Donner Pass = Fail

Too much snow!

We made an attempt to climb over the mountains before the storm. Started out at 05:00 and ran into the snow around 06:00. Ran into chain laws around 07:00 and since I don’t have chains for the trailer Cal-trans said no go Reno

Since I was apprehensive about the northern route I decided it was a message from god and we turned around and headed back west and then south at Sacramento. Adds a couple days to the trip and I’ll miss driving on america’s loneliest highway, but I get to see Barstow and Vegas – YaY!

We also scored another entry in our worst roads list: Hwy 99 through Merced CA is another concrete shit-storm. Thanks again Cal-trans. My experience with Hwy 99 is mostly a continuous ribbon of traffic passing a nearly endless supply of commercial and residential development. Just north of Fresno we started seeing fruit trees in bloom. That was nice
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East-bound and down

Leaving Cotati and my great hosts Jim & David.

Fridge with food courtesy of David’s cooking skills

After more than a month hanging out near the coast and the big trees it’s time to head east to Fruita, mtn biking, and camp hosting for the summer. The boys are going to miss stalking gophers and playing with baby potatoes in Jim & David’s garden!

The trip from Cotati to Loomis is a back-track for us. We planned an o-dark-hundred assault on Donner Pass to beat an incoming snow storm and our base-camp-one was Loomis, CA

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Cotati to Still Water Cove

It’s a vineyard! The little sticks are the tops of the vine supports

A little coastal flooding did not keep us from driving up the Pacific Coast Farm Road (They say PCH, but it’s a farm road!) to Still Water Cove where the water was anything but still. A big storm blew inland the day before we headed out to the coast. The forecast was for perfect weather the day we were planning to leave so we brought lots of firewood and food!

Our weekend home

The Russian River was above flood stage as we drove along side it toward Jenner and many of the vineyards were under water (literally, not financially). As we wound our way up the PCH (farm road) we passed a few land slides and downed trees

tMy camp site #9

The camp ground was very green and mushy. It’s about 200 feet above the ocean and I was wondering if a tsunami could sweep it away. There is easy access from the campground to the beach and also a bluff overlooking the ocean. I spent a fair amount of time on the beach or the bluff enjoying the crashing surf

After more than an hour of climbing I found a bridge that was not washed out

I did some hiking up the canyon from the campground and managed to hoof it up to where the sun was shining. Next day a group of us hiked over the river on some downed trees and up to the old school house.

It got cold enough to hail on Saturday
Hanging around the camp fire while David dances the canopy up
A meditation spot along the PCH
Didn’t see this until I was done with my morning swim
Still Water Cove
Pam and Jimmy bravely cross the fallen tree
More natural bridges
Can you see me now?

Repairs & Mods: Convection Micro Re-boot

Out with the new

Look! More Phaeton! This time we’re on a do-over mission. Awhile back we installed a new Frigidaire convection/ Micro oven in place of an oven that failed. Now we’re replacing that new Frigidaire because it’s no good. Just no good at all. It won’t preheat above 300º even if it’s set for 450º and when you put food in it it drops to 200º and sits there looking stupid at you. The thing can’t get a meatloaf to 165º so it’s basically a botulism machine

In with the newer!

The repair person came out and said the sensor and the mother board are bad, but that new parts are not available. Out of stock. Plus the oven has to come down/ out to be repaired. P.S., Home Depot does not allow customers to return major appliances even if they are defective. Bad Home Depot! Bad!

Since We’ve done this before the crappy oven came down pretty quick. Installing the new oven required moving the top support and drilling new holes. The backing plate was replaced with the plate for the new oven, and the vent fan was switched to vent outside

Glamor shot

Since this is in an RV we installed more fasteners that you would for a house install. There is a row of screws into the framing under the bottom cover all along the back of the oven, there are screws through the oven frame into the cabinet frame on both sides too

Maybe you are thinking “Hey, this is a lot more pictures than normal” and you are right. In addition to being a Repairs & Mods post it’s also the install/ uninstall guide for the next person who works on this coach

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Repairs & Mods: Table leg

Before the new leg

We’re back in the Phaeton and this time we’re modifying the kitchen table. It’s a cool slide out table that goes from two to four seating positions. The table slides out of the cabinet about two additional feet when it’s out. That longer length puts a fair amount of strain on the cabinet that holds it so we decided it needed some help in the form of a folding leg. The leg can be down in either the short or long position, or it can be up in the short position.

Test fitting the new leg while Jimmy checks the tiny internet

The leg is made from oak, the same style and color as the cabinets (and lights we installed last summer). It has a pivot that allows the leg to swing in all the way and tuck under the table, or out about 30º so it does not break off if someone just pushes the table in without taking the load off the leg.

Finished and done! (“Done is the engine of more” – google it)

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Repairs & Mods: Fail Edition

All the main areas are marked and ready for cutting

I had planned to install a 14 x 14 skylight/ roof vent in the area above the stove. I marked the area out, located the structure, made sure I was clear of the duct work, and cut an exploratory hole to see what was in the ceiling

Wires!

Wires. Lots of wires

The main wiring bundle from the control center by the front door runs to the power supply near the bathroom and goes right through the area I want to install a skylight in. Both the 12v bundle and the 110v line are in the way

Oops

Now I have a 2.5” hole in the ceiling above the stove and no skylight. Grrrr

I think I can still salvage the project by switching to an 8 or 10 inch porthole from a boat. The round nature of portholes will fit beside the wires and cover the 2.5″ exploratory hole I made.

Stay tuned!

Winter is coming for me!

The hills east of Cotati, CA

I barely escaped being snowed on here in warm and sunny* California! The snow level came down to about 400 feet! Eeek! Next morning there was frost on the pumpkin! Eeek!

Over the weekend we had a camp-out in the back yard. I remember doing that as a kid. Pitching a tent on the back lawn and sleeping under the stars – good times! As an adult we circled the RV’s around the garage, built a fire in the driveway and hung out in the garage when it was raining and around the fire when it was not.

Jimmy and Sandy enjoying the camp fire

Some family members camped out with us while others came and went as the beer-tide ebbed and flowed

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*It’s cloudy about half the time