Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE On The Road Again, Short Summer in The Conways.Nude Sunbathers Ahead

Greetings Cohort:

Midsummer Nights Dream... Happy Solstice

I'm at homeport garage in Center Conway for a month of R&R. That acronym variously means rest and recreation, remove and replace, rant and rage, all depending upon venue: the fine and full Saco River, just right, albeit still a little cold, for tubing the rapids; or working at the garage, changing out the air compressor, replacing the kingpins, fixing broken windscreen; or at the town hall, trying to deal with the bureaucracy and their request that I offer proof of residency.

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.

29 June: NU5DE this is NU1DE, how do you copy? Over...

The bus is back on the road with new kingpins, bearings, and brake cans. And a new compressor. Runs much better than ever before. We also added a couple of degrees to the caster and that improves the handling. So this is a little road test across the hills to Milton VermonT.

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?

2nd july, In Dependence Day

Keep from FreezingI am doing a lot of that too. Using up all the old issues from my stamp collection. I have sheets and plate blocks from when first class postage was five and then six cents. Back when stamps were printed in one colour from engraved plates and you could feel the raised ink. I always try to hand my letters over the counter to a person in a small town post office. Every now and again the place will be small enough--one room, one window--that the person who takes my letters will be an old time postmaster who will see my stamps and reminisce with me. Other times it will be a younger person who, still knowing their business, will comment that my stamps are older than they are.

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 another issue.

21 july  Another Cache, Another Picture

Skinwalker at Pudding Pond CacheThe Green Hills Preserve in the hills to the north of Conway is a place I had only been around the edge of until today. But knowing is only the beginning of finding the way in. The green hills used to be known as common land in the town, a place settlers had to graze farm animals, hunt, and cut firewood. Today, such a not quite wild place would bristle with condos were it not for such far-sighted groups as the Nature Conservancy. These days there are about five thousand acres in one large block tucked in between Wal-Mart and Hannafords to the south and the Cranmore Mountain Ski Area and White Mountain National Forest to the north. Last year I walked on Redstone Ledge and Rattlesnake Mountain and noticed the Nature Conservancy boundary markers but until today when I went looking for the Pudding Pond cache I had no idea just how much of a delightful place was hidden away here.

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...

Love, ajo

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

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