Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Time to catch up …. End of February, March and part of April


When we last saw our heroes in January there was a car wreck and a death in the family.  February and March were not much better. One of my best friends died plus a friend that I played ball with for many years died, and we learned of the death of and RV friend and also Fillmore.

  While I will miss them and think of them from time to time…It is time to move on!!

Let’s celebrate life with babies, flowers and the satisfaction you get from fixing things!

A Baby Shower!


The baby shower was for Erin and yet to be named baby on Feb 11.  Yet to be named because the future parents agreed that they did not  want to know the sex of the baby until it arrived.  While parents are happy with either sex when the baby arrives that joy and surprise can be take from us if the doctors tell us the sex in advance. Good choice Erin and Casey! 



That a cake?  Looks like a pillow! If I understand correctly, this beautiful cake was a collaboration between my daughter in law Jenni and one of her friends.  Amazing!!


My grandson Jameson and Leah made the long journey from the Chicago area with the help of her friend who is also named Erin.Then there is the ever bubbly Erin the mom to be opening presents with Jenni. And at the end of the shower they allowed me to enter to help carry presents, but I spent my time carrying Jameson!

The baby was born March 25 and is named Campbell John Kline!!  He was 8lbs 14oz and 21 1/2 inches long! The labor was long and had a lot of us worried but everyone is fine and doing well!


People ask what I do while Cindy is away.  Well one thing is to go to high school sporting events like watching the son of Cindy’s nephew play.  I was at his game on senior night when they gave him an award for scoring 1000 points during his high school career.


Sorry for the picture quality … phone camera zoomed as far as it would go.  This is Matthew and his mom and dad on senior night.  They lost on this night by one point but later beat this same opponent on their home court to win the regional championship.  They later lost in the first round of the sectionals after coming back from a very large deficit (20 plus point deficit) to lose by one.  Very exciting year!


When we travel in the motorhome to the Detroit Area we usually stop in the Chicago area as our half way point so we can stop to see Leah, Trevor and Jameson.  Jameson is now nine months old and getting quite active.


Grandma Cindy and Jameson                                                                         Jameson on one of his favorite toys


Jameson as Grandpa’s helper                                                        and the boys in the garage..Jameson, Jay, Trevor, and me.


As many of you know Cindy had shoulder surgery on March 19 to remove a bone spur.  We had a good experience with Dr. Smith in December 2007 when he rebuilt Trevor’s shoulder after he destroyed it  playing football. (See blog from Jan 2008)  Cindy’s surgery was much less demanding than Trevor’s so we had complete faith that it would be successful.  So on the Sunday before the surgery we made the two hour drive to Columbia Mo. for the surgery.  (Quincy is two hours from St. Louis, University of Iowa in Iowa City, University of Missouri in Columbia, Springfield IL., and three hours to University of Illinois, so two hours or more to anywhere).



We stayed at the Cottonwoods RV Park.  It is a nice RV park that I would recommend to anyone traveling through that area.  I was expecting tight turns and narrow drives after reading the reviews on “RV Parks Reviews” but did not find any of that.  We found a clean and nicely kept park with ample access and lots the size of most RV parks. 

On Monday morning Cindy’s surgery went very well.  In fact it well enough that they prescribed the machine seen below to exercise her arm. The big problem now is whether I can keep my mouth shut … In the past I would walk on her left side babbling away because I knew she could not lift her left arm and I was avoiding  her good arm.  But now with her arm fixed she has a left jab to go with her right hook.  Now I have to keep my comments to myself or learn when to duck. 



The afternoon after the surgery she was already using her exercise machine.  No worries,  I have other pictures that are not so flattering that I am keeping under lock and key for future use.Smile


After returning from Cindy’s surgery and before we took any more trips I wanted to get the tires replaced on the RV.  They were 5 years old and had 50,000 miles on them and were beginning to weather check.  As an FMCA member I was able to use their Michelin fleet tire price and get the tires for about $45.00 per tire cheaper than I was quoted without the FMCA tire program.  The only draw back is that you have to use an authorized Michelin tire distributer.  Your local truck tire dealer may or may not be authorized Michelin tire dealer.  My local truck tire dealer displays a large Michelin sign and sells Michelin tires but buys them on the open market and therefore can not participate in the Michelin fleet program.  Lucky for me my nephew Michael runs a shop that is an authorized Michelin fleet dealer.  However, his shop is 20 miles away in Palmyra Mo along highway 61.  After ordering the tires (it took a week to get my size) they asked me to bring a printout of the paper work from FMCA.  When I arrived to get the tires installed they looked the paper work over and said it was just like the paper work they were familiar with so there was no problem.  If you’re an FMCA member you might want to take a look at this program.  All it takes is following the instructions and making a phone call or two to get thing rolling.  At $45.00 per tire times six tires, yeah I can do that.  



After the tires were installed and I gave Cindy the total bill she instantly checked it against the budget.  After calculating it at least ten different ways and telling me all about it (as my eyes glazed over) the only number I remember is that she now figures that the tires cost about a nickel per mile.


With the new tires it was off to Chicago and then Farmington Hill (Detroit).  We have had enough Jameson pictures for now so I’ll show you the ones from the return trip.   

Since the middle of last year we have been having an intermittent problem with the air gauges in the RV.  We would be driving along like normal when suddenly one of the air pressure gauges would drop to zero pressure and the alarms would sound.  Then in the next instant the pressure would begin to build and eventually the alarm would shut down.  The first time it happen it really had us concerned.  I called Rick, as he does all the service work on our motorhome, and his first question was did the brakes locked up and when I told him no he said it must be electrical.  He was right.  The actual air pressure was OK but because of a electrical problem the gauge would show a pressure loss and then the alarm would sound.  Last year it did not happen very often but was becoming more frequent.  On this trip to Detroit it became a problem.  So after setting up in Haas Lake RV Park, I started researching the problem.  There was a Cummings repair facility less than 3 miles away and a large RV lot about 5 or 6 miles away in the other direction.  I knew I had help if I needed it but first I wanted to see what I could find on my own.  After searching the internet I learned that Freightliner had a problem with the electrics for these gauges.  On the older models there is a connection in a box that tend to come loose and all you do is tighten the connections.  The problem is that this box could be located anywhere the coach builder decided to put it.  So I took a chance and called freightliner to ask where I might find this box.  The tech on the phone was great.  After giving him the VIN he told me that I did not have one of those boxes as they did away with them but told me to hang on while he checked something else.  I was on hold for a minute or two when he told me he found it.  On mine and the newer Freightliner chassis the problem is in the wires that attach to the back of the gauge.  They send a signal both ways and if the connection is lost the gauge will act as mine have.  So the fix is to tighten the connection on the back of the gauges.


So here we go!  Take the dash apart and there they are the fine white wires in the middle picture are the culprits. They were wrapped around a larger bundle of wires before attaching to the back of the gauges.  So to give them some slack I untangled them then very carefully squeezed the connectors so they could make better contact.  While I had the dash apart, I wanted to look at my radio switch as it was not working properly.  I could find anything amiss so I reassembled everything and the repairs I made were successful.  (Radio switch was still acting up).

Fast forward to two nights later.  I had picked Cindy up from work as usual and had eaten so with a little time to kill I began looking for a fuse for that radio switch.  While I was looking I decided I try flipping the disconnect switch a couple of times to see if that made any difference.  Oh boy big difference.  We lost all 12 volt power!  No lights tonight!  I tried a few things with no effect.  So to get by I brought in our outdoor lights that run off 120.  So we had 120 volt power to the heaters, microwave, coffee pot, etc. but no power for anything that is controlled by 12volt , lights, furnace or refrigerator.  So first thing in the morning after taking Cindy to work I called the Coachmen helpline.   He gave me a series of tests to run with the multi-meter and after each series of test I would call him back then he would tell me the next series of tests.  The conclusion was that the 12volt solenoid was not working.  So after checking the fuses and switch he told me how to run a jumper wire to bypass the solenoid.  So off to the local NAPA store for a battery cable that I can use as a jumper.  Within minutes of returning I had the jumper in place and we had 12 volt power.  Later in the week I ordered the solenoid and replaced it while we sat in the campground.

You remember that radio switch that started all of this?  Well after I put that jumper wire and later the new solenoid on the RV it worked just fine.  Now that is a head scratcher!


Haas Lake RV Park is 13.6 miles from Cindy’s office it takes almost exactly 30 minutes to get there.   I have found two different routes to get there one is though town on two and four lane streets the other is the interstate.  Both take about the same amount of time so I take the roads through town as they are not nearly as packed with traffic.

The RV park itself is all gravel with a 1/2 mile gravel road to get to it.  But once your in the park and in you spot it is a nice place to stay.  The front has a lot of permanents and the back is for the travelers.  It is a huge park with  numerous sites, five lakes and lots of green space.


Our first few day there were beautiful.  High in the eights lows in the sixties with lots of sunshine.  Then reality hit!


It was a dark and dreary day!  After those first few days it got down right chilly and it stayed cloudy. The swans and ducks did not seem to mind.  They have all the common ducks and geese and also some I have never seen before.  I tried to get pictures of them to identify them but it was usually to dark to use the zoom effectively.


On one of our last nights while walking the dogs we got this sunset on the phone camera.


Back to Chicago and Baby Jameson!


Trevor was working in Washington DC and Leah went to visit on the weekend so we helped take care of Jameson. Cindy took these shoots of me and Jameson playing the old pretend to be asleep then snort game… you know he fell for it every time!


Now I am back in Quincy and Cindy is back in Farmington Hills.  It looks like that is way it is going to be for awhile.  With a wedding a baptism and various appointments scattered over the calendar it is easier for now to drive Cindy to St Louis on Sunday evenings and pick her up on Thursday evenings.

These are the last of the tulips and the first of the Irises!



A recent project that I just finished is the rose area needed to be cleaned up!


It won’t be long and they will start blooming!

Babies, Flowers, and Successful Fixes!!!!!!