Palm Trees in southern Florida

Friday, August 29, 2014

Boondocking on the Columbia river

I stopped at the COE area by the John Day dam in Rufus Oregon.

It's on the Columbia river, there was a flush toilet & several vault toilets and fishing. This is a good sized area spread out along the river.

I cruised around on my bike. There were a number of tents, trailers that looked to have been there for awhile and treaty fishing stands along the river.

fishing stands along the river

A camp under a tree

Stands on the Washington side
There was a lot of empty space the Friday morning.


more room

There were trains on both sides of the river

I didn't notice the train or road noise, it was a quiet place. 
It was a place to sleep out under the stars.

 As a plus the water running out was colored at night!


I need to a explain the fishing stands. 
They are used by the tribes to fish the river in accordance with treaties.
I added two photos. The first one shows a hoop net on the stand and the second shows one being used.

Hoop net
Fisherman with the hoop net in the water

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Moving on

I had to do away with my shirts in the drawer calendar, I left the amusement park & am returning to Washington.

The 'work' shirt calendar
Regular shirts

 The full time work was over (just weekends now) and I had some stuff to take care of back in Washington so I left.

I realize I set out to full time/travel & turned into a migrant worker really fast. Working is a hard habit for me to break!

Just driving
Maybe I want to go somewhere else?

There are a lot of 'movers' on the road going in both directions. I have to guess of course unless I get a chance to ask them but it's not that hard to guess, if they are pulling a car on a U-Haul dolly with a U-haul truck & the car has pillows & other last minute bedding in it it's a good guess they are not going camping.
I can't say if there are "more", I don't spend enough time on the road.

As I headed west the gas prices went up & so did the elevation but I kept chugging along.

The road just goes on and up

I found that my carburetored RV engine was not happy much over 5000 feet, over 8000 feet it was real slow going, there is a lot to be said for electronic fuel injection when you are dealing with the altitude.

I learned a bit

 Rest areas had things to see and there was the never ending road.
A Nebraska rest area

I was again reminded of the families who made this trek 170 years ago and the major physical effort they put out to do it.

Wyoming rain

The road

that never seems to end

When you get to the Columbia River you know you're getting closer.

John Day dam, Rufus Oregon


In time the journey ends... for now.

but at the end of this journey there is a movie!

Skyline drive-in in Shelton Washington

Friday, August 15, 2014

Keeping track of time

I have a watch for work, I picked it up at Walmart for $12.98. It lives in a pocket when I'm not at work.
I have calenders with my grandkids pictures on them, I look at the pictures a lot, those are great calenders!
My phone has both a clock and a calender, it works really really well & lives in my pocket when I'm not using it. I print that same calender out (gotta love google!) & keep that next to my computer, it has 'things' on it that are important to me but no pictures.

And I have my work shirt drawer. I work six days a week and I have six shirts.

As the week goes on...

When I open that drawer and see only one shirt left I know I made it again!

It looks like I should update my map too

Sunday is my last work day so the shirt drawer trick won't matter anymore...
I'm heading back to Washington to take care of some things.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The bottom line

I was in the Flying J truck stop and noticed LED light bulbs. I use 12 auto light bulbs in my RV house for all the 12vdc lights, LEDs use a lot less electricity than standard bulbs.... worth a look I thought.

I really wanted the one I use for a stove light, it's always on but that was not there.
I did find a bulb that would fit in most of my sockets, I decided to give it a try.
They were spendy, $12 for a single bulb or $20 for a 2 pack. I had a 20 dollar bill so I bought a 2 pack. 
They work alright but not great, too directional and not bright enough to replace a reading lamp.
They do work ok for a night light.

When I opened the pack one of the two bulbs did not work, at $10 each I took it back.
The guy at the Flying J took another 2 pack off the wall, opened it & gave me a new bulb, then put my bad bulb back in the package he took off the wall, and he sealed it back up.

I left wondering what kind of profit margin Flying J has on those bulbs? I wonder what else they could have done with a single bad light bulb?  I wondered about the corporate culture of Flying J, how important is the bottom line at Flying J....

>>On Monday, the US Department of Justice announced that Haslam’s Pilot Flying J, the nation’s largest chain of hybrid convenience store-gas stations, cut a deal to avoid criminal charges. As part of the settlement, Pilot Flying J will pay $92 million in fines, and make whole the more than $56 million its customers lost as part of the company’s diesel fuel rebate fraud.<<

I went to get gas for the RV last week, the Flying J was $3.19 & the place a block down was $3.22 ... I thought about (what seems to be) the corporate culture of Flying J,  then I spent the extra 3 cents a gallon down the street.
I don't really trust what the Flying J will do for it's bottom line.

I won't always have that option but I did this week.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

You can move the world with a 5 pound hammer!

My RV needed a new U-joint.
I have a 5# hammer, I know how to do it but no place to work.

On the way to Iowa from Texas this spring we had to get a tow, the tow driver pulled the rear shaft & lost a single needle bearing.
The RV made it here fine but it was not 'right' & I put it on the list to fix it before we moved again.
We're getting near moving time again!

I went to the truck stop across the street the other night and asked them if I brought them the shaft of they could swap the U-joint, they said "no problem".

An RV U-joint? Can't help you

I pulled the shaft yesterday & took it over the first thing this morning tied to my bike with bungee cords.
Different people at the service desk, their first question is "who do you drive for?", the second question is "what kind of truck"?
Myself and a Chevy P-30 were not the right answers, mentioning "RV" was even worse.
They referred me to an RV repair place in the next town.

My next stop was at "Car RX" maybe a mile away.
They said they could do it but wanted me to already have the U-joint, that was not a problem.
A side note, some shops like to use their parts others don't mind using the customers, I was waiting to see what the shop wanted to do.
Back I come with the new U-joint, the lady at the desk tells me it will be $129.00 in labor...
What I say?
Yep, the guy behind the counter say he talked to his mechanic & it's going to take a least an hour.
Now I'm standing there with the drive shaft in my hand, the U-joint in front of me, it's not like they have to pull it. It's two bearing caps with external snap rings, it doesn't get any easier....
"No thanks" says I.
I've done a few U-joints in the 5 years at the front end shop & that was more than outrageous, maybe they just didn't want to do it?

They wanted $129 for 20 minutes work

Alright. I have a 5# hammer, pliers, screw driver & a deep socket to use as drift to get the cap out. All I need is a way to support the shaft while I do it.
I'm on my way to Menards (on my bike with my bungee cords) to buy an 8' 2x4 to make a support and I stopped at the RV office to drop off some mail. I'm talking to the guys there about the $129 labor for a U-joint & what I'm up to. They point me to someone who has a vice mounted on a work bench and is willing to let me use it.

It took less than 20 minutes to change the U-joint.

With a 5# hammer you can move anything, even a u-joint

With a 5# hammer I have 'pressed' ball joints, U-joints, fixed dented steel wheels and moved more things than I can remember. You can move things with a 5 pound hammer!
I might have exaggerated a little about moving the world with a 5# hammer... I'd need a 6' steel bar too    :-)