Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Wheels Are Rolling

Not much blog this morning, as I'm off very early to have the recall checked out.  I just love this picture because it's the only time this baby will ever be in the snow.  The best part ... I didn't have to DRIVE anywhere in it.
I'll let you know tomorrow morning how it went ... hoping for the best!!

Monday, August 19, 2019

What? I'm Cooking?

AGAIN?  Crazy, right?  Don't tell anyone, I wouldn't want them to get the idea I can really cook.  That shouldn't be a problem, since I really DON'T cook.  Last time I bought the already roasted chicken at Safeway.  It was not the best by the way, just so you know.

THIS time I'm actually making a chicken salad for the sewing ladies.  I made it once before .... last year .... and it was good, only because there's no cooking involved.  Each one of the group takes turns putting lunch together.  This is no two hour tour ... we're there all day long.  The men will be happy to know we do NOT talk about them.  So this will be a shorty version this morning as it's MY turn to provide sustenance.

All weekend I worked on this bag, trying to get it done before Christmas.  It's not really FOR anyone except me.  It was a challenge, since I've never trying making any kind of bag before.
How hard was it?  The orange was supposed to all be on the inside.  Oh well ... the pattern wasn't the easiest to understand.  If I got confused, I had to leave it on the table and go play with the puppies.  It is completely lined, meaning I actually made two bags with material covering a foam core, then put them together, including a zipper.  Holy cow ... I even sewed the zipper on!!
To make it even nicer, it has stays in the top edge to keep it open like this, along with pockets on every single side.  Woohoo!!  It could be a great overnight bag, but my intention is to use it for hauling my camera around.  Nothing says STEAL ME like a camera bag with the name LowePro on the side.  What guy in his right mind would want to steal this??
Here's a glimpse of my morning view with all my flowers blooming.  I never get tired of it.  Notice I didn't show you the two new plants that died a horrible death.  Yes, they are still planted there.  They make rather nice dead branch decorations.
I'm off to make chicken salad, sew a little, then rush off to Tucson town for the last of THAT sewing class before finishing up getting the rig ready to roll early tomorrow morning.  Whew ... I'm tired already!!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Cleanup On Aisle One!!

I've been trying to keep the house in relatively good shape, but there's just too much bird watching to be done.  Plus, it has been exceptionally hot again.  The Weather Gods have not been bringing the monsoon rains to southern Arizona like they usually do.  Oh there has been the occasional storm pass through in 30 minutes or so, but nothing like last year.

That's probably a good thing, since I've not had to battle the bots ... spiders, scorpions and snakes.  Even the rats are taking a break.  The quail however, are out in droves.  I counted 28 in and around my water station yesterday with yet another batch of baby babies.

I would go on a few hikes, but honestly, if it's 80 degrees when you step outside in the morning, by 10:00 you'll be dead.  It's happened to a couple of people in the Palm Springs area, and one was just rescued outside of Tucson.  It doesn't even matter if you have lots of water with you.  The sun can be a killer.

This year I have three resident roadrunners.  I rarely see them around my property.  It's interesting to see the ebb and flow of critters here.  This poor guy was so hot yesterday he stood in the water with his beak wide open trying to cool off.  There is a stairstep of rocks in the bucket to help baby quail get out (and not drown) when they fall in, which is often.  So far it's working fabulously!

This guy literally stood in the water on the steps for ten minutes before finally running off.
Between all the rain last season and what little has dropped this summer, the cacti are a happy bunch of critters.  They all bloomed and put forth lots of fruit.  Everywhere you look are beautiful juicy red prickly pears.  I'm surprised the javelina aren't chowing down on these.
I seem to be allergic or I would make jam out of them as my Mom used to do when we lived in the high desert of California.  
In between admiring the flora and fauna, I've been cleaning up after Cooper.  He's feeling a little better now after I stopped the vitamins.  He's just like a little kid ... can't get him to eat his veggies OR take his vitamins.  I figured I might fool him by slipping some carrots into his food.  

It's totally amazing how he can take a mouthful, then sort out the rice and carrots, spitting them out on the floor as he swallows the chicken.  Once all the chicken is gone, he looks up at me, like ALRIGHT ... I'll eat my veggies .... then takes a bite or two from the floor, leaving behind little mouthfuls of slobber.  It's cleanup on aisle one every single meal.
Today I'll finish cleaning out the motorhome of things I want to be sure don't disappear.  Surprisingly, there's not as much junk as I thought, although two new bins are required.  The handles broke off as I was unloading some of them last week.  Laundry baskets do not make the best bins. 

In the meantime, I'll leave you with another fantastic Arizona sunset.  They show up every morning and evening without fail.  It makes the heat seem not so bad after all.
Up next .... Pantano Wash.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Big Recall

Here's a little more info on the recall.  It is a NATIONWIDE recall, not just California.  That means someone is going to pay out a huge chunk of money.  I've no idea if it is Cummins or the company who made the part in the first place.  The SCR catalyst they installed on ISC and ISL engines in model years 2010 through 2012, does not meet FEDERAL standards.
So it's not just California, it's everywhere.  They have a list of those SCR catalyst part numbers.  If you got lucky with the draw and have one of the good numbers listed, you are exempt.  If not, your part must be replaced.  The cost (around $4,000 they said) will be to Cummins, NOT me.  I don't have to pay at all.

Here's an interesting note ... it's affects both Canadian and U.S. sold vehicles, 365 horsepower and higher.

If I moved to Arizona, the licensing fees for my rig would be just the same as California.  I may even have to have it smogged every year.  As of now, I have never been required to get a California smog certificate in the 8 years I've owned it.  As far as vehicles go, it seems Arizona has more stringent rules than California.

The difference in this case is that California is requiring proof that you had that part replaced before giving you your license tags.

Dan says if you live in the city of Tucson, you must have your vehicle inspected (smogged) every year.  In California, my diesel truck and my Jeep only get smogged every OTHER year.  So it looks like in some cases, parts of Arizona are more stringent than even California.

I'm hoping when I take it down on Tuesday morning, that I'm one of the lucky ones, even if it looks like I drew the short straw.  You never know ... I just might get REAL lucky!!  I'll keep you posted.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Luck Of The Draw

As with lots of things in the world today, your luck of the draw brings you favor with all things mechanical.  My luck has never been all that good.  That lottery ticket I found on the floor got me zero, zilch ... nada!

So when it comes to really big things, like this recall for my rig, I do everything I possibly can to stack the odds in my favor.  Not that it helps, but at least I tried.

Yesterday on the way home from visiting friend Pat at her spectacular house on the other side of Tucson, Patty and I stopped in at the second Cummins repair shop.  Although they weren't very helpful with the first phone call, I really wanted to check them out.  Surely SOMEONE there would know what I was talking about.
The Service Advisor gal wasn't very helpful.  I'm pretty sure she just didn't get enough sleep the night before.  After trying to explain everything to her, she finally went and got her Shop Foreman.  More explanations ensued ... like I knew what I was talking about, which I didn't ... and he finally said WAIT HERE.

He actually went to a computer and printed out the actual recall notice repair specifications.  Alrighty!  Now we're talking!  He said they simply had to check the part number on my engine (wherever that might be located) and if it was the RIGHT number, I would get a certification and be on my way.  If it's NOT the right part number, then they would have to order a new one for a total cost of $4,000 (ARE YOU KIDDING ME?) and install it at no charge.

It's all in the luck of the draw folks.

I made an appointment for Tuesday, canceling the previous appointment with the other shop.  This place is much bigger, with lots of bays, hopefully certified mechanics and security.  I hit the jackpot in that respect.  Now if I can just hit the jackpot with the right part number, I'll be in like Flynn.

IF California requires a certified copy, I will have all the valid paperwork to show them.  The form says MAY REQUIRE, which in Californiaese means YES, send in all the paperwork.

To celebrate, since I spent a fortune at Costco (do you ever get out of there for under $200?) I barbecued some pork loins.  I even put them on my fancy dancy expensive $25 plastic plate.  The zucchini was relegated to paper.
Lookie here George!!  The first time EVER that I cooked it perfectly with a little pink still left in the middle (I actually read George's instructions).  My gosh it was tender.   I can't believe it came out so good.  There's no smothering THIS in sauce to make it edible!
I'm still waiting for some cool.  My luck of the draw hasn't been so good in that respect.  It was up to 107 yesterday in Tucson.  A horse trough swimming pool is looking better and better.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Selective Catalyst Reduction ... WHAT?

Don't you just love it when you get a recall notice?  I always cringe.  Where I'm from there are few repair places that can take care of it.  The last time it was about the steps.  They might fall off, or maybe close when you were standing on it, I can't remember for sure.  Luckily I had the steps with the right name emblazoned on the edge, so I did NOT have a problem.

The time before that it was the cruise control.  It took me several weeks to find a facility and make an appointment.  When I got there (it was over an hour away), it was a Freightliner shop that really didn't work on RV's.  They removed half of the dash, leaving scratch marks everywhere, before determining all they had to do was lay down and look up under the steering wheel.
This latest one is from Cummins.  "Your engine may be releasing air pollutants which exceed California and Federal standards."  I know I should care, but I don't.  It has become a ridiculous problem with lots of time and effort to get this taken care of.

I might ignore it, except California will not renew my license tags unless I show them proof of the repair.  It's actually Federal standards that must be met, but as usual, California has gone overboard.

I looked up repair shops.  First off was RWC, the place LaMesa RV takes many of their rigs requiring repair.  They had not heard of the recall.  After two phone calls, they decided I would have to bring it in so they could see what it was about and possibly get a part number, then bring it back for repairs.

I looked up Freightliner's repair shops to find several bad reviews.  Hmmmm maybe I don't want to go there.  I finally called the number on the letter for "assistance in locating your nearest Cummins certified service location".

At long last I contacted a very nice Cummins guy who actually knew what I was talking about.   Here's the deal.  I have to take my coach in and leave it.  They will completely remove the exhaust system in order to find the number on the part that needs to be replaced.

Why leave it?  Because apparently there were four or five different parts placed on different models and years.  No information is available to tell them which part I need.  They will then ORDER the part, which takes four days to get.  Once received, they can replace the old with the new and put the exhaust system back together.  Really?  Why don't manufacturers use the same part in all of the rigs they make?

I know I should have confidence and faith in the repair shop, but I don't.  Yesterday, I made a quick trip downtown, so I wandered over to the Cummins shop to see where it was.  It's in a not-exactly-nice neighborhood and is tiny compared to most truck shops.  My rig will be parked outside for the four days.

With that in mind, I removed literally everything from the bays down under and stored it in the garage.  At 103 degrees, overheating quickly set in.  Me, not the rig.  That brought about a door latch problem.  I'm not exactly an expert at these things, in fact I think I fall in the lower 18% of being even partially capable.

I spent another hour in the hot sun trying to adjust the thing so it would close and STAY closed.  I've done it before, but it's totally a shot in the dark because you can't see ANY of the mechanisms you are trying to line up.  Slam ... nope.  Adjust.  Slam ... nope.  Adjust.  At long last after many tries, it closed and held.  I went inside and sat in front of the fan for 30 minutes trying to cool off.

So Monday is the magic day.  They open at 6:00 am, so I'm hooking up the car the night before and will be heading out for the repair shop.  I'm sending lots of good thoughts into the sky in the hopes of it all coming out well in the end.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Horse Racing In Old Vail

It's all about the history.  This area is called the Rincon Valley, nestled up against the Rincon Mountains where cowboys of old worked cattle on big ranches.  Cienega Creek runs through here intermittently throughout the year, providing water for families and critters.  It's one of the most intact riparian corridors left in the state of Arizona.  All this I learned from the cemetery.

Back in the day of real cowboys, the pastime of the day was horse racing.  Everyone who worked cattle owned a horse or two, and they all thought they had the fastest in the West.  Bets were placed constantly on who would win.

There were two dirt tracks in the Rincon Valley and one in Vail.  One bright sunny day, two men raced neck and neck to the finish line.  There was quite some discussion about who actually won.  The cowboy who came in second, refused to pay up on his lost bet.  A fist fight ensued, ending with a gunshot.

The dead cowboy was unceremoniously buried on this nice little hill that overlooks the Old Spanish Trail, the most arduous of all trade routes from Santa Fe New Mexico to Los Angeles.  His name has been lost to history.  That was the beginning of Rincon Cemetery.
Grave sites meander along the top of the hill.  I was surprised to find so many recent burials.  It was back in 1953 when the little cemetery actually became official.  Doc Kenner from the Rocking K Ranch and his ranch hand Juan Escalante were out riding one day when they stopped in at the cemetery.  
Several graves were not marked and the barbed wire was falling down.  They thought they should make it a REAL cemetery, and so it came to be through their efforts.  Many of the local cowboys got together and built a concrete block wall around the outside, with everything donated by Doc Kenner.
There are still many graves without markers, just a few poles, rotten and falling down.  It was decided that any community member that worked on the cemetery could be buried here for free.
Although there are now a few engraved headstones, many are made from ranch materials, like these T-posts with a horseshoe.  
Soon the cemetery became a legal entity, so to celebrate, this beautiful polished metal cross was erected for all that could not afford one.  
Reginald Russell, born in 1909 and died in 1978, must have been a photographer.  There is every kind of memorial here, from carved rocks to scratches in concrete.
There is even fake grass to mark this family plot.
One of the more recent burials is this soldier.
The oldest seems to be Rafael Saenz, 1824 to 1882, along with his wife Delores, who passed in 1919.
These gates, originally from Spain, were retrieved from Chicago on a flatbed truck, driven all the way there and back by Mr. Lang.  In 1981, Miguel Escalante and several of his brothers built this ramada at the entrance.  
Unlike the last cemetery, this one is kept up very nicely.  It's actually a beautiful place to stop in and admire the Rincon Mountains to the North.  Who knew you could find out so much information from a cemetery?

Next up .... I discovered a trail right here in River City (Vail) that follows Cienega Creek many miles up into the mountains.  I'm guessing that's where all my critters like the deer and bobcat come from.  It may have to wait however, since the weather is still too hot to be hiking.  You can take all the water you want, but you will still die if you stay out in the heat.  

Mornings have been a tad bit cooler ... I'm really missing that snow about now.