractions. A tip of the hat to Sharon and Linda. We have known a number of women who have taken on the RV lifestyle and enjoyed it. We'll wish you more than just luck, we hope you find your trips to be filled with the same enjoyment that we have.
  12. As Bill Adams said, the right turn is the greatest challenge. Your rear tires are a significant distance behind the front tires. When you turn, the rear tires will be inside the line of the front tires as they turn. That means wide right turns. In traffic, on city streets, I'll fudge over to the edge of the right turn lane or even if traffic is light I'll take some of the next lane. This is necessary when your are turning into a single lane. If it is dual lane, the two lanes should give you plenty of room for the lane if you can use both lanes (no other traffic). Turning into a single lane if traffic is light you can use the opposing traffic lane or a left turn lane if one exists and this will make the right turn easier. I never rush to make a right turn. If I'm in the way of other traffic, they will wait. Sometimes the need to use another lane means waiting for traffic to clear, just be patient you will get a break in traffic. Many times, other drivers are considerate and will stop well in advance of the intersection to allow you to make the turn. I do the same when approaching an intersection if there is a large truck or motor home in a similar situation. We tow four wheels down, no tow dolly. The car will track just a little bit inside the track of the rear tires of the motor home so you will want your rear tires well clear of the curb or other obstructions. Many years ago I got into a situation where traffic was directed through a narrow single lane U turn in a parking lot. The lane was bordered on both sides by a standard 6" curb and also had some large boulders on the inside of the curve. The rear wheels of the coach cleared the curb, the boulder got the running board on the SUV. I should have stopped and disconnected, lesson learned. We towed with a tow dolly for one year, our first year. I don't recall that towing with the tow dolly was that much different from the four wheel down mode. Both will track slightly inside the rear wheel track in any turn, left or right.
  13. We replaced the cordless pleated hades on the side windows in our Windsor in 2011. We have the MCD pull down shades, day and night, all around, except the front (driving area) windows. They are working well and still look like new. I love a dark room for sleeping and they fit the bill perfectly. We still have the curtain on the front windows because I haven't seen something that really excites me. MCD does make a power shade that covers the whole front window but it is quite expensive. It would also complicate the access to the panels under the cabinets. I've had several times I needed to get into the space above those panels to get access to the rear of the cabinets. Any time you want to change electronics in our coach, rerouting or changing cables and power cords involves access to the rear of those cabinets. Right now, it is difficult enough to have to remove all the curtain hardware. I would hate to have to take down the entire one piece shade. We do have the external sun screens on all the front windows and I highly recommend them for reducing the heat coming in those windows. They give us privacy while allowing us to see outside during the day. For now we're still using the curtains at night. I'll be following this discussion to see what other suggestions and ideas there are for replacing curtains.
  14. awning

    Jim, What brand and model of awning do you have? Does it have a remote control? Is it the only power awning you have?
  15. No extended warranty for us. When we purchased our first (used) coach, we purchased the GS plan. First call for work came several months later. First response, well you haven't had your plan very long. I canceled. If you read the contract carefully, there will be a clause regarding maintenance. It will specify that you must follow the manufacturers suggested maintenance. Which means that you not only have to follow the maintenance schedule, you have to maintain proof that you have followed the schedule. Receipts have to be kept. Receipts have to show the date and mileage. Miss one and they could have you on a technicality. They have actuaries (who calculate the frequency of the various kinds of failures and their cost) to figure their risk to the nth degree. They price their product not to cover their risk but to cover the risk and make a profit. They have lawyers to challenge any large claim. Everything is neatly stacked against you. What do you have? Fear. What if... And they play on that to sell you their product. If you can take a hit and still keep going, you are OK. If your finances are thin and a big hit would put you out of business, you likely need the insurance if you can afford it. This is especially true if you have a large balance on your motor home loan. You could end up making payments on a motor home that you can't use because you can't afford the repairs.