Old Diary

211K – K.O.’ed

Down for the count


R.I.P. 211K receiver

Remember that satellite receiver we were talking about yesterday? …well, I tore apart the contents of the cabinet, put them all back in and guess what… The satellite receiver is dead. I mean dead as a doornail.

When I opened up the cabinet to remove all the components that receiver was really hot to the touch and it had not been powered on for 5 days.  I thought that was strange (in a bad, bad, bad way) ((thinking, “I’m glad nothing started on fire”))  and didn’t think to try powering it on — after all I was taking all that stuff out of the cabinet, not putting it in.

211ZI talked with the DISH people and there is no consumer access fuse or reset button and they were the ones that said the receiver would need replacing.  So, I guess it’s time to bite the bullet and update the receiver.  We aren’t able to receive a satellite signal at this site so there’s no rush — we’ll pick one up in Madison at Camping World on our way to Milwaukee on the 3rd of September and install it in Milwaukee when we get to the State Fair RV Park.

You know, I don’t really want to be spending $100.00 to replace a receiver but the fact that this thing has run hot for so long and knowing that the new model has a reputation for running cooler I’m almost glad that it happened at a time that when the inconvenience isn’t all that noticeable. (we have plenty of air-tv channels here)

RF modulator

a simple RF modulator to convert the output to something my coach wiring will be happy with.

Of course nothing is just that simple.  The new receiver has not COAX outputs to old style TV’s, and the wiring to our rear TV is … you guessed it, COAX.  So I’ll have to get an RF adapter to port the signal to our control box to get the signal to the bedroom.  No HD signal using that contraption but we don’t watch that much TV in the bedroom anyway.  Usually we set the TV for 90 minutes of sleep time each evening as we wind down for the evening.

So, the re-wiring project is all ‘strung out’ until we get the new component…. sigh.

A Little More About Our Site

The feature photo today is our campsite here at Interstate Park and we’re really enjoying our time here.  Not touring around, at least not yet.  The coming week might see some change on that account — we have pretty decent weather in the forecast.  But we’re happy as clams here.  It’s funny the way some places just seem to ‘fit’ more than others.2015082210214005  There are two separate camp ‘loops’ in this park.  but the North Loop is the only one with 1.) electric and 2.) long enough sites for serious RV’s.  You might be able to get a Roadtrek or a Pleasure Way into the South Loop and maybe a small Class C, but certainly not a Class A.

One might think that with minimal tree cover we’d be able to pick up a satellite feed — what you can’t see is that there’s a good sized hill to our South (off to the right side of the image and beyond).  We happen to be on a curve — so backing into this site is actually quite easy.  This campground really was designed in the days of tent camping so there are large lawn areas in the center of the primary loop and the sites on the outside of the loop back up against the hill on three sides and back onto the edge of the bluff  on the remaining side.  We really can’t see the St Croix River from our site — only by standing at the edge of the bluff can you see down into the ravine carved by the river.

We forgot how much traffic noise we get here.  The US-8 bridge across the St Croix River actually passes through the park about 200 feet South of the campground, and the highway at that point is on a 8% grade.  So you get the sound of Jake Brakes from the downhill trucks or you get trucks downshifting on the uphill side of the highway.  It’s not terribly annoying — but it’s not pristine quietude either.

There you have another day in the life and loves of Peter & Peggy.  Thanks for stopping by!  I look forward to talking with you tomorrow.

Old Diary, RV Living

Back to normal with a vengeance

The uncertainty over health issues being over, we are getting back to normal in a serious way!  Yesterday saw the curtains finished.  Today I got them ironed.

Here they are in all their glory, and we are happy campers.  An inexpensive solution to a slightly irritating problem.

We have purchased some Velcro strips — and we may sew three patches on the leading edge of the curtains that meet in the center of the windshield / or not / but we’ve done what NEEDED doing.

iPass transponderWhile I had the curtains down I decide it was also time to put the Velcro strips on the windshield for our iPass.   I’m not sure how much we’ll be using our iPass now.  I can close the account anytime I choose but for now we’re leaving it open.  The fares are so much more expensive when you pay cash that even a couple times a year makes it worth leaving $40.00 in the account for when we need it.  (Interest at the bank being what it is nowadays)

antenna tripodIt being a nice day I got a lot of other RV chores done.  In that we had paid for our DISH stationary antenna in OR, we brought it along with us in the Coach — what we did not have was a tripod on which to mount it for those occasions where our campsite has no view to the southern sky and we want to set out a manual antenna.  I recently ordered (from Amazon) an antenna tripod to be used with the DISH antenna.  Today I made sure that the shipped size was correct (1.66″, not 2.0″ a seemingly more common size) and put it together.

antenna bracket

DISH uses a bracket like this when they install an antenna on a 4 X 4 post — on the tripod I don’t need it — but it provided a little storage stability in the basement so I left it assembled.

Once I had the antenna and tripod together I had to find a new place to store the antenna in the basement storage bay.  I have been dragging it around with the old J bracket attached. Now I can discard that, and the antenna is a little easier to store, with the horns resting easily on a soft surface in the basement.  🙂

tank flush system

We’ve never bought a NEW coach, so I don’t know how much these are as an accessory. But I’d never want to be without one. They just make good maintenance so much easier.

While I was outside I made sure to give our black water tank a good flushing!  It’s not a polite subject to talk about but a plugged backwater tank is an ugly problem to resolve.  No one, but no one likes dealing with human waste and letting it flow out to the world in a sanitary hose is much nicer than having to get down and dirty with whatever is causing the plug.   We are at a full hookup site — which isn’t all that common for us, so I hooked up the hose with full city water pressure to the black tank flush system and let ‘er rip for a good half hour or so.

As I type, Peg is making a cover for a piece of upholstery foam that we had put into storage with the kids but picked up over the weekend.  It doesn’t ‘fix’ the sat-out side of the small sofa but it’ makes sitting on that side much more comfortable.  By purchasing a set of twin sheets as material we accomplished three separate things:

  • We now have spare pillowcases — which we seem to be hard on and go through faster than sheets
  • We have one flat sheet that Peg is using as the material for the cushion cover
  • We have one fitted sheet that fits nicely over the small sofa to ease the wear and tear on the sofa fabric.

All in all it’s a bargain for the cost of a set of 300 thread discounted sheets.

While out shopping for more drapery hooks ( we wanted a few more hooks on each of the curtains) we looked for a few small storage tubs.  Now that I’m getting around to chores I’m bound and determined to move some of the ‘stuff’ we carry around with us to places that make more sense than where they have ended up for the last 5 months — yes — it has been 5 months now that we have had the Ambassador and I am finally getting around to getting us ‘moved in’ right and proper like.

I’m also still looking for a good name for her.  Somehow calling it The Ambassador just isn’t right.   :-\

I’m not thinking of volunteering again, but on a forum we frequent someone recently posted that they were en route to their winter workamping gig in S. Texas and I have to admit that the idea of not paying for an RV site for the winter was a tempting thought; but we are so not ready for that.  In some ways the GREEN LIGHT from the doctor yesterday was the first time since July that I haven’t had my health in the back corner of my mind.  Last year the doctor had said a couple things and while I wasn’t worried they were this ‘thing’ just hanging out there.  While we were busy on the Forest I was TOO busy to think about it, but once we made the decision to leave the forest then those comments came back to mind and I was nervous about how this year’s tests might work out.  Now with good news I’m  ready to get on with living, not just waiting.

And that’s what we’re doing!

Our New Charger

Our New Charger

I also had time to get into our electronic’s storage bay and do a little organizing there.  A little over a year ago when we were still learning how to tow our CR-V we had a dead battery.  I bought a battery charger to get us out of trouble but I have not used it since.  I’ve been debating whether to continue dragging it along with us; and I guess I’ve resolved that I’ll keep it with us one more year to see if we find any occasion to use it at all.  If not — it may come to live in Milwaukee.

And there you have it,  another day in our unscripted life.  We have 4 more days here in Milwaukee — and almost no plans other than going to Bay View Gallery Night on Friday and get in a good long walk each day.  We have 4 days at  Bong Recreation Area where we want to keep up our exercise regimen (read that: WALKING).  One of the things I would like to find (if we stay in one place long enough) is a place where I could learn the basics of Tai Chi.  That would be good for me; good for us both.  After we leave Bong Recreation Area we have week long stays at Shelbyville IL and Rend Lake IL on the books but only from the standpoint that they are Corps of Engineers parks we have heard about and want to visit — so our plans is no plan — just go and enjoy and see what’s there to be seen.  After Rend Lake we are going to wing it for a while.  Between there and ending up in Bayou Segrette State Park outside of New Orleans we’re just going to go with the flow.

Old Diary

An Embarrassing End to A Successful Day

Let me tell you the embarrassing part first.

You will remember that we are here because of electrical problems.  When the technician showed me the burnt out circuit boards I’m surprised we didn’t have a fire!  But, they finished up the repair in decent order yesterday. Because we are living 80 miles away we decided to stay the night and give the parts a chance to burn in overnight.


Always make sure you battery disconnect switch hasn’t shut off power!

This morning they started working on the Satellite antenna install and finally finished up about 4 p.m..  Given the timing, and the fact that there are often 3 or 4 squad cars/pickups parked at the compound on a Friday evening, we decided to hang out one more night, leave in the morning, and avoid the traffic and any impediments to negotiating in our compound.

When we moved the coach to the overnight parking area we got settled, leveled, were ready to extend the slides — and the last thing we do before extending is to plug into shore power when we have it.

We did.

And nothing happened.  There’s a power monitor that displays incoming power and it didn’t light up.  The climate controls were dead.  The 110 volt outlets in the bedroom were dead.  And none of the circuit breakers had blown including the main, or the ones on the power inverter.  Go Figure!

After a little panic (it WAS 4 p.m. on a Friday) we finally got someone to check it out and boy did I feel foolish.  Either the mechanic or we had inadvertently hit the battery disconnect switch at the door and as soon as we turned that on all was well.  Sigh.  Still learning about our new coach, right?

2014062712211102At lunchtime we tried a local place called Boss Hawg’s.  In spite of a #2 rating and good reviews the meal looked better than it tasted.  It arrived barely warm and a bit bland.  But it LOOKED good.  I don’t think we’ll try them again even if we are back at the dealer for some reason.
2014062719121103Talk about looking good.  Our coach isn’t bad,  when it was new it was close to top of it’s line.  But sitting here amid all these new luxury coaches makes one a bit self conscious.  2014062719123004There isn’t a coach in either of these two shots that’s priced below $225,000.00!  If we had an inferiority complex we would feeling really envious. As it is I’m glad we have the coach that we have.  Our first fuel fill — which might not have been full in the first place gave us an initial mileage around 8.7 mpg and in talking with the mechanics here they were saying that the more recent Caterpillar engines are lucky to et 3 mpg.  YIKES!

Traveler 1000I think I mentioned that our old coach took with it our Winegard Traveler antenna.  That antenna is probably the best antenna around — as far as what it does.  But like any permanently mounted antenna there is the issue of whether you can SEE the sky for your antenna to work wherever you are parked.  We thought a lot about replacing it with a portable antenna.  There are several that are pretty good.  But none works as well when it does get a signal and there is always the theft factor — someone can walk off with your portable in the middle of the night — that doesn’t happen with a roof mount!
2014062719132207So the new antenna is now mounted, the control module is in place on top of the DISH receiver and we are live.  It’s amazing how simple it can be to ‘find’ three different satellites — thousands of miles away — without the assistance of … anyone!  So, here’s a picture of the Ambassador with the Traveller installed.
You will remember that we are here because of electrical problems.

Peg hasn’t been sleeping well lately.  We have no one waiting on us tomorrow.  We have no where to be until Monday morning.  We’re going to get a late (for us) start in the morning, get back to the compound and get re-hooked up and settled in.  I’m tired of messing around at dealerships.  I’ll be glad to get back to normal life.

Thanks for stopping by.  I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

Old Diary

It’s all about Channel 3, Dummy…

dials and switchesI like twisty dials and switches.  I can’t help it.  I like to be hands on!  But I fear I’m a dinosaur.

So, I told you that the DISH installer came out and set us up.  We enjoyed an evening of boob-tube entertainment, getting caught up on a few things.  Like Midsomer Murders on PBS — I’m glad to see that Oregon Public Television is carrying the reruns of Inspector Barnaby and Detective Lewis!

But back to my story.

We installed DISH in April.  Out of that time we have only been able to use it about 2 months.  We’ve been in places where we couldn’t get a signal, so we’ve been ‘living’ off of whatever TV stations we could get over the air.  An interesting experience let me tell you.  I never knew SVENGOOLIE existed until this summer, I’ve seen more reruns of Hogan’s Heroes than I care, and Lucy & Desi just never get old, simply dated.

On the occasions when we have been able to receive DISH in the past we have been confined to our Lounge TV — I could never get the bedroom TV to process the signal (or so I thought).  Last night I finally figured out why.facepalm


As a guy who grew up in a world where you physically selected things, there are days (in my case months) that go by when the obvious eludes me.

All this time the reason I wasn’t able to use the TV in the bedroom when I was pulling in a satellite signal is because I didn’t do a channel search with the ‘signal’ switch turned to CABLE.  I had previously searched for TV channels with the switch set at ANTENNA.  We never had a TV channel on channel 3, ( think guess that’s by design so as not to interfere with all the DVD’s, VCR’s, CABLE systems that use channel 3 for their input channel — but I never actually THOUGHT about that).

Last night, I bravely went were no man has gone before ( at least not in my RV) — and we searched for channels with the switch set for CABLE and what do you know.  It found one.  Channel 3, just the channel I happened to need.  And INSTANTLY, voila, I had SATELLITE TV in the bedroom.

I mean, how easy was that?

I mean, why did it take me so long for such a simple thing to sink in…. duh…..

We still only get one program at a time.  We aren’t paying for two receivers, or dual programming — but heck — in 230 Sq Ft how many different programs can you watch at one time.  we’re either watching in the Lounge, or in the Bedroom.

Anyway…. Talk to you tomorrow.

Journey DL, Minimalism

Camping-World-logo-300x263Camping World still has our Journey. We spoke on the phone this morning. The satellite antenna is on the roof.  The problem with the Heart Panel has been diagnosed and it’s a simple, though not quick (in labor terms) fix.  Disconnect all the wires (batteries, inverter, charging system), allow the capacitors to completely discharge so that the panel, in effect, gets a re-boot, and put it all back together again. There are still a few small items on our hit list, plus, they are waiting for some parts from Winnebago. We might not get her back until late this week. For our convenience we might wait till next week.  At that rate we’ll have her back for about 3 weeks before we take the trip to Elkhart for the flooring and sofa install.  Small steps forward… but we are moving.


We’re hopefully waiting to hear about Friday’s showing.  Hopeful is a nice state of mind to be in, but we’ve been down this road before.  Being guardedly optimistic is good, but no showing is a sale until you have an offer to purchase.  So, tick, tick, tick…. we watch the second hand go ’round the clock face.  It seems a week is often the “buyer deliberation time” — so we could expect at least another 4 days of waiting.

prescription pad

Waiting not being our strong suite, we had to get out of the house; less to buy anything than to relieve tension.  We hopped in the CR-V and ran out to Johnson Creek.  We found some sunshine, the temps hit 60 out there (maybe here too for all I know) and we got back home before rush hour.

And I had my first experience with the new insurance company.  My pharmacist had to jump through some hoops (while I stood there feeling silly) but once she got done with the insurance people everything seems copiscetic and my net cost will be about the same as it had been with my COBRA. I swear:  Insurance is magic.  I don’t understand it; I don’t need to understand it; I’m just glad I have it.

It’s all good…….

Impatient Monday

Old Diary, RV Living

Changes Underfoot (Literally)

Our trip to Elkhart Indiana proved to be more valuable than we expected.  It was short — we left Milwaukee about noon on Monday and returned home about 4 p.m. on Wednesday.  That gave us enough time to visit multiple outlets from surplus parts houses to custom installers. Continue reading

Old Diary

Modifying Journey


Approval on my post-COBRA medical insurance came through yesterday.  I’m a happy guy.  I only need it for 10 months but still and all it’s better to have some protection against uncertainty.  I’m glad there was still availability of coverage through the Wisconsin HIRSP program.  I’ll never understand what makes someone eligible under one plan and ineligible under another. But mine is not to question why.  Mine is to pay my premiums and be thankful for what I have. Continue reading