Friday, February 24, 2017

Clear Coat Repaint

Opus is going to be a teenager this May, turning 13 years old. While we have been diligent with annual maintenance there are some things that just wear out over time. Last fall we installed new suspension air bags at Spartan and I removed the Diamond Shield from the front. We have replaced both TVs and the microwave convection oven. One problem that has been getting worse is the peeling clear coat on the roof and end caps. I contacted a friend who had this job done at CJ's RV Repair Specialists in Yuma and was happy with the job. We made an appointment for January 2 to have the work done. As it seems with all the RV service we have done, many things don't go as planned. 
If you click on the picture to enlarge it you can see were it was pealing above the running lights. It was worse on top and was starting to spread to the sides of the roof.
After a day where they did nothing because they had misplaced our information, they started by removing the tape between the front cap and roof. They found a couple loose screws and added a strip, that Newmar had not installed, before they sanded.
After doing the same to the back they sanded all the areas that they would repaint before doing the new clear coat.
Once they got started there were three men working on it sanding and taping to get ready to paint. See the ladder in the front, that is where the first problem arose when they put a scratch on the front. Obviously I was not happy but it turned out they were able to rub out the scratch. 
After a day with three men working on it, it was ready to paint the next day. I was happy that the winds were calm and it was dry, as all the work was done outside. I was surprised that they did the paint and clear coat in one day, but by late in the day after drying for three hours it was all done, almost. While checking things out I found ANOTHER nick on the front that went down to the primer.
The finished job looked good but it was late in the day so we would need to return to have them take care of the nick. First plan was to take Opus back for a day while we were still in Yuma, a pain in the butt move.  
We opted for plan two, stop on our way from San Diego to Tucson for one night. That way we could industrial camp for the night and they could work on it early the next morning and we could be on the road to Tucson by 11AM. 
The finished top looked very good, BUT, when I went up on the roof to take this picture I noticed the antenna (far right) was gone. When I called CJ's to confirm our return visit and tell them about the antenna, I was happy to be told it was on the owner's desk as they had forgotten to reattach it.
So here is Opus back at CJ's with one man on the roof attaching the antenna while another touched up the nick and a couple others we have picked up over the years. 
While I know it is there and I can see it, at least it now matches the rest of the paint. Overall I was happy with the results of the job we had gone there to get done. That said, how can anyone be happy when your rig is damaged while it is being worked on (even if they fix it) and as so often happens with RV repairs a second visit was needed, something that happens way to often.

We are now at Tra-Tal RV Park in Tucson until the middle of March when we will be moving 25 miles to the Escapade for 10 days of working and getting caught up with many friends.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Our Last Week in San Diego - Art Museum and More

We had one more week in San Diego after Mike and Sherri headed back to WashPA. We needed a couple days to recoup from daily touring and to catch up on laundry. We wanted to go back to Balboa Park (where we had already visited the zoo, automotive and air and space museums), get in another bike ride and have dinner with Paul (Trudi was visiting her son) before heading to Tucson. 
The San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park dates back to the early 1900's when it opened as part of an exhibition promoting the city following the opening of the Panama Canal. It has a wonderful collection of works from around the world. It is one of seventeen museums in Balboa Park.
The museum has a great variety of art. Here is a Georgia O'Keeffe.
A Calder mobile.
I thought this was interesting. They not only have the print, they have the original etching plate that was used to print it. 
There is a huge collection of Asian art and artifacts.
A beautiful Asian tile wall. 
A Salvador Dali. We saw a lot of his work at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. 
The Botanical Building is among the most unusual we have ever seen. It is made like a woven basket exposing the interior to the elements. Only in a place with weather like San Diego can you have an open air garden building. The lily pond has koi and while we were standing there a heron captured a small one and flew off with a meal. 
A few of the large variety of beautiful orchids.
Inside and outside at the same time. The open weave allows for plenty of sunshine and fresh air.
The Japanese Friendship Garden is one of several special gardens throughout the park.
The main plaza and the Museum of Man, which has anthropology exhibits and the California Tower. We did not go to that museum so we did not get to climb the tower.
The trees were in full bloom, spring comes early to California, and were an interesting contrast to the red sculpture.
The Casa del Prado is a wonderful example of Spanish style architecture.
One of many fountains in the park. Balboa Park is one of those places you could visit every day and still not see it all. We did the zoo, a few museums and walked around the museum complex and only saw a small part of this 1200 acre park and cultural center. 

We had a great time in San Diego getting together with our friends Bernie, Dodo, Paul, Trudi, Mike and Sherri and exploring the area. While the weather was not the best, too much, much needed rain, and the temps didn't allow for wearing shorts all winter, we loved the city and all it has to offer.  From great restaurants, to cultural experiences and the chance to do many outdoor activities. Our visit confirmed what we have always heard, that San Diego is one of the best places to live in the country. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Del, Automotive and Air and Space Museums

The last couple of days of Mike and Sherri's visit continued to be a whirlwind of touring the Coronado and two museums in Balboa Park. We also found neat places to eat and played guys against the girls euchre. I'm sad to report that the results of the euchre playing was not to my liking at all. The girls kicked butt!
The Hotel del Coronado was built in the 1880's when it was the largest resort hotel in the world. The Victorian style building is still the second largest wooden structure in the United States.
Nanc, Mike and Sherri rubbing shoulders with the upper crust at the Del. Even though it is over 125 years old the building is very beautiful. Checking room prices they ranged from only $319 to $1199 a night. I'm liking my bed in Opus a lot better than those prices.
One of the original ballrooms with a neat vaulted ceiling. We were going to have lunch at the Del, but were scared away by the prices. Mike and Sherri needed a snack and had two small bags of chips and one diet Coke, $12.00.
The sand man on the beach had a couple beautiful sand sculptures. This one to celebrate the upcoming Valentine's Day.
This one just a neat sand castle.
Happy Valentine's Day from Mike and Sherri at the Coronado.
Nanc and I getting ready for Valentine's Day. The hotel is sure worth a visit, being one of the classic wooden Victorian structures in the US.
Another day we visited a couple more San Diego sights. The San Diego Automotive Museum has a great collection of old cars and motorcycles.
The special exhibit at this time was first responders vehicles through the ages.
Part of the motorcycle exhibit was the bike the Fonz rode on Happy Days. Very cool just like the Fonz.
They had a neat display of Indian Motorcycles including a new 2016 model.
Mike really liked the this old Studebaker because it was the first car he owned.
The most unique car in the museum is Louie Mattar's Fabulous Car. It is a 1947 Caddy that Louie spent $75,000 modifying in order to drive non-stop, 6,320 miles, from San Diego to New York and back in 1952. There were three drivers, a trailer with water and fuel (that they refilled on the fly at airstrips), a TV, mobile phone, shower, toilet and a system to change a flat tire without stopping. In 1954 he drove non-stop from Anchorage to Mexico City. Here is a link to a YouTube video about the Louie and the car.
An old midget racer. I think this is like the one our friend Tom's dad had years ago. The automotive museum is a must see in San Diego for anyone who likes old cars and bikes.
The San Diego Air & Space Museum has a great collection of aircraft from early planes to space crafts and modern military planes. At the entrance is a Convair YF2F-1 Seadart and a Lockheed A-12.
The Apollo 9 capsule used in 1969. It was the third manned flight in the Apollo program and spent 10 days in Earth's orbit testing equipment for the flight to the moon later that year.
Great display of WWI planes, You can see famous WWI pilot Snoopy.
This exhibit shows the many commercial airlines through the years. It is hard to believe there were so many in just over 100 years of flight.
A McDonnell Douglas F-4J/S Phantom II.
We did a 4-D (the seats move) movie. They were a couple cartoon shorts that were a lot of fun. Sherri was not happy that she was not able to get a quick nap because the seats were shaking.
Model of an aircraft carrier that was part of a display of WWII naval aircraft. The air and space museum has a nice collection of aircraft, but does not come close to others we have seen across the country. 
Look at those smiles when we dropped them off at the airport to send them back to the winter weather in WashPA. You should have seen the smiles on our faces. Just kidding, we loved having Mike and Sherri and we all had a FUN filled week. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

San Diego Whales and LA

We continued the whirlwind schedule with Mike and Sherri squeezing as many SoCal sights as possible into one week. The weather was changing with more overcast skies expected so that dictated what we would do and when we would do it. 
Mike and Sherri have never seen whales, so high on their list was a whale watching cruise. On Saturday it was a bit cool and breezy with six to eight rolling waves but the sky was clear making it a great day to be on the water. We opted for the 3-1/2 hour Hornblower Whale Cruise on a bigger boat where we could be inside or outside.
San Diego is a great place to see Gray Whales in the winter as they are making their 12,000 mile round trip from the feeding grounds of the Bering and Chukchi Seas to the mating and calving lagoons in Baja California. Our first sighting was the fluke of a diving whale.
 The spouts of water as they blow out air is what you need to look for to find them. Here are three whales traveling together. I got many pictures of nothing but water.
They all three dove together and I managed to get two of the flukes. 
Another fluke. It was neat seeing these huge animals with the city in the background. We saw eleven whales, some traveling alone and others in groups of two or three. 
A whale spy-hopping, where they extend their heads up to ten feet out of the water to look around. We have seen whales in Newfoundland, Alaska and California and we never get tired of seeing these magnificent animals.
The whale cruise comes out of San Diego Bay so you get a great view of Point Loma with the lighthouses, Coast Guard station and Cabrillo National Monument.
San Diego Harbor and skyline. If you want to see whales San Diego in the winter is a great place with a 96% chance of finding them every day.
Mike and Sherri wanted to say they have been on Route 66 in every state and wanted to go to Santa Monica where it ends on the pier. Sunday was a cool overcast day but great to drive to LA to avoid the worst of the crazy California traffic.
Sherri and Mike at the "End of the Trail". They have not driven the whole route but they have now been on Route 66 in the seven states it crosses.  Very cool!!
There were several entertainers on the pier singing, playing and selling their CDs. Here is Nanc with Lenny Hoops who did a great Louis Armstrong. There were quite a few acts, but not nearly as many as you will find in Key West.
We have never been here and found the Santa Monica Pier a worthwhile stop if you are in LA. All the people, the amusement park and a great beach make for a fun day. 
Mike and Sherri checking out all the places they have been along 2448 miles of Route 66.
The amusement park is very neat with many kids rides, a roller coaster and a tall Ferris Wheel, all on the pier over the Pacific Ocean.
The old carousel with hand carved horses is also very neat. We opted not to go for a ride.
We wanted to show Mike and Sherri how the 1% lives so we went to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Mike wanted to stop at one of the upscale stores, Prada, Cartier, Tiffany, etc. to buy Sherri a gift, but fortunately for him we could not find a parking spot, saving him a few hundred dollars.
The last thing on their LA to do list was to see the Hollywood sign. We got a good look from a distance while driving around the Hollywood and Vine area where the stars on the Walk of Fame are located. It was then back to San Diego for a couple more days of exploring before Mike and Sherri head back to WashPA.  What a great road trip it was!