Sunday, October 28, 2012

Road Trip

It was Saturday and to say it was wet would be an understatement.  It was pouring buckets of water when I left the house with Honey for our morning walk.  She was not a happy camper to say the least.  She hates the rain but we managed to make it around the large block, around the outside perimeter of our complex.

When we got home we packed up for what was to be a long road trip.  We left our place at around 9 am, went to the bank and dropped by the Saturday market of get a Friends of the Dogpark calendar, then it on the road to our daughter house and a quick visit with our old neighbors.  We had some donations to give our neighbor for a young man who is down on his luck and has nothing but 5 kids and a wife that has decided to leave him.  Not a good situation.

Our grand daughter is selling Christmas items to raise money for Cheer, so we donated some of our money to her quest and then it was back on the road.

With Mia at the wheel and Honey in my lap it was all I could do to stay awake as we took the long way to Gold Bar to check on the trailer.  We found everything as we had left it and went to lunch at the Mexican restaurant in town.  As soon as we finished lunch we were back on the road for the long drive to Mount Vernon to visit my step mom.  We had a nice visit for the majority of the afternoon but towards 4:30 pm things began to look rather dismal outside.

As we left Mt. Vernon the rains started and it was once again pouring.  All along U.S. I-5 we encountered slow downs mainly related to weather and mass amounts of traffic.  I had forgotten that the Huskies were playing Oregon State in downtown Seattle so we ran into some of that traffic as we headed home.  Somewhere outside of Everett we saw something fly through the air in front of us that looked like a rolled up sock.  It hit the truck for sure and made a thumping sound like something that was soft.  It definitely wasn't the normal rock noise.

When we finally got home, two hours after leaving Mount Vernon, I investigated and found a rather nasty dent in the front corner of the hood.  I am going to see if any of the dent guys can do anything with it.  Made me sick.

I wanted to show you pictures but I again, cannot get my pictures on my phone to download to Picasa.

Today we plan to visit our son for the afternoon and maybe go out to dinner somewhere.

Finally, I read with great interest, R Sanity RV Adventures and their political discussion.  Electing someone is already dead as President.  One thing for sure.  He/she couldn't screw anything up or be accused of screwing stuff up.

Hope you're enjoying your weekend.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tire Difficulties

Recently there have been several blogs written about mishaps with RV tires.  Generally the bloggers have indicated that the tire "blew out" while driving and sometimes caused significant damage to their RV.  While a manufacturer defect is always a possibility there are several other reasons that a tire might blow out.

Curbing the tire occurs when you pull up to a curb to park and you unintentionally scuff the sidewall against the curb.  Depending on the speed and angle , you can damage a tire enough to cause overheating and separation within the plys of the tire.  Later down the road bulges may appear on the sidewall indicating an internal issue leading to a "blow out".

Road hazards or running over something or backing into something.  Significant damage can be done to the infrastructure of a tire if this occurs and it can lead to a "blow out".  After hitting something, even a pothole, tires should be throughly inspected and may even require being removed from the wheel to ensure there is no damage.

Speed most RV tires are not designed with speed in mind, they are designed for speeds of 65 mph or less.   Tires run at higher speeds have significant heat build up which can cause sidewall separation and a nasty "blow out".

Alignment is the relationship of the tire to the frame as you roll down the road and yes, the alignment can be off on a trailer.  One example would be a single wheel that has been curbed at a relatively low speed but causing the axle holding the wheel to bend slightly.  Another example, would be the frame shifting on the leaf springs causing a sideways pull as you ride down the road.  Both of these conditions and several others can cause tires to overheat and (wait for it)  "blow out".

Extreme climate or temperature can cause conditions within the tire to cause a "blow out".

Underinflation is likely one of the biggest causes of the "blow out".  When was the last time you had your rig weighed, fully loaded with water, propane, vegetables and the like?  Empty trailers require less air pressure that fully loaded trailers.  How do you know how much air to put in the tires unless your weigh your rig in travel condition?  You don't know.  Manufacturers supply tons of information regarding the amount of air pressure required for different size tires under different load conditions.  You need to be fully aware of these so you can make safe decisions before you hit the road.  Michelin has a chart that I have found to be very helpful over the years.  Notice that the weight bearing down on the tire is very important.  As you load the vehicle you must compensate with more air in each load bearing tire.  You can download a copy of the chart or look up your tire size at

I recommend strongly that you begin at the beginning and if your trailer is more than a couple of years old, have the alignment checked.  Once you are sure of the alignment, load the trailer with all the stuff you plan to take with you and go weigh it.  Determine from Michelin's chart what your required air pressure is based on the tire size and load.  Then inspect your tires daily.  Once in the morning when you leave for a trip and often at each stop on your trip.  Feel the wheel and tire.  There should not be any extreme heat build up.  If there is look for the cause.  Even a dragging brake can cause heat build up in the wheel and lead to a "blow out" if you don't catch it.  Watch the sidewalls for bulges or cracks of more than 2/32".  Replace tires with these issues.  If you have a flat, pull over and seek help changing it.  Never drive any distance without all of your tires in good working order and on the ground.  Driving with one tire damaged requires the other tires to take up the load and can cause them to overheat, leading to ply separation and "blow out".

Don't forget the tow vehicle.  As you load it down the rear tires require more air just like the RV.

And enjoy your trip.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

The weather has definitely changed in the Pacific Northwest.  It is cold, windy and rainy outside today.  That is the normal weather we would see this time of year.  Along with the weather change comes the flu season.  I went and got a flu shot in late September but there are folks already coming down with something that might be flu or some other virus and I am told it isn't a good one.  I haven't had a cold for a long time but Thursday I woke up with a pain in the soft palate area of my mouth.  It was only painful first thing in the morning and went away after I swallowed a few times.  It hurt more each time I swallowed until the pain disappeared.  I had the same pain on Friday morning and along with it, some scratchiness in my throat.  By Friday afternoon, I could feel a definite difference in my nasal and throat compared to my norm.  Yesterday and today it has gotten worse.  Achy, sickly, tired and frankly not doing much of anything.
I am relatively certain it is nothing more than the common cold.  I just hope it doesn't give way to something more.  Colds are, without doubt, one of the most irritating illnesses to have.

Last night our Huskies took a trouncing at the hands of the Arizona Wildcats 52-17.  It is interesting to note that the team that upset Stanford back on 09/27, 17 - 13, hasn't won a game since the upset.  Prior to the game against Stanford the Huskies had won 3 and lost 1.  The wins were awesome and the one loss was a lopsided loss to LSU.  The following Monday the Huskies became ranked.  Number 23 in the country.  Here in lies the issue.  Since then they have lost 4 games and won zip.  The losses have been big.  They just can't seem to find the "stuff" they had when they played Stanford.  Defense is having problems finding the same unity they showed in the Cardinal upset.  I don't really understand what is going on.  It is hard to watch them get demolished by the other PAC12 teams.

On to Election 2012.  There are people who think I am an idiot for having not already decided whom I plan to vote for in the Presidential and Governor races.  There are so many things wrong with the economy, country, taxes, and foreign policies at the current moment that it is very difficult to not want to make a change.  The question would be, is a change going to make any difference?  I have watched the debates, watched the television analysis, read the internet, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times and a wide assortment of other periodicals and I still wonder who the hell is telling the American people the truth.  I seriously doubt that anyone is actually telling us the truth.  They are afraid of the ramifications of the truth.  And how much do either the candidate or the incumbent actually know about the details of the annual budgets?  I suspect they have highlights.  I doubt they deal with too many details.  I continue to try and make a decision and I had better hurry up because my voting materials have arrived in my mailbox and are now sitting on the table next to me.  The choice must be made...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Jeez Are You Kidding Me

Lets start off with a little catch up.  Obviously it has been some time since I sat down to update the blog.

After a long dry spell in the Pacific Northwest, Fall made an appearance this past week with overcast, cloudy and rainy days.  Not super bad, just chill with winds and showers.  Now this is what a Seattleite has come to expect from fall.  I have some fall coats that I have had for years and I decided to get rid of them and buy a new one this year.  I purchased a shorter, light weight jacket with a blanket liner from Carhartt and I couldn't be happier with it.  Smart looking and it keeps me warm on these windy days.

My grandson Zach and I met my son Jeff in downtown Seattle yesterday to go to the Husky/USC football game at Century Link Field.  It was an interesting game that had some highlights of good things to come, unfortunately with no offensive line and some relatively poor decisions the Huskies came away losers again 24-14.  Husky football is much better than it was four or five years ago but it still has a ways to go before it can become a power house like it was it the earlier years.  Never the less the game was fun and Jeff, Zach and I had a wonderful guys afternoon/evening out.

The city skyline from the stadium
They do know how to tailgate

The Marching Band and my finger
I didn't get any pictures of the team on the field and yes this is the same stadium that the Seattle Seahawks play in.  Husky stadium is undergoing a major remodel and should be ready for next season.

I fixed a big pot of spaghetti for Friday nights dinner.  Had some rolls with butter and garlic salt and a chocolate pie for dessert.  I have left overs for this afternoons Sunday meal.

Okay, I have a new subject.  I have continually stated that folks looking to purchase a tow vehicle should do their research and ensure that what they want to purchase will tow what they to tow.  I can't say this enough, you cannot upgrade an under-rated tow vehicle by putting a bigger hitch on it and expect it to do tow safely.  We have folks come it and purchase a small SUV for fuel economy and then ask us to install a larger hitch than we know the vehicle is designed to handle.  Some people become very upset when they realize that what they imagined isn't going to be possible.

Prior to laying down all the cash for a nice SUV, make absolutely sure it can do what you plan to use it for.  The SUV pictured above might be okay if it is a V6 or diesel and the trailer is and ultra light, otherwise this combination is looking for trouble down the road.

Enough said. Buyer beware.