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So Much News, So Little Time

TBUTLER

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I'll start by celebrating the return to life by the FMCA Computer System. Today is the first day I've been able to log on in the last two or three weeks! That doesn't explain my long absence from blogging. When we returned last fall I fell right into some intense volunteer work as Education Chair for the Rio Grande Valley Chapter Texas Master Naturalist. We had a class of 22 trainees who will become new members once they complete their volunteer commitment. With classes and field trips to plan and conduct, my winter was pretty busy. It is also hard to write the blog when I'm not in the motor home traveling. Now that we're back on the road I should be contributing regularly again.

We left our winter home in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas two months ago, May 9. In the week before we left we had 5 inches of rain from a single storm. That was followed by several other storms. Portions of our park including the road in front of our mobile home were flooded. Since we left, there have been other storms resulting in at least two subsequent flood events. We keep watching the weather reports and are pleased that the last two weeks have brought a return to drier conditions. The drought conditions in Texas have been resolved but the fact that it occurred within two months was responsible for a great deal of damage and loss of life. Our flooding was very minor compared to what happened in other areas of Texas.

From Texas we made our way to Golden, Colorado for a week stay with Louise's family. The trip was made more interesting as we traveled through flooded lands near Lubbock and into cold rainy weather in the Denver area. In fact the weather was a positive factor in our decision to leave a day early just to give us more time to travel to our next destination.

A family wedding in Cincinnati was a fun event with many of my cousins attending. Our family is scattered over the country and keeping in touch has been difficult. Our motor home has facilitated many visits that would have been impractical under normal circumstances. As much as possible we try to get our visits in as we take planned trips to other destinations. While in Cincinnati we stayed at the FMCA Campground on Round Bottom Road. It is a nice place to stay, a well maintained campground. I was surprised to see that the building at that location is now empty. No doubt FMCA is facing a number of challenges.

From Cincinnati we backtracked to Missouri to stay with my son, daughter and our amazing grandchildren. They span a wide spectrum, from a year and a half old to the fifteen year old who just got his learners permit to drive. We enjoyed attending softball games, graduation celebrations, Eagle Scout leadership training graduation, dinners, several birthday parties and a St. Louis Cardinals ballgame.

While in Missouri we endured numerous rain events. We were parked in a high location so water levels never threatened us though flooding was occurring regularly throughout the area. Leaving Missouri we traveled to eastern Kentucky to visit my brother. While there we endured another series of rains that delivered over 5 inches of rain in 48 hours. At this point I figure we could travel to California and solve their drought conditions in short order! We will go to California in October so we'll get to test this theory.

Our motor home is showing its age. When we got ready to depart this spring the electrical system in the coach shut down completely. After trying everything else, I went to check the batteries which were good and then checked the battery cut-off switch. Bingo! The switch wouldn't turn. It had melted down. It is a small plastic switch which connects the total load of the batteries to the coach itself. The cables were clamped to a plastic surface which held the post in place. After years of use, the heat had melted the plastic enough that the post came loose. I didn't have a replacement switch so simply bolted the two cables together. Viola! Problem solved. Without DC current, the systems that control the current in the coach also stop working so everything is dead.

Now it isn't convenient to pull apart wires to cut off the electrical supply from the batteries so I've replaced the switch. I found a much better switch, rated for twice the current of the previous switch. I also replaced the old switch for the chassis battery at the same time. It was identical to the other switch except there was a nut between the plastic and the cable attachment. With metal on both sides of the cable lug, that switch was in fine condition. The house battery switch had been replaced before and I'm guessing that the tech who did that either discarded the extra nut or it wasn't there and they didn't think to install it. I have a spare now in case you are parked next to me and need a replacement for your melted switch!

Today we're at Cummins in Harrisburg, PA. This is our second Cummins stop this spring. In Colorado we had the alternator checked but they could find no problems even though we traveled for 100 miles with the alternator alarm sounding before it mysteriously quit and the voltage came up. This has occurred again after parking a month at our daughters home but was resolved before we left their driveway. I guess we'll have to wait for complete failure before they can diagnose the problem. I may have it rebuilt next winter if it lasts that long. While in Colorado they did find a leaking fuel boost pump and replaced that. I now know what the spot on the driveway was when we pulled out this spring. They also noticed that the exhaust gasket on the number 3 cylinder was leaking. We had just had all the exhaust gaskets replaced last fall and had traveled less than 1500 miles so either it was a bad install or we have a more serious problem. That is the reason for our stop in Harrisburg. We didn't have time to deal with the problem in Colorado and it hasn't resolved itself so now we'll take a day or two to get it fixed. Meanwhile we've had intermittent generator problems with it failing to run smoothly and then dying when the load is connected. They have diagnosed that as a failing inverter in our 7.5 KW Onan Generator. This is a DC generator which has a built in inverter to provide AC current. We're not getting out of town without leaving a few bucks behind. Fortunately fuel costs are down this year.



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My coach is showing some age as well, then again I am showing some age, not much though. The coach has a blinker problem and needs some body work done. We put it in the shop this morning. As soon as it is out we hit the road for a long stretch of time and soon we hope to sell our stick house and hit the road full time for a year or more.

Nice to see you back on the blogs.

You probably noticed I have moved to my own site...primarily so I could have a more upscale photography display, or to feed my own ego, or both.

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