Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Day 31, 32 - Corvallis, OR

Not much to report. I have the car dolly set up for the Prius. I am disappointed to find out that the left turn signal pin doesn’t work on the seven pin trailer connector. There were a pile of wires hacked into the connector wiring as a six pin trailer connector was “installed” using Scotch-Locks. I hate those things. I pulled all of that out and will start over tomorrow running a new wire to the seven pin connector from the left turn signal unless I can identify the broken wire.

Tuesday Afternoon - This morning I picked up the rest of the stuff that I had brought down from Fairbanks. The e-bikes didn’t fit easily into the basement storage and ended up taking a lot of space. Between the e-bikes, the kayak and the empty suitcases, the basement storage is getting full (by volume not weight).

I also ran a new wire directly from the left turn signal to the seven pin trailer connector. Without a good wiring diagram, any further diagnoses would be difficult. But for now, the turn signals work like they are supposed to. I may pick up some magnetic, LED lights to put onto the back of the Prius at some time.

Tomorrow, we are heading to the Thousand Trails campground in Sunriver, OR. We plan on staying there for ten days. Travel costs this month have been through the roof between air travel and over 5,000 miles on the road. The Thousand Trail locations are prepaid for the year so we are going to take advantage of that for a bit. 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Day 30 - Salem, OR

Today was a moto-blogger meetup. Brad (Troubadour), Brandy (Trobairitz), myself, Lynne (Curvyroads), Bridget and Jerry. We met up at Marco Polo, a Chinese and Italian place  in downtown Salem. Excellent food and even better company. We arrived around 2 and didn’t get out until after 5.  I had met up with them before heading to Atlanta but Bridget hadn’t met Lynne and Jerry before nor had they met Brad and Brandy.

When we were paying the bill, I noticed that Jerry had the same brand of wallet that I’ve been using for years. Big Skinny. It turned out the five of us had the same brand. We figured that they sell them at many motorcycle shows. Bridget has never been to a motorcycle show so she didn’t have one. I thought it was unusual. 

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Day 28, 29 - Corvallis, OR

I had to switch sites this morning and I think it may be a nicer site. Only 30 amp power and no sewer connection but it’s next to trees and a nice garden. On Saturday morning, Bridget arrived at the Eugene airport with two dogs and a smelly cat. It took them a bit to locate the dogs in Seattle which delayed their flight for a bit. Now time to sort and unpack all of the stuff I brought down. It has been challenging to find things in the many containers and bags.

There is an OSU football game today and this is one of the parking lots and shuttle stops for the stadium. Quite a few cars and the shuttle stop is just a few hundred feet from where we are parked. The garden is nice with grass just a few steps from the door. 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Day 27 - Corvallis, OR

From the picture, you may be able to tell that it was a photo-light day. Ran a lot of errands to Home Depot, Petco, and Fred Meyer. Plus a stop at Starbucks. I picked up a drop hitch ball mount for the coach plus one for the Prius. I figured that if we ever needed to just move the tow dolly around, having a 2" ball on the Prius may be handy. There was initially some confusion on my part as the coach has a Reese Class V hitch. According to the Internet, the Reese class V hitch has a 2½" receiver. But when I measured it, it still uses a 2" receiver. The Prius has a 1¼" receiver and according to Toyota, it has a towing capacity of zero. I installed the hitch mount back when the car was new so there would someplace to attach a tow rope in case it got stuck in the snow. I also needed to borrow large wrenches from my brother-in-law since, for some reason, I didn't bring any large wrenches with me. Large as in for a 1½" nut.

Other errands were to find kitty litter and some random hardware to fix the passenger electric shade. I still need to replace the batteries in several TPMS sensors but haven't found my battery supply. But then again, I haven't looked very hard either. Tomorrow morning, I need to move to a different site here at the campground as they are completely booked up due to an OSU home football game.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Day 26 - Corvallis, OR

Today was a short driving day so I figured that it would be a good day to get the front valve stems replaced. I stopped at the Les Schwab in Albany, OR. The shop is first-come-first-serve so there was a couple of hour wait. That’s fine with me. I have time. They are equally puzzled about what can fail with a valve stem.

Later - The front tires have some balancing beads installed. There is a plastic “filter” to keep the beads out of the valve stem but it was broken and jammed inside the valve stem. It would break off the tip of any valve core installed which adds to the jam. I had them remove the beads and install new valve stems which should eliminate the problem. $131 price seemed reasonable for the amount of work performed.

At about 2:00, I arrived at the fairgrounds in Corvallis. They are letting me stay in a full hookup site for the next couple of days but will be moving Friday morning to a water/electric site. This place is going to be full as there is a home football game this weekend. BTW, no problem going under the railroad trestle. And I now have my 25’ tape measure. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Day 25 - McMinnville, OR - HH

The hardest part of today’s drive was going through Portland. The GPS said the “best” route between Baker City and the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum was through downtown Portland followed by stop & go along 99W. The museum allows overnight RV parking with the hope that you will visit the museum. Since I arrived around 3pm, there is only a couple of hours before closing so I probably won't be visiting the museum this time. We stopped here last April and not many RVs then. Today, there are around a dozen or so.

It has been raining for most of the drive but it's looking like it may be clearing up. I had heard that it was really hot here but that isn't the case right now. It's a very pleasant 69°F. With a window open plus the screen door, there is a nice breeze blowing through. 350 mile today and only about 50 miles to Corvallis tomorrow. My reservation at the fairground campground begins tomorrow. There were some crazy drivers today. The worst were the ones (multiple) staring at their phone while merging onto the interstate. I'm happy to report that the air horns on the RV work and seem to do a good job getting their attention. It seemed to get worse the closer I got to Portland.

Since I am parked on pavement, I took the opportunity to measure the height. Since I only have a 10’ tape measure with me, I had to measure in steps. 11’5” to the top of the awning bracket which is above the top of the edge of the roof. The A/C units are 13” high. So I guess the brochure listing of 12’9” is probably close enough. There is a railroad overpass that I need to under tomorrow that is 13’4” so I should easily clear it. This coach is around 5” lower than the 5th wheel. BTW, nice view from the windshield…

Monday, September 9, 2019

Day 24 - Baker City, OR

Today was 360 miles from Snowville, UT, to Baker City, OR. Followers of this blog may recognize this campground as the one that Bob and Karen stayed at back in 2012. Wow! Was it really that long ago... I called this morning from a rest area and they had one site left that I would be able to fit into so I went ahead and reserved it. Some (Bridget) may ask why not dry camp. It's hard to do when there isn't another person to be looking to see what is ahead. There was one Harvest Host but they wouldn't be open until Wednesday. No Walmarts, Cracker Barrel or Cabella's that allow overnight parking and the rest areas allow 2-hour parking only. So, RV park it is.

It isn't hot at all which is what I was expecting. In fact, 63°F with a slight breeze almost feels chilly. Maybe anything after the southeast feels chilly. It rained again while on the road but not the gully washer that was in Wyoming. Only a bit more to go. I may stay at a Harvest Host location tomorrow. The only one near here is closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Lots of Oregon Trail signs along I-84. This one was next to the jacuzzi at the campground. They had hot tubs on the Oregon Trail?

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Day 23 - Snowville UT

I got an early start from the KOA campground in Laramie this morning. It went down to 42°F last night so I tested out both the heat pump in the front A/C unit and in the middle of the night switched to the two propane furnaces. All of them are controlled from the single thermostat control in the kitchen area. I'm not sure where the temperature sensors are actually located. Anyway, they all worked fine.

BTW, the refrigerator worked fine on propane last night and all day today. The upper compartment of the freezer is below 0°F so all works great. I was originally thinking of stopping in western Wyoming but shortly after passing Rock Springs, I ran into a storm. Lots of rain on the road. At least most of the bugs are now washed off the windshield.

After filling up north of Ogden, UT, I found a small RV park in the tiny town of Snowville. Shortly after setting up, the wind picked up and now the rain is really coming down here. Due to the wind, I brought the large dining/living slide in since the wind was blowing right under the slide topper. The wind died down after the thunder and lightning show. Now, it's just rain.

This is the view from the front windshield at the campsite. Not too shabby. At least until the storm came. Right now, I can see the trees but the mountains are lost in the low clouds and rain. Just in case, I turned everything off in the coach but the power never went out.

457 miles today. My reservation in Corvallis doesn't start until Wednesday so I have plenty of time to get there. Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah so far. Idaho and Oregon tomorrow...

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Day 22 - Laramie, WY

I left the Cabella's parking lot a bit before 9. Very relaxing place assuming that you aren't bothered by trains. I'm not bothered. It was a very pleasant 64°F but warmed up to about 87° by early afternoon. I-80 is in horrible shape at the eastern end of NE with expansion joints every 15' or so. After about 50 miles of this, the passenger sunshade let go. I cut the wire and will repair it when I get to OR. I did pick up some 5-min epoxy when I stopped at a Walmart to pick up some groceries. When I stopped in Laramie, the refrigerator indicated a propane fault. I suspect that this is from the really strong wind blowing into the vents on the side repeatedly blowing out the flame. It's working just fine now on propane and has been since leaving GA. I did not have the generator running today as the high winds were blowing the generator exhaust towards the cabin air intake.

When I arrived in Laramie, WY, I filled up at the Love's truckstop and when I was leaving, there was a KOA campground sign across the street. That sounded good to me as I was pretty tired from fighting the wind. Wind gusts to over 40 mph according to the highway signs. And it was from the west so it was a quartering to full headwind for much of the day. Add to that the elevation change from Nebraska to Wyoming (2200' to 8640') and it was a hard day for a vehicle shaped like a brick. The gas mileage for today was only 7.3 mpg. A drop of about 1.5 mpg from before. On the long grades, I would have to consciously slow down to keep the engine water temperature below 215°F. I think the cooling system may need to be looked at.

Trying out the heat pump tonight. It’s supposed to be in the mid-40s tonight. 367 miles today. Only 1126 miles to go on this leg of the trip. 

Friday, September 6, 2019

Day 21 - Kearney, NE

Wow! It’s been 3 weeks already.

This morning, I thought that it would be a good idea to check the tire pressures. The valve core on the first tire I checked wouldn’t reseal. If I had them handy, I could’ve simply put the TPMS sensor on but that didn’t occur to me until later. I called Good Sam’s roadside assistance and they had a tire guy there in about 45 minutes. The replacement cores he had behaved similarly. He suggested replacing the valve stem but since I had the TPMS sensors, that works as fine for now. He checked the pressure in all the tires (all slightly low) and put sensors on all of the tires.

Today, I’m parked in the Cabella’s lot in Kearney, NE. 451 miles even with the late start. After the high 80s (°F) all day, the 69°F here in Kearney feels pretty nice. After talking to the manager and picking up some water, I tried to pair all of the TPMS sensors with the display. Two of the sensors need new batteries as they don’t pair up. I have six batteries in Corvallis. But at least I have the right front tire which is the one in the picture. If I can had a ready supply of compressed air, I would swap the sensors since I still have two more. The left front would leak air until I had the new sensor screwed on.

I’m the only RV in the lot and there was a nice sunset. No specific destination tomorrow beyond somewhere in Wyoming along I-80. I heard that WY isn’t very boondocker friendly so I may be in a campground again. Thank you Cabella’s for allowing free overnight RV parking. Some of the AllStays reviews complained about trains but the tracks are quite a ways away and in the last hour, I’ve heard one go by.

BTW, I do plan on getting the valve stems replaced but it can wait until a more convenient location. 

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Day 20 - Columbia, MO

After the warm, muggy night at the Cracker Barrel, I looked for an RV park (with a pool) for today. Plus, I needed to refill the water tank. The inside electronic gauge for the propane tank was red so I stopped at a Flying J to get it filled. Only 12 gallons went in the 40 gallon tank. I guess I now know what “red” means for the propane tank. The tank itself has a gauge but it read less than half full.

St. Louis was the large city that I traversed today. I did see the Gateway Arch out the window but traffic was too heavy to take a picture. 390 miles today. I spent the evening enjoying the A/C, the pool, filling the water tank, emptying the black and grey tanks, using the automatic leveling system, watched some TV to see if they work (they do), and now I’m running a small load of laundry. Started laundry at 8:14pm.

Tomorrow I should be somewhere in Nebraska.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Day 19 (cont.) - Finally!

Today’s project was bugging Lori on the Stonecoat Countertop finish for the kitchen counters in their expedition vehicle. My role seemed to be making suggestions on her technique. Yes, I was a pest. But she did a fabulous job and the countertop looks fantastic. Around 2:00, we heard from the RV dealer that the refrigerator was working. We headed up to Ringgold, GA, after stopping to pick up Chris at his appointment. The refrigerator was working though the propane was low. I need to fill it up tomorrow. A huge thank you to Chris and Lori! I was their house guest for eleven days and they drove me up to Ringgold three times! Plus they had this very interesting project.

This is the second leg of the trip. From Ringgold, GA, to Corvallis, OR. Tonight, I’m parked at a Cracker Barrel in Clarksville, TN, taking advantage of their free RV parking. It was extremely crowded going through Chattanooga and Nashville. Not optimal conditions for learning to drive the new rig, I was planning to stop south of Nashville but traffic was very heavy and the parking lot at that Cracker Barrel was crowded. I didn’t feel like trying to snake a bus through the lot. So after finding a place to turn around, Onward towards St. Louis, MO. I ended up driving after sunset which is something that I’d rather not do with an unfamiliar vehicle. 189 miles today. Driving the coach (that seems to be what people call them) is pretty straightforward as long as you keep track of the wheels and the rear corners. The cruise control is nice to have and the exhaust brake really slows you down as it downshifts the transmission automatically. It seemed to run hot while climbing some grades in TN but the outside temperature was 98°F so maybe that is normal. I stopped at a truck stop and it took 65 gal at 1/3 tank. There were a lot of trucks waiting for fuel so it was a longish 30 minute stop.

More tomorrow. 

Day 17, 18, 19 - Atlanta, GA

Monday evening - Today, Labor Day, was another hot & humid one. By 11am it was around 90°F. I cut the plywood for the bed platform and we covered the plywood with a grey fabric. The fabric was the most challenging part as the plywood was in two pieces. Went with Chris & Lori to a neighborhood potluck and the hosts had wonderful barbecue pork and chicken along with mac and cheese and fabulous baked beans. And it’s always nice to meet new people.

Tuesday afternoon - Today was a quiet day doing laundry and getting some groceries in hopes of getting on the road soon. The tech was supposedly installing the cooling unit on the refrigerator which would be left running all night.

Wednesday morning - Well, not good news from the RV dealer. The tech is on his way back to the shop. Hopefully, better news later today...

Wednesday afternoon - On our way to the dealer! (Finally…)

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Day 15, 16 - Atlanta, GA

Another hot and humid day. This picture is from Saturday after the openings for the rear windows were cut. After Saturday and Sunday, all of the windows are in and sealed. Brackets for two large aluminum tool boxes have been welded to the rear bumper and soon there will be a rear bumper. Countertops have been made and day/night shades fitted. I have been working on modifying two couches to fit the available space. The second picture shows them being test fitted. The whole habitat, which is what the living area is called, needed to be lifted up to get the fresh and grey tanks installed.

The couch project took me most of the day. Mostly removing hundreds of staples and figuring out how to reassemble the pieces and the fabric into a shorter couch that fits the available space. Including fitting then around the tracks for the bed platform. The platform is in the raised position but not quite high enough to stand under. This is quite the vehicle. 

Friday, August 30, 2019

Day 13, 14 - Atlanta, GA

Since the RV wasn’t going to be ready anytime soon, I went with Chris to the Caterpillar shop to pick up their expedition RV. This was on the other side of Atlanta (sort of) in the middle of the afternoon. Relatively heavy traffic. The shop missed one thing in configuring the computer so the governor kicked in at about 35 mph. Of course this didn’t happen until merging onto the freeway. We turned around at the next exit and the tech was able to make the change in the configuration after plugging in his laptop.

On the way back to their home, I got to drive their Sprinter. Pretty nice though throttle response was a little sluggish. Chris said that the turbo needs time to speed up. The truck was hard to lose even in heavy traffic as it is almost as high as the tractor trailers. And it performed pretty well easily keeping up with traffic. And being a former military vehicle, it sort of stands out. In the middle of the highway in the middle of Atlanta, there was a double-wide building being towed. It took up two full lanes on the highway which backed up traffic. Why this would be allowed in the middle of the day is a mystery.

Here Chris is using the manual hydraulic pump to lift the cab. He had installed an air conditioning unit and one of the hoses needed to be spliced before it was ready for charging. We also fitted Dynamat sound damping insulation under the floor of the cab. It was almost 90°F this afternoon though there was a light breeze which helped. It wasn't as humid as it could be.

The engine in their truck is the same Cat C7 model that is in the RV so it was good to see what I am in for. In this application, the engine is pretty loud as you are sitting right over it in the cab. The manufactuer of the sound insulation claims a 3 db reduction. That would be impressive if it even came close to that. Charging the A/C was frustrating since the valve on the hose wasn't engaging the valve on the freon canisters consistently. So that is another shop project. Tomorrow, the plan is to continue working on the truck.

The refrigerator cooling assembly is supposed to be at the RV dealer this evening but since the holiday weekend is here, it probably won't be worked on until next Tuesday. The delay is frustrating but I'm glad that I didn't make any reservations for the trip back. I'd rather have everything fixed.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Day 12 - Almost But Not Quite

Just about everything on the list was addressed. The water tank was filled and license plates installed. The refrigerator doors closed tightly. A new air mattresses pump was sitting on the couch. The awning switch was replaced resolving the issue of the awning not staying in place. The door awning arms were cleaned and lubed. I had even hauled my stuff and set up the RV gps and phone holder/charger in the cockpit. But when I checked the temperature of the refrigerator and freezer, it was obvious that it wasn’t working. The propane flame was lit but it wasn’t getting cold enough. The freezer was around 50°F and the refrigerator was around 80°F.

A new cooling unit is being ordered which is basically most of the refrigerator. Around $1600 so we will essentially getting a new refrigerator. They found the part in Amish country and are arranging for expedited shipping. I asked them to please test the washer/dryer and the convection microwave since they have the time. And here is another drone video courtesy of Lori.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Day 11 - No Go

Chris & Lori drove me up to Parkway RV in Ringgold, GA, this morning. There was eventually someone to walk us through the features of the RV but he wasn’t able to answer all my questions. And it looks like they didn’t get everything checked out. Chris was kind of wondering as the person demonstrating things didn’t seem to know much about air brakes such as the existence (and function) of the low pressure alarm. The alarm worked fine and went off at 45 psi. This dealer advertises a long list of items that they check but I don’t have confidence that they actually did check everything on the list. We were told that the tech working on this rig is no longer working here. Also, the salesman that we dealt with last month is no longer working there. He’s the one who made a lot of promises that may be out of scope for the service manager such as replacing missing stuff.

Some of the known issues
  • The refrigerator wouldn’t run on propane
  • The refrigerator doors didn’t seal
  • The front burner on the stove wouldn’t light
  • The awning wouldn’t stay retracted
  • The door awning didn’t come out straight
  • No vacuum cleaner hose or attachments
  • No air pump for the air mattress in the sofa
  • No air compressor hose
  • Fog lights not working
What is unknown (Not addressed during the walkthrough)
  • Does the washer/dryer work
  • Does the front heat pump work
  • Did they sanitize the water tank
  • Does the convention microwave work
  • Does the ice maker work
  • Shower hose kinked
  • All windows operate
  • 50 amp cord reel
  • Battery water level
  • Test all outlets
What did check out
  • Front and rear A/C worked great
  • Front and rear furnace worked
  • Slides worked and locked in
  • Generator starts
  • Generator slide works
  • Steps retract
  • Toilet flushes
  • Rear backup camera worked
  • Two wooden shelves made for the curio cabinet
  • Washer/dryer is a vented unit and I found the vent
  • Waste valves seem to seal
  • Front window shades function
  • Step cover works
  • Air horns work
  • TV antenna picks up signal (didn’t test the TVs) and rotates
  • Kitchen Fantastic Fan functions (3 speeds but I didn’t check the thermostat)
  • New fuel filter
  • New air cleaner
  • Serpentine belt looks new
Here is a drone video that Lori put together. She also used the drone to look at the roof and verify that it was at least nominally inspected and cracks in the Dicor sealed.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Day 10 - Atlanta, GA

Pretty much recuperated from the red-eye flight. Got up at the crack of dawn as my hosts took their LMTV based expedition vehicle to the local Caterpillar service shop on the other side of Atlanta. Pretty comfortable ride especially for a 2½ ton ex-military truck. I guess the air-ride cab really helps. The ride was smoother than our 1-ton pickup. It has the same engine as the Mandalay RV that I am here to pick up. That will be on Tuesday. 

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Day 9 - Atlanta, GA

Today seems to be a continuation of yesterday. The flight from Seattle to Atlanta was the same Alaska Air one that we took in July though it didn’t feel as exhausted as then. I arrived at 5:30am and after picking up my checked bag, met Chris and Lori, aka Beemergirl, who were patiently waiting at the curb. Went to breakfast at Waffle House then took s nap at their home.

They took their expedition vehicle out for a short ride to make sure things were good to go for a trip tomorrow to the Caterpillar shop on the other side of Atlanta. Very smooth riding for a 2 1/2 ton truck but the cab itself is air ride. More tomorrow...

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Day 8 - PDX & SEA

I had breakfast with my mom, my sister, and her family at Sam’s Station on, I believe, 29th St. We then walked around the university until it was time to drop me off at the hotel to catch the shuttle. Before it was Hut Shuttle but they were bought by another company. The price for the shuttle service dropped and they now offer service to Eugene as well. No issues with my carry on through TSA even with my backpack full of stuff for the RV. License plates, battery monitor, infrared thermometer, etc. Plus all the stuff I normally travel with. The checked bag had a toolkit, voltmeter, cable cutters, the 2/0 AWG cable I made up last week plus a weeks worth of clothes. It felt heavy but was only 37 lbs.

I am headed back to Atlanta to pick up the new-to-us RV that we had looked at back in July. It is a 2005 Mandalay 40E from ParkRV in Ringgold, GA. The dealer has a four page list of stuff that they check out before cleaning it thoroughly before delivery. I guess I’ll see if they live up to their claims. I talked to the original salesman that we worked with today on the phone and he mentioned that an Alaska friend has also been working with him. Small world. I get into Atlanta at 5:15am tomorrow morning so, hopefully, I can get some sleep tonight on the flight. At least I got upgraded to first class. Maybe there’s a chance. The picture is one that I had downloaded from their website. The salesman that we dealt with when we looked at the RV in person is no longer working there so I am not sure how much of what he promised will be followed through with. But most of it was small stuff. Even when we were there he seemed dissatisfied with the “no commission” policy. From a customer perspective, that’s a real plus. The check-out process is supposed to be pretty extensive with a demonstration of how to use all of the systems on the rig. That sounds like it could take a while. Again, we’ll see.

Just a quick phone photo of Mt. St Helens. Having a salad at Ever Greens in the Seattle airport. Kind of like a glorified salad bar. A nice addition to the airport. I walked 3.08 miles within the airport since I thought there was a challenge listed in the Activity app on the phone. But I had the date wrong. The National Parks Challenge is tomorrow. Maybe the walk will help me get some sleep on the flight as it did tire me out somewhat. 

Friday, August 23, 2019

Day 7 - Corvallis, OR

This morning, I met up with Troubadour and Trobairitz aka Brad and Brandy. We went to the FedEx warehouse in Salem with their motorcycle trailer to pick up the tow dolly that has been stored in the warehouse since they didn’t have a way to deliver it. After getting it off the trailer, we removed it from the crate and “assembled” it. This amounted to four bolts on each plastic fender and bolting on the two loading ramps.

A huge thank you to Brad and Brandy for helping to pick up the tow dolly. And on their day off! The claimed shipping weight was 500#. FedEx put it onto their trailer with a fork lift but we needed to muscle it off the trailer. I’m glad that it is finally here after all the trouble with shipping from the Southeast. This tow dolly has a surge system to hydraulically activate the disc brakes when slowing down. Apparently, brakes aren’t required everywhere in the country which seems odd to me. 

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Day 6 - Part 1 finished - Corvallis, OR

Four full days plus two short days at each end. 2611 miles and 43.3 mpg for the whole trip. And the car didn’t get very dirty thanks to all the rain to wash off the mud. The truck is easier to drive for long distances partly due to more room inside and a more “chair-like” seating position. Having the inductive charger for the phone was really convenient. And the hands-free calling was incredibly convenient. Even Siri seemed to work in the car.

Now time to re-sort through stuff to figure out what I need for the cross country road trip. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Day 5 - Stevenson, WA

This morning, I just entered Stevenson, WA, into the gps on the Prius. About 30-40 miles down the highway, I realized that the gps had routed me through the Sumas border crossing and Seattle instead of Osoyoos like I had planned! Oh well, I wasn’t going to turn around. It was a shorter distance but the 45 minute wait at the border and the heavy traffic (multiple accidents) in the Seattle area more than negated the shorter distance.

I stopped at Stevenson so I could meet up with motoblogger Lynne (Curvyroads.info) and Jerry who are workamping at the Bonneville Dam visitor’s center. We had dinner at Big River Grill in Stevenson. Tomorrow, I’ll be in Corvallis.

Day 4 - Merrit, BC

No pictures today. The only stops today were two stops for gas and maybe twenty times for road construction. It was raining when I left this morning and hit 92°F this afternoon. Only 613 miles today though the construction delays made it seem like a long day. The Prius has been averaging 43 mpg so there’s going to be some sticker shock when relocating the class A from GA to OR. 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Day 3 - New Hazelton, BC

I looked at the weather maps last night and the rain/snow appeared to be heading north. If I took the Alaska Hwy, I would be in it for most of the day. The Cassiar headed due south so I should pop out the other side before long. So, south it was. The second picture shows what the first hour was like. Quite a bit of snow but none on the road. By Jade City, it was starting to clear up.

By the time I hit Dease Lake, there was even a little bit of sun peeking through the clouds. There was some scattered sleet for the rest of the day but was much more relaxing drive than yesterday afternoon. A bit slower due to the narrow, winding roads.

This is sort of typical of the scenery along the Cassiar but as I headed south, the snow disappeared. But I did see 27 black bear along the road. Mostly in the southern half. 500 miles today but I waited until 9:30 before heading out to let things warm up a bit. I stopped at a random hotel and it turned out to be the same one we stayed on a previous trip.


Sunday, August 18, 2019

Day 2 - Watson Lake, YT

The day started out fine in Tok though it did drop into the low 40s (°F). It was nice and clear coming into Whitehorse, YT, in the early afternoon. The weather started to deteriorate as I headed further east  with light snow on the trees. From The Continental Divide into Watson Lake, it snowed lightly though it was still above freezing. All of the rooms at Nugget City were taken so I headed into Watson Lake where I found a room behind the closed Chinese restaurant. At least it has WiFi so I don’t have to rely on Verizon to check the road conditions. This is the only picture I took on the 650 mile drive.

I’m using the SWConnect app which uploads to Spotwalla. Here is the link to my trip. 

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Day 1 - Tok, AK

I left around 1:30 for the relatively short 210 miles to Tok. When I arrived, my phone must’ve connected to WiFi somewhere as I received several text messages including one from Chris and Lori who were picking me up in Atlanta next week. There was confusion on the date so I needed to find WiFi so I could call. So I’m now having dinner at Fast Eddy’s and using their WiFi.

Not much else to report except 44 mpg.

All of a sudden I have three bars of Verizon 3G. So I added a picture of the wall tent at Thompson’s Eagles Claw motorcycle campground. I’ve stayed here numerous times before and it appears that I’m the only one here today. The motel parking lots have motorcycles in them. Maybe everyone is looking at all the fresh snow on the mountains.

Spotwalla Link

Almost Ready...

Two e-bikes, an inflatable kayak, kitchen stuff, tools, pillows, clothes, etc. The first things were the large items, followed by stuff that we didn’t care to purchase over again. Then whatever fit. I did decide to bring camping gear as I can think of a few places to stay along the way. I’m waiting to see what the weather forecast is before deciding on the Cassiar Hwy. I’m was originally planning on leaving on Sunday morning with an initial target of Whitehorse, YT, but it was difficult to find an appropriate stopping point. Everywhere is still super expensive. So now, I'm thinking of leaving on Saturday afternoon. This would allow me to stop in Tok at Thompson's Eagle's Claw even though I'm not on a motorcycle, she said it would be just fine. I reserved the wall tent so I don't have to deal with a wet tent in the morning.

Subsequent stops are Nugget City where they have tent camping if it's not raining but also have Atco type of rooms. These are rooms barely larger than the double bed with the bathroom in a separate building. Fort St. John could be the next stop. In 2017, I went from Fort Nelson to Prince George. So maybe Fort St. John to Williams Lake or Merrit may be do-able. Wednesday will see me (hopefully) back in the U.S. into southern Washington. Then, finally, a shorter day into Corvallis, OR. A total of 2,600 miles give or take. Two half-days plus four full days.

Today (Friday) has been mostly spent packing the Prius. And, it’s not stuffed full after we put everything in it. This will be our first real trip with the Prius. We'll see how it does. And the biggest challenge, for me, to clean up things in the garage enough to park the truck inside for the winter. A lot of stuff had to be moved as the truck hasn’t been parked in the garage for years...

Friday, August 16, 2019

Battery Reference

Just for reference, I took a picture of the batteries before pulling it all apart. I put the batteries in the garage, wired them back together (series-parallel) and put a charger on them. There are also a couple of small gauge wires attached to the battery bank. On the lower left negative terminal is the temperature sensor and the battery voltage sense for the solar charge controller is upper left to lower right. I took the picture just in case someone else needs to re-install the batteries. After lifting these batteries out of the box and into the car makes the LiFePO4 batteries look better and better. Less than half the weight for twice the useable capacity.

I take the batteries out of the RV since there is a very small parasitic drain which I could fix with some longer cables. The Progressive Dynamics converter is just attached to the catastrophic fuse and it appears to always draw a little bit of power. I also have a dc-dc converter to provide 5v to the Raspberry Pi that is collecting data from the charge controller. Today (Thursday) we went back to finish the winterization by pumping RV antifreeze through the water lines and pump. To power the pump, I just brought the small lithium jumper box I use on the Ural. I removed the dc-dc converter for the Raspberry Pi and the TPMS booster that I had installed in the battery compartment. I am bringing the TPMS system from the truck/5th wheel to use on the new-to-us RV. I don’t remember seeing any TPMS sensors. I have eight sensors but I may need to order a couple more if the system allows different tire pressure on the trailer. I don’t think it does so I can’t monitor the tow dolly tires and the Prius rear tires.

I picked up some 2/0 AWG arc welding cable and connectors to install the Victron battery monitor in the coach. I had also picked up a hydraulic crimp tool to use instead of the hammer crimp tool I used on the 5th wheel installation. The tool came with a large selection of die sizes and according to a table on the Internet, I would use a 70 die for the 2/0 AWG cable.

After stripping the insulation, you insert the wire and pump the handle to apply 16 tons of pressure making a hexagonal crimp. The wire was still a little loose so I switched to a smaller die. The crimp was tight but it looked "over-crimped". The recommendation is to look for heavier copper lugs.

After crimping, I covered the lug with heat shrink tubing for a nice finished lug. I had purchased 3' of the 2/0 AWG cable and for now, installed a lug on both ends. Once I actually install the shunt and a negative bus bar, I just need to cut the two cables to length and install two more lugs. I just wanted to try out the crimp tool and it worked great. What is now shown is the anti-oxidant that is put onto the bare copper before being crimped.

Over three years of activity tracking on the Apple Watch got me a virtual award. Exceeding my move goal 1000 times. Granted, I never increased it from the default but I did exceed it by 2x, 3x, or 4x almost 400 times during that period.