This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Monday 29 January 2018

What a difference a day makes

For several days last week we had been blessed with spring like temperatures down here in Leamington. Even a record-breaking temp of +11C/51.8F during the day and above freezing temps overnight that I think is pretty good for January. Yesterday I even spent the afternoon raking accumulated leaves off the chain-link fence and pulled some fresh weeds (yes, you read that correct) from the flowerbed. That was when I discovered some daffodil shoots poking out of the ground. Those fragile buds I quickly covered up with dirt because the weather forecast called for snow today, which was hard to believe in that gorgeous warm sunshine.  Well, here we are, it has been snowing all day with an estimated accumulation of 7-12cm/3-5inches and wind gusting to 40km/h. There is already a snowdrift in front of the garage and the barometer has plummeted.  Back to winter I guess so don’t rush home yet if you are somewhere down south.

For those of you who don’t know where Leamington, Ontario is, here is a little tidbit that made me chuckle when I read last week’s local newspaper. Our mayor, John Paterson, held a public breakfast a few days ago at which he predicted a brilliant future for Leamington.  He said that Leamington is known as the Greenhouse Capital of Canada, the Monarch Butterfly Capital of Canada, the mecca for birders, the most southern tip of mainland Canada, and more recently the *Cannabis Capital of Canada, but he prefers the title of “My Home Town” and that is where we live.

*The Federal government will legalize recreational Cannabis in July of this year and a very large portion will be grown here in the local greenhouses. BTW we have never tried smoking pot and have no intention to do so in the future.

Now I like to go to some other topic.  While using our microwave oven last week I thought how come there is no light on in there.  I hadn’t noticed that the inside light was not working or when it quit working. It is a smart Panasonic Microwave just that you know. Changing a light bulb should not be a big thing and it really isn’t unless you don’t have the right tools. If you ever had to exchange the light in your microwave then you know you might have to have a specialty screwdriver to do the job in the newer models of the high tech microwaves. First off, we were wondering where the bulb was located because you can’t see it from looking into the oven.  Good thing we have the Internet and a quick search found a YouTube clip of where to locate the bulb and how to get to it. Turns out most microwave ovens use the same light bulb but only very few shops sell them and none of them are in our area. We found a reasonable priced bulb and it is now on the way by snail mail (slow boat from China).  Benno could not have opened up the microwave if he hadn’t had the right torx security bit from the boxed set of specialty security bits. This tool set comes in handy once a while and I guess it is not found in most guys’ tool cabinets. 

While I wait for the bulb to arrive and the weather to improve I’ll be reading the blog posts of all you good fellows down south and oh, by the way, Benno will update you on a recent little project on our Honda 2000i inverter generator. He is fitting an hour meter to keep track of the oil changes.

Sunday 14 January 2018

Mid January

What is there to talk about but the weather? With our up and down temperatures here in our area it sure is a much talked about topic. We’ve been down in the cellar with -22C/-7.6F and lots of snow.  Our house is located in a cul-de-sac street and the city’s snow plough became stuck twice at the end of the street.  At one time the plough backed up and turned into our property (the grassy part) only to get stuck again for some time until he finally managed to free himself by rocking forward and reverse.  I wonder if his tire impressions left some grooves in the ground.  Then we were blessed with a warm spell where the temps rose to a whopping +11C/51.8F and the melting snow and additional rain made a huge mess of large puddles which looked like a little lake and Benno was thinking of launching the canoe to get to his shop, but that lasted only two days and the temps plummeted again within a few hours down to a -12C/10.4F turning every wet spot into an ice rink.  And, the winter is far from being over!

This year we had to stay home although our travel trailer sits forlorn on the driveway waiting. My parents are not well back in Germany. If we wanted to leave right now, I don’t think it would be much fun with road conditions as they are and all systems in the trailer being winterized and unusable. However, we still have hopes.

While we had those few hours above freezing Benno was brave enough to give our truck a wash and wax and it is now parked in the garage. The hitch coupler is laid next to it and waiting to be slipped into the receiver for a southern run. Of course we hesitate to take the truck out now that it is all clean because it would only last for a couple of blocks of driving before the road salt and snow would mess it all up again.

The dogs are restless too begging to go for a walk but it’s either too cold with the wind chill or the roads are too messy for their short little legs.  Elsa had another birthday and of course both dogs got their Bockwurst as a birthday treat and other chewable snacks. I think it is as much fun for them as it is for us to watch them eat. They are so lucky to have us as parents. 

I’ve been reading the blog posts of 5C's Que Pasa, where Contessa and Collin have been kind enough to feed a stray dog in Mexico.  That brings back so many memories because there is a lot of misery for homeless dogs and cats. During our travels in foreign countries we encountered many stray dogs that had been begging for food especially from foreigners because the natives were not treating them very kindly.  There was this incident in Lavrion, Greece, where I was knee-deep in a used motor oil trench rescuing a dozen little thrown in puppies from drowning in that oil-soup and ruining during this task my Tilley shorts. Another time where we fed two very skinny dogs that hung out at our pier in Darsena Pescara on the Island of Tenerife, Canary Islands and then we witnessed one of them being run over by a bus. Then in Los Christianos, Tenerife we rescued a little male long hair, black and white Dachsy, which was feeding on the beach, this little fellow we brought all the way back to Canada with us. During a 6 months stay in Zea Marina in Piraeus, Greece we kind of adopted three dogs that found their only nourishment in the garbage cans of the complex.  The caretakers had named them Hero, Fatima and Lisa. Lisa came to us onboard every night to sleep and would run back out in the morning to join the other two dogs for the walk around the compound with the caretakers to be fed what scraps could be found in the trash.  Lisa then became pregnant. Her four puppies were born under an upturned rowing boat. The caretakers took the pups when they were only 4 weeks old to be sold and poor very disturbed Lisa suffered with too much milk in her teats. My girlfriend and I took Lisa to the vet who gave us medication for her as well as a breast pump. We didn’t want to know what people were thinking when they spotted us on the lawn pumping Lisa’s milk, but I am sure it must have been a strange sight.  Well, so much for today’s entertainment. I have more stray dog stories to tell, but enough for today.

our rescued Dachshund "Cutie" from the Canaries

Saturday 6 January 2018

A quick exchange of TVs, not so quick!

Hey, we got ourselves a new TV for the RV on Boxing Day. It is a Samsung 32” 1080p Smart TV, wow! Well, the JAYCO White Hawk came with a nice 29” 720p Furrion HDTV, but as you know, bigger is always better.

The 29” TV will find a new place in the RVs prewired bedroom location when we are at home away from home and enjoying the warmer climate. Later during the summer time, this TV will entertain me in my workshop.

Jayco installed near the trailer’s entrance door the switch panel for lights, pump, water heater, slide and awning. Also the “Furrion DV1200” entertainment center with speaker control and DVD/CD player is located underneath. In addition, I installed there a digital 12V Voltmeter to monitor my trailer’s battery bank and in the RH corner the wifi router.

The manufacturer originally fitted a HDMI cable running from the entertainment center to the TV to combine sound and video. This cable must have had a shaky connection and that problem was pestering us, because the TV was loosing the picture on and off while watching DVD movies. It was a real pain. I suspected a faulty plug, which may got jerked during installation at the plant. Fixing this problem was on my bucket list, but….
Now while hooking up the new TV it was the right time to finally tackle this problem. The manufacturer had routed a 25-foot long HDMI cable from the entertainment center near the entrance door via the ceiling to the TV location, a truly difficult long run. I purchased a 10-foot HDMI cable from Best Buy and routed it from the entertainment center via two cabinets toward the TV, a much shorter run and hidden as well. The 25-foot HDMI cable I pulled from the ceiling for good, yes it had a damaged plug, the one on the rear of the entertainment center. Not easy to notice, you have to unscrew the center first!

The extracted 25 ft. HDMI cable with the troubled plug cut off.
New HDMI cable looks similar and is only 10 ft. long.

I really like to use our trailer’s inside ceiling speakers for TV audio. My hearing is not anymore as it was in my younger days. Hey, we are no spring chicken anymore. At home I use Sony wireless headphones with our Sony TV. But here is the problem, the new Samsung Smart TV has no headphone outlet and no analog audio outlet, unlike the smaller Jayco supplied 29” Furrion TV.
This means that the trailer’s prewired red and white RCA analog cable from the TV to the entertainment center is no longer of any use, because the new Samsung Smart TV has only one audio outlet and this is a digital optical one.
Oh man, you want to treat yourself good by buying something new and in the end you get a rattail of new problems.  Isn’t it always the case?

At the big opening notice the retired red and while RCA cable coiled up and hanging down.

Oh well, this meant I had to get a Toslink Digital Optical Audio cable quick. Marlene suggested getting one from Amazon using the free Amazon Prime shipping.

New Toslink Digital Optical Audio cable from Amazon

This is what we did because there was a small blizzard blowing outside and I really didn’t really feel like driving into town in this weather to hunt down that cable.

Now, at the same time while I was routing the new HDMI cable, I ran the fancy 10ft. Toslink Digital Optical Audio cable for sound next to it too.

Routed optical cable and HDMI cable top right
ready to be pulled into the TV cabinet

Routed optical cable and HDMI cable hanging LH corner 
to get plugged into entertainment center.

Luckily the entertainment center had a headphone outlet and an optical audio-in inlet into which I happily inserted the optical cable.

With this hook up I can use a headphone or, we can use the entertainment center with the ceiling speakers to amplify the TV sound while watching one of my favorite western movies or so. Man, this will be music to my ears, as long Marlene doesn’t say, “Would you mind and turn down the sound a little!”