This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Sunday, 13 November 2022

We had a few snowflakes today!

It is almost the middle of November and today it sure feels like it too. The dogs needed to go outside so I bundled up for the bitter northwest wind blowing over the fields with a few snowflakes this morning and to brace the chilly3C/37F temps with a gloomy grey cloud cover. It is such a change from last Thursday when we still enjoyed the gift of 19C/66F with plenty of sunshine. Oh well, maybe its time for me to sit down with a cup of coffee and a few cookies and to write my blog.


There will not be many photos today but I share what I have. So the boat got shrink wrapped again by the same professional crew we had do this job last year. The zippered door entrance was saved from last year and is being reused on the new cover. This year Benno used plastic conduit pipe that he bent and fastened to the railings to create a dome at the rear. We now can stand up under the covered cockpit and it is kind of cozy in there. Of course the boat stays also much cleaner now.


Although I didn’t think there would be much more progress on the boat, there were some things done like running new heavy wires of the proper gauge to the bow thruster and forward windlass including installing a 100 amp AGM starter battery close by that feeds both, especially the bow thruster for it’s power burst under the forward V-berth space. Those jobs included Benno making the connections with swaged on heavy duty lugs and heat shrink, fabricating a bracket for the 70 amp windlass breaker and hefty relay etc. etc. I don’t want to tire you out with this stuff; however, there will not be many more trips into the boat this season and she is now going to put to bed!


As to other news, Reggy’s blemishes on his tail did not get any better and rather seemed to multiply. Heavy hearted we made the decision to have him neutered, which was done last week. The poor little rascal really doesn’t know what happened and his system will take a while to adjust accordingly. His nighttime hyperactivity is still ongoing and is the cause that I am a bit bleary eyed and sleep deprived today.


Sometimes strange coincidences happen and I like to share with you the amazement that occurred to me last week. It might be a bit winded but I feel its necessary to explain, so bare with me.


I have a couple of cousins in Germany, the son and daughter of my dad’s half-sister. She passed away when they were still very young. Her husband remarried and our families were not in contact. However, I have been trying for many years to make contact but could not find out where they were living or any phone number or through social media.


Now, my brother-in-law’s mom, (she was also a longtime dear friend of Benno and me) passed away at the end of October here in Canada. To compose an obituary my sister searched and located through the Internet the obituary ad she had placed for our father almost to the day four years ago in a small newspaper at a small town where our parents last lived. Under the ad for our dad was a condolence note from our (long lost cousin with a phone number). Neither my sister nor I ever went back to the obituary ad from so long ago, so we never saw the note of our cousin.


I called my cousin and found out a lot of interesting information and that he lived in Hamburg Germany. By chance our cousin had visited the ex-husband of his sister who now lived in the area of the small town in Germany and during his visit he picked up the newspaper with the obituary of our dad in it. Since our cousin lived in Hamburg he would never ordinarily have read that town’s newspaper had it not been there on the coffee table during his one-time visit. As it turns out, he and his sister had also been trying to find us but of course never were successful. 


Hopefully my next post will have an approximate departure date for us to head south. Thanks again for dropping by.


Monday, 31 October 2022

I’m no sissy!

So its spooky and scary night again, called Halloween and mountains of candy and chips are being handed out tonight to kids dressed up in costumes. Such a nice tradition we knew nothing of when we came to Canada from Germany many moons ago. We don’t have many kids living in our neighborhood, but I’m prepared and any leftovers will disappear in no time at our house, I’m sure.

This Halloween photo was sent to me by my friend Linda
"We Two Travellers Living the Life"

Yesterday I had a restless night and the night before as did Reggy.  A couple of weeks or so ago I noticed that he had a kind of pimple/bump on top of his tail. I applied a Tropical Corticosteroid cream on it, but it didn’t help. Last Friday we made the trip to the veterinarian hospital and their two staff doctors took a look at it and performed a microscopic exam for cancer, which was negative. Reggy got an injection against infections and a Tropical Antibiotic/Corticosteroid gel was prescribed. He got to wear a cone around his neck to prevent him from licking the affected area for the next two weeks. Well, that didn’t go well at all. 


Reggy had not one minute of rest in his crate with the cone bumping around and his whining, scratching and hyperventilating became intolerable. He ended up in our bed for the remainder of the night. The next day I put a panty (Elsa’s old panty from the time before she was spayed) on him and sewed an old sock around the tail opening and therefore preventing him from licking his tail. That worked for the day, but at night the same thing of restlessness, romping, whining and hyperventilating until I took him out and into our bed. I’m sure the steroids are causing this and so I might discontinue this treatment. 


It being already the end of October, Benno winterized the travel trailer just because we don’t want to be caught by an unexpected frost until we head south. He drained the hot water tank, plus the hot and cold water pipes and then he put non-poison antifreeze solution into the hot and cold water pipe circuit using the from the factory build in winterizing provision. If we have to leave during frost we’ll flush the toilet with windshield washer solution and take bottled water for washing and cooking along until we are out of the freezing area.


Last Monday we again made the trip across the St Clair River to the “United States of America” to Algonac, Michigan with another lovely ferry ride to pick up the PSS shaft seal that had arrived. We were lucky to have another beautiful sunny and calm day for that ride. Benno was eager to get on with the final installation and wasted no time to remove the propeller shaft from the Aqua Drive so he could get at it the job to slip the PSS Shaft Seal over the shaft. The drive shaft with the CV joints had to be disconnected too, to be able to get to the six socket head bolts for the final mounting and tightening of the propeller shaft. After the propeller shaft was pushed back into the Aqua Drive the PSS Shaft Seal got mounted properly and final. (I bet you all needed to know this in detail, right? ;)) 

In the instruction for tightening the bolts on the Aqua Drive there were several sequences of different torque settings to do. However, there were no suggestions given of how to prevent the shaft from rotating while torqueing. So Benno thought that if he put the old four blade 20-inch propeller back onto the shaft, I could stand underneath the boat holding the propeller while he would go through the sequence of torqueing. Well, that is easily thought, but although I am no “Sissy”, have you ever tried to hold a propeller while sets of each 10 and 30 and 60 newton-meter are being applied to six 10mm socket head bolts by a guy using a big 2ft torque wrench? Just before he finished the first bolt on the last sequence I had to holler to stop as my muscles were screaming and my feet were leaving the ground. In the end Benno wedged a piece of 4x4 wood between ground and one propeller blade to stop the propeller from turning and we finished that task, thank goodness! I still have muscle ache from that undertaking!


Thanks for dropping in again and do spoil the little “trick or treat” munchkins!

Monday, 17 October 2022

A little bit of boat progress

As I was reminded today, another blog post is due. Well, I have been holding off for the simple reason that I wanted to show you the completed install of the Aqua Drive and prop shaft installation, but because of a hiccup, it is not quite done yet. As to other happenings around here there were yard cleanups, house chores and paperwork I had to take care of. The weather had been pretty nice and I think we were spoiled thinking it would last. It didn’t. Today is absolutely miserable outside with high winds, driving rain and our daytime temperature is 5C/41F.


Installed Aqua Drive, top coupling is mounted on the Diesel Engine
bottom piece of shiny shaft is where the PSS shaft seal will be mounted

So to back up, since we replaced the engine in the boat and Benno wanted an Aqua Drive, the old prop shaft and propeller will not work anymore for the new Beta Engine configuration. The existing prop shaft showed serious wear markings and is with an Aqua Drive now too long. 

Benno had figured out if the old cut key way for the motor coupling is cut off from that end of the shaft and a new taper and key way for the propeller is machined there instead, then the other end of the shaft could be cut off to the new length to fit the future Aqua Drive. That way we could still use the existing prop shaft having a good surface for “Cutless” bearing and shaft seal, we would not have to purchase a new propeller shaft and saving a bundle of our dollars.

In order to make these changes happen, we needed to bring this prop shaft to a company who manufactures prop shafts or is capable to work on it, but here in Southern Ontario there is “nada-nada” for the next 300 miles. We found The Henry Smith Company in Algonac, Michigan, USA, which is only 40 miles from us. They would be able to do this kind of work and they are well known even here in Ontario. From our house the shortest way would be to drive to Walpole Island, which is part of the Indian Reserve just north of Lake St Clair and to take the ferry over the St Clair River to the city of Algonac in Michigan, USA. 


In short order we stuck the prop shaft into our truck between the seats with one end resting on a piece of foam on the dashboard and the other end sticking out of the rear window and got underway. When we drive over to the USA our usual road is via the Detroit border crossing over the Ambassador Bridge so this route was new to us and was our first ferry ride with the truck. We parked at the indicated lanes for vehicles and waited for the ferry to arrive, which was at the other side of the river. The ferry runs about every twenty minutes or so and with us were four other vehicles. The river was very calm and so was the ride. At the Henry Smith Company Benno explained what he wanted done and we left the prop shaft in their capable hands and returned home.

A week later we got the call that the shaft was ready for pickup and also the brass “Cutless” bearing and PSS shaft seal were in, which we had ordered. We went the same route but this time the weather was much cooler and it was windy with a bit of a wave action on the river. This time we only waited about 5 minutes before the ferry pulled in. It turned out that the prop shaft needed another modification and we were sent away until it would be ready for us. Close by was a West Marine store whose merchandise we thoroughly inspected as well as a bit of sightseeing of the area and watching some freighter traffic while digesting our McD lunches all to kill time.


At the agreed upon time we returned and this time the prop shaft was ready to go. We paid our invoice, got the boxes of the parts and left for the return trip. Mid way on the river the ferry stopped to let a large freighter pass even though we had the right of way but who is to argue with a huge old Laker. Back in Canada at the Customs house I paid our HST (taxes) for the goods and we were on our way home.


So why the hiccup? It turned out that when Benno opened the box for the PSS shaft seal he said “Shit” because it was the wrong size and neither one had noticed it. Well, another couple of ferry rides is in our near future once the right part is being shipped. Hopefully the weather will have improved by then.


Top part with the shiny shaft is waiting for the PSS shaft seal
(will show at the next update)

Thanks for dropping by again. BTW if anyone wants to get email notifications when I post an update, just let me know and I will send and invite via Blogger.


Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Kite Fest

We have been blessed with gorgeous fall weather down here in Ontario. Last weekend was kind of breezy; in fact it was quite windy here and perfect to fly a kite. Every year around this time Leamington hosts a weekend long Kite Fest. I drove by the field on Saturday morning after coming from town. It was overcast but already some kites were up in the air. Unfortunately we didn’t know about the evening show where LED lights attached to the kites were giving a spectacular show, so we missed it. But the next day on Sunday afternoon we were going to take a stroll around the sports field to view the many colorful kites. My sister and brother-in-law were here for a visit and so we all went including our Dachsies.

Here are some of the displays. 


Even underwear made it up into the air!

Also on Sunday there were the annual Wiener Dog Races hosted at the Leamington Raceway. It would have been fun to have our dogs participate in the races, but I found out too late and the registry was full, anyway we really didn’t have time for it and passed it this time.

In my previous post I said that the engine installation was done. Well, it is but there are numerous things that are still ongoing all related to the engine more or less, like drive shaft and propeller unit. Benno had early on decided that he wanted an “Aqua Drive” in this boat too as we had one in our previous boat the “Diesel Duck.” An Aqua Drive is an anti-vibration system that sits between the motor and the driveshaft. It eliminates the engine vibration being transferred via the driveshaft into the boat. This unit we had ordered from Seattle and picked up in Detroit at our US mailing address. After its installation Benno then knew how long the driveshaft would have to be and it got ordered for it to be shipped the same way. There are brackets involved that Benno made from thick aluminum rectangle pieces, and modifications inside the boat as well. Many small things too that were made on his milling machine and drill press in his shop that wandered into the boat. In a while I will take another photo showing more hoses and wires hooked up.


This drawing shows an Aqua Drive so you get the idea

Every time I mow the lawn I think this must be the last time this year as the ground is so dry but the weeds seem to survive just fine. Soon you will see me using the sweeper to gather up the fall leaves on our yard, and we don’t even have a leafy tree!


This caterpillar ate most of my remaining dill, but I let it to develop into this:


Nearby there is more reproduction going on but they should look out, as there are a couple of Garter snakes investigating food sources in my garden.  And this very large toad is buried in the sand blending in perfectly with its surroundings right were I noticed a snake. So will it eat a small Garter snake, or will a large Garter snake eat the toad? As of now, I think they are all still around.

Thanks for dropping by again.


Tuesday, 13 September 2022


Finally we have removed the heavy-duty metal gantry that helped us to lift out the old engine and drop in the new engine into its engine compartment. That means the new Beta 38 engine is now permanently installed. Everything is brand spanking new down there and looking good. There was some more painting involved and of course all the connecting tasks etc. 

A before photo of the old engine and a photo of the new engine in the compartment will speak volumes, I think.


For all of the non-boater readers out there that are not familiar with boatbuilding, you must be wondering why it took so long to come to this point. There are a lot of little pieces to complete this puzzle. There are numerous brass hose barb fittings, and nipples, street elbows, lag screws, electrical wires, various screws and so many more items needed to hook up and connect the pumps, tanks, batteries, new muffler system and more. And, none of these things are at our fingertips which means they have to be ordered, shipped or picked up in Windsor, or surrounding towns.


The pre cut, drilled and deburred metal brackets, flat bar, angle pieces and other items were powder coated by Chris from County Coating in Merlin, Ont. and we were really pleased with the job. The last bunch we had powder coated had 28 pieces. I counted them to make sure we had all of them back in the bin. I’m sure it was a joy for Benno to install them one by one as the compartment all of a sudden looked so much more finished.


There are more wires to run throughout the rebuilding process and the channels located on top of the engine compartment will hold them neatly. When all wires are in, the holes will be covered with small powder coated plates as well.


So Benno is moving on to other tasks on the boat and I will post more photos of the coming jobs.


And in case you are asking, yes, the fence was fixed. However, the work was a little more than just replacing what was broken. By hand Benno dug out and around the broken posts. They were quite deep, so a big hole. We purchased new 4x4 posts and some fence boards. The new posts were surrounded with concrete post mix and for good measure we added some quick concrete to the old still standing ones as well.

It was decided to lower the replacement fence and also the other two end sections to 4-1/2 feet for more stability should we get another storm blowing through. The new fence also is built a little different with the fence boards offset to both sides. It looks good now, don’t you think?


Today I noticed some critters in my garden and before they could move on I took some photos. Those will be in my next post.


Thanks for dropping in again.