Monthly Archives: September 2014

All Jacked Up

Wednesday turned out to be a tough afternoon for me. My back was still jacked up, but I needed to get some things done. The right rear HWH leveling jack started acting up again while we were at Row River. It slowly retracts itself after I extend it. This shouldn’t happen. While we were at the FMCA convention in Redmond, Oregon, I had the solenoid replaced (twice) to correct the problem. All was good until we set up at Row River.

I made a big mistake when we set up there. Our site wasn’t level – the front of the coach was low. Since we were parked on dirt, I put down 12″ x 12″ wooden pads under the jacks to increase the area supporting the coach. This helps to keep the round metal foot on the bottom of the jack from sinking into the dirt. Since the front was quite low, I stacked two wooden pads under each front jack to reduce the amount of extension of the jack.

I’ve done this many times before. I’ve always leveled the coach manually when I stack the pads. Without thinking about it, this time I started the auto-level sequence. The HWH computerized auto-level system has a sensor that detects the pitch-and-roll degree of the coach. Then it commands the jack extension to correct the attitude and level the coach. It works fairly quickly. The front jacks extended automatically. When they hit the doubled-up pads, the front of the coach was lifted too high. The HWH system didn’t retract the front jacks, it extended the rear jacks to correct the pitch of the coach. When the weight was taken off the rear wheels, there wasn’t any braking effect. Due to the slope, the coach moved forward – the jacks slid off the pads and dug into the ground. Not a good thing.

HWH leveling jacks on wooden pads

HWH leveling jacks on wooden pads in normal use

After rectifying that situation, I lowered the coach and leveled it manually. Everything seemed fine. A few days later, the right rear jack started its slow retract again. I don’t know if it’s related to the sliding-off-the-pads incident. I don’t see how it could be. The only way for the hydraulic jack to retract is to bleed off the fluid pressure. When I want to retract the jacks, a solenoid is activated to allow the fluid to return to the reservoir as the springs pull the ram up. I don’t have any external leaks and all of the other jacks and room slides (which are hydraulically activated by the same system) work fine. Something is allowing the fluid from the right rear jack assembly to slowly flow back into the reservoir. The first suspect is the solenoid.

I phoned Paul Maddox, the HWH technician who replaced the solenoid in Redmond. Since he replaced the solenoid twice, he didn’t think replacing it again was the way to go. He thought I should look at the check valves. The fluid for each jack passes through two check valves. These valves allow fluid to flow in one direction, but block the fluid from reverse flow. The check valves are opened by differential pressure. If the pressure is lower on the downstream side of the valve than on the upstream side, the valve opens and fluid will flow. If the pressure is higher on the downstream side, the check valve is forced against its seat and blocks reverse flow.

Paul suggested removing the upper (sometimes referred to as outer) check valve and replacing the O-ring that seals the valve. I removed the check valve and went to Ace hardware and found the right size replacement O-ring. I reinstalled the check valve and the jack still retracted itself.

HWH hydraulic assembly

HWH hydraulic assembly

Upper check valve and O-ring

Upper check valve and O-ring

I talked to Paul again. He said there was another check valve, the inner check valve. This one is harder to access, but he said he would send me parts and instructions.

The parts arrived Wednesday afternoon. Since we would leave the following day, I thought I should try to fix the jack right away. In order to access the inner check valve, I needed to remove the solenoid. I rode the scooter to Pep Boys and bought a small-diameter strap wrench. It was a cheap Chinese-made tool, but I thought, “How can you screw up a strap wrench?” Well, the Chinese have found a way. This wrench is so poorly manufactured, it takes three hands to operate it. I futzed around for 20 minutes before I could make it turn the solenoid.

After I had the upper check valve and solenoid out, getting to the inner check valve was tricky. It sits in a machined passage directly under the upper check valve, below the solenoid. I tried to see it with a mirror, but couldn’t tell what I was looking at. I tried reaching through the upper passage with hemostats, but I couldn’t grasp it. I fished a magnet through the solenoid opening and a strange, tightly wound spring with a straight tail came out. I hadn’t seen this spring in any of the diagrams I studied and there was no mention of this spring in the manual. I fished around with the magnet again and the check valve came out.

Check valves, solenoid and strange spring

Check valves, solenoid and strange spring

I called Paul again. I told him about the strange looking spring. He had no idea what it was doing in there. He thought it may be the cause of the problem, as it didn’t belong in there. He thought I should reassemble everything with original parts, but without the spring. I reassembled everything. I lowered the jack and then watched it slowly retract again. Grrr.

While I was watching the jack retract, I noticed the tab that the retraction spring mounts to, was bent from the Row River incident. I decided to grab a large channel lock plier and straighten the tab. That’s when the real trouble started. As I cranked on the tab, the foot of the jack pivoted on the end of the ram and one of the springs came flying off! I’m lucky I didn’t lose a finger from the powerful spring. With no springs, the ram stopped retracting. I was in trouble now. I had to find a way to reinstall the foot and spring on the ram or we wouldn’t be going anywhere.

I used a piece of wood and a little ingenuity to force the ram into the fully retracted position. In this position, I would only have to stretch the springs a few inches to connect them to the foot. While I had the foot off, I used a hammer to ‘smith the tab straight before I attached the springs. Lying on my aching back under the coach, I pulled on the end of the spring with pliers. I used all my might and only managed to extend the spring about half an inch. Oh dear! These are powerful springs.

I tried different tactics for the next hour or so to try and lever the springs into place. I was beginning to think I needed a mobile RV tech. I saw one of our neighbors outside of his trailer. I borrowed a hydraulic bottle jack and a pry bar from him. The next half hour was spent trying to use hydraulic pressure from the bottle jack to lever the foot, with springs attached, over the end of the ram. Total frustration!

Then I just grabbed the pry bar, found a hard point to pry against and pulled the foot down, extending the springs as far as I could. The foot slipped off the pry bar, right onto the end of the ram! After two and a half hours of sweating and swearing, it was job done! By then it was beer-thirty and I was done in. You couldn’t pay me to do this type of work, but I’ll do it to avoid paying someone else.

On Thursday morning, I loaded the trailer and we made ready to travel. I usually load up the day before we leave, so it took extra time and work before we could hit the road. We still managed to depart by 10:30am. The drive to Tehachapi was a little over 40 miles. Highway CA58 has some steep climbs. We reached Tehachapi summit, a little over 4,000 feet above sea level, and exited the highway.

Currently we’re set up at the Mountain View RV Park. This is a small park with electric and water hook-ups, no sewer. There is a dump station we’ll hit when we leave. Originally we planned to dry camp in Tehachapi. The forecast calls for warm weather with highs near 90 degrees. We would have to run our generator all day for air conditioning if we dry camped, so we opted to pay for a site with 50-amp electric service. This RV park is unusual. It’s part of a private airport. The runway is in an open field 100 yards behind our coach.

View across runway from our door step

View across the end of the runway from our door step

We’re only a few miles from town. Donna and I rode the scooter to town yesterday and had a look around. It’s a quaint little town. The downtown area is clean and well-kept. Later, we grilled bacon-wrapped filets that Donna served with quinoa salad and green beans.

Grilled bacon wrapped filet

Grilled bacon-wrapped filet

Today, I plan to replace the rear tire on Donna’s bike. Her race is tomorrow, with a 7am start time. Then I’ll pull the check valves for the right rear jack again and replace them with new ones that Paul sent me.

At noon, Donna is picking up a rental car for the weekend so we have a way to get her bike to the race start and back. We plan to take advantage of the extra set of wheels and do a little sight-seeing this afternoon.

Our site at Mountain View RV Park

Our site at Mountain View RV Park

In Search of Potato Vodka

I woke up with a stiff back yesterday. I’ve had lower back pain for a couple of days. I think it’s due to inactivity rather than something I did to strain it. I sat in front of the TV all day Sunday and that’s when it started bothering me.

Yesterday was one of those days that flew by without anything really interesting going on. We received our mail which was forwarded from our service in South Dakota. That’s always a highlight. Donna was happy to find a royalty check and I was happy to receive the business cards I ordered from Vistaprint.

Card looks grainy in this photo - actual cards are glossy and smooth

Card looks grainy in this photo – actual cards are semi-glossy and smooth

Donna and I rode the scooter to do some banking at the Chase Bank in town. The route we took had us riding on Edison Highway which had been freshly oiled in preparation for repaving. Not a good surface to scooter over.

We found the bank on Mount Vernon Avenue. Once we were finished there, we rode north about a mile to a Mexican restaurant Donna scoped out online. The Loma Linda restaurant had good reviews, so we decided to have lunch there. I had the chili verde burrito which was huge and served with rice and beans on the side. Donna ordered the camarones (shrimp) soup. She wasn’t too pleased with her choice. She said the shrimp had been way overcooked and the zucchini and carrots in the soup were large chunks that needed to be cut into smaller pieces before they could be spooned up. My lunch was very good, though I’m not used to eating such a large portion. Of course, no one forced me to eat the whole burrito, but I did. I was uncomfortable for most of the afternoon.

From the restaurant, we rode back down to the Albertson’s grocery store near the bank. Donna shopped while I sat on a bench outside in the shade. My back was so stiff that walking was a chore. We managed to  pack several bags of groceries on the scooter. We filled the underseat compartment, a tote bag between my knees and a large backpack.

After we returned home, I thought a martini would be in order – for medicinal purposes. Before I could make a martini, I needed to replenish my vodka supply. I remembered passing a liquor store near here. I went back out on the scooter to the store. It was a poor example of a liquor store. They only had a few brands of vodka, mostly pints and half-pints and no potato vodka.

I went to two grocery stores and found poor selections again. I rode west on Niles Street and stopped at stores displaying liquor signs. In California, it’s usually easy to find liquor retailers. I found plenty of retailers – they just didn’t have what I was looking  for. I phoned Donna and told her I may be out for longer than I thought. Then I used my smartphone to map liquor stores in the area.

The 10th(!) store I stopped at had an ancient guy behind the counter. I told him I was looking for potato vodka, preferably in a 1.75 liter bottle. He said I should go to Rite Aid. I asked him if there was a Rite Aid in the area. He said “Yes, they’re everywhere.” Then he just stood there looking at me. Apparently that was all the direction I was going to get. I thanked him and walked back to the scooter.

I started to loop back towards the RV park. I saw a CVS store, right next to the bank where we were this morning. I went in and found Blue Ice American Potato Vodka (made from Idaho russet potatoes). This became my new favorite when I found it in Grand Junction, Colorado. It’s hard to find. I’ve only found it in one or two stores since then. I bought two bottles.

I came home and watched the Formula 1 race from Monza, Italy on the DVR. The martini hit the spot. My back didn’t bother me so much. Donna made a quinoa salad with feta and mint for dinner. After the huge lunch, a light dinner was perfect. Afterwards, we walked a lap of the park.

I still have a sore back this morning. We started the day with a delicious, nutritious breakfast featuring crustless zucchini quiche with bacon and tomato wedges on the side.

Crustless quiche

Crustless zucchini quiche

Backache notwithstanding, I need to start to prepare for travel today. We’ll head down to Tehachapi tomorrow.

Visitors from Abroad

Cloudy skies were a welcome sight yesterday. We’ve had clear skies with intense sunshine since we arrived in Bakersfield. The heat has been relentless with daytime highs around 100 degrees and overnight lows of 70. The overnight low doesn’t occur until 6 or 7am. For most of the night, the outside temperature is in the 80s.

Donna took advantage of the cloud cover by going out on her bike in the morning. She followed the same route across town that she took on Saturday. This time, she rode the Kern River Parkway Trail in the opposite direction from Saturday’s ride. This was a shorter route. She had a good ride and covered 26 miles.

I’m still having issues with over-the-air TV reception. I don’t understand the problem. In our current location, I can pull in 20 strong stations, but they’re all analog broadcasts. I cannot receive any digital HD signals. I broke out the ladder and climbed on the roof to check the antenna. I cleaned the coax connections with electrical contact cleaner. They had some corrosion. I couldn’t think of anything else to do. The analog reception is good, but a digital HD image would be better. Maybe I need a new antenna or booster.

I took a walk through the RV park. It isn’t as large as some of the parks we’ve been in, but I was able to get some exercise. While I was out, I could smell rain. It was virga (I wrote about that here). The rain was evaporating before it hit the ground.

The park we’re in, Bakersfield Palms RV Resort, is split into two sections. The larger section is for long-term (one month or more) residents. The section we’re in is called the overnight area. There are only a handful of RVs in the overnight section, which is comprised of 20 large pull-through sites. Only three of us have been here for more than a day. Most of the RVers are using the park for an overnight stay as they travel through central California.

Yesterday, a class C rental RV pulled into the site next to us. There are two couples in the RV. They appear to be European. They’ve kept to themselves, so we haven’t had an opportunity to talk to them. We’ve met many Europeans on extended vacations in RV parks. Some of them have exhausting itineraries as they try to see all of the sights in the USA in four or five weeks. Others keep returning to complete their travels and do their sightseeing at a more reasonable pace.

A few of the European travelers we’ve met have their own RV that they store in the USA when they return home. Then they come back to continue their RV adventure. We met a Swiss couple that did this when we were in Mesa, Arizona. Their rig is pictured in this post. We met a couple from Austria in Salt Lake City that were traveling the country in their RV. They planned to end their adventure, which began in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in Alaska and maybe sell the RV there.

Class C rental RV

Class C rental RV

I would have liked to meet the people in the rig next to us, but they packed up and left as I’m typing this. Traveling to a foreign country and renting an RV has to be a real challenge. The thought of heading out in a rental RV is scary enough. There are so many things to learn in an RV, and most of us learn a few things the hard way.

I’ve driven cars in Europe many times. I know that driving where you may not fully understand the customs and laws can be stressful. I’m fine in Germany and Austria, but places like France, Slovakia and Italy give me heartburn.

And then there’s the whole issue of being in unfamiliar territory. Getting onto Fairview Avenue from the RV park is a bit confusing. I noticed that the rental RV that just left exited to the left, which would send them in the wrong direction if they were trying to reach the highway.

Clouds last evening

Clouds last evening

Yesterday’s cloud cover is long gone. Today, we have clear skies and the thermometer will reach north of 90 degrees. I don’t have a plan, other than to go grocery shopping with Donna later.

To the Rescue

Donna started her weekend with a Saturday morning bike ride. She planned to follow the route we scouted through town on Friday. Her goal was to reach the Kern River Parkway Trail and put in a total distance of about 40 miles. I assumed she would be out for two and a half or three hours.

She sent me a text at 9:40am saying she had reached the turnaround point and would be back at 11:15am. At 10:30am, she sent another message to let me know that she had to slow down. It was getting hot out and she wasn’t feeling great. At 11:05am, her message said she had stopped again and ate the last of her snap peas. She was still more than 11 miles away and her new ETA was noon. The day was becoming very hot. At noon, I received a message telling me she was stopped about two and a half miles from here. She had bonked. She asked me to bring her some food.

Donna started a 21-day sugar detox program on Monday. This program restricts sugar as well as carbohydrates. The combination of the change in her diet along with the oppressive heat shut her down. I rode the scooter and found her sitting on the ground in the shade in front of a nursery. I brought the milk and cooked sweet potato slices she had asked for. After drinking the milk, she felt better. Milk has a good combination of protein and carbohydrate, making it a good recovery drink.

She got back on her bike and rode home. I rode slowly on the scooter to make sure she would be fine. She said she felt pretty good. She even picked up the pace at one point when some little dogs ran out and started chasing her! Her mileage for the day was over 42 miles. Back at the RV park, she jumped in the pool to cool off. After that, we mostly stayed indoors as the temperature outside rose to 100 degrees.

Yesterday’s forecast called for another hot day. Donna did some strength training outdoors in the early morning. I was a couch potato all day. I watched the Jets win over the Raiders. Then I made a beer run before I watched the Cowboys get manhandled by the 49ers. Last night I watched the third NFL game and saw Denver flex its muscles against Indianapolis.

Today will be a little cooler, and the skies are cloudy for a change. But the high for the day will be over 90. I need to get out and exercise. Sitting indoors all day and drinking too much beer has me feeling lethargic this morning. Tonight, the first weekend of the NFL season concludes with a double-header. Detroit will take on the Giants and then the San Diego Chargers play the Arizona Cardinals. Time to break out my 1984 number 14 Dan Fouts Chargers throwback jersey.

Photo from the Chargers game I attended last year with my brothers-in-law, Tommy and Mark.

Photo from the Chargers game I attended last year with my brothers-in-law, Tommy and Mark.

Hot Week Ahead

Why are we in Bakersfield? We can be almost anywhere, so why are we here?

Donna set a goal to compete in the bicycle road race at the Senior Olympics in Minneapolis next summer. To compete, she has to qualify. Our first shot at qualifying came at the Montana State Championship race in Great Falls. Due to a mechanical issue, she didn’t finish the race – details are in this post. She needed to find another race that would qualify her entry in Minneapolis.

She found a race in Tehachapi, California that takes place on September 13th. She contacted the race director, who is also a city official, and was told we could dry camp at the high school on the race weekend.

I searched for a campground in the area, hoping we could go there and Donna could do training rides in the area before the race. I couldn’t find anything suitable for us.

We kicked around a few ideas and decided we should start heading south from Oregon and get close to Tehachapi. We thought about taking US395 along the Sierra Nevada range, but that would require us to be on the move most days to arrive in time for the race. A more direct route seemed like a better option.

Staying in northern California for a few days of training, then making a dash south was an option. But, northern California has wildfires and smoke until you get south of Mount Shasta. The climate south of Mount Shasta isn’t much different than in the central valley. So I thought we should keep moving south.

Coming to Bakersfield and having eight days to prepare for the race seemed to make sense. We’re only 30 miles from Tehachapi. We’ll move over there at the end of the week and Donna can compete in the race.

Yesterday, we studied maps, then we rode the scooter to reconnoiter a bicycling route. We found a reasonably safe route to the Kern River Parkway Trail. It requires about eight miles of riding through town to get to the paved trail. We came back home by  backtracking the same route. Donna called out the turns as we rode the scooter back. This helped her memorize the route.

We spent the afternoon indoors as the thermometer hit 99 degrees. Our air conditioners are running non-stop. Later in the evening, I fired up the grill. I grilled lemon garlic chicken thighs.

Chicken thighs and lemon slices on a smoky grill

Chicken thighs and lemon slices on a smoky grill

Donna served the chicken over brown rice pilaf with sauteed zucchini, peppers, onions and tomatoes on the side.

Delicious dinner plate

Delicious dinner plate

The temperature overnight was in the 60s, but it didn’t cool down until well after midnight. We went to bed with the air conditioners running. It’s too warm to sleep with the windows open.

This morning, I prepped Donna’s bike and she went out a little after 8am. She’s planning to ride about 40 miles today. The temperature is rising, but it’s only in the mid 70s now. The forecast calls for a high of 91 degrees in the late afternoon with abundant sunshine. I think we’ll hit the swimming pool later.

Big Rigs and Bad Roads

After enjoying an extended Labor Day weekend on the Row River, courtesy of Scott and Marcia Hicks, we prepared to leave Tuesday morning. We had everything packed, secured the property and rolled out at 10:45am with empty holding tanks and the fresh water tank full.

Our route took us south from Cottage Grove on I-5. We stopped in Medford for fuel and ate a salad Donna made for lunch, then continued south. The terrain became mountainous as we climbed through the Klamath Range in southern Oregon. I spotted elk in a meadow, including a couple of nice bulls. I always like to spot wildlife.

We crossed the California border and continued another 20 miles or so to the town of Yreka (wy-REE-kuh).  After we crossed the border, we started seeing smoke from wildfires in the distance. As we came closer to Yreka, the smoke became heavier. Our destination for the day was the WalMart in Yreka. Donna needed to buy groceries – she’d made a list of things she needed for the 21-day sugar detox program she just started. She phoned ahead to be sure we had permission to stay overnight in the parking lot.

As we exited the interstate and stopped at the traffic light, I could hardly believe my eyes. A vintage Newell pulling a long, enclosed trailer came past. I recognized it immediately and said to Donna, “That’s Clarke and Elaine.” I’ve followed Clarke’s blog for two years! We followed them into the WalMart lot. Clarke scooped me on the parking spot I wanted, but we were able to maneuver around and park 100 feet behind them in a level spot.

About 20 minutes later, I reluctantly knocked on Clarke’s door. I say reluctantly, because I knew they were probably road-weary and needed to unwind. I wanted to say “hi” and introduce myself, but I didn’t want to come off as a blog stalker. The usual RV etiquette allows for visitors when your door is open. Knocking on a closed door is generally not the thing to do. Of course, with all the smoke in the air, no one would have their door open.

So I gave a knock and Elaine opened the door. I apologized for disturbing them and introduced myself. They invited me in and we chatted for 15 or 20 minutes.

Clarke and Elaine Hockwald's 1984 Newell

Clarke and Elaine Hockwald’s 1982 Newell at the Yreka WalMart

When I returned to our coach, I started the generator and the air conditioners. It was hot and too smoky to open the windows. Donna returned with a pile of groceries. Once they were put away, she said she was going to walk down the block to Raley’s to get a few things she couldn’t find at WalMart. Raley’s is a supermarket chain found only in northern California and Nevada. Back in the day, they were a supermarket that carried just about everything – kind of like a small WalMart. Today, they are more of an upscale market with a good selection of organic and healthy gourmet food at good prices, according to Donna.

When I was in third or fourth grade, I lived in Sacramento. There was a Raley’s Supermarket about a mile away from our house. I’d heard about a pie-eating contest for kids at Raley’s on a Saturday morning. I entered the contest, thinking at the very least I would get a free cream pie! On that Saturday, I rode my Huffy bicycle to Raley’s for the contest. They had a couple of different age groups for the contest. My age group had 10 or 12 contestants. We were seated around a long, rectangular table. We were given a choice of cream pies – I remember coconut and chocolate cream pie among the choices. I went for the coconut cream pie. We had to keep our hands behind our backs and devour the pie, face down. On the start signal, I pushed my face into the pie and started swallowing it. I thought I was done and pulled my head up. The judge shook his head and pointed to some remaining filling. I lost a couple of seconds in the exchange before I finished the pie, but it didn’t matter. I won! The prize was a Raley’s gift certificate that I used to buy a pair of cowboy boots I’d had my eye on.

On Wednesday morning, we were up by 7am. The Hockwalds had already left. They were pushing to make it to Cape Blanco where they will be lighthouse hosts for the next two months. We visited Cape Blanco last fall – I posted about it here.

Our plan for the day was a longer drive than we usually do. We wanted to reach Ripon, California in the central valley about 330 miles away. My overall plan was to dry camp again, then continue south and check into an RV park in Bakersfield. This would position us close to Tehachapi, where Donna has a bicycle race on September 13th. There aren’t any RV parks in Tehachapi close enough to the race and with sites big enough for our rig. We’ve been told that we can dry camp for the weekend in the school parking lot when we get there.

We did make a stop in Corning, California –  the olive capital. In northern California, walnuts, pecans, olives and almonds are big cash crops. Corning has a few olive shops. We stopped at The Olive Pit, which has RV parking in the back. They have every olive and olive combination you can think of. I bought blue cheese – stuffed olives and Tomolives (which are really pickled olive size green tomatoes) for martinis. Donna bought Mediterranean-style olives, Cuban-style olives and anchovy-stuffed olives. She also bought walnut oil and balsamic vinegar, both locally produced.

Spoils from the Olive Pit

Spoils from The Olive Pit

South of Sacramento, we hit CA99. This road is in a sad state through many sections. I don’t understand how our elected politicians have allowed our infrastructure to deteriorate to this degree. Transportation, first with railroads, then with an interstate highway system, is what opened this country up and led to prosperity. Some of the roads we’ve traveled have been allowed to fall into such a state of disrepair, they need to be completely torn out and rebuilt. Much of CA99 needs to be replaced.

South of Stockton, we saw an overturned tractor-trailer rig blocking the northbound lanes. The northbound traffic was at a standstill for miles. I hope no one was seriously injured.

After a long day on the road, we pulled into the Pilot/Flying J travel center in Ripon. I found this place on the Internet. They advertised overnight truck and RV parking. We found a long, level parking place and backed the coach and trailer in. I asked the woman in the travel center if RVs were okay to park overnight. She said, “Absolutely, as long as you’re in a marked parking stall.”

By evening, the lot was full. I saw only one other RV, a fifth-wheel trailer. The rest were big tractor-trailer rigs. I had our coach inside the marked stall, but I had us slightly angled so I could put a bedroom slide out. If both bedroom slides are in, it’s too cramped with the full-length queen size bed. Donna would have to climb over me if she needed to get up in the night.

Running with the big dogs

Running with the big dogs

Slight angle to allow the drivers side bedroom slide to open

Parked at slight angle to allow the driver’s side bedroom slide to open

I think we stuck out like a sore thumb

I think we stuck out like a sore thumb

On Thursday morning, we were up early again. I didn’t sleep well. Truck stops are noisy places. Everyone, including us, had generators or engines running. Donna injured her eye somehow. It seems that she scratched her cornea – a painful and irritating injury. There’s not much to be done about it other than to let it heal. So she didn’t sleep well either.

We continued south on CA99, taking a real pounding at times on the rough road. We stopped at the only rest area we found on our route and had lunch outdoors at a picnic table. We finally pulled into our destination at the Bakersfield Palms RV Park where we’ll reside for the coming week. Bakersfield is a hot and dusty place. I’m wondering if I made the right choice by coming here.

Today, Donna and I will explore on the scooter and look for possible bike routes. The temperature is forecast to reach 90-plus degrees every day for the next week.

Endless Summer

Happy Labor Day first of all. I saw a post on Facebook commenting on the fact that many people don’t know what Labor Day is all about. Apparently people confuse it with Memorial Day. Here’s the explanation from the U.S. Department of Labor:

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

So, it’s a tribute to all American workers. We celebrate it by taking the day off! Traditionally, Memorial Day and Labor Day are the bookends of summer. One marks the beginning and the other the end. One of the great things about the nomadic way of life is, summer doesn’t have to end. We’ll chase the summer-like weather as we move south.

Yesterday’s weather here was much nicer. The high temperature reached 78 degrees, but it felt cooler than that to me. Today we should be in the 80s again. I worked on the coach yesterday. I drained and sanitized our fresh water tank. Then I refilled it with naturally soft, fresh water from Scott and Marcia’s well.

Donna went out to run on the bike trail while I was puttering around.

I also poked around in the engine compartment. The Engine Maint light on the dash (equivalent to a Check Engine Light in an OBD-II equipped car) lights up intermittently. I checked for fault codes and found a fault for low input from a sensor. I can’t find the part identifier in the code. I’ve searched online and this part identifier code (73) doesn’t appear in any of the documents I could find. I’m thinking that I have a loose or corroded wiring connector somewhere that’s causing the intermittent fault, but I don’t know which sensor it’s associated with.

Later, I rode the scooter to town. I took Row River Road around the east and north shore of Dorena Lake instead of the usual route down Shoreview Road. It was a nice ride and it was about the same travel time and distance either way. From this side of the lake, I found a couple of stopping points to take photos.

Dorena Lake view from the east on Row River Road

Dorena Lake view from the east on Row River Road

Dorena Lake is actually a reservoir created when the Army Corps of Engineers built a dam on the Row River in 1949. Prior to the dam, the valley was often flooded when spring snow melt was accompanied by heavy rains.

Dam at the west end of the reservoir

Dam at the west end of the reservoir

The campgrounds and parks around the lake were full of people and tent campers.

While I was out, I stopped at a roadside stand and bought half a dozen ears of fresh sweet corn. Cooking on the grill is a Labor Day weekend tradition. There’s nothing better than cooking on the grill by the riverside!

Grilling next to the river

Grilling next to the river

Today I’ll begin to prepare for travel. We’ll head out of here tomorrow. I think our next stop will be in Yreka, California.