We were up at 6 AM and by 6:25 Mara had started the engine of her motorhome to pull in the slides. She disconnected the electrical cord and we helped her back out of the driveway at 6:40. She was pointed west so she had to drive to the end of our street and use the circle to turn around. Her destination was Cummins Bridgeway in New Hudson. When she made the appointment they said the closer to 7 AM she could arrive the better. They estimated she would be there 3 to 4 hours.
Linda did not sleep well last night, a common side effect of eating too much too late in the evening, and went back to bed once Mara was safely on her way. I decided to stay up and clean the coffee maker before making coffee.
I wiped out the upper housing and cleaned the nooks and crannies with Q-tips. The upper housing is undoubtedly designed the way it is to make it structurally adequate with a minimum of plastic but it was equally obviously not designed with any consideration for being able to clean it. Like many things, it leaves me wondering if the designers ever use the products they design or what sort of functional specifications they work from and who develops those. I think the Bauhaus had it right when they declared “form follows function.” My guess is that commercial equipment, while less “stylish” than consumer goods, has cleanability and serviceability as primary design considerations.
I remembered that we had a one gallon jug of distilled white vinegar in the bus so I got that and ran eight cups of it through the coffee maker. I added four cups of water to the used vinegar and ran it through again. I then ran 12 cups of RO water through the coffee maker. By the time I was done it was approaching 8 AM so I ground up some of the Sumatra Mandheling beans (not decaffeinated) and made seven cups of coffee. I normally make 8 – 9 cups but this was full-strength stuff. I’ve been making 11 cups while Mara is here but it turns out that she does not drink much coffee so I will be back to my usual 8 – 9 half-caff servings going forward.
I enjoyed my first cup of coffee while finishing yesterday’s blog post and starting this one. I enjoyed my second cup while researching hardware for mounting a small table to a wall so that it is essentially cantilevered, which is the table arrangement we need for the bus. I found a 2-piece aluminum extrusion that might be the solution for attaching the table to the wall. It is 30″ long and can be cut to length but I do not think it will not be strong enough by itself to support the table. I found an angle bracket on Rockler that might be the additional piece I need. It is 12″ x 18″ with a notched corner, made of 1/8″ steel, and powder-coated black. A pair of them will support 1,000 pounds so one in the center would be more than sufficient. An alternative would be a wood strut angling back to the wall but we are not willing to have a vertical table leg. I have not decided whether the table should be removable but I am leaning towards a more permanent installation.
Linda eventually got up but neither of us were hungry so we did not have breakfast. I went to my office and ordered the ZioTek monitor mounting system from CyberGuys. I then e-mailed Ewa at AFC Industries and thanked her for the second quote but let her know that the price was way out of my budget. I finally settled in to work on the custom desk design for the bus and eventually finished it (I think). Linda left around 12:30 PM for her dermatology appointment.
Now that we have base station antennas cabled to the ham shack I tend to have the new Yaesu FTM-400DR/DE dual band (VHF/UHF) radio on whenever I am working in my office. It provides a pleasant diversion from my other tasks and is actually useful. Somewhere mixed in with everything else were a couple of QSOs with ham buddies and an attempt to coordinate with Steve (N8AR) and Mike (W8XH) about testing my two Morgan lightning arrestors at Steve’s QTH.
Our bus had settled in the rear and was clearly out of level. The reason it had settled was that I forgot to switch the suspension system to Level Low and shut off the air to the engine accessories. It was of no consequence but it bugged me so I started it, let it air up, re-leveled it, shut it down, and switched off the batteries and engine air accessories.
Mara returned from Cummins Bridgeway around 1 PM and I guided her back into her parking spot. They did the routine service on her motorhome engine and generator but found several things on the genset that needed to be repaired. She agreed to have the work done so they removed the genset from her rig and will reinstall it next Wednesday. They also inspected the motorhome and gave her a list of other things that needed to be fixed, some right away and some eventually. She did not have them do any of that work as she wanted me to look at the list first. The added service work means Mara will be visiting with us for at least another week, which pleased us greatly.
I went over the list with her and we discussed the relative importance and urgency of each repair. One of the items involved the caulking on the roof so we both climbed up there to have a look. I also wanted to scope out how we might install her weBoost Drive 4G-X cellular booster system. While we were on the roof I was able to rock the rig side-to-side quite a bit just by shifting my weight. One of the other items on the diagnostic list was shock absorbers and I indicated that I thought that sounded appropriate, especially given that the back ones reportedly had cracked/broken mounts. They also noted that the transmission fluid was low and that the filter and fluid should be replaced. I encouraged her to have these taken care before she left as Cummins Bridgeway is a very good service facility.
The other items were things that could wait but the caulking of the roof was something Mara could do herself. She likes to take care of as much of her rig as possible and she will be here through at least Wednesday, so she has time.
Linda got back from her out-patient surgical appointment with bandages in seven different places. We visited for a while and then I left the ladies and returned to my office. I started on the design of the pull-out pantry for the bus and quickly realized that the very expensive Fulterer heavy-duty pull-out pantry slide I ordered from Rockler was too wide for the space we have available. I came upstairs and groused about it for a while until Linda and Mara urged me to try canceling the order. I called Rockler and spoke to someone in customer service. I won’t know until tomorrow at the earliest, and probably not until Monday, if I was successful in intercepting the order before it shipped. If not I will have to pay to ship it back and may have to pay a restocking fee. Although I do not have anywhere else I can use it at the moment, between the restocking charge and the cost of shipping I may just keep it and find a use for it.
Linda made a large salad for dinner and we chatted during and after the meal. It had been an early, long, hard day for all of us. Mara returned to her rig before it was dark and Linda headed off to bed shortly thereafter with me not far behind.