I mentioned previously how our mirror got hit while we were in Mexico. [Story here] The repair I made while in Mulege worked well, but I’d had to ruin the heating element, and the outside chrome housing for the mirror was badly scratched. So the new one arrive the other day! I’d thought it would be a pretty easy replacement, but as always, it turned out to be more of a job than I’d anticipated. (Who’d have guessed, right?) It wasn’t that the job was so hard, but that I needed several extra hands, some inside the coach and some outside. So great neighbor Chuck helped Cherryl and I, and we got it done! It’s beautiful now, and I presume the heater works. Seeing as we avoid driving in lousy enough weather to test it, maybe we’ll never know!
After we got the new tires installed, I thought we’d better get the motorhome’s alignment checked and adjusted. After the roads in Alaska and Mexico, it wouldn’t be surprising if we’d knocked something out of alignment.
We have what is called a “Steerable Tag” axle behind the drive axle. It carries up to 10K pounds, and also improves drivability dramatically. When driving forward, it casters, or turns slightly to avoid scrubbing tires and allow sharper turns. When going in reverse, it just unweights and locks straight ahead. The point of this paragraph is that I figured they’d want to align that tag axle as well as the front. I was surprised to find they not only do those two, but the drive axle as well! I guess these big chassis have plenty of adjustments available.
Here’s a very short video of them driving our motorhome into the shop. I guess I’m including it just because I rarely see the motorhome driving around. Waste 38 seconds on it if you want to…
So once they got the rig pretty much into the shop, and lined up perfectly, they attached these brackets on all the wheels. I couldn’t help thinking of Orthodontics! I’d never thought I’d see our motorhome in braces! But both conventional orthodontics and motorhome orthodontics have the same goal – to straighten and align properly. And both systems use brackets on the objects to be moved. Fun! These brackets are a little too large to use intraorally! They also have lasers attached to them, and wires leading back to a computer… those features would also be difficult in the mouth.
They put brackets on all the wheels, and used a clever gadget held up against a tire to move the motorhome forward or back a bit as they needed.
They spent hours getting it right, and then when the foreman was showing me the computer printout of all the settings and measurements, he looked at one number, frowned, and said “We should be able to do better than that!” You’re not in a hurry are you?” So they hooked all the brackets on again, and redid all the adjustments. Another hour or two and they had it all done, and liked the numbers this time. So a shout out for Accu-Trac in Tucson: great folks committed to doing a job correctly.
One day I rode with Chuck and another friend Don to check out potential sites for astrophotography. There was a campground they’d heard of and wanted to check out. It was an hour or so from Tucson, but the last 6 miles was washboard dirt road. We all said we’d not want to force that road on our poor RVs, so we won’t be headed back to that place.
It was cold, windy and intermittently raining, so we said driving around was as good as anything.
We stopped by the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, where they have a nice museum. One fascinating exhibit was this skeleton of an owl… which was interesting enough, but there was also the skeleton of a hummingbird! It was far less than two inches long. Amazing to see the bones and structure of such a tiny creature, and one that is so agile (when fully clothed.)
The main draw for this Refuge is the Masked Bobwhite Quail. They were once thought to be extinct – basically for over 100 years. For the last 5 years or so, this Refuge has been breeding these birds in captivity, and releasing them when they seemed ready. The program is working, with a few of the released birds breeding. There are no pictures of them here, because the only ones we saw were in cages and not very photogenic.
We grabbed lunch in the VERY little town of Arivaca. A nice lunch on a rainy day with good friends – great!
We spotted a Coyote off the side of the road, and I managed to get a shot of him before we parted ways.
Later on the way home, the clouds left us, and we got some beautiful blue skies.
For quite a ways, we had a fantastic rainbow guiding us home! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one quite so low on the horizon.
Last week I put up some pictures of painting my little woodcarved handyman. He’s finally finished…
We’ve had some really crazy weather here, with many nights approaching freezing. But every once in a while we have a spectacular sunset… Like this: