Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

Patty's Back! Start Process of Leaving for the 2014 Travel Season

March 29 – April 06, 2014

Patty is back now from Buffalo and we are back to what we call normal.  She left Buffalo with 5 inches of snow and 30 degrees to our nice temperature of 85 on Tuesday the 1st of April.  We are now less than a month away from leaving our winter getaway and starting our 2014 travel season!

Saturday the 29th I played water volleyball in the afternoon and darts at night.  It really isn’t as much fun playing darts without Patty there, but it was still good.  I also received our new grille cover in the mail.  It is certainly heavy enough to endure our abuse at least for a while.

New grille cover.

Sunday the 30th I just chilled out and played water volleyball again in the afternoon.  I’m not sure if my fingers will ever recover from so much playing.  It seems that volleyball really makes my fingers stiff and sore.  I have a feeling that arthritis in my fingers is going to be a part of my future.  I am curious to see if my fingers are better after I don’t play for a while.

On Monday the 31st I started into my "getting ready to start traveling" mode by servicing the 5th wheel hitch in the truck. It was much simpler than I expected!  The whole job just took me about an hour and a half.  The job basically is to check the torque on all of the mounting bolts and to lubricate the bearings.  

The hitch comes apart into 3 big parts; the base that is connected to the truck frame, the pivot, and the hitch jaw mechanism.  The pieces are held together by large spring pins that are really easy to remove by hand.  
The 3 main parts of the 5th wheel hitch. The part in the foreground is the piece that does all of the movement.  The next piece is the actual jaws that connect to the RV.  The last is the part that connects the truck.

This is the pivot piece and the 4 corners are the greasing points.

This the bottom of the connection from the truck to the RV.  The center rusty part is where I needed grease a while back!

This is the base of the hitch.  It is connected to the truck on the frame rails below it.  The 2 corners is where more grease will be applied.
I looked up the maintenance schedule for the hitch on-line and found that the manufacturer recommended engine oil for the bearings.  Engine oil would be sort of messy so I used high temperature grease.  The grease will stay in place to provide better lubrication I believe.  There are just 4 bearing surfaces to lubricate.  Two are for the side to side movement of the hitch and the other 2 are for the front to back movement.  The bearings are really just big (1.5 inch dia.) steel rods sitting in U channels.  So, they are not hard to lubricate at all.

The other item was the torque check of the mounting bolts. The manufacturer requires 75 foot lbs on all of the ¾ bolts. There are 4 inside the truck bed and 8 outside under the truck on the frame.  The ones in the truck frame are very easy to check.  I found the bolts on one side to be very loose and the other to be over torqued.  The bolts on the truck frame are just not accessible to check due to the tires being in the way.  I just checked to make sure all of the split ring washers were compressed and they were.  I’ll have Ford service check them when I have the tires replaced in a couple of weeks.

Tuesday April 1st I spent the morning cleaning up the RV so Patty wouldn’t need to do anything when she got back in the afternoon.  I headed out just after 1pm to pick Patty up from her flight that was due in a little after 2pm in McAllen. 

McAllen is about 40 minutes away and I wanted to be early in case her flight was early.  Turned out her flight was early at about 10 minutes to 2pm and I arrived just 5 minutes before that! We got back just in time to play Wii bowling in the clubhouse. 

Tuesday night and Wednesday were very windy with sustained wind of 30 mph and gusts to 50 mph.  It felt like we were on a boat at a marina all night.  The one thing we have learned about south Texas is that there is a lot of wind. I would guess that the sustained wind here is around 20mph or higher about 75% of the time.  I can only remember just  2-3 days of no wind at all in the past 3 months.

Wednesday the 2nd was the usual happy hour at Sandy’s outside bar here.  Also on Wednesday Patty got here CPAP machine.  The company sent a tech to fit it to her face and to show her how to use the machine.  The machine uses distilled water so now I have a place to use the left over that I have from servicing the RV battery.
The CPACPTech has arrived!

Thursday the 3rd we went on another bike ride, this time at a county park in Rio Hondo.  The park, Adolph Thomae Jr. County Park runs along the Arroyo irrigation channel.  The irrigation channel runs from the Gulf to about 70 miles inland.  

We were to just ride along the channel for a few miles. However, I had a flat tire about 2 miles into the ride.  It looks like I picked up a thorn in the rear tire. Luckily, one of the others on the ride had a spare inner tube.  We changed it out, but I just went back to the truck and waited for the others to get back from the ride.  The rear tire was not adjusted correctly so the brakes were not working right.  I’ll fix that before the next ride. 

Tire off and looking for the item that punctured the tire.

Wild turkey in the park.

View of the irrigation channel toward the Gulf.

Comical signs.  Patty was worried about the yellow one!

After the ride we went for lunch at Chili Willie’s (CW) in Rio Hondo.  CW has a great repetition for just good food in a very casual atmosphere.  Everything is fresh and made to order and very reasonably priced. 

Very rustic inside Chilli Willie's.

At some point seems people threw their cigarette packs on top of the bar area.

Thursday evening we attended a birthday BBQ at a friend’s house here in the resort.  She is the same age as me and is 57 and born in '57.  It was very hot at the BBQ as the sun came out and the temperature rose to the mid-90s.  Good thing they put up canopies for shade!

Friday the 4th I started a project to put all of our CD’s on the computer.  I asked around about how this is done and didn’t get what I was looking for.  Seems most people use ITunes from Apple to do this.  I am not a fan of Apple so that was not what I wanted.  Apple just makes so much stuff proprietary is may reason for not wanting to go that route.  

Anyway, I found a blog where people were sharing the best ways they had found to rip CD’s on to a hard drive and then to make compressed MP3 files from the electronic copies.  I am now using Exact Audio Copy and a compression program that was recommended and it works great!  It takes about 15 minutes to rip and to compress a typical music CD. We have around 125 CDs to rip!  

My CD ripping station.

Today the 7th as I am writing this I have ripped and compressed about 80 CDs to just over 4G of space.  When done we are planning to put the music on my phone and use the music in the truck when we don’t want to listen to the radio anymore.  We rarely listen to recorded music because we like to listen to new stuff on the radio.  However, we may listen more often now that is easier to do with it being electronic.  We may also get more new stuff now to put on the phone.  We also plan to put the CDs someplace for storage to help reduce the weight in the RV.  

Saturday the 5th it was sort of cold and damp again.  The temperature held around 70 all day with no sun.  There was sort of a mist in the air too.  We played darts for the last time as this was the last darts session of the season here.  You can still play if you want, there just won’t be an organized event.  We also had a few friends over for cocktails after darts.

Sunday the 6th I was very ambitious and washed the entire RV.  The weather was again much like the day before without rain, making it good for washing the rig.  I would have liked to wait till closer to leaving time but I don't want to wash it when it is 100 degrees outside.  Also, the rig is really very dirty.

I start by washing the roof and then applying a UV coating to protect the rubber roof.  This takes about 2 hours.  Next, I wash the exterior a quarter at a time and then rinse. Sometimes I use squeegee but not this time. The exterior wash takes about 4 hours which includes the awning. I don’t wax the RV by hand but use the wash and wax stuff which works pretty good.  I was very tired after 6 hours of washing the RV.
Roof before cleaning

Before cleaning

Looking East from the top of the RV

Looking West from the top of the RV

Roof clean and white again!

Clean roof!

Our clean RV and a new pic of our site for the past 3 months.

Side view of the clean RV.

While washing the RV my Aunt Marilyn called to let us know they were in the area, actually on South Padre Island.  They are looking to move their 5th wheel RV from Arizona to either here in the RGV or Florida.  So far they have not liked what they have looked at here in the valley.  Anyway, we made arrangements to meet up with them on Tuesday next week for lunch.  They are looking at an RV park just 8 miles from us on Tuesday so we will meet them there.

In the next few days I will service the RV suspension and we will get new tires and brakes on the truck.  We are actually really looking forward to getting back on the road now.  Four months is a long time to stay in one place!  

We also changed our travel plans a little.  We are now going in a more direct route north to Indiana instead of to Colorado.  We will do Colorado when we decide to go back West in the future.  We are planning to get the RV serviced in Little Rock, Arkansas and then spend some time in Memphis and Nashville TN before getting up to Crawfordsville, Indiana the beginning of June.

Miscellaneous pictures from around the park last week.

Sunrise last Saturday morning.

Some sort of cactus that looks like a giant asparagus!

People are leaving so we are almost by ourselves in this area now.

A cool looking bird.  Do not know what it is though.

Stay tuned!


Debbie McCormack said...

Ahh, a nice clean rig :-)

Tracy :) said...

Okay, so I must have misread the date on your last entry. Hope the CPAP is going well. Patty, if you have any questions, just call me. I'd be happy to try to help the best I can. Let us know when you pin down dates for your time up here. Can't believe summer's almost here - doesn't entirely feel like winter's left yet up here! Love you both!

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