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2nd Pinellas Bike trip, Lesson Learned, and RV Maintenance


May 04 Saturday, 2013   

We had a lot of rain this week.  It was actually nice for a change to just hang around the RV.  It seems that here in Florida it never really is a complete rain out when it rains either.  A lot of the rain just forms here and doesn't come from somewhere else.  So, mostly we had on and off rain Tuesday afternoon through Friday and it is very overcast this morning too.

Sunday we went to the Blueberry Wine Festival in Plant City Florida.  What a great day we had!  The weather was absolutely beautiful too.  The festival is held on a small family blueberry farm that also makes wine.  The crowd was estimated at 6,000 which is a lot of people in a somewhat small place. The temperature was just about 90 by 1 pm and there were 2 separate people taken to the hospital from the heat and, we think, too much to drink in the heat.  We got under the big tent early and took residence near the entertainment.  We had lunch of pulled pork, corn fritters with Mozzarella cheese and much wine.  It just doesn't get much better.  Well maybe the nap we had when we got back!




Inside the big tent a the Blueberry wine festival.  We were just a little toasted and baked!


We took advantage of the excellent weather last Monday and biked another portion of the Pinellas trail.  This time we parked the truck about ½ a mile east of the trail and started the trail at the 8 mile mark in the town of Dunedin.  Dunedin is on the Gulf Coast at the entrance to Honeymoon Island (previous BLOG Post).  

We biked the trail going South through the town of Clearwater before stopping for lunch.    We stopped at an Irish Pub called O'keefe's.  The food was very, very good.  Patty had the Shepard’s pie and I had something new for me, the Wexman Steak.  The Wexman is as follows: Grilled Flank steak cut into ¼ inch slices covered with grilled onions and cheddar cheese.  This steak with onions and cheese is then placed on top of a pile of grilled mashed potatoes.  The end result is a plate with melted cheese covering the whole mass of taste goodness.  Lastly, the whole thing is lightly covered with a Guinness brown gravy!  I really need to make this myself sometime.  


We added new bike seats for this ride.  We needed more padding.

This is a little hard to see, but this is 4 wheel bike for 2.  It's sort of like the the Flinstone car.  They had a radio and GPS.

Cool wall mural in downtown Clearwater.

Former railroad crossing on Pinellas trail
O'keefe's for lunch.


Interesting painting inside O'keefe's.  It is said that the painting is of the  owners wife!

The next best part was that we could bike back the 8 miles to our truck after we ate.  The total trip for us was a new record of 16 miles.  It was also 86 degrees when we arrived back at the truck!  We were ready for the AC now!

The next few days it rained.  It rained really hard most of the day on Tuesday.  This gave me time to do some stuff around the RV that we have been planning for a while.  First was the door to our bedroom.  The door doesn't have a stop to hold it from wandering closed and if opened real hard it might damage the wall.  So I installed a magnetic latch that also serves to keep the door from hitting the wall.

The magnetic door latch.



Patty and our new friends Christiana and Crystal decided to go to the Salvador Dali museum in St. Petersburg on Thursday.  The museum was having a Tarot card show.  Patty was going to be gone most of the afternoon and since it was raining, I was going to catch up on some needed RV maintenance items. 

First maintenance item was disinfecting the fresh water holding tank and exercising the water pump.  We have a 65 gallon fresh water tank that we haven’t used except to keep the pump and tank clean until we need to use it.  We have so far always used city water.  We are planning to boondock this year where we will need to use the fresh water tank.

In order to sanitize the fresh water tank I needed to put about a cup of bleach into the tank and then fill it up with water.  After the tank is filled with the bleach and water solution, I let it set for a day and then drain it out.  After I drain the tank I refill it and will use the water with the pump for a day so everything gets exercised a little and drain out the remaining water.  I try to do this once every 3 months.

Disinfecting the fresh water tank uncovered a surprise as well.   In order to get bleach into the fresh water tank, I needed to put the bleach in the water hose entering the RV.  The best place to do this is at the whole house water filter.  I turned off the water to the RV at the spigot and opened up the water filter housing to take out the filter and then to put in the bleach.  To my surprise, the filter was GREEN and all of the water on the outside of the filter was also GREEN.  It seems that the water going into the RV was at least not visibly green.  Yikes!  I removed the filter, poured out the green water, put in the bleach, closed up the filter housing, and then switched the RV water valve into position to fill the fresh water tank.  Lastly, I turned on the water to fill the tank.

As the tank was filling I did some research on the internet to see what the cause and fix was for the green water.  I got help from another RV-Dreams member who said to find out where the green algae was coming from.  It was either coming from the city water or from my hose as he suspected.  His suggestion was to use a white cloth; I used an old but clean white sock, to put over the city water spigot and then the hose and run water through it and see if the green appears on the white cloth.  The sock did not turn green when I had just city water going through the sock.  But just a few seconds of hose water running through the sock it turned green.  

So I had my answer that the algae were in my water hose.  As to where it comes from, my hose was mostly in the Florida sun all day.  The water for the most part is lying motionless being heated up by the sun causing the small amounts of algae from the city water to multiply in the hose.  To fix it I could clean the hose with bleach or get a new hose.  I got a new hose for $9 at WalMart. I also cleaned my other hose with bleach as well as the new hose to just make sure.  It was also recommended that in the future I put a little bleach in to the hose and then flush it out just before I use it.  I also now have a short 10 foot hose instead of the 15 foot I was using so that there is less hose in the sun all day.

Anyway, that was my new RV lesson learned.  

My next task was to run the on-board Cummins generator with a good load on it for an hour.  This should be done to keep the generator lubricated every month.  This time I had some time as it was raining so I decided to check the generator manual to see when any servicing was going to be needed.  The first service is at 20 hours operation or one year.  After the first service it is 150 hours or one year to the next.  I have just 12 hours on the generator in 9 months!  As I said before, we do plan to use it more this year out west.  

As I was reading the manual I found that my remote start panel located inside the RV has an hour meter on it to tell be how much the generator has been used.  I, up to this point, didn't really pay any attention to the hour meter.  The meter had always had 0.0 on it so I thought it was for giving a diagnostic code.  Now I started to give the meter my full attention.  The damn thing was not working!  It was a warranty item for sure. 

Depending on what the issues are, I try to fix stuff that is simple and shouldn't have any further ramifications if I fix it.   I wasn't sure if this hour meter met this criteria yet.  At first I decided that it was too complicated for me and I should leave it alone.  Then I thought I will just take a look at the wiring behind it and see if there is a wire loose or not connected.  No such luck on the loose or not connected wiring, all looked good. 

Now that I have it apart, I decided to check the installation manual to see if there was a wiring diagram so I could see how the thing was supposed to work.  I found on the internet that the hour device is very simple.  It just counts time when it has power on it which means it needs to have the run switch in line with it to function.  I also found on the internet that this switch is commonly wired backwards by RV manufactures in which case it won't work.  Ah, but how to tell if it is wired backwards?  

The device has just 2 connections with one being marked with a + sign.  The wires are colored brown and orange which doesn't give me any clue as to how it should be wired.  I was in luck though; the installation manual had a wiring diagram.  The diagram however did not have the wire colors, damn!  However, after studying the diagram I noticed that the + wire went to 2 places on the start switch and the other wire went to the generator.  Looking at the hour meter itself, the position marked as + was going in to the wall toward the generator and the other was connected to the start switch in 2 places.  This was exactly backwards from the diagram. 

I was a little nervous, but I switched the wires on the device and started the generator.  No sparks, a good sign.  The hour device only has one digit after the decimal point so I knew the meter would not show anything until 1/10th of an hour had passed which is 6 minutes.  Just as the wall clock showed I had ran the generator 6 minutes, the hour device showed .1.  I had fixed the meter!!  We would never have let a rail car or locomotive be shipped like this!
The generator remote control and hour meter in side the RV.  Note the .1 on the meter!

We finished the week off with new old friends John and Christiana.  We met them at the Seminole RV Park in Davie Florida.  Since the park went to KOA just after we left they decided to move to Lake Como next door to us here in Paradise Pines.  Patty and I met up with them and the lot owners Crystal and Dave for dinner and drinks at Lake Como Friday night.  It’s great for us because we can just walk there.  We had a great time catching up on the antics at Seminole.  We made plans to get together again  this next week as well at our site this time.

Tonight we are going to dinner and a comedy show just a few miles from here.  Next week the weather is rumored to be dry so we will finally get a beach day in.

Just 3 more weeks till Disney!

Just a picture of the decorations on a shed here in the park I thought was nice.

Sandhill Cranes that were at our back window last week while we were having morning coffee.

The pool at night in our park

This was walking across the road when we went to Lake Como yesterday.  I think it is a tad poll.  If not, we found aliens!!

This is the thing blown up. Any ideas anyone?

Stay tuned!


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