At the mechanic in Mobile, AL

I sure wish we could keep that hood shut. This squeaking noise we have been hearing just won’t go away, so we decided to stop in Mobile, AL to have someone look at it. Ideal Truck Fleet, we stopped here near lunch time and the important person was out lunch. The nice young girl ventured into the shop to see if someone could look at our engine and one mechanic said, “everyone is on a job”. He didn’t have a lot of other words come out of his mouth that made us feel warm and cozy, but the girl assured me he is always like that. She said if he isn’t then there is something wrong.

After about 45 minutes of waiting he had us pull up to a bay and take a look. It took him about 30 minutes to diagnosis the problem and about another 30 to fix it. A bag tensioner pulley. Really, he turned out to be a great guy. He shared with us some valuable information about our engine and what to watch out for. Considering they don’t typically work on walk in customers, we got very lucky and off we go again…2 hours later.

We really need to plan better.

Welcome to Mississippi

When you fail to plan you either have to pay with Cash, as we did last night, or with lack of amenities, as we did tonight. We had trouble finding our next RV park after leaving Fort Walton, FL and this is what we ended up with. Just off the highway in a dirt lot with some abandoned RVs. Except our neighbors, they have been there for a month. Doing what, we have no idea. But at $50/night for this place, we really missed our place last night. We had to travel to Mississippi for this wonderful night. It rained, alot

The poorly made retaining wall holding us up on our dirt platform is deteriorating with the heavy rain as we type. I sure hope in the morning we can drive up this hill out of here, or worse get washed down the embankment

It’s not all fun and games out here.

Today we left Cedar Key, FL and headed back out that 25 mile stretch of highway to get back to the nearest road going north out of Florida. CampTel where we stayed was one to write home about. The whole Cedar Key is one to write home about.

Camptel is has every make and model of Tiny Homes accounted for inside it’s perimeter. Container homes, Tiny Homes, RVs, DIY Homes and one Skoolie, ours.

Chess anyone?

We travelled north and made it to the panhandle of Florida. Tropical Storm Claudette was still lingering North and west of us, but that did not deter us. What we really wanted to see was Apalachicola. We have unforgettable memories of this place. These memories are from a different time in our lives. This was our first overnight sail, actually 2 nights. We were unprepared and inexperienced. Neglecting to look at the weather or understand the land layout in the ocean, we set sail from Panama City, FL to Clearwater, FL. It was an eventful night. While we were rounding Apalachicola cape the winds were racing around the cape, the waters shallowed up and the waves increased. We both remember looking at the knotmeter and reading 0.0 kph. It was a long night.

Nevertheless, we wanted to see it again but from a different vantage point. Much less terrifying being on land.

We drove along the outer islands of Alligator Point to San Blas Cape. Stopped along the way to enjoy the beach and coffee. Claudette did not forget to rain on us, but it was still nice. Why is it always raining when we are trying to find the bathrooms walking outside.

Off we go again, it’s early afternoon and we are headed another couple hours to our stop for the night. Traveling through Fort Walton Beach, FL and all seemed to be going well. Until a distinct odor of antifreeze/coolant filled the cab of the bus. Hmmm…that seems odd, maybe it’s someone in front of us. We continue to drive and monitor the temperature gauge. The smell does not subside and the temperature gauge starts to climb. Uh-oh. Houston, I think we have a problem. As the temperature gauge continues to climb, we don’t have much room for error on the temperature gauge, for the bus runs warm the way it normally runs. We quickly pull into an abandoned bank parking lot where someone is pulled in the one time drive through listening to the car radio really loud. That seems odd too.

Pop the hood and sure enough, our 3rd coolant hose has sprung a leak and we lost 6 gallons of coolant. Check for nearest auto parts store, 6 miles, too far to walk, call Uber, Marina waits with the bus while I Uber to the O’reily’s for a hose that this store does not carry. We will just have to find one that is close. An hour later and 6 gallons of coolant later we are back on the road. NASCAR would have been proud of our repair performance.

We made it to our RV Park before dark, but without planning ahead we were stuck with the choice of $100+/night or the $200+/night choices. We choose the prior. Albeit, it was a nice park

Concrete, level parking spaces, tree lined privacy from your neighbors, kids playing in the streets, oh our neighbors won the award for kindness. We were eating our dinner, chicken again, of course. Our neighbors spotted us and proceeded to offer us about 2 lbs of boiled shrimp, still warm, they just purchased. So peel and eat shrimp and curried chicken for dinner it was.

Day 1, again

Six Goodyear tires are on, engine’s not smoking, drives straight down the street, ICP sensor replaced. twice, coolant leaks fixed, EGR hose that blew while the mechanic was driving is replaced, coolant reservoir replaced. All should be good, right? What could possibly go wrong now.

A/C woes

The story is familiar.  We purchased a Coleman 15k btu air conditioner from a mobile RV mechanic near West Palm.  He said it worked an was 4 years old.  To his credit, it may have worked when he pulled it from the RV in which he placed a new A/C.  But we are not having much luck getting it to give us any cold air.

Yes, I watched the video.  I watched several videos. Lots of good, and bad, stories out there. Nevertheless, I ordered the infamous capacitor, a small price to pay for fix. The problem is I don’t think that’s the last price I will have to pay. It may also be the control board. Luckily Amazon Prime will have that capacitor to us tomorrow and the truth will be told.

Exhaust System Rerouted

Exhaust out the side

So in order to free up some precious space underneath the bus we needed to reroute the exhaust pipe. It originally ran from the front of the bus all the way to the very back. This 4″ exhaust pipe occupied a lot of space and nothing could be close to it because of the heat.

So, we removed the pieces of exhaust that were pieced together from the bank of the bus up and over the rear axel stopping 2 feet before the muffler. Now all we needed was an elbow which we got from NAPA to make the turn out the passenger’s side. The next step was to cut off about a foot of the exhaust pipe still remaining and then place the elbow on that shortened exhaust pipe. With the elbow in place we were able to use a piece of the tail pipe we removed to attach to the elbow and run it out between the fuel tank and the rear tire.

The only part you really see is the cool cheap stainless steel exhaust tip.

Tank Supports Installed

Tank Mounts

Building a bus in Stuart has it’s challenges. Stuart is not a metropolis for building material. While Stuart does offer Lowes and The Home Depot as well as two electrical supply stores right next door to each other, what it’s lacking is selection. The Aisles of this Home Depot are not long enough to show the curvature of the earth as they are in other cities. In fact you can walk across the entire store in about 30 seconds. So with the limited floor space, this also limits selection.

Of course we try to order things online, but when times get tough and lack of planning stumbles upon us, we spend a lot of time at one the big box stores. Marina knows exactly where the restroom is in both stores and is pretty fluent with the Hardware and Electrical aisle at this point.

Nevertheless, we have the supports for our 4 tanks almost up. It’s always almost. Four tanks all the same size all 40 gallons. Two for water and two for black and gray water. The tanks still need to be ordered and that will take about 4 weeks. I better get on that.

15K BTU Air Conditioner -:O

Coleman 15K btu Air Conditioner

I have no idea how much air conditioning we need for a 28′ bus, but I believe this unit should eliminate the need for a fridge. This is the biggest unit that Coleman makes. It’s the grand daddy of A/C units. We purchased them from some mobile RV repair guy in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. The jury is still out on how well it works, or if it works. $250!

But what we did get was some really good Tacos in Palm Beach Gardens at Chula Taco or Taco Chula. Regardless, they are the real deal. Great tacos!

We have not had too many clean jobs.

Dirty Jobs

So far our work has been dirty. Whether it’s removing fiberglass insulation, sanding old glue, angle grinder dust (lots of it), painting the floor, washing the under carriage or just sweeping up the debris, Marina always looks like a bunny