Sunday, December 1, 2019

Trials in a T

Odometer 67964

New River, AZ

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!
Sunset over New River, AZ
 We sure did.

Wheel shattered on right hand turn- we end up on sidewalk
 On our last T- tour to Cave Creek Joan and I were driving the 1915 while the 1917 was waiting on parts.  We made a sweeping turn off Carefree Highway to get fueled up and got an unexpected ride.  While we were in mid-turn the left front wheel spokes broke and we lost our steerage when the axle dropped to the pavement.  I'd like to say I did a great job of maneuvering the car out of traffic, but in fact I had nothing to do with it- we just ended up here!

Replacement wheel arrives
Replacement wheel is installed and we are ready to go

Ralph saw my predicament and headed for home (13 miles) for a replacement wheel right away and we were back on the road in less than an hour.  The Model T has a spare tire mounted to a steel rim so the wheel is not replaced in a normal tire change- just the rim with tire attached.  This situation is not normal and the very old wheel spokes just got too fatigued.

Our visit to a local collector yielded a new casting for the front of the 1917 motor.  As you can see in the picture above the parts that broke were parts that bolt on. (shiny black color in the photo above). We opted to go with a later model casting that belongs on a 1919 or later car and has the option of  accepting a gear drive generator in this location. (or as shown in the picture even an alternator)

Sheet music cover page

Some friends of ours were gifted these booklets of sheet music that have early car themes.  The titles are just hilarious!
More music -Henry Made a Lady out of Lizzie
Sheet music with a motoring theme

Music to drive a Ford by- you could whistle it!

A love story in a song about two cars

Rain floods the driveway to our friends shop
It has been a fairly wet Fall.  Luckily we have a lot of shop projects that we can do while we wait for the rains to pass.

Our favorite route to the hardware store gets closed when the arroyos start to flood the low spots.  This stream is labeled "Skunk Creek" - really !  99% of the year it is a dry road crossing.

Next several days are going to be in the mid to high 60's with lots of sun- yea!

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan

Saturday, November 23, 2019

T Time again

Odometer  67964

New River, AZ

The '17 Touring gets a scrubbing
The new girl in town is a 1917 Model T Touring car
We are back at Model T world and a new girl just came into my world.  She is a 1917 Model T touring that has been stored for the last 6 years.  Was a good runner when put away.  I get the job of going over her and checking everything out.  Oil change, water in the radiator, plugs cleaned and gapped, coils all delivering voltage, gas tank removed and cleaned, fuel tap removed and cleaned, gas line blown out with compressed air, carburetor cleaned and adjusted, battery charged (replaced with new).  This one is hand cranked only.  After some adjusting the mixture we got the engine to start, but the running was ragged.  It took me several hours of tuning to get it to run well- and it was worth it!  Joan and I spent the next several days touring it around our neighborhood.

Broken fan blade

Then the unexpected happened.  A blade broke on the 4 bladed fan throwing the remaining three blades into a wobble that threw one blade into the casting that is the cover on the front of the engine block, and one nearly into the radiator core.

Broken fan and offending blade
Damage to the engine casting

The photo on the left shows the crack made in the cast metal timing cover and the cam gear cover both!

Ominous rain clouds move in

We are in for a spell of bad weather so I dig in and take the T apart to fix the damage.  

Down to the heart of the problem

I quickly decide trying to remove the radiator.  Getting everything off without this step is possible, but taking the radiator off just makes the whole job a lot more fun.

We have a LOT of T parts around so we set out looking for a timing cover for this model year.

Test fitting a later cover on and early engine

We found some cast covers, but none were the correct one for this engine.  This one is too wide to the left (picture left, car right), but fits all the rest.  If I can find a generator mount from a later car, this cover will work- and I could mount a generator on this motor at some future date.  Hmmm.

One thing is certain, the car is out of service until we either locate another original cover or a generator casting to go with this one.

Learning the ways of the T

We are making plans to visit a fellow "collector" to see if we can find the parts we need to get this flivver back on the road.  That can't happen until Monday because tomorrow we are going to take the Model Ts (there are lots of spares) on an Art tour called Hidden in the Hills.  We've done this for a couple years now and I blogged about it here if you want to know more about this very cool event this link will open in a new page and you can return here whenever you want. Hidden in the Hills

Stormy landscape outside our window
Then, just as predicted, the heavens opened up and the rains came down.

Normally dry stream bead is brimming with runoff
Two inches of rain gives me good reason to stay in the shop and work on the T's !

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan

Friday, November 22, 2019

San D to Phoenix

Odometer  67,964

San Diego to Phoenix

Fuel close to E

We are in a unique situation this morning.  Joan and I are headed for Yuma for a couple nights before continuing on to our friends house in New River, AZ  The unique part is that we normally tank up on arrival, because I don't like the tanks to have air space where condensation can form in them, as the ambient, and day- night temperature changes.

We are in this situation because on our way in on Thursday, we could not find a diesel station to save our soul.  Joan started actively looking about 15 miles out of town.  Usually we can find a truck plaza or a bigger station we can get into.  We jumped off the freeway once only to find the station too small to get into.
Resigned to our situation we went to the RV park and settled in.

Low fuel  warning light

We are going out on the same route, so our first chance at fuel will probably be 22 miles out.  It'll be as familiar as I like to get with the bottom of the fuel tank in this beast.

I was actually doing fine as we headed out.  I was feeling pretty sure that we'd see a station on this side of the freeway that we hadn't seen on our way in, but no.  I have no idea what trucks do on their way in and out of here- but I will never come this way on low tanks again!

Just when I'd calmed down a bit the fuel warning light came on- I'll be honest with you- I didn't even know this bus had a warning light!

An hour on empty tanks finally we reach our last chance fuel station

We kept looking at each exit and sometimes we'd see one that had possibilities AFTER we were past the off ramp.  California, unlike Oregon apparently doesn't encourage stations to put an informational sign on the freeway before the off ramps- we saw none.

Finally, when I was sure we'd be dead alongside the highway, we made it to Campo, CA and the Golden Acorn Casino and truck stop.  If you read my previous blog, you'll remember that we are in the Rocky Mountains here- 4 summits of 4,000 feet- working the Kitty Kat diesel motor hard.

I'm happier than I look here
Our motorhome has a rather flat fill hose and it is sometimes a real pain.  The nozzle has to be held in the horizontal position for the whole fill.  Our tanks take up to 90 gallons and it keeps you pinned down for the whole time.

The fuel this far away from town is usually expensive, and California has a 40 cent surcharge on their fuel.  We were only going to get a few gallons at $4.10/ gal. and wait until Yuma, AZ where the fuel would be a dollar a gallon cheaper.   Well, that was the plan...  The uneasy feeling I got watching the needle settle on E made me put in 30 gallons.  We'll get 'er topped off in Yuma, but for now we'll douse that pesky low fuel warning light for a long while

Air umbilical to towed car

My happiness melted when I walked back to check on the Tracker we tow behind the motor home.  We have an air line that connects the motor home brakes to a braking  system in the car.  Somehow the air fitting came loose from the car an has been dragging on the pavement.

Nothing I can do about this here, and we have towed without brakes before- it is no problem for this size tow vehicle, still I want to get it fixed as soon as possible.
Tucked in at the Westwind RV Resort Yuma, AZ

We finished the transit to Yuma and checked in at the Westwind RV Resort for a couple nights on our Passport 1/2 price card.

SMI repair kit for the air line
I love the discount variety stores that abound in Yuma.  I did a hasty set up and took off for Wally's World and the RV Superstore.  I had a list of items I needed for maintenance, and I just wanted to see some of the cool stuff they always have.  I wanted some plastic drawer catches, which are getting hard to find.  I didn't find them here either, but I did find some 50 pc packs of electrical crimp on connectors, some steel stakes for staking down my satellite dish, some screw driver tips for my impact driver and a few other things I didn't know I needed, all at bargain prices.

Good as new
The next day Joan and I went to a towing specialty shop called Just For Towing in Yuma to get a replacement end for the air line we damaged on the trip from San Diego.  These are specialty coupling manufactured in Germany- I'm glad to be able to get them.

In more than a decade of towing we've never had anything come loose, now we've had two things on the same trip- is it me or ??  Joan and I have a routine we follow when getting ready to leave, which includes double checking each other and complete lighting and brake check.  Hmmm.

Dashboard temp gauge

The trip from Yuma to Phoenix is uneventful and we notice that the temperature is warm for November, even down at this latitude.

We roll into Phoenix and find a Shell station to top off our tanks before we get set up at our good friends RV in New River.

Home is where we park it... and this is pretty nice

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan


Monday, November 4, 2019

Exploring the San Diego Maritime Museum

Odometer  67774 mi
Sunday 11/3/2019

San Diego, CA

I like all things sea going, so it was natural for me to want to go to the San Diego Maritime Museum.

Before we could get started however, I accidentally tipped over a water bottle and spilled on the keyboard of the laptop.  I am usually very guarded about liquids around the electronics, but got careless and it happened.   A few days ago I had been researching how to remove the battery in this Acer laptop to do a hard reset.  Turns out to physically remove the battery you have to take out something like 17 tiny screws and unsnap the back with a spudger.  Yep, I had to look that one up- a spudger is a tool that looks like a chop stick with a chisel point, used to pry things apart without damage or electrical shorting.  That time I also found out that this laptop has a pin hole on the back that allows one to disconnect the battery momentarily by pushing a paperclip into the hole- so that's what I did.  This time it was a lot more urgent- I quickly dried the spill, and of course I was not prepared to be getting the battery out.  After propping the laptop in a configuration I thought best for water to flow if any got in, I started removing screws, made my own spudger, and popped the back off.  I was relieved to see that no visible water had gotten in to anywhere I could see.  I left the laptop open and air dried it for a day before reassembly and I think I've gotten very lucky- I hope so anyway.

While the laptop recuperated, Joan and I took off for the Maritime Museum.  By now it was late morning and we figured on catching a lunch on the go.  Joan had researched parking and the best parking would be the County parking garage adjacent to the museum.  The only bit of information we did not have, was that the garage is under the grassy Waterfront Park.  We were searching for a mid- rise parking structure and not finding one, we finally parked at a surface lot costing $20 for 4 hours.  Now for some country rubes like us, that caused us to pause for a while.  Finally we resigned ourselves to it and I set my iPhone timer for 4 hours and we strode off.  Our plan was to head straight down hill to the water front and then north or south , whichever took us to the museum.

Red Arrow shows where we found parking
Well... the streets don't go through past the RR tracks on California Street so not consulting our google maps (and look like rubes you know) we marched north to Grape St where we could get to the park and then south what seemed like four city blocks to get to the museum.

Tall Ships  foreground HMS Surprise, background Star of India
Wow, was this worth the trip!  This collection is awesome.  The Star of India is the oldest active merchant sailing ship in the world, built in 1863.  The HMS Surprise, under my feet, is a replica of an 18th century Royal Navy Frigate.

Soviet B-39 Attack Submarine

Moored directly behind the Surprise is a B-39 Soviet Navy attack submarine of the type and style used in the Cuban missile crisis.

This one's in bad shape, the outer hull is rusted through in several areas, and a protective coating of some kind has been applied to her

Joan checks out the B-39 Foxtrot class Soviet Sub

The Soviets had a different idea on watertight bulkheads than our submarine builders of the same era.  All most all their watertight hatches were round rather than oval.  Us old folks had a tough time getting through them (It wasn't graceful at all)
Soviet  B-39 watertight hatch
The USS Dolphin submarine of the same era as the B-39 was far more finished looking inside.  the layout far more roomy and functional.

USS Dolphin submarine and PFC 816 Swift Boat at San Diego Maritime Museum

Capt'n Jeff at the periscope

The Dolphin felt much more modern in every way. 

The Dolphin was launched from Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine in 1968, and immediately set a new depth record that we are told, still holds today!  She sent the first laser communication to an aircraft, sent and received the first underwater email.
The Dolphin was the last US non-nuclear submarine and had a long career of 38 years

Control Room USS Dolphin

The ferry boat that seems to be the center of everything here at the pier, is actually a floating museum.  Your admission gets you access to everything we've talked about here, and a lot more.  There are tours you can take of the harbor that launch from here on the Swift Boat a Pilot boat, or a Revenue Cutter, for an additional fee.

The Claim Jumper restaurant at the Wyndham Hotel

Happy explorers
 We were getting famished, so we opted to head across the street to the Claim Jumper restaurant at the nearby Wyndham Hotel.  We had a very pleasant lunch while watching the lively action of the waterfront.

By now we were closing in on the 4 hour time limit on our parking space, so we decided to head back to the car. 

This is where things started to unravel and we were exposed as the rubes that we are.  We headed back up the hill on Ash Street at the opposite end of the park where we had come down from the car.  We both had different ideas of where we'd left the car and spent an agonizing 20 minutes traipsing back and forth, before I got the idea of using satellite view of the area on the iPad to look for the distinctive shape of the car park we wanted to find.  We arrived back at the car with my phone vibrating "times up" on the 4 hour timer I'd set.  Whew!  We really aren't big city people.

 Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Salton Sea to the Pacific Blue

Odometer  67,774

Thursday Oct 31
Salton Sea to the Pacific Ocean
San Diego

Our plan for today is to head south on CA Route 111 and catch Interstate 8 west to San Diego.  Regular blog readers will note that we normally eschew large cities, and the only thing that could possibly make us head into one- is a family event such as the wedding of our niece Savannah.

I had this misconception that the Rocky Mountains had petered out by the time they reached Mexico, and would be mere bumps.  Nothing could be more from the truth.  Interstate 8 climbs 4 summits on the way from El Centro to El Cajon.  The first summit we encountered took us from below sea level to 3241 ft at Mountain Springs, on to Tecate Pass at 4140 ft , Crestwood Pass at 4,109 ft , lastly to Laguna Pass at 4055 feet.  Many of these grades were at or near 6%  I guess this is why I like traveling- it straightens out the geography in my head.😏
We arrived at Mission Bay RV Resort at about 4:30 in the afternoon, Friday rush hour was in full ramp-up but luckily we were going the opposite of where everyone else wanted to go.

We are tucked in at Mission Bay RV Resort

We chose Mission Bay because it looked to be about the center of where the wedding activities are taking place.  The Resort is pretty much a paved lot with holes for mature shade trees and utilities for full hookup- pretty much perfect for what we want.

Mission Bay RV our neighbors

We are the big blue dot on the map to the left and the hook of land is called DeAnza Point.  We have good access to the interstate to go longer distances and Mission Bay Drive along the waterfront for going locally in to Pacific Beach to the north and to Ocean Beach to the south.

After settling in we set out for a walk to stretch the legs and stop the buzz in our heads.  We are fenced in here, but there are walk gates at strategic points in the perimeter where one can walk on the promenade around De Anza point and down into Mission Bay Park.  We headed out the gate to walk counter-clockwise around the point.  The gate opened onto a paved road which followed the edge of the beach.  A really nice paved promenade with tall palm trees and lush vegetation on either side.

DeAnza Mobile Home Park on Mission Bay San Diego
We suddenly became aware of the fact that none of the homes we were passing were occupied.  This mystified us and we became curious as to why people would abandon homes with such a great setting

moved out or demolished ?  site where manufactured home used to be

 We had a pleasant walk though this deserted neighborhood, but couldn't help wondering what had happened.  When we got back home, we did and internet search and found a very interesting story:

In 1939 and 1945 the State gave this point of land to the City of San Diego "for the use of all the citizens of the State".   In 1953 the City leased the land to a developer for a 680 unit "trailer park" giving the City 10% of the gross rent.  Every thing was great until 1980 when the State Land Commission reviewed the land deal to ensure that San Diego had upheld its end of the bargain.  They decided that the City had not.  San Diego was ordered to evict the residents and honor the original agreement.  Another State law that had been enacted in the meantime required cities who evict tenants of mobile homes to offer relocation assistance, which San Diego reportedly was reluctant to do.  One news report I read was of the opinion that the City intentionally hired a park manager with a bad reputation to make living conditions so untenable the residents would move out on their own.  Services were cut, rents hiked, laundry facilities removed, and tenants who complained were intimidated.  By October 2016 the City had lost at least two lawsuits with the tenants, but finally prevailed in moving out the last of the residents, ending this epic 36 year battle.  The news this year (2019) says that the City has awarded a contract to Campland by the Bay to expand the RV park into the areas formerly occupied by mobile homes, adding about 150 more sites.  Nothing is happening pending a review by the California Coastal Commission.

Joan, Savannah, Manny, Jeff

I have been asked by my niece Savannah to officiate at her wedding on a cliff above the ocean here in San Diego.  Family and friends will be flying in from Dallas today and we are looking forward to the inevitable family gatherings.  We spent the afternoon with them at their Air B&B home in Ocean Beach about 15 minutes from our RV Park. 

The next day at 5 PM we all met at Osprey Point and held the wedding ceremony as the sunset painted the sky and horizon a warm peachy color.  Manny and Savannah, stood with yours truly, as I led them through their vows in front of 30 or more of their family and close friends.  What an honor it was for me to be involved in this special way!

Savannah and Manny Chavez cut the cake at their reception in local restaurant
Here's wishing Savannah and Manny many wonderful wonderful, happy, years together!

Another surprise was meeting Joan's cousin Curtis and his beautiful wife Emerita.  Curtis is a pilot for an executive air charter company operating out of  Los Angles, CA.

Curtis and Emerita
Dessault 2000 Falcon

Falcon Cockpit
Curtis flies the Dassault 2000 Falcon business jet made in France- sounds like FUN!  We hope now that we have re-established contact that it won't be so long til we see the two of them again.

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan