Monday, September 27, 2021

Day 6, 7 - Ogden, UT

Sunday - A shorter travel day at a bit over 300 miles. No ridiculous grades though we did spend much of the day between 3500 and 5500 ft elevation. You could see smoke during much of the drive though it doesn’t smell smoky here at the Cottonwood Campground - Willard Lake State Park. 

I think this is the first time we’ve stayed at a state park. They are usually full and the sites tend to be smaller. But this is pretty nice. Full hookups with 30amp power. It was really warm in the RV this afternoon. One A/C struggles to keep up. This state park is just off of I-15 so there’s a fair amount of traffic noise. 

After the last two travel days, we are stopped here for two nights to relax. Then we have a bit over 500 miles to a Colorado state park. 

 - I participated in a test session this morning using the new hotspot. It seemed to work fine though there was some occasional stuttering. I have the hotspot located right next to the cell booster antenna in the cabinet behind the front TV. So far, we have used 12GB of our 100GB limit but that includes all of the throughput tests in Fairbanks. There is an afternoon session as well that I had signed up for but as of this morning, there weren't any candidates. But by the afternoon, someone signed up.

Our travel plans changed a bit. We were originally thinking of stopping at a Walmart in Rock Springs, WY, but the weather doesn't look very good. Some friends offered us an RV space in Fort Collins, CO. So tomorrow will be another long driving day through the entire state of Wyoming. I believe the Garmin says 7½ hours.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Day 5 - Nampa, ID

Saturday - A long travel day. Right around 500 miles. We were originally thinking of staying at the Walmart in Meridian, ID, but I kind of remembered there being a Cracker Barrel here as well. Given a choice, Cracker Barrel wins every time. 

We drove along the Columbia River instead of the more direct route through Bend as the time was almost identical. Nice scenery though I didn’t look forward to the steep uphills. Tomorrow is a shorter travel day to a state park near Ogden, UT. I like the first day to be a long one. 

BTW, the refrigerator ran all night and most of the day on propane. It switched to AC when I started the generator to run the rooftop A/C units. It was mid-80s once we left the Columbia River. The picture is actually in the Sportsman Warehouse parking lot. I moved the RV this morning when the CB parking lot was empty. The TSD fuel program is still saving us $$$. The discount at Baker City was over $50! (20%)

Friday, September 24, 2021

Day 3, 4 - Corvallis, OR

Thursday - We are on the road again. A short 190 mile day down to the Benton Oaks RV Park in Corvallis, OR. I did notice that full throttle wasn’t always needed as we are not towing the Prius. It’ll be interesting to see what the fuel mileage is without the car. 

Once we arrived, I opened up the back of the refrigerator and saw a big flake of rust sitting on the burner. I vacuumed the compartment and banged on the chimney to loosen any other flakes of rust. The refrigerator is running on propane now. Hopefully it’s fixed. 

When I was plugging the cables into the front TV, I accidentally dropped the TV. It was on older LCD TV and only 720p resolution and drew 180watts so not too upset by it. I moved the smaller TV from the bedroom to the front and it works fine. I may even recess it into the cabinet. Or, we may look for another TV. 

The weather is pretty nice here in Corvallis. Much better than it was back in Fairbanks. Tomorrow, it’s forecasted to be 87°F!

Friday - Fortunately, it’s not 87°F. Only 82°F. My sister and brother in-law generously lent us their Prius for the afternoon so we were able to pick up my mom and run some errands. We stopped at the Team Oregon office and visited with Brad and Brandy for a bit. The first picture is my mom and Brad in case the masks are confusing things.

The second picture is Brandy and Bridget. It was nice to visit with them for at least a bit. They were getting ready to head to the coast with their RV. 

The refrigerator died again on propane last night around midnight. This morning, I removed the igniter wire and the ceramic insulator. I cleaned everything with alcohol and reinstalled it taking care to have the tip around ⅛” from burner. It fired up right away when I switched to propane. We’ll try it again tonight. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Day 2 - Centralia, WA

Wednesday (2)
 - We had lunch with Diary of a Family (Garrett and Carolyn) near Olympia. Afterwards, we all drove out to visit with the Edwards, formerly from Fairbanks, at their farm. They finished restoring a old barn they plan to turn into a cidery. 

We stayed for a bit and then headed back to the RV. I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening getting things packed up. Tomorrow, we head south to Corvallis for a couple of days. 

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.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Fall Walk and CHSR

Wednesday - I ended up taking a walk today as the afternoon test session was canceled. I really need to get out and get more exercise. Way too much sitting around this summer. It's so easy to just hop on the Ural to get anywhere that I haven't been getting much exercise in. Today's walk was only 2.25 miles into the neighboring subdivision and back. It wasn't very long ago when I would've stretched this short walk to about 8-10 miles. 

I don't think it ever got above 60°F today but with the sun peeking through the clouds, it was a nice for a walk.

Thursday - Instead of morning coffee, we drove out to Chena Hot Springs which is about 60 miles outside of Fairbanks. Lots of Fall colors but mostly a dull yellowish brown. 

When we arrived, the outdoor pool was pretty empty but by noon, it was starting to get crowded. I think a tour bus brought a load of people in as they all had their tour group name tags. 

They’ve made a lot of changes since we were last there. Seeing this plane perched on steel poles was a surprise. Not sure of the significance and there weren’t any signs. 

This was a sure sign that it was time to head south. 

We had a nice day and very relaxing…

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Fall is Here

Saturday - Hard to complain about our afternoon high temperature. And since there was no rain today, I went ahead and cleared a bit more brush as the heating oil company complained that they couldn't get to our fuel tank. I must admit that I really like that electric chain saw. 

It looks like we might have a plan. If we don't hear anything about the Jeep, we will be flying down in about 3 weeks. I would hope that we hear something by then but we need to get moving. That gives us two weeks to get from Washington state to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta. Bridget is planning out the route and stops.

- The first Monday of the month, the Airheads get together somewhere. This evening, it was at one of the member's garage where he wanted some help greasing the splines on the transmission input shaft. A task he hadn’t done before. This is his BMW R60/5 that is starting to look like new. 

It was almost dark when I headed home at 8:45, which was sunset. Quite the change over the last month. We are closing in on the equinox so the loss of daylight is over 6 minutes per day. 

Tuesday - Morning coffee at Sunsprout Cafe again today. Only 43°F on the ride but at least the sun was up. After coffee, I stopped at Costco and Fred Meyer to pick up groceries. A lot of comments on the Ural as I was filling up the sidecar with groceries. It holds a lot of groceries. 

Soon, it'll be time to pack the Ural away in the back of the garage again. It has been fun riding it again. I have some maintenance to do over the next week or so. I want to switch the rear tire back to the K37 from the K28 street tire. And, I probably need to do a transmission input shaft spline lube again. It's been a couple of years.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Changing Plans...

Wednesday - Nice sunny day. The first in a while. 

Thursday - And apparently, the last sunny day. We are back to overcast and temperatures in the 50s (°F). But I got some more brush and small trees cleared as the fuel oil company complained. Oh well, it needed to be done anyway.

We received another update from Jeep saying pretty much the same thing: 

“… your vehicle is being sequenced for production with all the parts necessary to begin building your order either being scheduled or gathered.“

But they did say that the process is going to be “tracked” and “prioritized” that and I will be receiving email updates. But they did not specify how often.

Friday -  This morning started out sunny but we are back to mostly overcast again. One of the dogs became partially paralyzed last week and has been in and out to the vet over the last week. The jury is still out regarding his condition and what is going to happen.

So we still aren't sure when we will be heading back to the RV. The RV parks that Bridget had reserved in Washington and Montana have been canceled but we are still planning on heading through Colorado into New Mexico for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta which starts on October 3rd (for us). We don't need a vehicle for that event but we would've needed one to explore Yellowstone. 

At least it eventually warmed up to an almost tropical 66°F. Or at least that how it feels compared to the last couple of weeks. I'm working on cleaning out the cupboards of food as some of the items have been there for years. For example, I'm making lasagne today as the pasta has been sitting in the back of the cupboard for years.