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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Fighting The Drip

One job down (the slide repair) with the bigger job still remaining.  The leak in the kitchen (passenger side) slide.

Last night it poured and this morning, the drip over the sink started again.


I've receive several tips from readers on how to handle it.  One reader said that the face board over the slide can be removed to access the slide from the inside.

Carefully looking that idea over would cause more problems than it would solve, I'm afraid I'd break something (and you know how well I do that), so I scratched that idea.

Another reader said that with the slide in, a mirror can be used to locate the leak and it can be repaired that way.  I used a make up mirror supplied by my bonnie bride and inspected the top of the slide when it was in.  I found a rivet (back end) sticking up right near the rubber seal.  I also inspected the seam where the slide edge is and can run my fingernail under it along the whole length of the slide.  Nothing obvious jumped out, so I will need to remove that rivet and seal the hole as well as seal all along the seam.  Both items will require the slide awning to be removed.  Ergo, that will have to wait for a long spell of warm, sunny days.

In the mean time, what can I do for a temporary solution?  Karen and Al offered a brilliant suggestion (why didn't I think of it?).  The best part, their idea is cheap (love it) and easy (love it a lot).

The awning material is not water resistant, it mainly is there to keep debris off the slide top and protect the slide seals when the slide moves in and out.  In a heavy rain, water seeps through the material and slowly drips on top of the slide.

They suggested some water repellent spray, the kind that is used to waterproof tents and shoes.  Did I say that is a brilliant idea? 

Off to our local camping supply store where I picked up a couple of spray cans of waterproofing spray.  As soon as my slide awning dries completely from all the rain, a spraying I will go.

This won't keep water from being blown under the slide in a windblown rain, but it will keep the vast majority of water off the slide top until I can make a permanent repair.

So, thank you Karen and Al!  And dinner is on us as soon as we get down to Florida near you.  Another great part of the RV life, RV friends are always ready to step in and help.  :c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Friday, December 28, 2012

All Fixed Up

(Click on the pictures to enlarge) 

The weather was nice this afternoon, it warmed up from last night’s 39 degrees (F) so I tackled my big boo boo, to set it right.  Unfortunately, my helpers got hijacked by their mom to help her take down Christmas decorations, so it was a lonely job.  The nerve!

First, I bent the twisted metal back into position, getting it as straight as I could. 

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Next, I had to drill out the remainders of the broken rivets that were pulled out when the metal bent by the slide closing.

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I had to do some straightening of the metal around the compartment itself so I could pop in the new rivets.  A good use of my heavy, 5lb hand sledge hammer soon had the metal back in line.  I then put in new rivets.

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Before I installed the new rivets, I put a healthy dose of RTV silicone sealant around the face of the compartment to waterproof it.  I put some extra rivets in to make the attachment of the metal face to the compartment box stronger.

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Then I put another coating of the RTV silicone sealant all along the compartment edge to ensure a good waterproof seal.

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After another sanding of the rusty areas, I coated the rust with a rust inhibitor.  It has to dry 24 hours before I can paint over it, so I’ll do that tomorrow if it doesn’t rain as forecast.

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Everything lines up and closes properly, so all is back to normal.

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Here’s hoping I can go a little (a lot) longer between doing stupid things.  ;c)

Next job is the water leak, the forecast calls for rain over the next several days, so I may just pull that slide in (I’ll move the chairs far, far away this time) until I can get the leak fixed.

Another joyful chapter of RV living on the road. :c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

What To Do When You Have Nothing For The Blog?

Why, make something happen, of course!  Actually, the blog title should be “How Could I Be So Stupid?”  I’d better ‘splain.

I had that pesky leak in my kitchen slide drip some more water inside during a heavy rain yesterday.  With some suggestions made on our blog, it required me to pull in the slide and look over the top to find the source of the leak, a good rainy day project.  I pulled in the slide a little at a time and buckets of water ran off it.  As it was almost in, I heard a clunk and the slide jumped a bit before it came all the way in.  Nothing unusual, the slides are noisy and sometimes jump a bit.  Except this time it was very unusual and I should have known better.

You see, outside, up against the Journey we keep our lounge chairs covered in plastic when we’re at a site, instead of hauling them in out of the inside where we keep them when traveling because they don’t fit in the basement compartments (too wide).  Do you see where this is going, yet?

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Looking all over the top of the slide with a light, I could not see any source of the leak so it will necessitate removing the slide awning and working from the outside. Figures.

I’ll hope for a nice, warm and dry day to do that job.

This morning I came out and found that when I moved the slide in, it caught on the chairs, and ripped the rivets holding the sides to the basement compartment out and bent the metal.

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This is one of those “I should have know better!” moments.  Not the end of the world, but several hours worth of repair work lays ahead.  But in a way, this was somewhat fortuitous, because as the metal bent, some of the paint cracked off exposing the infamous Winnebago rust underneath.  It was hidden by the paint.  I peeled away all the loose paint, got out my wire brush and attacked the rust.

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Once I got all the heavy, scaly rust off and got it as clean as I could I gave it a good coating of rust resistant paint.

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As I let that dry, I had to head out to Lowe’s and pick up a rivet gun, I already have a really good one, but it’s sitting in my son Corey’s garage with many of my tools up in NJ. I picked up some RTV silicone sealant and a punch, yep in NJ, too.  Grrr!

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Tomorrow if the weather holds, I’ll be bending, hammering and riveting the metal back in place, then sealing and painting the seam so it will be good as new.  And lucky me, I just found out I’ll have a couple of helpers as our grandsons are coming over.  A project we can do together.  :c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Great Christmas Day

Don’t you just wish Christmas Day would last longer, after all the preparations to make the day special?  It goes too fast.

We spent Christmas with our daughter Heather, SIL Brian and grandsons Andrew and Owen.  We were pleased that our very good friends Mike and Terri could join us this year, too.

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Andrew and Owie bought gifts for each other, Owie looked on expectedly to see Andrew open the gift he bought for him.  It’s great that they have understood the meaning of giving as well as receiving.

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Owie had a blast with a toy helicopter he got, with some coaching from daddy Brian.  A future pilot?

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Andrew has a scientific curiosity and was thrilled with a human body model that he could take apart to examine how all the organs work.  He and Heather spent a couple of hours examining it in great detail.  A future doctor?

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Santa did manage to sneak in a couple of electric scooters for the boys, hidden in the garage.

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After a great dinner, a rousing game of Bananagram was played to fight off the food coma.

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A wonderful time with family and friends. 

Today marks our granddaughter, Taylor’s seventh birthday.  She is visiting her other grandparents in Tennessee this Christmas holiday.  We’ll be visiting her next month.  :c)

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Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

A Coastie's Christmas Story

(This is a story I wrote a couple of years ago, and it's a good time to post it again)

It was Christmas Eve, 1986 and I was on duty at Coast Guard Station New York, missing my family. We lived on Governors Island in New York Harbor, off the tip of Manhattan, right across from the Statue of Liberty. Even though I would go off duty on Christmas morning at 10 AM, and could quickly walk the half mile to my apartment to be with Marti and the kids for opening the presents, I was a little sad that I wasn't able to see the kid's excitement and tuck them into their beds.

It was quiet all day and as night fell, I hoped for more peace and quiet. I watched the tugs and barges chugging up the channel between Governors Island and Brooklyn, their lights reflecting on the water. Even though it was Christmas Eve, the never ending demand for fuel and supplies never gave the tugboat community a holiday.

After midnight, I decided to hit the rack, I walked past the station Christmas tree to my bunk and went to sleep.

About 3 AM, the Officer of the Day (OOD) shook me awake and said we had a Medevac, so come quickly down to the Comcen (Communications Center). He went and roused the rest of the duty boat crew. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, quickly pulled on my uniform and boots and hustled down to the Comcen.

The duty boat crew ran down to the 41 foot Utility Boat and lit off the engines. I entered the Comcen and was followed in by Erwin, the duty EMT. Sam, the OOD, gave us a briefing on what was going on. We poured over some nautical charts to determine about where out on the ocean we'd have to go for the Medevac.

A large fuel tanker was heading in towards New York with a crewman that had a medical emergency. The crewman had some kind of seizure and had been unconscious and unresponsive for more than a day. The vessel's captain had decided to alter his original course and head towards New York to get the sick crewman off the ship and to a hospital. We were to get underway and head out of the harbor to the open ocean, meet the tanker and get the crewman to shore and to a hospital.

Erwin and I pulled on our bright orange Mustang suits (cold water protective coveralls). As the boarding officer, I gathered my weapon, portable radio, duty belt and grabbed a backpack with medical supplies. Erwin grabbed an additional backpack of medical gear and we ran out in the bitter cold night to the 41. As soon as we stepped aboard, the crew cast off the lines and we headed out of the harbor.

Tony, the duty Cox'n (traditional nautical term for the boat commander) had already been talking on the 41's radio with Sam in the Comcen and gave us an update. The tanker was about 10 miles out of New York harbor and we'd be meeting up with it in about an hour. The seas were running about six feet with strong wind gusts, it would be a pretty rough ride.

Erwin and I checked and rechecked the medical gear, the rest of the crew readied extra lines and the Stokes litter, a basket type stretcher that a person can be transported in. We talked, wondering what kind of medical emergency we'd be facing as the 41 sped out to sea, cutting through the heavy waves.

Tony was able to raise the tanker's captain on the radio and they conversed to make arrangement for our rendezvous. We picked the tanker up on the radar, and strained our eyes to see the ship over the horizon.

Finally, we saw the lights of the tanker, the red and green sidelights and the white lights on the mast. The deck was awash with floodlights, lit up like a sunny day. Tony directed the tanker's captain to change course slightly and slow down to the slowest possible speed that he could and still maintain steering control. With the course change, it would give us a lee, some protection from the waves and the bitter cold wind by blocking them with the tanker's towering hull.

We came up from behind the tanker and headed down along the tanker's port side towards a Jacob's ladder, basically two parallel lines (ropes) with boards placed horizontally between each line as steps in a ladder. The tanker was huge, over 800 feet long and was riding high in the water. As we drew alongside, we passed the stern where I could see the tops of the giant propeller's blades cutting the surface of the water. I realized that the climb up the Jacob's ladder was a matter of life and death, one slip and a fall into the water would result in meeting those propeller blades.

To make matters even worse, despite the lee from the tanker's hull, the waves were still quite high and the 41 was being tossed up and down four or five feet. As we drew alongside the Jacob's ladder, Erwin I and went up to the 41's bow with another crewman. Tony matched the tanker's speed, then carefully nosed the boat up to the ladder. I watched the bottom of the ladder go from being over our heads as our boat dropped down on a wave to being right at our feet when the boat went up on the next wave.

Erwin timed the waves right and caught the ladder and started climbing up the tanker's hull. I looked up at the deck which was at least 50 feet over my head and waited for my turn on the ladder. Looking down at me over the tanker's rail were the faces of maybe a dozen of the tanker's crew. Timing the waves just right, I leaped up at the ladder and caught it, I started climbing up with my fingers holding on with a death grip. As I made it to the top, a bunch of hands grabbed on to me, the tanker's crew pulled me safely over the railing. As I stood up and caught my breath I looked over to Erwin, we both shook our heads, it was quite a hairy climb to say the least.

A crewman came and led us into the tanker's superstructure past the crowd of other crewmen. They were men from all over the world, all types of sizes, shapes and colors, very common on ships sailing the ocean. We climbed up several flights of stairs and were led into a compartment where a man lay on a bed. Erwin and I put down the medical backpacks and Erwin went to work.

The man looked very Italian or Greek, he had curly dark hair and a black beard. Erwin checked the man's vital signs. The man's lips were tinged blue, his skin was very pale and he was struggling for each breath. Gathered around us were a bunch of the crew watching our every move, very concerned about their friend.

Erwin checked the man's pupils, listened to his heartbeat and took a pulse. He reached for my backpack and pulled out an oxygen tank and put an oxygen mask on the man. In a couple of minutes, his color got better and his lips lost their blue tinge. Erwin said the man was stable enough to move and even though many of the crew couldn't understand his words, they got the gist of it and smiles and head nods circled around the room.

I told Erwin I'd go out on the deck and radio the 41 to send up the Stokes litter. When I got on deck, the Stokes litter was already there, some of the tanker's crew had already pulled it aboard from the 41. I talked to Tony on my portable radio, gave him an update and to get ready to receive the Stokes littler. I looked over the side at the dark, cold water and took a deep breath, this was going to be a tough process.

Some of the crew grabbed the Stokes litter and followed me back to the room. We gently lifted the man from the bed and carefully strapped him into the litter, along with the oxygen tank, making sure he was covered with warm blankets. Some of the crewmen picked up the litter and helped carry it down the several flights of stairs. As I walked down the stairs my mind was racing, what was the best way to lower the man the 50 some feet from the tanker's deck to the pitching 41 below? I shuddered to think what would happen if things went wrong.

As we came out on deck I saw, much to my relief, a large, ocean going tugboat right alongside the tanker, tucked in tight alongside the hull. Tony had contacted the passing tug on it's way to pick up a barge and asked them for help. In the tradition of saving lives as sea, the tug's captain quickly agreed.

By the tug laying tight alongside the tanker, we only had to lower the Stokes litter about ten feet to the tug's upper bridge deck. After we got the litter that far, some of the tug's men and crew from our 41 carried the man down to the tug's main deck and then handed him, still safely tucked in the litter to the deck of the 41. Erwin and I quickly climbed down and jumped back on the 41.

After casting off, Erwin continued to monitor the man's condition, I went inside the 41's cabin to talk to Tony. Arrangements had been made to meet an ambulance at a marina in Staten Island, where the man could be taken to a hospital. I breathed a sigh of relief, the worst was over and as I relaxed a little I felt my clothes were soaked from my sweat despite the piercing cold.

About 45 minutes later, we pulled into the marina where the ambulance was waiting. We tied up to the dock and were met by the paramedics, who helped us transfer the man from our litter to their stretcher. We followed them to the ambulance and watched as they assessed the man. An IV was inserted into the man's arm and as the paramedics got ready to transit to the hospital, the man opened his eyes and looked around. The paramedics told us if we hadn't gotten the man off the tanker, he wouldn't have lived.

Erwin and I stood there for a minute after the ambulance left, each of us lost in our thoughts as our minds replayed the experience. Then we looked at each other, shook hands and headed back down to the boat for the ride back to the station.

As we pulled into the station docks, the first rays of the sun were peaking over the horizon. We spent the rest of our shift filling out the required paperwork documenting the rescue.

When I got off duty, I hurried home to my family for our Christmas morning. As Marti and I enjoyed watching the kids open their gifts, I realized the gift my crew and I had given the man from the tanker, we gave him back his life, we saved him in his time of need. It made the meaning of Christmas more special to me that morning, remembering how our Heavenly Father gave us the gift of his son, Jesus, that we might have life everlasting.

Merry Christmas to all, may your time with your family and friends be very special.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

It's Coming Fast!

We're gearing up for the big day, so I may have a hard time keeping up the blog for a few days.  Marti and I do wish all our friends and family a Merry Christmas.  May your time spent over the holidays be wonderful and memorable.

Here's a few more cartoons to bring on some Christmas cheer! (Click to enlarge)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

An Arduous Travel Day

Good thing I had that big cheeseburger for lunch yesterday, I needed all the strength I could muster for an extreme travel day.  I had to kick PDD (Paul Dahl Disorder – extremely long distance driving days) into high gear.

Before rolling, I did my usual walk around the Journey, checking to ensure all the basement doors are closed, slides all the way in and leveling jacks all the way up.

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I climbed into the driver’s seat and started up the mighty Cat diesel engine.  When all the gauges were up into their normal ranges, I set my sights on my destination for today’s drive,

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and slipped the Journey’s transmission into…reverse.

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Touchdown!  The trip is over and I set a new personal travel record…150 feet, all done in reverse! :c)

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It is the shortest drive I have ever made to a new campsite.  I was tempted to do a quick loop around the state of South Carolina, but I think I’ve spent enough on diesel fuel this year.

We moved from a weekly site to a monthly site which will save us several hundred dollars.  We still have a bunch of items to knock off our “To-Do” list, including some medical checkups, get the new awning motor installed and, oh yeah, Christmas.

So in the spirit of the Christmas season, a few cartoons to bring a smile to your face.  (Click to enlarge).

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Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

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