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dockrat

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Vacation [Sep. 6th, 2015|02:37 pm]
dockrat
I went back to Lake Powell again last week. On the way there, it was over 115 degrees in the desert. I saw at least 20 cars with flat tires - even a couple of trucks, and one passenger bus had flats. Then about 30 miles from Las Vegas, one of my trailer tires blew out.

I just kept driving on the flat for 5 miles to the next off ramp. It was the middle of the night by that time, and I had no spare for the trailer. I jacked it up and unhitched it, and took off the tire. I headed to Las Vegas. Nothing was open. Finally I found a 24 hour Walmart. I bought a new tire, but no one was there to install it on the rim. I drove back to the boat trailer, a few miles from the CA state line.

I got out some screw drivers and pried off the old tire, and pried on the new one, then took it to a gas station and filled it with air. Back to the trailer, put it on, and off I went. It was about 1:00 am.

The nest morning when I got to the Lake Powell launch ramp, I put the boat in the water. It started right up and was idling while I was putting things away to start going, when the motor died. Usually that means the gas filter is clogged up when the carb is dry and has no gas in it. I tried to get the gas filter off, but it was stuck. After trying everything for an hour or so, I went back to the van, and drove into town to get a filter wrench. It was Saturday, and nothing was open there. I finally found a Walmart in the next town, got a wrench, and went back to the boat at the dock.

The filter was still on so tight, that I had to hammer on the wrench to get it off. I filled the new filter with gas and put it on. Again the boat started right up, and idled for a minute or so, then died again. This time I pulled off the gas line from the gas tank, and it was bone dry. I took out the gas pick up tube from the gas tank to clean the screen, and found there was no dip tube there. The heat of the desert must have been so hot that it melted the glue holding the fiber tube to the metal fitting, and it dropped down into the tank. The gas line was just sucking air.

There was several boat stores in town, but they all close on Saturday. No chance of getting that part. I went back to Walmart to see if they had some poly tubing I could replace it with. They had no tubing at all, even in the drip irrigation garden center. Drove around for a while again and found an auto parts store open. This time I found some car gas lines that I could cut to size to make a pick up tube. Back to the boat. Made a new gas line, started it up, and took off. It was almost dark. Had to drive the boat in the dark to find a anchoring spot.

The next 5 days were great, no problems at all. Just moving around to different places to park the boat and explore the area.

The last day I decided to go home early, because the last bay I was in wasn't such a nice place. It was like a desert there. Got the boat back on the trailer and headed south to Flagstaff AZ. The road was awful. Smooth, but really lumpy and constant bouncing around. The road out of Flagstaff, toward CA was terrible. Full of ruts, potholes and patches that were worse than the holes. About 80 miles west, one of my tires lost the tread. Still had air, so I drove 5 miles to the next off ramp.

I stayed there until morning light, and again jacked it up, and took off the tire. I took off the other tire on that side also, and found it was starting to de-laminate on the inside. I checked the 4th tire, and it was ok. These tires were only put on about 3 years ago, and had less than 6k miles on them.

I drove back the 80 miles to Flagstaff, and found a tire store with my size tires. I had them put 2 tires on the wheels, and throw another tire in the back just in case the 4th tire blew.

Drove back to the trailer and put them on. The rest of the way to the CA state line, the highway was full of ruts and bumps. I went slow, and watched that last tire like a hawk. I made it all the way home ok, but I changed that tire anyway. I hate those Chinese tires. That is the kind of tires most tire stores carry for trailers because they are cheap. Most stores didn't even have my size tire.

I'm glad I came home early. Friday afternoon there was a line of cars about 60 miles long on the highway shortcut, headed out toward Las Vegas. They were just crawling all the way. I was headed the opposite direction. The 14 freeway was also clogged with cars getting out of L.A. I would hate to be out there coming back after Labor Day.
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Lake Powell [Aug. 10th, 2015|01:44 pm]
dockrat
Last week I went boating on Lake Powell. I used my 20' FourWinns boat. I stayed 4 days on the water. It was pretty hot, in the 90's, but great to just lay there on a floatie in the water.

I did a lot of kayaking. At least 20 miles, in and out of those canyons. One afternoon the wind came up and dragged my anchor. I had to move out of that area and find another spot to stay. I left the next day.

It was over 500 miles drive to get there. On the way home I went back through Zion National Park. They had to stop traffic coming the opposite direction so I would fit through the tunnel. It is a mile long, but very narrow inside. They do the same thing for large motorhomes and tour busses.

There is a spill on the river above Powell, in Colorado, that is making the river turn orange. It is full of heavy metals and Arsnic. They don't seem to be doing anything about it, and it goes on for many miles now, poluting the river. It will ruin the season when it gets to Lake Powell. The fish in the Colorado River are probably already not good to eat. And a week after it started, it is still gushing millions of gallons of sludge and poison into the river.
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Camera [Jun. 29th, 2015|06:11 pm]
dockrat
Yesterday, while in my kayak, I reached around for a cold one in the cooler bag. When I pulled it up, the strap caught my camera and flipped it into the ocean.

It was a Canon SD950. I really liked that camera. I was used to that camera. It did what I wanted it to do. It's at the bottom of the ocean doing what it wants now.

I had to buy a new one today. I got the Canon G7. It looks and works a lot like the other one. The settings are pretty close to the other one. I didn't notice in the store that it weighed about 2-3 times as much as my other one. They had it hooked to a wire. That will really be noticeable when I carry it around in my pocket. It's also about twice as thick.

There are some other things I don't like about it. That screen on the back that flips up for a selfie. I'm not going to be taking any selfies, and it will be just one more thing to worry about breaking. Same with the flip up flash. That thing looks like it would be easy to break. I don't know what the advantage of having it flip up would be - it takes up the same space inside the camera as front flash would, and is just another step to take when using it.

I have to go back and get a case for it. One that floats would be nice.
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(no subject) [Jun. 3rd, 2015|09:36 pm]
dockrat
Took a trip up north last weekend. Went to Yosemite National Park. It's been a while since I've been there. There were more cars there than in Los Angeles. I was trying to make it there before the summer vacation crowd, but I missed. After waiting in traffic in Yosemite Valley for over an hour, I finally got to the turn off by the village. I just made the turn and left.

I had wanted to try my kayak down the Merced River, but there was no parking spots available anywhere near there, and no way to get the kayak back there if I parked a couple of miles away. I got there too late in the day.

Earlier in the day I had driven to the Mariposa Grove area to see the big trees. Last time I was there, you could drive all the way up. Now they have the parking lot about half way, and you have to hike 2 or 3 miles up the hill, and back to see them. That took too long, and I missed getting a parking spot in the Valley. There were at least 2000 cars parked there.

I left Yosemite around 2pm, and headed for Bass Lake a few miles south of there. I got a campground spot and stayed the night there. The next day I took the kayak out on the lake for about 4 hours, then drove home.

I still want to go to Yosemite, but after the vacation crowd leaves. I will be bringing my bicycle. All that hiking takes too long.
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(no subject) [May. 13th, 2015|10:00 pm]
dockrat
I drove up to Sequoia National Park last week. It was the first time I have been there in a few years. It has really changed.

They took out all the parking lots where you used to be able to drive up and see the giant trees. They made them all handicapped parking. Then they went up the road a mile or two, and made another parking lot there. From there they put trail markers saying like 1.6 miles to see the trees. Now to see any of the trees without just driving by, you have to hike miles up and down mountains.

There was a Giant Sequoia Redwood tree that fell about a hundred years ago. They carved out a flat spot on top, where you could drive your car and take a picture. That has been closed off also. The environmentalists didn't want to hurt the dead tree.

Next time I will go to Yosemite Park. I hope they haven't done the same there. It's only about 100 miles more than Sequoia. I would like to take my Kayak to Bass Lake, just south of Yosemite.
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(no subject) [Apr. 12th, 2015|01:24 am]
dockrat
It's 1 am, and someone just crashed their car next to my house. They were coming around the corner squealing their tires, and lost control. They hit the curb and telephone pole. The pole saved them from coming into my yard and hitting my house. His car is wrecked pretty bad. Tires are flat and pieces all over the street.

This is the second time this has happened there. A few years ago a car came from that same cul de sac street, and slammed into my friend's pickup truck. It hit so hard it was stuck under it. They didn't have insurance, license, or registration on the car. I don't know what this guy has. He only wrecked his own car.

There have been a lot of houses around here that have been hit by cars. Mostly they are all corner houses. One house a couple of blocks over has been hit 3 times that I know of. Each time it knocks down his brick and iron wall. A couple of years ago I built a cement and brick wall around the front of my house. There are also trees at the edge that would stop most cars.

I was on the computer when it happened. I heard the screeching wheels and crash, and immediately thought someone had hit a utility truck that has been parked beside my house for the past month. Someone on the next street over owns it. They move it once a week for street sweeping day, then right back. I was going to light it on fire when he first parked it there. It had the alarm set to go off every time a truck or motorcycle went by - day or night - right outside my bedroom window. The city won't do anything about it. I was hoping that guy crashed into it.
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(no subject) [Apr. 8th, 2015|04:49 pm]
dockrat
Has it really been since September since I have posted anything here? Time sure flies.

Been working on the small boat. Had to drain all the old gas out of it. There was only about 6 gallons in there. That was cutting it kind of close. Put some new gas in and started it up. I want to take it out to Lake havasu for a few days as soon as I can get free.

I went down the Colorado River last week in my inflatable boat. The river was fuller than I had ever seen it. Most of the camping spots were overgrown and not accessible. There were still some campgrounds, but we liked to just camp somewhere wild.

The storage auctions have been really slow lately. I bought some rooms last month that turned out good.
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Hard Drive Implosion [Sep. 27th, 2014|01:39 pm]
dockrat
My hard drive self destructed. Disaster. Right in the middle of an eBay form, a pop up said the HD was corrupted and shutting down, and it did. After 3 hours of trying, I gave up and took it to Frys. They had to put in a new drive. I lost everything.

Putting back the programs was easy, but changing the settings to what they were is a nightmare. All the settings that made it easy for me to use were changed.

To make it worse, just days before that yahoo changed their format and made Internet Explorer not work very well there. Now I have to use IE for some things and Firefox for other things. eBay also changed, right in the middle of what I was doing there, and messed me up when my printer wouldn't recognize it's CD program. I had to call eBay to find out the program had changed while I was using it, and now they make you go to another site to get that information. They just keep giving less and less information to the sellers. Now they won't even give the name or address of the person you sold an item to in the sale email. Is that so secret from the seller, to not know where the item is being shipped to? They only tell you after it is paid.

None of my photoshop or other programs work right either. Even photos in my camera show up in random order. The computer was only two years old, but had all my info and settings from the last ten years. At least I put all my photos on discs. It will probably take a lot of work to get access to them again. Nothing else has been easy about this.
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(no subject) [Aug. 11th, 2014|04:54 am]
dockrat
I put the new telescoping ladder under the swim step of the boat. It works better than the one that folds up on top, but it had to stick out a little, and would rub against the inflatable when I tie it on the back in the water. I will probably have to tie it on the side in the back from now on.

I got the new propeller for it. I was removing the old one, when I noticed that the log I hit that bent the propeller also hit the hydrofoil wing on the back of the outdrive and put a crack in it.

I bought a new hydrofoil for the outdrive, and when I was looking how to put it on, I noticed that one of the hoses connecting the outdrive to the boat was not connected. When I hit that log, the whole outdrive flipped up over it, and must have pulled the hose loose. It was only the exhaust hose so it didn't effect getting water in the boat.

After I hit the log, my heat gauge stopped working, and the tilt gauge stopped working. I checked the wires from the tilt gauge to make sure the heat of the loose exhaust hose didn't melt them, and they looked ok. Probably the log hit just jarred the adjustment a little. I have to check the wire on the heat gauge back to the engine.

I had to order two new hubs for the new propeller. It was a different brand from the one that is on it. I wanted to make sure I had a spare, it is so easy to hit something floating under the surface, and the hub blows out instead of the motor or propeller.

I still have a long list of little things that need to be done on the boat, but it can be used without most of them being done. I keep thinking I can do them while I'm out using the boat, but the never seem to get done out there. There are just so many other fun things to do instead of fixing a boat.
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Vacation [Jul. 31st, 2014|09:00 pm]
dockrat
What a nice couple of weeks it's been. Hanging out on the boat, cruising down the Columbia River. From Portland, north to Beacon Rock, then back down the river to Astoria, and back to Portland. About 200 miles.

Nothing really bad happened. Bent a prop up and spun the hub, but I had a spare prop and hub. Everything else worked great.

I did a lot of work on the Sea Ray boat for a couple of months before I left, so it was running great all the way. I replaced the outdrive, and put in a new anchor winch so I could just push a button to anchor instead of having to climb up to the front and throw an anchor and rope over. It needs a little longer chain on it though.

I need to make a few changes to it. The ladder folds up on top of the swim step, and gets in the way, so I removed it and bought a new one that slides in under the swim step.

I need to put in a larger inverter. The little one won't handle the power I need for the computer and the entertainment system at the same time. I have a couple of bigger ones in the garage that should work, and they need to be hard wired in instead of plugged in the cigarette lighter socket.

The small inflatable boat that I use for getting around places and to shore when I am anchored had a bad floor. I tried to use a plywood floor on it, but that didn't work out very well. It's way too heavy without the inflatable floor, and don't move in the water right. I've had it for a long time anyway, and it is time to get a new one. I could always use the hard bottom Zodiac inflatable I have, now that the ladder is gone, and I can pull it up on the swim step. I was afraid that it would wear a hole in it, bouncing around the ladder when I am moving.

The trip up and back was good too. No problems with the boat trailer or van. The roads are mostly newly paved, except for around the desert near Bakersfield. It takes about a day and a half each way. Going past Mt. Shasta was scary. That is the first time I have seen it without the top covered in snow - especially this early in the summer. We are in a real draught, and Lake Shasta was almost dry. What a difference between that, and the Columbia River dumping a million gallons of water a minute into the ocean.
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