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RoadTrip 2012 - 5270 Miles

Posted on Sat 29 September 2012 in LandYacht

Here's the full route of RoadTrip 2012 - 5270 Miles!

Final Route RoadTrip 2012

Final Route RoadTrip 2012

Ahhh…how refreshing it is to be in Flagstaff.

Posted on Sat 01 September 2012 in Destinations

Summit of Mount Elden in Flagstaff AZ

I am really far behind on blog posts due to the lack of good internet. So here is Flagstaff's blog post...but we are currently in Nashville, TN.

We were happy to get the hell outta Phoenix after record 113 degree temps sent us quickly heading north to Flagstaff. We were even more excited that it gave us an opportunity to spend some time with our friend Karin. After climbing from 1,500 feet in elevation to over 7,500 feet we enjoyed the greener more lush landscape and much lower temps that Flagstaff had to offer. We decided to stay at another KOA, KOA Flagstaff, which makes our third KOA on this trip so far. It was clean and beautiful with the added feature of being just feet away from some of the best hiking in the world. Karin was very gracious and took us on a little tour of downtown Flagstaff. I have never been so I thoroughly enjoyed it. Flagstaff is my kinda town. Karin warned that it has very strong gravitational pull and I totally agree. There are tons of people out and about on bikes and walking around just enjoying the outdoors. It has some awesome paved trails that lead in and out of downtown and follow the historical Route 66! It was so great to spend some QT with Karin and meet her roommate and doggies. Karin is a huge outdoor enthusiast and she graciously gave me a list of recommended trails to try for my morning run. So the next morning, it was bright and sunny and I was rearing to hit the trails. The KOA backs right up to the Elden Lookout trail and the Fatman’s Loop Trail. The trail climbs 2,500 feet in about 3 miles and ends right on top of Mount Elden at the Peaks Ranger station. I started out running and scampering up the many many switchbacks. The views were spectacular and so breath-taking that I had to stop and take a few pictures. I ran up the trail until it got so steep that I had to climb over big rocks and up stairs. I made it up there in one hour and ten minutes! So for those friends back in Seattle, Mt. Elden is about the same elevation as Camp Muir on Mount Rainier. I took in the amazing views of downtown Flagstaff and could even see Meteor Crater in the distance. After some rest and pics I descended the trail quickly and made it back to the trail head in one hour. But man, were my quads screamin’! And I loved every minute of it!  After we spent some time with Karin we decided to visit the Lowell Observatory.  If you don't know what the Lowell Observatory is, it is the place where Pluto was discovered back in 1930!  Man it was so cool.  Pea and I spent several hours there walking around from lecture to lecture and movie to movie.  The volunteers that work there are absolutely wonderful and engaging.  My favorite part of the tour was seeing the Clark Refracting telescope, built in 1896 for \$20,000!  Today it is still used for education purposes.  We also got to see the telescope that Clyde Tombaugh used to discover Pluto in 1930.  After we spent hours walking around the campus we were told that we could stick around until after dark and look through some of the telescopes!  Once they set everything up we were able to look through the Clark telescope to view the M11 Wild Duck Cluster, which is an open cluster formation of over 2,900 stars which are about 220 MILLION YEARS old!  Amazing...then we got to look through another telescope to see the globular cluster M13 in the Hercules constellation and Vega, the brightest star in the Lyrae cluster.  But the best part was seeing Saturn's rings and it's moon, Titan!  I can't even describe to you how breath-taking it was to see the rings so vividly.  Pea asked the volunteer if he had any newspaper for me to stand upon (insinuating that I would pee the floor from my excitement...very funny Pea).  As Karin mentioned, Flagstaff has a very strong gravitational pull…and she is right. We are going to stop back in Flagstaff after we leave the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon

Posted on Sat 01 September 2012 in Destinations

Pea and I were looking forward to going to the Grand Canyon, it wasn’t originally on our planned route but since it is only an hour’s drive outside of Flagstaff it was the perfect opportunity to visit it.  Pea was very much looking forward to seeing one of the biggest holes in the ground in the world. As he so eloquently put it, “You know how I love me some huge hole!”

[Man-that-is-a-big-hole] You know he is wondering how long it is going to take him to fill it.

[Grand-Canyon-South-Rim-Panaramic] There is nothing like the awesome size of the Grand Canyon.

Today's fixes to this old Winnebago

Posted on Sun 26 August 2012 in LandYacht

Real quick background. Our RV refrigerator, the Dometic RM2612 runs on AC Power or Propane. It involves witchcraft and physics, but it makes stuff cold. Pretty much right from the get-go the self-igniter for the Propane died. Then in Phoenix when it was 115F we learned it can't keep up with that and we lost all our food. Since then it had seemed to just not be getting cold enough. While we were in Albuquerque we took it to Camping World to get a tune-up.

After four hours, the Technician at Camping world said the igniter and the lower board were bad. I had figured this going to into it. He said they don't make the lower boards anymore. I asked him if there were 3rd party boards. He said, there are for the Norcolds, but Dometic is a Swedish company and they keep every secret. He then said the guy in the store would give us a deal on a drop-in replacement. (\$1000 or so). They did clean the flu in the unit and when lit manually it was working way better, but it still needed the new board or if it ever blew out then propane would still be flowing and it would not relight.

Here's the deal. Bill is either ignorant or the Camping World was trying to rip me off. It took me about 2 minutes on their free wifi to see that the dometic boards are widely available and that there is even a 3rd Party board with some improvements from Dinosaur Electronics.

I explained this to Bill, the Service Rep Jeanne and the parts guy. They all seemed shocked since they couldn't find one. They sent us on our way with a free cleaning. I then called Jack Sisemore's Traveland in Amarillo, TX. They had the Dinosaur Electronics board and the reigniter in stock! I paid them right over the phone to hold them for me.

Today I installed both pieces, took me about 30 minutes to remove the old ones and install the new. Refrigerator is now working awesome, automatically switches back and forth from AC to Propane. We're happy!

If you're older Dometic RM2612 is limping along, get the flu cleaned and have the lower board tested. There is a service manual in PDF on the web if you want to do the tests yourself. Its pretty easy with a multimeter.


Fantastic Vent Installed

Posted on Sat 25 August 2012 in LandYacht

Fantastic Vent model 8000

We bought this vent at Camping World outside of Portland and have been driving around with it sitting in its box since then.  Its a drop-in replacement for the vent the bathroom which also the only manual roof vent in the motorhome. There used to be a fantastic vent with a built-in fan in our motorhome (there are manuals for it), but for some reason it had been replaced over the years with a crappy non-fan one. Because there had been one in the past though the install was super easy as the wiring was already available in the ceiling and these things just drop right in to the 14"x14" vent hole which is standard on all motorhomes.

While I was up there I slathered some Dicor Lap Sealant on a bunch of spots we think could leak and I spent about two hours cleaning regular house caulk on top of tree-sap on top of old sealant that was all around the skylight in our shower. I was able to clean it all up back to the original, still maleable sealant, and with the fresh coating that sylight seems to be water tight. It rained a few hours later, so hopefully that didn't mess anything up. Nothing leaked though!

Chitwoodville, Arizona - AKA The Surface of the Sun

Posted on Wed 15 August 2012 in Destinations

Chitwood and Pea

We left Calistoga and decided to skip Hearst Castle as I was antsy to start heading East. So, we headed for Phoenix, AZ to see the Chitwoods. I've known Matt AKA T.O.M. AKA The Original Matt since I was in 3rd grade and lived at 865 Lafayette Drive, Mt. Laurel, NJ. Without a doubt Chitwood is the person who I've known the longest. His parents also live in Phoenix and I really wanted to see his mom as well.

It took two days to get to Phoenix which let us have our first ONP experience (Overnight Parking) at a WalMart in San Bernadino. It was definitely not glamorous, but it was convenient and just what we needed. Sleep. No fees. The next day we drove on to Phoenix and with every passing desert mile it was clear we were approaching the center of the sun. It ended up being a record 115F in Phoenix that day!!! Did I mention the engine based AC in our motorhome doesn't work?!?! We tried to run the overhead AC, which means running the generator as we drive, but it couldn't even put a dent in the heat.

Matt and his wife Anne were kind enough to put us up for the night in their air conditioned guest room. Anne made an awesome pasta dinner, we met their kids Allison, Ryan and Jacob who I'd never met. Mom made a stop in, which was awesome. And even Matt's little sister Susie was ther with her two kids and one on the way were in attendance. It was great to catch up with old friends and see how well they were doing.

With the heat-wave in the SW going to continue until the rapture, we bailed on our plans to go to Roswell, NM. The RV just can't deal with the heat and neither can we! It was so friggin' hot the referigerator couldn't keep up either and we lost all of the food. Luckily the refrigerator isn't that big and the freezer did ok. So, after a great healthy mediteranean lunch at Pita Jungle (horrible name) with Matt, we immediately headed North to the cooler highter de of Flagstaff AZ.

Thanks again to Matt and Anne for a great visit!

Land Yacht Tracking Engage

Posted on Sat 11 August 2012 in Amateur Radio


Thanks to the miracle of Ham Radio, we have the Land Yacht Tracker setup finally.  You can go to the APRS.fi page and seach for W7PEA-9 or use the LandYacht Tracker link on the homepage and you will see the last position report sent as well as a trail showing our route. We only turn this on when we're driving, so not seeing new information posted does not mean anything bad has happened, just that its off or we're camped somewhere!

Enjoy stalking us!

For more on all this, follow my HAM Radio blog - W7PEA

Shower Repair

Posted on Mon 30 July 2012 in LandYacht

I mentioned the shower drain was leaking. Turned out the floor in the shower flexed enough to break the p-trap (no, not a pea trap) under the shower. We replaced the p-trap a few days ago and today I cut the 3/4" plywood strips to firm up the floor in the shower. They are tensioned pretty good and I put some liquid nails on it as well. I think it will hold forever. No idea why it wasn't built this way in the first place. :-/

Now the shower floor feels solid and the p-trap should be protected from being damaged again.

Winnebago Shower Repair

For any of you doing this kind of thing, be sure not to block your access to the p-trap or wiring when you put the boards in. Also, its very likely I now have a high spot in the shower, so we may have to sponge up or squeegee up water after our showers which doesn't run down the drain. Not that a big deal, we never level the rig anyway. pow!

Bike Rack Modification

Posted on Mon 30 July 2012 in LandYacht

Our beach cruiser bikes have multiple curving top bars and didn't fit the bike rack we bought at Harbor Freight. Part of the frame would rub on the metal arms and slowly grind the paint off our sweet rides. \$1 pool noodle from WalMart fixed that right up!

Harbor Frieght Bike Rack Mod

Window liner

Posted on Mon 30 July 2012 in LandYacht

Reflectix is cheap and awesome. We used it on the boat and its works great. Here we've not only made the front windows darker than just the curtain, but also added some heat shielding. Yay for cheap!

LandYacht Reflectix

Available at Home Depot's in the US, but unfortunately not in Mexico!