Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Heading to TX

Tuesday - We headed south to drop off the trailer. We can’t tow both the Jeep and the trailer with the RV. It’s about a 900 mile trip so not too bad. After dropping off the trailer and Bridget, who’s flying back to Fairbanks, I’ll head back to pick up the RV. It’s supposed to be done today. 

We arrived in Lubbock, TX, after 8pm. There was a time zone change which made it later than I had expected. Today was a 620 mile day which makes it a slightly shorter driving day tomorrow. Something like 390 miles. 

Monday, October 30, 2023

Starting to Get Cold

Monday - But just for today. I think this is going to be the low temperature for the week. According to the weather guessers, it'll be warming up to well above freezing later in the week. The RV isn't ready today as the roads are on the slick side for test driving. BTW, I really like this new display mode on the phone. My iPhone is not new enough for the display to stay on but all it takes is a tap on the screen to see the time and temperature.

Tomorrow, we will start driving the Jeep with the trailer to TX. It's under 1000 miles so not too far. The plan is to drop off the trailer in Hondo, find Bridget a hotel near the San Antonio airport, and I will head back to Fort Collins with the expectation that the RV will be ready to go at the end of the week. The weather looks pretty nice by then. I will hook up the Jeep and head back to Texas. The extra trip is needed since we have the trailer with the Ural on it.

At least that's the current plan.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Mac Problems...


Thursday - A couple of days ago, I was updating the OS, and the power cord disconnected so the update got interrupted. Anyway, I ended up doing a "Recovery" which installed the most recent OS version that supports my hardware. That version was two major versions back. And, it automatically connected to the university and downloaded all of its policies. It took a while for me to figure out how to bypass that process and it involved booting into "Safe Mode", installing open-source firmware, and installing Sonoma, the current version. I'm glad that the Internet here is really fast. My last full backup was last month so I lost a couple of things but not much. And I was able to participate in this morning's test session.

I think it may be time for a new laptop. One that is currently supported. Though this one, A Macbook Pro with 3.3GHz I7, 16GB RAM, and 1TB SSD still performs pretty well. But with the RV engine, it will have to wait...

 - We went to the Loveland Museum as they had a special exhibit of Ansel Adams's photos of the Manzanar Internment camp. It was a nice exhibit and I've seen most of the photos over the years. It was a nice exhibit as was the rest of the museum. 

The motorhome is able to be driven now but there is a boost problem that derates the engine. They are now looking into that. So not ready to be picked up. The service manager called to let me know not to expect it to be done today. 

 - Definitely not what I wanted to see this morning. And to think that not much more than a week ago, the temperatures were in the upper 70s (°F).

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Still in Fort Collins, CO

Saturday - It's forecast to be another warm, sunny day here in northeast Colorado. They say that it is unusually warm for mid-October. 

After the morning test session, I walked to Safeway for a few groceries then stopped at the Starbucks in the parking lot. It’s pretty empty and the WiFi is a fraction of the speed. But it’s a nice stop and the americano is decent. I think I walk to Safeway just about every other day. The round trip is a bit over two miles so it’s convenient. Today’s extensive grocery list was eggs and parsnips. But I ended up with a few more things. 

The change to the Magnum is working great. Every time it charges, it’s in CV (constant voltage) mode for an hour which is long enough to top balance the cells inside the batteries. This is a function of the BMS within the batteries. 

Sunday - Didn’t accomplish anything. A very quiet, relaxing day.

Monday - After a morning trip to Safeway, I participated in the morning test session.  Looking at the weather for this area, I think we would really want to be on our way out of Colorado by the weekend. Hopefully, everything works out and we are back in the RV by the end of the week.

Wednesday - We visited the Sculpture Garden in Fort Collins after lunch. A wonderful place to walk around before it starts to get cold. It was still only around 60°F. Cooler than it has been the last week or so. 

There is still some nice Fall colors but quite a few trees have lost most of their leaves. 

Friday, October 20, 2023

Still in Fort Collins, CO

Wednesday - The Internet here is still pretty fast. This is the Speedtest with the VPN turned on. It seems that some things, such as Zoom, seem to work better when the VPN is enabled. The Internet seemed consistent enough to try to lead a test session. 

Later - The test session seemed to go fine at least as far as the Internet. There were some minor issues with the candidate's laptop. I think her parents had it pretty locked down. But we got it worked out. 

This is starting to look like the end of Fall. I’m just hoping to get to a lower elevation before it decides to snow. I think we’ll be fine for at least another week or so. Since it was such a nice day (75°F), I went ahead and loaded the Ural back onto the trailer. There is just too much traffic around here…

 - It was another pleasantly warm day with a high in the upper 70s. I think this is significantly warmer than what would be normal. That's fine with me. It cools down in the evening and the hot tub is wonderful!

 - I thought the Internet was pretty fast yesterday. Today…

I called the shop today and was told that the engine was on the stand and should be lifted into the chassis either later today or Monday. And they were predicting Wednesday or Thursday of next week. 

This afternoon, we went to Old Town Fort Collins. Bridget was looking for buildings somewhat reminiscent of Disney. I think one of the planners was from Fort Collins and used these as models. It was a cool area and they had a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream shop. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Fort Collins, CO, and Cheyenne, WY

Sunday - Another near-freezing morning but it warmed up to almost 70°F by mid-afternoon. The rest of the week is looking pretty nice! I needed to scan some documents and, fortunately, Galen had a nice HP multi-function printer with a document feeder. It scanned the 14 pages and they were on my laptop in less than a minute. It took much longer to get the PDF document small enough to fit within the credit union mailbox rules. 

Monday - Today's high was 75°F in the mid-afternoon. Quite a difference. 

Tuesday - This morning, we drove to Cheyenne to make a partial payment on the repair and see how things were progressing. The picture is the empty engine compartment showing the front of the transmission. They didn't need to remove the rear motorhome framing as there was enough room to slide the engine back before dropping it out the bottom.

Here is a picture of the new long block. Other new parts include the head with all of the valve hardware, injectors, heui pump, water pump, cam, timing gears, and turbocharger. Quite few used parts will be reused. All of the manifolds, plumbing, air compressor, hydraulic pump, wiring, sensors, alternator, A/C compressor, etc.

The mechanic working on the engine thought that it should be ready to start in about a week.

While there, I changed a few of the settings on the Magnum inverter/charger. I raised the recharge voltage from 12.9VDC to 13.1VDC. The charge cycle wasn’t starting until the SoC was below 40% and the batteries were not getting fully recharged (and top balanced). I also raised the maximum charge duration from 5 hours to 10 hours but also reduced the max current to 40 amps. This is because it’s on a 20amp circuit with other equipment. 

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Fort Collins, CO

Friday - It’s starting to get cold overnight. I walked to the Safeway pharmacy this morning to get a flu shot. It was kind of a chilly walk as it was only 46°F with a light wind. My doctor had told me to get one every year around mid-October. That feels like about now. It was a long wait as the pharmacist was the only one working. No other techs so he was trying to do everything. By the time I started to walk back, it had warmed up to around 54°F and very little wind. I hope there are no side effects from the shot. 

I participated in the afternoon test session. Very easy to do here due to the fantastic bandwidth. 260Mbps down and 90Mbps up. And that's running through a VPN server. One of the benefits of the VPN is ads are stripped out of web pages so the pages load faster.

Saturday - The big event of the day seems to be the eclipse, which will be a partial around here. But, since I don't have any viewing set up to watch the eclipse directly, I'll settle for a couple of live streams on YouTube. I'm watching the one on timeanddate.com as they don't have much commentary.

I'm also participating in the morning test session. The candidate is someone whom I've known since the early 80s when he and his wife were students at the university. 

It's starting to feel a bit "wintery" around here. This was the temperature at 4:40 this morning as shown on the phone. I kind of like this mode. Kind of like a bedside clock. Too bad there isn't an "always on" mode. If you have a newer iPhone, it's an option. But nor for the 13 mini...

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Fort Collins, CO

Tuesday - After getting back from RMNP, I checked HomeAssistant at the RV and the batteries were constant-current charging from the Magnum. I had thought that the power had shut off again. It charged for five hours before shutting off. I don't think the battery is fully charged up yet. Let's see, 40amps for 5 hours is 200 AH, or about half the capacity of the battery bank. And based on the voltage, it still isn't fully charged up all the way since the full discharge.

The temperature here will be dropping over the next couple of days. Not looking forward to seeing freezing temperatures. I did not winterize the RV but, fortunately, they said that it will be sitting inside the shop. I probably should have at least blown out the water lines and drained the hot water heater. 

Thursday - We drove down to Boulder, CO, to Celestial Seasonings Tea. They had free samples of their teas. I hadn’t realized that they weren’t an old, established company. Red Zinger was my introduction to the brand when I was gifted a large glass container of loose tea when I was a graduate student. To this day, it’s still one of my favorites. 

Unfortunately, no photos allowed on the tour though it was a good tour. And the $10 was usable as credit in the store. 

After a quick lunch, we headed to NCAR. The National Center for Atmospheric Research. I had last visited here over 20 years ago during a Educause workshop. I don’t remember much except for the wonderful views. 

What is kinda cool is that my phone automatically connected to the Eduroam WiFi even after all these years. I guess my certificate is still valid…

And, I tried out a new gadget for the first time today. A small device that sits in the center console plugged into the USB port that enables wireless CarPlay. The phone connects via Bluetooth to the device and it communicates with the UConnect car stereo via USB. It seems to work well. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Rocky Mountain National Park

Tuesday - We had a timed entry permit for any time between 9 to 11 a.m. There was quite a line at the entrance gate when we arrived at 10. A nice drive through the park. This picture was taken at the Alpine Visitors Center, which was closed for the season. 

We went on a short (1.2 mile) hike and the elevation was 12,300’. Not enough air at this elevation. Fortunately, they have these nice little signs nicely spaced out on the steeper sections of the trail that you can stop and read. They called these mushroom rocks due to their shape. Nice clear skies today though it was pretty cold with the wind at the higher elevations.

It's kind of interesting that there doesn't seem to be any iconic view or location here at RMNP. Beautiful views, and high mountains but no "Half Dome" or "Old Faithful" type of location.

Monday, October 9, 2023

RV in Cheyenne, WY

Monday - This morning, I went to the shop to pick up a few more things from the RV and to get a status update on the repair. The oil pan was still removed, but I couldn't get a good picture. The coach batteries were dead as the RV wasn't plugged in. The BMS within the SOK batteries had shut off current flow as designed. I used my small jumper box on the batteries after turning off the coach power master switch. This allowed the BMS to turn back on and get a little bit of charge. After plugging in to shore power, the inverter/charger came on, and after switching the master switch, the batteries were charging. It charged for about 4 hours before reaching the time limit I had set on the Magnum inverter/charger. It should start to charge again once the voltage drops to 12.9V. 

The engine "kit" is in Denver and should arrive at the shop tomorrow or Wednesday. The lead mechanic in the shop said that they should be starting once the engine arrives.

On Sunday morning, we met up with the Changs for brunch at Cracker Barrel. After a delicious meal, we went across the highway to Scheels, a large sporting goods store with a ferris wheel in the middle of the store. As always, we had a wonderful visit with them.

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Fort Collins, CO

Thursday - Since I now know that the RV is going to be in the shop for a couple of weeks, I went ahead and unloaded the Ural for some riding, I'm not sure where to go. I may ride back to Cheyenne to pick up some more tools at the RV and to see if they have the power plugged in. To unload the Ural, I needed to pick up a cheap socket set at the local Harbor Freight as I needed to unbolt the sides of the trailer. 

BTW, the Ural started right up, no issues.

Friday - It’s cooler today with a forecasted high of only 59°F. So probably won't be going out for a ride today.

I will be picking Bridget up from the Denver airport this evening also not with the Ural.

Saturday - It was cold last night with a low of 36°F and there was frost on shaded surfaces this morning such as the hot tub cover. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Fort Collins and Aurora, CO

Friday - The only task completed was finally washing the Jeep. It’s been a while since it was last washed. 

Saturday - Bridget headed home for a few appointments and after dropping her off at the Denver airport, I went to the Chang’s home for a visit. It was a wonderful visit and I stayed overnight. It was nice to not drive back to Fort Collins in the dark. There was a lot of traffic and road construction on I-25. 

Sunday - It was a fairly relaxing drive back to Fort Collins and I even had the front half of the top open. Mid-70s (°F) for most of the drive. 

Monday, Tuesday - I helped friends with the yard of one of their rental properties.

Wednesday -  I heard back from the Cat shop. They removed the oil filter and it had sludge in it. They cut the filter open looking for any traces of metal and didn't find any. After putting a new filter on and replacing the oil, they were able to start the engine but it sounded horrible. They then dropped the oil pan and found that cylinders 3 & 4 showed damage. The recommendation is a re-manufactured engine.

A re-manufactured engine does not seem to be available in the U.S. but the "kit" version is. This includes the full block and fuel injection but does not include the external pieces such as the intake and exhaust manifolds, turbo, and alternator. Some of these would be moved from the old engine and some things, such as the turbo, would be new. The "kit" is available in Atlanta and work could start next Monday. His estimate is 2½ - 3 weeks from today.