Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Artwork

While it has nothing to do with RVing, (well, maybe a little, which I'll get into one day when I talk about how I decided to RV) I want to share some other stuff on this blog too.  It is, after all, all about me.  :-)

I used to do a lot of computer generated art but somehow lost my inspiration for many years.  In the winter  of 2010, Northern Virginia got whacked by "Snowmageddon".  We got about 3' of snow, and I was confined to my house for a few days.  Having nothing to do, I fired up Netflix, and went looking for a show one of my coworkers had been badgering me to check out, Deadliest Catch.  Se said, "With how much you love boats & the ocean, I can't believe you don't watch this!"  I replied, "60 foot freezing waves & 50 mph winds are sooooo not what I love about boats and the ocean!  And I'd probably never want to eat crab again if I watched that.  I think I'll pass."   I'm not a big TV person anyway.  But, having reached the end of the internet, I thought I'd give it a try.  :-)  I did find it strangely entertaining, and before I knew it, I was hooked.  One scene in particular really grabbed me, one of the boats searching for a comrade in distress, with flashing sodium lights on a storm tossed sea.  It made me want to paint again.  As I watched a little more, I was intrigued by one of the characters, Russ Newberry.  He was on Facebook, and on a whim I sent him a friend request.  I was astounded when he accepted.  I was playing around with computer art again, and when he posted a photo of his boat I decided to turn it into a chart-style painting.  I used to do those featuring sailboats but had never added a person to one.  I was pretty happy with the final result.

I posted it on Facebook, and Russ loved it.  That spurred me to create more, and a love affair with Deadliest Catch and Alaska fishing was born.

Friday, April 11, 2014

New Batteries 4/11/14

Well, it's one of those things that I knew had to be done.  The batteries were original equipment and they were shot.  They were dated 2008 and wouldn't hold a charge for more than a couple days.  One even had a bit of a bulge.  There's an outfit in Leesburg that just does batteries, Battery Warehouse.  They're good guys, and have a great rep.

I worked till midnight Thursday night, and after working on a few little things, moved the RV over to their lot.  It was almost 2am at that point.  I decided to do it this way as I wanted to be there when they opened, as they get very busy as the day wears on.  And traffic in downtown Leesburg can be miserable. I put up the stealth curtains, had a beer and played Mahjohng until I was finally sleepy, around 3am.  It was a short night's sleep as I had the alarm set for 7am.  I had grand plans of getting breakfast, but instead hit the snooze half a dozen times and finally got up & dressed a little before they opened.

 Measuring  the old batteries & figuring out what might fit

We had talked on the phone a bit about my setup.  I had 2 group 27 batteries but I was *really* hoping 2 6v batteries would fit.  They didn't.  I wasn't up for rebuilding the battery compartment, and they don't do that sort of thing anyway, so another pair of group 27's was the best I could do.  Steve gave me a few options and I settled on the midrange Deka DC27.  They get good reviews and are made in PA near where I grew up.  So that's a big plus.

The new batteries, all clean and new

They did a nice job on the install.  There was a lot of corrosion and rust which they cleaned up.  It will be nice not to have to be sooo careful with using any power.  I still won't use much but it will be nice to have a little breathing room.

When they were done the house battery installation, I asked them to check the starting battery.  It had always started just fine, but when I got a new voltage meter that plugged into the 12v outlet, I was unpleasantly surprised to see 12.4 volts.  They hooked up the tester and came back with the report.  I don't remember the exact numbers, but the bottom line was that the battery was a 2008 as well, and probably had about 6 months to live.  I waffled a bit, but had them replace it as well.  I figured I was already there, and the last thing I wanted was to be out in the boondocks on a cold day 6 months from now going, "Crap, I forgot the starting battery was fading."  It was another 100 bucks, cheap peace of mind.

After that was all done, I took the rig back to the storage place and messed around with a few things.  I put up a wineglass holder.  I'm not sure real wineglasses will survive rv life but I'm determined to try.  I played around with a few possible locations but finally went with over the sink. 

(The little kitchen witch is made from a King Crab claw and was a gift from my friends from Kodiak.)

I added the felt pads to the end & then had the absolutely inspired idea to wrap the rods with a strip cut from shelf liner.  It works great!  I only had one glass onboard but will take another one next time I'm there.  I have a few ideas for how I'll keep the glasses from banging together.  We'll see how they work.

Another cool item I'm in love with is this $15 Walmart table.  It is just about perfect for my space.

Cheap, sturdy, lightweight, adjustable & folds flat & thin.  You can't really beat that.  

After all of that I needed a nap :-) so I headed home.  I left all the solar panels disconnected so when I go back in a few days I can make sure all the batteries are holding a charge.  And I don't quite trust the battery disconnect, so we'll see if there's some draw even with it in the "Store" position.  I had planned to go camping this weekend but thought I'd be having friends visit.  They didn't make it though.  Ah well. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Transitioning into this new life has been a little more difficult than I expected. I am preparing to retire from a career that has been somewhat defining for the past 25 years, and at the same time downsize from a 2000 square foot house to a 21 foot RV.  And dealing with the looming uncertainty of having no homebase, no destination and no real plan. I guess it's not surprising that I'm a little weirded out.

On Thursday Purple Heart Pickup came and picked up approximately 25 boxes of stuff. I was pretty appalled when they were done, because it didn't really look all that much different. Although yesterday after I got rid of a few more things all of a sudden the house started looking emptier. In one or two rooms at least.  

I worked a 1 to 9 tonight ( Saturday) and will work a 6 to 2 tomorrow. That's working out pretty well, Saturdays are a nice day to work, and Sundays are not too bad. And I get two shifts in in one 24 hour period.   It's much nicer to do the Quick turn since I have the little rolling home not far from work. I'm kicked back now with my little propane heater and my little LED light going listening to the wind blow. I'm still only going to get a few hours sleep, but at least I don't have an hour drive at 5 AM.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still really looking forward to retirement and traveling. No doubt about that. It's just a lot of change at one time.