Sunday, November 23, 2014

Wanna Know What I Had For Breakfast? Here, I'll Show You.......

Lake Mead N.R.A., Boulder City, NV

As I've mentioned numerous times before, it seems as though there's always something that needs to be repaired or maintained when you live this lifestyle. A few weeks ago I had to remove the water heater from the RV to replace a check valve that had gone bad. After finishing the repair we started to notice that the DSI Fault light was coming on and the water heater would be offline after a single cycle of heating water. We also noticed that the hot water seemed to be much hotter than normal. After a little research in the Owners Manual and reading several discussion threads in IRV2 we determined that the thermostat didn't seem to be doing it's job of shutting off the heater when the water temp reached 140; instead the water heater was continuing to heat the water to a temp of 190 degrees at which time the ECO (Emergency Cut Off) was initiating the DSI Fault and turning off the water heater. Since everything had been working fine prior to my having to remove the water heater; and that had not required me to work with any of the wiring or thermostats I was fairly sure we had a loose wire somewhere. I pulled the wiring connections on the thermostat and cleaned them with a little WD40 and '00' steel wool. After restoring the connections everything worked as it should. It's always something!
The 'After' Picture
No More Sunlight Steaming

I put my tools away and as I started up the steps to the RV I noticed something unusual....there was sunlight coming through a 10" gap in the door awning. Closer inspection showed that the material of the awning was intact, but the seams in the awning were starting to separate as the original thread was deteriorating. I surveyed the situation and determined that I could remove 2 bolts & 1 screw and completely remove the awning assembly from the RV to work on it. After a quick climb onto the top of the RV Joan & I had the awning loose and spread out on the picnic table ready for repair.

A few years ago I repaired the awning on the Class C we owned previously and I still had the heavy duty needles and fishing line I had used then. It took me about an hour to sew all the seams and another 15 minutes for Joan & I to reattach the awning. Just so you know, it's not a matter of 'if' something will happen, it's a matter of when! So next time you run into a similar problem, keep an open mind, use your wits and you'll do just fine.

A few days later we got an unexpected surprise....a phone call from Scott, one of the park rangers asking if we had some time open on our calendar for the following Sunday. Scott is not only an LE (law enforcement) but he is the park pilot and spends half of his patrol time flying the park plane.

When we first arrived at Lake Mead this year we had put our names on the list to fly with Scott if he ever needed observers. Scott was calling to ask if we could fly with him. HECK Yeah! was our response. So we met up with Scott Sunday morning at 9am and he led us through the pre-flight check. As we were taxiing Scott shared with us that we had a 31mph crosswind. "Do either of you have a problem with motion sickness?" Nope. So off we went.

The views were spectacular. We saw many of the back country roads that we normally drove and seeing the water fronts where we've eaten lunch while working gave us a whole different perspective.

Home Again. I feel much better now.
The wind was pushing the plane around quite a bit....and I suspect that standing the plane on its wing in order to better see irregularities on the ground probably had something to do with it, but it wasn't long before I was holding on to a barf bag....and after a few minutes I was using it! Breakfast was definitely better the 1st time.
We'd been out about an hour when we turned back and headed for the airport. Joan never had a problem and we're both hoping that we'll get another call to fly again....maybe when it's a little calmer.

As we were driving one of our ARs (approved road) we got another example of the power of water in the desert. Many of our ARs are in washes that run from the mountains surrounding the Colorado River down to the water's edge. My focus while driving is usually on the road surface looking for rocks or depressions that might shake up the truck. Joan is not only looking for disturbances but she is also checking the GPS to make sure we're following the actual road, not someone else's tire tracks. We were driving down one of the ARs we'd driven several times last season when Joan told me to stop, that we were beyond the end of the road. There was supposed to be a barrier in place to stop vehicle traffic from going any further; foot traffic only. The barrier was over 150' long and should have spanned the entire wash. It was built out of 5' tall 5" diameter metal poles, each one buried approximately 12" deep with 1/2" stranded cable connecting them. And none of the barrier poles or strand were anywhere in sight.. Wait a minute, there's some stranded cable sticking up out of the dirt over to that bush. Closer inspection revealed that the additional 1/2" of rain in October must have uprooted the entire 150' barrier leaving only the attachment to the walls of the wash. The water had buried all of the poles and cable under the sand and rock in the bottom of the wash.
We ended up volunteering to return a few weeks later with a crew of 8 to restore the barrier. It was hard work and after digging up most of the poles (some were buried so deep it wasn't worth the effort to dig them up) we then had to dig them back in. We spent all day and completed about half the barrier. Once we got home, we were so tired from all the digging and tamping we decided we would rather work our normal job when the crew goes back out to finish the restoration.

Earlier this year Joan started reading a new blog Jim and Barb's RV Adventure. And a couple of days after we arrived in Custer Jim & Barb pulled into the campground and parked right beside us. We had a great time meeting and spending time with them. They spent the summer in Canada working at a friend's hunting/fishing lodge. We stayed in touch over the summer and a few days ago they decided to get out of freezing temps of Salt Lake and head down to Zion NP. Joan & I decided we would drive up and spend a couple of days with them.
It was a close call, but lucky for Jim that
Barb was close by

We drove all through Zion, hiked a couple of trails and shared a couple of our favorite, out of the way, lesser known sights and overlooks.

We headed back home glad to know them a little better and with a plan to get together at least once or twice while we're here in Lake Mead this season.

Joan & I thought we had driven most of the ARs last season. But in the last 3 weeks we've already driven 4-5 new to us ARs. AR53 ends about 2 miles from the water and we GPS'd a disturbance made by a dirt bike that decided to drive towards the water rather than hike.

We only hiked a 1/4 mile, but saw many unusual features along the way. Here are a few pics we snapped along the way.

Do you see the bear?

Well, that's it for now. Stay Tuned. More to Come.


  1. Wow! I love this last road you took! What very cool rock formations on that hike down to the water! Yes, we would love to do this road.

    Glad you got the hot water heater all taken care of:) One must definitely be a jack of trades to have a MH...nice sewing job, Steve:)

    Too bad you had to have a windy day to fly around. Hope you get another opportunity.

    That last photo is gorgeous. Where were you standing?

  2. I love the title of the post, I laughed out loud when I read it! And who knew you could always have a career as a seamstress? It was great seeing you guys in Zion, thanks for driving up to see us! Hope to see you in a few weeks in Lake Mead!

  3. What a great opportunity to be able to get up in the plane! Except for the reverse breakfast, sorry bout that. Love the new pictures. What a great job you two have!

    1. Debbie we do love our job! Who knew there was so much to see in the desert. Everyday we go out we see something new and exciting. The plane ride was least for me it was! Hopefully Steve will do better under less windy conditions! Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Hmmm, sausage, gravy and biscuits will never be the same again! Looks like you are keeping busy and having fun at the same time! Between you and Phil, we are learning a lot on how to repair RV's! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    1. One thing for sure, you better be handy or willing to give it a try when it comes to repairs. IRV2 has saved us more than a few times!

      I'm sure you guys are staying plenty warm with all the walking you're doing! Won't be long and you'll be on your way to Florida. Hope you have a nice Thanksgiving!

  5. Great post and you two were so lucky with the plane ride. I won't comment on breakfast.