Monthly Archives: November 2010

Cowboy cadillac changes

pretty good mudflaps, but they let some stuff by

We took advantage of cooler weather this week, highs in the 70s, to work a little bit on the truck.  Bought, on recommendation of friend Jerry, a pair of Duraflap mudflaps.  The truck’s rear tires plastered the front of the trailer with salty mud during a mountain crossing late July.  It happens regularly and indicates the Enkay Rock Tamers aren’t fully blocking the road spray from rear tires.

Duraflaps really rock on this 2500HD

So I removed the trim little mudflaps from the truck’s rear wheel wells and installed these awesome Duraflaps. These are extra-long and extra-wide (14″).  They project an inch or two beyond the wheel well flares and rest six inches above pavement with the truck loaded but not hitched to trailer.

The folks at Duraflap were great on our order.  We placed it on-line and the next day they emailed for clarification, to make sure we really wanted 14″ wide and long flaps.  The two-way information exchange gave me comfort about what we were getting. The Duraflaps are made, and shipped from, Oregon.

Jerry had recommended the drill-less installation model, so we tried it.  The installation was a breeze.  An 11 mm box wrench and a couple of sockets were the only tools we used, and the job took little more than an hour.  We’ll measure again and make sure the Duraflaps have at least four inches clearance with the trailer lashed up to truck.  Duraflaps plus Enkay Rock Tamers might do the job.

Another caravaner, George, had recently trailered to Alaska and back and shared his ideas about vehicle and trailer preparation.  His arsenal included sleeving his exposed (under-belly) propane lines with neoprene pipe insulation, installing a grill insert to protect the radiator from gravel, and applying Xpel lens covers on his truck’s front lights.

headlight lens protectorWe ordered the lens covers kit directly from Xpel and they shipped promptly and accurately.  These are 1/16″ thickness lexan lenses with protective paper.  The cut is very good, the covers fit nicely.  The instructions are plain and helpful.

The installation required a few minutes per lens, or under twenty minutes for all six lenses.  Everything went without a hitch and my headlights might be almost unbreakable.

Jim and Debbie

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©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr

Almost enough tennis

We’re parked really close, essentially adjacent, to the tennis club at TowerPoint.  All to the good, this location is for us.  We can readily see who’s out there, what courts are available, are the two ball machines in use already?  Cal-Am, the resort management, sprung for a big season opener party with beverages and burgers.  Celebrated the largely refurbished tennis facilities and return of the many tennis players.

Great new courts, lighting, and vinyl-coated fencing

Trained so hard the first couple of days hitting with the ball machine on the tennis courts my hand was sore, my legs were sore, my shoulders were sore, my feet were sore.  Going to have to pick up the conditioning as we go — season started last Monday.  A couple of hours every day is working, and a new pair of sneaks to put more bounce in my jumps.

Debbie and I’ve each competed in two East Valley Seniors Tennis League (EVSTL)  matches these past two weeks.  My partner won one and lost one.  Debbie and her partner placed second both times in their matches, but they’re starting to win games.

The season is young, a lot of players haven’t arrived yet.  Still there are plenty of players already here and we can get as much hitting as we can stand.  I’m playing in another league, too, and its matches are Wednesday afternoons.  The Wednesday matches give me a chance to tune up for my Thursday morning matches.

Last night we had our tennis club’s first monthly dinner.  The dinner was well attended, maybe 200 people.  It was an opportunity to recognize Darren and Jan for their work all summer, helping with various needs in the resort.  We thanked DJ for guiding the resort’s addition of our fifth tennis court and many amenities for the Tennis Club.  And we recognized new members, some of who just arrived and already expressed interest in the Club.

Ten or more consecutive days of two hours daily tennis was enough, we decided to take a few days off last weekend.  This has felt like a crash fitness course for us.  We both needed the weekend for recovery time and to catch up on a few other things including blogs.  I sketched outlines for four blog posts so should be able to post at least once weekly from now on.

Yesterday evening, after tennis, I went through our box of friends’ business cards.  It took a couple of hours but if you gave me your contact card then you are in our address book.  Just one more way to organize the lot of things in our little space.  We promise not to sell your card!  But we can look you up more easily.

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie
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©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr

Odds and Ends

We voted last week.  Picked up absentee ballot from our mailbox and realized we had zero days to deadline to get this in the mail and on the way to NC.  Our first time to do this, we’d always been home to vote before and relied on local newspaper for sample ballot and our research.

This time we studied the candidates electronically with great assistance from a voting info page sponsored by one of the universities.

A sign I’m back into my rhythm — three days in a row I’ve enjoyed my cup of matcha tea on our patio by 06:00 a.m.  It makes me feel great to watch the sun rise (closer to 06:50), to breathe the clean morning air, hear the morning noises of a busy city street, sip the rich tea, and read just one scene from a play or one small chapter of a slow book.  Except this morning I spent adding to these paragraphs and my next post.

We were moving around and committed to other things for the previous six weeks.  I might not have had but one sunrise cup of tea.  Didn’t even get out of bed until after 7 or 8 or even later a few times.  Well yeah, those times I stayed up until after 01:00 in the morning and am not too likely to get up right away.

I like this groove better.  Quiet time, just a little niche in the day, to get my my bearings.

Found the sole general delivery Mesa Post Office last week for our forwarded mail.  Mesa has maybe a dozen contract postal units (CPUs) serving their respective resorts like this one and several branch post offices in Mesa. We learned last year the branch post offices won’t handle general delivery mail.  Most folks staying in these many resorts simply get their mail through their CPU.  We receive a key from the resort for our mailbox, and the CPU stuffs whatever arrives (plus a generous helping of junk mail) into our box for us.

Our mail would go from the forwarding agency (Escapees) to the local post office, and then to the CPU for our resort.  But last year one of our forwarded packets disappeared.  The CPU lacks a scanner and so cannot account for what the Post Office does, and does not, transfer to the CPU.  Our packet left Escapees and the Post Office scanned it successively throughout its journey until it left the local Post Office.  Did the CPU get it?  We’ll never know.

This year we’ll use General Delivery instead of the resort’s CPU.   We pick up our mail every week or two directly from the post office.  The post office retains secure chain of custody on our package until we pick it up ourselves, at which time the post office scans it out as delivered.  Safe and sure.

Finally turned on the AC, it was 92 outside in the shade and we’re parked in full sun.  Mornings were 60 degrees, really nice for sitting outside.  I’m back to an old habit, making a cup of matcha and reading a chapter at sunrise.  Sort of symbolizes return to routine for me.  But this week the morning lows are high 40s, a little chillier.

Seems funny to have the air on and still turn off the converter to save electricity.  But the solar panels are more than capable, with all this sunlight, of maintaining the batteries throughout all the day’s use.  Why pay for more kwh?

We’re running the lights and fans and fridge controls and phantom (okay, all the battery loads) with solar charging only.  This is an experiment, to see how well it works and for how many (if any) weeks we can do this as the sun gets lower and lower in the sky.  Our solar panels aren’t yet tiltable but I’d like to correct this — maybe I can get to it in the next couple of months?

Jim and Debbie

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©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr