We’re in Hot Water

Mechanic Dave showed up at seven o’clock this morning and drove the motorhome into the shop. He asked what my problem with the kitchen faucet was. For a while now, the hot water has come out in a dribble rather than a good flow.  The cold water comes out just fine.  The hot water in the bathroom has a good flow. Dave thought it might be the diverter valve in the faucet; they sometimes go bad. But the faucet is only four years old.  He decided to check the water-heater-bypass valve. To do that, he had to drain the water heater (ten gallons).

The is the back side of the water heater, from the outside of the motorhome.

Dave removed the cap from the drain.

Andy and I stood there watching the ten gallons of hot water drain out and onto the pavement. I said I should have taken a nice, long hot shower with that water. Andy said, “I have to go pee” and headed to the men’s room.

From the inside, the water heater is in a locker underneath the washer/dryer. Dave got busy removing the bypass valve.

It was a mess.  The O-ring was broken and the check valve was in pieces.  He installed a new valve and refilled the water tank. The hot water flow in the kitchen sink had not improved. Then Dave decided it HAD TO BE the faucet. Andy and I headed to Lowe’s in Leesburg to buy a new faucet.  When we got back, the old faucet was off the sink and the stuff stored under the sink was on the floor.

Dave installed the new faucet and the hot water flow is great. It looks pretty much like the old faucet.  This time, I had him mount it so the lever is on the front rather than the side. It seems a bit more intuitive to me.  After four years with the old one on the right side, I still messed up regularly and turned it hotter rather than off.  You would think my burned hand would send a message to my brain and I would have learned.  But I didn’t.

Now, the lever straight up is in the cold position.  Pulling it toward me in on.  To the left is hot (that seems more natural).  Pushing it away from me is off.  We’ll see if I can manage this one a little better. This way is easier to reach with either hand.

Dave inspected the old faucet and decided the issue was not the diverter valve, but corrosion.  The faucet was clogged with calcium and, maybe, crud from the water heater. I suppose we could soak it in vinegar for a month and clean it out. But, I couldn’t wait that long for water in the kitchen sink.

Go Fly a Kite

This man gives “Go fly a kite” a whole new meaning.

The guy flying the kites is a Canadian in his 80s who comes to the Washington State International Kite Festival every year.  His skin is like leather as he normally flies with his shirt off. He is deaf so when we want to show our appreciation, we hold our hands up and wave them for applause.  He flies his kites with his hands and the 3rd one is attached to his waist. Beautiful. Click on link below
http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=nr9KrqN_lIg

In the Shop Again

Our list of repairs is short this time so we don’t expect it to take very long.  However, I have been wrong with this assumption before. Our new service advisor, Robbie, said they would take the motorhome into the shop after lunch. I had our lunch dishes washed when Dave, the mechanic, arrived.

Here is an all-too-familiar scene.

This is our view into the garage bay.

We had a bit of oil on the car when we drove up here so Andy wanted them to check for an oil leak.  You may recall that we had an oil filter disaster last fall on our way south.  It was not screwed on properly, came loose, and spewed oil all over everything.  A trucker and the fuel stop pointed out the dripping oil to us.  When we got here to Alliance, they changed the oil and filter, and cleaned up the mess in the engine compartment.

The mechanics decided that we just had some residual oil that was not cleaned out last fall.  They cleaned the engine compartment, as best they could, so they could see and make sure there was not an oil leak.  This big truck, with a big pressure washer and a huge water tank pulled up behind Sao.

 

Mechanic Dave washed it from underneath and then from the back.

Now the engine is clean enough to determine whether any oil is leaking. (No sign yet.)

The other problem we had last fall, after we left Alliance and drove back to the keys, was lights.  We got a late start and had a lot of traffic so it was dark by the time we reached the 18-mile-stretch from the mainland to Key Largo.  The dash lights and headlights were not working!  I turned on the emergency flashers, hoping to prevent someone from running into us.

Dave opened up the dash panel and tried to figure out what was wrong. He determined that the light switch had failed and replaced it.

While he was working on that, a warning beep came on.  That was the annoying beep that drove me half-way crazy on the road last year.  Nothing seemed to be wrong, but the beep went on for hours.  I told him Kevin had worked on it last fall, so he called Kevin to come over to help with his analysis.  Here they are, deep in thought.

 

 

Sold

We met with our new service advisor, Robbie, at eight o’clock this morning.  We told him that we don’t want them to start any work they can’t get done by Friday.  We don’t want to be late getting up to Big Creek.  We will be returning to this area when they start building the house in July and can get the work done then.

We met friends Bill and Pam for lunch at the restaurant in our new neighborhood. We showed them the community amenities too.

Then we drove over to show them our little patch of dirt.  Jamie, the real estate lady, had put up a sign, so we posed in front of it. Yes, that is my hair standing straight up.  It was windy.

It is hard to imagine living in a stationary house after all these years.

 

Palatlakaha Environmental & Agricultural Reserve Park

I have to admit that I have been less than thrilled about this new house.  It is nice enough, the community has good amenities, and we’ll have a nice (very small) lot on a cul-de-sac.  But, my dream was some acreage with trees, a garden, and some chickens.  That is not going to happen in Arlington Ridge.

Last night I was Googling a map to see the various routes from Alliance Coach to the development when I decided to study the park that adjoins it.  I looked at pictures that people have posted on Google maps and saw what looked like community gardens. I told Andy we had to go check out that park today.

Here is the map. The park is 318 acres and used to be an experimental agricultural station operated by the University of Florida. There are more walking trails than we will ever need. We parked near the playground and started our walk around the perimeter from there.  We had not seen a map of the park and didn’t really know where we were going.

Playground

There are plenty of wildflowers for me to learn.

The trail varied through scrub, forest, and field.

This long boardwalk crossed a wide (but not deep) ravine.

We had not idea how long the trail was at this point.  We just kept walking.

Prickly Pear Cactus

 

Passion Flower

Eventually, we came to a road and I could see the community gardens.  As we walked around, we found a kiosk with a park map on it and realized that we were on a road that cut across the center of the park.  We decided to cut the walk short and cross to the other side.

Community Gardens

This is a delightful observation platform overlooking some wetlands.  It has benches in the shade and we had a nice breeze.

This was one of many flowers I had not seen before.

Coralbean

 

The multi-use trail and the river trail run somewhat parallel.  This is one of the connector paths.  We opted to switch to the river trail at that point.

It is not much of a river and does not appear to be flowing.

Palatlakaha River

The path along the river is delightful with many huge and gnarly trees.

I was thrilled to discover the park and envision many future walks there.  When we settle down and are not traveling too much, I will get a garden plot.  I have never had a community garden.  Do people steal your tomatoes?

 

 

He Meant Okahumpka, the Town Not the Park

Late in the afternoon, Andy suggested that we go to Okahumpka.  If I didn’t get up and move around, I would take another nap.  So, I jumped up and grabbed the car keys. We headed east on Highway 44 for just a couple of miles and I turned into the park.  I found a shady parking space and we got out of the car.  Then, Andy said, “I meant Okahumpka the town, not the park.

“Oh.  Why didn’t you say anything when I turned in?”  I don’t remember his response.  Since we were there, we decided to take a one-mile lap around the park. Then we drove back to The Villages town center of Brownwood and got some ice cream at Scooples Ice Cream Shop.

Today was Andy’s 80-9/12 birthday.  He had decided early in the day that he wanted to go out for ice cream rather that have me make a big mess in the galley and use a lot of water cleaning up. Fine by me.

This is the ice cream shop.

I liked this poster on the wall behind Andy.

Andy ordered a chocolate sundae and I ordered strawberry.  They were huge but, we managed to eat all of it. His chocolate was very chocolatey and he was happy.

I snapped a picture of the ice-cream girls chatting.

I finally got half a birthday smile when he finished eating.