I was up at 7:40 AM and made a pot of Costa Rican half-caff coffee. Linda was up just before 8 AM and washed off some fresh blueberries to put on our breakfast granola. The Costa Rican is definitely not our favorite coffee and I brewed it with a little too much water which did not improve matters. But we bought a pound of beans and are not going to throw them out so the sooner we use them up the sooner we can get something that we like.
Harvey Carter (AC8NO), the current President of our South Lyon Area Amateur Radio Club, agreed to help us move the old bus refrigerator from Chuck’s shop in Novi to our house this morning using his cargo van. He pulled into the parking lot of the shop right behind us at 10 AM. Chuck and Barb had already left for Oscoda in their bus with their race car trailer in tow.
After opening the shop we had Harvey back his van up to the overhead door. We brought several lengths of 2x4s planning to use them under the back of the refrigerator but Harvey had two ramps made from 2x12s with a cross piece that spanned the rear bumper. That looked like a much better alternative to us. He also had a good hand truck and a ratchet strap.
We decided to truck the unit from the left side because the refrigerant and water lines protrude beyond the back of the case. We removed all of the trays from the doors and cabinet but left the shelves in place. We slid the hand truck under the left side of the cabinet and secured it with the ratchet strap. With Harvey on the hand truck we tilted it back and rolled it out to the ramps. We adjusted the ramps so the hand truck wheels would be centered on them. Harvey then pulled the hand truck up the ramp backwards as Linda and I pushed from the bottom, eventually lowering it all the way down as we slid it fully into the van. I then closed up the shop.
I rode with Harvey in the van and Linda followed us in the car for the trip back to our house where I had Harvey back his van up to the small garage door. Reversing our procedure from earlier we unloaded the fridge by rolling the hand truck down the pair of ramps and put it just inside the small garage bay near the door. We plugged it in and it started running so at least we did not break it.
We wanted to put the drawers and door bins back in but could not get the fresh food compartment door open more than a few inches. I was able to open it just enough to see inside and determine that at least two shelves had come loose and wedged into positions that prevented the door from opening. The solution was to remove the door. I undid the three screws that attach the top hinge to the cabinet and removed it, allowing Harvey to lift the door off of the bottom hinge. I reattached the two shelves to the mounting rails at the rear of the cabinet. Harvey then set the bottom door hinge pin back in the lower bracket and held the door while I reinstalled the top hinge. We will plug it in later next week and let it cool off as it has to be running and cold when DTE Energy comes on Friday to pick it up.
While Linda unloaded the drawers and bins from the car and put them back in the refrigerator I gave Harvey the ham radio tour. We looked at the antennas on the tower, the cable entry box, and the ham shack with the multiple monitor wall mounted track system we installed. I then gave him a tour of the bus interior. Linda was getting ready to go for a walk but I suggested we take Harvey to lunch and agreed to go. He lives in Green Oak Township southeast of Brighton so we went to the Panera on Grand River Avenue at I-96 as it was in the direction of his house and we all like their food.
After lunch we drove to the frame shop in Howell and picked up the last of four paintings we had framed. We were pleased with our choice of framing material and the owner, Rick, did a nice job assembling it. We headed back to Lowe’s and looked at thin paneling materials. Linda got a shield for the bird feeder that is supposed to keep the squirrels from getting to the seed block and I got a recessed outlet that I am considering using for the refrigerator in the bus. We stopped at the Walmart adjacent to the Lowe’s but did not find the peanut butter filled pretzels we were looking far. I needed a battery disconnect for the lawn tractor battery but we did not feel like doing anymore shopping today and returned home.
It was late enough in the afternoon that I did not feel like getting the air compressor out and working on the floor of the bus so I went to my office while Linda went for a walk. I was going to upload a few blog posts but decided to work on an article for Bus Conversion Magazine instead.
I took photographs of two buses at a pair of converted bus gatherings in Quartzite back in January of this year. Larry and Carol Hall had a very nice GM4106 at the FMCA Western G.M. Coach rally while Byron and Betty Pigg had a gorgeous Model 15 Eagle at the Eagle International converted bus rally. Larry and Byron are the presidents of their respective groups and the rallies took place at the same time in adjacent sections of the Quartzsite Marketplace dry camp area. This campground is near the epicenter of RV vendor activities and only a mile from where we were camped. Gary Hatt, the owner/publisher of BCM, brought his newly acquired Eagle conversion and had his mobile mechanic drive his MC-9 Moose Creek Motor Cabin, which was for sale. He invited me over so we could finally meet in person, I could meet a few folks, and photograph the buses. He knew, in particular, that Larry and Byron were interested in having their buses featured in the magazine and figured I could help make that happen.
I had started articles on both buses right after I photographed them and worked on them a bit back in February but I did not get them finished before we had to leave Quartzsite in early March. Once we pulled up stakes we were on the move and very busy and I did not get back to them before we got home. Of course, we got even busier once we got home so new articles for BCM were on the back burner with the gas turned off. But magazines have lead times with deadlines for each issue, and Gary very much wanted to feature both of these buses before 2016 arrived, so I dusted them off and decided to work on the article about the Hall’s GM4106.
Larry had sent me a brief narrative some months ago and I had started filling in the detailed specifications about the bus and conversion. I had already selected possible photos for the cover and centerfold as well as the article and post processed some, but not all, of them. I massaged Larry’s narrative, added an introduction of my own, extracted some additional specifications, and then focused my efforts on completing the post-processing of the photos.
I took a break for dinner and afterwards completed the photo processing. I then started inserting the thumbnail versions of the images into the Word document and writing captions. There isn’t really any magic to writing an article; it’s just a specific kind of work. You string words together into sentences, organized by paragraphs, that tell a short story about something interesting and you illustrate it with captioned photos that are hopefully relevant and technically adequate. It takes time and energy to do this well, however, and I ran out of both around 10 PM.