Friday, January 15, 2010

Powered up again

Mark & Donna showed up here a couple of days ago now.  On Wednesday I happened to check on the progress of our mail and discovered that it was already delivered in Phoenix.  We get our UPS store to ship it to another UPS store near to wherever we happen to be and usually UPS is bang on the estimated delivery date.  You can check the progress of the mail online and I had done that on Wednesday, noting that it was “out for delivery” Wednesday morning.  Typically that means that there will be no more news until the evening at which time it will show as “delivered”.  For some reason I checked the status at noon and there it was, delivered.

So we dashed around and left almost immediately for Phoenix.  Mark & Donna came with us to see the bright lights.  I managed to miss the exit to pick up the generator on the way in so we picked up the mail and drove downtown so they could see that before returning to Glendale to pick up the generator head.  Then they took us out for a very late lunch somewhere – can’t remember the name of the place now – and we hit Safeway before returning to Quartzsite.  Phoenix is a great place to drive – one of my favourite cities in North America.  Its entirely built on the square and they must have great engineers, hard as that is for me to admit.

Yesterday morning I got the generator stuffed back into its hidey hole using the appropriate amount of blood as a lubricant in the process.  The women went shopping while Mark and I did bus maintenance.  He told them to pick up band-aids because bloodletting seems to be a fundamental part of his bus maintenance program as well. 

All my worrying about the generator head not being the right part or the mounting brackets not being right turned out to be unnecessary.  It went back in and has worked just fine.  I’m still dealing with a couple of fuel leaks but I think I may even have them under control now.  I ran the generator for a while just to show the surrounding rigs what a noisy generator should sound like although in fairness to our Kubota I don’t think it holds a candle to whatever is in the Newell that I posted pictures of a few days ago. 

After I got done bleeding on my generator I started helping Mark damage the suspension on Papabus.  Papabus is their MCI conversion.  Papabus is currently sitting about 1.5 inches low in the stern and we are attempting to cure that situation.  We have a very creative solution involving eye bolts, dremel tool, black mastic adhesive, scraps of fuel hose, gear clamps and duct tape.  OK, maybe not duct tape but everything else is definitely involved (and blood of course).  This morning will tell the tale whether or not it is going to work.  There’s not much room under a bus to begin with and I learned yesterday that busses with inboard airbags (like MCI has) have even less room underneath than the frenchy-bus has.

I told Mark yesterday that one of the greatest gifts my father gave me is the knowledge that I can build or fix anything if I only have the necessary imagination.  A couple of days ago Marilyn & I were walking through the endless rock vendors in town and I happened to mention that father & I had built a rock tumbler about a hundred years ago.  We built it out of gallon paint cans and washing machine rollers.  She said something about how many different things we had done together and we truly did – every thing from rock polishers to kayaks to photo darkrooms.  Not to mention that he built two RVs and a garage that I got to help with.  But the important lesson he taught me along the way was that with not much money and a lot of imagination everything is possible.

I was reminded of that lesson when I folded my recently modified solar panels down and subsequently brought the “support brackets” to the ground with me.  The “support brackets” are actually pieces of 3/4” conduit that I beat into shape with a large hammer, drilled and then added random bolts that I happened to have onboard.  I realized that I was turning into my father when I noticed that I had a Robertson, Phillips and a slot screwdriver out in order to tighten 8 bolts.  But I didn’t have to go to town and spend money to buy the bolts – they were all in my bolt can when I started the project.  They may all have different heads and they may all be random lengths and they may look a little crude but they were all just junk before they became essential components of my solar brackets.  I’m turning into my father.  R.J., Marlan & Michael – this is your future.

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