Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Trekking RV Adventure

New house meets apartment.
Because nothing can be simple in this world, you have to expect there will be a few hurdles when trying to accomplish a major task such as relocating an RV from Garden Grove to Carson City. Especially one that had not been used in five years. After getting past a majority of the RV integrity and repair issues and completing Hacker work camp it was time to move the RV. I must clarify that while I am behind in my blogging, this all happened immediately following Hacker work camp because Chris needed to start work on the 8th. We began our trek on Friday the 5th after having schlepped up to Carson City to complete all the license and HR requirements.

We arrived at my uncle's house with no problems. Up to the top of the mountain, we exchanged trucks and got the low down on his six-speed diesel. The week before I had determined Bunny, my Honda Ridgeline, had earned her "big, big truck" badge for hauling motorcycles back up to Mammoth and then towing 7,000 pounds of rock to the yard. She may have a badge, but John's truck is truly a BIG BIG TRUCK. I listened diligently to all the rules such as "don't give it gas," it has an accelerator system, probably start in second gear, the gas gauge doesn't work, so don't take it lower than 1/2-ish, use the engine brake when going down hill, etc, etc. I was intimidated but we could do this!

Our only snafu was with Bunny as we did attempt to remove the ball from our tow hitch which did not go so well, but while John obsessed I got to hang with the girls so all was good. Home we go, making the day an 8ish hour adventure. We were about 30 minutes from home when some guy comes screaming up the side of the truck. Now in LA traffic this just means he is going 15 MPH as we are practically sitting still. He announces that our "fuel pump is hanging." Chris diligently pulls over and I run around the back of the truck. See, John keeps two huge built in gas pumps in his truck, one for regular, one for diesel. I assume the pump for one of those were hanging but neither was. Oh, well. Crazy guy, back in the truck.

About 4 minutes from home Chris hears and feels a big "clunk." Not good, but things are in the road all the time in LA, the truck is still running we must be good. As we unload Chris is about to take off to run a few errands so we can leave first thing in the AM. Best laid plans and all that, his car battery is dead. In all fairness it has been sitting for a week and has a faulty interior light that likes to turn itself on. Either that or the ghost of his grandmother watching over us, either way, the battery was dead, dead, dead. The auto car lock clicker won't even work. As I wait for the elevator to take our bags to our apartment he is going to pull the truck over to jump start the car. He arrives back at the elevator with wide-eyed look of "oh, crap!" Come to find out the "fuel pump" the man had been speaking of was actual the fuel pump for the truck that was now hanging down off the bottom of the truck. Not good.

A quick call to my uncle and all we need is a bolt, a locking nut and some baling wire. No problem, IF we had a running car. As we wait for AAA for the jump-start, we inspect the underside of the truck. Chris remains befuddled as there are two holes but they don't line up. I share with him, John knew all too quickly exactly what I was referring to, so he has probably done something funky and we should just do what he says. We determine we will pack tonight and get everything together in the morning as fast as possible. Adventure number one.

After seeking out all the appropriate materials, we get the truck up and running and head over to Samoff's house to pick up the trailer. Because of a small rainstorm, he became worried about our seals and worked on sealing all of our work again, meaning the other repairs were slightly behind schedule. Needless to say, he stayed up all night getting our lights hooked up so the trailer would be ready to roll. The paneling on the inside would be a project for Carson, that's cool. Hooking up the trailer went fairly well, with the exception of shooting the ramp out the side and almost taking out a very small magnolia tree. We pulled towards Disneyland and hit the road back to our apartment to load the RV. Driving the RV in the skinny streets of Long Beach and backing it up to our front door, adventure number two. Our soon to be ex-neighbors did not know what to think of the RV parked in front of our fancy building, but I think it is prettier than a moving truck. Finally loaded, we were off to Mammoth, only six or so hours late, but whatever.

One the road.....
An uneventful trip up ended at the house in Mammoth where we decided we needed an extra night. It is Saturday, so we have to get the RV up to Carson on Sunday, Chris starts work 7am Monday. We reluctantly get up the next morning, feverishly load the trailer, get the mattress in (adventure number three) and I get the moniker "clock-watcher" as I keep pushing Chris to stop being a perfectionist, we need to get on the road. After a brief stop at Mono Cone we keep pulling all the way to Carson. A lesson I didn't want to learn was that all those people who tell you fuel efficiency is much better at 55 MPH, they are right. We made it all the way from Long Beach to Carson City in the Honda Accord on one tank of gas. 500 miles. I hate that driving slower saves fuel!

Mammoth house meets Carson home.
Home free. We made it 15 minutes before the front desk closed at our RV "Resort" (thank you clock-watcher), got our spot, pulled in without incident and set about to free the truck from the RV. Adventure 4: Not so fast....The jack that pumps the trailer up and removes it from the ball, broken. It worked fine hooking it up. Somewhere in the interim the pin fell out and there was no way to make the crank spin. Until it hit resistance, I could push it with my finger or a stick, but that wasn't going to work for a 4000 pound trailer. A phone call to Ish was in order.....


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

From RV Repair to Hacker Work Camp

Normally have a week's worth of information to share on my blog would not be that big of a deal. But this particular ten day period happens to be ripe with more fodder than usual. For all the doubters out there, we were able to finish the RV, sort of. You will have to follow subsequent posts to hear how everything turned out, but I am posting a few pictures to showcase the end of the week. We complete the framework and fully sealed the back of the RV on Friday, July 29th. Not as far as we wanted to get and a much longer day. We were 3 days late leaving for Mammoth and did not finally make it there until 3am Saturday morning. But we left knowing a major portion of the RV was done and Samoff was going to finish the rest.  We now had two days to complete the forest service fire requirements for our mountain home.

When Chris and I first started dating we took a road trip to Oregon. On our way we were stopping off at his Mammoth house to do a "few" repair things and then we would continue on our leisurely road trip. It was a good thing the promise of the trip existed and that I had known Chris for quite awhile, otherwise this fix-up work might have been enough to scare me off for good. We repainted the outside of two sides of his house, rebuilt the framing around windows, sanded, dug, planted and generally did some massive physical labor for all the daylight hours three days in a row. Not all bad, but Chris does not like to stop for lunch or dinner, so I was a bit surly by the end of each day. Of course we made amazing progress and were both happy with the finished product. I dubbed the few days as "Hacker Work Camp" which was apparently my "dues" for getting to go on vacation. The rest of the vaca went extremely well with a Shakespeare Festival, White Water Rafting, Water skiing and jet boat riding so I decided Hacker work camp was worth it.

It has been a yearly summer event with the exception of last year as we were preparing for the wedding. We dove back into Hacker work camp immediately post RV repair only this time with a mandate from the forest service. Due to the Station Fire, there are a number of new rules regarding clearance around the house, branches, wood piles, etc. Needless to say, Chris on a ladder with a chainsaw is not my favorite sight. Of course having the branches of super tall trees thrown directly at my head is not exactly awe-inspiring either. Ben asked if I was a lumberjack camp when he heard the din of the chainsaw in the background and I am pretty sure Chris almost fell 15 feet off the top of the ladder at one point, though he says he was in control. Of course the chainsaw was still spinning, so while I was diligently holding the ladder steady I was also thinking of where I could duck for cover should the whirring chainsaw come flying down at my head. We definitely did not need a live action replay of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," as I like my head in one piece. We raked and piled, cut and dragged, pulled and pushed, loaded and unloaded until the yard was well above code. We had a pile of branches taller than me by the end, filled three dumpsters, taken two other trips to the dump with bags of yard waste and a beautiful yard to show for it. For those keeping track, this was 4 12-hour days of RV repair, followed by a 5.5 hour drive hauling motorcycles, and 3 12-hour days of yard work and stone piling. (I got Saturday off for good behavior and for being the one willing to drive the whole way until the 3am arrival.)

Chris is obsessive. He gets an idea in his head and it is pretty much impossible to get it out. I normally wouldn't be worried but we were heading up to Carson for his pre-employment physical on the 4th, so he did need to be able to move. Can you imagine him going in for his physical, moving like an 80-year old man and beat up to boot? He was already worried about his fingerprint cards for his license as he had gouged a pretty significant chunk out of one of his thumbs. Not as dramatic as removing your fingerprints with acid or anything but still suspect. Luckily I did convince him we could split the wood he had gathered in the forest  and from the trees we downed later as we were about to enter our RV pulling marathon. But if it hadn't been for that, I think Hacker work camp would have continued for at least four more days and ended with at least one hospital visit. I left camp with a tan/burn, stronger, definitely filthy and sap covered. I am pretty sure I finally found the last bit of sap in my hair with this last wash, mind you camp officially ended on August 3rd and it is the 9th. It should only take a month or so for my nails to grow back, at least they are finally white again.