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Old 03-15-2016, 07:41 PM   #407
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Old 03-15-2016, 08:21 PM   #408
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Amen, Brother! Amen! Preach on!

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Old 03-15-2016, 10:43 PM   #409
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Gene,
Don't feel bad. Our previously reliable truck has given us nothing but trouble lately. Expensive trouble, I might add. It is right around 88,000 mi. First it was new front brake pads. (not too expensive). Next it was a engine fan clutch. That is a whole story in itself. The latest is front hubs and front deferential bearings. As soon as we find a new home for the trailer, the truck will be next.

I gave up doing my own work sometime back in the 80's when things were all becoming electronic. When I open the hood on my little toy Mercedes (SLK), as far as I can tell, I can't see a thing that is actually engine. It is all hidden under shrouds to keep the owner from even thinking about trying to work on it himself. It was made in 2001. Things are even worse now.

We just had another 24+ hour power outage. We are seriously considering a auto start natural gas powered generator.

Ken

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Hi, Ken; I hate all of those decorative plastic engine hiders. My Lincoln doesn't have any, but the engine is half way under the windshield. I could tell people that it is a V-4 because that's all you can see. My Ecoboost has a small cover on top of the engine that can easily be removed. I haven't tried it yet because I suspect it won't be pretty under there. The 5.0L V-8's don't have those plastic engine covers and they look great. Our BMW also has an engine cover, but it looks like a nice valve cover.

With all of the power outages that we have had in Salem, I have also thought about a generator. About four hours was the longest that we have had so far. If longer, I was going to fire up my Yamaha 2400 and run extension cords to my two refrigerators.
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Old 03-15-2016, 11:43 PM   #410
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Hi, Ken; I hate all of those decorative plastic engine hiders. My Lincoln doesn't have any, but the engine is half way under the windshield. I could tell people that it is a V-4 because that's all you can see. My Ecoboost has a small cover on top of the engine that can easily be removed. I haven't tried it yet because I suspect it won't be pretty under there. The 5.0L V-8's don't have those plastic engine covers and they look great. Our BMW also has an engine cover, but it looks like a nice valve cover.

With all of the power outages that we have had in Salem, I have also thought about a generator. About four hours was the longest that we have had so far. If longer, I was going to fire up my Yamaha 2400 and run extension cords to my two refrigerators.
Hi Bob,

There are two problems here. One is that most of Kitsap County is very densely wooded. It is more dense than western Marion County, because it is more up and down and has not near as much agriculture. The second is that neither the county nor Puget Sound Energy are willing to take responsibility for the trees that are obviously going to fall on the power lines the next time the wind blows a bit hard. The tree that fell on (actually through) the power lines this time was a block or so up the street from us. When the weather is a bit warmer, I ride my bike right by there. I remember every time I saw it, I thought that'll be the next one to go.

Anyway it's still worth the inconvenience to live here.
A quote from a Mutts cartoon:
"Some enjoy the rain. Others just get wet." I'm one of the former. ;<)

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Old 03-16-2016, 12:25 AM   #411
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Hi, Ken; We get lots of rain, but we love it. We are not used to the high winds and it's been blowing like crazy lately. My Polk County neighborhood has mostly underground power lines so when a car hits a power pole or a tree falls on the lines, it's not close to our house. That being said, about one half a block up our street is serviced by someone else. When our power goes out, I look up the street and see those houses still lit up. We have PGE; I don't know the name of the other electric company.
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Old 03-16-2016, 09:51 AM   #412
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Nice window box Bob.

We have underground electric and small trees, so if the power goes out, it is far downhill in Grand Jct. It did go out 1 1/2 years ago as Barb was about to make my birthday dinner so we had some birthday cake and went into town for a meal. The power came back on just as Sat. Night Live came on (we usually fall asleep watching it and then watch it on Sunday). A minute after the power went out, I got an e-mail that the buyer for our other house had signed our counter offer. Memorable power outage and thanks for batteries for the computer. I suspect that because we live near Colorado Nat'l Monument and some well used BLM land, the feds paid to bury power and phone lines in this area. Nice to not see them.

We had an inch of snow last night, something of a shock after warm temps. It'll be in the 50's today or tomorrow—shirtsleeve weather.

Busy day, truck should be fixed today, back to project tomorrow. The attractive ceiling lights have a problem. The backing plate is slightly smaller than the shade assembly, so light escapes around there and there is an uneven ring of light around the shade on the ceiling. The plate is so flimsy that it sags slightly and makes for a bigger light ring. I drilled holes in it and using drywall anchors brought the plate flush with the ceiling (as best as I could as it is a typical bumpy ceiling, not popcorn though). There's still a light ring on the ceiling, but it is smaller. We can live with it. Chinese lighting fixtures have improved greatly since they started showing up 15 years ago, but they still have some weird problems. It is difficult not to buy Chinese fixtures.

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Old 04-03-2016, 01:19 PM   #413
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Photos will be posted at end of this post.

Truck is fixed and stops better than ever. New pads and rotors all around; rebuilt calipers in front, maybe rear. Good to have truck available anytime after several months of issues. When I get an Amazon order big enough to avoid shipping costs (free shipping has gone from $25 order to $35 last year, to $49 now unless you order books), I'll get a new serpentine belt.

Kitchen ceiling is finished. New paint, crown molding and lighting. Looks good. Since we have a new fancy gas stove waiting for us at Sears, the kitchen countertops are next. This meant I had to get the woodworking equipment sooner. I found a planer for 20% off, a dust collector at an ok price, and had to order all sorts of hose, clamps, etc., for the dust collector. And a cabinet to put the planer on. I built an outfeed table on the cabinet to support the wood as it comes out—that should reduce snipe (isn't there an animal called a snipe?). All this busts the budget. I kept looking for a sale on the Ridgid jointer sold by Home Depot. It used to sell for half what it sells for now a few years ago and still sells for much less in Canada's Home Depots. It is almost impossible to get it anywhere else, so they jacked up the price. It is still a better deal than buying a cheap unit or a professional unit. Once it comes I can start practicing with the tools and finish setting up all the hoses for the dust collector.

Barb wanted stone countertops. I can't cut them, so I would have to pay for someone's labor, plus stone (or some similar nonstone that is like stone) itself is very expensive. I wanted porcelain tile—much less cost plus I can do that myself and it looks fine to me. We settled on butcher block countertops. Ikea had a version that cost less, but was fiberboard underneath a thick veneer. I send them some questions and they wouldn't answer them and told me to call. They were simple questions and the corporate runaround annoyed me. Instead of calling I started looking elsewhere since I would have to bring them in the truck from Denver and that was a pain. Then I realized I could make them myself out of all wood. That's why the woodworking equipment was ordered sooner. This will enable me to mill rough cut wood and get better results than the stuff you get at big box stores. I'll need more clamps and other stuff, so I guess the tool budget not only got exploded, but almost doubled. It will still be cheaper than stone and I will then do 44 cabinet doors and lots of drawer fronts.

We also wanted to get farmhouse apron sinks. Ikea had some that were promising, but the wrong size. I have looked for stainless ones that fit our kitchen and don't cost $1,000 and up for each. Can't find them. Maybe I'll look for fire clay (pretty much has replaced porcelain sinks), but it seems we have off size custom sinks (hard to tell on some websites whether their measurements are for the bowl, the exterior, or what?). The stainless top mount stainless sinks we have are fine, high quality stainless and we may keep them (love to save money). We'll put about 4" of black tile on each side of the sinks to keep water away from the wood countertops and create some contrast. The butcher block will be side grain, probably 1" pieces. Haven't decided on the wood yet, though oak is most likely. Even though it is called butcher block, it is not for cutting. We have some cutting boards and they will absorb knife marks much better. Subway tile for a backsplash. We'll have to experiment with some stains vs. "natural" and then may use a new type of urethane (polyacrylic—may not even be urethane— that doesn't change color as it ages. This house has and the last one had Formica "butcher block" countertops—it only looks like butcher block if you've never seen butcher block. There's irony there.

So I have to learn how to use a planer and a jointer, select wood, mill the wood, make the first countertop for a 30" space between the fridges, get the trailer ready, take a few 4 night trailer trips, go to a political convention on the Front Range (I'm an alternate delegate), get a gas line installed, cut up the existing countertop and have some fun. Sounds like a relaxing next 2 months.

Photos:

1. Barb's old family plot at Kit Carson State Park in Taos. This small cemetery is well over a century old.

2. Taos town plazaas we drive by on the main highway half a block away.

3. Roadrunner Cafe north of Santa Fe (next to Roadrunner RV park). One of our favorites for huevos rancheros.

4. Lensic Theater in Santa Fe on San Francisco, a block from the plaza. One of the many Moorish styled theaters of the period. This one was opened in 1931. Now a performing arts location.

Gene
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Old 04-03-2016, 01:29 PM   #414
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More photos.

1. Next to the Lensic is Mule Alley (or is it Donkey Alley). The animal it is named for is represented in the sculpture.

2. Another street view near the Santa Fe plaza.

3. Whether this trading post really dates back to 1603 I can't say. It is near the theater and the plaza on San Francisco.

4. These are one part of the condos at Ft. Marcy we stayed in. The light snow was pretty and melted fast.

Gene
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Old 04-03-2016, 01:42 PM   #415
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And more photos.

Spring is back this week. Supposed be around 60˚ for the next week. Last week we had dustings of snow over three days—maybe added up to an inch or less. Blue sky today. Better get out and work on the trailer.

1. We left two Navajo rugs on consignment (the triple cross and the eye dazzler diamonds) at Native Jackets on San Francisco.

2. A quick view of the Santa Fe plaza with snow covered mountains in the backround.

3. Part of kitchen with old lighting removed and temporary bare bulbs and much newsprint (we were given end rolls by the local newspaper) taped up so we could paint the ceiling and not the cabinets, walls, floor.

4. The end result, though looking a different direction. All new fixtures are LED and may outlast me, so I'll never have to replace a light bulb.

Gene
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Old 04-03-2016, 02:02 PM   #416
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Great pics, Gene!
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:54 PM   #417
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So other than that stuff, whatta ya been up to lately?

That planer can be tricky. Safety first.

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Old 04-04-2016, 10:23 PM   #418
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Yeah, be sure to use eye protection and eat protection from the slide and the occasional flying bits of wood.


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Old 04-05-2016, 12:11 PM   #419
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Still waiting for the jointer and haven't even tried the planer yet.

But started on trailer maintenance. Blew out the A/C drain line and put more caulk on the line where it attaches to the drain pan. It seemed to be partially blocked at the end of last season and some drips were coming from either the line where it attaches to the pan or maybe even overflow. It is hard to get a hand up in there unless I had a several fingers removed. Not having a scalpel with us, I declined use of the Swiss Army Knife. Last fall, I blew the line out from the bottom with my mouth and maybe that dislodged whatever may have been there, but where did it go? Replaced some popped rivets in the bathroom. Ordered a new handle for the Ventline exhaust shower fan—the handle is really, really cheap and breaks easily. I "fixed" it with duct tape years ago, but Barb doesn't care for that economical repair. Another example of Airstream ordering the cheapest parts available. Also ordered premium new inner grease seals for the wheel bearing repacking. Replaced the skylight shade with the new one I ordered last fall. I discovered they had ordered a window shade rather than a skylight shade; I should have checked when I got it. I adapted it with a part from the OEM one and it works but is slightly smaller than the OEM one. We were trying a different RV store in town and won't go back.

And contacted Ventline about the plastic tabs used to lock the stove vent down when traveling. They are a friction fit and fall out after a few years and disappear. We got several extras at the Airstream Service Center 5 or 6 years ago and are now down to one. Ventilate is sending me some for free, but they will soon run out of them because they don't make extras anymore.

I went looking for a shut off valve to attach to the shower where the line comes out of the wall. The shower head I replaced the junk OEM one years ago works fairly well at shutting off, but a valve on the wall would work even better. It would also actually shut off the water, saving some for boondocking. I think I found a plumbing one with a lever handle that will work. The threads are 1/2" if you go looking.

The wheel bearings get done in about 2 weeks. Sanitizing the water system will be after that. I plan to make a box to go under the bedroom window over the bed. My head or pillow keeps hitting the shade and bending it. I'll make something that will look like a flower box, but inside. TV remotes can go in it. I think I'll be able to attach it to the wall with rivets. Will we wash and wax the whale? Maybe. The rest of the maintenance items are fairly simple. I made reservations in Moab for our wedding anniversary at the end of the month—didn't get the place we wanted because I waited too long and it was booked up, so settled on KOA. Also made our Ouray reservations for the last week in May (another anniversary). June through August is not planned and we have to discover where we want to go. Sept./Oct. trip a vague idea still.

Jointer may come on Sat., then I can learn how to use the new stuff and continue to keep all fingers and eyes. I also will be buying more clamps soon. It is noon, maybe I should get to work….

Gene
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Old 04-25-2016, 11:22 AM   #420
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Mostly done with trailer maintenance except for sanitizing the water system. Since it may snow and the temp is supposed to go down to 33˚ Wed. morning, I'll wait until later that day to do the water.

Got the bearings repacked and several needed replacement along with some races. It also got new premium inner seals. We washed and waxed the truck yesterday but seem to have no interest in doing the same with the trailer. I did clean the trailer window interiors—that means opening them and cleaning them while open since removing the screens is much too much work. Every year I tell myself: I will not walk into the edge of the window this year. Guess what? There's a big mark on my forehead to prove that for the 9th consecutive year I walked into a window. Next year I will give up on trying to teach myself and wear a hard hat.

We leave for Moab, Utah, on Sat. I'll take Utah 128, a winding narrow road along the Colorado River. One of our first trips when we bought the trailer was to Moab and that road was scary. I hope that with all the towing I've done since, this will not be scary anymore. We only plan to relax, sleep and eat. We've been all through the Utah parks and adjacent public lands many years ago. Sat. will be our 28th anniversary and for our honeymoon we hiked down into The Maze in Canyonlands NP. This is the hardest part of the Park to get to and features a 600' drop into a fascinating canyon system. I don't know if I could climb down that canyon today at my present age. We later found a much easier trail into the Maze. I've been there 3 times, Barb twice. Fascinating place where you can easily get lost. The prehistoric Harvest Scene is there. It was a memorable trip. It is hard to explore 4wd roads with a full sized pickup, so we might tour Arches NP since we haven't been there for more than 28 years.

All my projects got stopped by flu and pneumonia. There's a strain of type A flu that was not in the flu vaccine for this past winter. That's what I got. Lately I have been hearing of many others who have gotten flu and done badly (perhaps it was flu that killed Prince). It is somewhat late in the season for an outbreak. The last time I got flu was from my mother in 2000—it killed her.

I was as sick or sicker than I've ever been. I was gasping for breath and asked Barb to drive me to the ER. Normally I would tape an aspirin to the offending body part and go fix something else, but I wasn't sure I'd make it through the night. They filled me with Albuterol (the chemical in rescue inhalers), oxygen, antibiotics, fluids. After 4 hours, I went home with an oxygen tank. In about a week I felt pretty good, but not perfect. Barb got it too, but not the pneumonia. We took care of each other and it was weird to sit around and not do anything for days. I got a bill from the hospital—$2500. It was full of the usual absurd overcharges that makes them look like predators. I assume Medicare will pay about 30% of what they claim and that will be the end of it. I haven't gotten a bill for the oxygen yet.

This week I built the box to protect the Venetian blinds from my pillows. The idea was fine, the execution was not great. If I do it again, I'll do better. I bought some 3/4" L channel aluminum and cut three pieces. One long one to support the bottom and two short ones to support the sides of the box. I should have used 1" because the holes for screws were too close to the rivets I used to attach the aluminum to the bedroom wall. That means that the wood would split if I didn't use pilot holes (yes, I got lazy and didn't always drill them). Regardless of the spitting problem, there was not enough room for the wood screws to get a firm grasp of the wood. I used 1x4 pine that I had left over from various projects.

So make the bottom piece of aluminum wider than the plastic holders that secure the bottom of the Venetian blinds. Then place the side pieces of aluminum an inch away from each plastic holder or it will be difficult to remove the Venetian blinds from them. I didn't think that one through either.

But the box is there and it will protect the blinds. I know the box or the blinds look like they are at an angle, but I did use a level, so I assume it is the blinds. A curved body produces strange results. You can see how the blinds have been bent over the years. Photos below.

Gene

1. With bottom piece secured to the wall with four rivets, this was the easy part. I put Reflectix on the bedroom windows years ago to add insulation and keep it darker in there.

2. The boxes attached to three pieces of the wall, it will protect the blinds. Maybe I can put something else in the box (remotes?), but mainly it is to make it possible for me to prop some pillows up and watch TV or read.
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