The Saco looks good but the air is chill and all the tubes from last year have rotted flat. Have to get some new ones patched and cleaned and ready for maybe next week.
The air compressor has been throwing oil past the rings and saturating the intake filter. Seems to work ok anyhow as far as making air is concerned but it is making a mess with the oil dripping out all over everthing else. I've not had a new compressor yet. I think this present one is the third that has been scavenged or salvaged from one wreck or another. Now it is time for a new one--rebuilt--there are no more out back to salvage.
The steering has been getting loose so kingpins and the steering box are both on the list. Kingpins are a big job. Not as big as doing the whole motor, like last year, but big and dirty all the same. And without the axel in the way there is room to get under the front end and patch and paint some of the floor panels.
Hardest of all is dealing with the town hall. How does one prove residency?
Bad enough that proof is required. I mean, everyone must reside somewhere.
Is it not sufficient to say here I am, here I reside? Until later when
I go elsewhere... No. You have to have an electric bill. --But I am solar
powered. How about a water bill. --Water comes from a well. Then you need
a phone bill. --My phone is a cell based in Maine and the bill goes to
my P.O.A. in Nashua. How about a street and number where you own or rent?
--I live in a bus, home is where I park it; or if you can't deal with that
then put me down as homeless. But I have "lived" here for twenty-five some
years now. As much as one can be said to "live" anywhere when one works
on contract, overseas, in the military or the foreign service. There are
official exemptions for military who are sent elsewhere so they may still
claim to "live" here. But for those who choose the same sort of peripatetic
lifestyle there is nothing but grief and hassle.
Today I'm at the ham radio field day operation of the NH
naturists club. A combined party. Using the club call sign NU1DE--official
FCC issued club assignment. One of our contacts yesterday was NU5DE out
of Austin TeXas. There is hope yet. Four or five operators and one nice
pie. Several funny contacts when other Hams slowed from their contesting
enough to let our callsign sink in.--Are you really operating in the nude?
Other milestones this week: I have been issued a food stamp card. Saw the very faintest red sliver of new moon chasing the sun to set beyond the dark mountains last night just after ten o'clock. Winter will be here all too soon...
A few days ago, just about 20h00, Paul was within a minute of leaving for the night, said he was going home in time to kiss his kids goodnight, and I said he'd best sneak out the back door now as a big motor home was just at that moment oozing between the trucks lined up in the lot for toworrow's work. Paul's comment is not suitable for family email.
The gas powered coach had been purchased the day before, used, by a family of parents and several kids, in Montreal, who traded a diesel coach--I'm not sure of the significance of the fuel unless somehow it might bespeak of the over-all quality difference. As our investigation of their problem went on the air became pregnant with French jokes we dared not voice.
The family had taken delivery of their new/old coach the day before and departed Montreal early on this particular morning, bound for Old Orchard Beach, a popular vacation destination for Quebecois. They drove all day, only about three hours actually over the road but as evening came on and driving lights were desired their problem became acute. Early on they, the driver, father, Franz (with an aah) noticed they had no coach power but he was anxious to get to the beach and felt he could deal with this lack later. There was always that little button that permitted connecting the chassis battery on for emergencies. Then, with night coming on he found his headlights dim and voltmetre in the red. Paul's garage looked like a good place to stop.
Our involvement quickly determined that no charging was taking place. The new looking chassis battery was at 10 volts. The coach battery consisted of two 12 volt deep cycle Marine/RV units. All three batteries were on a shelf under the bonnet, in front of the radiatior of the front mounted gas motor. All the wiring was inside of those corrugated, split, looms, securely tied to the framework. Two things were immediately apparent: the wiring was newly done and the two 12v coach batteries were wired in series. Franz insisted the dealer told him that they were 6v batts. Wired as they were they measured only 11v.
It will never be clear whether one of them was dead to start with or became that way cos of the way they were wired but our first step was to remove all the wires from all the batteries. As we went along further poor practice and inconsistancies became apparent.
The chassis battery ground went first to the house battery then to the frame nearby with a new wire. The point of attachment to the frame was a newly drilled hole, bright metal showed where paint had been scraped away.
No question that the two house batteries were wired in series, nor that they were 12v. I removed the caps and counted the cells. After removing all the wires from the series connected house batts we found one to be totally dead and one to be at 11 volts. The dead one would not take a charge--dead short. (the chassis battery was taking a charge all this time from the garage charger)
Then there was this fat black wire that was held fast under the dead battery which Paul followed back through the bulkhead by the top corner of the radiator to terminate on the engine block. When we removed the dead coach battery we found this wire to be unconnected at this end. It should have been the ground wire instead of the new one. Perhaps the new one was added when the original was lost under the battery?
Eventually, after trying to sort out all the other wires and trying to understand the complexity of all the relays of the battery controller, and after giving the remaining house battery some little charge, we reconnected that house battery to the proper ground and started the motor. But still the alternator would not charge. Perhaps, if there ever was 24v present, then maybe the alternator had been destroyed. We could not find any fuses that were bad nor a fuseable link. Next we had Franz crank the generator and that ran and charged ok.
Now we are close to a fix, at least enough of a fix to get them to the beach and perhaps to a dealer who will know the proper wiring. Maybe even all the way back to Montreal where Franz acquired this mess.
That little button that jumps the batteries together for emergency. Press that button and stick a toothpick in it. Then the generator will charge the chassis battery and keep the system going.
Two hours have gone by. Paul's kids are long since in bed by the time
he writes out a bill and Franz and his family are on their way. It is past
my bedtime but I am a little richer for my trouble. And I have to wonder
about the stupidity of the dealer Franz bought his new/old RV from, and
by extension, all the others out there, both RV's and dealers. But that's
I'm still looking for one or two companions to be company for me'n'Ian and to share expenses on the road west. Needed are small, light, malleable, unafraid, skinnydippers.
The time has gone, the Walrus said,
The bus is off up the road;
You're not going along? I'm surprised, he said,
Someone else will drive the Toad...
I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to
myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and
diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier
shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered
before me. --Sir Isaac Newton
Back to Oso
Back to ajo
Copyright © 2003, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , 03813-0144.