Thursday, January 17, 2013

Corpus Christi Museum and an Interesting Refrigerator Solution

Odometer Reading 25557

Trip meter 0

Wednesday the 16th of January we finally got a respite in the weather, and made plans to go to the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History.

The Museum is located below the giant Harbor Bridge over the Nueces River. From the parking lot you can see the USS Lexington on the far shore, as well as the Texas State Aquarium.

One of the major draws for this museum is a set of full-size replicas of Christopher Columbus' ships; the Nina, Pinta, and the Santa Maria.

The replicas were built in Spain for the 500th anniversary of Columbus' expedition to discover a shortcut to the West Indies. The ships are full size copies of the originals, and were sailed to the US in 1992. Corpus Christi was the high bidder for the ships at the end of the journey and they have been on display here for the last 21 years. The ships originally were berthed in the ship channel next to the museum grounds. In 1994 a barge heading up river clipped the Pinta and the Santa Maria, seriously damaging them, and prompting the museum to take them out of the water and set them on land. The Nina is still floating, however not in the ship channel- it is now in the commercial harbor.

Joan and I were really surprised at how small the ships were! The photo below shows Joan on the main deck of the Pinta.

The whole ship is only 56 feet long at the deck, and about 17 and a half feet wide. The Pinta is a Caravel-type vessel and the fastest of the three.

You can see that the replicas have fallen into disrepair, and most of these two vessels is riddled with rot. The museum guide says that salt water is being pumped onto them daily to keep the ships from further deterioration.

Here the rotten decking has been removed from the deck beams.

We found it interesting that there was no galley on these ships. A crude stove was lit in a sand-box on the deck to heat food. When the weather was rough- you ate a cold meal. Most perishable foods were consumed within the first several weeks at sea- after that it was hardtack and salty meat.

The water casks even got very foul on longer voyages such as this one. Sailors would hold their noses and swallow quickly. The lucky ones got to dose the water with rum (as much for the antimicrobial value as for the buzz).

The museum has many very awesome displays which I will not try to cover in this blog. There are rooms dedicated to: Earth Science, Natural History, Reptiles of South Texas, Sugar Cropping, and more.

A couple of interesting exhibits caught our attention. One is this display on loan from the Smithsonian that shows clay figurines that were created 400 to 900 years before Christ!

We also marveled at these ships beams excavated from the silt off of Padre Island, thought to be from a fleet of three Spanish naos (cargo ships) blown off course and wrecked in 1554.
These are the oldest ship artifacts ever found in North America.

Several days ago, despite cold and wet weather, we were also able to scoot up to Goliad, Texas, about 50 miles away to visit their Saturday market in the town square.

There were vendor booths set-up all around this stately courthouse in an old style town square
Goliad is know as the birthplace of Texas ranching.
The whole downtown is on the register of historic buildings- not unlike Jacksonville, Oregon.

The Joys of Ammonia Refrigeration

Before we left Medford last November, we had a recall service done on the refrigerator, which entailed the addition of a temperature cut-off sensor and switch to keep the refer cooling unit from super-heating and catching the coach on fire.
After a particularly windy and wet night we woke up to find that our refrigerator had lost power, so after breakfast I went out to remove the access panel and see if I could discover why. All the breakers and fuses checked out okay, but I noticed that the black box device they installed last Fall, now had a steady red LED lit on it.

After a quick web search (love the community) I found that steady red means that the device had sensed an overload and shut down the refer unit. I bypassed the safety device and the fridge started to cool again. I also discovered that two other coaches had experienced the same fault, so I helped others to diagnose the problem the same way I had.

We left it this way till the weather abated, then decided we needed a more permanent solution.

One of the local RV repair places here in town listened to my tale of woe and told me about a little secret. There is a switch inside the black box that shuts off the power- and that switch can be re-activated with a magnet!
Joan and I hustled home to try the fix- and it worked! Maybe it will stay working for another 3 months?

Tuesday the 15th I noticed that a small lump of carpet was caught up in the bottom seal of our forward slide-out room. The weather was cold and wet, but I was bored, so I thought I'd go out and see if I could pull the carpet out a bit and see what was going on. Turns out that when we installed the new vinyl flooring last winter, I wasn't able to get every little bit of the old carpet and pad out from under the platform that supports the sofa in the slide room, and now it was being caught-up and expelled as the room moved in and out. There was only an 18" by 12" opening to reach into and the opening ran 14 feet down the side of the motorhome. I had to get it out in one long piece cause I could only just reach one end of the strip of carpet. Long story short- about 8' into the long tubular opening-(way beyond my reach) the installers had paced a 1" nylon washer on the carpet and fired three 1" staples into to it and down through the carpet. It was not going to come loose until I went out and bought an 1/8 inch by 3' piece of steel and used it as a driver- laid across the floor- under the couch and out through the seal at the bottom of the slide. I wish Joan had gotten a picture of me after working 3 hours to get that 6' by 4" wide strip of carpet and pad out of there.

A warm day today I was able to finish greasing the chassis, a job that I started in Dallas and never finished. I was also able to clean up the leaky stabilizing jack, in hopes of discovering where the leak is coming from. (it's not a big leak, that demands immediate attention thank goodness.)

On a sad note, I got word today that a dear friend of ours died of post-surgical complications yesterday. Paulette Davis, payroll clerk at Adroit, wife, mother, and grandmom passed away and left a huge hole in our hearts. Paulette was kind, gentle, funny,warm and loving- and she will be missed by many.

Love to all

Jeff and Joan

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