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Comment by Kevin F Smith on April 8, 2019 at 10:33am

It is a beautiful sunny morning here in Wickenburg, AZ.  The rest stop is actually lovely with lots of trees...but I was wrong about climbing out of the valley yet.  The hills above the rest stop are lined with saguaro cacti and choilla cacti...and the weather report says it will reach 92 here today.

After our morning coffee, we will be headed back to 93N, which crosses onto I-40 West...and our next destination will be the Flying J in Kingman, AZ...only about a 120 mile trip.  It is also supposed to be warm there as well, but we will fill the propane tank and just run the generator to keep the AC going until it gets dark.

On the bright side, our final destination in Ogden, UT is MUCH cooler, with a high of only 68 degrees today.  That is about 700 miles north of where we are right!

So time to end this chapter!

I'll start a new one, Arizona to Utah, 2019, here in a moment.


Comment by Kevin F Smith on April 8, 2019 at 3:12am

We got the Jeep hooked up and headed out just as it got dark.

And drove to the Walmart.

I had just kicked off my sandals and we were just about to settle in...when some fat little Walmart manager knocked on the door.  Now bear in mind that we had just finished our shopping and putting everything away, and hadn't been in the parking lot more than an hour.

"Excuse me can't stay the night here.  City ordinance."  I told him we planned on resting a while before moving on, and he got irritable:  "If you aren't out by midnight, you'll be getting a visit from the police!"  What a jerk!

So off we went!

Our new plan was to just keep driving toward our next show by way of Vegas to pick up I-15 North.  We ended up driving all the way through Phoenix, picked up the 303 Loop North, turned onto Route 60 West...and just as I thought we were going to end up driving another 120 miles to a Flying J on I-40...we saw a rest stop!  And pulled in for the night!

We had climbed out of the valley!  There are actual trees here in this rest stop!  Which is nice, because the Phoenix area is supposed to hit temperatures of 96 degrees tomorrow.

We pulled into the rest area at 12:20AM.

So I would say that this is a win!  Even though we are exhausted!  We'll even get to sleep in a bit tomorrow instead of getting up a 5am to get on the road by 6am.  SWEET!!!

That's it for tonight!  Off to bed soon!


Comment by Kevin F Smith on April 8, 2019 at 3:11am

Ah...the best laid plans of mice and men...

The first thing I did this morning was install the air filter.  The install went fairly easily...just big clamps with levers holding the assembly, and some big clamps on either end that used 7/8 inch nuts, and a huge hose clamp on the intake hose.

I ran into one little snag...and that was that the old filter was slightly smaller in diameter than the new filter...and the ABS housing on the intake end cracked slightly getting it over the new filter.  So off to Walgreens I went, and bought some Gorilla Tape.  

While I was at it, I shortened the intake duct hose by 6 inches, which was just enough to raise the intake duct hose safely away from the exhaust, as it was touching the exhaust before.

Then I took all the trash to the dumpster.

Then I took all my tools and workshop equipment and stowed them in my friend Dave's booth.

Then I played Tetris and loaded up the RV compartments.

After that, I washed the solar panels, rinsed off the roof, rinsed all the Arizona dust off the RV and the Jeep, washed both windshields, washed our porch carpet and welcome mat, disconnected the doggo kennel from the RV (we leave it at our campsite), rolled in the awning (which I also rinsed off), then checked the tire pressures on the RV and Jeep, checked all the fluids...and all the while, Patti was inside cleaning the RV and sorting laundry.

So I weedwacked our campsite and returned the weedwacker to my friend Steve.

By the time everything was almost done for us to leave, it was only we decided to do all the laundry at the local laundromat.  We got back to camp at 5:45pm...and then we made plans to go to the Apache Junction, AZ Walmart to load up on groceries and road food, and we planned to stay the night and leave by 6am to beat the Phoenix traffic.

And those were our "best laid plans" that changed on us.  More to follow!


Comment by Kevin F Smith on April 6, 2019 at 11:08pm

WOW am I beat.

 But we got a LOT done today! 

After I went to town and got the filters and the fuel treatments, I got back to work on building the last run of ballistae catapults, while Patti strung up the oak machines I finished yesterday.  Because there is drying time for glue and wood putty between steps, I kept plugging away at cleaning the shop, bagging up 2 months of debris and garbage in the shop, and staging everything for tomorrow. 

By dark, I was finished staining the last of the catapults and ballistae, the shop is completely broken down, everything we store here is ready to stow away tomorrow, all the garbage and scrap wood is staged to bring to the dumpster tomorrow, everything we carry with us in the Jeep and the RV is staged for the tetris-style load up tomorrow, and I am all showered up.  Sure is dusty here in Arizona!

Tomorrow I'll install the air filter, do all my air pressure and fluid checks, fill the freshwater tank, weedwack our campsite and bring the weeds and all the workshop debris to the dumpster, return my friend's weedwacker, stow everything we store here for the off season in my friend Dave's booth, and then go to town with Patti to do laundry and stock up on road food groceries (we already stocked up on doggo food and kitty food).

Then I'll rinse down the rig, especially the roof and the solar panels, wash the windshield, wash the doggos, take another shower, and drive the RV from our campsite to the outer parking lot.  And then hook up the Jeep so we can leave first thing Monday morning.

Almost done with the hard work!  Utah here we come!


Comment by Kevin F Smith on April 5, 2019 at 10:19pm

So after my short break, I jumped back on the catapults.  I managed to get all the oak catapults assembled, and all the parts ready for Patti to string.  She finished stringing all the catapults I finished yesterday, so I stained them at the end of the day.  I also got all the parts cut out for my last run of ballistae, which won't take long to finish tomorrow morning.

Then I went into town to get an air filter for the RV, and they wanted 160 bucks!  I still have 1/4 inch left on the indicator, so I'm going to wait a bit before shelling out that money...or try to find a cheaper alternative on the internet and have it delivered to me in Utah.  I can't see how they can justify an air filter for 160 freakin' bucks!  Yikes!!!  I'll also do some research to see if the air filter can be serviced to make it last longer, like blowing it out with a compressor or whatnot.

Tomorrow morning I'll finish the ballistae, stain them, stain the run of oak catapults that Patti is going to string tomorrow, and then start the great packdown of the workshop.  LOTS of trash and debris to get rid of, so I bought some big contractor clean up bags while I was out.  That should take all day tomorrow.  Tomorrow night we have to do laundry at the local laundromat.  

And then on Sunday, I have to borrow my friends weedwacker and mow the weeds down in our camp, rinse off the roof, solar panels, and sides of the RV, do my normal meticulous road checks, wash the doggos, wash the windshield, and take a shower.  And then I have to pull our RV out into the outer parking lot, hook up the Jeep, and have us ready to hit the road first thing Monday morning.

Getting closer to our working vacation!


Comment by Kevin F Smith on April 5, 2019 at 2:46pm

I'm taking a short break before getting back to work on the oak catapults and catapistols.

And the solar power system and the inverter system is DONE!!!  

By switching the plug end on the RJ-12 cable, the inside monitor for the charge controller works perfectly now, and the inverter works perfectly as well!  We are ready to boondock and give these Trojan batteries a workout (although I am pretty sure I'm going to have to add at least 2 more...I'll know better after we start using the system on our way to northern Utah).

So a little coffee break...and I'll go back to work in a few minutes.  The weather is being very kind to us this week...75 today and 74 tomorrow.  


Comment by Jack Wasmuth on April 5, 2019 at 4:41am

Whewwww. You busy guy. Don't over do it. Not only do we need to stop and smell the roses, but we need to pick a few once in a while. Take care a you deserve a good rest. 

Comment by Kevin F Smith on April 4, 2019 at 10:00pm

The solar panel system is done!  

Well...almost.  They sent me the wrong RJ-12 cable.  It is supposed to be a crossover cable (both sides wired in mirror image), but what they sent me was wired exactly the same on both sides.  I already ran the cable runs and got everything nice and neat, so I am not about to change it I bought some RJ-12/RJ-11 ends, and will just flip the one side at the charge controller tomorrow morning so the interior monitor panel will work.  When I installed the monitor panel, I also installed a cheap digital volt meter next to the interior monitor panel to keep an eye on the battery voltage when boondocking.  And then I tested the solar array, and everything but the monitor panel works!  

Around 4pm, the Battery Guy came by and sold me my two new Trojan T-105 batteries (210.00 total for two batteries...sweet!) and hauled off the old I got those installed as well.  Weird thing with this RV:  Without 12 volts, not even the air conditioner works because of the I did the battery swap pretty quickly since it was 80 degress at 4pm here in Arizona.

I have the inverter mostly ready to install, but the cables were too short, so while I was out getting the RJ-12 ends at Lowes, I picked up 12 feet of 2/0 gauge tomorrow morning I'll get the inverter finished.  I did manage to install the plug end in my power compartment, so I can just plug the coach into that plug when running on inverter power.

And then I finished a huge run of catapult pistols, which Patti is going to string tomorrow, and I'll stain them in the afternoon.

So tomorrow I should only have an hour or so of work to finish installing the inverter and switching the RJ-12 cable end...and then I have to finish a run of oak catapults and catapistols, and 4 handheld ballistae, and get those stained as well.

That will leave Saturday for cleanup and packdown, which will probably spill over into Sunday.  I also have to change the air filter on the Itasca.

On Sunday, I have to weedwack our campsite and dispose of all the weeds (new Faire rules to help prevent fires during the summer off season...250.00 fine if we don't do it), but my buddy Steve lives on site during the summer (his wife is office manager), and he has a weedwacker I can borrow so I don't have to buy one...what the heck do I need a weedwacker for as a fulltime RVer?...LOL!

And then Sunday evening we will pull out into the parking lot, hook up the Jeep, and be ready to leave first thing Monday morning.  I can't wait for the hard work to be behind us so we can enjoy our off time on our way to the northern tip of Utah for our next show!


Comment by Kevin F Smith on April 4, 2019 at 9:36am

That sounds great, Jimco!  We miss you and Lydia!


Comment by Jimco_W001 on April 3, 2019 at 10:50pm

Hey Kevin, when you and Pattie arrive here at my place we will do some second hand shopping and some relaxing at the pond.



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