Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 year recap

Bonnie and I started the year coming off a oil field gate guard job that we worked for three months straight (2013). We went to the San Antonio RV show nothing like Tampa super show, small and a motor home with residential refrigerator we really liked. We made a trip to Austin and I came down with allergy to Mountain Cedar and needed allergy pills to stop sneezing. There were some cold and rainy days and nights while we hung out in Atascosa RV park the rest of January and most of February. Seven weeks after closing a gate we started another gate job late February with a different company working until early May.

February - This gate was six and a half miles east of and nine miles north of Tilden. This was a new company for us to start working this year.

March near the end of the month the drilling was done at this gate and we were reassigned to a gate eight miles west of Dilley, TX. This gate lasted into may.

April - While Bonnie had made a trip into Pearsall, TX for our weekly grocery run and had battery problems with Tan Jan and made it almost back to Buster’s gate site, one third of a mile short. That was the second battery cutoff switch problem. The ability to tow Tan Jan behind Buster requires the stopping electric power going to the key which is left in the ignition switch. These battery cutoff switches are rated in amperage and these first two were not rated high enough.

May was a busy travel month as we went to San Antonio for maintenance on Buster and Tan Jan. We purchased a new towbar as I was damaging the Demco towbar. We also had issues with the battery cutoff switch burning from high current draw. That was replaced with one rated for a higher current draw (1200 amp, for starting or jump starting). Then to Austin for our daughter Carole and family short visit. Bonnie and I were able to attend a swim meet of Avery our grandson, before heading east to North Carolina, we have two daughters living there and one daughter has a large driveway and a fifty amp power connection for Buster. The new Blue OX towbar is great a good change from the Demco towbar.

June we visited with our daughters and their family. Bonnie and I attended the softball and baseball games of our grandchildren on the weekend and rested up on Monday as they were off to school. We were able to help with the afternoon and evening chores, practice and other grandchild running around things.

July was more of the same there and for the holiday weekend our daughters had planned a trip to Virginia and we all visited my sister Irene and her family. That was a very nice trip as most of children and grandchildren were in town for the holiday. Saturday Bonnie and I along with our children and grandchildren went to Natural Bridge, Virginia and then went to my sisters for the late afternoon and evening. Buster stayed home in North Carolina and we were all in hotel rooms for the three nights there in Virginia. We had a great visit and it was nice getting back into Buster and sleep in our own bed.

August we departed North Carolina for Florida planning a week stay in Clearwater near my other sister and her family. The first night we stopped in South Carolina and when I awoke in the morning both of our roof air conditioners were not working. We do have a third, portable air conditioner getting that in New Mexico 2012, at least that was working but not used when driving. That evening we stopped in Jacksonville and found an RV repair place that would take Buster in the next morning (Tuesday). The next morning we were there early and it took them twenty minutes to discover the problem. Getting the three parts took three days, getting them late afternoon on Friday. Saturday we made Clearwater.

We left (after nine day stay) the next Monday for Texas and getting back to work about the eighteenth. We watched two gates until November. One was east of Tilden, Texas off TX 99. This was only three weeks and it rained the day we were cut.

September - Cut at one in the afternoon (Sept 5th) and by three there was a rain about a quarter of an inch and the site was slopped and Buster had no traction to get going. The next morning I dug Buster’s wheels and was able to make it out. We headed to our favorite campground staying the weekend and departed for another gate Monday afternoon, started working the next morning. This gate was north of Tilden, three miles then east of TX 16 two miles. When assigned we were told ten days, we left the gate.

November - on the twenty-second we departed the gate for Austin and a short visit with Carole and family. The departure and drive north, rain again. There was no problem getting Buster out but we did experience another problem with Tan Jan’s battery cutoff switch. We had started the car a couple of times that morning and moved it so Buster could move off the site. Then waiting and talking it might have been standing with lights on and door open then trying to start nothing doing. I went right to the cutoff switch removing it from the circuit everything powered up except a start cycle. A quick jump and Tan Jan started and no more problem. Latter I found one terminal slightly loose, bad connection I tightened that and reinstalled the switch with no further problem.

We had a short visit with Carole and family they departed for a planned trip visiting friends and we then were pet sitting. Buster mean while was parked in a secret location. During the trip to Austin in the rain we discovered upon setting up that there was water on the floor, I thought that the slide out seal might have allowed the rain in. It was drying out while we were at the secret location (no water connected) but when Buster was connected to the RV park water again water is back. Also when trying to move Buster to the secret location starting Buster the buzzer remained on and it looked like there was a low brake air problem. We left Buster to attend to something important and returned later to find no air problem but still had the buzzer on. Well we decided that the next stop was Texas RV Supply in San Antonio. After Carole and family returned we departed for San Antonio, Texas RV Supply quickly found and fixed the water leak. The buzzer was connected to a low engine coolant warning and inspection found the coolant tank had a crack, resulting in a tank replacement job.

While this is going on and reading one of my regular blogs they are having refrigerator problems, control board and cooling coil. They did the research and I found other old blog posts (2012) of other RV’ers replacing the refrigerator with a residential type. RV’s come with gas absorption refrigerators as they can operate on either 120V electric or LP gas (some models also operate on 12V electric) whereas standard residential refrigerators in the U. S. require 120V alternating current. Our motor home came equipped with a 12 cubic foot, 4-door Norcold RV refrigerator. There are many more pluses than minuses in doing this change. I inquired with Texas RV Supply about doing the change, the reply was “we are starting one tomorrow”. We went thru the refrigerator problems in 2012 and changed both the cooling coil and the control board back then. With time to kill while work was being done on Buster investigating the residential refrigerator options available it became a no brainier decision. Now it is all about scheduling and timing. We read of no problems with installed residential refrigerators in motor homes, over two years and many miles traveled down the roads. Actually all good and things we look forward to, frost free, constant temperatures (38 degrees) (our refrigerator temperatures are 44 to 53 degrees) lower freezer temperatures (hard ice cream, -2 degrees). Yes we are not happy with the operation of our refrigerator and have thrown out many containers of soured milk.

December starts with Bonnie and I waiting for a new gate that does not seem to becoming as the oil market has tumbled in the past three months. Crude oil prices are down over forty dollars a barrel and oil companies are cutting their drilling and completion of wells budgeted expenditures. We placed our refrigerator order in early December and not in late December the installation is complete. The refrigerator was our biggest interest in the motor homes we saw at the RV show in January.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Texas RV Supply - San Antonio, TX Dec 30 Refrigerator install

Texas RV Supply - San Antonio, TX - Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Morning 43 Degrees, wind N 2, humidity 99%, mostly cloudy and fog.
Buster & Tan Jan parked at Texas RV Supply
The rear window on the slideout is where the refrigerators were removed and inserted into Buster.
Today Bonnie and I were up and out early, by eight o’clock so the refrigerator compartment work could continue. The roof vent was blocked with insulation and sealed with tape. After having breakfast we shopped around getting small things and arrived back at Buster about eleven o’clock. The refrigerator was in the compartment and being anchored down.

Bottom half is the insulation
Afternoon 48 Degrees, wind NNE 6, humidity 88%, mostly cloudy overcast all day. We got lost for a while and had soup for lunch and were back about three o’clock and the installation was complete and the battery (soon to be) compartment was ready to accept two additional batteries.            Refrigerator - Samsung - Model # RF18HFENBSR 

The floor of the compartment was reconstructed lower to allow for the additional refrigerator height. Also relocated the electric receptacle (refrigerator) and made provisions for connecting our brick propane gas heater with a quick disconnect. We lost complete use of the storage draws that were below the Norcold refrigerator. I do have a valve in the compartment to shutoff gas going to the brick heater.

8-8-Texas RV Supply - San Antonio, Texas.Dec 28 - 290

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Sunday, December 28, 2014
Morning 37 Degrees, wind NNW 6, humidity 83%, cloudy rain.

Afternoon 48 Degrees, wind N 1, humidity 61%, mostly sunny.
Preparations for traveling tomorrow, Buster movers up to Texas RV Supply for the refrigerator removal and preparations for the residential refrigerator installation.

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Monday, December 29, 2014
Morning 32 Degrees, wind WNW 4, humidity 100%, mostly cloudy. Bonnie and I were on the road before seven-thirty headed to our destination. Buster drove thru a fog bank going north on I 37 but that was only a short distance. It was after sunrise so no problem seeing the road ahead. 

Texas RV Supply - San Antonio, Texas.
Afternoon 68 Degrees, wind light & Variable, humidity 41%, mostly sunny. 
We got checked in (reviewed the work to be done) and spotted for work quickly helped in setting Buster for being worked on and left for breakfast. 

Samsung on Buster's floor 
The Norcold was quickly removed from the position in Buster and was removed thru the table window opening, the window was reinstalled after the Samsung was installed. The Samsung arrived on site about three-forty-five and quickly was inserted thru the window and was left on the floor over night. The cavity will be made taller for the Samsung by deleting the storage draws below the refrigerator space. More in the next post. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Dec 25 - 27

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Thursday, December 25, 2014
Morning 28 Degrees, wind N 1, humidity 97%, sunny.

Who would have thought the first completely sunny day in a long time would start off with the coldest day this fall / winter season. Bonnie is not feeling well today with an upset stomach.

 Afternoon 66 Degrees, wind 10 SE, humidity 31%, sunny. I amused myself quietly around Buster while Bonnie tried to recover from her stomach uneasiness.

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Friday, December 26, 2014
Morning 57 Degrees, wind N 1, humidity 82%, mostly cloudy.

Bonnie is back to life again today and wanted to do some shopping-looking in San Antonio today and a couple of things stuck to her fingers, cloths. We did not go many places as I did not want to wear her out in one day.
Afternoon 75 Degrees, wind N 4, humidity 43%, mostly sunny.    

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Saturday, December 27, 2014
Morning 64 Degrees, wind NNW 6, humidity 96%, mostly cloudy.
Afternoon 64 Degrees, N 12 & gusting to 17, humidity 82%, cloudy.

Later today our outing was to Pleasanton for a few groceries. Bonnie and I have been using down our things we refrigerate so we are carefully watching what we buy and do not have too much in the refrigerator come the twenty-ninth. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - DEc 24 why

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Morning 38 Degrees, wind W 7, humidity 80%, partly sunny.

In early January of this year we out of the oil field gate a few days and went to an RV show in San Antonio for something to do, out with regular people. At the RV show there were new rigs with residential refrigerators and we were drooling over these rigs and refrigerators for size and cold temperatures. We finally realized we had what we had.

In late November we were reading in blog’s, current or up to date, of RV refrigerators failing and being replaced with residential refrigerators. This change was only requiring the small space adjustment to get a slightly taller (two and a half inches) unit into the space of a RV refrigerator. Further exploration I found blog’s two and four years old explaining this process of changing from RV to residential refrigerators. Wow if I had only known of this when out RV refrigerator failed us in the summer of 2013. Electric use was not that high and while traveling these RV’s were maintaining temperature good and recovered fast. Our present refrigerator required an over night to recover. We also always have a lot of moisture inside and it does not drain out properly. “Frost Free”, not at all “frost everywhere” is a better statement for RV refrigerators. Soft ice cream, cannot buy a half gallon container, as it will turn to liquid before it is finished unless completely eaten the same or next day.

While getting Buster repaired in early December, water leak and engine coolant tank, I inquired about the refrigerator change at the repair place. I was told yes they did that and were starting a change in a motorhome the next day. We went to Home Depot to “look” and found the residential refrigerators we read about in the blog’s on sale $500 off list price for $998. Our RV refrigerator, to replace would cost $4,100 just for the refrigerator.  So the cost of having “professionals” replace our refrigerator is still less than a New RV refrigerator.

Buster has four golf cart batteries, 2,000 watt inverter and we have solar panels on top 533 watts. I have an almost empty compartment behind the battery compartment (and some room for enlargement) but is too small width wise for two more batteries. Batteries are considered “storage”, I do not know if we will need the additional “storage” but we do use a large part of our “storage” when boondocking for television, computer and my c-pap machine. I will get an estimate to make the compartment large enough to get the two additional golf cart batteries and if not that expensive will get the compartment enlarged also. I will add the batteries later.

Next Monday Buster will be in San Antonio for the refrigerator change out.
Afternoon 60 Degrees, wind W 6, humidity 61%, partly sunny.

December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Dec 22 - 23

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Monday, December 22, 2014
Morning 57 Degrees, wind N 1, humidity 98%, cloudy.

Afternoon 73 Degrees, wind Variable, humidity 47%, mostly sunny. Bonnie and I received a shipment of mail today so we have to work thru that. Meaning there are checks to write and send out.

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Morning 52 Degrees, wind N 16 & gusting to 25, humidity 95%, partly sunny.

Afternoon 60 Degrees, wind NW 15 & gusting to 25, humidity 61%, mostly sunny.      

Old man winter is trying to blow into town today, the temperatures felt lower. We went into Pleasanton post office and took a ride into San Antonio southwest side and every time we got out of the car were blown cold. Just hanging for the refrigerator change next week.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Dec 20 - 21

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Saturday, December 20, 2014
Morning 50 Degrees, wind NNE 7 mph, humidity 83%, mostly cloudy.
Afternoon 64 Degrees, wind Variable, humidity 41%, partly sunny.

Bonnie and I went into Pleasanton today getting a few things at Walmart and H E B as yesterday we had taken a ride up the north west side of San Antonio and ran into a lot of traffic late in the afternoon and early evening, rush hour on a Friday night, I do not need that again.

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Sunday, December 21, 2014
Morning 52 Degrees, wind N 1, humidity 94%, cloudy light fog.
Afternoon 55 Degrees, wind N 1, humidity 95%,  cloudy fog to light drizzle.

A nice day for watching football inside.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Dec 19, date

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Friday, December 19, 2014
Morning 52 Degrees, wind N 10, humidity 95%, cloudy with rain showers. We got the rain last night starting about nine as we lost satellite signal for a few minutes. Then again in the morning for three tenths of an inch, a lot for here.

Afternoon 65 Degrees, wind N 10 & gusting to 20 mph, humidity 41%, partly sunny.
This afternoon Bonnie and I took a ride around the west side of San Antonio for lunch and some shopping. To me there is more traffic congestion around commuter time than on the east side where we seem to travel more.

The delivery of our refrigerator to Texas RV Supply, San Antonio, Texas is for December 29. I contacted them today to discuss the installation into Buster so Buster will arrive there the same day for the removal of the Norcold 1200. They then have to reset the floor that the refrigerator sits on and lower the storage draws that are under the Norcold.
Today (December 20) is our middle daughter Christine’s birthday, Happy Birthday Christine.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Dec 17 - 18

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Morning 54 Degrees, wind ENE 10 MPH, humidity 52%, cloudy. Nice day to stay inside Buster and take a nap.

Last year we were “gate guarding” thru the holiday’s and did not leave until January first. It is another change as we wait for the delivery of our new residential refrigerator here in an RV park.

Afternoon 61 Degrees, wind N 5 , humidity 77%, cloudy.

Buster's Norcold with draws on the bottom

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Thursday, December 18, 2014
Morning 56 Degrees, wind NNE 6, humidity 94%, mostly cloudy.
Gray day playing inside on the computer all day.
Afternoon 64 Degrees, wind NE 5, humidity 57%, mostly cloudy. Rain forecast over night.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Dec 16 draws


Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Morning 49 Degrees, wind NNE 8, humidity 60%, partly sunny.
Afternoon 63 Degrees, wind ENE 4, humidity 33%, mostly cloudy.

We are looking at probably not working again until after our refrigerator change in January.  Bonnie and I are trying to use our food stock down so that we have room to redistribute what we store under the refrigerator now to other locations. We are going to lose the two draws (at least part of) we currently store canned goods, soups and other canned items there.
The Samsung residential refrigerator is taller by a about two and a half inches. Texas RV Supply, San Antonio, will lower the floor of the refrigerator compartment, that is the only change of the compartment that is needed

 Buster will probably have the draws reduced in height resulting in us laying down cans in the reworked draw, opposed to them standing upright in the draw now. The draw face will be removed and the draw will be cut down then the draw face cut down and reinstalled.

 I have been the one to ensure that we had canned goods available so as not needing the running to the store when a casserole needs a can of cream of mushroom soup or you want a chicken noodle soup for lunch some day. Surprisingly some things we keep om hand are not on the store shelf’s, read store ransacked or there is a special price, and I pick up more than one for stock. Buster has the weight carrying capacity for these items as there is no weight problem. I did change the bins in the basement where we store canned goods from two large deep to four shallow that are only one can deep, easier to find and I was keeping too much in Buster.

Santa Is Coming 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Dec 15 computer problems

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Sunday, December 14, 2014
Morning 61 Degrees, wind 6 N, humidity 97%, mostly cloudy and fog again.

Afternoon 79 degrees, wind Variable, humidity 57%, partly sunny.
Bonnie and I went into Pleasanton Walmart and H E B late in the afternoon warm and muggy, and starting to cloud up again. A nice day of NFL football.

Atascosa RV Park - Pleasanton, TX - Monday, December 15, 2014
Morning 60 Degrees, wind 6 SE, humidity 97%, mostly cloudy with lighter fog.
Computer problems, at first I was only using the mouse - and everything was ok. But when I started to use the key board different keys gave unusual response, p nothing, space bar there was a jump , e was five letters fgebt. I did not test every key but it was not good. At first I was thinking new computer and learning windows eight. Bonnie and I went to Office Max then Best Buy, (right next door to each other in southeast 
San Antonio) looking at computers that I do not want to buy at this time. When we called the guy over to ask questions in Best Buy he asked our problem and I explained it to him. His advise was a USB Keyboard, $ 11.36 out the door. Back at buster I plugged it into the USB hub and waited a few minutes to download the drivers to operate and you can see I am able to type. A little awkward with the extra keyboard but we are still using windows seven, thank goodness. 

Afternoon 79 Degrees, wind 7 NNW Variable, humidity 22%, mostly sunny