Sunday August 14th to Saturday August 20th
Sunday morning and it is 7:15, after a very long and very late night, Miss Laurie has an early shift at the camp store this morning, so when I got up the coffee was already on and she quickly fried a couple of eggs for my breakfast. Today I have to prepare the coach to be pulled out early tomorrow morning for an 8:30 service appointment in Ladysmith. So today I will do as much as possible, like moving the coach down off of the blocks and bringing in the slide to make it a quicker procedure tomorrow morning.
So after Laurie left for her shift at the store, I get to work at preparing the coach for tomorrow’s move, removal of tire covers, then removing the sunshades from the front windows, disconnecting the sewer hose, taking down the flag pole, I also removed the spare tire carrier from the back of the coach, just to make getting into the engine compartment easier.
It’s now one o’clock and Mister Sam and I have settled into the Clam, the coach is ready to roll down the road in the morning. The sun shades are off the front windows, the slide is tucked in, we are off all the blocks, but I have re-leveled the coach using the on-board leveling jacks, I have checked all the tire pressures and only have the three small widow awnings to roll up later today. I have also warned most of our neighbours that I will be leaving early tomorrow morning so they can park their vehicle accordingly, our site looks like a tornado just struck it as we will be pulling back in tomorrow afternoon if everything goes according to plan.
Now let’s talk about my hot dog dilemma, I have always enjoyed a good hot dog, l mean we all know a good hot dog starts with a good wiener, not one of those all chicken wieners, and usually not the all beef kind either, no it’s got to be a good pork wiener. As a kid on the farm whenever we had a pig slaughtered the packer which was Brant Packers as our farm was in East Oxford close to the Brant Country line, and dad would purchase a box of wieners, it was a big box, I suppose it had to be 5 pounds or so, and they were a real big deal back then. We made our own burger patties from ground beef, but wieners just always seemed to be such a treat. As time went on Brant Packers kind of fell by the way side and Schneider’s became my go to for wieners, and the Schneider’s Jumbos were soon the only wiener I would purchase, they were as close to the Brant Packers wiener that I could find . Schneider’s was a meat processing plant in Kitchener Ontario, and produced all kinds of cold cut meats, so when we went shopping here on Vancouver Island I was delighted to find that the Schniders wieners were available every where, and have been enjoying them all summer.
But that brings us around to the bun portion of a hot dog, finding the correct bun is always a challenge, if it is too small it just falls apart with the addition of a few condiments, and the sausage buns which fit the length of the wiener better are just too much bread, they may be ok for a sausage, but no darn good for a hot dog wiener. Now back when I lived back in Ontario there was a bakery chain called Buns Master, and they were my go to spot for great hot dog buns, their hamburger buns were too large so we would purchase their large dinner rolls to use for burgers, but as time marches on Buns Masters Bakeries fell by the wayside as well. A couple of weeks ago we were introduced to bread made by “Portofino Bakery” and they located in British Columbia, and while their sourdough bread was great, it was also expensive as heck, well Miss Laurie went shopping the other day and came home with some Portofino brioche hot dog buns, keep in mind that she bought them because they were on the reduced rack, but now I’m thinking they are really good, in fact good enough to maybe even pay the regular price. So up till now the bun has just been a vessel for me to enjoy a good wiener but now I’m wondering is this brioche bun too good to just fill that roll? No bun pun intended!
My afternoon shift was quiet and easy, I rebuilt another picnic table and then proceeded with my normal lock up procedures, the rest of the evening in between security rounds was spent cleaning and organizing my tool bags, as they have been abused for the last couple of months, I’m trying to just use shop equipment when ever possible, but find a constant need to dive back into my tools, and quite frankly at the wage that I’m being paid there should be no need to be using any of my equipment. After my shift I was back in the coach a few moments after eleven and tucked in bed before midnight.
Monday morning and the whole coach is a buzz of activity, I’m taking the coach in for service this morning, we are just going a few miles up the road to a truck repair shop, so this morning will be a toasted bagel, a cup of coffee and we are off. My appointment is at 8:30 so I need to be on the road by eight o’clock at the latest, most of the prep work was done yesterday so as not to be too much of a bad neighbour with the starting of the diesel this morning. Mister Sam doesn’t like our travel days so he will start the journey in his carrier, and as Miss Laurie is working today, so this will just be Mister Sam and myself, but wow there is no better feeling than aiming Thunder in a new direction and feeling the power of the 425 horse power diesel pushing us over the open road, that is just a feeling that I just can not put into words.
So imagine my disappoiontment to step out of the coach this morning to find the right front tire flat! Yesterday I had checked all the pressures, the same as I do when ever we are going to move Thunder, and I had removed a couple of the extensions that were on the tire valves, as they seemed to leak a little after being checked, well I guess that was the case on the right front tire as well. So as soon as I fire up Thunder I pull out the air hose and proceed to refill that tire back up to 100 psi, and remove that tire valve extender.
So for today we have made our destination with five minuets to spare, Nothing to do with fixing these coaches ever happens fast, there is no 20 minute quick lube bay, and I would not want such a service, nope this just takes time, new oil and filter for the engine, and new fuel filters, a complete chassis lube and all the fluids checked and an hour and a half later and we are repositioning Thunder for the rear axle seal repair, there is gear lube all over the rear disc brakes, so we will have to determine if they can be cleaned up or do we just replace them, there is a lot of pad life left, but I’m relying on them to stop my home on those long downhill grades out of the mountains, I think this is a case, where it is best of error on the side of caution.
So when ever there is a mechanical repair needed, finding the cause of the problem is always the one thing that I have always felt was a priority. And as things are coming apart we appear to have found the cause, the axle bearing has started to deteriorate, and as it deteriorated it allowed the hub to have some movement which would have caused the axle seal damage. Our coach has what is referred to in the automotive trade as a full floating axle, which in simple terms means that the wheel bearings are bathed in gear lube from the differential, as opposed to being packed in grease, which would need to be checked and repacked with grease every so many miles like all trailers. The problem with this style is that when a seal leaks that gear lube makes one hell of a mess, now they are trying to locate the required parts to complete this repair, so as everyone stops for lunch, Mister Sam and I will be having some lunch to.
So as lunch comes to an end there is still an ongoing search for new wheel bearing, this is the problem right now any where in the world, but it just gets exaggerated when you are on an island, so worst case senarial we will spend the night parked in front of the shop. Good news they have found bearings in Nanaimo and the shop owner is going to get them, and while this happens, a clean up of the lube covered components is underway, when the bearings arrive, the reassembly take us out past five o’clock, I was to be on shift at four o’clock, so Steve is covering my shift until I can get back to the campground.
So, after a short road test by the shop owner, I have paid the repair bill and I’m headed back to the campground, and by 6:30 Thunder is tucked back into site “J” beside the mini golf, I have had a quick change of clothes and I’m back on my afternoon shift. A big THANK YOU to Steve for covering the first few hours of my shift, and thank goodness it is not a busy evening for the maintenance, so just a few small issues as well as the normal security checks and lock up and I make it to eleven o’clock the end of my shift and to my much needed bed.
Tuesday and I roll out of bed at seven o’clock, today is my regular day off, and I have to admit I’m not real motivated. But Miss Laurie needs a ride up to the office by ten o’clock and I need to get some new tires ordered for Thunder, yes it is time to get new shoes for our house. So after a coffee with toast & eggs, I drop Laurie off at the office and I head down the road to the tire shop, now you must keep in mind that tires for our coach are not cheap, I had quotes from $6,425 American to $4,200 Canadian, so just all over the price range, I had shops recommend all kinds of different makes, but I was thinking Michelin, that’s what I have on the coach now, so I thought stay with what works, but I couldn’t buy Michelin tires as there are none in Canada, and there are none scheduled for production, so I have ordered Toyo’s, which would have been my second choice. Our tires are not worn out, they just are getting cracks in the sidewalls, commonly referred to as weather checking caused from deterioration from the sun, but at eight years old our tires are cracked quite bad. So there were two tires in Vancouver and they have to find the other four, so I expect a week or so before we can get the new tires installed.
I was back at the coach before eleven o’clock and have worked on getting our site put back together after our little excursion, I will wait a little before putting the windshield screen on, in case the tires are ready to be installed next week. So I’m starting to work on getting the new tow bar & toad braking system set up, the old tow bar got damaged last March, and the electric brake system worked but not with out issues (either too much or too little brake application), the new air operated system will be more proportional with the coach brake system, but means running an air line back into the toad, so I need to get at it.
Wednesday and I’m up at six o’clock, and we have another adventure planned today we are off to Horne Lake which is located north and west of Parkville today for some kayaking.
We were back to the coach by 4 pm, and again I had issues with one of the video cameras, but between Miss Laurie’s repaired camera and myself we had enough photos for my blog about Kayaking – Horne Lake
We are experiencing a bit of a heatwave here on Vancouver Island, it was 30C (86F) when we got back to the campsite, but Laurie had started the air conditioner on the coach to keep Mister Sam comfortable while we were gone today, so it was nice and cool in the coach, tonight we are watching Americas Got Talent and I’m catching up on this weeks blogs
Thursday and I’m up too early again, it’s before six o’clock, but I do find it is nice quiet time to work on editing my blogs. There was no lap time from Mister Sam as he has taken over my spot on the big bed. Today we need to pickup up this week’s groceries and Miss Laurie is talking about taking the kayaks up to Nanaimo and getting them into some tidal water, as it is forecast to be another warm day, being on the water is a great choice.
We left the coach at nine o’clock, and arrived at Brechin Boat Ramp in Nanaimo around ten, there was pay parking at the boat launch and for only $6 for a 24 hr. period, we loaded up the kayaks and walked them down the ramp, there was an outfitter there trying to get about a dozen people into kayaks and into the water, so we just walked past them and slipped into the water. Today’s journey is going to take us approximately 8 kilometers (5 miles) around Newcastle Island, it will also expose us to the Straits of Georgia which is the body of water between Vancouver Island and the British Columbia mainland.
So we headed off from the launch into the direction into the prevailing breeze, my thinking was that on the exposed side of the island it would be easier to have the breeze at our back. And as much help as that was we still found ourselves is some 3 to 4 foot swells, and with the occasional rouge wave we both took on a little salt water. Let’s just say there was not a lot of photos taken on that side of the island, but as we turned the corner on the southern tip of the island the waters calmed and we found ourselves a good spot for some lunch and a chance to eliminate some water from the kayaks. We had taken our new folding chairs that we purchased earlier this year from Costco, and they gave us a chance to sit and enjoy the beautiful scenery along the coastline while having lunch. If you look real close in the top two photos below, in one you can see Laurie and in the next one she is hidden by the swell.
After lunch we headed back toward the boat launch, and into the breeze, making it a difficult paddle, but being on the sheltered side of the island at least the swells were much smaller. The rock wall face was amazing how it had areas that were worn into the limestone, the day was a great adventure but maybe a little much after a full day of paddling the day before.
After kayaking we made a quick stop at Costco for this weeks supplies, before heading back to the campground, it was a hot day here on the island, and at five o’clock it was still 32C (90F) so we were glade to get back to the coach with the air conditioner running. Miss Laurie prepared some dinner from the barbequed chicken we picked up at Costco with some salad, then we settled into watch some television, before turning in at nine o’clock, as we were both pretty much exhausted.
Friday and it was a slow start to my day, my old hip joints were aching during the night so I had been up and down a couple of times, and now it’s after seven o’clock and my shift actually starts at eight, so just a quick cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal and I’m out the door to start the days tasks. The regular items, opening the clubhouse, vacuuming the pool, and then on to cleaning departure sites, there were 32 departures today so that took us till noon.
After lunch we had a lot of different small projects, the craziest project today was cobbling a couple of blinds together, and install them in the old laundry room that has been taken over by the RV Rental office. It sounds impressive but we only actually have one rental RV, so to have an office seems like overkill at this point, but we are still like a ship without a rudder. But I was back at the coach shortly after four and decided to get caught up on the blog.
After watching the news we barbequed burgers for dinner tonight and some sausage for dinner tomorrow night, then caught up on a couple of YouTube videos before finishing the evening with a few episodes of the curse of Oak Island
Saturday and I out of bed before six o’clock, which gets me some lap time with Mister Sam, a great start to any morning. So today I move to the afternoon shifts again, Miss Laurie I believe is on gardening again today, so I expect to work on the coach today. We are less than 50 days to the start of our winter travels, and that time sneaks up pretty darn fast, so today will be a preparation day with that deadline in mind. But for now the coffee is perking and I’m going to have to bother Mister Sam to get a cup of fresh perked coffee.
Ok now that I have a steaming mug of coffee in hand, I need to look at what is happening this week, I guess one important event would be taking Thunder to the tire shop on Tuesday for six new tires, that is kind of a big deal, as it means uprooting our camp site again, but it should be our last outing before our departure in late September. After Miss Laurie rises I turn on the news to catch up, so here in British Columbia we are in the middle of a strike, so the liquor supplies are dwindling fast and there are now limits on how many bottles that can be purchased, I can’t see that hurting all the restaurants that have survived COVID to awful very much! So the union is pushing commercials on the local station that wages aren’t keeping up with inflation … now let’s just stop and imagine if you can, anyone who is working a normal job and their wages are going up 8% per year, so that is an honest statement but probably the stupidest statement that the union could have said. I have no idea what the workers at the distribution warehouse make per hour, but I’m pretty sure it is a lot more than most of the people working in the hospitality businesses, and I’m also pretty sure they have health, dental, drugs, and most likely a pretty nice pension on top of it, so the restaurant worker that you just put out of work is most likely not going to be very sympathetic to you wages not keeping up with inflation. But enough of my mini rant on the short comings of some government employees, back to the real world where we are all suffering because of the world inflation right now.
Well today we booked our passage on the ferry back to Port Angeles in Washington State, again a little more expensive that booking on the BC Ferries but the way they have been cancelling passages on busy weekends, just not an annoyance that I want on a holiday weekend. So we are leaving Canada at 3:00 pm on the 8th of October (Thanksgiving Weekend), we should be off the ferry early enough to stop at Walmart to reload with supplies before heading to the Washington coast.
I’m also working on a previous water leak repair on the fresh water tank, this is one that I originally repaired in Florida the spring of 2019. but that I notices dripping after testing my last repair, it takes longer to clean up the areas to be repaired, than it does to actually make the repair, again I’m going to use the “Water Weld” product and will paint the flex seal over it after I leak test the area tomorrow. I also have to shift our battery bank to allow the new Clam to fit where the original one did, should not be a big deal to gain that six inches of space that I need and I think the wires will be long enough to make it work, so wish me luck.
Well it’s closing in on the start of my shift time, so I will try to close this off and publish it after my shift if all goes well and we don’t have to many idiots in the park this weekend. Well there were lots of idiots in the park, most of which were drunk and disorderly, but if I have learnt anything this year it is that transient parks should be divided into two classifications, family parks with strict quiet times and nice family things to do and then there is the weekend warrior group that just go camping to get drunk someplace different than normal, for them no quiet time in fact I think security should start around five in the morning with the noisiest carts possible and then have a nine o’clock check out time.
This park tries to be all things to all people, like this week end in the group camping area we have seven sites all in the same group, and they are gathered on one site, What the hell can one old fart as a security do to make 30 people tow the line. Even just normal conversations with that many people, is too loud for quiet time, but as long as we can sell seven campsites then it is up to the security people to try and keep peace in the park. It’s after midnight and I just made it back to the coach, I decided to finish off this weeks blog before turning in.
It appears that summer has came to the island!