Sunday, June 17, 2018

16 - Corvallis, OR - Day 4

One more project done. N, as n approaches infinity, more projects to go. The first picture shows the Dicor sealing the edges of the Eternabond tape. Both products are designed for rubber roofing repair. The vent covers go over the pins and are held in place with a washer and spring clip as shown in the second picture. This makes them easily removable for cleaning. There was still some Dicor left in the caulking tube so I went around the roof adding some where it looked a little thin. 

The third picture shows where the vent covers were put and before we leave the campground, we will verify that the A/C cover is still the highest thing on the roof. There is a railroad bridge less than a 1/10th of a mile from the RV park that is labeled as 13’ 4” and 13’ 6”. We’ve been under the bridge several times without issue and, since it’s on the way out of town, I thought it would be a good idea to measure again. 

An odd thing happened. I moved the RV to a full hookup site this afternoon and after getting it all hooked up, I noticed the Trimetric monitor was showing negative current. The charge controller wasn’t showing any errors but after rebooting it, everything was fine again. Current was showing 17 amps charging. Hmmm...

Saturday, June 16, 2018

15 - Corvallis, OR, Day 3

I needed warm, sunny weather to soften the Dicor sealant used to waterproof the original vent. I used a putty knife to carefully remove the warm sealant so I could get to the screws. Removed the screws and carefully pried the old vent off of the roof. The existing putty looked to be in pretty good shape. It was only a couple of years old as the roof was replaced back in 2016. After the new vent was put in place, I put in the screws and hand tightened them to make sure I didn’t crack the plastic frame. The metal plates are for the vent cover allowing the roof vent to be open in inclement weather. Tomorrow, I’ll seal the new vent with some Eternabond tape and Dicor self-leveling sealant. The Eternabond tape I have is 4” wide. I’ll cut it in half lengthwise as 2” is sufficient.

This vent needs 12VDC as it has a fan motor, temperature sensor, rain sensor, as well as a motor to open and close the vent. The height of the ceiling where the vent is installed is around 7 1/2 feet so being able to operate it without a step stool is a benefit. The nearest always-on 12VDC is at the reading lights on the rear overhead cabinets. I fished the wires through the ceiling into the cabinet. I then removed one of the lights and drilled into the cabinet so there was a path for the vent power wires.

Just about finished. This evening, I used Eternabond tape to cover the edges of the new vent as well as the older bathroom vent. That is a different model of Fan-tastic Fan. Completely manual and only one speed (of three) works. Maybe one of these days I'll take it apart to fix. I also picked up a vent cover for this one as well.

I tried out the new fan with the fancy remote and it works pretty well. The thermostat is adjustable in 2.5°F increments and the fan has 14 speeds. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

14 - Corvallis, OR, Day 2

Today was an errand running day. I picked up an installation kit for the roof vent as well as the window knob that broke a few days ago. The water regulator that I bought last year developed a hairline crack and needed to be replaced. Not from poor quality control but more likely from the stress of the water filter that is normally hanging off of it. I'll try a different strategy and have the filter hanging off of the RV.

I will try to get at least the outdoor portion of the vent installation done tomorrow morning before it gets too warm. The forecast for tomorrow is 80°F in the afternoon. This morning, I moved the trailer to a different spot at the Fairgrounds. The RV next to us belonged to a long-term employee of the fairgrounds and he was leaking grey water and some sewer water onto the ground. The campground host said that he didn't have the ability to make him do anything as he is allowed to stay there as part of his job. Anyway, I didn't want to deal with the smell so I moved out to the back 40. I believe they call it "overflow parking". We still have water and power so I'm not complaining at all. The camp host said that he can move us to a full hookup site on Sunday or Monday after the bulk of the people leave.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

13 - Corvallis, OR, Day 1

We made it to our intermediate destination for at least this initial part of the trip. Bridget wanted to arrive by this date to visit with my sister and her family before they head out to California tomorrow. She is then scheduled for a quick trip to Chicago and back by Wednesday evening. This will give me a chance to replace the rear roof vent (which broke due to the high winds in Alberta) with the Fan-tastic Vent. It just arrived today. There are a couple of other things that have broken on this trip. I think the age of the rig is starting to show.

The RV park is kind of crowded for a weekend event but we won't really be spending much time actually in the RV unless repairing or cleaning getting it ready for storage. My sister thought that OSU graduation events are right now through Saturday.

Today was a relatively long travel day. From Pasco, WA, to here was just under 300 miles. Breakfast was donuts from the Walmart bakery. They were still warm from the kitchen.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

12 - Pasco, WA

Today was a long haul for us. After crossing the border at Yahk, BC, we went through Spokane and ended up at the Walmart in Pasco, WA. It’s posted “No Overnight Parking” but the manager said no problem and to just stay near the back of the parking lot. The viewpoint in the picture is where we stopped for lunch. This really is a nice, scenic road through Canada. US 395 was the same as always with some strong crosswinds. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

11 - Crowsnest Pass

It was still windy this morning but the rain had stopped so we headed south. There was a nasty cross wind for most of the day turning to a headwind when we started to head west at Ft. southern Alberta. We first stopped at a community campground but soon discovered that our fresh water tank had self-emptied itself again. I really need to plug that vent line which is improperly run. The end just hangs down between the axles. So we are at the Lost Lemon Campground in the town of  Crowsnest Pass. This area is absolutely beautiful and the best part is that there is no wind. It’s only 4000’ elevation but it sure is a nice change from the flatlands that we’ve been in for a while.

The first picture is just us parked in the RV park. The second picture shows the nice buried markers showing a line for the trailer wheels to follow. A really nice touch. This trailer really does handle the wind pretty well. You can feel the pressure in the steering wheel but it never sways. But then again, I generally keep the speed down to under 100 kph or about 60 mph. Much more relaxing. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

10 - West Edmonton, AB

We opted to stay an extra day in Edmonton due to high winds in the area. Tomorrow, the forecast is for gusts of only 30 mph versus 60 mph today. The wind direction is westerly so it would be a crosswind on our trek south. Google maps says that it’s 1050 miles from here to Oregon so an easy four days or we could do it in three days if necessary.

Two days of heavy overcast have run the batteries to 78% so I turned on the converter. It is still the original one so it’s designed to slowly charge the batteries. I just checked the charge rate and only 9 amps were going into the batteries. Of the 9 amps about a third was coming from the solar panels even with the heavy overcast. I’ve was thinking of changing the converter last year but no one would ship to Alaska. Maybe later this year.

In about 1½ weeks, the trailer will be put into storage again for the summer to be retrieved in the Fall. At least, that’s the plan. I looked for storage locations in the Salem/Corvallis/Lebanon area but had no luck. But I did find a place south of Bend that had space and the monthly rate was reasonable. To support summer storage, I ordered a variable speed fan with a thermostat, motorized open/close, rain sensor and a remote. The remote is due to the location where it could only be reached if you stood on a chair. The remote seemed like a good idea. I would leave this fan powered on running on batteries/solar while in storage turning itself on and off as needed depending on the temperature. I also ordered vent covers for this and one other roof vent for circulation. The only installation challenge is finding a 12v source that I can get to from the vent location. The other item needed for storage in sunny areas are tire covers. Most of them that I found in RV stores are for trailer tires that are <29” in diameter. Ours are just around 31” in diameter. Back to Amazon.

The second photo is of some ceramic moto dust catchers for sale in the campground store. Several sidecars in the display including a couple of scooters w/sidecars.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

9 - WEM

WEM = West Edmonton Mall. 

I’ll claim credit for the light rain which started around 8:00 yesterday evening. This was shortly after I returned from the car wash. Today is a good day to spend indoors. The first photo is the wave pool just before it opened. To the left of the frame are all the beach chairs for lounging. 

In addition to the water park are sea lion shows, an amusement park, mini-golf, and about 800 stores and shops. 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

8 - West Edmonton, AB

We are at the Glowing Embers RV Park in West Edmonton. After traveling for a week, we thought that it may be a good idea to stop for a couple of days. We are planning on spending the day at the Edmonton Mall so we needed to stay at an RV park with power for the air conditioner. (For the dogs benefit) This is also the first RV park that didn’t have a problem with me washing off some of the dirt from the trailer so much of the mud got rinsed off. I ran the truck through a car wash later int he evening. I had stayed at this RV park around twenty five years ago and again around fifteen years ago. One of the nice features is an RV store on the premises so I was finally able to pick up some things that I had forgotten to pack. Such as a 3/4” socket that fits into a portable drill to run the rear stabilizers up and down. One of the rear stabilizers has a has a broken piece that makes it very difficult to use the hand crank. But a 3/4” socket fits just fine. That’s what I used last year. 

Friday, June 8, 2018

7 - Valleyview, AB

This is the end of week one of this RV trip. The A/C on the RV is now running and the thermometer on the truck hit 78°F this afternoon. It took us a while to get on the road this morning as we needed to stop for fuel, food and propane. Diesel prices are starting to come down. It was $1.369/l in Fort St. John. Quite a changed from $1.659/l a few days ago. We are now out of the mountains and rolling through flat farmland. We rolled through Dawson Creek and Bridget wanted to stop and get a picture. The weather looks ominous but the road ran to the south of the storm. There was a ton of road construction with long lines of cars. The number of vehicles on the road is at least a couple orders of magnitude more than there were earlier in the week.

We are at yet another RV park. I must admit that they are convenient. And have been averaging $40 CAN or $30 US. Actually, pretty reasonable. We are at Sherk’s RV Park in Valleyview, AB. It is a really nice independent park with decent WiFi at least as long as you aren’t interested in streaming video. Blog updates, email and casual web surfing all work fine. 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

6 - Fort St John, BC

A short day today. We are staying at the Coffee Creek RV Park just north of Fort St John. We stayed here last year on our way back to Alaska. It took us a while to figure out where it was located. Old blog entries helped quite a bit. Garmin still doesn’t have it in its database (which was updated the day before we left). It has decent WiFi, a playground and fabulous shower rooms. All for less than the prior campgrounds.
According to Google, we’ve come around 1,400 miles so far. We only had a rough idea where we are headed. There are a limited number of routes to/from Alaska so it was convenient to just follow the same route that we used last year. That will change when we hit Edmonton as we are actually thinking about spending the day at the Edmonton Mall. Traveling every day gets old. The stretch we did over the last couple of days has a lot of steep grades and windy roads. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

5 - Fort Nelson

A longish day today. Over 500 km. A lot of climbing, winding roads and road construction. This is the view of Muncho Lake at our lunch stop. We continued on to Fort Nelson where we are once again in an RV Park. Mostly because we couldn’t find a Provincial Campground in the area. We finally were able to test the work of Alaska RV last fall. The new tank valves work as expected. The fresh water overflow hose is just hanging below the trailer. It’s supposed to be run back to the fill location. In its current configuration, water just dumps out if the trailer is leaned to the left. We left with a full tank but we lost about 1/4 of the water by lunchtime. Something else to fix.

Today, we saw a lot of animals. Black bear, elk, sheep, buffalo, and moose. These are sheep at Muncho Lake.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

4 - Nugget City, YT

Another favorite RV park. I think I've stayed here a dozen times over the years. Not a bad place. Fuel in the YT has been expensive from a low of $1.449/liter to $1.519/liter or $4.40/gal to $4.23/gal using the current exchange rate. The daily miles with the RV is about the same as with the Ural.

There was a bit of rain and road construction on today's drive. Enough to make a mess of things. A few things needed to be replaced but I didn’t know until we got on the road. One Eezrv tire pressure sensor was reading way high and one had a dead battery. I removed the battery from the bad sensor and put it in the other sensor. A new sensor was ordered. The remote for the RV-Lock stopped working. A new one was ordered. Some bungee cords are used to keep the Burkee water purifier from tipping over while traveling and keep the vacuum cleaner on its hanger. 

I still need to install some eye bolts so I can strap the table and chairs in place while traveling. It hasn’t occurred on this trip yet. 

We passed a YouTube RVing family, “Less Junk, More Journey” on their way to Alaska, stopped at a turnout. It looked like they were getting ready to pull out. Bridget was spotted by a friend (hello Amanda!) from Fairbanks on her way south. 

Just a shot of vehicles in the Whitehorse, YT, Walmart parking lot. The trailer on the left has a wood stove chimney coming out of the top and the large, expedition vehicle next to it had multiple winches, motorcycle on the back, and about 4 spare tires. Definitely a bit overkill for a trip to Alaska.

Monday, June 4, 2018

2 and 3 - Yukon Territory

Day 2 was from Delta Junction to a campground near the White River in the Yukon Territory. I’ve stayed here a couple of other times when on the BMW and Ural trips. It’s a pretty nice campground with the only real downside is the lack of functional WiFi.

Day 3 ended at the Walmart parking lot in Whitehorse, YT. Mediocre WiFi. But there must be 50 RVs in the parking lot...

Saturday, June 2, 2018

1 - On The Road Again (Finally!)

Finally heading out! First stop today will be at an RV Park as the fresh water tank is still empty. I didn’t want to fill it at home as there is some residual iron stirred up in our water supply. We had some work done earlier in the week. One thing was repressurization of the pressure tank. 

Grade 8 bolts and lock nuts replacing the original grade 5 hardware. And the pinbox repositioned for almost level towing. 

We made it only as far as Delta Junction. Had a buffalo burger where I ran into Mickey and Muriel. We then headed for a local overpriced RV Park. I filled the fresh water tank after getting set up. I tried out the over-the-air digital antenna and picked up KUAC. The University public television station. 

Friday, June 1, 2018

Final Checks

Last summer, I had picked up a 12volt compressor and was pretty unhappy with its performance. It would take like 15 minutes to add just a few psi to the tires. Plus, the power cables were too short and the compressor drew enough current to need pretty large cables. I then realized that I could just get an AC powered compressor and run it off of the inverter. I picked up this ⅓ HP model with a peak pressure of 125psi. It only draws about 2 amps (AC) which translates to about 20 amps DC when running off of the inverter. It works great and I used it to run the trailer tires up to 80psi and the truck to 75psi front and 82psi rear. This is a bit more than I ran last year. Based on the tire wear, a bit more pressure is needed on the rear of the truck.

I had picked up this filler designed for flooded batteries. I ran an equalization cycle on the solar controller a few days ago so the batteries needed to be topped off. You just put the nozzle into each cell and push down. The distilled water gurgles in and stops when the cell is at the correct level. None of the plates were showing but it still took about 3 quarts to fill up all of the batteries. I didn't realize that the level was that low.

This afternoon (Thursday), I repositioned the trailer where I could jack up and remove at least some of the wheels to check the bearings and brake pads. I was pretty confident that the bearings were fine as I had checked the hub temperature at every stop last year and they were never hot. With the truck/trailer on this slope, the hitch would not disconnect so I was going to leave it like this for the evening. I'll move it up to the road tomorrow afternoon.

The wheels have something like "Bearing Buddies" though the grease is pushed all the way into the bearings and not simply to the outside bearing. It's built into the trailer axle. The bearings had no discoloration and were well greased. I removed the cotter pin and checked the adjustment before pulling the drum to look at the brakes. The adjustment was right on.

The brakes do show wear but the shoes still have plenty of life left but will need to be changed in maybe another 10k miles. The drums show no trace of a ridge. I went ahead and removed the opposite tire and it was in similar condition. In other words, no apparent problems. With the trailer at this attitude, I can't really check the rear trailer tires but may jack them up and check for play.

When installing wheels, it's important to get the lug nut torque right. Too many times when wheels are installed at a tire shop, they are just installed with a pneumatic impact wrench. I still prefer to use an impact wrench but this set of extensions are calibrated in 10 ft-lb increments. The blue extension is rated at 100 ft-lbs. Very convenient.

After I move the trailer onto the subdivision road, I need to move the pinbox for the trailer to ride level. I moved the pinbox to its lowest position to allow me to back the trailer into our steep driveway without the back of the bed hitting the trailer. I picked up some fine thread, grade 8 hardware for the pinbox. I will be running an extension cord from the house to the road to use the impact wrench with my old compressor. The new, small compressor isn't large enough to run pneumatic tools. The bolts need to be torqued to something around 110 ft-lbs.