Sunday, August 21, 2022


 No more dirty, greasy Dave photos, no more engine parts photos.    Beluga started and ran perfectly at the campground.      A few days after that test we broke camp and drove her down the highway, you know, to "make sure".

No hesitation, no overheating.....yay!          But, Dave didn't like the way the alternator was performing.   Nothing dramatic, just not the way the gauge usually reads.   Do we ignore it and assume it will be fine - or do we change it out?     You know what Dave did,  don't you.     We got settled back in our Northern Quest Casino RV Park site and Dave ordered a new alternator.    Back underneath Beluga,  on the super hot blacktop, in the 100 degree heat, folding himself into very unnatural positons in very cramped spaces, in those same filthy, greasy coveralls.         This fix wasn't as difficult, or complicated as the water pump and we were able to pick up the new alternator the next day.

No more test drives.     We left Spokane yesterday morning and arrived at our next stop (Blue Valley RV Park) in Walla Walla, Washington  without mishap and in fine shape.   Needless to say we all slept well last night.

This is a very nice and well kept park a short way from the sweet downtown area, filled with good restaurants and wine tasting rooms.     The sites are ample and paved.    We're parked in a busier area of the campground than we (I) would normally pick, but when we pulled in yesterday the check in woman suggested we take this spot because it would give us shade on our patio side.    I'm grateful for her thoughtfulness in selecting this site, it's still WAY hot outside and shade is worth it's weight in gold.   We'll be here for 9 days before continuing on our way.

We spent our last week or so in Spokane working on Beluga, visiting and eating with Jesse and Erin, catching up with friends Allison and Jim and just generally getting ready to move again after sitting still for close to two months.   Laundry, cleaning, stocking the refrigerator, getting some new glasses, finishing up Lew's acupunture treatments, etc., etc....     In retrospect, I don't think the acupuncture did a lot for Lewis.....maybe a bit more flexible?   He enjoyed them (they treated him with freeze dried liver bits AND freeze dried minnows!) and they did no harm so I guess that's good enough.  

he enjoys killing his purple "fish" outside in the cooler evenings


 Dear ones at one of our Anniversary dinners

Dave and Molly have a "moment"   (dont' tell Lew)

they think we don't see them sneaking fries from the oven.....

Erin can't wait to try the mussels from Steve and MonaLiza

Molly performs the preliminary dish washing

Sky Way Cafe at Felt's Field airport

Dave waits for Allison and Jim to board

Oh Dave, we see you......

Jim and Dave watch a Piper Aztec

one of 4 B-52's that overflew the campground one weekend

Imagine our surprise when this neighbor arrived across from us!

So, today we're all just taking it easy and relaxing.   Watching drag racing on TV, snoozing...... Exploration and some wine tastings are on deck for the week ahead.     Stay tuned.




Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Not all fun and games and food and family

If my last post was idyllic, this one will not be....

When we last spoke, we were looking forward to a 10 day mini vacation in eastern Washington.    Jesse bought tickets to the NHRA Drag Race in Kent, Washington.   Dave was really looking forward to attending these races and I had planned a nice get away in that area for the rest of our ten days.    We were scheduled to have brunch with the daughter of an old friend on Sunday and afterward move to Wenatchee for some exploration in that new to us part of the state.

Sounded like fun.     You know that old saying "best laid plans of mice and men often go awry"?    Well, best laid plans went awry about 20 miles into our trip.

Beluga's temperature gauge spiked suddenly and Dave immediately pulled over on to the very narrow shoulder of I-90.      He got out and carefully made his way to the back to see if he could determine what happened.     If you've ever been stranded on the side of a very busy interstate highway in 100 degree heat you'll know what we were experiencing.        Beluga was rocking and rolling in the wind created by tractor trailers, etc. flying by at warp speeds.      Seized water pump was the diagnosis.     Luckily we were only about 5 miles from an exit into a very rural area so we took the chance that Beluga could limp that far and not blow the engine.    It was a tense few miles but I think we made it.     I say "I think" because, as of this minute, Beluga has not been completely put back together and tested....

We had a full tank of diesel so the generator was able to keep the air conditioning running as we waited for Coachnet to come to our aid.    Within minutes they had located a tow truck and called a number of different shops to facilitate our needed repairs.   Unfortunately Freightliner (our MH mfg.) and Caterpillar (our engine mfg) in Spokane wouldn't take us, Beluga was over their age limit!    Coachnet finally found someone, about an hour away from us, that would "take a look at it".     That didn't sound promising to Dave so he decided to try and do the repairs himself.     He's done lots of work on Beluga at the farm, in the nice big barn with all his tools but nothing like this - but it sounded like our best bet.

I called the wonderful people at Northern Quest Casino RV Park, the one we'd been at since July 1, and asked if they would allow us to come back to our spot....on the back of a tow truck.   This is a very nice park and I wasn't really sure they'd be happy with that request, but they immediately welcomed us back and asked what they could do to help.       Coachnet called with the name of the towing company and time it would arrive so all we had to do was wait.        After lunch a HUGE yellow truck arrived and it's driver proceeded to do all the necessary things to Beluga to make her towable.    I'm sure she was embarrassed and a little unsure,  but considering that the last time she was on the hook she was pulled through a long tunnel under Chesapeake Bay, this relatively short ride didn't look too bad.

   This poor guy had to crawl underneath, on the sizzling blacktop, several times to unhook some things, and unhook others.   He worked a long time before he was happy with the job.  

We were back in Spokane and very carefully placed into site 17 about 6 hours after our happy departure earlier that morning.

I'm quite sure we were the source of much happy hour conversation at the rv park that night.    Nothing like slipping in unobtrusively!

That was 13 days ago, 13 days of diagnosing, figuring out the logistics of such a large job parked in site 17, disassembling, locating, ordering and picking up various parts and specialty tools, making sure the recently operated on back was not stressed or twisted, enjoying a lovely 52nd anniversary dinner, attending Lewis's acupuncture appointments, and trying to stay cool and hydrated with 100 degree temperatures in brilliant sunshine.   Oh, and a few late night panic attacks concerning the possibility of water in the oil and did the package of O rings blow away along with the foam kneeler in the high winds......

Here are a few pictures.......

in the closet

under the bed

outside and underneath

on his knees

the culplrit

newly purchased water pump and buckets of old antifreeze

the oh so important ground tarp
(aka John's old slide topper)

one of the "specialty" tools purchased just for this job

As I write this Dave is outside, underneath and inside, in the closet and under the bed, putting things back together.    He expects (hopes) to have things finished and to start her up sometime tomorrow.    Finger's crossed everyone!