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Question regarding shore power to home

I just purchased a 2008 42' Tiffin Phaeton tag axle. I am installing an outlet in my home to plug into when the coach is not in storage.  My ? is, should it be 120  or  240  50 amp? Also, should the battery switch be on when plugged into shore power to keep the batteries charged?? Thanks for your advice

MALMBKA

MALMBKA

 

Wisconsin to Florida in mid November 2017

We are members and this November we will again be driving our 28' Class C to Florida from Wisconsin. We expect to leave Milwaukee around November 15th. We are flexible on our departure date and route south. We would appreciate any feedback or suggestions from other members regarding fun stops during this journey. We like Wineries, Craft Beers, barbeques, civil war sites, lakes, rivers and waterfalls. Thank you in advance for your help.

bobts

bobts

 

Riverton - Our Eclipse Stop

This will be a short note to let all know where we are located and what conditions are in Riverton, WY.  On Saturday we set out from Fort Morgan, CO for Idaho.  We spent Saturday night at Little America, a fuel and food stop on I-80 in SW Wyoming.  Sunday morning I checked weather conditions along the line of totality and found the forecast for Riverton, WY to be about the same as Boise or Pocatello, Idaho.  Since Riverton was closer to Colorado where we would return, we decided to head for Riverton, WY. This morning I am up because the internet here was not accessible.  As I explained to a fellow camper, the local system was probably designed to handle 1000 connections and now it is getting hit with 10,000 connections.  Nothing works when the system is overloaded.  Anyway, back to Sunday morning.  As we left I-80 in Green River, Louise called a campground in Riverton.  They had a cancellation and we got a full hookup site.  We arrived about 2:30 p.m. and were welcomed to our eclipse home.  There are several astronomers in camp.  One couple we've met is from Belgium.  Our rate for two nights stay was well over double the rate posted on the office board.  The fee includes a pair of eclipse glasses, a mini moon pie (label says since 1917 how appropriate, 100 years old this year), tickets for a root beer float here in camp and also a Sunday night dinner.  So we get more than just a site.  The forecast here calls for clear skies but there will be patchy smoke from the fires in Oregon.  I saw some of that last evening.  Boise has clear skies - sunshine, no mention of smoke.  Pocatello has patchy smoke.  Casper, WY which was also on our option list has patchy smoke.  Our other option for viewing was to stay in Colorado at Fort Morgan and then drive to Scottsbluff, NE.  There the skies are forecast to be sunny.  When we made the decision to leave Colorado on Saturday the forecast called for storms in Scottsbluff.  We should see the eclipse, perhaps not under the best skies but it will be visible here.  There are a whole set of activities going on in the city park and the town is positively humming with activity.  There is even an eclipse shuttle.  They were well prepared for the crowds, everyone here seems to be well informed.  The casino in town has lots of dry campers and they have a program for those saying with them.  There is a county-wide newspaper with a schedule of all the activities going on and information about viewing the eclipse including times for a number of locations within the county.  It's going to be a memorable day.

TBUTLER

TBUTLER

 

Viewing the Total Solar Eclipse

It is now three days until the eclipse.  In fact as I write this, in 72 hours it will be over.  You either get to see it or you don't.  The partial eclipse will be visible in all 50 United States and Canada.  All of Mexico and Greenland will see the eclipse as a partial eclipse.  Even the countries in Central America and the northern half of South America will see a partial eclipse.  Western Africa, Spain, Great Britain and Iceland will see a partial eclipse.  Even eastern Russia will see a partial eclipse.  The only people who will see a total eclipse of the Sun are in that narrow ribbon that stretches across the US from Oregon through Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, a teeny tiny corner of Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, a tiny corner of Georgia, the western tip of North Carolina, and South Carolina.  For the rest of the world it is a partial eclipse or no eclipse at all. As the eclipse begins, everyone will see a partial eclipse as the Moon takes the first tiny bite out of the Sun.  It will take about an hour for the Moon to move to a position where it can cover the entire Sun.  That will be the total eclipse, the Moon completely hiding the Sun.  People on the west coast of the US will see that happen at about 11:17 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time.  Twenty minutes later, people in western Wyoming will see this happen at about 11:37 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time.  Twenty three minutes later totality occurs at about 1:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time as the shadow of the Moon sweeps past Grand Island in central Nebraska.  Twenty minutes after that, the shadow sweeps over western Kentucky at 1:20 p.m. Central Daylight Time.  Twenty seven minutes later the shadow sweeps off the Atlantic coast of South Carolina at 2:47 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.  Just ninety minutes from from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean.  After the total eclipse exits the east coast of the US, there will be another hour or so of partial eclipse as the Moon slowly uncovers the Sun.  The pattern for those in the ribbon of totality is eclipse starts - partial eclipse - total eclipse - partial eclipse - eclipse ends.  The whole process will take about two hours, depending on where you are it can be a little shorter or a little longer.  How long will totality last?  Just two minutes for those on the west coast of Oregon.  By the time the shadow reaches Wyoming the Moon will cover the Moon for almost two minutes and 30 seconds.  On the coast of South Carolina the Moon will cover the Sun for two minutes and 34 seconds.  In western Kentucky totality will last just over 2 minutes and 41 seconds.  Do you have your eclipse glasses?  Are they safe?  There are certifications on your glasses.  Mine don't have the ones publicized on the Weather Channel but they were recommended by NASA so they are good.  Don't know?  There are other alternatives.  A #14 welding glass will work for viewing the Sun.  If you can see anything through your glasses, they are not good solar glasses.  You can use your solar glasses to view the Sun right now.  Simply go outside, put the glasses on and look up at the Sun.  What will you see?  You should see a slightly bluish disk that is the Sun.  You may be expecting something really big but it won't be giant in size.  We think of the Sun as being very large and it is, 109 times the diameter of Earth. Think of a necklace.  Now imagine a necklace with beads made of Earth size beads.  There would be 109 Earths on that necklace and it would stretch not around the Sun but straight through the center.   If the Sun was a fishbowl one million three hundred thousand Earth's could fit into that fishbowl.  When you use your eclipse glasses you will be looking at a disk that appears to be about as large as our Moon.  In fact it will appear exactly as large as our Moon which is why our Moon can just cover up the Sun.  If you don't have solar glasses you can still watch the eclipse using a small mirror like a compact mirror.  A mirror two or three inches in diameter works just fine.  The mirror can be square or rectangular and will work very well, just as good as a circular mirror.  Hold the mirror in direct sunlight and reflect the sunlight onto the side of a building or an RV.  A white or light colored vehicle or building will work best.  If you stand close to the building the image will be bright but small.  If you stand further back, the image will be larger but not as bright.  The geometry of t, his is that the light should be shining on the mirror and the reflection should be falling on the shaded side of a building or RV.  At a distance of 100 feet you should have an image about 4 feet in diameter.  If you get tired of holding the mirror, tape it to a tripod, a fence post or other support.  Don't look into the mirror, that is just like looking directly at the Sun.  Using this technique, you may even be able to see sunspots if there are large ones on the Sun's visible light surface.  The method everyone knows is to use a pinhole to project an image of the Sun.  In the example above, the mirror is doing the same thing as a pinhole but on a larger scale.  Big pinhole, big image.  A big pinhole will yield a blurry image.  The mirror method will yield a slightly blurry image but this is not noticeable when viewed from twenty feet away.  With a true pinhole viewer, you will get a tiny image of the Sun.  You can make it longer by making the box you are using longer.  The typical diagram shows something like a shoebox.  The image will be about 1/8 inch in diameter.  Lengthen this to a longer cardboard box and you get a larger image.  A sheet of white paper where the image falls will make the image appear brighter.  If you can find a refrigerator box, you can carry this to an extreme.  Cut a small hole in the box so people can insert their head into the box.  This will keep the box dark.  Put paper on the opposite end from the pinhole where the image will fall.  Cut a one inch hole where the pinhole will go.  Cover that hole with a piece of aluminum foil.  Use a pin to puncture the aluminum foil to get a nice pinhole.  If the box is really dark inside, you will have a nice size image that be seen.  If not bright enough, make the hole slightly larger using a pencil point or other similar size object.  The pinhole is toward the Sun.  Turn the box so that the light coming through the pinhole falls on the paper at the other end of the box.  Turn the box so the paper is completely shaded from direct sunlight.  There should be a small dot on the white paper.  That is an image of the Sun. A natural variation of the pinhole projector occurs when sunlight filters through the leaves of a tree.  Look in the shadow of a tree and you may notice that the spots of sunlight coming through the tree take on a crescent shape as the eclipse proceeds.  These are images of the Sun.  Sometimes with trees you will see hundreds of images, some overlapping.  This works best where the shade is falling on a flat smooth surface like a sidewalk, a parking lot or a porch or deck surface. The third method is much less desirable in my judgment but it does offer a guarantee of seeing the total eclipse no matter where you live.  If you are unable to see the total eclipse in person, this represents the next best thing.  You will be able to watch the eclipse and hear it described for you in some cases.  The Weather Channel will cover the eclipse from beginning to end from a variety of places along the line of totality.  Local TV stations are likely places to get live coverage of the eclipse.  The internet will no doubt have many images and perhaps some live coverage as well.  You can also look at images of total eclipses by searching the internet.  You can see pictures from long ago and from many locations on the Earth.  There will be no comparison to the excitement and the drama of standing in the Moon’s shadow and watching the actual eclipse.  It would be like going to the library and looking at a book of birds and then claiming that you had a “Big Year.”  Setting a record for the number of birds seen in a year.  Shoot, why not go for a “Big Day” and see all the birds in the world in one day?  I have no doubt that given the resources of the internet, it could be done.  This is why I’ve encouraged those who can to get to the path of the total eclipse.  It will never get easier or less expensive than when it comes to us here in the US. Now, for those who are going to see the total eclipse some special instructions.  These apply only to those who are within the ribbon of totality described above.  Once the Moon completely covers the Sun you can remove your glasses and look directly at the dark "hole in the sky."  My first impression of my first total eclipse was that someone had pulled a cork out of the sky leaving a deep dark hole where the Sun used to be, an intense dark spot where the Sun used to be.  Around it will be the corona of the Sun.  The corona is the outer atmosphere of the Sun.  It is safe to view the corona without viewing glasses or other eye protection.  The corona may be a uniform circular veil around the eclipsed Sun, fading with distance until it is no longer visible.  Depending on solar activity, sunspots and solar prominences the corona may be quite irregular with spikes and gaps.  I’ve already described in a previous post the planets Venus to the west of the Sun and Jupiter to the east of the Sun which will be visible during totality.  For those with a partial eclipse you can look for these planets by blocking out the sun near its maximum and looking to the west and east of the Sun for Venus and Jupiter.  Those viewing the total eclipse will get the bonus of seeing a number of other bright stars in the sky.  Orion’s bright stars, Rigel and Betelgeuse, Sirius, the dog star and Pollux and Castor in Gemini may all be visible to the west of the Sun.  East of the Sun you may see Spica in the constellation Virgo, Antares in the constellation Scorpius, Vega in Lyra will all be to the east of the Sun.  Here are a few of the things you may notice during the eclipse.  In the beginning, the changes will be slight and if you are far from the center line of the eclipse you may not notice much at all.  As the eclipse deepens, the nature of the light will change, shadows will become less sharp, the bright light fades and the shadow seems less dark.  The temperature will drop, birds will sing like they do in the morning and evening before going to roost.  Some birds will go to roost in areas where the eclipse is near total or total.  The wind speed may drop and possibly become calm.  The reverse will happen as totality ends and the Sun returns to the sky. As the totality begins and again at the end you may see Baileys Beads as sunlight dances through the valleys between mountains on the Moon.  The first direct glimmer of sunlight as the Moon covers or uncovers the Sun is called the diamond ring.  It will be a fleeting moment, it signals that you must look away and put your glasses back on.  Take a breath and reflect on two of the most amazing minutes of your life.  You have stood in the shadow of the Moon and seen the Sun like few other people have.  To ancient people it had various meanings, often described as fear and dread.  It was frequently thought of as an evil omen.  Ancient people feared the Sun might never return.  Now, we understand what is happening.  We can enjoy the eclipse as a unique and rare natural occurrence.  Such are the benefits of the age of enlightenment.  

TBUTLER

TBUTLER

 

Eclipse Notes - Six Days to Go

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.  

TBUTLER

TBUTLER

 

Our intro

Just a quick introduction to us. After some encouragement from another blogger (thanks Tom) I'm going to try this blogging thing and see where it goes. After 10 years of homesteading in the western PA mountains, we are switching up from growing our own veg and raising our own meat to selling it all and going full time in a 40' pusher. We bought the coach last year and left in Nov 2016. We went through OH and visited a buddy in KY. Then we went to TN and visited more friends. From there we headed to Lafayette LA to visit a good ol Cajun boy and his lovely bride. We were lucky enough to be invited to spend Thanksgiving with them and their family. From there it was west through Houston and on to San Antonio. Got to see the Alamo and then on to Lubbock to visit an old Army buddy that I hadn't seen since 1981. We planned on spending Christmas with them but after the temps got down to 8 degrees in the evening, we had an early Christmas dinner with them and hit the road. From there it was up to 4 corners and then over to Monument Valley. Snow chased us out of there as well so we wound up in Kingman AZ. From there it was on to Pahrump, NV where we spent the winter. Great place, going back this winter. From there we went to Bullhead City AZ and I attended the first RV Basics class in Chandler AZ and spent a couple days at the convention. From there it was up to Cedar City UT to check out some of the canyons and scenery. Then we left for Spokane WA and wound up replacing an alternator in Boise ID. I know the Camping World's get a bad rap but we did have a great experience at the one in Boise ID. Turns out they are the #1 rated CW in America. If you go there, ask for Claudio and tell him the Volkswagon guy sent you. Got to Spokane and spent a week. Then up through Priest River and Sandpoint ID. Over to MT and took Rt 200 down to 95 then down to Missoula where we got on 90 east. We did, Custer battlefield, Devils Tower and then the Black hills. After that we hit the Badlands and then headed back home. We are now wrapping up a few things here and planning on heading back out in Sept. Going to SD for our residency and then south. for the winter. We hope to keep everybody up to date on our route so if you see we are going to cross paths, by all means give us a holler and let's get together for a cold one. Stay tuned and stay sharp.

Punxsyjumper

Punxsyjumper

 

RV Yoga

At the Monaco International Pre-Rally for FMCA 2017 in Indianapolis, Louise and I looked at a nice used coach.  It was a 2008 Monaco Signature in beautiful condition.  Louise loved it, very nice inside and out.  I really liked it also but the price, the age and the 45 foot length were a problems for me.  We ended up walking away from the deal.  I told Louise that I now had a huge budget for making “home improvements” on our 2004 Windsor.  So, I started by ordering something I had seen on the Signature.  It had two pass-through storage bays, just as our coach does.  Both those bays had slide trays.  We have one slide tray and I have often thought about adding a second.  At the FMCA convention I found one vendor offering slide trays for storage compartments.  I talked to them, got prices that didn’t scare me away.  I went back to our coach, measured carefully, and then went back to the SlideMaster booth and placed an order.  It arrived on Tuesday, a freight shipment, on a huge 18 wheeler.  Slide Master coordinated the delivery with the Emerald RV Park in Fort Morgan, Colorado where we are currently staying.  The truck driver very generously agreed to unload the slide tray alongside our coach.  So, there it sat, 229 pounds shipping weight including the 42” x 8’ pallet.  I unwrapped it, operated the slide, looked at the hardware supplied, and began moving it toward its eventual home.  Everything had to be unloaded from the compartment.  Piece by piece I moved everything from the compartment. With the slide extended, the opposite end was easier to lift.  I set it into the open compartment.  Then I moved the slide to the opposite end, making the far end from the coach lighter and lifted it, sliding it into the coach.  I scooted it this way and that way until I had it positioned so it would slide both ways with the desired clearances.  In specifying the vertical position, I had given them the height of the lip on the storage compartment, 2 ¼ inches.  The sliding tray needed to clear that lip.  They supplied 2 inch aluminum block shims for each mounting hole and also one ¼ inch aluminum block for each mounting hole.  Unfortunately, the desired shim that was needed to elevate the sliding tray was 1 5/8 inches and there was no way to get to that with the shims they provided.  I ended up using a wood 2x2 plus some 1/8 inch stock that I had on hand.  I wrestled the 8 foot 2x2 under the rails on each side of the tray. I drilled holes in the 2x2 shim and through the compartment floor at each end of one rail and anchored the tray in place.  A check confirmed that everything cleared the doors, the position was good.  Everything that fit in the compartment had to be stored for the night (we’ve been having frequent rains) so I reloaded the compartment.  Good news, everything fit just as before. The next morning I’m off to Ace Hardware for bolts, nuts and washers.  The two 3 inch bolts I used the previous day seemed too long so I got a set of 2 ½ inch bolts.  I set about drilling holes at each of the pre-drilled locations.  The first bolt went in the hole and it was too short.  Back to Ace Hardware, longer bolts.  When I drilled the holes, the standard 3/8 inch drill was too short, I made do with the 5” bit by inserting the bit only as far as absolutely necessary to get enough length and even at that the drill chuck was contacting the rail of the slide tray.  I forgot to get a longer drill bit so it was back to Ace Hardware.  Before the project was complete I was on a first name basis with the checkout clerk.  I finished inserting the mounting bolts on one side of the tray on the first day.  Day two I unloaded everything in the compartment – again.  I crawled back into the compartment and began working on the other side of the tray, drilling holes and inserting bolts in those holes.  I’m working in and out under the storage compartment doors.  The slide tray has cross members so I’m laying over the cross supports and maneuvering in limited space.  Every move is twisting and stretching, craning my neck to see through my glasses, using the mini-vacuum to clean up the drill shavings.  Once all this is done I have the bolts in place.  I can put the nuts on the lower side of the end bolts myself, working the top of the bolt inside the compartment and putting the washer and nut on under the coach.  I even managed to do the second on one end of the tray.  The rest will require Louise working from above, holding the head of the bolt stationary while I put the nut on below.  So now I’m underneath the coach on pads, pinned between the gravel below and the coach above.  I’m putting silicon caulk on the washers to seal the hole from the bottom.  Maneuvering a caulking gun is never easy for me but doing it laying on my back under the motor home, well, let’s just say I was in danger of being caulked permanently to the motor home.  I can maneuver all the way to the center but everything is limited, stretching, trying to see what I’m doing all the while.  We got it done, the whole thing is in place and bolted down, ready for use.  So, I reload the tray, everything back in place. “So, what does this have to do with Yoga?” You ask.  Louise loves to watch Rachel Ray each morning.  This morning Rachel Ray had a guest on the show.  She was young and an author.  It was a promo for her book on Yoga.  She loves Yoga and she was demonstrating Yoga moves that you could do while reading a book, watching TV, vacuuming the house and many other ordinary situations.  At one point while watching the show, I mentioned that this reminded me of my last few days of working on the slide tray.  I said, “RV Yoga.”   Louise laughed and said, “The topic for your next blog.”

TBUTLER

TBUTLER

 

eddy

anyone ever tow a 2008 Honda accord with a dolly, any problems?

eddyjtri

eddyjtri

 

Best Supporting Actor: Our Moon

Look up at the sky tonight or any night in the next few days.  The brightest thing in the sky is the Moon.  Our Moon will play a key role in the coming total solar eclipse.  Between now and the 21st of August, the Moon will move from its current position, slowly closing in on the Sun.  On August 21 the Moon will slide between Earth and Sun, casting its shadow on Earth.  You can watch this drama starting right now.  If you look at the Moon in the next few nights, you will notice that shortly after the Sun disappears below the western horizon you can turn to the eastern horizon to see the Moon rising higher into the sky.  Continue to watch every night, you will notice that the Moon is closer to the horizon each night at sunset.  Next week if you look for the Moon it won't be in the sky until after sunset.  At the same time you will notice that the Moon changes in appearance, becoming fully lighted, full Moon.  A few nights later the Moon will begin to darken along one side and you will have to stay up later to see it in the sky.   All of this can be quite mysterious until you think about what is happening in three dimensions.  At this point the show becomes much more exciting.  You will be able to see the Moon in the morning sky before sunrise.  Watch carefully each day as the Moon moves closer to where the sunrise is occurring.  In the days just before the total solar eclipse, a thin crescent Moon will be poised in the eastern sky above the sunrise point.  You will have to look very carefully to find it in the eastern sky on August 19.  Few people will be able to find the Moon on the morning of August 20 but if you have been watching you will have a real good idea where it is hiding in the glare of the Sun.  On August 21 the invisible Moon will slowly reveal itself as it slides between Sun and Earth.  Of course we won't be seeing the familiar Moon we are used to seeing.  During the eclipse we will see it's silhouette as it moves between us and the Sun.  If you are fortunate enough to be within the ribbon of totality, the Moon will slide across the face of the Sun and for just a few precious seconds the Moon will fit exactly over the Sun.  Then just as fast as it moved in front of the Sun it will retreat, slowly exposing the full face of the Sun.  Once more, the Moon will become invisible.  By the evening of August 23 or 24 you will once again see the Moon in the night sky. When it makes it's reappearance, be sure to give it the applause it deserves.  That wonderful total solar eclipse you saw was brought to you by the greatest supporting actor of all time, our Moon.  If you watch each night and morning until the eclipse you can also challenge yourself to think in three dimensions about what you are seeing.  See if you can keep track of where the three actors in this play are each night.  Earth, Sun, Moon in a dance of the centuries.  The show never ends.  Follow it every night, just as your ancestors did. 

TBUTLER

TBUTLER

 

The National World War I Museum

We visited the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, MO this week.  The memorial was built immediately following the World War.  It was known as The World War at the time because there wasn't a second one and everyone hoped there would never be another one.  Of course today we know that wasn't the case.  There has been a second world war and a succession of other wars of smaller scale, revolutions, regional wars, proxy wars between world powers, a never ending sequence of violence between countries continues today.  We are now in the 100 year anniversary of many of the final events of World War I.  With that much time to reflect on the events that led up to the war and all the subsequent events, a clear analysis can be done.  The memorial built in 1921 has been completely reworked to be more than a memorial, it is now a first class museum.  While the war seems quite distant, Louise and I found the events and lessons of the war to be very relevant to current events.  The introductory film explores the events and causes leading up to the war.  The museum documents every aspect of the war from the battle conditions in various battlegrounds, the countries involved, the weapons used, the heroic acts and the human suffering of those involved in the war and those caught in the middle of the war.  At the present time, there is a traveling exhibit that includes among other things, the actual declaration of war signed by Woodrow Wilson.  To read the words and realize the tremendous commitment putting the signature on that document would take is quite sobering.  If you are in the Kansas City, MO area this summer, stop by to visit this outstanding national museum.

TBUTLER

TBUTLER

 

RAIN STAINS ON CEILING

I FOUND THE SOLUTION, TO THOSE NASTY RAIN STAINS ON THE " CEILING" CARPET... FOLEX STAIN REMOVER.  IT'S HARD WORK BUT IT DOES WORK. SPRAY IT ON. THE SCRUB IT WITH ANYTHING THAT WON'T HURT THE CEILING, THEN WIPE IT OFF WITH PAPER TOWELS. YOU WILL USE A LOT OF PAPER TOWELS SO BE PREPARED.

KANUK LADY

KANUK LADY

 

Rally Report

We are in rally mode.  We do this every two or three years.  It is a fun thing to watch the coaches gather, a small city literally pops up almost overnight.  Thousands of people bring their houses, whether full timers or just camping for the week, they have almost all the comforts of home.  And, at the end of the week we will all scatter to the four points of the compass and the city will just disappear - poof! Our rally attendance began last week.  We were one of the last arrivals at the Monaco International Pre-Rally in Celina, Ohio.  Monaco International is a chapter of FMCA, in this case the chapter is open to owners of all the Monaco family of coaches, including Safari, Holiday Rambler and Beaver.  We like their pre-rally before an FMCA Convention and this one lived up to our expectations.  We arrived Wednesday, July 5, in time for the 4th of July Picnic.  Many gathered earlier in the week just for the chance to sit around and visit informally before the actual rally began on the 5th.  By the time we arrived, most of the coaches were already parked.  There had been significant rain so they were being quite selective with the parking.  Even so we were directed to drive across a field up to a road on the far side.  As I did so, I could feel the coach lugging in the soft ground.  I kept a steady foot on the accelerator and managed to pull up to the road. More rain was forecast so after seeing some of the coaches that had arrived earlier, now with wheels sunken well into soft soil, I went in search of lumber to place under my rear wheels.  At Menard's I purchased two 3/4 inch plywood pieces 2 feet by 4 feet.  I also purchased four 2x12's four feet long, one for each tire.  The 2x12's supported the tires while the 3/4 inch plywood under the 2x12's kept them from sinking into the ground individually.  I now had a 2 foot by 4 foot pad to put under each rear dual.  At this point let me point out our coach has air leveling only, we have no jacks which could be used to raise the rear of the coach.  So I pulled forward far enough to put the pads behind the wheels and backed onto the pads.  It worked, I was solid, for the moment.  The front wheels sunk in some but being near the road, the soil was more solid there.  I could move them if I had a solid surface for the drive wheels. By the end of the rally on Sunday, the whole assembly on the left rear had sunk into the ground about 3 inches.  Still, the tires were now on a solid surface.  It rained several times more during the rally, such that there were large puddles in the street which weren't gone by Sunday, our planned departure date.  Saturday afternoon as festivities were winding down, I made a run to Menard's and picked up two pieces of 3/4 inch plywood, 2 feet by 8 feet and four 2x12's six feet long.  This would give me additional support as I pulled off the pads I was parked on.  I was certain enough that the wheels would just sink into the now saturated soil when I tried to pull out if I didn't have some support under them.  Part of the convincing came from watching other coaches being pulled out by wreckers.  Louise described our departure from our parking spot as the Egyptian method, kind of like moving stones for the pyramids.  Place a set of boards in front of the tires, pull onto them, move the set that were under the wheels ahead, pull onto them, move the boards again.  By then we were close enough to the road to put the short 2x12's in front of the tires and the plywood in front of that.  I accelerated firmly until the tires were near the end of the plywood and then eased off to let the rear tires "coast" across the last of the soft soil.  The left rear was running on mud and the tires pushed mud up eight inches between them.  The resulting mud sculpture was impressive.  We were out without damage, delay or expense.  Yes, I could have used my road service for this but if I can keep the wrecker away from my rig I'm happy. We left Celina Sunday afternoon and drove to Anderson, Indiana.  We spent the night at a very nice RV park, Timberline RV Resort.  There we purged our waste tanks and recharged the fresh water tank in preparation for our stay at the FMCA Crossroads to Fun, Indy-2017.  We arrived at the north campground shortly before noon Monday.  There was a line of coaches waiting to be parked.  We waited patiently and then impatiently for more than 30 minutes before finally reaching our assigned space.  The north campground is pretty far from the activities of the convention but we have bicycles and they run a shuttle so we are happy to be here.  More importantly, we are in a real campground with 50A power (which we paid for), water and sewer at our site (which was a pleasant surprise).  We have learned never to expect this but sometimes we just get lucky.  Louise was ecstatic.  She can tolerate dry camping for a short period of time, we had just completed 5 days living on our tanks.  She much prefers to have all the nice features of our coach working fully.  I am certainly happy.  It is Tuesday, the convention starts tomorrow.  We woke up to thunderstorms this morning.  It continues to rain this afternoon.  Almost 3:00 p.m. now, we are under flash flood warnings until noon tomorrow and it continues to rain off and on with the occasional lightening and thunder.  We are not in an area subject to flash flooding but if we travel we know there are already roads closed in the area due to flooding.  We are parked on a solid surface, gravel is below the grass growing in this area.  No worries about tires sinking into a soggy grass surface.  So this year, we won the lottery.  Now if we can get the storms to move on we'll let the fun begin. I certainly don't know for sure but I think FMCA may have scheduled us to be in the campground on Monday because the full hookups makes it easy for us to be on-site for a week.  I assume then that those without hookups are being parked this afternoon or tomorrow morning.  It would be a tough day to arrive and set-up.  My heart goes out to those who are faced with this challenge and to the parking crew that is out in this weather getting everyone safely situated for the convention.

TBUTLER

TBUTLER

 

Countdown to the Total Solar Eclipse 2017

In a previous entry I described the total eclipse of the sun which is happening next month, August 21, 2017.  Total solar eclipses are rare.  How rare?  It has been 26 years (July 11, 1991) and that was only seen in only one state, Hawaii.  The next solar eclipse for the US will be April 8 2024.  This one enters from Mexico into Texas and slices northeastward through New England exiting the US in Maine, continuing on through New Brunswick, and Newfoundland.  There have been many partial eclipses, but the difference between a partial eclipse and a total eclipse of the Sun is night and day if you will pardon the obvious.  The eclipse next month can be seen from the entire US as a partial eclipse but only those who are in a ribbon that is 71 miles wide at it's widest, will be able to see the total eclipse.  That ribbon of totality enters the US near Portland, Oregon and exits on the east coast of South Carolina.  If you are exactly in the center of the ribbon of totality, you will get about 2 minutes of darkness before the Sun reappears.  Standing near the edge of the ribbon the length of the eclipse could be just a matter of a few seconds before the Sun reappears.  It is going to take some planning to see this eclipse.  Millions of Americans will flock to that ribbon.  They will be joined by many thousands of visitors from all over the world.  Now some details.  States with larger populations are already issuing travel alerts and making provisions to handle the millions of people who will see the eclipse.  States with smaller populations will have fewer locals to deal with but they also are states that have widely spaced roads which will concentrate crowds on the few roads in those states that cross through the ribbon of totality.  RV parks, motels and hotels along the ribbon of totality are already sold out in many locations.  Those of us with RV's are fortunate, we travel with our motel.  I would not plan to take your motor home into the ribbon of totality unless you have already secured a campground.  My personal planning is to watch the weather as the eclipse approaches.  I'll start watching the weather weeks before the eclipse.  I plan to get close to the area with the greatest probability of clear skies with the motor home and then use the toad to get to the clearest skies with the toad.  I'll try to be at my chosen observing site by sunrise and will watch the entire eclipse from that location.  We'll pack food for the day, liquids and perhaps a celebratory bottle of Champagne.  Once totality passes, many people will start for "home."  This can create tremendous traffic jams so plan to sit tight and watch the whole show before departing your observing site. Where do you find specific details?  I gave several references in my entry several months ago.  More are available now as the eclipse approaches.  There are good sites that show details of the ribbon of totality so you can position yourself precisely on its center line.  Many of the sites have eclipse glasses for sale.  These protective glasses, some with aluminized mylar are quite cheap but very effective, are necessary for the partial phases of the eclipse.  Once the sun is completely covered the glasses can be put aside and you will be looking at one of natures most spectacular displays.  The Moon is the dark spot, silhouetted against the light of the corona of the Sun.  You may discern a drop in temperature as totality approaches.  Birds will be singing as though it was sunset coming on.  Listen during totality, can you hear any birds chirping?  At totality, the sky becomes dark enough that planets and bright stars can be seen.  Using binoculars (during totality only) you can get a good look at solar prominence which look like small red "flames" rising from the Sun.  If we are lucky we may even be able to see other features.  Large solar ejections and flares can cause the corona to have strange shapes.  Whatever you see, it will be an event you will never forget.   Just a few links: The Great American Eclipse - Fantastic traffic and crowd information Eclipse 2017 - Great video of the shadow sweeping across the US NASA - As only NASA can do it.  Great images of the Sun.  What to look for.  A great set of nine regional, detailed maps of the path of totality.  How to photograph.  Weather prospects. Much more... Space.com - Great detail, how to photograph, what to look for. Each link has it's own special information, most have eclipse glasses for sale, as does Amazon.  Order soon, don't be disappointed.  Your eyes are way too important to take chances with someone's home-made eclipse viewer.  I ordered 50 glasses for less than $1.00 each.

TBUTLER

TBUTLER

 

Brake systems for a toad

I'm looking to buy a brake system for my toad and would like comments from users of different types. Any input or suggestion would be helpful. I'm considering an Air Force One but am leaning toward a brake buddy type. Thanks for your thoughts. Paul D

pdockins

pdockins

 

replacing carpet in coach

what have you found to be the best way to replace carpet?would you go back with carpet?change to vinyl or any other ideas? we have some tile in front of kitchen sink and stove.thank you,Joe

F460420

F460420

 

Not So Good Coach Moments

We have all had them, those moments when we are so overjoyed to be motorhome owners and those other moments, the ones where you take a deep breath and ask yourself: "Why did I ever buy this big blasted thing?"      Not So Good Coach Moments

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Remote work from Motorhome

I was wondering if anyone is working remotely from their Motorhome.  If so, how were you able to connect?  I would need to connect to the cloud for work and not all campsites have great internet connections.  Thanks.

kevin1960ward

kevin1960ward

 

My Aunt Hazel ( a Blue Ridge Mountain Story)

When I was young My Uncle Jonah taught me about raising apples, tobacco, peaches, grooming horses and the danger of electric fences. He tried, unsuccessfully, to teach me how to milk a cow. He gave Diane and I our very first Christmas Tree. My aunt Helen, Jonah’s wife, and Diane like each other very much. All the members of the Parker family are very special to me. Which brings me to my Aunt Hazel. My Aunt Hazel ( a memory and a tribute)

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Whose Idea Was This?

We returned to our winter residence in Edinburg, Texas, in Mid-April after a three-week trip to Tahiti that included a two-week cruise in French Polynesia.  Living the high life agrees with me but all that food seems to find a home somewhere around my waist.  Nine days after our return we were headed north in the motor home with friends accompanying us on the trip.  The motor home had been in the shop for about six weeks during the winter, some repair, some upgrades and some maintenance.  We also had the carpeting replaced.  The upshot of this was that for the first time in thirteen years we had emptied the motor home almost completely.  So we’re like newbees, having completely re-stocked the motor home we’re finding out what we forgot.  The list isn’t short.  We travel all summer long, visiting relatives, touring and attending conventions.  We didn’t have definite plans for this summer, mostly visiting our children and grandchildren.  In early March the bucket list came up and our friends suggested the Kentucky Derby.  We gave it about 5 minutes thought and decided we were going to sign up.  I had just seen an advertisement for Fantasy Tours Kentucky Derby Tour in the e-mail that morning.  I thought it was for 2018, but no, it was for this year.  Several spots were available and we signed up. From Edinburg to Louisville is about 1100 miles and we decided to make it a four-day trip.  Doing about 300 miles a day would get us there on time.  We planned to arrive on Sunday, a day before the tour started.  At our first fuel stop our friends said their dash air wasn’t working.  Consulting with the manufacturer, they checked the fuse and several other causes and then decided to run the generator and the roof air to try to combat the 90+ degree temperatures of south Texas. Our goal for the first day was to get through Houston before stopping for the night.  We pulled into the Houston East RV Park about an hour before sunset.  Problem two cropped up at this point, the single slide-out on our friend’s motor home wouldn’t slide out.  In the morning, they were on the phone with the manufacturer again.  After checking several items, it was decided that if they did get it to work, they may not get it back in so they are going to have to live with this until they could get to a repair shop.  Our schedule didn’t allow for a day or two in a repair shop so we continued our journey.  On the good side, departing Houston put us in lighter traffic on I-10 for the first hour or two.  We stopped in Lake Charles, LA to refuel and it became a lunch stop.  Departing I-10 to the north we headed for Hattiesburg, MS.  That became our overnight stop, now about 800 miles behind us.  In the morning, I followed the GPS and led us on an extended short cut on roads barely wide enough to allow two vehicles to pass.  We all laughed about it later and it did cut off quite a few miles.  Our trip continued through Nashville, TN and on to Louisville, KY.  The problems with the slide out were solved by a careful reading of an on-line version of the owner’s manual.  When we parked for the tour their slide operated perfectly.  The solution was to hold the activating switch for 10 seconds which re-synchronized the motors.  Later we learned that the dash air conditioner failure was due to a loose connection.  They are on their way to the east coast and we are with my daughter and her family in Missouri.  The Kentucky Derby Tour, that is another story…

TBUTLER

TBUTLER

 

Months 2,3,4, and Another Magical Day

For most of the month of February the three of us were parked on a live oak covered lot at Sunshine RV Resort, an Encore Park in Vero Beach. We choose to stay there because we wanted to see our daughter Jeri race in the Publix Florida Half-Marathon in Melbourne.  Months 2,3,4 and Another Magical Day

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January and Disney World

2017 has been a very busy year, at least for the first three months. The Fourth one has been wet, very wet, but more about that later.  The first one was good. Diane and I are finding out that retirement and being Snowbirds ain't bad, ain't bad at all. January and Disney World

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