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Old 02-12-2020, 08:45 AM   #301
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great idea, I forgot.. that is how I listened to alternator bearings, injectors and valves..



Thank you for bringing it back in my memory,, Thanks jolly for side tracking this thread .


Later Johan
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Old 02-12-2020, 08:54 AM   #302
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[QUOTE=JackE;372680]I use a stethoscope to give a good listen with the belt on and engine running. It takes a little trial and error to know what you are listening for, but when you do find one going bad, there is usually no mistake it's on it's way out.[/QUOTE

Years ago I actually learned from my dad using a very specialize tool ( broom handle cut short) lol by placing the end on the center bolt etc of that pulley, front/back of alternator etc. He could determine with this, but I was never that good at it. Probably 10+ years ago I bought a mechanics stethoscope from harbor freight and it has came in handy several times over the years to determine which bearing is going out after there is already a sound. However I could not tell you which bearing is going out before there are any odd noises... so it has some limitations for me anyhow ... Especially since sometimes bearings give no warnings and they lock up or come apart with not much early signs...

Makes it easy to keep an extra belt on hand, but hard to predict a bearing going out!!

I love reading this adventure! You should be filming and this would be a good movie!!
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Old 02-12-2020, 08:14 PM   #303
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I think he is in that big blizzard out west now. Go biscuits!
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Old 02-12-2020, 10:30 PM   #304
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This is seriously inspiring journey. One of our goals with buying a bus was to take a trip to Alaska. Between this an the "Rusty 87" thread, I have confidence we can get our bus in shape to do it!
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Old 02-13-2020, 11:11 AM   #305
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Day 8 (11 Feb):

High 20s most of the day, some wind gusts.

We were at the gate to the Battle of Little Bighorn when they opened in the morning at 8 AM. I've seen it before, but my father really wanted to see it and the National Park Service does a really good job. One of the park rangers kept trying to talk politics. The other park ranger kept telling her to stop and talk about the battle instead. It was kind of funny actually.

Last time through there, we took a tour with a Crow guide. He was knowledgeable about the battle, but his tour was just a giant jumble "there is where the village was when Custer first saw it, and that's where Custer's last stand was, and that's an Indian memorial, and there's where MAJ Reno was in the middle of the battle, and there's..." this time, we did the driving tour after doing our own readings first. Being a cavalry officer, I'm amazed at some of the interpretation and speculation that's published. Folks miss the obvious (to a military professional) and come up with lots of theories that sound perfectly reasonable to them. Reading a history of Custer shows that he made many of the same mistakes throughout his career but either escaped disaster or miraculously had things turn out well each time.

Custer made a whole series of unbelievably bad choices, risking total disaster for the possibility of a stunning victory. One of the risks he took was to rush to the attack without conducting any form of reconnaissance, another to split his forces repeatedly into two mutually unsupported elements (four groups total, with two groups in close proximity at each end of the battlefield), fail to coordinate any sort of timing between his elements, and fail to do any sort of contingency planning. Still, it could have worked it, as it did at Gettysburg and elsewhere for him.

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A view down Medicine Hat Couley, one of the few paths down from the bluffs, towards the ford where part of Custer's force attacked the Indian village.
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A view of the battlefield. Markers were put up where each body was found. These Soldiers were shot during a retreat. The markers are found it in pairs mostly, suggesting an orderly leapfrog backwards. However, they lost the high ground here and didn't have much of a chance.
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The bus by the main memorial.
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Markers for a few of the Indians. There aren't many of these and they are mostly guesses at locations a century after the fact.
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A listing of some of the Indians who fought in the battle. If you have a moment, read some of them - they're very creative. (Big Nose, Snatch Stealer, Fat Clown)
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The Indian memorial.

By 1015, we were back on the road.

However, in Broadus, MT, I heard a horrible grinding noise in the engine compartment. I found a bunch of chunks of rubber wrapped around the fan shaft and pulled them off with a pair of pliers. Looking around, I figured out it was part of the serpentine belt. Worse still, the engine was still making the noise. You couldn't have heard it from the driver's seat. Also, there was no loss of power or performance.

I briefly considered driving further down the road and finding a mechanic near some site in case we were stuck for a couple days. But then, I decided that was far too risky.

A bearing went out in one of the pulleys on the serpentine belt, and the other bearing failed shortly after. It was wobbling and making a horrible grinding noise. According to the mechanic, if I'd kept going, I would have lost the pulley and thrown the belt, likely resulting in catastrophic engine failure. I was surprised that he removed the pulley, the belt, and the tensioner in about 5 minutes, most of which was spent finding the right sockets. He went to the parts store and couldn't find any of the three, but he found new bearings. So, about 4 hours after I first discovered the problem, I was back on the road. I'll still need to replace the serpentine belt, pulley, and tensioner, but it'll get me back to Georgia.

20200211_134133.jpg
Serpentine belt wrapped around the fan shaft
20200211_135341.jpg
Chunks of serpentine belt

We took a 30 mile longer detour (200ish total miles) to try to see Devil's Tower from the road, but it got dark about 20 minutes before we got there. We drove past Deadhorse, Sturgiss, Spearfish Canyon, and a ton of other sites in the night. A short detour could have also gotten us to Wind Cave, Jewel Cave, Mount Rushmore, the Needles, and probably a dozen other spectacular places, some of which I've seen and others I haven't.

I did however call 911 to let dispatch know there was a wildfire just outside of town - it sounds like I was the first to call. The fire was only about an acre, but must have had 15-20 foor tall flames.

We spent the night at a motel in Wall, SD. 207414 on the odometer. Only 362 miles today. This is only the second night in a hotel since we started.
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Old 02-13-2020, 01:24 PM   #306
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Day 9 (12 Feb):

High 20s in the morning, with temperatures dropping after lunch to around -9. Consistent winds in the 20-30 mph range with some stronger gusts.

We got up at 0600 in the morning, took showersgot the bus ready, took the pickup off the trailer (cleaning the windshield, lights, and windows wasn't fun) and ate the hotel breakfast. We took both vehicles about 20 miles, then left the bus near the Visitor Center exit. Within that 20 mile area, there are four National Park Service sites (a minuteman missile silo, a prairie homestead, the National Grasslands visitor center, and the Badlands).

We drove the 5 miles to the visitor center, walked through the museum, and then drove back, stopping at a couple of the trails along the way. We didn't want to take a big delay, but it was too cold with the high winds to stay out very long anyway.

The Badlands were formed when millions of years of sediment were eroded by a river and rainfall in a super-dry climate. Soft layers eroded quickly, and harder layers remained, forming fantastic pillars, columns, and strange-looking sheer hills, caves, and bizarre formations that have to be seen to be believed. Interestingly, a mile from the edge of the badlands, it's just prairie and you can see nothing. Then, when you get to the edge and see a dropoff into miles of twisted earth, it takes your breath away.

Most everything crumbled when you touch it, but unlike other parks that would be destroyed - that's how the Badlands works, continually exposing new rock formations behind the old. It's been forming for 500,000 years and will last about another 500,000 before it all erodes away.

20200212_093716.jpg
A view of the Badlands - these things never come out quite right in pictures. It is jaw dropping beautiful.
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Some of the only vegetation around
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A close up of one of the trees (turned sideways in this picture)
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We hiked up this draw, near the top of the Badlands in the "sharps."
20200212_101922.jpg
Loading the pickup back on the trailer afterwards

We got back on the road after about an hour and a half. I would love to spend a week just exploring there, but we needed to get on the road.

However, when we started, we realized the propane heat was out in the bus. I called every propane shop in every town along the route and finally found one open 2-1/2 hours away. It got cold, about 30 degrees inside the bus. My dad looked like a popsicle when he pulled over. For the last hour, we turned on the kerosene heater and brought the temperature up to about the low 60s, but it is deafening loud and we have to breathe the fumes, even with an open window for fresh air.

About a year back, I added a set of mud flaps behind my front tires. However, the one on the propane side tore, and for the last week, the propane tank has been coated with successive layers of muddy ice. It's probably not the preferred technique, but we melted the ice with the kerosene heater in about 20 minutes and cleaned it well enough to fill.

I have a 100-lb tank under the bus and 3x 20-lb tanks. I thought it was all empty and was surprised because I thought I still had another 15 hours or so. It turns out I was right, partially. I forgot to open the valve on one of my 20 lb tanks, and one of my two regulators was frozen up, leaving me half of another tank.

We filled everything up and reconnected all the propane. The furnace still didn't work, so I used the kerosene heater to thaw the regulators. After that, we had heat again. We warmed the inside of the bus to about 55 degrees with the furnace and kerosene heater, then turned the kerosene heater off and started driving again. Altogether, our propane stop took us about 2 hours.

20200212_134324.jpg
Caked in muddy ice (turned sideways)
20200212_135321.jpg
Thawing with the kerosene heater

After about 45 minutes, we pulled over, because it was 30 degrees in the bus again. By this time, the outside temperature had dropped to -1. As the driver, I was ok because I had a blanket over my knees with a 1500 watt 5000 btu electric heater (generator powered) under me, with two sets of two warmers in my boots, two fleece caps, silkweight long underwear, medium long underwear, gloves and hand warmers, and a heavy jacket. We figured out the propane furnace was still working, but it wasn't keeping up. We let it warm a little in the bus (stopped buses lose less heat) and then started again.


20200212_165229.jpg
Driving before the crosswinds got really bad

30 minutes later, visibility was down to about 150 yards with a stiff crosswind that made it extremely difficult to keep a lane. Snow was blowing up from the surrounding countryside, possibly joined by more falling, but the result was that we couldn't see. Worse still, the temperature inside the bus dropped to 17 degrees even with the 40000 btu propane furnace and 5000 BTU electric heater. The ridiculously strong crosswind found every gap in the side of the bus and just blew all the heat right out. A big part of the problem is a bunch of small holes drilled through the floor to anchor the kitchen counters and the couch with metal rods. The rods conduct some heat, but the holes are slightly bigger than the rods and the 30+ mph wind outside turned into a inside breeze through those little holes. The outside temperature was -1.

We pulled into a gas station and got out of the wind. The place quickly filled up with truckers until there was no space left. Out of the wind, and with the assistance of the kerosene heater, we quickly got it warm inside again and ate dinner.

We sat there for two hours or so. We discussed stopping for the night, but I was impatient since we had only gone 250 miles all day. Finally, I turned back on the road. Visibility was good again because the wind was less, perhaps 20 mph inside of 30+, but the temperature was -9 outside. We ran with the kerosene heater going full blast. My water bottle froze solid leaning against the drivers window in minutes.

After about 40 miles, we turned south at Sioux Falls and the crosswind turned into a tail wind. The difference was immediate - probably a 10 degree jump in temperature inside the bus, and the inside breezes mostly stopped.

My dad tried to take a nap, but he was still cold. It was probably 45 degrees in the back, and one of the windows worked open a notch behind the temporary board insulation we're using for this trip, creating a draft. When he came back up, he took another turn at the wheel, and I took a 90-minute nap. I took back over about midnight.

It was a pretty easy drive, with a tailwind and only occasional crosswind. In Omaha, NE, there was a 12-lane highway undergoing construction. The left two lanes and rightmost lane were open, while the three middle lanes going my way were blocked off with barriers. After a few miles of this, with a slight crosswind (the road turned slightly east, so the winds hit at an angle), they added a lane to my right then put up a sign saying that lane was exit only. Ok, sure, I'll still have my one lane...

Then, at the exit, I saw a bunch of barricades right in my lane ahead not far ahead. I slammed on the brakes and swerved into the exit lane just in time to get off. I think there was a path through the barricades, doing a sharp hairpin turn to the left, but I didn't see any signs warning and I didn't have any time to decide what to do.

The exit had no on ramp, and Google Maps put my on city streets all through town until I could finally get back on the highway.

I kept going to Kansas City and spent the rest of the (short) night in a Walmart parking lot, stopping for the night at about 0515.

208081 on the odometer, 667 miles for the day.
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Old 02-13-2020, 02:15 PM   #307
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This really reinforces my idea that removing all the bus windows and skinning is the way to go. Its incredible how much warm air exits all those windows.

Are your bus heaters working at all? (sorry I didn't take the time to go back in the thread to figure it out)
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Old 02-13-2020, 04:32 PM   #308
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No, the bus heaters don't work. I replaced all the cabin heaters but kept the original defroster. It appears that there is a blockage of some kind in it, maybe a dead animal or an insect nest.

The bus windows let some air flow through, but it's not that bad if they stay closed. Unfortunately, two of mine rattle open and an emergency window won't stay latched. The others work pretty well. Most of the air flow is from other holes in the skin:

The holes in the floor for the rods holding furniture in place;

Various gaps by the drivers leg to the fuse panel;

The air intake to the defroster;

Gaps around the bottom and side of the door
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Old 02-13-2020, 08:50 PM   #309
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Interesting anecdotes for the day:

I had my phone in my lap and dropped it. About 10 minutes later, I reached down to get it and found it was leaned against the 1500 watt heater. It was almost too hot to hold and half the screen was white. The other half showed a message saying the phone was shutting off because it was overheating.

I left the phone off for 5 minutes until it felt only slightly warm and it came on and acted normal. I then started Amazon Music playing through a bluetooth speaker and leaned the phone against the driver window. About 5 minutes later, it turned off because it got too cold. I put the phone in my lap afterwards and it worked fine.

Also, the Keurig has been amazing this trip. It pulls a whole lot of amps, but it gives my dad coffee and gives me hot tea, hot chocolate, or hot cider.
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:02 PM   #310
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Kansas City! You are almost 2 hrs East of me.... You happen to be going through here when we've had the coldest temps in the last couple of weeks!! Low of 5 or 6 degrees lastnight... Let me know if you need anything while you're in this area! Safe Travels!
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:13 PM   #311
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Day 10 (13 Feb):

Today started at 6 degrees and warmed to mid-30s for a while. Instead of the steady winds of yesterday, we had sharp gusts of crosswind that would push us over a foot or two then stop all day.

We got up a little before 8 and were back on the road about 0845. My dad drove since I was wiped out from yesterday and ultimately went 181 miles before he got up to stretch and change drivers. He didn't sleep great last night because he accidentally kicked off all his blankets on the floor and was cold. I tried to sleep while he drove but for some reason couldn't manage to. I stopped after about 50 miles to make myself some tea in the keurig to get some caffeine and started back. Ultimately, I made about 140 miles before he took over again. 100 miles later, we pulled over for gas and discovered we had a flat tire.

20200213_133729.jpg
St Louis Bridge
20200213_142646.jpg
Is this swamp? Is it flooding? There must have been 50 miles of partially flooded woods beside the road in Missouri
20200213_185944.jpg
Blown tire - the sidewall is punctured, but we're not sure how it happened

This is frustrating because we are only 360 miles away and could have arrived about 2 AM if we hadn't had problems. I called Good Sam because I have their highest level of coverage. The employee started arguing with me and insisted I didn't have tire replacement (I do) then told me he needed a credit card to charge me $804 but had no idea whether I would get reimbursed because "they don't teach us about that." I finally got in touch with Julie at Account Services who confirmed I had tire replacement and gave me all the right phone numbers. Ultimately, Good Sam will pay to send someone out and change the blown tire with my spare for me (retread with half tread left). Over the weekend, Good Sam will give me a reauthorization code and I can have any tire shop in town replace the blown tire with a new one of my choice (to match) so long as the total cost is below $750.

I'm still a little irritated at the first employee I talked to, but I'm happy with Good Sam's coverage. As I write, we're waiting in Paducah, KY for someone to change the tire for me, but none of the shops will agree to come out after hours (which is odd). I have the tools to change it myself, but...

20200213_194017.jpg
Cheeseburgers and toasted buns with tater tots for dinner

208494 on the odometer, 413 miles today.
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:39 PM   #312
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackE View Post
I use a stethoscope to give a good listen with the belt on and engine running. It takes a little trial and error to know what you are listening for, but when you do find one going bad, there is usually no mistake it's on it's way out.
We did that when I had. a problem with the new spark plugs in the pickup. It helped me figure out which wasn't seated properly. I don't know what it is supposed to sound like, but I can tell which is different!
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Old 02-13-2020, 10:04 PM   #313
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frochevy View Post
Kansas City! You are almost 2 hrs East of me.... You happen to be going through here when we've had the coldest temps in the last couple of weeks!! Low of 5 or 6 degrees lastnight... Let me know if you need anything while you're in this area! Safe Travels!
Thanks. We've made it to Paducah now, waiting on a tire change.
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Old 02-13-2020, 10:08 PM   #314
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Placeholder Bus Name View Post
This is seriously inspiring journey. One of our goals with buying a bus was to take a trip to Alaska. Between this an the "Rusty 87" thread, I have confidence we can get our bus in shape to do it!
The bus made it up to Alaska before I had the chance to do much of anything. It had a Mr. Buddy heater, a couple bottles of propane, spare fluids, some tools, and that's about it. Of course, that was Spring, not Winter. A couple guys volunteered to do it for $100/day plus expenses - they were awesome.

I spent a couple hundred hours getting ready for this trip, plus all the work I'd already put in. I had no driver's seatbelt, no trailer hitch, no heat, faulty lights, bad tires
, and almost no insulation. There's no end to what I'd like to do, but I did enough to feel comfortable for this trip.

Basically, the question is just, what are you comfortable with?
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Old 02-14-2020, 09:11 PM   #315
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We arrived at my parents house in Georgia about 1715. Over the weekend, I'll drive it to Fort Benning. More to follow when I get a chance to write it up.
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Old 02-14-2020, 10:04 PM   #316
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Awesome trip. Glad you made that distance with only (relatively) minor problems.
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Old 02-18-2020, 09:14 PM   #317
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Day 11 (14 February):

Mid-teens in the morning, warming to 50s over the day.

We got up early for a quick start to the day, then plugged the bus batteries into a charger for an hour before we could crank the bus. Something is going on where the alternator is not charging the batteries. In Dalton, GA, we stopped at a Walmart to get Valentine stuff for the wives and my kids.

20200214_151927.jpg
Flat tire #3 on the trailer, #4 overall

That Walmart is the most difficult I've seen for getting in. We followed Google Maps down a narrow road with high curbs and took an extremely sharp turn into the parking lot, with traffic in the road. My dad was driving and hit two curbs with the trailer. In the parking lot, we saw that we had lost another trailer tire. This is the third tire, one of the original tires the trailer started with. We put the spare on and quickly got back on our way as the temperature steadily climbed to short sleeve weather. We arrived at my parents' house at 1715, still a couple hours short of Fort Benning, but the stopping point for now.

20200216_131128.jpg
Final odometer

208857 on the odometer. 4,451 total miles. That included three flat trailer tires and1 flat bus tire, plus a stop at the mechanic for bad bearings in a serpentine pulley. 11 days (the first day was just 100 miles). I have a list of 43 minor repairs and improvements I want to make ranging from tightening mirrors to changing my electrical wiring for the generator.
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Old 02-18-2020, 09:34 PM   #318
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Congrats on a successful trip.

I am glad to hear that your trip did not see any major issues.

Thank you for sharing your trip with us. Threads like this keep me excited about my bus project. I built my first bus in three months and hit the road. I started me current bus almost three years ago...... Health challenges have really slowed me down. I managed almost two hours on the bus today and made a solid 30 minutes of progress

I will get it done eventually as long as I stay motivated. Hearing from folks like you on the forum helps keep me excited about finishing my bus.

Thank you again and I look forward to your future adventures.
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Old 02-18-2020, 09:35 PM   #319
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I brought the bus to Fort Benning after a few days with my parents. I loaded the bus with still more stuff: it was filled all the way to the ceiling front to back with a drier, a kids canopy bed, a dresser, and a bunch of toys and clothes and strollers and other such things. We also got a king-sized bed inside.

We had to dig up some of the landscaping in my parents'front yard, because the circular drive was a little too narrow and the trailer tracked too far to the inside.

20200216_125601.jpg
Two bushes dug up and then replanted.

I dropped the car hauler off in Newnan, GA and picked up an enclosed trailer, then went to a friends' house to pick up some more furniture that my wife had bought off of craigslist. It took a while, but I finally got the Fort Benning. I got lectured at the gate for not using the rightmost lane for trucks and buses, but they didn't hold me up. My buddy behind me overheard the gate guards wondering what the hell I was driving that was apparently pretty funny. My buddy also owns a skoolie.

To make things more fun, my windshield wipers quit working shortly before I arrived - it was raining and it got dark, but I could see well enough to limp in.

It took a long time to unload the bus of about 4 tons of cargo, but I got it all in the house. Unfortunately, most or the furniture and shelves and such were taken by the movers and won't arrive for two weeks, so I can't unpack it yet.

I replaced the blown bus tire at a local tire shop (Fred's Tires). They special ordered me the tire, even though they usually only deal with small passenger vehicles. The bus was too big to fit in any of their bays, so they got an air extension and did it outside. Talking to Good Sam took longer than the tire. $411 for the tire replacement, plus $40 in taxes and fees. Good Sam will mail me a check for the $411.

So, the rule is no more than 12 hours with an RV in this neighborhood. Right now I'm at 3 days. I tried to drop it off at the RV lot on post and paid for a spot. Unfortunately, they gave me an invalid pin code, so I need to wait for tomorrow to get a new pin.

My wife is having a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions - the baby is probably not far away. Maybe 02/20/20 or 2/22/20 for a birthday? 2/29/20 would be fun too, but I don't think she'll wait that long.
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Old 02-18-2020, 09:41 PM   #320
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Congrats on a successful trip.

I am glad to hear that your trip did not see any major issues.

Thank you for sharing your trip with us. Threads like this keep me excited about my bus project. I built my first bus in three months and hit the road. I started me current bus almost three years ago...... Health challenges have really slowed me down. I managed almost two hours on the bus today and made a solid 30 minutes of progress

I will get it done eventually as long as I stay motivated. Hearing from folks like you on the forum helps keep me excited about finishing my bus.

Thank you again and I look forward to your future adventures.
Health issues are the worst. Good luck on overcoming them.

But, 30 minutes of progress out of two hours of work are typical. It seems like every time I start work, I can't find the bit I need, then I misplace my drill, then I do a little work and figure out I need to drive to the hardware store, which just happens to be sold out of what I want so I need to go to a different hardware store, then...

Every now and then, the stars align and you can knock out 1 or 2 or even a half dozen projects in an afternoon. Just keep plugging away and get things a little better over time.
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