Tuesday, September 21, 2021

On the Road Again (Almost!)

Monday - Okay, now things are getting serious. Ugh, wet snow… 

We fly out this afternoon with one dog, the cat and lots of heavy suitcases. In addition to the normal stuff, I’m bringing a torque wrench, metric deep sockets, and other tools to install the base plate on the Jeep. Whenever FCA chooses to assemble it. It is still in “D” status i.e. collecting parts. 

Later - Long check-in process with a yapping dog. The cat gets to ride in the cabin and has settled down. TSA was a bit more hassle even with the Pre-Check system in place. I had three laptops and an iPad in my luggage. But their biggest concern was a bag of cat food. All in all, it took us about an hour to get to the gate. And, the Starbucks is closed so no coffee. 

Tuesday (1)
 - We are in Washington where the RV was being stored for the summer. Thank you Dave and Ginny for letting us keep the RV on your property. First thing after plugging into a 15amp circuit was turning on the propane and the refrigerator. It took a bit to get the lines purged and the refrigerator to stay running. But the freezer is down to 3°F so it works. This morning, I started the engine just to make sure there weren’t going to be any surprises. This afternoon, I’ll drain the water tank as it has a weak bleach solution to sanitize the tank and water lines. I’ll flush it out with fresh water including draining the hot water heater again. 

The Victron devices and HomeAssistant server had software updates pending. Those were done last night. Another item that I was concerned about was finding key to the hitch pin lock. I locked it over two years ago. I was surprised to find the key exactly where I thought I would’ve put it. 

After flushing the fresh water tank, the water lines, and the water heater, I put 50 gallons of water into the tank. Tomorrow morning, I’ll check the tire pressure and move the tow dolly to a storage location along with the associated straps.

Later - The fridge is still flaky on propane…

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Getting Ready to Leave

Saturday - After an especially long morning test session, I got to spend the afternoon at the finish line for the Equinox Marathon. I saw a blurb earlier in the week where they were looking for volunteers. So I figured it’ll be a good way to spend my afternoon. It was an enjoyable time congratulating the finishers and talking to the other volunteers. It was freezing cold when I left at around 5pm. 

After the cold afternoon, we went to a friend’s home to spend the evening talking and sharing some food. There was a fire in addition to a grill. I had made some potato salad using sour cream in place of the usual mayonnaise and added a good helping of dill. I also brought some bratwurst and buns to share. 

Sunday - It's finally time to tuck the Ural in the back of the garage. I have a trickle charger hooked up to the AGM battery. I rode it to church today and it was a bit above freezing. There were some wet roads but they were simply wet not frozen. I heard that some of the higher elevations saw a dusting of snow. We didn’t. 

Since we are planning to use the Prius whenever we are back in town, I went ahead and swapped the winter tires back on. I also installed a trickle charger to keep the 12v battery topped up. Hopefully it’ll be enough to keep the battery from going dead. 

The washing machine decided to throw an error code. The pump wasn’t able to drain within four minutes. I removed the lower front panel and removed the filter. It was clogged with junk. After cleaning and reinstalling the filter it ran okay. Crisis averted. 

One of Bridget’s tasks for me was to check the dryer exhaust hose for lint buildup. There was none but in the process of reinstalling the hose, it tore so off to Lowe’s for a replacement. So now there is definitely no lint as it’s a new hose. One more thing to check off the list. 


Thursday, September 16, 2021

It’s Getting Cooler

Tuesday - A kinda cold ride into coffee this morning at 33°F but at least it was nice and sunny with the fog burning off. And the coffee tasted especially good. The group ended up sitting outside on the rooftop deck though it did start to feel cold when a light breeze came up. I thought about digging out the heated jacket liner but decided that it wasn't worth the trouble since it is only about 6 miles to the coffee place.

After coffee, I made a quick stop at Costco and actually left without anything extra. Since we are leaving in less than a week, I really need to try and use up food and not pick up anything new. I followed this with a stop at Verizon to change Bridget's phone and iPad plans. But, the billing period ends tonight, and changing things will cancel the changes I made a few weeks ago. So back on Thursday. 

An afternoon test session rounded out the day.

Wednesday - Below freezing last night again. Definitely, time to leave Fairbanks. It has warmed up to 54°F at mid-afternoon so not too bad.

I had two more test sessions today and I decided to use the iPad as a second monitor on my laptop. I had tried this earlier and it worked but now that the feature has been around for a while, it works even better. I do have it cabled using a USB-C to Lightning cable and not trying to do it over WiFi.

 - Another cool morning (38°F). This is the thermometer the previous owner installed on the Ural windscreen. O.A.T. stands for outside air temperature. This is commonly used on small airplanes as the previous owner was an aircraft mechanic. It works great and I like how well it works. 

After coffee, I went back to Verizon and changed Bridget’s iPhone and iPad cellular plans. She now has double the iPad tethering data (30 GB) and 15GB of useable iPhone tethering. The previous plan had a 400kbps limit when tethering making it almost useless. All for a net change of $0. Between the switch of my iPhone to AT&T, dropping cellular data on my iPad, adding an AT&T hotspot, and these Verizon changes, the net cost delta is $0. But we have much more data tethering and carrier diversity. We’ll see how this works over the next snowbird season.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Sunny Walk and a Trip to Nenana

Friday - Another walk after the morning test session. The loop is 5.11miles and is one that I used to do on a regular basis ten years ago. But for some reason, I just stopped walking as much as I used to. Maybe it's this whole retirement thing. 

I was back in time for the afternoon test session and ended up as the lead. I think people are busy with the weekend coming up, 

 - This morning I rode to Nenana, which is about 50 miles from Fairbanks, to help Bruce get his Ural put back together. He purchased a brand new transmission to replace one that had seized up. Using some new and old parts, we got the transmission installed including the tricky clutch release rod. To install it, we had to move the engine forward in the frame. It was a cold ride out at 40°F but was in the mid-50s for the return trip. We couldn’t find one bolt but it showed up shortly after I headed back to Fairbanks.

The first picture was taken from the Parks Hwy Turnout this afternoon. When I passed by this morning it was clear enough to see Denali but no picture. A wonderful day working on a Ural and a nice ride to Nenana. 

Sunday - I finally purchased my ticket for heading back to the RV. Many areas had their first frost last night and the official NWS temperature was 34°F. Winter is coming. We are flying down to Seattle in a week and after spending a couple days in Washington, we’ll go down to Corvallis for a few days before heading east. Since the Jeep still hasn’t been built yet, we are skipping Yellowstone until another time. 

I’ve ridden the Ural 3,206 miles this summer. Not a lot but enough to need an engine oil change before getting moved into storage. This is about double the original oil change interval as suggested by Mickey with the addition of the spin-on oil filter and the extra capacity from the deep sump pan. Got that done this evening. Thank you Jed for the Ural oil filter. I need to get some ordered up.