Day 806: Valley Forge NHP, Hopewell Furnace NHS

This morning I replaced the valve in the water pump selector switch.  The circular rubber gasket had failed, allowing the pump to draw air as well as water, so the pump didn’t work very well:

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We drove a few miles from Walmart to Valley Forge National Historical Park, where Washington’s army spent a winter with inadequate supplies during the Revolutionary War:

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Nice visitor center:

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Yes, these are our children:

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We drove the self-guided loop road:

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At one stop, a group of reenactors manned a small cannon:

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Our next stop was Washington’s headquarters for that winter:

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Washington’s bodyguard detail lived in these huts:

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The kids completed their Junior Ranger badges and received their badges:

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We continued northwest to visit Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, where the history of early American rural iron making is preserved:

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At the top of the furnace, charcoal, limestone, and iron ore were poured in to this hole to produce pig iron:

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This waterwheel drives the bellows that feed oxygen to the blast furnace:

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We were last here in May of 2005, so we tried to recreate a couple photos from that visit:

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The blacksmith shop:

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Here at the bottom of the blast furnace, a plug would be removed, allowing the molten pig iron to spill out:

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The kids completed their Junior Ranger workbooks and received their badges:

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On the way out we watched this herd of sheep:

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We continued west to overnight at the Walmart of Morgantown, PA.  See the trip map for today’s drive and our current location.

Day 613: Catching Up on RV Improvements

The last days of Passover were very pleasant.  We especially enjoyed having lunch with friends both days.  We moved from my Parents’ synagogue to my Parents’ house this morning.

Today I tried to complete a few repair and maintenance items.  I first checked the brakes, since they are squeaking.  Looks like there’s still a good bit of brake pad left:

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I also added a couple coats of clear coat to the bathroom door I stained before Passover:

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Tonight I tried to install heavier duty leaf springs on the RV, but it turns out the U-bolt kits that shipped with the springs are the wrong size, so I’ll have to give the vendor a call to get the right side.  I’ll have to put back the original leaf spring tomorrow.

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Day 474: The Walmart Battery Tug-of-War

We woke up to another cold morning, this time in the parking lot of the Walmart of Susanville, CA:

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Last night I attempted to exchange our RV batteries at Walmart. Since we live in an RV, I scan and throw away everything.  Unfortunately, Walmart changed it’s policy a year or so ago and now requires the original receipt.  This seems silly to me, as the Walmart register system knows from the barcode if the receipt is valid, to prevent people from returning the same item twice using one receipt, for example.  If the barcode is scanable, and the receipt is valid, why does the kind of paper it’s printed on matter?

When I called the Susanville Walmart from the parking lot, for whatever reason they said that a copy of receipt would be fine, so I took one of my two batteries in for exchange, as this has gone wrong too many times to go to the trouble of removing both batteries from the RV.  When I took in the battery, they said that since the battery didn’t say “2 year replacement” on it, the battery had no warranty at all.  I knew this was wrong, and eventually persuaded them to attempt the exchange, which of course worked.

The folks at the service counter weren’t sure this was OK, so they wouldn’t do the second battery without talking to the store manager.  This morning, I took the second battery in and the store manager was there.  He had a battery tester, which they didn’t use last night.  Thankfully the battery tested as bad, and he allowed me to exchange the battery.  So we now have two new batteries, and these batteries now have original receipts which I will be putting in ziplock bags and taping to the batteries.

After installing the new batteries, we drove southeast to Reno.  There, we topped off our diesel and refilled our propane at an incredible $1.86 per gallon!  We then continued on to overnight at the Walmart of Fallon, Nevada.  See the trip map for driving details and our current location.

Day 432: First Sukkah in Banks

This morning we built a small sukkah at Jason and Carrie’s house.  We found an 8’ x 8’ platform (or something) that we set on its side and attached with a pair of 2x3s to the wall of this concrete pad area:

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The kids all helped to put the schach in place:

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Not to shabby for 30 minutes of work:

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To avoid having an accident on the way back to Portland for the last days of sukkos, I installed the new brake assemblies on the RV.  First I removed the wheels and hubs:

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Next I removed the brake assemblies from the axles:

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Because of faulty (or incorrectly installed) grease seals, the brake assemblies became filled with grease, making them useless:

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I eventually cleaned the grease out the hubs so they could be reinstalled:Day432_10

New hub assemblies installed:

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Finally I reinstalled the hubs and wheels.  Tomorrow I’ll replace the one brake assembly on the other side that needs replacing.

Meanwhile, Trish worked with the three girls making wire jewelry:

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The kids enjoyed the company of the kitten:

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And of course, M rode his new motorcycle today quite a bit as well:

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Day 366: Leaf spring replacement

From the Lowe’s of Kalispell, we drove a few miles to an RV shop that had a replacement for our broken leaf spring.  I purchased a pair since both sides of the axle should be replaced so that the axle rides level.  To remove the leaf spring, I removed the tire, unbolted the axle from the spring, and unbolted the spring from the frame.  At last it was out.  The gap in the photo below is where the leaf cracked and slid away from the center:

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Here’s the RV with the spring removed:

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Bolting the new spring in place:

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Replacing the tire:

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While I was doing this, Trish did our laundry, so we regrouped with clean clothes and a working RV.  We drove South through Missoula to Corvallis, Montana to visit Tricia’s Aunt Linda, who lives on a horse farm here.  We’re looking forward to spending a few days here before moving on.

Good Shabbos from Corvallis, Montana!  See the trip map for today’s drive and our current location.