The ’79 Winnebago Brave, Mowing, and Gas

Last night Diane pointed out to me that we haven’t really done much all summer long and, specifically, we haven’t gone anywhere with the RV. All of that is totally untrue. I’m sure we’ve gone places and done things during the summer but I just can’t remember what they were right now. I do, however, vividly recall driving the Winnebago to our church, Bethany Lutheran, for the parking lot sale a few weeks ago. I’m sure I did that because I have pictures.

OK – I looked, and I don’t have pictures of the RV, but I have pictures of Ron sitting in a chair outside the RV. Still, it’s not proof, I guess, so I might have to concede that it didn’t really happen. But, I’m sure it did.

Back to last night – our Winnebago friends, who also have old Winnebagos, went to Lincoln City over last weekend. They stayed at the Elks Club where parking an RV is pretty inexpensive. Most Elks Clubs provide that service which is nice. Kinda makes me want to be an Elk again. We were going to go, too, but I still had work to do on The Bathroom and wasn’t comfortable being gone from it for so long a period. So, we stayed home. Now it’s time to get contradictory and report that we are now going to Fort Stevens State Park in Warrenton tomorrow, returning Sunday. In our defense, it’s much closer to us than Lincoln City, and it doesn’t involve driving long distance on a holiday weekend. But, still, we should have gone to Lincoln City, too.

In preparation for the trip I thought it would be a good idea to see if I could get the rig started. I worked and worked at it for a long time, until the batteries were almost dead, then I gave up for a little while and connected the battery charger to one of the batteries. Then I went to the local Chevron station for a can of gas, thinking the tank might be dry, and to ACE for a can of starting fluid to give the engine a little more incentive to be nice.

Before climbing into the driver’s seat, I removed the engine cover so I could squirt the starting fluid into the carburetor and give the engine a crank right away. As I suspected it would, the engine snorted it’s acceptance of the highly flammable mist from the can, but didn’t keep running right away. It took a few more squirts to get enough gas from the tank to the carburetor, but once done it ran well. And I let it run for a long time. 

While it was filling the garage, which is directly in line with the right exhaust pipe, with fumes, I disconnected the battery charger, the DirecTV antenna, and the 115V AC power cord so I wouldn’t be dragging anything behind us when we were finally ready to take it for a spin to get gas and run some errands. 

Then it appeared we weren’t going to leave right away, so I turned it off with confidence it would start right up when Diane was ready to go.

But it didn’t. I cranked, and cranked, it until it was obvious it wasn’t going to start without another sniff of the starting fluid. So, with Diane in the passenger seat, I risked serious injury by removing the engine cover so I could do the deed, and also allowed all the wonderful fumes, that should remain in the engine compartment, into the cab. All those fumes went directly to Diane and hovered over her while I got the engine fired up and running. Then I just slide the cover into place, kinda, and away we went with fumes surrounding us and hot air blowing on our little feet. I should have locked it down, I know, but we were going to the gas station and I wanted to have easy access in case it wouldn’t start right away so we wouldn’t be overly embarrassed. To me, none of that mattered, because I really don’t mind the odors emitted by a running engine. It’s kinda nice.

On the way to the gas station we stopped at our church, mentioned above, so Diane could drop off the aprons she had washed, and so we could spruce the joint up a bit because we are the assigned cleaners this month. Diane signed us up so we have to do it. As soon as we got within eye-shot of the church it was evident that the lawn needed a severe mowing. Since Floyd resigned as our arborist, and lawn maintenance person extraordinaire, such tasks are now available for anyone who wants to volunteer their time, like Floyd has for the past 28 years or so. Maybe it’s not 28 years, but he’s been doing it for a really long time. Now someone else needs to pick up the reigns and get it done. Since I was there, my conscience dictated my path to the mower barn, a little room at the end of the church car port, and I got to work. It’s a fairly new Craftsman, and works just great. I think it took me only a couple of hours to get it all mown, and the mower washed. I had to wash it because that’s what Floyd did before putting it away. There’s no way I was going to ride it hard and put it away dirty. No sir! Not me. So, I washed it, top to bottom and it looked good as new when I put it away. Now my conscience is telling me that I should probably do that with my mower at home. I treat it terrible and I’m surprised it still runs, but it does. It’s been very faithful to me. So, before using it next time, I will wash it and change the oil. Then I will wash it when I’m done. I don’t have a mower shed to store it in, however, because I haven’t built it yet. One of these days … until them, I park it under a holly tree where it’s protected pretty good from the rain. When it rains.

After leaving the church we headed for Scappoose to see how much gas we could pour into the rig. I truly don’t have any idea how many gallons the two tanks hold, but it’s a lot. We went to the Fred Meyer gas station, across the street from Fultanos and Les Schwab, and used Diane’s Fred Meyer card to drain their pumps. Luckily, Diane shops at Freddie’s fairly often which provides some relief at the pump when a lot of shopping has been done. She recently took all of our related school children there to buy school clothes which resulted in 45 cents off a gallon. They have a 35 gallon limit on that, however. Fortunately, the front tank didn’t take 35 gallons, so we just moved the rig up a little (it started right up!) so we could finish the 35 gallons in the rear tank. When it stopped, we ran the card again so we could fill that tank, and wound up getting 15 cents off whatever they could pump into that tank. It’s a smaller one, so I was sure it wouldn’t take 35 gallons. It didn’t. Total cost was just shy of $150 for the two tanks. I suspect that will get us to Fort Stevens just fine. Perhaps it will even get us home, too. We’ll see.

Now it’s almost 9 pm, I’m hungry, and need to stop and get a snack.

Painting, Gluing, Brakes, and Weeds

I’ve almost got Diane’s bathroom finished. As many of you know, it’s one of the projects I’ve been working on for the past 4 years, between other emergent projects that demand attention. Now all that’s left to do is apply a bit of touch-up paint and it’s done. I thought about sneaking into the room this morning to do that but figured I better wait until Diane is alert enough to realize there’s wet paint in there.

Yesterday, while various parts of the bathroom were drying from whatever kind of adhesive and/or paint I had applied, I did a brake job on Dan & Jen’s SUV. Yes, I can actually do stuff like that once in a while. Jeran helped me. It was a simple matter of replacing the front disc brake pads. Les Schwab wanted around $300 but I did it for $40. The difference is, Les Schwab insists on replacing perfectly good calipers so they can guarantee the work. Since I don’t guarantee anything, I didn’t have to do that. With Jeran’s help the entire process only took about an hour and the only injury I received was when I moved the work light and burned my arm. Apparently it gets really hot.

Then, after all that work, Diane made me go outside and pull weeds until I could barely stand. She didn’t make me do it, but seeing her out there all alone, pulling up grass, tugged at my little heart-strings making it necessary to participate. I’ve been wanting to hack down all the black berry bushes threatening to overrun the house, but just haven’t had time. Today I made time. My reward for the effort is scratched arms which made their presence known when I showered and rubbed soap in the wounds. That works almost as good as Old Spice for finding injuries.

At this moment in time I’m waiting for 0900 to roll around so I can go have coffee with the ‘guys’. After that we’re going to go repair a crack in the church parking lot that sprouted weeds. Since I still have two hours to go, I think I’ll just read my book for a while. I’ll set an alarm, too, because I know I’m going to fall asleep. I always do this early in the morning.