Saturday, November 8, 2014

Nothing Ever Stays the Same

Just like Roseanne Roseannadana constantly reminded us......"It's always something!" We've been back in Lake Mead for 3 weeks and it's  been one thing after another since we got here. 2 weeks ago I traveled with LVSSA Raiders 60+ softball team down to Bull City, NV for a softball tournament. We played a 5-game round robin format over a 3-day weekend. Throughout the tournament we continuously attempted to play up to the level of our competition and finished with a 1-4 record. This is a fairly new team as about 1/2 of the team has changed over the last few months. My lack of batting practice showed during most of the tournament even though my defense was solid. After going 0-3 our coach decided to shake things up for the 4th game and I went to the mound to pitch. The 1st inning seemed like more of the same as I walked 3 and our offense still appeared to be MIA. But we turned things around after that and went on to beat our opponent handily.....I was 2 for 2 at the plate with 2 3-run homeruns and fielded several hot line drives up the middle. Though we didn't do as well as we'd have liked, the team is looking forward to our next tournament scheduled in early December.

Joan wants to know "Who's
that knocking on my roof?"
After work time (Lake Mead) and play time (softball) I had to start working on my little list of RV chores. First off, the Fantastic Fan/Vent system. We have an automatic fan in the roof our RV controlled by a thermostat so that if during the day when we're away from home and the temps get too hot the fan will kick on and vent the hot air. Over the last year the fan has worked off and on. It acted up a little at Lake Mead earlier this year, but I didn't think much about it as we didn't really need it in South Dakota except for 1 or 2 days. But the first week back in Lake Mead it was really warm with temps in the high 80's. Without the fan venting during the day, the RV would be really uncomfortable when we would return from work at the end of the day. I called FantasticFan and spoke with a technical support rep. I'd heard great things about their product support and was hoping for a quick low cost solution to my problem. After describing the problem the rep corrected my understanding of how the fan worked and told me what I needed to look for. I thought the thermostat controlled the fan itself.......wrong! The thermostat controls the automatic vent that raises and lowers to cover the fan. When the temperature inside the RV triggers the thermostat, the thermostat raises the vent. As the vent elevates it releases a plunger switch that turns on the fan. After climbing up on the roof and removing the vent cover the problem magically appeared......the power wire from the plunger switch to the fan was loose. After tightening the loose wire the fan works perfectly as designed. Yahoo! 1 RV chore down....who knows how many left? Our outdoor porch light lens was broken and the bulb burned out, so I tracked down a replacement lens and bulb and installed them; Purchased a timer and some outdoor lighting (100 white outdoor Christmas tree lights for $2.50...hard to beat that) and installed them under the RV along with some rope lights in the surrounding trees so the outside of the RV would be lit up after dark; replaced several broken cabinet door hinges; and painted the outside door trim where the original paint has peeled off to reveal primer. Whew! Glad that's done. Now I can relax...........EEERRRNNNNNTTTTT.....Wrong again! Tuesday after a long day I had taken my shower and Joan was just starting to wash dishes when she said "We don't have any water coming out of the hot water tap." That's weird. We just had water a few minutes ago. Cold water works fine. Check the bathroom water from the hot tap.....check the shower....same thing. So I pull out the owners manual and start reading through the water heater section while Joan queries IRV2. We just luv that site. It didn't take long and we determined that we had a check valve problem. The check valve is located on the back of the water heater and prevents anti-freeze from entering the water heater when winterizing the RV. The next morning I was on the phone with Camping World as soon as they opened. Yes they have bananas...uh...check valves. So off we go.
Back at the RV I decide the only way to gain access to the valve is to pull the entire water heater out. Not really hard, just awkward.

"Do they really expect me to fix
the water heater working through
this 5"x5" panel?"
After removing the cover and 20 screws, the heater can be pulled out of the RV. Just be careful or you may snag one of the water lines and break the water line's threaded connector.....just like I did. Crap! So out comes the heater and off comes the connected pipes, hoses and busted check valve. Then in goes the new check valve......hey, wait a minute...something isn't right here....let's the valves and what do you know....they're not the same. The original valve is male/female threaded and the replacement is male/male threaded. Okay, so back to Camping World we go. After all it's only 14 miles away, 28 miles round trip. Upon arrival at CW......Sorry says's the only valve we have. You'll need to buy an adapter. No we don't carry those. Yes we have a replacement water line connector for the one you broke sez CW. No we don't carry the PEX connector clamps you need to install it. So now it's off to Lowes. Yes we have adapters sez Lowes. Yes we have PEX clamps. And yes you'll need a $38 PEX clamp compression tool to tighten the clamp around the replacement connector. So let me get this straight....the check valve is $9....the adaptor $5....the replacement connector $3......the PEX clamps $ $21...and the *&%^#$$%(*)(**&^^%$ PEX compression tool is $38! Breath deep....go to your happy place...ah better now, after all the entire RV has PEX piping with connectors at every turn and corner so I'm sure I'll get to use the &^%$$# tool again sometime soon and get my money's worth. And you'll have only driven 56 miles so far today. Back to the RV and the reinstallation of the check valve goes smoothly. Now all I need to do is replace the broken connector by slipping this inside the PEX....wait, why is this so loose?...and slipping this collar outside the PEX....and why won't this slide outside....... #%^%$(*)^%^$#@*&(*&( It's the wrong size replacement. They gave me a 3/8", not the 1/2" like the broken parts I showed them. So it's another 28 mile round trip to CW to get the correct 1/2" part. Finally at 4:58pm, after starting at 8:01am this morning, 84 miles on the road and $59 later, the hot water heater is back inside the RV where it belongs and hot water is heating up and flowing through our wonderful PEX pipes to our faucets. Happy place, happy place.

Work has been fun and we really enjoy riding out in the back country where not too many visitors travel. Here's a shot of Joan and Joseph mapping a GPS track where someone drove off the approved roads deep in the desert.

And you just never know what you may encounter as we drive these back roads.

The elusive desert tortoise, usually already underground when we have been working at Lake Mead.

l-r Jenny, Don, Joan, me, Bill & Barb
We have noticed that many of the back roads are showing signs of erosion from the recent rains. In August and September rainfall was almost double the normal amounts. Just before we left South Dakota we heard several news stories about flash floods in the Vegas area and signs of that are evident deep in the desert. The power of a 1/4" or 1/2" of rainfall is incredible in this area. That was made quite evident during a hike we took with several other volunteers this weekend. We joined Bill & Barb and Don & Jenny for a hike through Anniversary Narrows.

Joan and I took this hike several times over the last 2 seasons and for the most part is was a pleasant walk through a narrow and picturesque slot canyon; 95% of the walk on smooth gravel. But not this time....there were numerous spill overs and rock piles created by the summer rains. And the hike turned out to be a little bit more of a challenge than in trips past. But we all had a great time and everyone managed to get in & out without too much effort.

Well that's about it for now.

Stay Tuned. More to Come


  1. It's great Steve is so handy with the RV repairs! A $38 tool sure beats a service repair shop!
    I remember Anniversary Narrows and a fun day with you two...nice hike! Lake Meade sure looks pretty...

  2. ya gotta love it! Sounds like most of my repairs except you left the part out where you smash your thumb with the hammer, whack your head on the cabinet door and then electrocute yourself ....... like I do! LOL

  3. Your RV repair day would drive me crazy! You did good.

  4. Sounds like you had a week like mine, I had to find my "Happy Place" several times this week. Glad you got everything back in working order!

  5. Hey OnSite Mobile RV Repair could have fixed that for you! Just kidding you are doing a great job. We miss being out West and look forward to getting back there. Spending the winter in Port St. Lucie.

  6. Steve is so handy. However, that is just one day. All of your other days are full of FUN and BEAUTY. That is what it is all about.

  7. Wow! That day seems to be wonderful, since you accomplished a lot of things, particularly with regard to the maintenance and repair of your RV. It must’ve been exhausting, but at least you were able to address all the problems and solved them at once. Thanks to the technical support representative who guided and informed you about what to do with the fan. Anyway, thanks for sharing all about that day! All the best to you!

    Liza Pilon @ Prairie City RV Center