October 2, 2011

Keeping Us Rolling

Sometimes I wonder if readers think that this blog seems to be all about me, me, me. Not!
Chuck w TiresWho hitches us up and gets us around, through rain, heat, long days, traffic, tight corners and close quarters? Who feeds the cat and clips his nails and manages the engines, electrics and electronics? From road to roof, he’s checked, tended and repaired it.
So it was on our ketch, La Mouette … and so it is yet.
This month seems to have set some sort of record. Clean the carburetor on the generator. Buy a new starter because the old one truly burned up. Then the truck wouldn’t run - we’d somehow blown a 20-amp fuse.
Chuck Generator Work (1)  Chuck Truck Fuse
                       And a bad light socket.
Chuck Fixes LIght

We finally ordered and installed a new awning to replace the threadbare one we’d also scraped with a tree driving down a narrow tree-lined dirt road in Mexico over a year ago.
Awining Installation (2)   Awining Installation (4)
                            I helped.
                   Awining Installation Gigi
DSC02111When the starter again blew a fuse three days ago here at Navajo Monument, AZ, we knew it was trouble. Our campground is 30 miles from the nearest town, tiny Kayenta. Trying to fix it with no luck, Chuck called the park maintenance department willing to pay someone who’d give him a ride to a Napa store in Kayenta for a new starter. Surprisingly, the head ranger showed up shortly as a volunteer chauffer! A tall, charming guy who took one glance and probably wanted to get us out of here. Blocked on the starter, Chuck was in the process of removing the wheels to check the balancers.
Before installing the new starter, Chuck searched the Internet, searching for a potential underlying cause. He found a Tech Bulletin published 10 years ago for our particular model Dodge truck, indicating that it was necessary to add a special relay and fuse harness (I just type what he says) to prevent fuse failure. It’s amazing we’d not had the problem before!
DSC02180A diagram was included in the bulletin. So Chuck built one, borrowing a relay, he tells me, from the power distribution block in the truck. (Ok, whatever!) When my job holding wires during soldering was done, I took a picture of the new harness ready to install. It’s those blue, red and white wires. He decided to try installing the old starter.
And I went on a walk to the Betatakin ruins overlook, sadly realizing that I should skip the ‘strenuous’ 5-mile group hike down the canyon to the site! Look closely, the ruin’s in the alcove! This shows the beautiful setting – it’s actually closer.

DSC02253When I got back, the truck was gone!! Installation successful!! Chuck was off to buy a new relay and to return the Kayenta starter. We don’t need it - the old one works now.