CapnBob

Labor Day Weekend 2022

Our weekend is going to be about feasting, as usual. And, with the extra Holiday, we’ll be doing three meals! In the (clickable) image above, we show a beef tenderloin steak and salad from a previous holiday that is likely to be served on the holiday, but can change on a whim – hold on a second . . . OK, speaking of whims, I’ve just been notified that there will be a substitute side dish with the steak, to wit: Lobster and Bacon Mock* and Cheese. Sounds delicious.

* Instead of Macaroni it uses Chopped Cauliflower

The meals for Saturday and Sunday will be in keeping with our quest to find new and interesting recipes as well as bringing back some of our old favorites. We’re going on three years now of adhering to the low-carb and low-sodium diets, so all of our recipes, new and old, conform to those guidelines (mostly – we’re not above cheating now and then). Regardless of the constraints, Damsel finds some pretty tasty recipes for preparing what should be taboo dishes while conforming to the diet rules. Think “pizza-topped chicken.”

Many in our country equate the Labor Day Holiday with end-of-summer and that was true for us when we lived in PRK* but after migrating to Arizona, summer keeps on going for a while after the first weekend of September. We love the climate here and look forward to real seasons as opposed to the coastal area where we lived before where the seasons were cool, cooler, overcast and smoke.

* Peoples Republic of Kalifornistan

We wish all of you who celebrate the holiday to have a good one and to those who are on duty or otherwise unable to enjoy the festivities, God speed.

UPDATE 09/05/2022: This is the actual meal we enjoyed today – Grilled Filet Mignon Steaks and Lobster/Bacon Mock and Cheese. Click on the image to enlarge.

Delivery Instructions Signage

Because our courtyard gate latch is a bit wonky, we prefer that packages be delivered to the rear of the house by the patio. Now, most carriers allow you to specify delivery instructions, but some of the drivers don’t get the message and try to open the courtyard gate which is a bit difficult. A lot of the time, they just dump the package out front outside of the courtyard. We saw this as a minor security risk, so today we installed the sign in a location that can be seen from the driveway and courtyard walkway.

The sign is installed on the electrical box where the house’s circuit breakers are located. The box is made of steel, so I needed a good drill bit for drilling four holes to accommodate #6 sheet metal screws. I also needed a center punch to locate the holes. We gave away most of my old tool collection to family when we left Kalifornistan, so I had to buy the tools again. Although this is not my first time to do “handyman” chores around the Arizona house, this was the first time that I had to get special tools.

So I went to the hardware store and bought some #6 sheet metal screws, a couple of 7/64 drill bits (they did not have a number 36 drill unless I bought a set) and a center punch to indent the locations for the drills. I previously got the sign from Amazon, so we were now ready to do the installation. It all went as planned and you can see the resulting installation in the (clickable) image above.

This is sort of a mundane post, but since we got the new WordPress theme customized, we are motivated to blog more regularly on topics like this that might be neither exciting nor controversial. Of course, we will continue to post about major occasions and events.

Five Years Ago – Total Solar Eclipse

The Great American Eclipse of 2017 took place on this date five years ago. Damsel and I (and some friends) watched the spectacle from Casper, Wyoming. We were in an RV park, along with several hundreds of other campers and spectators. Casper, a town of less than 60,000 people had grown to an estimated population of over a quarter million, not counting those outside of town limits watching the eclipse from campsites on the Platte River and elsewhere. Our campground definitely had a party atmosphere before, during and after totality.

Image above: Damsel’s capture of mid-totality – click to enlarge.

At our location, totality lasted about 2 minutes and 26 seconds. The crowd noise in the campground dropped to murmurs during totality with a collective “oooooh” sounding as the “diamond ring” appeared at the end of totality. The whole effect was phenomenal – a memory that should last until we’re gone.

There will be another total solar event during the Great American Eclipse of 2024. We sort of have a plan to be in Kerrville Texas vicinity at that time, The Good Lord willing. There will also be an annular eclipse in October next year; we have not made plans for that one yet, but we may do so after our “shakedown” cruise in the motorhome coming up soon. We’re thinking of going to the “Four Corners” area for that eclipse if we go. If we do go, maybe we’ll organize a meetup with family and friends for that event.

Motorhome Navigator Upgrade

Now that we have resolved some of the issues with our Thor Palazzo 35.1 Motorhome, we are anxious to get back on the road with it. We have a trip planned to head over to Bullhead City, AZ and then to Williams, AZ and return, which will keep us close to home in case we encounter additional latent problems with the RV. Hopefully, these (if any) will not be show stoppers, but things we can note and get fixed back home.

The original GPS we purchased for the motorhome is a Garmin Nüvi 2797 which is still operational and a very good unit with a companion smartphone app that works through bluetooth. We might have been content with keeping this unit which has served us well, but we had a bug planted in our ear by a You-Tuber we watch, Traveling Robert, who mentioned the RV-specific features provided by some of the new units.

I did some research and found that Garmin’s RV series GPS units have the RV-specific features we were looking for. We purchased a Garmin RV 1090 10 Inch GPS Navigator which has the RV specific features we were looking for and more. The most important features relate to where an RV can safely navigate, avoiding sharp switchbacks and low pass bridges, etc. I opened the box (left, clickable) and after updating maps and software via WIFI (no computer attached), I plotted out some routes to see how things worked. One feature is when you search for campgrounds, the unit already knows your RV dimensions and will show those places where you are going to have no trouble.

So now, we will be cleaning out the RV, mounting the new GPS up front, draining the black tank bleach solution and recharging it with the chemical packs plus some other things that need to be done before getting back on the road. I’m anxious to see how the new RV 1090 unit performs.

More Motorhome Maintenance

After our recent motorhome maintenance, I made the discovery that when I start up the 6KVA Generator, the house AC power was not switching from shore power to the generator, which is the normal behavior. It is my routine to start up the RV once a week and to start up the generator once a month and load it up with both Air Conditioners going.

I called the Mobile RV Service after a short attempt at finding out the cause of the problem myself because (a) I don’t have enough expertise and (b) I have been satisfied with these guys before. They do good work at a reasonable labor rate.

I was pleased when the dispatcher called me and set up an earlier-than-normal appointment with the same technician that helped us with the battery problem. When he showed up, he quickly found the problem: there is a junction box by the generator at the front of the RV that connects the generator output to the wiring leading to the relay that switches over when the generator is activated. As you may be able to see in the photo, a bad connection in the box overheated causing damage to the wires and wire nuts inside. This is the “before” photo but I don’t have an “after” photo because he worked very quickly and had everything buttoned up before I could take one.

When the work was done and everything performing as it should, the tech advised me that I should check the inside of the junction box in a few months to see if his work is holding up. I have that task on my list of things to do in the future.

When Damsel and I thought about what had happened, we thank God Almighty that a fire had not broken out in the generator compartment since the J-box is a plastic one rather than metallic as they were in the old days.

Updated WordPress Theme

Well, we’re updating the theme again. This time, I found a “modern” WP theme (“Blogstream“) that mostly meets my personal desires in what a theme should do and how adaptable it might be for my purposes. At the moment, it is still pretty much “stock” in that I am only using native widgets to facilitate the sidebar information. The colors and flag banner in the new theme are reminiscent of the old Stars and Stripes theme (image above right). There is a full-size image of the old theme here

For future upgrades and customization, I will have to learn the mysteries of widget production in order to include some of the old sidebar gadgetry such as the ephemeris and the random quote generator. I’m hoping that the old PHP and JavaScript code will be useful when I’m creating new widgets.

Let me know if there are any functions or other things that seem “broke.”