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While on the road with our fifth wheel we noticed water on the shelves and vegetable bins of our fridge. Along the back wall there is this trough like thing with some rubber tubing attached. The other end of the tubing goes through the back of the fridge to only God knows where. A closer inspection revealed that the tubing was not really attached to the aforementioned trough like thing. Finally an easy fix, just reconnect the two. I needed a little more room to maneuver, easy enough, just have to remove the shelves. Guess what? Nothing is easy! Shelves in the fridge are screwed down. Fortunately we own a screwdriver.

Much to my horror the tube was too short to properly connect to the thingy! Yanking on the tube was a scary prospect because I didn’t know where the other end hooked up. I certainly wasn’t going to pull the fridge out, if the shelves are screwed in imagine how the fridge must be attached to the wall. I was not about to find out. Nor did I want to mop out the fridge every day or worse have it start to leak outside the fridge. Water and rv’s don’t go well together. Ever so gently I started pulling on the tube. I was able to gain another inch before I met any resistance. I secured the hose to the thingy and put the shelf back in. Monitored it closely for the next few days and the problem seemed to be resolved. Go Me!

But the water came back. We didn’t need to build an Ark but it was definitely back. The hose was still affixed to the thingy but the thingy was full of water to the point of overflowing. Obviously the tube was blocked, I tried squeezing the tube but that did nothing. Faced with the end of my knowledge of all things fridge I did the only thing left. Google.

Google, in all its web hive wisdom told me the tube was blocked. Google told me to go outside the rv and remove the panel behind the fridge and check the end of the tube. Sounded like a plan. There, amongst a bunch of wires and something that looks suspiciously like a motor was a tube that looked exactly like the one in the fridge, it traveled up the wall and vanished. I surmised that what I was looking at was the other end of the tube. There was a black plug wedged into the opening of the tube. Using my knife I carefully worked the plug out of the tube. What I did not do was step out of the way and in seconds the tube was peeing fridge water all over me. Still holding the black plug I went back and checked inside the thingy and now it was empty of water. The question now, ‘why is there a plug in the end of the tube?’ It was obviously there for a reason but the tube could not do its job with a plug in one of its ends. I asked Google. I found two articles on the plug at the end of the tube in an rv fridge. Both said to keep the plug in place. The first reason made sense, it kept ants out. The second reason said it regulated the temperature. I do not have any faith in the second reason but I was not about to take any chances. Nobody is going to blame me for climate change because I failed to replace the dreaded tube plug. With great regret I put the plug back in the tube but didn’t jam it in, just a nice loose fit, perhaps the water is supposed to ooze around the plug?

A few days later the thingy in the fridge was overflowing. I ran around the rv, took off the panel looked at the motor, wires and took the plug out of the end of the tube (standing away from it this time because sometimes I learn) and fridge water came peeing out of the tube. I figured that this wasn’t right, but wasn’t the end of the world and every few days I’ll just pull the little plug.

While it wasn’t a difficult task it did get annoying after a few weeks. So I went back to google and all the Googlemyster could suggest was that the drain tube was plugged. Arrrgh! Of course it is plugged there is a plug in the end of it that I’m not supposed to remove because it may alter the temperature. My lovely wife suggested I ask about it on an RV web site we belong too.

Must have been 1am when I started to pose my question on the web site. When all of the sudden it hit me. Maybe there was supposed to be a hole in the plug itself! Could it be that simple? I jumped up tripped over the dogs, which woke my wife, I explained that I had to go investigate the plug. By the glow of my flashlight I opened the panel that housed the motor and wires and removed the plug and brought it inside the rv and began my investigation. The plug looked solid but there was also a slight recess inside it. I took a tooth pick, and this folks, is the most amazing part of the story, the part that we have all been waiting for, the part that inspired me to write this long winded story about a drain tube in a fridge. (Drum Roll) Not only did we have toothpicks, I actually knew where they were!

And you know what? With that toothpick I found a little piece of fridge debris inside the plug that was blocking the tiniest of holes. A hole just large enough to let water seep though. We have not had water in the thingy since.

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If you have spent anytime traveling in an RV one thing you learn pretty quick is to establish routines for each procedure in order to avoid those costly and embarrassing errors.

For example, when we are hitching up the fifth wheel to the truck we have a set routine so we don’t forget any steps. To make a long story short this is our routine for when we have hitched up the truck and the fiver, (what rv people call a fifth wheel) and are about to head on out to our new and exciting destination.

My lovely wife Denyce, gets into the truck and inputs our new destination into our three different GPS devices at which time I double check we have left nothing behind, the break away brake and power line is secured between the fiver and the truck, the chocks are all pulled up, our water and sewer caps are secured, All five slides are all the way in, windows are closed and hatches are shut and locked.

On this particular day the last hatch was still unlocked. Imagine my horror when only a third of the key came out of the lock… Well poopy head! All our locks use the same key. The entire fiver is locked and the key to open it is broken. In other words, we had no way to get back into the Mother Ship! I had a minute of pure panic before I remembered we have a second key on my wife’s key ring.

I hop into the truck and the following conversation ensues.

Me, “Do you have your rv key?”

Denyce, “Yes, why?”

Me: slowly holding up my broken key, “the rest in stuck in the lock”

Denyce: “Is the rv completely locked up now?”

Me: nodding. “So where is your key?”

Denyce, “ummm…..in my other purse….in the Mother Ship?”

Me: looking at my wife with slight horror on my face…..sighing

Me, “We have a two hour drive ahead of us, hopefully we will figure it out.”

Denyce, who thinks faster than I do decides to call the next campground and see if they have any ideas. Maybe they know a locksmith or some other type of magician who can help us.

The KOA dude was very nice and suggested an rv service center which was only twenty minutes out of our way. Denyce calls the service center, they ask her to read off the serial number on the key. Miracle of miracles this is the part of the key we actually had and they had four of those keys left in stock! He grumpily said he would be sure and hold one for us.

Collective sigh of relief.

Five dollars and a few hours later and we were at our campsite and able to get into our home on wheels. We learned three lessons this day.

1) Always have a spare key in the truck.

2) There are only a handful of locks which come standard with any rv. Anybody can go into an rv service center, buy a few different keys and have the ability get into every rv in a campground.

3) The $210.00 keyless entry system is suddenly a very good deal.

Well crap! now we have to remember the passcode.

After writing this with my lovely wife I remembered another key story which you can read here

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Have you ever driven in Southern California? The Main Street, El Camino Rael runs from San Francisco to San Diego. 600.2 miles of a hellish nightmare. Six lanes, three in each direction. Two of these lanes appear and disappear without warning. u-turns are encouraged. Imagine, you are stopped at a red light, you can see the next red light a city block away, between you and that light is a short strip of road with a speed limit of 55mph. If you are not doing 55 by the time you cross the intersection you are currently sitting at, you become a moving hazard!

You know your right turn is coming up but not sure exactly where so you move into the right lane, You are moving at 60+ mph cars are all around you and your lane disappears. Whatever you do don’t use a turn signal. Turn signals tell the other drivers to bunch up and not let you merge. Luckily its okay if you fly past the street you want because now you get to play frogger and cross over to the left lane before the next intersection so you can ‘bang-a-uey’ into the three lanes of traffic coming at you and start the process all over again. There is of course one street far worse than El Camino Rael. The Freeway.

We decided to meet some friends for dinner. My father in law (John) who has been diagnosed with Dementia opted to join us. I am driving, John in the passenger seat, my wife is in the back being the navigator. With growing horror I notice signs for the entrance to the freeway. My wife pipes up;

Denyce: “Wait, we can take El Camino Rael all the way if you don’t want to take the freeway”

Me: “Point me in that direction”

Denyce: “I need a moment”

…we didn’t have a moment! In a moment we were going to be on the freeway! My father in law tells me to turn right at the next street, I ask my wife who is manning the GPS, who mutters, yes turn right”

Me: “Okay Denyce, now where?” I ask, the mood being a little tense.

Denyce “I don’t know yet, ask my dad”

Me: “Which way John?”

John: “How should I know? I have no idea where we are going.”

Me: “Then why did you tell me to turn right?”

John: “Because left was wrong”

(Silence)

Denyce: “We may be going the wrong way.”

Me: “You told me to go right.”

Denyce: “No I didn’t.”

Me: “Yes, you both told me to go right”

Denyce and John: “No I didn’t.”

Denyce: “El Camino Rael is in the other direction we should have turned left”

John: “Yes El Camino Rael is in the other direction, turn around.”

Me: “Okay but you told me to go right so I went right!”

John: “Yes but I did not know where we were going.”

Me: “So why did you tell me to go right?”

John: “Because I didn’t know where we were going.”

Finally I get turned around. I know I should drop the issue but I couldn’t.

Me: “Denyce, you and your dad told me to turn right.”

Denyce “No I didn’t!”

I start to worry maybe I’m the one with Dementia.

Me: “Yes, you told me to turn right!”

Denyce…a little softer now, “ Yes I did, but I wasn’t using my directional voice”

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I know this is a question that has been burning deep within us all. Why did the dinosaurs leave Europe? As you all know, over 200 million years ago some of the dinosaurs packed up and migrated from Europe. A few points of interest here. 1. They moved after Pangaea (The earths super continent) broke apart . 2 Immigration laws were just as lax then as they are now. 3. Scientists know they migrated because of Facebook. No my wonderful but silly followers the dinosaurs did not document every single aspect of their lives by posting on Facebook, their fingers were far too clumsy to type. Instead scientists used Network theory, the same process used to track and study internet data like how we connect and move through Facebook. Because I value the readers of this blog I went to all the trouble to look up network theory so I could explain it to you. Unfortunately it requires a lot of words and graphs and all sorts of stuff.  I got rather sleepy after the first few words. So if you really want to know about network theory I suggest google, and please feel free to post your findings in the comment section below.

You may be wondering why I’m discussing this? You are not alone as I often wonder why I talk about certain things. Actually what caught my attention was the more specific question of, How did they cross the great waters? After all the super continent had broken up and I doubt T-Rex would have taken a boat even with an all you can eat buffet, I just don’t see it.  And air travel is out, their carry on would never fit in that little compartment above the seat.  If you have not traveled by air as of late, let me tell you the airlines have become very picky about that sort of thing.

The answers are two fold. 1. Land bridges of course. The second was more interesting. One scientist decided that they swam across the great waters. And how did he come up with this scientific theory? Through great research? No? Through fossil evidence? No, he surmised that elephants can swim, therefore dinosaurs should have been able to swim. Makes perfect scientific sense to me.

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I have a lousy sense of direction.  When I interviewed for the job I am currently in I was informed that we cover not only State College but Lewistown, Huntingdon, Lockhaven, Lykens, Tyrone and we help out our sister warehouse, (who my supervisor also supervises) Williamsport. I was asked if I had issues if asked to travel to any of these destinations.  I was perfectly honest about it and told them that I had no issues about traveling to any of the locations.  Lykens, being the farthest out is only two hours away.  So really it’s no big deal. 

“Nope, no problem” I responded.  However I immediately started thinking about the time I showed up to work at the bank and they asked me to help out in the Avis office. I wasn’t sure what a bank teller was going to do at a car rental agency, but what the heck. Then I remembered that there is a place called Avis Pa.  I had been there once before and my wife was driving.  I was told just go towards the mall and keep left, it should take an hour.   If you look at Google, to get from the State College branch of the bank to the Avis branch you would see it is a basically a straight line.

Two hours later I found myself at the Jersey Shore!  I had no idea when I crossed into Jersey, I didn’t even know Jersey was so close!  What I did know is that something went desperatly wrong.  It turns out that just as there is no Port in Port Matilda the Jersey Shore is not actually in Jersey!  Oh I’m sure there is a shore in Jersey but it is not this Jersey Shore which is probably a good thing because as much as I didn’t want to be lost, I really didn’t want to be lost in Jersey, (new or old) I didn’t have a GPS, I didn’t even have a cell phone, I was in the wilds of Pennsylvania and lost, eventually I had to (gasp!) ask a man at a local business how to get to Avis.  The man was very nice and pretended to understand how I missed the exit.  After all, it is really hard to see that large glaring Avis exit sign.  I think he saw my eyes gloss over as he gave me directions which were basically, ‘drive down this street and make a right’ And this very nice man got in his truck, yes a beat up red truck and had me follow him to the bank. 

In Montreal I never got lost.  Not that my sense of geography or direction was any better, I just didn’t drive.  I got from point to point by walking, transit, or bike.  And if I did get lost all I had to do was find the giant cross on top of the mountain and head for cross.  Once at the top of the mountain I knew where home was.

In Vancouver I never had to travel.  Everything I needed was in a four block radius.  And if I wanted to go downtown I took the skytrain which only went in two directions.  Even I could navigate that. 

My wife and I were hesitant about a GPS. Our only experience with one was through my father.  My folks came to visit, my father had a Tom-Tom and loved it.  We wanted to go to a restaurant in Altoona called Don Pablo’s.  My father punched it into Tom, we explained it wasn’t necessary as the only reason we ever go to Altoona is to go to this particular restaurant and it is easy to get too, it is right off the exit.  But my father insisted.  I watched Tom-Tom as we drove and I too was soon in love with the machine.  But Tom got it wrong.  It had my father get off the highway an exit too early.  We told him no, but he was going to listen to his buddy Tom.  Fine, it was just going to take a little longer.  Then Tom told my father to turn Right.  This was totally the wrong directions.  Images of a cab ride of long ago came to mind.  We convinced my father to disobey Tom.  Lucky my wife has a great sense of direction because now I was as lost as Tom.  My father refused to admit Tom was wrong.  He informed us that there must be another Don Pablo’s.  Why yes, yes there is as Don Pablo’s is actually a chain.  The next closest one to us is in Virginia!  We got to the restaurant and my father still refused to admit defeat, (he is loyal that way) and told the waiter what happened and if there was another Don Pablo’s in the area.  Yes, yes there is if you consider Virginia part of the ‘area’. the waiter understanding my father’s predicament did offer a way out.  He mentioned that there is a Mexican community on the other side of town and perhaps Tom-Tom new a Don Pablo that lived over in that direction.

Of course my father only listened to Tom when it was convenient.  For example we knew how to get to Don Pablo’s but on that occasion my father decided Tom knew better.   However when we were looking for a restaurant in Lancaster Pa, a restaurant non of us had been too, in an area non of us had ever been before, a time when we were at the mercy of Tom-Tom to guide us through the back roads of the Amish country side was the time when my father decides to disregard Tom’s directions with all of Tom’s fancy global positioning.  Tom was telling my father:

“In 500 hundred feet turn left”

“In 200 hundred feet turn left”

     …no turn signal

“In 100 feet turn left”

     …no turn signal no turn.

“Turn Left now!”

     …No turn.

“Recalculating, make a u-turn in 50 feet”…Father continues to go straight. 

Eventually and with enough of us pestering him he makes the U-turn and Tom leads us safely to the restaurant.

I was offered, and accepted the job two days after the initial interview.  My date of hire was a few days before my birthday.  We also had made plans to drive down to California to visit my father-in-law.  All things considered it seemed a great time to purchase a GPS. 

Stay tuned for Part 2.

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Vacation

Sequoia the Beautiful

Sequoia at Christmas

My friend Brahm will tell you that he has the best dog.  I’d agree with him, but then we would both be wrong.

The truth of the matter is my wife and I have the best and most beautiful dog in the world we know this because A) Sequoia lives with us, so we know. B) People are always stopping us and telling us how beautiful she is. C) At the Grand Canyon she was a bigger draw then the canyon itself.

I don’t have a fear of heights, I can climb a ladder, I climb several every day at work, but I’m not fond of heights there is something especially nerve-wracking about standing on the edge of a cliff.  I knew I suffered from vertigo but I didn’t realize how badly until we stopped at the Grand Canyon.   I asked my wife to hold Sequoia while I went to take the perfect picture.  Once at the ledge I knew I wasn’t getting a picture, it is really hard to hold the camera when you have a white knuckle grip on the safety railing.  My saving grace was the really big guy beside me that was having the same issue.  Together we were able to nudge people out of the way as we moved slowly along the rail until we were safely off the overhang. 

It was the Grand Canyon and vertigo be damned I was getting my picture. My new plan of attack was to let my wife stand on the overhang with Sequoia and I would take a picture of them with the canyon in the background. When I finally located my wife I realized I just wasn’t going to get a picture.  There was my wife (who is claustrophobic and does not like crowds) standing at the edge of the world-famous Grand Canyon, the throng of people around her was not looking at the Canyon, they were all looking at Sequoia.  My poor wife couldn’t even enjoy the view due to all the people who wanted to ask about Sequoia, pet Sequoia and take pictures of Sequoia.  Even the park ranger who was trying to move people off the edge due to the approaching storm stopped to admire Sequoia.

The Grand Canyon, as I’m sure you know happens to be a large tourist gathering place where lots of different languages are spoken.  However, there is the international language of sign.  For example did you know that if somebody comes up to you and bends slightly at the knees, leans forward, hunches over while stretching out their hands and wiggling their fingers towards the floor means, “May I please pet your dog?”  Also when they bring their hand up to their face and bend their index finger at the knuckle several times while pointing at your dog  with the other hand means, “May I take a picture of your dog please?”  additionally, if when doing this they thrust their child at the dog it means, “May I take a picture of your dog with my child please?” What kills me is that I know these people are then going back to whatever country they came from and showing their friends the picture they took of their kid with Maya the dog from Eight Below.  And no, I have never seen the movie.

In short, because of the impending storm, claustrophobia, vertigo and throngs of people more interested in Sequoia then the canyon my wife and I will have to plan another trip to the Canyon so we can actually take in the views.

I’ve never met Alfred, (Brahm’s dog) but I’m betting he also is one heck of a dog!

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