Back at the home of Bill & Colleen near Parks, AZ, we soon settled into a happy mix of play and project.
What kind of play? Weightlifting in the garage most mornings, followed by a walk through the woods. Frequent gathering for shared meals in the evening, often followed by card games punctuated by dessert and coffee. Special night on October 5, when we celebrated Buck’s (“Meat’s”) birthday.
An early project was the resolving of an “old” problem. Bill, Buck and I wrestled the washing machine out of its enclosure and then removed the rear and top panels, revealing the cause of what had become excessive flopping of the drum. Simple fix. Re-attach the right spring that suspends that side of the drum. How did the spring get loose in the first place? Remember the problem we had back in Washington when the right rear shock and air bag of the bus had to be replaced? Click here to refresh your memory. The bumpy ride that did that damage also disengaged the support spring. Would that all bus problems were so easily and cheaply resolved.
Bill was an especially busy beaver, helping me with my projects and attending to his own. One project sent Bill to his roof to sweep his chimney, a messy job but relatively brief. Much more substantial was his project to improve the drainage in the area to the rear of his garage. Bill and Buck started by deepening and extending by shovel the trench running to the north from behind the garage. Next day they were joined by a neighbor with a backhoe whose efforts considerably speeded the project. Bill & Buck did some major surveying to get the right slope. After the drainage hose had been laid but not covered, Barb & I took up the tripod, level, and rod to help fine tune the gradient.
The most significant project on our bus involved a long-standing electrical problem. It all started months ago, when we were all lounging on the driveway in front of the garage. Suddenly, the awning above the door self-extended. We were all flabbergasted. We used the controls to retract the awning, and after a few minutes of experimentation, during which the controls seemed to work fine, we dismissed the problem. When the same thing happened several weeks later, we disengaged the electrical connection to the awning, for fear that it would one day extend while we were underway. Now, we had time to investigate the problem. We had strong suspicions that the problem was pinched and frayed wires lurking behind a plate on the “ceiling” of the right front wheel well. We raised the front of the bus as much as we could, blocked it up for safety, cranked the wheel to its right limit, and I crawled into the cavity to begin cleaning the plate of its obscuring undercoating. When I had cleaned the sealing edges, it was clear that the plate had been fastened by spot welds. I did my best to grind the welds away, but had little luck. At that point my frequent guardian angel in the person of Buck came yet again to my rescue. He replaced me in the cavity and eventually got the plate off. At that point the source of the original problem became clear. There were several wire bundles running from the center of the bus toward the outer edge. One of them was pinched at that edge because at the time of manufacture, the bundle had not been placed into the appropriate notch that would protect the bundle when the floor of the bus was placed onto the frame. The bundle ran up into the coach. We disconnected the wires in the coach and pulled the wires into the wheel cavity where they could be examined. Several had bare spots that had apparently been grounding on the metal of the frame. Bill & Buck repaired the wires and sent them through the notch back up into the coach, where they were reattached to the connectors and reconnected to the passenger console.
We repaired the somewhat-crinkled plate and reattached it to its position (using screws rather than weld) and sprayed it with undercoating. Ta-da!!!! Thank you Bill and Buck for repairing a chronic problem and removing a dangerous condition.
On October 7 we woke up to a surprise!
My last project was to manufacture, under the tutelage of Benevolent Bill, blocks for use under the bus jacks.