Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Old Friends and Ladies Day in Boston

We are reconnecting with friends and family we haven't see for a long time. Rob and Tom have been the best of friends since third grade and when they get together it's like they were never apart. 
Tom and his wife Beth, came to the Little RV for a visit Friday evening. We had a great visit. I can't even imagine the trouble these two caused growing up.

Saturday Rob's oldest daughter Meghan, her mother-in-law Judy and I went to Boston for the day. 
I had never been to Boston except the airport. It's only about an hour and a half drive from Meg's house depending on traffic. 

This area of Boston was incredibly busy. There were multiple events that day including a bike race, Oktoberfest, and a Dance Mile which is a large group of dancing people following a pick-up truck loaded with speakers and three very loud women attempting to add to the dancing mob. The Mob dances a mile long route. Not my thing but my companions were nearly sucked in. 

There were also people in period dress who were involved in tours and other activities. Police were directing traffic at many of the intersections and parking was very hard to come by. 

Be prepared when visiting this area. We paid $36 to park the car or "pahk the cah" in Boston speak, for four hours. Other than lunch that was the only cost for the day's entertainment. 

Being the quirky kind of tourist I am, I wanted to see some unusual things. The first and most important was this six foot tall Lob-stah Mickey. 
 We did some walking and looking for him but sadly we discovered he is no longer in Boston at least in the public arena or I'd be in this photo with Mickey. Onward!

Next up, The Union Oyster House

The New England Clam Chowder (chow-dah in Boston speak) was some of the best I've ever had. This is the America's oldest restaurant and has been serving food since 1826. 

The area we visited was very old and full of history. 
They call it the Freedom Trail and there is a brick stripe in the old cobblestone sidewalks you can follow to keep you on the trail.

 As we followed the trail Faneuil Hall was next. 

Faneuil Hall was built in 1742 and was an open market and meeting house for local government. 

The Old State House was next on the trail. This building is over 300 years old and is dwarfed by the tall buildings surrounding it. 

Check out the beautiful details on the building .

The Old South Meeting Hall was next on the trail. This is a Puritan church dating back to 1729. 
Moving right along we arrived at Granary Burial Ground. This cemetery was established in 1660 and is the final resting place for many notable figures including Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin's parents and Mary Goose, said to be the original Mother Goose. 
Some of the headstones were so eroded we couldn't read them. I suppose being out in the weather 24/7 for as long as 356 years would erode anything. 

Park Street Church, built in 1809, was our next stop. There had just been a wedding and the bride and groom were just exiting the church as we arrived. 

Our last stop on the trail was Boston Common where we were greeted by the overwhelming scent of marijuana in the air. 
Boston Common is a central park in downtown Boston. It dates back to 1634. We only visited a small corner of the parks huge 50 acre footprint. 
Had I know about these guys, we'd have been all over the place looking for them. I have to say I'd like to go back sometime and visit the park more thoroughly. 

Six days from today we move to Rhode Island for a quick visit to Rob's childhood hometown. 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Little RV is Snugly Tucked in for a Few Weeks

Gosh, I'm so far behind in my writing! We arrived in Connecticut on Thursday evening August, 25th. We pulled into the driveway and got settled in before anyone knew we had arrived.  When we come to Connecticut we moochdock in the driveway of Rob's oldest daughter, Meghan, her husband Alex and our granddaughter Millie. I call their home Hilliard Acres. 
Our "Site" at Hilliard Acres

 We moved fast those last three travel days because we wanted to arrive in time for a weekend get together here at Hilliard Acres. 
    That's a lot of moving for us in just three days!

 We met some of Meg and Alex's friends, Joe and Nina from London who are wonderful people. We are happy to have gotten acquainted with them. 

Murphy is loving his time here because he has so much room to run and a buddy to play with.
Murphy tormenting poor Lucy.

 We gave a lot of tours of the motorhome during the party. Everyone was very interested in seeing inside the "tour bus". 

We are planning to be here in Connecticut until the 25th of September when we head to New Jersey to visit an old school friend of Rob's. 

We are expecting a storm to arrive tomorrow.  Hurricane Hermine which has been downgraded to a tropical storm is headed our way. We are expecting some wind and rain but nothing major here. Our friend in New Jersey is under a voluntary evacuation so hopefully things will settle down before Hermine arrives. 

If you have been with us since the beginning you'll remember we were here in this very driveway for Super Storm Sandy nearly four years ago on October 22, 2012. You can read about that adventure here and here. Coincidence? You decide. We bring our own special kind of excitement wherever we go, don't we?

Since we arrived we have really just been catching up on things. Sleeping and resting, visiting, dog grooming, people grooming, you get the idea. Alex has offered to help me wash the motorhome while we're here and I plan to hold him to that offer because we are looking a bit grungy. Also Alex is very tall and can reach much higher than I can. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Getting to Know the Little RV Thoroughly

We are in between Lakes Huron and Michigan in St. Ignace, Michigan for four nights. We need get some things fixed and/or taken care of. Our trip so far has been plagued with annoying problems. Some have been self inflicted, some have not. 

I think part of the problems we have had are from the incredibly bumpy roads we have encountered along the way. 

After particularly bumpy travel days we tend to find broken things during set-up. Mostly they are just nuisance things but it takes time to fix them. 

It started with our clothing hanger bar in the bedroom closet completely pulling out of the ceiling. The upside; we did find this a prime opportunity to go through and weed out clothing we just don't need. I folded a lot of the clothes and put them in a stack in the closet. Rob's clothes can stay folded and he wants to leave them that way so I'll just install some light weight shelving to keep things in place. Many of my clothes need to be hung and I have been moving from place to place several times each day in order to function. 

I needed a solution for the closet that would allow me to hang my clothes and not have the bar pull out of the ceiling. I purchased some items at the hardware store the other day to take care of this problem. I screwed all of the parts together and installed it this afternoon. It's working great. Not the prettiest thing ever but very functional and it has some support from below to keep it where it belongs.

Our pantry has pull out drawers but the spacing between the walls and the rails is just a bit too large so occasionally one of the drawers will come off the tracks. One evening I opened the pantry to find two drawers just barely hanging on. I had to add some washers and larger screws to keep the drawers on the tracks. However there is another one that needs a repair now. 

We had the problem with the mouse chewing the wiring harness in our car and causing the power steering to fail. That's all fixed and the car is back in business. 

The unfortunate incident where we tried to level and put the slides out at the same time caused hours of sleuthing and even after I thought we had it all back in order I discovered our inverter was not working the other day. When we travel the inverter converts energy stored in the house batteries to regular 110 power to run our residential refrigerator. As it turns out that was all part of the same incident and there was another breaker that needed to be reset. 

I believe I spent a total of 10+ hours trying to figure it all out but now I know where all of these things are located and how to figure out what and where the problem is. It was all under the stairs the whole time. 

 We also have a section of the body on the exterior of the motorhome that is sticking out on the lower left corner. I noticed this the other day and crawled under the motorhome to see what was going on. 

This area is the exterior where the hot water heater is located. There is a bracket that holds the panel in place but one of the screws is sheared off at the head and the other is stripped and was just hanging in the bracket. 

There is almost no space in there for tools so I found some screws with a hex head so I could use a socket wrench to repair the problem. We checked that one off the list yesterday.

Here's one that has been plaguing me for months. The sewer connection for the back bathroom is inside a bay. However the opening for the hose is only a 4" opening. Each time I set up and tear down I have to dismantle the end of the sewer hose, put it through the opening and then reassemble it. What a nasty, dirty pain. Yesterday I installed a 5" access port. Now I can put the hose through easily and without taking it apart. I'll spare you the photos of that one but it's done too!

The thing is, as annoying and sometimes discouraging as these things are, each time something happens I learn so much and gain more confidence. Rob has been joking that I should become an RV repair person. No thanks! 

If you have an RV, do you know;

Where your converter, inverter, transfer relay switch(s), breakers, fuses and the like are located? 

We have a breaker panel and fuses inside and more outside. Do you? 

Do you know where they are located? 

Do you have extra fuses and a volt meter with you just in case? 

Maybe some extra washers and assorted screws for repairs?

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Little RV Visits the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Rob is nuts, crazy over the moon nuts, for motorcycles. As it happens the Harley Davidson museum is in Milwaukee not far from our campground so we decided to check it out. 
The museum starts at the beginning of the creation of the Harley Davidson motorcycle. There were exhibits including company stocks.

This particular motorcycle was built in the very early 1900's and is the oldest Harley Davidson in the world. 

There were hundreds of motorcycles dating back to 1903 and moving forward to the present. 

 In 1932 they came out with a Servi-Car used for deliveries. They had several of these in the museum. 

There were police motorcycles and the uniforms worn while riding them.

Harleys were used in World War II by the Army and the Navy. 

 We trooped around the exhibits for as long as we could then took a break and when to the souvenir shop for a new ball cap and T-shirt for Rob. 

If you're ever in the area and you're a motorcycle enthusiast we'd recommend a visit. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

It's Not All Rainbows and Butterflies in the Little RV

Because we didn't have any reservations for our unexpected trip the the Milwaukee area and because it's the weekend we are site hopping. We find a site available for one night here and another site for one night there. Yesterday we were able to secure a site for another night here in the same State park so we only had to move a few spaces down the road. Piece of cake, right? Not for the little RV. 
The Little RV all tucked in.

Once we got the go-ahead to move from the park office we got packed up and started our move. There are only electric hook-ups here so we went to the dump station to empty the gray water tanks and add more fresh water. 

Once that was done we went to the office to pay for another night and then back around the loop to our new site. Once backed in we hooked up the electric and started the process of leveling and putting out the slides. That's where things went so very wrong. 

We have a hydraulic automatic leveling system and our slides are hydraulic as well. Of course there is an electric component to them as well. Part way through the leveling process everything just stopped working. The rear jacks were fully extended but the front jacks were up and the slides would not move. 
Saturday morning about and hour north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the middle of nowhere. Clearly no help would be available so we rolled up our sleeves and tackle the problem.

The first thing that came to mind was to check the hydraulic fluid level. We have had our maintenance done professionally and frankly I didn't even know where to look for the hydraulic fluid reservoir. Shame on me.

In case you're wondering we do have some "manuals" for the motorhome but they are basically useless. They explain routine use, tell you to check the fuses, or suggest a manual override but they don't elaborate or even mention where these things are located. I did pull them out but they were not helpful at all.

Internet to the rescue! After frantic searching online and in the forums for our particular motorhome I was able to find enough information to know I had to remove the cover for the entry stairs to find the hydraulic motor and fluid reservoir. 
Under the entry stairs - The hydraulic fluid
reservoir is the white thing in the lower left corner

To my untrained eye, there appeared to be enough fluid. I did not see a full line but there was a dipstick and it was in the fluid so all was well there.

Now what? A fuse, maybe a breaker? The fuses and breakers are located in the bedroom at the foot of the bed. However, the bedroom slide was stuck in and right up against the wall where the fuses and breakers are located. Armed with a flashlight I crawled over the bed and shimmied as far as possible into the space under the foot of the bed to check the breakers. They were all fine so I moved to the other side and shimmied back under the foot of the bed to check the fuses. Because of the confined space and the angle I couldn't see the fuses so I removed them one by one to check for a blown one. They were all just fine. 

Back to the internet. We were able to find something about a breaker for the leveling system under the stairs. So back to the stairs we went. 
The breakers are in the top center of the photo. 

The breakers don't look like regular breakers. They are black boxes with a red leaver that pops out when they are blown. One of the red levers was popped out!! I reset the breaker, climbed over the missing stairs and tried the jacks. Success!! The jacks were working. The slides, not so much. Back to the drawing board. 

Since this all happened at the same time it had to be connected. There must be a fuse or breaker in part of the slide system that was causing the problem, right?

More digging, more tools, more reading, more greasy hands and arms and then the discovery there are fuses behind the cover of a box down there under the stairs. 

The cover of this box said "do not remove cover without disconnecting battery cables".  I disconnected the battery cables and then removed the cover.  Ta-da fuses! Just what I was looking for. The first one I pulled out from the lower right corner was the culprit. I replaced it and Rob went to see if the slides would work. They worked!! 

It took us 5+ hours to figure out how to get things working again but they are working properly and we couldn't be happier. Today we are supposed to move to the Wisconsin State Fair RV Park in Milwaukee. Wish us luck.