Wednesday, December 21, 2016

I Think We Need A New Awning

This is the way we had the awning set up. I put a board down under the upright in front and screwed the upright to it. That way it wasn't in the way like it would be when it is attached to the side of the motorhome. It made it easier to walk around but it also made it more hassle to close up. 
A few nights ago it was windy. The awning was out and flapping pretty good. About 5 o'clock in the morning the Old Lady said she was worried about the awning because it was making so much noise. We were out trying to get the awning closed when it ripped. When we bought The Guppy the awning had already been ripped by high winds on the end that attaches to the motorhome. The previous owner had used a couple of furring strips and screws to attach the awning to the side of the motorhome. We figured we would have to replace it at some time, just have been wondering what design on the awning to get. The Old Lady would like one with the logo of her alma mater. Question is which one, Michigan Tech or Virginia Tech?? The school colors for Virginia Tech would sorta match the accent strips on The Guppy. Anywho, we had sorta figured on replacing it sometime this winter and now we really need to do it if we want shade.

I'm making a cover for the windshield and doors. I had an old tarp with a couple of rips in it so it wasn't much use for covering stuff. I was able to cut pieces out of it to cover the windshield and the windows in the doors. I have it taped together temporarily but will need to sew the pieces together as the tape isn't holding very well. I used aluminum tape as I thought it would hold better than duct tape. Well it doesn't seem to stick to the tarp very well. I bought some strip magnets to hold it in place and is laying smoother than in this picture. The strip magnet came in a roll, so I laid it out for a day or so to straighten out, but it still wants to curl. I laid the magnets out on the trunk of the car during the afternoon and  overnight. But when I cut pieces from it, they at times still want to curl.

Another thing I've done is put a piece of sheetmetal under the door for the water heater to direct the water away from the compartment under it. The relief valve on the water heater weeps after the water gets hot in the water heater. I replaced the relief valve and it still weeps some water. I thought maybe the city water pressure at campgrounds was too high, so I got a pressure regulator that is supposed to keep the pressure at 40-50 psi. It still weeps. There is no way to adjust the temperature on the water heater, which if I could lower the temp (which gets real hot) that might stop the problem. In any case, I thought this would at least stop the water from running down the door for the storage compartment below the water heater. Yesterday I saw some guys working on the skirting for a trailer here in the RV park and I asked if they had any scrap pieces of sheetmetal that I could have. The guy cut off a piece and gave it to me. I then cut it to size with my utility knife and installed it. I took the screws out across the bottom of the water heater and slipped the sheetmetal up under it and replaced the screws to hold the sheetmetal in place. The piece was bent at one edge and it makes a trough for the water to run off to the side and away from the compartment door.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Week in Paradise

We flew back from Hawaii a week ago. We had fun while we were there even tho it rained a lot. One of the things that was new to us was the rental car. It didn't have a key. All we got was a fob. It would lock and unlock the doors, do the panic thing (blow the horn) and it also had to be in or around the car in order to start the car and to open the tailgate, liftgate, whatever. I think if you were to buy that model it would come with a key as there was a slot on the handle for the driver's door for a key, but it had a piece of scotch tape over it.

This was the rental car, a Buick Encore.
  At first I would put the fob in the cupholder in the console, but then I thought what if I locked the doors and couldn't open them. After that revelation I would keep it in my pocket and only take it out to unlock and lock the doors.

This is the fob.

One of the things that I didn't like was there wasn't an owner's manual in the car. When we first got it the dash was saying the percentage of the oil change that had been used. One day I played with it and didn't figure out how to change it. When I tried again a day or so later I was able to figure out how to navigate the menu and put it on fuel range. That way I had some idea on how far I could go before it ran out of gas. We had paid for filling the tank at the time of the rental and the guy said as long as we brought back with less than  a 1/4 tank it would be a good deal. We managed to run it down to about 60 miles left and because it was over 25 miles back to the airport and we weren't done running around I put $5 worth in it, which was a littl over a gallon and a half at $2.929 a gallon.

One of the places we went was Waimea Canyon. It was interesting and at the observation places the wind was such you almost had to lean into it to get close to the railing at the edge.

Waimea Canyon
Here's a link to more pictures and info on Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.

We managed to see most of the island, Kauai isn't a very big island. There is still some stuff we didn't see, but we only had a week and like I said it rained a lot. It would rain and some times it was a downpour, but later it would stop and the sun would come out. Some days it would be off and on rain, we would wait until the rain stopped and then go out and play tourist. Almost everywhere people will say, "If you don't like the weather, wait a while and it'll change!" Well, it certainly was true while we were on Kauai. I don't remember it raining so much when I was on Oahu almost 30 years ago, but I was there in April that time.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Devil's Donuts

When I first saw this commercial I didn't know if it was a parody, satire or real. I guess it is real. Still it strikes me as really weird!!

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Guppy Was A Real Adventure This Time

We left for AZ on the 27th. About 75 miles into the trip I noticed a vibration on taking off from a 4-way stop. After I got up to speed it seemed to go away. At first I thought maybe I had a tire out of balance or something. By the time we got to Iowa it was worse. We stopped for the second night at a campground in Missouri. In the morning I slid under and looked at the u-joints on the driveshaft. It has a three piece driveshaft with two carrier bearings and I couldn't find anything wrong. Decided to continue on and hope it would get us to AZ.

We got as far as around KC and we decided to stop for lunch. As I went to pull out on to the street to head for where the restaurants were the driveshaft fell out. I coasted to a stop on the shoulder. Because the driveshaft fell out we had to put something under the wheel to keep it from rolling. The Old Lady called AAA as we have the RV+ plan. First she had trouble explaining what kind of motorhome we have (Class C), but finally got told a wrecker would be sent. AAA recommended a repair shop, but when talking to them they said it was too tall to fit in their shop. They gave us a number for another shop and we got the same story. They recommended the local Ford/RV dealer.

The Ford/RV dealer said they were going close at 3 pm as it was a Saturday. And if we had it towed there it might be 2 weeks before they could get to it. Thought about having it towed to the Walmart parking lot that we could see from where we broke down. The Old Lady called The Kid to let her know we broke down and asker her to use her smart phone to check if we could park at Walmart. The Kid even called and was told a local ordinance banned overnight RV parking there. There was also a Super 8 motel in sight. I took the car off the tow dolly and The Old Lady went over and asked about parking The Guppy there and got us a room. After waiting all afternoon the tow truck finally arrived after several calls from AAA to see if it had come. The tow truck was one that they use for semis. (A bit of overkill).
The u-joint that worked its way out the side of the yoke below.

The yoke that slides on the splines of the second section of driveshaft and is on the front end of the last section of driveshaft.
The new yoke.

While waiting for the tow truck, I crawled under and removed the u-joint from the rear end and the yoke off the end of the second section of driveshaft. The section of driveshaft appeared to be OK, but can't say the same for the yoke.

Lunch turned out to be supper as it around 5 pm by the time the tow truck hauled The Guppy to over by the motel. After we ate we went looking for parts. At Autozone I got the u-joints and the u-bolts that hold the joint to the rearend. But they didn't even have a listing for the yoke. Went to O'Reillys down the street and they didn't have a listing either. Figured we'd have to wait until Monday and try the Ford/RV dealer.

Monday morning while at breakfast at the motel got to talking to another guest. Turned out she was originally from the area and she knew a shop that worked on her horse trailer. She called and passed the phone to me to talk to the guy. He gave me the name and directions for a place that did truck parts and service. I drove there (two exits back on the Interstate) and they didn't have the part in stock, but they ordered it and had it FedExed overnight. The next day I got a new yoke and that afternoon I put the driveshaft together and back in The Guppy.

The next morning we hit the road again. A couple hundred miles down the road I felt a shudder, but thought maybe it was just a bad spot in the road. A couple miles down the road we had to stop for construction and a guy pulled up alongside on the shoulder and told us we had lost a wheel on the tow dolly. I pulled over on to the shoulder and when I looked the tow dolly was not only missing a wheel, it was also missing the hub for the wheel. (The Guppy has a lot of power, I hardly noticed the extra drag from the missing wheel.) I pulled the car off and dragged the tow dolly around into the ditch as much as possible, basically pivoting on the side with the missing wheel. We only paid $400 for it a couple years ago and couldn't figure out how I could get it fixed there in the middle of Kansas. (I think I'll avoid Kansas in the future). 

From there on we convoyed. The Old Lady drove the car and I drove The Guppy. After we lost the anchor (tow dolly) the gas mileage improved on The Guppy. I haven't run the figures yet, but just doing it in my head it seems to have gone from less than 6 mpg to 8 mpg or better. That more than makes up for the gas used to run the car. The only problem was the car needs a brake job, but that was only a problem when stopping. It makes a horrible grinding noise when braking and when first starting to move. Am in the process of buying the parts I need to do the brake job.

Thru the windshield shot in New Mexico.

We finally got here over a week after we left home and are getting settled in the RV park. We were shooting for getting here on the first and got here on the fourth. We spent four nights in the motel, so if we hadn't broke down we would have got here as planned.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

One Of My Projects Before Winter

I moved the carport to cover the travel trailer. That's the only way to keep the roof on the trailer from leaking, by putting a roof over it.

Work in progress, I got this end closed in and only need to put metal up on the other gable end.
Because I won't be here to remove the snow off the roof this winter I decided I needed to reinforce the roof. The frames for the carport are a little over 4 feet apart and I figure with the amount of snow we get the roof panels could sag from the weight of the snow. I put 2x4s between the frames to support the sheetmetal panels.

Hopefully I put enough 2x4s to reinforce the roof. 
Notice how little room there is to work.

The hard part was working over the trailer as there wasn't a lot of room to work. If I had been putting the carport up for the first time I would have put the 2x4s in before putting the metal on, but I had already assembled it a couple years ago to put my boats in. That meant I had to get the screws back in the same holes again.

The metal I'm using to close in the gable ends is from a 12x60 mobile home we used to have. I dismantled it 10 years ago. The metal is aluminum, but the price for scrap aluminum hasn't been high enough where I felt it was worth the gas to haul it to a salvage yard!! So I have been using pieces for a couple projects. This is one and I covered the end wall on the barn with the aluminum. The barn used to be twice as long, but my brother tore down the haybarn part 55 years ago and the end wall was bare boards. I used lumber wrap and aluminum to cover it and stop the cold winds from coming thru the wall.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Veteran Memes

I am a disabled veteran, life member of the DAV. I'm feeling highly insulted with all these veteran vs whatever memes. A few years ago it was illegal immigrants, i.e. illegal immigrants deserve nothing, Veterans deserve everything. (My niece posted that one and unfriended me when I said illegal immigrants don't bother me, it's the cheap bastards that hire them!!) Now the latest group to be denigrated is refugees. We can't help refugees because we need to take care of the vets and in the end nobody gets any help. The vets get the same-old, same-old, LIP SERVICE!! And Jackshit as far as more help.

Spreading the various memes of veterans vs whatever is so easy, a couple of mouse clicks and you're done. Then you can feel good about yourself like if you actually did something to help the vets. That helps about as much as "Thoughts and Prayers," which is FUCK ALL!!

Actually these memes are doing the opposite of what people think when they spread them on social media. People think everyone is doing stuff to help the vets when in reality (some people don't even have a passing acquaintance with reality!!) everybody thinks someone else is doing something to help and nobody is. It's that "Thoughts and Prayers" mentality.  But hey, it's the thought that counts, RIGHT??

I feel insulted by the use of veterans to denigrate or refuse to help others because you don't happen to like that particular group. I've lost count of how many groups they've pitted the veterans against, illegal immigrants, refugees, even community college students (instead of giving free tuition, we should spend that money on the vets.) We are supposedly the richest nation in the world, we can afford anything, all it takes is the WILL TO DO IT, which is sorely lacking!!  And don't call this a christian nation when you do refuse to help!!

Another thing is when a football player doesn't stand for the anthem and immediately people are saying he is disrespecting the veterans. NEWS FLASH, every veteran when they were sworn in swore to uphold the Constitution, that means they didn't serve to take rights away from people!! This country was built on protest, if there hadn't been protests the national anthem would be "God Save The Queen"!! If you think the flag and/or anthem represents the military/veterans, your thinking is totally ASS BACKWARDS!!

Another thing that grinds my gears a bit is people going around telling veterans, "Thank You for your service". That does Jackshit other than making the person saying that feel good, look at me, I did a good deed, I thanked a veteran!! It actually kinda creeps me out to see perfect strangers going up to vets and saying, "Thank You for your service." That's why I never wear anything that would signify that I am a veteran.

 If you really want to thank a veteran do something to improve the situation for vets. There are 22 vets committing suicide every fucking day!! Lots of veterans are homeless. Some wait many months for a hearing on disability claims and years to hear an appeal on disability claims. I know the later from personal experience.

There are times when I feel we got used 50 years ago. The United States was in a pissing contest with the Soviet Union and Vietnam was just the proxy. Whether we were used then is debatable, but I damn sure don't want to be used now. Don't use veterans as an excuse to justify your prejudices!! 

Basically it's all just LIP SERVICE, just like the politicians that say, "We love the veterans" and when in office vote against most of the bills that are designed to help the vets!! It's gotten to the point where the only LIP SERVICE I want to see is for the aforementioned people to KISS MY DISABLED VETERAN ASS!!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

An Old Dude Had To Be Involved In Naming These Jeans

An older person had to be involved in naming these jeans. I can remember when I was a kid older guys talking about tight pants as being like a cheap hotel, no ballroom!!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

New Toy Or Headache??

Bought another 4wheeler this week. Didn't pay much, it hasn't been run in 8-9 years. It's probably never been under cover since it was new in '94.

New Toy or Headache??
When he said it had a plow I offered more than I had originally thought to give.

It will be under cover soon, I plan on putting it in the barn for the winter while we are SnowBirds. When we get back in the spring I'll work on getting it working. Right now I know it needs brake work and probably work on the front driveshaft. Hopefully it's only need U-joints. If it needs a yoke for the U-joint, then it'll get pricey!! The back tires are shot, but it came with replacements, all I have to do is get the old tires off and mount the others. I'm going to go see my neighbor and see if his tire machine will work on the ATV wheels.

When I told The Old Lady that I was considering buying it, she said that when I get it running we could both go riding with the two machines. I bought a used machine in working condition 5 years ago and have been using it around the place. Also used it to go icefishing a couple winters.

The machine I bought 5 years ago.

Now I think I'll head over to the neighbor's and see if he can change the tires on the rims.

I Think I Finally Got The Hang Of It??

Making sourdough bread that is. Last winter I created a sourdough starter from scratch. No yeast other than that which is in the flour and in the air. I've tried several times to bake bread with the starter with varying results.

This was my first attempt and it came out OK, a little overbaked and burnt on the bottom. Then I tried baking the bread in a breadpan and less time. Those turned out to be underdone and doughy in the middle. The Old Lady compared some to a brick!!

This is my latest attempt. I made these the other day. Figured out I was rushing things. I didn't allow enough time for it to proof and rise. These loaves took almost 24 hours total from start to finish. I started the proofing the night before and 12 hours later started mixing the dough. Then 2-3 hours to rise, a couple more hours to rise again, and finally a couple hours to rise in the pans. They finally came out of the oven in the evening.

Before I made these loaves I shared my starter with The Oldest Daughter who is a cook. She took it to work and everyone there was excited about it. Haven't heard yet if they have baked anything with it or how it turned out.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Scrubbing Bubbles??

The flash really highlighted how beat up the table is!!
This is actually a brush with a soap dispenser. It said it works best with Dawn detergent because that's who makes it.

When I took this out of the package and set it down it reminded me of the scrubbing bubbles in the TV commercial.  But this post is not about scrubbing bubbles, but about a power scrubber.

When I bought this I wasn't sure how hard it would be to just get the brush part. Turned out all I had to do was twist it a little and it came apart. The screw and washer and nut is so I can attach the brush to my drill.

And here is my power scrubber. After I put it together I used it to get rid of the soap scum in the bathtub. It looked so clean The Old Lady took a bubble bath in the evening!!

Monday, September 5, 2016

It's Still Fucking Magic

I thought putting a new battery in the wireless mouse fixed the internet problem, I was WRONG!! Tonight while trying to watch a show on NetFlix we got the "internet connectivity problem" message again when the picture froze and it started buffering. I pulled the dongle for the wireless mouse and refreshed. We were able to watch a few more minutes of the show then it froze again. Tomorrow I get to call tech support at the phone company again. Whatever it is, it is worse in the evening from 8:30 to 9:00. It's like the internet feed stops completely. It's about an hour after it screwed up and we seem to have service, but I haven't tried streaming anything, just checked emails and now doing a blog post.

The battery in the mouse was weak, but it hadn't started acting up like it usually does when it goes dead, the mouse was still working.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Electronics Are FM, FUCKING MAGIC!!

Recently we've been having problems streaming stuff on NetFlix and other sites.  With Netflix it seemed like we could watch most of a show and then it would freeze with about 5 minutes left to go!! We spent the better part of a week trying to watch an episode of Inspector Lewis on PBS. It would play for awhile and then freeze and start to buffer. We tried various things to get it to stream, would pause it, sometimes we would back it up a minute or so in the hopes that it would continue. Usually it would play up to the point where it froze and freeze again. In trying for 4 nights we managed to get about half way thru the episode.

Occasionally we would get a pop-up saying "Internet connectivity problem." I called tech support at the phone company that provides the Internet. The guy had me hook up the laptop directly to the DSL modem and it still had the problem. Could hear the audio stopping and starting as I tried to play a video. That eliminated the router as the problem. Was wondering if it might be the laptop as it is 6 years since I bought it and it was a refurbished one at that. Borrowed another computer and it worked fine. Tried the laptop again in case the phone company had fixed the problem. Laptop still wasn't working right.

Then I thought maybe the dongle plugged into one of the USB ports might have something to do with the problem. Unplugged it and it seemed to play normally. Then The Old Lady said, "I wonder if the battery is going dead in the wireless mouse?" The wireless mouse is what the dongle is for. Anywho, I replaced the battery in the mouse and plugged the dongle back in while the laptop was playing the episode we had so much trouble trying to watch. It continued to play normally and last night we watched several things on NetFlix with no problem.

What I can't figure out is how the hell a weak battery in a wireless mouse could affect the streaming of stuff from the intratubes??? Like I said in the title of this post, "ELECTRONICS ARE FM, FUCKING MAGIC!!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Water Heater

Earlier this summer the water heater died. It was about 20 years old and finally gave up the ghost. I'd replaced the thermocouple a couple of times, but that was the extent of the maintenance. It did get drained and flushed a few times and was moved once. We originally got it to replace the water heater in our 12x60 mobile home. When I built this place it got put in here.

We decided we didn't need to rush out and buy a new one, we could get by for awhile as it was summer and we had the stove to heat water for doing dishes and other stuff (bird bath). Also we had The Guppy where we could take showers. Just had to wait awhile (10-20 minutes) for the water heater to heat the water.

Finally on the 9th we ordered a water heater from Lowes as I have a Lowes credit card and can do 6 months with no interest on large purchases. While we procrastinated the price went up. But on the plus side learned they do a discount for veterans. I knew they did a discount for military and retired military, but didn't know they did one for short-timers like me.

The only bitch I have with Lowes is they didn't let me know when the water heater arrived at the store. When we ordered it the expected date was the 24th, on the 25th The Old Lady called and was told it was there so we went and got it. Asked about the veteran discount and showed my VA card and got 10% knocked off. As I was working on installing it the other day I noticed a tag on the box that said it had arrived at the store on the 22nd. The least they could have done is send me an email to say it was at the store or the store could have called!!

Anywho, the other day I decided to do the water heater swap. Got the big box off the truck and with a hand truck got it into the house. Before I did that I drained the old one. Disconnecting the old one wasn't a problem, disconnected the gas line and the two water lines. Hauled the old one outside and removed the plumbing parts I needed for the new one (water lines and gas fitting). Put the new one in place and hooked it up. Checked the gas line for leaks, checked OK. Filled the tank with water, had a leak at the union on the hot water outlet side, tightened it. Lit the pilot, which is different than the old one. The old one you lit it with a match, the new one had a sealed burner unit and you push a button that creates a spark to light the pilot. Got it lit and turned the knob to start heating the water.

It worked for about 5 minutes and then went out. Thinking Fuck, spent all that money and the fucker doesn't work. Tried lighting the pilot, pilot would light, but when I released the knob it would go out. This new ones has several wires going to the control, one is for the spark deal and there are a couple others. It also has a light that flashes (the light also supposedly will give you codes to tell you what's wrong, from 0 to 8 flashes, well I had 0) when it is working. The light had gone out and would not come back when the pilot was lit. Tried several times with no luck. Then looked at where the wires went and noticed a small button (looked like a small peg between the terminals) where the two wires plugged in, pushed the button and when I lit the pilot the light started flashing and I turned the burner on and it's been working ever since.

The disgusting thing about this is it came with a 36 page instruction manual telling how to install and maintain the water heater. It also has a trouble shooting guide for things like "no hot water" which basically tells you to light the pilot. If after several tries and it doesn't work call a service technician. NO WHERE IN THE FUCKING MANUAL DOES IT MENTION THERE IS A FUCKING RESET BUTTON!!!!!!!! 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Finally Got The Parking Brakes Fixed

Yesterday I finally got the parking brakes fixed on my truck. Almost 2 months after I bought what I thought was the only part I needed to fix the parking brakes. As I said in the earlier post installing the cable kinda made the brake work, but then I discovered the lining had separated and disintegrated on the side that didn't lock up. I figured no big deal, I'll get a set of shoes and replace them. I didn't get them right away, it was a couple weeks later. When I went to replace the shoes I discovered that one of the shoes with no lining had come loose and jammed against the other shoe.  I removed the shoes and what parts were left to hold the shoes in place. So I bought a hardware kit because some parts were missing and others damaged badly enough to be unusable.

The parts between the shoes was what I needed to finally fix the brakes. This is the old shoes (the ones that were left) before I changed them. Took a couple pictures in case I forgot how to put it back together. 

Then when I had the hardware kit and went to install the shoes I found there was another missing part. Part of the mechanism that pushes the shoes apart was missing. Yesterday I went to see my neighbor because he has a wrecked Expedition. I got the parts I needed and cleaned them up and they were froze in place with rust and crud. A little Never-Seize on the pin the parts pivot on and I got everything installed. Now the brakes lock up and will hold the truck. The main reason I wanted to fix the parking brakes is the truck is a stick and with over 230K miles the engine probably doesn't have enough compression to hold the truck by putting it in gear on a hill with any kind of slope.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

I Gave Up On My Half-Assed Smart Phone

Last winter before heading South to Missouri I got a cheap smart phone. I was told that Johnson's Shut-In where we were going to be campground hosts had WIFI, but poor cell service so I got a cheap smart phone that had WIFI  with the thought that if I couldn't use the cell service, maybe I could connect thru the WIFI. Turned out that wasn't the case because the WIFI signal area was so small you had to be right next to the antenna to receive the signal. Turned out I had an occasional cell service so I was able to use the phone to talk and text when I had a signal.

The WIFI part of the phone works great, too bad it sucks as a phone!! I was learning how to operate the phone for various things and downloaded several apps to make it work better. (Didn't like that fact that I had to download an app that would tell me how many minutes I had left on the phone or another one that would tell me how long the calls I had made or received were!!) I was able to do Twitter and facebook using WIFI, didn't want to burn up the limited amount of data I had available on the phone. Using it as a phone is another story.

I had trouble making calls with it. If I went into my contact list and was looking for a number, it would sometimes start to call when all I wanted was to look for the number. I guess I just don't have the right touch with my fat fingers. The sound quality sucked, it would break up and I would miss words, etc..  Like I said it was hard to make calls, either thru my contact list or dialing the number using the keypad (fat fingers again, would hit the wrong numbers or same number twice).

One of the more annoying things about the phone was there was no way to do different alert ringtones for different things. Like I couldn't do a separate one for text messages. It would do the same ringtone for messages, new twitter messages, picked up a WIFI signal, etc... Every fucking thing was the same ringtone for everything other than a phone call!!

My problem was I went with such a cheap phone. It said it was 4G WIFI so I thought it would be good. The WIFI works great, but not the phone. I may try a smart phone sometime in the future, but I would like to be able to try it first, but when all you see is either a dummy one in the store or pictures and info online, that isn't possible. Or maybe I need to be smarter than the phone???

So yesterday I went back to a flip phone. It will be more of a hassle texting, but hopefully I'll be able to make and receive calls.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Another Guppy Repair

Last year I changed the black water tank in The Guppy. When I put the new tank up into place I couldn't see if the vent pipe was in the vent fitting properly. I knew the waste pipe from the toilet was in place right as I put it in from above. We would occasionally experience a smell from the holding tank. Last week I decided to see if I could see the vent pipe connection to the tank from above.

There is this panel in the corner of the bathroom and I figured it was hiding the vent pipe. I was right, when I removed the panel I saw the vent pipe. When I tried to see down to the tank there wasn't a big enough gap in the floor to see down to the tank. I used a hole saw to cut a hole in the plywood between the toilet and the vent pipe. Even then I had trouble seeing what I wanted to see. I tried getting the pipe into the fitting with no success. I cut the plywood from the hole out to the edge and cut the pipe so I could pull the pipe out and see what the fitting looked like. The pipe had been off by half an inch or so and had flattened out part of the fitting. I cut a chunk of pvc pipe about 4-5 inches long and put it in the fitting to make it round again. Later I was able to get the vent pipe back in the fitting, but it wasn't easy.

The problem from the git-go was the water lines that are next to the vent pipe. The one on top of the other was clamped along side the other and against the vent pipe.  I figure they pushed the vent pipe over when I removed the old tank and that's why the vent pipe didn't line up with the fitting even tho I had measured carefully before I cut the holes in the new tank for the fittings.

In my last post I mentioned how I don't throw stuff away. I have a couple buckets full of plumbing parts, pvc fittings, galvanized fittings, copper fittings, valves, etc.. I thought I was all set to glue the vent pipe back together after I found an inch and a half coupling, WRONG!! Somewhere in that joggle the pipe goes from inch and a half to inch and a quarter. Now I got 1 inch and inch and a half couplings in pvc, but not inch and a quarter. So today I made a trip to town and bought a coupling for 89 cents and put the bathroom back together.

The Old Lady is planning on us spending the winter in The Guppy down in the Southwest, probably AZ. We don't want the shit tank stinking up the place if we are going to be living in The Guppy for several months!!!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Why I Don't Throw Things Away

Yesterday after doing the dishes as I was cleaning the sink I noticed the drain was loose. No problem, I'll just loosen it up and put some plumbers putty under it and tighten it up again. WRONG. Discovered the big nut underneath wouldn't tighten up. For some reason the nut had expanded and would no longer engage the threads. Then I remembered I had a loose sink with drains still in it. Went and took one out of the sink and when I went to remove the drain pipe from the drain the nut fell apart. It was metal and had corroded to the point where when I turned it it fell apart. So I went looking for more plumbing parts. I found a nut for the drain pipe and also some gaskets. Then I was able to put the sink back together. Now it should drain better because the pipe was almost plugged and I cleaned it out.

The point of this post is that I saved myself a trip or two to town to get the parts to fix the sink. If I had gone to get a new drain basket and then discovered the nut after getting back, I would then have had to make another trip to town. It's not the price of the parts as they are relatively cheap, it's the time and hassle of driving the 10 miles to town and 10 miles back.

I have a lot of stuff I'll probably never use, but I figure it's better to hang on to stuff than to throw it away and later have to go to the store and buy another one!!

This is like the one I put in the sink.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Found The Cause Of The Smell

Last December I bought another truck, a 2001 F-150 extended cab. It had several problems. First thing I did was have the windshield replaced. A couple months ago I replaced all the ball joints on the front end. Last month I got and replace a parking brake cable. It is kinda weird setup. The cable from the left rear wheel hooks into a metal piece and the housing for the other brake cable goes into the piece and the cable goes forward and hooks on to the cable from the brake pedal in the cab. I got the new cable routed and installed. Tried out the parking brake and all it did was tighten the cable without applying the brakes. The next day I took out the parking brake pedal assembly and found the cable had slipped. Instead of going up and over, it was along side of where it should be. After I routed the cable properly the parking brake worked, but only for one wheel. I figured I'd look into adjusting the brake that wasn't working later. The other day we went somewhere with the truck and when we stopped after 15-20 miles there was an annoying smell. It smelled like either a clutch burning up or a brake hungup. After we got to where we were going I checked the wheels and found the right rear was hot while the others were warm. Whatever it was, it wasn't causing a drag on the truck, just the bad odor. I couldn't do anything about it then in any case, so we continued on, did what we had planned and then went home. Yesterday I took the wheel off and removed the caliper. Had some trouble getting the rotor off and it probably hadn't been off since the truck was built 15 years ago. Sprayed penetrating oil in the crack between the rotor and the axle and after some time I was able to get the rotor off. What I found was the the linings for the parking brake shoes had fallen apart. Found one piece several inches long and a bunch of pieces no bigger than a half inch.

This piece is about 5 inches long and the rest were just small pieces. I think some of the small pieces got jammed between the shoe and the rotor. Not enough to slow the wheel, just enough for friction to heat the assembly and cause the stink!!

This shows the cable setup that had me confused when the longer cable was missing.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Update to the Flag

My previous post about the flag had some results. I posted the picture on facebook and also a link to my post. The Old Lady shared both the picture and the link to the post. Several days later the flag and the garbage were gone. I guess they really were throwing the flag out with the trash!!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Flag

Now I'm not gungho, hunglo, esprit de corps and all that shit, BUT I do think if you are going to display the flag, you should do it properly. I don't give a shit about flag burning, we don't need a fucking amendment against flag burning. If you are that pissed and feel you have a bitch against the government, then go ahead and burn the flag to get their attention!!!!

What I object to is people that treat the flag like fucking yard art. They hang the flag and leave it there until it rots without following proper flag etiquette. You don't leave it out in the dark, either shine a light on it or take it in at night. What's with this bullshit of putting a full size flag on the back of your mailbox post??? Or next to a road in the middle of nowhere?? One I've seen appears to be next to a service road for a cellphone tower.

I've noticed a lot of campers will hang a flag as soon as they park in their site. I'd like to know what the fuck is the point of putting out a flag when you are only going to be somewhere for a short time?? Are they afraid someone will accuse them of being furriners??

This is typical of most campers. This one was taken at Canyon Lake in Tejas. This one isn't as bad as some I've seen, one that I saw this spring on our way home had a flag hanging off the back of their trailer over the garbage bags!! I guess to show that their garbage was 'Murikan!!

But I think the one that takes the cake is one I've seen lately whenever I go to town. It's in front of a business that's being remodeled.  Needless to say that if the business ever opens, I won't spend a dime in it!!

Now, will someone tell me if this is some proud real 'Murikan showing his patriotism or did they put it out with the rest of the trash????????????????????

"When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.

The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.

When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner."

I have relatives that are all for a flag burning amendment (said that way it sounds like they are in favor of burning the flag, but then again that is the proper way to dispose of one), but you won't hear a peep out of them about those that treat it like yard art. They probably think it patriotic!!

The ironic thing about this supposed show of PATRIOTISM is that 94% of the flags come from CHINA!! (Google is a wonderful thang!!)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Good Thing We Have The Guppy

Last week our water heater died. The pilot light was out one morning, I got it lit again after spending a lot of time trying to light it. It stayed lit thru one heat cycle and went out again. I got it lit again after spending a lot of time getting it lit. It stayed on long enough for the burner to light and after a minute or so the pilot and burner went out. Then I could not get the pilot to light while holding the button down.

Also noticed a rust stain on the floor next to one of the legs. Looks like it has had a slight leak for some time. So now we are mulling over what kind of water heater to get to replace it. Do we get another 30 gal. one or do we get a tankless one, and what kind of tankless. Turns out the tankless ones can run from $150 to over a thousand dollars. They run from 1.5gpm to around 8gpm. Standard water heaters start at 4 hundred something on up.

After I decided the water heater was dead I got The Guppy set up. I hooked up a garden hose for water and turned on the gas. Now we can take showers in The Guppy. Or heat water on the stove and take a bird bath in the tub in the house.

Now I also get to try out a couple things I got for hooking up water. I have an inline pressure regulator which keeps the pressure in the line at 40-50 psi. (Don't really need it now as the pump shuts off at 50 psi.) Got to thinking when we were in Missouri that maybe the reason the pressure relief valve on the water heater dribbled water when the water got hot was maybe the incoming pressure was to high. I also got a new thing for hooking up the water line to the motorhome. I got one that is brass and at a 90 degree angle. I figure that will have less strain on the fitting on the motorhome.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Test Run of Guppy Repairs

Last week we went camping with The Guppy and we got to see how it works when there was no power or water hookups. I took along a second battery in case the RV battery wouldn't last the 4 nights we were there. I brought my boat battery which has the same type terminals as the RV battery. After 2 nights I switched batteries when the RV battery was down to 10.2-10.3 volts. Probably could have used it longer, but didn't want the refrigerator to stop working and not notice that it had. It did last longer than before I changed the battery charger, I think the old one was draining the battery when there was no power hooked up.

In a previous post I mentioned cleaning out the fresh water system. It worked very well. The only thing I noticed was that when the pump built up pressure and shut off, occasionally it would run for a few seconds even when no water was used. I have a hunch the check valve in the pump might be leaking because I haven't seen any signs of a leak in the plumbing. I can get a new screen with a built-in check valve and that should take care of that problem.

On the plus side with the water, The Old Lady took a shower and said it was almost like when we are hooked up to city water. The shower doesn't work that well in any case and is on my list of things to do.

Old school coffeepot and toaster.
We've had this four slice toaster for about 30 years. We got it when we didn't have power at The Ranch and used it to toast bread on a woodstove. The coffeepot is fairly new, we got it after we got The Guppy. We got it for when we are boondocking and don't have electric so we could cook coffee on the stove.

One of my next projects will be to see if I can get the generator running and installed back in The Guppy. According to the hour meter it only has a little over 43 hours running time. The generator was removed before we bought The Guppy. I think it was removed to replace the slides that hold it in The Guppy and allow you to pull it out to work on and/or check on it. I'll change oil and filter before I try to start it. If I can get it running I'll try to figure out how to put it back in The Guppy. It would be handy to have it for charging the battery. I tried running the engine to charge the battery and figured out I would have to run it way too long to charge the battery.

Tried to see if we could get any TV reception and failed. A couple days later when we went out to eat I figured out why I couldn't get any TV reception as we climbed this big hill while going in the direction of where the TV transmitters are. One of these days I get a new antenna, the one we have is an old analog one. It is also a directional one, in that you have to turn it to point towards the transmitter to get the signal. I'm going to get an omnidirectional one so all I have to so is raise the antenna when I want to get a TV signal.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Michigan Legislature Responsible For Poisoning Flint

We hear a lot about how Gov Snyder is responsible for poisoning Flint, but I think the Legislature should share the blame. The Legislature is responsible for there being an "Emergency Manager" is place in the first place. In Nov 2012 there was a ballot measure about the emergency manager law and it was defeated by the voters. Before the end of the year the weasels in Lansing had passed a new bill authorizing emergency managers and Gov Snidely signed it. Hadn't been for that Flint would not have had an "Emergency Manager" to make the decision to switch to Flint river water!!

Squatlo claims Tennessee has the worst legislature in the country, but I countered with Tennessee's hadn't poisoned a city. He came back with Oak Ridge being a worse health disaster than Flint. But Oak Ridge is federal, the state had very little to do with it.

To get back to my point, the legislature and the governor went directly against the will of the people of the state to counteract what the people had voted on and that is why there was an "Emergency Manager" in place to rule on switching the water in Flint!! And I have yet to hear one word from anyone in the media mentioning the legislature being in any way responsible for the Flint water crisis!!

To top it off, after the Flint water crisis was in the national news, the FuckingRepublicans in the state senate refused to give any money to solve the problem in Flint!! I guess they figured the same as this graphic of Gov Snidley!!


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Truck Mod

Back in December I bought an extended cab pickup. My old truck wouldn't start (still doesn't) and had been acting up for most of the Summer. But that's another story.

One of the things I've always thought was a good idea was that with the extra room behind the seats there would be a place to set stuff, like groceries, whatever. Problem is that with grocery bags these days if you set a plastic bag on the floor behind the seats, by the time you get home most of the stuff could be out of the bag and rolling around on the floor. In our car we have a laundry basket to put groceries or whatever in to keep the stuff contained. A laundry basket would fit behind the seats but if you need to put the rear seats down, what do you do with the basket?? I think I solved that problem.

The solution.
I built a couple of boxes to fit under the rear seats. The seats are still usable and the boxes will contain the stuff in grocery bags or any loose stuff. I also added a net to the front of it that can be used for miscellaneous small stuff. I bought the net at St. Vinnie's several years ago and now finally have a use for it. I put one like it in The Guppy, but haven't put anything in it yet.

The boxes don't interfere with the seats. They can be put down and there is still as much leg room (??) as before. Also, as The Old Lady pointed out after I showed her how it would look with the seats down, we could put stuff under the seat and with the seat down it would be hidden from view!!

My next project on the interior will be new seat covers for the front seats. Not sure if I will do the rear seats as I don't see them being used much. The front seats have some burn holes in them because the previous owner was a smoker. Plus with 230K miles on it the driver's seat is kinda frayed on the edge. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

More Guppy Repairs

On our last excursion we discovered that we had a water problem. When using the pump for water from the holding tank there would be a burst of water and then a trickle. Thought maybe the pump was wore out. Pulled the plywood off the bed to get at the pump. Saw that it was almost 29 years old, it was made in '97. Started looking online to get an idea how much new pumps cost and last week stopped in a RV dealer to price pumps. Decided before buying a new pump would check the screen between the tank and pump.

In line screen after I took it apart and cleaned it.

After pulling the screen and cleaning it, I looked at the tank and saw it had a couple of bathtub rings inside. So I pulled it out and started cleaning it. 

It's cleaner on the outside than inside.

Looks like it has a date on it, 10-18-88.
This is the original tank that has been in the RV since it was built in '89. So far I've filled it with soapy water and agitated it by using a blowgun with a piece of small tubing on it. I would stick it in thru the filler hole and move it around while blowing air. The tubing was soft enough that I was able to bend it and direct the air at most of the dark lines. 

Today when I drained the tank after I had it soaking for a couple days, I discovered that the water wasn't coming out of the line very fast, just a trickle. Took the line off the fitting on the tank and blew air in thru the fitting. The water came out at a good rate after that. Looks like the screen was plugged and the fitting on the tank may have had something restricting the flow.

The setup I used to test the pump.
Decided to test the pump, so I filled a bucket and ran the pump. At first I wondered why it kept running and the level in the bucket kept going down. Then I remembered I had drained the water heater. It took most of two buckets to fill the water heater. After that the pump shut down and I did my test, I opened a faucet to see what kind of water pressure there was and it gave a good stream after the pump kicked in. I don't think I need to replace the pump. It still won't give you a good shower (The Old Lady says it's like taking a shower in a phone booth even when hooked up to city water), but at least you won't have to wait a long time to fill the coffee pot!!

Right now I have the tank filled with water and some bleach to sanitize it. I'll let it sit for a couple days before draining and rinsing it out. I'm going to replace a couple hoses when I reinstall the tank. The hose for the drain is pretty black inside and so is the vent line. I'm also going to put in a new valve for the drain.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

WTF CVS?????

Last February I got two new prescriptions filled at a local Target store. Target's pharmacy has been bought out by CVS. The people at the Target pharmacy were wearing name tags that said CVS. Anywho, the two generic drugs cost me $16. Based on the generic price of $10 for a 90 day supply and $4 for 30 days. One of my prescriptions is only 45 pills as I cut them in half and that gives me a 90 day supply. The one with 45 pills costs me $6. So the total is $16.

While we were down in Missouri my supply was running out and because they had built a new CVS drugstore in Farmington, Missouri last year, I went there to get refills. First it took them a long time to transfer the prescriptions, I dropped the old bottles off one day, went back the next and they claimed they got no answer when they called the previous evening. They said they would try again. I asked them to verify that they had my cellphone number so they could call me when the scripts were ready. Several hours later The Old Lady got tired of waiting and called. She was told the scripts were ready, they had just forgot to call.

We went back to CVS to pick up my drugs. When they told us what the price was, both of us dropped a shock. They wanted almost $75 for the two that cost me $16 originally. I said they should only be $16 as they are generic. I was told, "But these are a 90 day supply." To which I said, "Yeah, one should be $10 and the other $6." I asked for my old pill bottles back. (A 90 day supply for drugs cost $24 thru the VA, so the two of them would have been $48, still way cheaper than CVS!!)

I stretched out my pills by skipping some by only taking one a day instead of twice a day and every other day on the other drug. As soon as we got home we went to the same Target the next day. I asked what the prices were on the two drugs and was told $16. (The Target and CVS computer systems for drugs have not been combined yet, so that may explain the difference in price!!) I said they would have to transfer them back from CVS. The guy said it would be a little while (actually he said 20 minutes). We did some shopping in the area and had lunch and when we went back the prescriptions were ready.

If this is what the price is going to be when the CVS takeover of Target pharmacies is complete I guess I'll need to find somewhere else to get my drugs!! (The Old Lady used to get prescriptions filled at CVS when we lived in Hot-Lanta as it was just a couple blocks down the street. Each time she got the same script it was a different price, but because she was only paying a small co-pay it wasn't a big issue.)

As for the CVS in Farmington taking so long, maybe it's just typical Southern way of where they are nice and friendly, but not very swift. Like my nephew once said after living in Georgia for many years, "You'll never get hot french fries down here!!"

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Further Adventures With The Guppy

One of the improvements I made before hitting the road was I replaced the charger for the RV battery and to run the 12v stuff when plugged into 110. The old one was putting out too many volts. It was putting out about 17v at all times. It was burning up the lights and killed a radio/CD player I had put into one of the cabinets to make it easier to turn on the tunes. The old radio would only work if there were several lights on or something that drew a lot of 12v power. Then it wouldn't work at all.

This is the new charger. It works as advertised; when the battery is down, it puts out 14.6v, then drops to 13.6v, and finally is at 13.2v to maintain the battery. I had to install an outlet because the new charger came with a cord with a plug on the end and no way to get into the box to wire up the 110. Also had to put in a fuse block because the old charger had a built-in fuse block. One of the wires to the fuses was white and at first I couldn't figure out what a white wire was doing mixed in with the black ones. After hooking up all the wires except the white one and trying various things to make sure everything worked, the water heater didn't work. When I traced the white wire to where it went, I found out it went to the switch for the water heater. As you can see the white wire is hooked up.

This is one of the reasons I changed the charger. Other bulbs were burning out, but this was the worst one. It got to the point where the lens wouldn't stay on the light. A couple other lights got hot enough to melt things, but instead of melting the lens the base of the light was melting.

This is the new outside light. It has a bunch of LEDs in it so it should last longer than I will be using The Guppy, and even if the charger starts putting out more voltage, it will handle up to 18v. I also ordered some LED bulbs to replace bulbs in some of the lights that we use the most. The LED bulbs were in two different orders and they are different colors or temperatures. One is a whiter light than the other one. The LED bulbs should help conserve the battery when we are boondocking.

After I replaced the charger I bought a new radio/CD player and installed it in the hole where the radio that died was in the cabinet. Now all we need is to find some decent radio stations!!

The next thing I need to do is replace the water pump. It will pump water from the holding tank, but after it shuts off there is a burst of good pressure and then the pressure drops off quite a bit. If it is original to The Guppy, it is over 25 years old and could just be worn out. I had drained the water heater before we left and when I was getting all the RV anti-freeze out of the plumbing, it took a long time to fill the water heater and get water to the hot water faucet.

I really can't complain too much. The Guppy didn't cost an arm and a leg to buy because it was 25 years old when we bought it. With something that old it's a wonder we haven't had to fix something major. Now I just fucking jinxed myself!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

You Look Like I Need A Drink

That campground we are at is such a "dead zone" that there is only a few radio stations that come in. Most are bible-banger ones, but there is one country station that is local and pays a variety of songs new and old. This one is one that I thought had a catchy line in it.

Friday, March 18, 2016


Last night I was thinking (and ya it hurt) about what if Bernie or Hillary don't win in November. That would leave one of the two left in the running on the dark side. Of the two I think Trump would do less damage to the country and the people. For one thing he wouldn't have very much support in Congress. No Democrats would help him and very few FuckingRepublican'ts would back him.

With Trump it would be, Sure I'm going to fuck you, but it's not personal, it's just business. I guess that could make it a little less painful, while he wouldn't use lube, at least he wouldn't throw sand in the mix!!

About the only true thing his campaign has put out. HE IS THE GREATER EVIL!!

This is true, Rafael Cruz is not the lesser evil, he is the greater evil. He would consider himself anointed by god to be President, so anything he did would have divine approval. He would think god told him to do it and he's got this Jesus boner, so he has to fuck you!!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Is There Anyone Gov Snyder Won't Fuck Over, Other Than Koch Bros and DeVos Family??


Read an editorial in the Detroit Free Press that got me all pissed off. Gov Snidely privatized the Veterans home in Grand Rapids. In 2011 he fired the government staff and gave a contract to J2S Group to take care of the veterans in the home.  After initial complaints about deterioration of care, a resident veteran filed suit, and an Ingham County Circuit Court judge briefly halted the privatization. But the state ultimately prevailed, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruling in 2013 that residence at the home was voluntary, and that veterans were free to relocate if the care wasn't up to par.

Which shows that we need to pay more attention to who is running for the various judge positions. Right, if the veterans don't like it there they are free to go somewhere else. Most of them are there because they can't afford to be in a regular nursing home!! 

Another thing he fucked up privatized was the food service in the state prisons. He gave the contract to Aramark.  When the State of Michigan privatized a prison food contract, it was easy in certain circles to ignore the egregious wrongs perpetrated by employees of Aramark, the private company hired to provide food for inmates in Michigan's prisons. For some folks, it's OK to dismiss maggots near the food supply or rats nibbling on food intended for prisoners, food workers having sex with inmates or smuggling in drugs, because some believe that prisoners deserve rough treatment. They're in prison, after all.
We have become such a fucking mean-spirited country!!!

Gov Snidely fucked over veterans and prisoners (actually they are both in a similar situation, they have no fucking control over their living conditions!!), poisoned an entire city (mostly black so who gives a shit, RIGHT??), what more does the asshole have to do before he is held accountable???

That's the problem is a nutshell, if you are rich and/or a rich politician, you are never held responsible for your actions. Crash the economy, poison a city, you get a free pass. If you are poor and you steal a loaf of bread to free your family, it's prison time for you!! 

The editorial ends kinda weakly.  And, as far as theories go, there's nothing wrong with ensuring that government uses tax dollars effectively, delivering the best value to the people who trust, and rely, on its care.
But that's the caveat: As with any governing philosophy, it had better work.
When will the champions of privatization in Michigan admit that thus far, it has not?

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Twenty-Turd Shithouse Races

Yesterday we drove two hours to Trenary. They were having the Twenty-Turd shithouse races. We had heard about and seen pictures &videos of previous years events. Yesterday was a nice day (got up in the 40s and partly sunny, almost t-shirt weather) so we decided to go and also do some shopping on the way back.

The track.
Usually road crews will try and remove all snow and ice from the roads and streets. There are a few occasions when they will put snow on the streets. UP on the Tundra we have a couple sled dog races and the shithouse races.

I managed to get photos of most of the entries. I think I only missed one because my camera went to sleep.

Before the races began they came down the track tossing out rolls of toilet paper, I guess in case some had to go??

The first racer.
Don't know why, but the races were scheduled to start at 2pm. After about 20 minutes I was muttering, "It's time to get this shit on the road!!" Finally around 2:30 it began.

Not sure what the hell Batgirl was doing there. But she came down the track as you can see in this pic.

Track grooming.
About halfway thru the races they had a couple of snowmobiles groom the track. The Old Lady said that this was one good use for old pallets, not like some of the projects they show where you'd end up with a lot of splitters if you tried doing them.

Holy Shit!!
Da Dapper Crapper.

This one fell apart about a third of the way down the track, but like true troopers they dragged it to the finish line!!

Only one had a driver and he was helping propel it Fred Flintstone style!!

They had a beer tent set up in front of one of the bars. There are two bars side by each!! (That's Yooper talk.) There were several kids making quite a haul picking up the empty beer cans and bottles. A dime apiece adds up pretty quick. Saw a couple kids using a plastic sled to haul their booty.