Monday, May 19, 2014

Back In North Myrtle Beach, the Boat...and the Basement Challenges Keep On A’comin’

Well, dear readers, we have made it back to our beloved Why Knot at Barefoot Marina in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The two day drive here last Wednesday and Thursday was uneventful except for the torrential rain that we had to drive through to get here. But get here we did!

Our arrival back at NMB was made all the sweeter by being reunited with our friends Rick and Margi of Journey. They finished their Great Loop adventure here, and stuck around to make sure we could see them before they had to head up to Virginia to take care of some personal business. Their supposed to return to their boat at Barefoot in two weeks and we all thought that we would not be seeing them again. But it very well may be that we will still be here when they get back.

Just like on our shore, we are having basement challenges on the boat.

A few days ago I decided that it would probably be a good idea to change the oil and filters for both the engine and the generator, because after seven months of the two pieces of equipment sitting idle, they were worthy of some TLC. I didn’t have any problem with the engine; changed the oil and filters, and she fired right up smooth and happy. The generator was a different story. I changed the oil alright, and noticed that the coolant level was very low – not an uncommon thing on our very old Onan 8kw MDKD generator. So I topped off the coolant reservoir. I let things settle down again for about ten minutes. Then I rechecked the oil level and, low and behold, there was coolant in the oil. Not good. Instead of the oil having that lovely golden glow, it had a decidedly green watery consistency on the dipstick.

I learned that there could be several causes for this –
1 - the heat exchanger could be bad and it’s allowing coolant to get in somehow. Probability = 1 (scale of five). The heat exchanger was already replaced a little over a year ago.
2 - somehow the coolant is being expelled into the exhaust manifold and backing up into the block. Probability = 1
3 - bad head gasket. Probability = 4
4 - cracked block. Probability = 4
5 - engine is just plain old and shot. Probability = 4, maybe even 5

We have been prepared for this last eventuality for about a year. Last spring, after we had a new Xantrex Inverter/Charger installed back in Jekyll Island, Georgia, we had the generator looked at by a certified Cummins-Onan dealer in Savannah, Georgia. The main purpose was to try to fine tune the generator so that its old circuitry would work with of the new Xantrex unit, which was successful. We also had the technician do a complete check of the Onan, including a pressure test of the cooling system. This all checked out aok, but the technician did say that the Onan was really on its last legs. He described it as an elderly person in a nursing home that was doing okay…but there was a reason they were in a nursing home. In other words, the condition of the generator could and would change at some point. We are guessing that that point is here.

As I am writing this, 5/19/2014 9:31 AM, we are waiting for a Cummins-Onan technician to come on board to diagnose our generator.

So, as it turns out, our seven month ordeal of dealing with basement challenges in our homes in St. Louis and Denver have extended now to our boat in North Myrtle Beach.

But we’re still on our boat! And that’s a win for us!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Getting Back to the Boat -- So Far, So Good

Greetings from beautiful, hot, and humid St. Louis, Missouri!

We arrived here last evening after what I guess I'd call a rather eventful flight; at least it was that way getting out of Denver.

As we were waiting at the gate Lisa noticed a lady with an adorable little fluff ball of a dog with her. (It was cute in a dust mop kind of way.) After we all boarded the plane, including the lady and her dog, and as the plane was backed out away from the gate, we just sat there for about ten minutes or so. Several of the flight attendants scurried up and down the aisle. Then, the plane pulled back up to the gate. After the door was opened again a gate agent came onto the plane, and joined the senior flight attendant somewhere in the plane behind us. Finally, the lady with the little dog went steaming up the aisle and out of the plane.

Here's what a flight attendant told us.
1) The lady claimed that the little puff ball was a service dog and could fly free. The gate agent checked the animal's paperwork to see if the dog was indeed a service dog. It wasn't. And the lady didn't want to pay the $75 to have the dog still fly, which would have been okay with Frontier.
2) The lady refused to put the little dog in its little collapsible kennel and stick it under the seat in front of her.
3) The lady wasn't obeying the crew.

Three strikes you're out...of the plane. She and her little dog were kicked off of the plane.

All of that meant we got off of the ground in Denver about thirty minutes late. Fortunately the pilots put the hammer down and we arrived in St. Louis just ten minutes late. Not bad.

We will be in STL one week, heading back to North Myrtle Beach one week from today; 5/14. We'll be driving there and will arrive on the 15th.

And as just a side note, and an example about the different cities that Lisa and I grew up in...
In Denver, with it's high altitude (5280 feet) and dry air (10-15% humidity, Denver is in a desert) , Lisa felt great and I felt kind of weak. In St. Louis, with it's lower altitude (545 feet) and high humidity (70%), I feel really comfy and she felt like she's being squished. While we were standing at the luggage carousel Lisa complained that she was feeling kind of sick.

Can't wait to see what happens when we get back to sea the summer...on a boat.

One more quick note...
I'M WEARING SHORTS AGAIN!!!! And my Keene sandals.

Oh, and all the cars started and the house is in good shape.