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Cross-Country Journal -- March 2003


Saturday, March 1 -- This morning we got the power back on and drove the motor home over to empty the holding tanks.  We had gone one day less than two weeks without emptying them.   Spent a lot of the day watching golf inside with wonderful air conditioning.  For the early portion of the morning I ran the 7000 watt generator which provides enough power to run just about everything at once, so I also put on the second air compressor for the air conditioning.  It's important to run the generator at least monthly so the hour or so was good in that way.  Late in the day I watched Arizona beat Stanford.

We got an update on Jaimie and Mario.  They were settling into their new house.  It will be fun to visit them in April.

Sunday, March 2 -- Worked on making photo albums for the web site, including San Diego, Palm Springs and Big Bend.  Went to Tommy's house to have dinner with him and upload the pictures.

Tommy had been very busy at work with a tournament going on.  We made him dinner and left him to rest up.

Monday, March 3 --  The air conditioner was not operating when we returned from Tommy's last night.  After a 10:30 AM meeting with our tax accountant, I dug into the air conditioner.  When I pulled the cover off and opened the door for the electrical box in the side of the unit, it was pretty clear what was wrong.  All the wires except one were in perfect condition.  The insulation was burned off the one wire and when I touched it the wire came loose from the connector at the end.  I called the manufacturer and spoke to a technician who knew immediately what I was talking about.  He sent two knew relays via next day air and in the meantime I replaced the wire.  Now the air conditioning works. 

After Tom found the burnt wire he asked some workers if they had any electrical wire.  They didn't think it was a good idea to just replace it with out finding the cause.  After talking to a technician, he said go ahead and replace the wire and he would send some relays.  We were ready to believe the technician and get the air running.

Tuesday, March 4 --  The relays arrived this morning but I may not get them installed for a day or so.  Tommy starts three days off today so we will spend time with him.  After doing a few things around the house this morning, Tommy came over and we all went to the beach for the afternoon.  The weather was very sunny and very hot.  The beach, accessed by a park in Palm Beach, is beautiful and the water was warm.  We relaxed and had a good time.  

We have done some beach time on both coasts now.  Tommy and I had fun walking along some rocks out in the ocean.

Wednesday, March 5 -- Today we did something we have been talking about for months.  We removed the dinette bench seats and replaced them with two nice oak chairs.  I'll stain the chairs to match the rest of the oak in the motor home.  It was easy pulling out the bench seats; self-contained structure held in by 10 screws.  The floor and walls under and behind the benches is perfect.  Alfa clearly builds the walls and floors and then puts in the benches.  It is amazing how much additional real and perceived space this change gives!  The bulk of the benches  is gone and you can see through the chairs and table to the walls and floor beyond.  The bench cushions never stay in place and they are not ever comfortable.  The chair I am sitting in as I write this feels so good.  This was a very good project.  Anyone purchasing a new motor home should definitely go for the table and chairs rather than the benches.  We knew we wanted the chairs but we were afraid to go without the drawer space under the benches.  After a couple of months, we knew that we had plenty of space elsewhere.  Now we know.

Tom was looking for an inside project since the morning was starting out very hot.  I said if he could find a spot for all the stuff in the two dinette drawers we could think about removing the benches.  Everything was relocated.  The printer is now in a cabinet above the stove.  We did a little weeding out and probably should do more of that.  There is a bunch of stuff that has just been along for the ride and not needed.

Thursday, March 6 -- This is the last day Tommy has off.  We went to the pool.  Did some laundry and grilled chicken. 

Friday, March 7 -- Tommy came over after work and we said our goodbyes for a week. We will be coming back to the same campground after our week in Orlando.  We hopefully will be able to get full hookups.  We are getting tired of carting our dishes to Tommy's and taking showers there also.  We were able to go 13 days before we had to dump the tanks but it was a pain.

Saturday, March 8 -- We moved up to Orlando today and set up camp about 5 miles from Disney World.  One of the projects that I saved for this trip up to Orlando and back was changing the oil and filters in the Allison Transmission.  Since the oil must be hot when drained, I planned to do it right after arriving in Orlando.  The job was pretty easy; taking about 2 hours.  As it turns out, 14 quarts drained out and I had only purchased 12 quarts.  The two filters cost $50 each and 12 quarts of synthetic oil cost $10 each.

Tom worked on changing the transmission fluid and filters.  He got more quarts out than we had bought.

Sunday, March 9 -- We went over to the ball park and watched parts of two softball games that Cortland was playing.  We had fallen for the trap of discount tickets by going to a time share presentation.  We were told it was low pressure and we would get two Disney tickets for $25.  Seemed easy but the salesperson was high pressure and it was longer than 90 minutes but we did make it out of there with the tickets and no sale! We left the second game early because the wind had picked up and we had left the awning out.  There was a lot of rain and Pepper did not like the thunder.  I gave her some treats trying to make her think thunder was good.  We have to keep working on this.  

Monday, March 10 -- Since it is my birthday I got to go to the Magic Kingdom.  First though we discovered a major ant attack and we had to clean that up. We had fun our favorite rides, Splash, Thunder, and Space Mountain.  We went on most of the rides on on our favorites twice.  A very nice day.  

Tuesday, March 11 -- We met Donna for breakfast and it was great to see her.  We watched two softball games.  Cortland won both! Now their record is 6-0!

Wednesday, March 12 -- The team had a day of rest so we met Jill and Donna and saw Chicago.  This was our second time.  We loved it! We went to a Japanese Steak house to have Kobe beef.  It was not the real thing.  We also drove around Celebration which is a planned community by Disney.  It was unreal.  Like a set out of the movie.

Thursday, March 13 --   We had to go to a different field.  Both games were early.  Cortland won both games again.  Donna came back to our motor home and gave us haircuts!  We cooked a nice dinner for her and watched Survivor.  

Friday, March 14 -- We watched two more games!  Both wins!  Cortland was undefeated!  

Saturday, March 15 -- I purchased 4 more quarts of transmission oil and put 2 more in.  After packing everything to be ready to leave, I started the engine to heat up the transmission.  I needed to check the oil level before we drove.  I checked it cold using the dipstick in order to be OK to start the engine.  The transmission has an electronic fluid level check capability that must be done hot.  So after about an hour of running the engine, the check said it was 3 quarts low.  I added 1 quart and then we took off.  (Now I was at a point where I had drained 14 quarts and added 15 back in)  We drove about 100 miles and then checked the level.  This time it said it was 2 quarts low, so I added 1 more.  After adding the level said "OK".  The next oil and filter change is at 100,000 miles.  (5 years from now?)

We arrived back in West Palm Beach without problems.

Sunday, March 16 -- This morning the hard drive on my laptop computer died.  I called Gateway and they are sending me a replacement.  I was very lucky to be able to burn my most used files onto CD's before the drive died completely.  Obviously, the computer will be missed for several days.

Monday, March 17 --

Tuesday, March 18 --

Wednesday, March 19 --

Thursday, March 20 --

Friday, March 21 --

Saturday, March 22 --

Sunday, March 23 --

Monday, March 24 -- Today Tommy and I played golf at the Breakers Resort located on the ocean.  It had a great time.  I had the best golf shot of my life.  It was a short Par 4 hole.  The white tees that I and Tommy's friend were using were only 273 yards from the green.  I had been using a 5-wood off the tees since the start because I had not played in several months.  For this hole I decided to use the 3-wood because I thought I might be able to drive the green.  Well, it was the best drive of my life with a 3-wood and the best shot of my life.  It was a line drive that went 273 yards and ended up 15 feet from the hole in the middle of the green.  I missed the eagle putt but made a birdie.

The hard drive arrived today.

Tuesday, March 25 -- I installed the hard drive and spent most of the day reloading files and applications.

Wednesday, March 26 -- We watched Survivor. 

Thursday, March 27 -- Tommy had the day off and he came over to spend it with us.  A very big afternoon storm came through which put Pepper on the couch, panting and shaking.  I thought with the frequent thunderstorms she had been conquering her fear of thunder but this storm was too much for her.

Friday, March 28 -- We started to think about travel plans for April.  We want to visit Jaimie and Mario and see their new house but we are concerned about nightime temperatures.

Saturday, March 29 -- Today is Jaimie's 25th birthday.  They are at a wedding in Chicago but we were able to reach her and wish her a happy day.

Sunday, March 30 -- We went over and spent the afternoon at Tommy's watching golf and basketball.

Monday, March 31 --