Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Day 58, 59 - Eustis to Wauchula, FL - TT

Monday (58) - After the rain and the wind, I went up on the roof to sweep off the debris and the water on the slide toppers. There were quite a few pine cones. While up there, I usually check all the Dicor and seams. All looks good. The wind continued on and off throughout the day and the temperature didn’t even hit 60°F. A sunny but cool day. I went ahead and packed everything up while it was dry.

Two test sessions today while we have decent AT&T throughput. Tomorrow, we are moving around 100 miles south to Peace River RV park near Tampa.

Tuesday (59) - It was only a hundred miles today but it took 2½ hours. Signal lights and slow traffic for the first 70 miles. This park has a lottery system for their full hookup sites. So we are in a 30amp/water site right now. It’s a large site and reasonably flat. Our tanks are empty so we should be good for a while. 

Tomorrow is my windshield appointment up in Lakeland. About an 45min north of here. 

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Day 55, 56, 57 - Eustis, FL - TT

Friday (55) - Originally, I had an appointment today to get the Jeep windshield replaced. There was a lot of gravel on the interstate in Montana and Wyoming and, since I was going under the speed limit, I would occasionally get a shower of small gravel every time a large truck went by. The small crack grew until it was the full height of the windshield. When I made the claim, the insurance company asked if the non-OEM glass was acceptable. I said fine, that it really didn't matter to me. It turns out that the shop was unable to get any of the non-OEM windshields. They made me a new appointment for next Wednesday at a different shop near the next RV park where we will be. And, they are installing OEM glass. Bridget was a little annoyed that I had agreed to a non-OEM replacement as it wouldn't have the little Jeep easter egg on the corner of the glass. (See picture)

Saturday (56) - A nice, quiet day. Now that the refrigerator works on propane, we seem to be able to run both A/C units when plugged into a 30amp connection. All other appliances are shut off. Refrigerator and water heater on propane and converter turned off. During the day the solar panels do a decent job keeping up with the 12VDC usage. I guess the SoftStart units helped. With both of them running, we are drawing about 25 amps from our 30 amp shore power. The refrigerator adds about 3-4 amps when running on AC so that was enough to shut down the rear A/C unit. This is the first time we've actually been able to test running both A/C units when on 30 amps since I installed the SoftStart units in both air conditioners in mid-October.

After numerous phone calls and emails, I finally got an Alaska temporary tag yesterday, and they emailed me a copy until I can get the physical copy sent down.

Sunday (57) - Windy day today with gusts of 35mph. I put most of our outdoor stuff away last night including the awning. Plus, we had rain and lightning this morning. Nothing like the snow, wind, and rain they are getting further north. 

Yesterday evening, I went outside to watch the ISS. It passed from the SW directly overhead. It was easily the brightest object in the sky as it was illuminated by the sun which was just below the horizon. It faded out just past the zenith. Nice to have a clear sky and good position relative to the sun.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Day 52, 53, 54 - Eustis, FL - TT

Tuesday (52) - It dropped down to 48°F last night. There is a large cold front moving into the eastern states over the next several days according to the weather guessers. Since Bridget is out of town, I went ahead and signed up for a couple of ham tests today. I didn't participate while we were in Old Town as there wasn't enough bandwidth. I did one session while we were in the Disney RV park as they had pretty phenomenal WiFi. AT&T seems to be working fine as long as I use the 5GHz WiFi. There must be a lot of interference on 2.4GHz.

I've been working on the refrigerator again. It hasn't been working on propane. I thought it might be the igniter element as they develop cracks. So I picked one up on Amazon. Of course, it wasn't a trivial swap. the new one is slightly different from the old one. It isn't the igniter element. I would really like to replace this absorption refrigerator with a compressor version. But that introduces other issues making it a non-trivial conversion. It made for a frustrating afternoon. 

Wednesday (53) - I looked up the manual for a Dometic absorption refrigerator and it said to adjust the igniter element 3/16” from the top of the burner. If it’s too close it won’t spark as the igniter will “think” the burner is lit and if it’s too far, the voltage isn’t high enough to bridge the gap. So I installed the new element and adjusted it. BTW, adjustment is by bending sheet metal. It now works! That’s a load off my mind. 

On the way to the Orlando airport, I stopped at HRO aka Ham Radio Outlet. This gave me an opportunity to twiddle the knobs on a couple of HF radios. Something I hadn’t been able to do in Alaska. 

Thursday (54)
 - Saw this little guy at a small pond within the campground right adjacent to a designated dog walk area. Must be there to take care of strays. It's about 70°F now and I'm waiting for the morning (AKST) test session to start.

Later this afternoon, I need to return to the dentist in Gainesville to finish the tooth repair. It's almost two hours away according to Google Maps. This brings up the biggest negative I have about Florida. To get anywhere, you are either on small roads or paying tolls. So it takes a long time to get anywhere. The small roads aren't the problem. There is no direct path anywhere. From the Orlando airport to here, you probably turn from one road to the next maybe 30 times. I'm glad that the Jeep has Carplay so I can use Google Maps or Waze on the dashboard screen.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Day 48, 49, 50, 51 - Eustis, FL - TT

Friday (48) - The others went to Legoland and I moved the RV to an Encore park northwest of Orlando. We are here for around 1½ weeks or so. It’s nowhere near as nice as some other Encore properties we’ve stayed at but the price is right. 

The pool is smaller but it’s nice and there is a hot tub. The hours are kind of odd. Dawn to dusk. Maybe there are no lights. Publix is only ½ mile down the road so no driving is required. 

Saturday (49) - By noon it was already 75°F with a forecasted high of 77°F. I set up the table under the awning for the morning test session. "Morning" as in 9:30am AKST. The AT&T signal seemed good enough this morning when I connected during the monthly eastern time morning session. One of the candidates dropped out so I didn’t stay on but there was enough packet loss for my audio to be barely understood. 

We walked down to Publix to pick up a couple of items and we also stopped at Burger King as someone wanted a kid’s meal. (With toy…)

I’m typing this at the pool again. It’s now 78°F with a light breeze. Perfect weather. I’ll try the afternoon session (5:30EST) to see if it’s any better. 

Sunday (50) - My son headed back home this morning. We had a wonderful time with him and his son both at the Disney parks and just sitting around the campground. Bridget is flying with his son up to the Chicago area tomorrow. The task of the day was washing the Jeep. There was a lot of white mud from the dirt road near the Old Town RV park. The last mile or so was dirt. Since it has a soft top, we can’t just run it through a car wash. Compared to other vehicles we’ve had, the Jeep has a lot of nooks and crannies to clean. Not perfect but at least we can see out the rear window again. 

Monday (51)
 - This morning, I drove Bridget and our grandson to the Orlando airport for his flight home. Bridget is flying back on Wednesday. I pulled over to set the gps destination and decided to have breakfast. Bridget had picked up some sous vide egg bites at Dunkin’ Donuts but they were cold. I’ll have them tomorrow. 

I don’t think I really did much else today. I was on the phone for a while to find out what the status of our license plates. The dealer sent the paperwork to our home address instead of the DMV. I went online and requested an Alaska temporary tag.