Archive for July, 2013


Turns out the LT needed a new part, this time it was the fan clutch, so the reason it would heat up and turn the air conditioner off was because the cooling fan wasn’t going on when headed uphill…. okay, sigh… so I had Bruce also check out the back side window which only worked a few times before quitting. Same problem as last time, the gear is stripped. Now how did this happen, supposedly this occurs do to brute force.. the only ones who messed with the window were the guys at Quality RV, were they overzealous in their efforts to make it work? Or is this more of that infamous quip of mechanics everywhere…. COINCIDENCE! Rather than pay Bruce again to fix what he’s already fixed I will try the repair myself.

Quality RV did not call or respond this week, so I will try to figure out what happened to the frig on my own. Will see how far I get.  Am suspicious that their prognosis of “coincidence” was actually caused by something…. Hmm… What a novel idea!

Brakes have gone squirrely and that annoying road jiggle is back so next week– tire/brake place, Dal Pozzo’s for a checkup including a check on the front end steering stabilizer. It is rusty but that doesn’t necessarily mean the spring is not tight…. will see. If it needs replacement this time I will locate a good part, something of quality and then have the shop install.

You can see not the best week but the shocker came with my darling Olympia’s pregnancy. I was so happy taking her in to my local vet, Dr. Mobraaten. Sally was late, I think I know now who the dog is that had the emergency that delayed her… hoping and wishing for her health. Sally tried and tried with the ultrasound…. all of us going from cheery to scrunched. No puppies! am not going into details here because I’m furious at Warner Pet Clinic and I don’t want to hear how this is COINCIDENCE! I spent a fortune there and they have not even returned my call. Going to the Warner Pet Center was an unpleasant ordeal but I preserved. Ugh, later when I’m more centered I’d write a review of my experiences. Don’t like how now so many of my acquaintances who’s used Warner for repo have had no puppies on the first try…. what, you say, coincidence? Sally wants to do a recheck on Aug 1st… she’s suspicious, maybe, could be, possibility … one pup hiding in my girl. I’ll keep an open mind. So re-breeding then in Feb. Scrapped all my fall and winter plans… scrapped all my plans for Spring and summer of 2014 in a few short moments. I took to eating. Stress eating and now my eyes are threatening with their migraine like thing they do. I’m so tired, it’s not the 5K or making all the phone calls to breeders, puppy buyers, friends, it’s the empty rush. It’s the stuff in the back yard waiting to be made into a whelping box, a puppy play area, it’s the adventures we were slated to embark upon… all the dog shows we would travel to, the freedom of the road with my 3 pups, everything falling into place… a good life, fun.

Fine, I shouldn’t be stressed, I need a home. Am supposed to take all the constant losses with a smile. I don’t like empty. I don’t rootless.

I’ll leave you with some photos I took at Avila Beach in SLO, the Diablo Power Plant sitting there so innocently. I almost stayed the night up on the hill. It’s funny they flattened it on top… I thought back to 1978 and being there with Alan Salyes the night before the Protest, wanting to have Patrick there, but he wouldn’t come, sleeping on that hillside, rolling down in our sleeping bags: Here’s a bit I wrote about those times:

Without Patrick I continued south on Hwy 1 towards Avila Beach. Sans sleep the low-lying fog caused time to be like a dream. Out my rear view mirror Roadrunner, my favorite cartoon character came racing up the yellow divider. In his left hand was a gigantic red stop sign. He planted himself a few hundred feet in front of my car thrusting his right hand in front of my windshield causing me to slam the brakes from 65 mph to nearly a dead stop before I realized that Roadrunner was not only not there, but that he could not possibly be there since he wasn’t allowed out in the three-dimensional world. Next was Bugs Bunny chewing on a giant carrot. I drove right through him. I was hoping for another but it was quiet after that.

I bundled into my bag and joined my affinity group imitating sleep on the hillside. It was the funniest night, we’d doze then wake having rolled down the hill, shuffle-walk without getting out of our bags back up a bit, rearrange at a new angle, doze and roll down again and wake again which went on until Alan appeared; this is when I learned he’d joined my affinity group. We whisper-chattered about non-violence, social responsibility, the innate ability of people to choose best actions. At 4 am we laid out a spread of stone ground peanut butter, apples and carrots with seeded honey bread but we didn’t eat, we were too excited. The ability to care was in the grasp of the people, we said to each other, if they could act in the face of a wrong and take responsibility, mutuality would prove stronger than greed; the masses were shrouded in ignorance and apathy; big business conned media, powerful lobbyist clouded the peril of nuclear dangers, we didn’t need exponential population growth. We clicked, lusting for action, agreeing with each other excited to be there and to be together.

Avail Beach in 2013 … on the pier

The Avila Beach Pier... looking out.

The Avila Beach Pier… looking out.

The Avila Beach Pier

The Avila Beach Pier, SLO

 Avila Beach Pier

Avila Beach Pier just missed the fish market: closed for the day

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Peteris Vasks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQBLCeg5UtM&list=PLA8A96A765F963259

Uncle Ross

My Grandfather on my mother’s side got around, he had more than one family which used to confuse me when I was little. As a result I had two uncles around the same age as my brother and me which I definitely thought was cool.  One year on a family meetup we snuck away from the adults. It was Summer of Love and we were in our teen years. We took the bus to Haight-Asbury, the streets were overflowing with long-haired flower children, tie-died feathered barefoot kissers,  pretty acid bubbles floating through the air, smooth skin star gazers gifting love and peace to everyone amid rays of crystal rainbows and joy, a scene I’ll never forget.

Ross lives in Santa Cruz and works at the Community Print Collective; I’d stopped at a campground near Watsonville, Pinto Lake County Recreation Area. The campsite/park was bustling with families and small kids. Being “little” (the LT is only 19′) I was given the parking spot in front near the lake so I stayed. There was no hot water for showers, supposedly PG&E was repairing the lines and would be done soon but I was told the same story in the morning…  word for word. I didn’t see anyone doing any work. I walked towards the lake area:  Polluted! Contact with the water was to be avoided! What a shame, little kids were fishing, yuck!

Pinto Lake, Warnings! DSC00212

There wasn’t much else to do other than give Olympia an impromptu bath after she rolled in some muck so I headed back out in the RV. . .  found another entrance to the Park about a mile or so away, almost missed it. Hiking trails, a fishing pier, large ball fields, playground, picnic areas and nature trails, there’s a sign saying to watch out for runners and disc throwers, apparently they play disc golf and although I didn’t know to look for the area, the Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared at this park. The lake is very pretty. I was the only non-Hispanic person so it was no surprise that the bathrooms had signs only in Spanish….  something about putting the paper in the water bowl before flushing…..  geesh! The park was a canopy of activity; ball games, runners, walkers, picnickers and disc players. The dogs liked it too.

Hiking Around Pinto Lake, Watsonville with Olympia nad Mason Pinto Lake, Watsonville with Olympia and Mason

Pinto Lake County Park

To my delight when I returned to my camp Uncle Ross had left a voice mail, soon he was on his way to visit. We spent several hours in peace (all the little kids and other day time visitors had been told it was time to go and the gate locked.) Ross and I sat on my green camp chairs in front of the LT watching the lake in the dusk and into the dark.  I think this was the first time I had company, my mother’s little folding table from the ARVO (the cabin cruiser the family had when I was a kid) holding our mugs of tea, the dogs frisking about and finally settling inside as we talked . .. serious and very interesting talk about autism, Alzheimer’s, research and exercise in auditory training, sounds and perception and of course dogs and families. I was happy. I was happy for the connection to my uncle, happy for the birds and sounds of the lake, happy for the freedom of the LT, happy for my happy dogs that enjoy traveling with me.

My camp spot at Pinto Lake

My camp spot at Pinto Lake

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Pinto Lake Reflection

Tranquility ( Hajime Mizoguchi )

 

The Beauty Of The World

The only thing which keeps me from going to Lee and Craig’s home in El Dorado County more often is the long long drive from Santa Barbara. Each time I do it I take a different route. This time to avoid the heat I stayed on the coastal 101 till I reached CA 152/33 east to 50 at which point I switched my GPS to, shortest route from my usual,  fastest route. It seemed innocent. I was tired, having twice been delayed by road blockages, both accidents.  This small change led me up to Buckeye Road out of Shingle Springs to pop out on Hwy 49. There were other strange turns and surprises that my innocent brain kept obeying as I sped along in my wheel-spinning, don’t fall asleep while driving, zone. That GPS of mine is really tricky, I could swear every time it said I’d be at destination in an hour or 4o min, I’d look again and it’d say an hour a half or 65 min. It was the ZONE! It was very very hard to resist the urge to climb into my comfy bed and take a nap but I couldn’t convince the dogs: one could lay on the accelerator and the other paw and nuzzle the steering wheel, no?  Still in my mind it was a no-brainier, just hop in back and somehow the LT would keep on rollin’; it’d be cool to see the trees drifting by overhead. Reality could use some improvements, it should be possible to split oneself at important moments like that.

I always have a good time at Lee’s and her husband Craig never ceases to amaze me with his delicious cooking! Wow, I’m lucky to have them as friends. On Saturday I headed back down Hwy 49 to Shenandoah Vineyards in Plymouth for the Northern CA Lagotto Romoganolo gathering. There were 40 people and 17 dogs. . . quite impressive. The drive was lovely, I had no idea so many vineyards were hidden on the quite but rough paved lanes. The LT made plenty of bouncy bumpy clangy sounds making me glad that Mason and Olympia were back at Lee’s, Olympia being pregnant, I thought it best to limit her exposure; she would have loved showing off in pool though!

Went to the Craft Castle the next day with Lee, then lunch at the Bistro 33 in Domingo Hills; if we had dawdled we might have run into Lisa from the winery and Jacki who traveled from Missouri to perform the excellent grooming lessons and share her Lagotto wisdom with us.  They came for dinner.

Lots of sun, amazing peaches, the corn is sweet and juicy, everything costs less and is more yummy… heck I even filled the LT tank with gas at $3.85 a gal (in Santa Barbara it’s at a min $4.09 a gal.) I miss food like this. We went to Hooverville and picked up some fruit which rapidly disappeared, I’d hoped to take some home… should have gone to get more the day I left, ah, another time.

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Am finally out on the road again with the dogs! The LT body is shinning sweet even though bits of bugs and collections of the freeway. I promise I’ll post some pictures, but first I have to talk about generators. The LT has a Generac 3000 Watt, 120 Volt model 09557-4 with a Facet Eclectic Fuel Pump from Omni Tech Energy Systems installed, presumably same year as my motorhome, 1996. Generac

I had the generator serviced way back when I went to Bill’s RV in Oxnard. Standard service, they said it ran fine. I didn’t use the generator much, turning it on more for the exercise than to run anything but I’d been reassured it worked perfectly, no worries. Some time later I made a holiday dinner and took off for the beach. Popped some yummy food for a quick reheat into the micro and waited, pushed the button again and waited, repeating several times before deciding lukewarm was what I wanted. It was a fun day eating under umbrellas with a friend in a light rain, dogs playing in the surf. It wasn’t until about just this time a year ago I began to suspect the generator really wasn’t all right. It started with little fuss. . . I ran it every so often to keep it in shape but last summer, like this one, was hot and I wanted to keep the rear air conditioner running while I was driving and while parked to keep the dogs cool. This was particularly so as the engine was climbing toward the top of the heat scale, necessitating shutting off the console air conditioner. It was sweltering. When I returned home I spent time and money chasing the over-hot / underpowered issue. if you’re curious it’s in the archives: new radiator, new thermostat, new regulator for the computer, new spark plugs and wires and more. Next trip out no engine heating, no lack of uphill power, (Yeah!) but the generator was noisy stinky trouble; starting and stopping and sputtering.

Living in Santa Barbara is not always paradise, it’s certainly not when seeking RV repairs. We don’t have an RV shop and the few mechanics than can accommodate a Class B are unwilling to touch a generator. I was tired of the distance run, only to stash it in a fix it shop’s parking lot where it would sit for weeks before anyone would look at it, so I hunted around for someone closer. Via the recommendation of Bruce, my auto mechanic I found Gonzo’s Small Engine Repair in Goleta. I would sorta marginally recommend them as Gonzo is a dog lover and a nice guy although I was shocked at how much he spent at various veterinarians without resolution for his dog but that’s another story. He came to the house and had the presumed dead generator running in minutes; no charge as it was determined the generator would need a some servicing; it was my housemate engineer who determined that the output voltage was going wild. I called Gonzo and they ordered a new voltage regulator. I called and called and called, even stopped by a few times to find out when the part was coming in. Much time elapsed so at last, an ultimatum . . . Gonzo himself needed to talk to me, I’d been communicating with his assistant, by the beginning of the next week, giving them another 9 days to get in touch, if he couldn’t do that, and she promised he’d call the next day, but I’d heard that before, I would give up and take my business elsewhere. Yep, no phone call. Did they order the regulator? Who knows.

I took a trip sans generator and had the accident, then my new shop Quality RV in Camarillo run by Gabriel, said sure they could look at the generator, no problem and they offer a moblie service whcih is a delight. Gabriel’s a sweetie and not fazed by the age of my LT or any of her troubles.

I won’t cover how great this shop has been fixing the fiberglass and sprucing up the RV; am very happy with their work. They steam cleaned the generator and the engine… there was a problem with the engine cleaning as it was coated with Armor All but it was mixed with soap and left a bad paint eating scum; they’ve since painted the engine but there are still bits of scum and I fear the paint could have caused other troubles; I needed to make an emergency purchase of new windshield wipers. (They painted the blades on the old ones which looked crappy, but there was paint on the rubber part which smeared my windshields at a critical moment as I was driving and couldn’t see. Scary.) My engine running hot problem is back so I wonder if the paint went other places it shouldn’t have? I’m straying and as typical, this too is a convoluted story.

The generator looked beautiful and it sounded beautiful, Manuel had cleaned, soaked and perfected its operation; uh oh only a light or two would power on and those flickered like an old-fashioned movie. Frans the engineer made the discovery, the switch in the generator compartment had been left in the off position! Flipped it and there was power but the generator returned to its familiar coughing and sputtering as if it had never stopped. Quality came out, did some spiffy stuff where one of the AC sockets shorted out and was replaced which I mentioned in another post, it made me nervous that they did not unplug from shore power when all this happened, but my electronic knowledge is mostly book learning and classroom rules. Walla, generator working! I was happy!!!! Everything other than a few minor glitches like the keyless entry and a few touch-ups short of perfection; I was dancing and prancing with my pups.

Generac generator for my 1996 Leisure Travel RV

Generac generator for my 1996 Leisure Travel RV

 

Packed the LT, ready to enjoy comfortable, powerful, looking good times on the road. Plugged into house power and turned the frig on… it takes overnight to get cold and went to sleep. Brought the food out in the morning … hummmm….. funny the Dometic didn’t seem cold. You wouldn’t have wanted to see the look on my face, the frantic pacing of my feet, especially as in the several hours Frans was helping check the electrical system the generator started doing its familiar putt-putt-puttering with blinking fluctuating voltage while under no load and running 130 volts with a load. My complaint about Quality is how popular they are. It takes forever to get a call back or an appointment and when you do you need to add several hours to arrival time; amazingly Gabriel called me back responding to the dead stress in my message. He tried to coach us through adjusting the generator via the idle screw to get me going, all this did was cause the output voltage to spike like a drunk rollercoaster until finally the generator had enough of these games and quit. Reluctantly I took the Ford to the carwash and spent the afternoon cleaning out the accumulation of dog training paraphernalia, dog road gear, stuff that didn’t quite make it to goodwill, evidence of hasty meals, and be-prepared for anything piles that looked a lot like debris, sure it needed to be done, but now? I’d found a lovely RV campground/lake to break the long drive to Placerville, halfway, near Watsonville, it would be a perfect place to relax and begin my trip confident that the LT could handle the heat and provide cabin cooling, engine power and cold tasty snacks for me and the dog …. it’d taken a year to get this point, now all in vain. . . did it have to be this way?

In the late afternoon Gabriel sent out his mechanic for an emergency, get Jamie on the road, work party. This is when they painted the engine…. maybe not the best idea? Manuel got the generator running, this time by adding engine oil, did it have a leak? And by making a design change, shortening and eliminating the curve in the tube that provides the gas. He was unable to discover why the frig would not work with shore power but did verify that turning the frig to eclectic popped the AC outlet that had caused problems with running the generator. How all this is connected I don’t yet know, Gabriel thinks I will need a new heating unit for the frig. Somewhere there must be a wiring diagram, right? Maybe? I’ve contacted Generac hoping for a schematic, it still puts out 130 – 129 volts under load; according to Gabriel this is okay, according my engineer housemate, this is not okay. I’m gonna ask Generac directly this time.