November 14 No rest for the old

I have been lazy about getting to this blog/diary/mostly contemporaneous record keeping for the last ten days. However, we did get some terrible, time-consuming chores done.

The task that required the most repetitive shopping nightmares was fixing our recently broken black tank washer in our trailer. I think the tank washer broke and started inundating our water heater and furnace back in early October and we have been obliged to resort to hoses and nozzles crammed down the terlet to ascertain the vile stuff in the tank has been delivered to the parks’ sewer system. Our odyssey began with a trip to the kids’ house followed by some time on the internet to find that replacement parts that look like the defective parts on the trailer do not exist. Many other options were found but all required some adaptive plumbing, a trade at which I am talent-free. I ordered parts that looked like we would have to drill the least amount of new holes and requiring the fewest re-plumbing adventures. When the parts arrived, it was plain there would be more headaches than planned so two days of driving to the hardware store in nearby Jamul and to an RV supplies store further away in El Cajon began. Much later, all the parts were assembled so Peggy and I began the job of removing a plywood bulkhead in our trailer’s pass-through storage bay. We found all the carpet-covered screws and got them to back out of the fuzzy plywood without breaking off but found the bulkhead, which was installed apparently using a hydraulic press, was reluctant to budge. After considerable grunting and profanity, coupled with some sturdy pry-bar manipulation, we managed to force the bulkhead open such that we had some access to the tank washer plumbing. Unfortunately, because the plumbing is behind a bulkhead squashed into a storage locker, it took a certain amount of contortionism to affect repairs. It was nearly dark by the time we got all the new stuff to work without catastrophic leaks.

The other major chore we have been pursuing is removal of the faded, potato chip appearing decals on our fifth wheel. In the factory, a decal adhesive is applied that must be made of constituents that are illegal in most progressive states. Parts might fall off trailers but to prevent re-occurrence, this adhesive should be used because it absolutely, positively will not come off. We have used heat guns, acetone, Goo Gone, a couple of rubber decal-stripping wheels spun by a drill, Scotch-Brites and considerable elbow grease to get the intransigent and tenacious decal adhesive off the trailer. It was uglier but we now have one side, the back and the front of the trailer free of the horrible but durable scum. There is little work on the remaining side. We will probably win the battle right before we sell the trailer.

Today we went to Harbor Freight to get some cheap consumable grinding wheels and tools to use at our real residence in San Diego to remove and replace our front door security screen. Much grinding to remove the old door is anticipated, along with cursing and skinned knuckles. A steel security door sounds like a good idea until you need to replace it. By nature, they resist destruction. We will start the fun tomorrow.

It seems my labor estimates are wildly inaccurate. I figured the decals would come off much easier – five hours instead of five years. I figured the tank washer repair should be done by a competent individual in two hours but two days when performed by me. The security screen remove and replace should not take more than a couple hours, if somebody else does it.

November 4 Loafing, Inc

The new WiFi provider at the park is making rapid progress with the new system and our access to the ‘net gets better every day. The current bonus is that until they get the system up to 100%, access is free. We enjoyed this wonderful condition and hung around the trailer all day, checking out our now-accessible e-mail, blogs, reports and absolute hooey. We also spent quite some time watching the birds and portly squirrels raid our bird feeders and chum piles. Considering fuel costs in CA, it is nice not to drive anywhere once in a while.

November 3 Kiddos

Our son doesn’t have formal school on Sundays so we dropped in at our real house, where our kids live. Unfortunately, Sam has enrolled in courses that are quite challenging and he was still obliged to study for part of the time we were there. That was a perfectly acceptable condition because Kate, our favorite daughter-in-law, and Dana, our daughter and, of course, Lily the dog, were there and lively hobnobbing, ball fetching, clandestine dog treating and chit-chat ensued. Dana surfing crony, Neil, showed up for a bit and got in on the blathering before both of them went out to be disappointed by the flat surf.

We came back in the dark, partly on account of the recent geezer-confusing daylight time shift and poor scheduling. We try to avoid night driving when we can. Just a couple nights ago, an insane lunatic passed us on a short, narrow two-lane curved bridge while another car was about 30 feet away in the oncoming lame. Panic stops by both the normal drivers saved the idiot’s life although I’ll bet some poo came out.

November 1 Day of the Dead

We moseyed over to the Pio Pico entrance station to attempt another crossover into the South Pio Pico campground, across the highway from the not-as-spiffy North Side. The spaces are larger, there is more shade and there are sewer connections on the South Side so we were sitting in the shade outside the park entrance shortly before Jan and Lily, the two gatehouse ladies, announced that the daily distribution of available RV spaces was about to begin. Amazingly, we were #2 on the list, lucked out and received assignment to our preferred location. It was a miracle.

We drove into the South Side, posted the crossover chit on the space 44 electrical box and quickly shot back over to the now-icky North Side. There, we squeezed in the slide-outs, disconnected the water, picked up the stabilizers, disconnected and stowed the electrical umbilical, hitched up to the trailer, hooked up the trailer wiring and zipped over the anti-bad guy tiger teeth exiting the North, all in about ten minutes. That may be a record.

About 400 feet later, we pulled into the South Side and backed into our new location. It has full hookups, some rudimentary WiFi, excellent satellite TV reception and nobody but critters out the rear window. It is very quiet except when Homeland Security buzzes the campground with decidedly unstealthy helicopters or the guys come to dump the nearby dumpsters. The dumpster guys only come a couple times a week but there seems to be no end to the talent and fuel for the HSA choppers that are so noisy that they sound like they actually chop.

There is a park-wide change-over in progress between the old and hated StreamWiFi to Jabba, a provider we have had success with in the past. I hope the service isn’t too good or we’ll never get another space on the South Side without murderous looks from the unsuccessful.

Today is Dia de Los Muertos which, translated into English, is the Day After Halloween. Not really.

October 31 What crossover?

Today we went to the Pio Pico entrance station to prep for the crossover of our trailer from the not-so-good side of the park and into the better side. Unfortunately, it appeared that nobody was vacating a spot on the south side and the always-shaky Thousand Trails computer system was even less functional than normal. Since we didn’t have to move today, we were cut loose from any chores so we went to the kids’ house (actually, our house) to celebrate Halloween with the kids and to check out the tiny ones doing the Trick or Treat thing this evening. As a bonus, Sam’s spouse, Kate, is a wonderful chef so we also got to tubby up over there. We went home once the candy ran low.

October 30 The Haircut

Today I lost some weight by visiting our neighbor and delightful barber, Tracy. I prefer Tracy for several reasons: I get a terrific haircut, I can burn a fatty while losing weight and cocktail service is available. We also get a pretty good rundown of stuff that occurred in the ‘hood during our year-long absence because Tracy keeps up on those events.

We have already posted our name to the “crossover” list at Pio Pico which will allow us to move from the “Pio Pico North” section with partial hookups to the “Pio Pico South” section for tomorrow. We shot across the 35 miles from Pio Pico North to our neighborhood where our real house is located today for the haircut, which turned out very well, before hopping right back into the truck for the return trip. Afternoon traffic is terrible after about 2:30 PM weekdays downtown San Diego but we were lucky and got through right before it turned to shit.

October 29 Sweetwater to Pio Pico

Today we moved about 10 or 15 miles from Sweetwater Summit County Park to Thousand Trails Pio Pico Campground near Jamul. In our zeal to escape cold weather a few weeks ago up in Oregon, our schedule became a bit weird. Normally when we go to Sweetwater Summit County Park, we stay a week because it is very nice. However, at Pio Pico we don’t have to pay the $30/day at Sweetwater because we are TT members and can stay at Pio Pico for free. I like free. We also like the park although getting one of the upscale, full hookup spots in the “South Side” frequently requires an initial stay on the water and power only “North Side” until a full hookup space opens. We are on the crossover list for the day after tomorrow. We probably could have made the crossover tomorrow but I have a haircut appointment with our cute and superb neighborhood barber, Tracy, who was the last one to cut my hair back in April. I can’t miss the appointment because, in my eyes, I look like either George Washington or Albert Einstein, depending on the wind or time of day. To the myopic, I probably resemble a big, grimy Q-tip approaching. Tomorrow I will go back to looking a bit more lifelike.

October 28 Back to the Old Homestead

Today we returned to our house in San Diego which is currently occupied by our daughter, our son, his spouse and their happy dog, Lili.

It was very nice to see our kids for the first time in seven months and to hear about what has been happening with our beloved offspring and spouses and dogs. Equally rewarding was noting the kids had not burned the house to the ground.

It is quite nice to not be required to contemplate moving for a while although we sure ain’t done yet. We will lay low here for a while for truck and RV maintenance, a couple weeks in Cabo San Lucas, doctor visits, inheritance and trust issues, Halloween, Xmas and New Year’s. Peggy is already hinting at a winter stay in Arizona. Sounds good to me, as long as there are birds and cactus.

October 27 Menifee to Sweetwater Summit

Hooking up this morning, our initial concern was whether the trailer brakes were still working and, based on the display of the controller, they were. We happily departed Not Wilderness Nor Lakes TT in Menifee and continued south on I-15 toward San Diego County and our actual residence.

Traffic was pretty good all the way to our destination at Sweetwater Summit County Park in the Bonita/Chula Vista area but, during a particularly hard braking episode to avoid a veering driver, I noted the trailer brake controller was still acting fishy and I will need to fiddle with it further before we can count on it.

Sweetwater Summit is a very well-maintained facility with spacious RV spaces, full hookups, lots of birds, bunnies and coyotes plus gorgeous daytime and nighttime views to the west. We pulled into space 124, completing our big tour for 2019. This year we didn’t put in as many miles as some other years. We only went 10,000 miles since April, a record low. The trip was still fantastic.