Because We Can - Fulltime RV'ing

Journal Archive 10/1 - 10/10 2013

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Tuesday October 1 Harrisburg, Oregon

A Fix-it Day


We have discovered several things no longer work as they once did since the installation of the floor tile. They are all in the dash, the three 12 volt outlets, the fan for the dash heat/air conditioner, and the slide cover which only works sometimes. We debated going back to Countryside to have them fixed, but decided I would try to fix them first.

The photo shows one of the reasons why the fan didn't work, the wires were never plugged back into it. The problem was figuring this out in the first place, which was accomplished by holding the camera up under the dash and taking a photo of the back of the switch.


Knowing what the problem is doesn't always make the solution apparent. Looking at a photo was one thing, laying on my back, my head jammed against the pedals, looking upside down and backwards at the back of the switch and trying to figure out which way the plug went on was an entirely different proposition. The solution was to do it from the top which meant pulling out the dash. A dozen plus screws later it was out and the plug slid into place. Unfortunately the fan still did not work.


Having dipped my finger into the disassembly of the coach, I plunged in whole hog, removing the drawer section so I could get to the back of the dash where the 12 volt outlets and the step cover switch were located. There were only four screws to remove to be able to take out the drawer section, but they were a real bear to get out. The 12 volt outlets proved to be another case of wires not plugged in, while the step cover switch worked perfectly after I wiggled the plug on the back of the switch. At least I was able to fix all but one of the problems.


What follows are some photos of the results of our remodel. Here is the bedroom floor.


The kitchen area.


The front area. No longer does Linda have to keep this area covered with throw rugs. Linda is very happy.


Linda's loveseat. Linda loves her loveseat. Happy Bob.


I know it is only one of the surround sound speakers we had installed, but I prefer to think of it as my own personal speaker. What a difference it has made. In fact what an unbelievable difference the entire new sound system has made. It's a case of not realizing how outdated something was until the latest technology has been installed. Ecstatic Bob.


It looks like a pizza, it tasted like a pizza, but was it actually a pizza? Linda read about making pizza using a large multigrain tortilla as the crust. Linda made a pizza using a large multigrain pizza as the crust. Bob liked the pizza so much he ate two of them. As you might guess, our least favorite part of pizza is the crust. The crust wasn't as crispy as she had hoped but with a little change in how she cooks it, next time it will be even better. European style pizza in America, who would have thought.

Wednesday October 2 Winchester Bay, Oregon

A Travel Day


Before we left this morning I wanted to readjust the Safe-T-Plus, since the installation of the new Michelin tires had caused it to pull to the right. It wasn't a difficult job. Just drive in a straight line, hold the steering wheel in the direction needed to keep the wheels straight, loosen the bracket, wiggle the Safe-T-Plus to recenter it on the tie rod, then tighten the bracket. There was even a YouTube video put out by the company that showed exactly how to do it.

Unfortunately when I went to wiggle under the coach, which had to happen before I could wiggle the Safe-T-Plus, I did it laying in my back. The first wiggle and a half went great, then my ponytail caught between my back and the pavement. My head snapped back so fast my hat flew off and I jerked my head up to relieve the pain, hitting my forehead on a piece of the coach's under carriage. The adjustment which followed after some rubbing of my head and tucking of my ponytail under my hat, was easy.

Now it was time for another test run, but we were at the end of the park road and the coach needed to be turned around. Since Linda was inside the coach holding the steering wheel I suggested she back the coach up while I directed her. Using the same hand signals she gives me when we back into a site at a RV park, I prepared to have her back up making a sharp turn.

I began by giving her the signal to turn the back of the coach to the left. She responded by backing straight up. I emphatically pointed my hand to the left. She turned a small amount. I madly thrust my hand and arm all the way to the left. No difference in her direction. I jumped up and down hand arm and body moving to the left. A slight increase in the degree of the turn was the only response. I gave her the stop signal. She actually stopped.

I walked up towards the front of the coach only to be be met with a withering blast that would have done a sailor proud. Deciphering as best I could, I belive she was telling me that she didn't understand what I was telling her to do. There was an electrical box she could see in the rear monitor and she was worried about hitting it, plus if I didn't get into the coach this very second and do the driving, I was going to be sorry for the rest of life. It this point I realized my life was going to be very, very short if I didn't do exactly as she wanted. Once I was in the coach I locked the door so I would be safe for the moment.

After that the remaining adjustments were a piece of cake. I backed the coach up, turned around, adjusted and repeated. I have to say that I now understand a whole lot better exactly where my place is in the family pecking order. At least the coach drives straight, so I guess I could say that all is well that ends well. It's just what you go go through to get to the ends well that can be the problem. Poor Bob.


Just because the coach tracked perfectly didn't mean the drive didn't have its moments. First off, we weren't far from the Eugene area when it began raining, and the further we drove the harder it rained. I knew it was coming, I described it in detail to Linda before we got to it. It wasn't raining inside, but it was still a tunnel.


Once we were set up in Salmon Harbor it was off to buy some seafood for dinner. Red snapper fillets, seafood spread and smoked tuna was the catch of the day for us. We are going to eat very good tonight.


Why we decided not to fix crab imperial tonight.


Bummer. My right hearing aid has decided to only work on occasion, so back it went to be repaired. That means for the next week I will have an excuse for not hearing Linda, and she won't know whether I didn't hear her or whether I just ignored what she said. Devious Bob.


We put the seafood spread and smoked tuna to the taste test. They passed with more than flying colors. When Linda, the I don't like smoked foods girl, took several pieces of the smoked tuna, it said more than words ever can. As far as the seafood spread was concerned, I was informed in no uncertain terms there were three pieces for me, three for her, and that was all we were eating tonight. Happy Linda. Sad Bob.


Dinner by Linda. How did I ever get so lucky? Thankful Bob.

gain, does it really matter?

Thursday October 3 Winchester Bay, Oregon

A Fun Day


This turned out to be a great day, no rain and no clouds, a little chilly, but still a wonderful day to be at Winchester Bay. The walking bug hit Linda early on, having to go see what had changed, so off we went. You can see what she found interesting.


What would a walk be without a rock. To use her words, "I have a rock in my shoe, and it's definitely bigger than a grain of sand." Since there are many grains of sand in the sea, and they are different sizes, what she said was likely true if you searched for a small enough grain. Still being on probation after the backing incident of the previous day, I wisely said nothing. Smart Bob.


We also visited an old friend. 2008 was the last year we gave tours of the lighthouse, but we never get tired of coming back for a visit.


We also took a tour of the lighthouse. As always there were some things new and some things old. New was the smaller in size, modern lamp used to provide the light source. Old were the errors the guide made while giving the tour. Example, the lighthouse has always been a Coast Guard Lighthouse, the glass in the lens catwalk turned purple because of the lead in the glass, men carried the building materials up to the top of the dune, or how about, the bricks are soft because they were sun dried, not fired. The saddest part was the guide mentioned having been giving tours for a number of years. Who was it that said, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Sad Bob.


Linda communing with the old salt bag she had donated to the museum.


It is more than it seems. There is a small photo directly in front of Linda. When we were volunteering, one of the men on this Coast Guard rescue boat stopped by. Linda took a photo of him pointing to himself in the large photo. The small photo is the one she took. It goes without saying we really enjoyed our time spent volunteering at the lighthouse. Who knows, maybe we will volunteer again some day, either here or at another lighthouse.


Dinner at Griffs, something we do every time we are in town. Linda loves their Crab Louie.


Easy to explain the big smile, the ice cream is all hers. I have to love how she does things. Split a piece of marionberry pie with me, then she can have a scoop of ice cream on the side because of all the calories she saved with the half piece of pie. It takes real luck to find a girl who thinks like that. Lucky Bob.


Another of Linda's rituals.


Linda showing what our new loveseat is for: loving and laughing at what she reads on her iPhone. Silly me for thinking the love in loveseat meant something else. As always, may your day have brought as many smiles to you and those you love as ours did to us.

Friday October 4 Winchester Bay, Oregon

A Lazy Day


What can I say, no sooner do I start writing the Daily Journal once again than I stop taking photos. It was a big fillet of fresh salmon, it was grilled to absolute perfection, it was devoured. As Linda put it, it was melt in your mouth good. I guess if I can't be good at everything, I should at least be good at something, and as as long as that something is pleasing to Linda, I've done about as good as I can. Happy Bob. Lucky Linda.


Every day Linda spends more and more time in the love seat (emphasis on the seat), making herself more and more at home. It's why we bought it. Nothing more needs be said.

Saturday October 5 Bandon, Oregon

A Travel Day


The plan called for us to head down to Bandon today, hoping to get in some beach walking in good weather before the rain comes ashore again on Sunday night. You might note water in the photo, not from any rain, but from my efforts at disconnecting the water hose. Somehow I managed to get my feet wet as well as the blue bag we keep the water filter in while traveling. On the plus side, anyone who was watching would have certainly gotten a good laugh to start their day.


Every time we drive across Coos Bay on the Conde B. McCullough Memorial Bridge Linda has to take a photo. This is today's photo.


The view to the front from our site. We love it when the view is something like this. Usually it is the RV across the way that we see, this makes it seem like we are the only ones here.


I see the humor in this but I doubt Linda does. Our new entrance, tile on the sides, shiny tan steps. So what is with the black towels on the bottom two steps? I though we purposefully selected the step surface to knock the dirt off our shoes as we entered and then make it easy to sweep off. The previous step cover had small parallel grooves that were impossible to clean unless you used the vacuum. It's not my department so I'd better stop before I get into even more trouble. Smart Bob.


It was a gorgeous day to be at the beach.


We tried to determine what makes the beach such a desirable place, and finally decided it was because it engages all off our senses.


One of Linda's senses is a sense of curiosity. You can see it being engaged here.






Linda came prepared to collect whatever she might find. It may not have been much, but when a little girl visits the beach she is going to find a few treasures to take back home.


Art. You know it when you see it. As you can see this was a long way from the water's edge. Why we walked all the way back here I don't know, but if we hadn't we would never have happened up this. Another case of taking the seldom used fork in the road.

Sunday October 6 Bandon, Oregon

Visiting To-Day


Once a week I get to look at Linda, smile and say, "It's a bad day," just before I hand her the empty vitamin containers. Today was that day. Unhappy Linda. Smiling Bob.


In the afternoon we visited with Grant and Kathy, friends and now former fulltimers. They fell in love with this area while volunteering at area lighthouses, and ended up buying a very nice house in Bandon. As opposed to those who say someday we will fulltime but never do, they can say, we did fulltime and our lives are so much the better for it.


It's been a while since I was able to post one of these photos. A photo of Linda taking a photo. Life is Good.


Another of those surprise photos I find when I download Linda's pictures. Maybe I should suggest she use this as her desktop background. On second thought that would be a very bad suggestion.


We ate tonight at the Crab Shack in Old Town Bandon. Clam chowder and fish tacos for me, crab cakes for Linda. Linda commented she'd had crab cakes with a lot more crab in them than these had. As for me, the fish tacos weren't all that good and the clam chowder was awfully thin. The good thing is that there are a number of other places in town we can try. Or maybe we will just buy some fresh seafood and fix it at home. Just as we should never let a bad moment ruin our day, neither should we let a less than stellar meal cause us to shy away from eating what we enjoy.


Linda loves animals, even wooden ones. I always remember the reason we can be here together having fun and enjoying life which is: Life is not a dress rehearsal. Don't be afraid to laugh, love and retire early.

Monday October 7 Bandon, Oregon

A Hobby Day


This RV drove in front of our site morning on its way out of the park with a dog perched on the dash in front of the driver.


We spent much of the day in the local cemeteries.


Downloading my photos I discovered not all the photos I took were ones I intended to take.


What a beautiful setting for a cemetery, high on a bluff overlooking the harbor entrance with a lighthouse in the distance.


We ended the afternoon with a stop at the grocery store. We will soon be leaving Oregon so I stocked up some on a couple of Oregon dark beers. And that was a good end to a good day. What more can one ask of Life.

Tuesday October 8 Bandon, Oregon

A Rainy Day


This morning Linda told me me saw a pair of quails running very, very fast down the park road. Tonight when I downloaded her photos I found out just how right that comment was.


I believe I have mentioned we really like Coleman's mustard. Yes, I'm sure I've mentioned that before. Of course it isn't made for American tastes. The rest of the world doesn't eat the bland crap that passes for mustard here.


The story of today. It rained off and on. We stayed home. Some days are like that. But as Mark Twain put it: Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.

Wednesday October 9 Harrisburg, Oregon

Travel Day


We you drive in this part of the country there is something you have to watch out for. I always made sure to give them lots of room. Somehow or other they have a sixth sense when it comes to where the Highway Patrol officers are waiting as we never saw a logging truck pulled over but we saw a number of cars stopped in front of those flashing blue lights.


Another passage over Linda's favorite bridge. Another set of photos by Linda. You know, it's not just a bridge, it's far more such that it can't really be properly described.


We took a different route east towards I-5 today, but there was no escaping a tunnel. And not only a tunnel, a narrow, unlined tunnel with a curve. Wonder what it would be like if I really, really didn't like driving through tunnels?


A quick stop at Countryside to have a tile that was coming loose fastened down.


The fix was easy. Place a couple of washers under the base of the seat relieving the pressure at the edge of the tile. Happy Linda.

In a few days we will be traveling to the south, to warm weather, and to new adventures. It's as Nancy Reagan put it: There's a big, wonderful world out there for you. It belongs to you. It's exciting and stimulating and rewarding. Don't cheat yourselves out of this promise.

Thursday October 10 Harrisburg, Oregon

A Repair Day


We had an appointment with Elite Repair and Remodel in Harrisburg this morning to fix a few small things, a non-working dash fan and a slideout adjustment on the curb side slide. It was cold, it was early and there was more going on as far as the coach was concerned than we knew. As you will see later, there was a reason I was walking with head down and hands in pockets.


Let me start of with a shameless plug. The three fellows who are Elite, were long time Monaco service center employees who started their own business when the RV industry collapsed some five years ago. The level of positive buzz on the forums about their work is outstanding. We were in and around the coach the entire time they worked on it, and they explained what they were doing and why. Linda got a kick out of Erik stopping every once in a while and saying, "I need to think about this for a second," before proceeding to come up with the solution to a problem. Not only was the work done right, it was also done quickly, meaning the bill was very reasonable for what was accomplished.


We had an issue with a sagging slide topper that was improperly tensioned. Then there was the dash fan that hadn't worked since Countryside installed the new floor. They discovered one of the electrical connectors had not been reconnected. Then there was the problem with the front of the curb slide almost dragging on the floor as it was put in and out. Countryside had adjusted it after the floor install, but it seemed to Linda that it was worse than before.

For as long as we have lived in the coach Linda has noticed cracks between the counter top and back splash. Several times we have had repair shops look at them, and solution has always been the same, recaulk the joint.


The recaulking was doing something about the symptom, but wasn't the cure for the problem. It turned out that there was no inside roller under the front of the slideout and it was sagging. The solution was to install a roller. Here is the carpet removed from the area where the roller will be installed in the slide under the cabinet where Linda's computer and printer are located.


The roller needed to be mounted where the floor of the slide could be cut out, also where there were braces the roller assembly could be securely attached to and close to the inside edge of the slide to not cause problems when the slide was run out. It took some measuring, the drilling of a number of test holes, but the precise location where it should have been installed when originally built but wasn't, was eventually located. Then it was just a matter of cutting the hole, installing the roller, and adjusting it to the right height. Believe me, watching Erik work, it was obvious he knew what he was doing, and did it very well.


Here it is passing the scrutiny of the chief coach quality control inspector. Linda is really happy with the results, meaning that Life is very good for Bob, as well. Elite's motto is: "Complete Repairs, done right the First Time." And that is what they do.


It certainly was a repair day as stated in the title, and this tire on the Explorer got the Les Schwab 20 minute treatment. We pulled up, a fellow asked me how he could help us. I showed him the tire and 20 minutes later we were on our way again with a new tire.

And now for the reason for the head down, hands in pocket photo. It turned out the rear end piece of the front road slide has been subjected to a long time water leak, the result of which is that the one inch thick plywood base has rotted to the point a screwdriver can easily be poked into it. It doesn't need to repaired right now, but it will eventually need to be repaired, and it turns out this a a not all uncommon problem with Monaco built coaches due to the sealant they used on the riveted walls of the slide outs.

What we have decided to do is have it repaired the week before Christmas, which will mean returning in the coach to Oregon that week, then driving the coach to Sacramento to spend Christmas with our kids and grandkids. Big picture, we will be leaving here tomorrow or Monday (we are waiting for my hearing aid to arrive) and going down to Mexico for a while, then after Christmas we will head to Quartzsite for the the New Christy Minstrels and the Big Show before returning to Retama around the first of February to finish off the coach house. We have really missed going to Mexico and also spending time in Quartzsite, and this will let us do that. We will miss our Retama friends during that time, but we will be there, just a couple of months later than planned.

As singer/songwriter and actress Lauryn Hill so aptly put it: "We can't plan life. All we can do is be available for it."

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