Sunday, November 27, 2011

Last post? (before putting pedal to metal)

I’m off on a short pre-roadtrip roadtrip, having apparently survived the month of November essentially at home in the (sometimes) snowy north country.  It has not been an easy task – reading about the Bayfield Bunch, John & Brenda, Rick & Paulette, all bragging about the sunny warm weather, the heat, the swimming pools, the horses in the desert, the stars, and campfires down in Arizona.  Nevertheless, I will soon be headed down to join them – after this short tour to Saskatchewan.CIMG7219

Temperatures did drop down to –31C one night, which was kind of cool.  Much to my surprise, my diesel truck started the next morning, without even being plugged in! We received a bit of snow on a couple of occasions, but chinooks shortly after have melted most of it.  Today is +10C with strong winds, so the last of the snow is melting fast.


Hello GMC truck designers.  What on earth were you thinking?  Don’t they have random drug testing there?

Hint: If you own a 2008 GMC diesel pickup with dual batteries, and your driver’s side headlight burns out – just sell the truck is all I’m saying!

Remember the old days when there were four screws holding a metal rim that secured your headlight in place?  It was awkward seeing and getting the screwdriver in there to remove them, and you always lost at least one screw in the dirt or dark!  So I was very impressed when I saw the arrangement on my 2003(?) Chev  3/4 ton at work.  The whole headlight assembly could be removed without tools by simply removing one pin!  A headlight or signal light could be changed in less than a minute, did I mention – without tools!  Jump ahead to this week.  I noticed that my driver’s side headlight was not attracting any moths!  I went to Canadian Tire and found my $18 bulb among all the other $9 ones.  I opened the hood, and looked for the handy pin to release the headlight assembly.  Nope, looks like it’s been re-designed and I’d have to remove a small bolt or two to get it out.  That didn’t work at all; the bolts I removed were clearly holding nothing!  Perhaps the assembly might have been frozen in place?  I read the very helpful owners manual that said simply ‘twist the bulb to remove from the socket’.  Ya right.  If GM wrote space exploration manuals, I’m sure it would say, ‘Land on moon, then go for spacewalk’!

I stopped in at the local GM dealer to see what I was missing.  They were very nice and printed out FOUR pages of diagrams and instructions for two separate, theories I’ll call them, on how to approach this mission!  One involved going in through the wheel well, AND removing the grille.  The other involved removing the auxiliary battery and the windshield washer tank.  The wheel well hypothesis involved removal of a number of those pop out connectors that always break when you remove them, and the grille removal surgery involved more pages of printout that I was not privy to, so I opted for the more direct ‘battery’ approach.  I disconnected the battery cables without creating fire, then was pleased to see that the battery was restrained by only one well-placed bolt!  Actually getting the battery out of it’s snug little home pretty much necessitated the removal of a radiator hose. I wondered how much fluid would leak out?


Instead, by crushing my finger and thumb simultaneously, while verbalizing my thoughts about GM design engineers, and once again avoiding any sparks, flames or acid baths, I got the battery liberated.  Removing the battery did not improve the access to the tactical objective at all.  I still had to remove the windshield washer fluid reservoir – which was held securely in place by the battery support base plate –which was very well attached by 8 (eight) bolts of varying lengths!  After all this was done, I did my best impression of a midget contortionist and got the bulb out while still retaining partial skin cover on my first and third knuckles.  Meanwhile, Hailey supervised the operation, and was very helpful, but she had to cover her ears a few times when I expressed my opinions on GM design.


Eventually, I got things back into place, crushed a new finger getting the battery in, cleaned up and stored all the tools away.  Then I got out all the tools again – and re-connected the battery.  Sure hope I never have to add air to the tires – or something complicated.


It’s hunting season in this area.  I know this because I saw this buck from my living room window – hunting for a cute doe.CIMG7208CIMG7212CIMG7211CIMG7217

Hailey has been a little less eager to get outside and go hunting these days.  We’ll both be glad to get down to the desert sun and dry sand.


There was a tall crane in town the other day – they were installing a new Roger’s cell phone tower.  I don’t think it is tall enough to provide any better coverage to Dogpound (!), or to my place out in the sticks.

So that’s about it.  After a three day trip to Saskatchewan, I’ll be pulling off the truck camper, hooking up the 5th wheel, and heading south as soon as I can pack up and have suitable road condtions to the left coast!  Hopefully by next weekend – Yahoo!

Warm weather, here we come!

Friday, November 11, 2011

11 Nov 2011

Remembrance Day


In memory of
Flying Officer
who died on May 13, 1944.

Military Service:
Service Number: J/28259
Age: 25
Force: Air Force
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
Division: 426 Squadron

Remembering my uncle Clifford – who I was named after.

Uncle Clifford was shot down over Belgium in Halifax LW 682 on May 13, 1944.  The Halifax had crashed into a bog and sank at the time, although bodies of several of the crew, including my uncle had been recovered.  In about 1985, the wreckage was ‘rediscovered’, and eventually excavated and the remains of the rest of the crew were recovered.  They were buried beside their crewmates on  November 10, 1997.  My father was able to attend the ceremony.  Read all about it in the many links above.

Remembrance day kind of ‘reminded’ me that I had not updated the blog for quite some time, even though there is not much to report on.  I have been marking time in increasingly cold Alberta, waiting till I can finally head south at the start of December.
Glad to read that many others in the RV blogging world, such as the Bayfield Bunch are just hours away from departure, and many others are already down south, soaking up the sun and warmth.
At least we are experiencing a brief chinook, which has spiked our temps well above freezing for a day or so at least.
Hailey, of course is the star of the show again, as she is the only photogenic one of us!
On a short visit to Banff, she was trying to hunt coyotes.CIMG7082-1CIMG7086-1
On a trip to the Edmonton area, we stopped at the Genesee power plant, where she did her best imitation of a ‘pole cat’.CIMG7100-1CIMG7095-1CIMG7097-1CIMG7098-1CIMG7099-1
On the same trip, I managed to break the gas pumps at a local fuel station.  These new ‘smart’ pumps actually grab onto your ‘chip’ credit card while you enter your pin #.  Apparently, entering the wrong pin twice (!) is enough to freeze the computer!  Sorry!
While checking the neighbours house after a fresh snowfall, I found these tracks.
A few days later, I spotted the elusive track-maker.
I had seen this stray cat only once back in the summer, but then a couple of days later had seen a red fox with a large mouthful of something that colour, I had thought the worst.  Now, I think it was likely that the fox was carrying one of it’s young to a new den site.  After a brief staring match, the stray departed at high speed.
Meanwhile, down by the river, this mink was enjoying a swim while ice started to form along the river bank.
The fifth wheel and truck camper wait patiently …
I knew I must be getting bored when, after the paint had dried and the bowling ball was polished, I found myself watching poker – on TV!    Then I took up art!

With luck, I hope to be on the road – in about three weeks.  Can’t wait!