Sunday, July 31, 2011

BIRCH BAY–WASHINGTON

I’ve been here over a week now and it really is very nice.  The RV Park is very reasonably priced and nice – and quiet at night which I like a lot.  Here are a few pics taken when Bennie and I were out for a little run the other day…

0405

And a few sunset pics….

0203

0607

This is the Office of the Park but Bennie DOES NOT like their little pooch !!  He was actually afraid so I had to put him up on the chair so he could get away…  Poor little one just wanted to play !!

08

Have I mentioned that this rig has FOUR TV’s !!!  And I don’t even watch TV !!  Had to take a pic of the one in the GARAGE of all places.  It also has one in the Bedroom, the Living Room AND yes, even one for outside !!  Me Nerves !

01

Friday, July 29, 2011

VIDEOS OF TAKING ON THE RAMP

Finally got the videos the guy took the day I decided to overcome the ramp fear.  And FEAR it was.  The guy that was helping me did two test runs and we talked at length about ‘strategy’.  Videos are a little shaky at first as the guy was just learning how to use his camera.

 

It was suggested to me by someone else to put the bike in gear in order to slow it down so we talked about that.  NO was the decision on that.

Now we are discussing the use of the boards to support me riding the bike up on the ramp.  NO was the decision on that as well !

And now the unnamed Harley guy is gonna do the first test run….

 

And FINALLY I’m gonna give it a try !!  My heart was POUNDING !!  But I did it.  It was a bit shaky.  The second try was much better and now I’m able to put it in the garage and take it out – still very cautiously though.  The quality on this video is bad because I had to reduce the file size so much.

 I’ve done it numerous times now and it hasn’t skidded until today ?  That gave me a fright but I didn’t drop it ! Don’t know why it would skid today ??

Monday, July 25, 2011

BENNIE’S BATH

Yesterday was the PERFECT day.  Nice and warm, but not too hot.  Finally got the bike out for a run.  Did have it out the day before for a short run around the Birch Bay area but yesterday Bennie and I went into Tsawwassen to visit an old friend.  I haven’t had a run on the bike since I left Midway, B.C. and that was the middle of June !!

Had a lovely visit with Wayne and his family and a gorgeous ride to and from there.

My shoulder is still giving me grief but at least I can use my arm.

Today was a completely different day – cool, yes even cold !   It has been overcast all day and I haven’t been outside the door.  But I did FINALLY manage to get my co-pilot bathed.

 

01

But a few minutes later………….

02 - Copy

Saturday, July 23, 2011

GOTTA CONQUER MY NEXT CHALLENGE

The winch is working FABULOUS !!  Now I’m not afraid to open the garage door in case there is no one around to help me close it – independent kinda gal that I am.

I’ve been on the road or just pulled in somewhere to park for the night now since June 15th – WOW, that’s over a month !!  I really needed to ‘settle’ somewhere for awhile but I had to get the license, registration and winch dealt with first so I have just been staying at Wallys.

The RV Parks in B.C. are horrifically expensive !!  And I mean like $40-$60 a day; average of $300 a week and anywhere from $600 to $800 a month !  Someone suggested I check out the Blaine/Birch Bay, WA area as it is just across the Border and very close to the Vancouver area.  I did and that’s where I’m settled now for a week.  I just found out today that they had a cancellation so I’ll be able to stay here for the next few weeks.  I really feel like I need to stay put somewhere for awhile.

This is the first time that I’ve hooked up with this rig and now that I can open/close the ramp door I have to overcome my next challenge. Getting the  bike in and out of the garage without having it fall on top of me.  The young guy at the Dealership didn’t give me a level of comfort when he was taking the bike out to install the wheel chock.  It skidded and he nearly dropped it but thankfully he was strong enough to keep it upright – I would not have been.

So that has been on my mind.  Up to this point I have only put the bike in once while at the Dealership and have not backed it out at all yet.  This ramp is STEEP !!

01 - Copy03 - Copy

02 - Copy

When bringing the bike up on the ramp the front wheel goes so high you ‘run out of leg’ and therefore cannot keep the bike balanced any longer so you have to make a ‘run for it’.  That didn’t make me very comfortable so I thought a couple of pieces of 2’ x 6’ boards might help….

04

I get the bike out as far as possible and size up the wheel placement to the board placement…

05 - Copy06 - Copy

I size everything up again but the reminder of that guy skidding down the ramp kept plaguing me and I was very nervous.  There’s a guy here at the Park that has a bike and I go to ask him for help but he’s not home.  I see another bike further down and I go there to talk with him.  Well he also has a toy hauler and said his ramp is very steep also and he (along with 2 of his buddies) came up to help.  In the meantime, the first guy gets home and he comes over also.  So I have quite the crew here now to help me with this.  I HAVE to figure out a way to do this myself though !

Thanks to this guy (can’t remember his name) he brought the bike down and back up twice and he didn’t skid so that helped.

07 - Copy08

You can see by the picture on the right where you ‘run out of leg’ and it’s at this point that you have to let it roll back on its own.  It’s also at this point when riding the bike into the garage that you can no longer ‘balance’ it so you have to basically make a run for it !!  EEEEEKKKK !! Now it’s time for me to give it a shot on my own !!!  Oh Me Nerves !!  My wee heart was just a pounding !!  But I have guys on either side of me should she decide to fall over.  First attempt was very shaky but I didn’t drop it.  Second attempt = much better !  Both times the guys were on either side of me but didn’t assist in any way.  WHEW !!  I CAN DO IT !!

Left the bike out of the garage so I could do some cleaning and organizing but mentioned to Pete that perhaps later on when I was ready to put the bike in would he come by……just in case…… But later on I decided to try it on my own and again I DID IT !  AND with relative comfort – not shaky at all !!  Thankfully that ‘challenge’ is over and was successful so now I am comfortable taking the bike out and putting it back it.

BTW,  One of the guys had a video camera so all of this is captured.  Don’t have that yet but will post it when I do !

What’s in store next I wonder !!??

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A RAMP DOOR-- A WINCH -- AND MORE MONEY !

I could make this into another one of my sagas but I think if I did both Sandie and Bob will likely punch me the next time we meet up.  So in consideration of their (lack of) patience I’ll tell ya all about it in one post.

We all know by now that the ramp door is one BIG and HEAVY sucker !  And we all know by now that I have already (re)injured my shoulder trying to push it back up by myself.  Bob told me about an electric winch that is on sale this week at Canadian Tire for $60.00.  Got it.  But it runs on 12V and I don’t have a 12V outlet in the garage but do have a 110.  I had to get an inverter/converter thingie that converts 12V into 110.  For those of you who are like me and don’t have a clue about this kinda stuff, perhaps you are familiar with those inverters that you put into your cigarette lighter to keep your cell phone etc. charged while you are driving.  Well it’s the same as that but opposite.  LOL  That converts DC into AC, but I needed AC to DC.  Am I right here Bob ??

The guys in the Service Department at Canadian Tire do not install these kinda things so they referred me to a ‘fab shop’.  WTF is a ‘fab shop’ !!??

I learned quickly what it was and went to see Kevin at KC Custom Welding and Fabricating.  Kevin is ‘da man !!  What a great guy he is and stopped what he was doing to help me out.  Easy peasy job he said.  Will probably only take an hour or so.  Here he is looking at the winch trying to understand how it works..

07

And here is said winch….

09

And here is the plate thingie that will get drilled into the door to hook the winch into.  It has an “O” ring in it that you really can’t see in the pic. This little part gets really important later on in this story !

06

FIRST PROBLEM ENCOUNTERED = Kevin and his buddy Nick hooked everything up BEFORE they install anything to make sure it works.  Smart young men that they are.  IT DOESN’T WORK !!??  Why ?  Takes awhile to figure this out.  There is power coming out but NOT into the electric winch.  Turns out that $30.00 inverter/converter thingie I got at Canadian Tire just doesn’t have enough umph to do the job.  Only has 5.9 amps and clearly that isn’t enough.  It’s getting on in the day at this point.  What to do ?  There was an RV Dealer place next door so Kevin suggested I go over there to see if they had a bigger amp inverter/converter things.  They only have the gargantuan (couldn’t resist Mrs. Tang) kind that you could probably move a house with and that are hard wired blah blah blah.  But they were very kind and called around to a couple of places to try and find one for me.

They did find one at another RV place that wasn’t too far away.  It cost $250.00 !!  OUCH !  I simply cannot catch a break these days !  But at this point, in the middle of the installation, AND my shoulder aching like crazy reminding me I HAD to get this set-up, off I went and got it.  Once the right conversion thingie was used it was an easy peasy job and Kevin had it done in no time.  He soldered a steel beam to the top and then soldered the winch onto that.  Nick is holding this beam while Kevin is doing the soldering and you can see the winch is already on.

1011

Now for the BIG TEST !!

1213

OMG it works !!  Now Kevin teaches me how to use it……….

My Heroes !!!

020

When Kevin realized the small converter thingie wasn’t going to work he was looking at other options before I went out and spent all that money on a larger one.  One of the options he looked at was somehow hooking it into the motor of the bunk beds in the garage.  He quickly dismissed that idea though due to the possible risks of overloading this motor.

If anyone is ever in the Lower Mainland area of British Columbia and should need any kind of welding work done Kevin is definitely the man to see !!!

When I got back ‘home’ that night I noticed the bunk beds were still lowered a little so I pressed the switch that raises them.  NOTHING ?  ZIPPO !  ZERO !  ZILCH !  Not a gig in ‘er !  I called Kevin and he remembered that he did pull something out and told me what it was and where to find it.  But hard as I tried, there was no way that sucker would go back into place.

Later my Administrative Assistant dropped by to see me as my NL Plates had arrived at her place.  The rig is now totally official and legal and also now a ‘Canadian’ rig !!  She also tried to put that piece back in so the switch on the bunk beds would work but no go either.

0305A

06A

Then we sat back and enjoyed a lovely cuppa on a lovely evening.

08A 

Now it’s time for my Administrative Assistant to head home so I hook up the winch to bring the door back up and POP !!  The plate thingie comes right out of the ramp door !  The red arrow is pointing to the plate thingie I’m talking about.

02A

Thankfully I didn’t decide to do this AFTER Betty left so she was there to close the door.  She just laughed of course and said “Denise, It could only happen to you !!”

Today I had to trek back to Abbotsford and once again Kevin (my Hero !) had both things fixed in no time.  I stopped at Home Depot and got two of those butterfly nuts and with a bit of wigglin’ and wagglin’ the job got done.  That plate won’t pop out this time !!

MAKING THE RIG LEGAL

Been busy since I got back into Canada last week and been hanging out at Wally’s.  Had to deal with getting the new rig registered and getting the plates couriered to me here from NL.  In order to do that I had to get a Safety Inspection done.  During that inspection they found a ‘differential leak’ or is it a ‘leak in the differential’ ??  Either way I haven’t a clue what it is other than the fact I don’t like it when people tell me there’s a leak.  That always sounds serious to me !!  Also, two of the three straps that was holding up the generator exhaust pipe were broken.

01

Brought the rig into WESTERN STAR TRUCKS for the Inspection and other work.  The guys there were amazing !  Sergio, Andy, Eddie and Jamie sure went above and beyond the call.  Sergio was able to get me in immediately and they also tried to come up with a solution to my garage ramp door.  You see that door is one HUGE and very HEAVY door and while I’m able to open it, sadly I do not have the strength to close it by myself.

They spent hours trying to come up with a simple solution (and didn’t even charge me for that part !!) by loosening and adjusting the tension on the cables.  It helped but not enough.  Each time they would make an adjustment they would ask me to try it.  The last time I tried it I hurt something in my left shoulder – yes, that same area that caused me immense grief about two years ago and was the cause of this trip being postponed by 1 1/2 years !

Lots of fear set in that day and the following day when that oh too familiar pain was in the shoulder and naturally my head only thinks positive thoughts !!  Oh like – “Crap, I just got this lovely new rig and now I have to sell it and return to the Condo”….. or “I ruined my shoulder for good this time and now I’ll never be able to ride my bike again !”  The aching is still there but thankfully it has subsided some.  Really gonna have to be very careful with lifting anything for sure.

Did take time out to meet up with Mrs. Tang – my FANCY MAP maker.  She wanted to see the rig ‘in real life’.  I think she was a tad surprised by its size and had to park her itty bitty car next to Ms. Star (aka THE HULK) just to get a concept of the size.

0103

0607

Bennie of course if never very far from the action but he sure looks sleepy in this pic !

05

Had a deee-lish breakfast/early lunch at IHOP.  You see, when I get lost or simply make a wrong turn, that saucy Mrs. Tang e-mails me and says “I told you……..blah blah blah”.  So after Brunch I was determined to take her out for a ride – well I wanted her to drive but she was too much of a woose to take on THE HULK – so she could see for herself that you drive this thing carefully and if you miss a turn then it could be miles and miles before you find a place to get turned around.  I think she got the message !!

02

Then stopped by to see some old friends in Langley

10

Bennie really likes to be on my lap in this rig and having his head out the window.  Tried to rig up something whereby he was comfortable…

1917

But perhaps a smidge too comfortable as he started to get too brave !!

2021

Can’t have him doing that while I’m driving !!  More on the ramp door problems in a bit.

Monday, July 18, 2011

EVERYONE NEEDS A “BETTY”

Those of you who have been regular followers may recall that when I started out last year I had a GPS that my dear friend Peter named “Betty”.  And you may also recall that “Betty” met an early visit to the ‘gone senile’ place.  So NO, I am not talking about that “Betty”.

The one I am talking about is a real live person.  And old friend tracked me down via FACEBOOK and has been stalking me ever since !!!  I simply don’t have the heart to tell her to leave me alone so instead I decided to ‘reward’ her with the pleasure of my company.  Yes Folks, I have put her to work !!  Back in the day when she was a teenager working her way through school she was a very bright young woman and an over-achiever – and that part of her has not changed.

I would simply mention something – oh like, I wonder where I can find a Laundromat – and VABOOM next thing I know I receive an e-mail with a link to the nearest Laundromat.

When I had decided to ‘pop down’ to California to get out of the gawd awful rain here in B.C. I received a map with directions, little icons etc.  I would mention that I wondered if there were any Harley Davidson Dealers on my route and VABOOM my map would be updated with a little guy icon on a motorcycle.  Or I would mention I wonder where the Wally’s are on my route and same thing – icon of a shopping basket to reflect the Wally’s.

Well this map got so fancy I aptly name it my FANCY MAP.  This FANCY MAP got quite busy as it included every Wally's, every HD, every Truck Stop, every Rest Stop, every Blue Beacon Truck Wash, every Camping World on my route.  And of course each depicting a different little icon.  I should sell my FANCY MAP !!  People would pay good money to have all this info on their route – well people like me who wouldn’t have a clue how to create such a thing !!!

Then there were many FANCY MAPS later as I didn’t want to have to drive through Los Angeles coming back so I was sent this alternate route.  And I didn’t want to have to drive through Seattle either so yet another map.

I was talking with the Divine Mrs. G at the Dealership where I got my rig and told her about MY Betty.  Said to her “Everybody needs a Betty !”

“My” Betty has become my Tour Guide, my Administrative Assistant, my FANCY MAP creator, plus a gazillion other ‘Sundry Duties’ I assign to her on a regular basis. Now of course she is receiving a very handsome salary for performing such duties and I have to remind her on a regular basis how lucky she is to have such a fine job !!  This extremely HIGH salary is worth every penny as I wonder how I ever got out of my Mother’s driveway back in November without her help !!

Yup,  Everybody needs a “Betty” -  but you ain’t gettin’ mine !!

Friday, July 15, 2011

MORE TRIP REPORT DETAILS

Day 3 (July 4th weekend) of driving back to Canada revealed some problems. I am now driving through some stinkin’ HOT weather (100+F) and I pulled over for my rest – turned on the generator – turned on the a/c in the coach – about 30 seconds later the a/c cut out ??? At the same time I was using my computer and had it plugged in, I noticed that wasn’t charging either. Further investigation revealed I had no power anywhere ? Yes, the generator was running fine but I was not getting any power at all and in that extreme heat I sure needed the a/c. Any ‘rest’ was not going to happen so I got behind the wheel and kept driving until I reached Los Banos, CA where I pulled into Wally’s.

I endured an evening/night that I won’t forget for awhile ! Cursing at that gawd forsaken SUN that was oh so slow to go down. And even when it did, it didn’t provide any relief. I would turn on the engine and sit in the front seat letting the a/c try and cool me down. What was I going to do ?? Naturally stuff like this happens only when you are in a small town AND on a holiday weekend of course !

My Administrative Assistant (more about that later) found me a local RV Service place but of course they were closed for the holiday weekend. I did leave a message and much to my surprise the Owner called me back. Once I explained my horrible situation he did say he would try and contact one of his teckie people but no promises. He did call me back to say NO GO on that but perhaps the following day (Sunday).

The next morning I quickly realized I wasn’t going anywhere due to the heat.  I found an RV Park close by and THANKFULLY when I plugged in I had power and most importantly AIR CONDITIONING !!

Sure enough, the following day (Sunday) I get a call from the Owner of LOS BANOS RV CENTER, Bill Wyrick and he was able to contact one of his teckie people who agreed to come by and have a look to see what the problem was. They were able to determine the wire that was causing the problem but could not trace it back to the source.  Now remember Folks, they are working outside, crawling under the rig in 115F/46C of HEAT.  We agreed that because I at least had power now because I was plugged in, we would wait until Tuesday (July 5th) when they were open and the other teckies were there and they had the right equipment to check this out further.

I bring the rig in first thing Tuesday morning and it was quickly discovered that the Transfer Switch was fried !!  Have a look at these pics Folks !

0304

05

This could have caused a very serious fire and potentially been fatal to me and Bennie.  To say I was not a Happy Camper would be an understatement.

Again THANKFULLY (due to Bill and his dedication to Customer Service) he was able to locate a new Transfer Switch locally and he himself immediately went out to get it.  With the new Transfer Switch in everything is now working fine and has been ever since.  A $600 bill that I sure wasn’t expecting and I am now in contact with Newmar regarding this.  They asked me to return the Transfer Switch to them (which I’ve done) and I am really hoping they are going to reimburse me for this cost.

Never a dull moment in Sassy’s world for sure !!

Bill and his Staff were fabulous and went above and beyond the call to get this dealt with quickly and get me back on the road.  Would highly recommend LOS BANOS RV CENTER !!

BTW, Prior to this I didn’t know but a Transfer Switch was fit to eat !!  LOL  Well now I sure know what it is – what it’s supposed to do – AND even where it is located !!! haha

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

OOOPSIE !

003 - Copy

Yes Folks I have driven in the neighbourhood of 15,000 miles and this is the first time this has happened.  And I still can’t figure out ‘how’ it happened ?? All the ratchet straps seemed to be still secured properly.

I’ve driven over some pretty bad Highway stretches – especially in South California where some parts of the I-5 are not fit to drive on.  Yet the bike never budged.

Yesterday I only drove from Tulalip, WA to Bellingham, WA – a whopping 44 miles – and when I pulled in I saw that the bike had fallen over ?

I have now added another ratchet so that will will not happen again.

0405

Monday, July 11, 2011

GOTTA LOVE OREGON

They have NO Sales Tax and all their Gas Stations are FULL SERVICE !!  Makes you wonder why other States/Provinces have to charge so much in taxes !!  In Canada we pay 12% on every purchase.  Disgusting !!  So when I’m travelling through here I make sure I get everything done while I’m here. Sure makes a difference on a large purchase.

I took advantage of this by getting the RV engine oil changed and the oil/filter changed on the generator.  I also got all oils changed on the Harley.  YUP, That was an expensive day.

And despite the fact that I’ve been up and down this route a few times now already, it still startles me when an attendant comes to the door ready to pump my gas.  LOVE the fact that I don’t have to get out of my rig.

On another subject is EAR PLUGS.  I learned very early in the game that I needed ear plugs.  You see when I was a young lass I could sleep through a storm.  My Mother was always amazed.  But now I’ve become very noise sensitive and the least noise keeps me awake.  As you know when I travel from Point A to Point B I pull into Walmarts or the big Truck Stops.  Walmarts are fine but those Truck Stops are very loud !!  Hence I need ear plugs.  The other night I had them in and I must have taken them out in my sleep as I found one in the bed and the other on the floor the following morning.  The other night I needed the ear plugs and for the life of me I could only find one.  hmmmm  I searched and searched !  On the bed – by the sides of the bed – in the drawer….. The other one was no-where to be found ??  Oh well I figured, I’ll likely find it the next time I change the sheets.  And in the meantime next time I’m at Wally’s I’ll simply get another pair.

The next morning Bennie was outside doing his morning ‘business’.  I noticed (as only a Mom would) that ‘something’ was coming out……well, let’s just say it wasn’t the ‘colour’ it should be.  I was immediately worried as he had gotten into something the previous day while we were walking along the river.  Was this blood !!??  Upon closer examination (as only a Mom would do), I saw that it was THE EAR PLUG !!  I considered taking a pic for the Blog, but decided to spare you guys !!  LOL  I even considered………….oh nevermind…….

Mystery of the missing ear plug solved.  I did buy a whole package of NEW ear plugs the next time I was at Wally’s.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

RIDE REPORT

I won’t lie to you = I was a WRECK  !  I got on the road on the first day just after 10:00AM and noticed immediately that this rig is HUGE.  My shoulders were wrapped up around my ears - my heart was pounding so hard I thought it was going to come out of my chest – I was holding my breath – and my butt cheeks were even clenched !!!  Of course the fact that I had been up since 6:15AM AND I hadn’t eaten didn’t help matters.

My speed did not go over 50 MPH and at times it was 40 MPH.  I missed my very first exit and had to get myself turned around !!  These are California Highways we are talking about Folks !!  I think I may have gotten ‘da scatter finger pointed at me in an obscene manner from other drivers and I know definitely I got a fist pointed in my direction from an 18 wheelie !!!

Speaking of California Highways, and really all Highways for that matter, have you noticed how NARROW the lanes are ??  I mean they are fine for itty bitty cars but far too narrow for anything bigger !!  I definitely have to start writing the various State and Provincial Governments to get the work started to widen each and every single lane on each and every single Highway.  This rig is WIDE !!

Before I proceed any further I have to make an (overdue) apology to all those ‘older’ RV drivers.  You see, when I was a wee young lass driving around the Highways of British Columbia those ‘older’ RV drivers really annoyed me – truth be told they PISSED ME OFF royally !  Clearly they didn’t realize that I had important places to be and they were slowing me down.  Oh dread when you got stuck behind one of them.  Ah, Isn’t it funny how life goes full circle !!  LOL  So to all you ‘older’ RV drivers from the 70’s – your promised PAY BACK to that saucy young lass has been delivered !!

By the second day I was feeling a little better and think my speed even got up to 55MPH!  And several days later, I’m now far more comfortable driving this rig.  It really handles well once I got used to the various differences between driving a Class A and a Class C.  AND there even have been times ( on a very long – very straight – and very smooth piece of pavement !! LOL) that I’ve even gotten ‘er up to 60 MPH !! GASP

This rig has so many gidgets and gadgets and thingies I wonder if I will ever figure them all out.  The bloody seat alone has a button to bring it forward or backward; another button to recline it forward or backward; and another button to make it go higher or lower !!  And those are only the buttons I’ve played with.  It still has others that I haven’t dared to touch !!  What I do like a lot about it is that the two front seats swivel around to really open up the living space.  The Class C’s don’t have that and they should.

BTW, With all the excitement going on I’ve forgotten to tell you her name.  It’s MS. STAR – the BIG – the BOLD – the BEAUTIFUL – MS. STAR.  Well that is unless someone can come up with a better name.  I’m open to suggestions.

Enough rambling for today.  More ride report and ‘incidents’ to report later…………..

FOUR GENERATIONS

Just getting awhile from my ‘travel’ blog for a moment to congratulate my nephew Stephen and his wife Allison on the birth of their first child.  This makes my sister a Nana for the first time.  I got a few pics from my sister but I just love this one !!

All 015