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.

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