Wednesday, March 1, 2023

March 2023

Wednesday: (03/01) Today was one of a group of three reasonably nice days before the rain returns. I worked on the van building the closet over the bed. Tomorrow I’ll remove both the microwave and closet cabinet to paint them. I also need to campher the bottom edges. I banged my head into the closet moments after starting the frame for it. I had a ham, egg, and cheese sandwich for breakfast. Salad for lunch. Lou made wet tater tots with white sauce, peppers, onions, hamburger, olives and ? So good.

Thursday: (03/02) I removed the cabinets from the van with the intention of routing a curved edge on the cabinets to reduce injuries to my head. I only got the cabinets removed when Lou preempted my day with a request to plant the two trees she bought: a lemmon and an apple tree. I had to dig two 2’ diameter 2’ deep holes and transport the clay dirt to the back yard where I needed some fill. I added some mulch to the dirt and tilled it to pulverize the clay and mix the mulch in. I then brought some of the mix back and planted the trees with it. This endeavor to a good part of my day. After lunch, since I was already dirty, I got to work on finishing the leaf and limb debris cleanup from behind the tent and cottage. I filled two more 60 gallon bins with the debris. After that, I finally returned to the planned project, the cabinets. I Added a needed 2x2 brace and trimmed another board. And then started looking for my router and router bit. I found a router and then found a bit but they don’t fit each other. The router is my ½” collet router and the bit is a ¼” shaft bit. I couldn’t find the correct router in my disorganized shop. Tomorrow I’ll either locate the router or visit Harbor Freight to solve my problem. Granola and diced pears for breakfast. Leftover Spanish rice for lunch with Lou’s homemade brownies. I had a BBQ pulled pork sandwich for dinner.

Friday: (03/03) Our third no rain day. I started my work day by cleaning out a path down the aisle in my shop. It was cluttered with cardboard cheers I saved from various purchases with the intent to use them for templates on the van build. I no longer need them. I also tied up a bunch of used lumber I’d collected. Before moving the materials back, I was able to locate my objective, my router. After putting the stuff back in a better organized manner I had more room to access stuff in the aisle. I brought out the cabinets and added deeper countersink holes where needed to get the screw heads below the surface. I then routed the edges and sanded the cabinets. I then painted a prime coat on the cabinets. After that it was getting cold and I took the rest of the day off since I didn’t know when the rain would start. Granola for breakfast. Roast chicken for lunch. Eggplant casserole for dinner.

Saturday: (03/04) Granola for breakfast. I reinstalled the cabinets and sanded them. I had intended to mask the walls and floor and paint the color coat but the rain started. I decided to wait out the rain but never got back to it. We went to lunch at Harry’s Hofbrau in Redwood City. It was the usual prime rib for Lou and Dawn and lasagna for me. Of course there was the required thrift store visit and other shopping on the way home. We enjoyed the three artichokes from our garden and corn on the cob for dinner.

Sunday: (03/05) A partially overcast day with occasional showers and a heavy rain last night. A nice ham egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast. I made a quick run to Trader Joe’s and ACE. I needed fresh masking tape. The older rolls I have keep tearing rather than unreeling. I also picked up my ciabatta rolls and eggs at TJ. I worked on the van today, masking around the cabinets and painting two coats of color paint. After the last coat I stripped the masking. Only a couple of spots where the paint got on the adjacent varnished wall panels. Roast chicken for lunch. More chicken with honey coated Brussels sprouts and rice for dinner.

Monday: (03/06) Granola for breakfast. I worked on the van reinstalling the ceiling and wall panels that I had removed to install the cabinets. Lots of trimming to make them fit around and in the cabinets. I had to dodge the occasional sprinkles. I go all but the ceiling pieces the go inside the two cabinets. A chili relleno with rice for lunch from Tacos El Grullense for lunch. Dawn and I went to Aqui’s in Cupertino for dinner. Always interesting things on the menu.

Tuesday: (03/07) Granola for breakfast. I took a walk this morning. I walked over to the Arizona Garden at Stanford. I noticed a drone flying overhead. Nothing wrong with that as far as I was concerned but I was interested because it was circling around the garden. I guess my interest provided some concern for the operator so he came over to mention that it was his and he was with Stanford University. They were using the video to make a 3D model of the garden. They also used a lidar device on the ground and merged the data for the model creation. This time is the before model. They will do it again later when the garden is in bloom. I guess I may be able to check out my garden in the comfort of my man cave sometime in the future. I continued my walk into downtown Palo Alto and got a slice of pizza for lunch before heading back home via Emerson Street. My walk was about 7.3 miles. Back home I relaxed the rest of the afternoon. Lou made her zucchini and onions with sausage for dinner.

Wednesday: (03/08) I prepared corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast. While in the cooking mood, I also started pork chops with sauerkraut and potatoes for tonight's dinner. While I got carried away cooking I missed my Wednesday webinar. I’ll have to get it on Youtube later. Later I got to work on the van. I did some wet testing of the water system. I had two leaks and a gusher while testing. One leak at the output of the pump required replacing the crimp clamp. Another required more tightening of the inlet hose to the water heater. However, the third was a gusher when a connection popped apart for the feed to the pump. It turns out it hadn’t been crimped. This even after a half dozen specific checks for that potential problem. All seems to work except I’ve decided to replace the outdoor shower valve because it doesn’t allow full flow. It’s a thermostatically controlled valve. I’m replacing it with simple inline valves. I want full flow to be able to hose off things like the feet, kayak, bicycle and van. I can manage even temperature by using a timer on the hot water tank or setting the tank temperature lower. It shouldn’t take long to learn how long it takes to heat up to a nice temperature. It has a crank timer on it anyway. After a few mods, I will try again this Friday. Lou and Dawn were out all day thrifting and shopping.

Thursday: (03/09) Rainy. Leftover corned beef hash for breakfast. Lou and I went to check our safe deposit box trying to locate our birth certificates. No luck. The pookas must have moved them.

Friday: (03/10) Rainy in the morning. I prepared some hash from the leftover sauerkraut potatoes and pork for breakfast. I installed the new outdoor shower valves and fittings and reworked the piping to accommodate them. Then I tested the water heater and checked everything for leaks. All seemed good. Chinese food from Wok On and Lucky Bistro for lunch. Dawn made dinner.

Saturday: (03/11) Rainy all day. Granola for breakfast. We were off early to Newark to go to a sale at Airport Appliance which Lou wanted to go to to get a new washer. She doesn’t think the old one is working well enough. We got there as they opened and found the one cheap (which I like) and low feature top loading washer (which Lou likes ). We were in the Jeep which is always fully loaded with three people, a scooter and miscellaneous junk so I returned later in the van to pick up the washer. After the purchase we stopped at several thrift stores before stopping for lunch at the Asian Cafe. I like the place and stop by when I pass by for the occasional hike. We returned home about 1530. I then had to unload all the loose stuff from the van and secure some items before I departed to pick up the washer. There was about a 25 minute wait for them to load the washer since the loading dock was busy with lots of pick ups. Salad for lunch. Chicken for dinner.

Sunday: (03/12) Rainy all day so I left the washer in the van. Granola for breakfast. Leftover Chinese food for lunch. Tinkered inside all day.

Monday: (03/13) Some rain in the morning and light sprinkles much of the rest of the day. Granola for breakfast. Leftovers for lunch. I also rechecked the water lines for leaks and found a slow drip on one of the vent lines which I tightened. I may have to replace the screw clamp and try to get a crimp clamp crimped in the tight access. The next project was to unload the new washer from the van and swap out the old washer. Since the old one still worksI’m planning on installing it by the greenhouse of utility use. I installed the two side walls into the shower compartment. Later, I got the table saw out and cut some pieces for the mounting of the microwave and refrigerator and ripped more 2x2 boards to finish the shower framing and Dawn’s seat. I picked up a chili relleno with rice, beans and fresh tortillas for lunch. Dawn made rice with corn, peas and chicken for dinner.

Tuesday: (03/14) Scrambled eggs with ham and cheese for breakfast. Heavy rain this morning followed by high winds. I couldn’t do anything outside. Later in the afternoon I attempted to go to get my license renewed but just got stuck in stopped traffic on the freeway and on other roads. I’m not sure what the stoppage was. Some of the no freeway roads traffic signals were dark which didn’t help but should have caused full stoppages on Highway 280 and Foothill Expressway. Salad for lunch. Lou and Dawn left early for a couple of appointments. Leftover rice with corn, peas and chicken for dinner.

Wednesday: (03/15) Lou made eggs, bacon and leftover sauerkraut potatoes for breakfast. I started to do a little cleanup of the limbs in the backyard deposited from our high winds. Our yard man arrived and pointed out I was doing his job so I found a nice chair for some tea. I usually have a webinar on Wednesdays but there wasn’t one today. So Lou and I headed off to the back to deposit a check that had been returned. You can’t do that with their app, unfortunately. That project took more time because our bank branch moved from a location 2 blocks from the house to a location in Los Altos. And, all the power was out in the village of Los Altos including our bank. So, off we went to the Sunnyvale Branch. Mission accomplished. We picked up lunch from Super Taqueria on the way home. Back home I got to work on the van, I installed a cable for the pump switch and indicator by the sink and in the rear of the van. I can wire it up on a foul weather day but the cable had to go in before the back wall of the shower goes in. I also laid out the sink valve locations and installed (temporarily) the shower valve. I also sanded and prime painted a bunch of 2x2’s and some other pieces to be used in securing the microwave and refrigerator. Dawn made spinach, chicken and rice for dinner.

Thursday: (03/16) A nice day. I made a pork chop, egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast. I made a run to ACE Hardware, Lowe’s and Home Depot and Walmart. I needed a few plumbing parts for the van and some shelf paper.I made an exception to my never shop at the MAGA Home Depot store because all my power tools at Ryobi and I needed a couple of more batteries for them. Back home, I fought the contact shelf paper trying to get it installed on the microwave and clothes compartments. I also pulled in a wire for the light under the microwave cabinet. I also made a mounting flange fore the light installation out of some plywood and then painted it. I also cut the ceiling panels for the two cabinets then varnished them. And finally, I made up some of the plumbing feeding the kitchen sink valves and the shower valve. I’m still waiting for a valve to control the hot water recycle. Salad for lunch. BBQ ribs with corn on the cob and a baked potato for dinner.

(03/17) Another pork chop and egg with cheese sandwich for breakfast. I worked on the van again today. I installed the ceilings in the two cabinets. I installed the light under the microwave cabinet and energized it. I mounted the microwave in its cabinet by installing the two anchors under the feet and tied it down with plumbers tape. I also installed the trim that anchors the refrigerator in its cabinet. I replaced one of the 2x2 structural members that had cutouts where they are not needed and needs more cutouts in the correct place. All in all, a productive day. I also made a parts fun to ACE for some screws. Salad for lunch Corned beef and cabbage for dinner.

Saturday: (03/18) Granola for breakfast. I started to wire up the pump control switches . I installed some wire molding for the wire as it passes through the storage cabinet to the rear of the van. I also trimmed the wires to length by the shower. Then, I decided my best use of this clear day with rainy days coming soon, was to work on the sink cabinet. I have been trying to figure a way to install the wiring for the sink counter outlet nd the water heater timer to fit in the 1.5 inch wall depth of the shower wall. It is just too tight so i gave up and decided to make the lower portion of the wall 3” deep by adding a second 1.5” stud. It just goes up about 8 inches above the counter top of the sink.Above that will be a spice rack. After widening the wall I started the sink cabinet, or at least made a good start. I built the 2x2 (1.5”x1.5”) frame and added a couple of the sides. The side behind the sliding van door will include a drop down table top. The side adjacent to that will have a drop down counter extension. The inside front will have a cabinet door. I sill need to do the cabinet door which will be later when I do all the cabinet doors. I have the counter extension support on orf=der and need to get a hinge for the outside drop down table top. I now need to disassemble the sides and paint them and do some other painting the the installed cabinet framework. It’s nice to see another cabinet taking shape. I did measure and measure again and again and sill cut the side of the cabinet ⅜” too narrow. I was going to use the router to round the edge of the panel but now need to get some ¼ round molding to make that radius. Everything is fixable. A BBQ pulled pork and cheese sandwich for lunch. Leftover corned beef and cabbage for dinner.

Sunday: (03/19) Granola for breakfast. We had a good rain in the early morning and a forecast of possible showers all day. So, rather than bring my saw outside and dodge showers all day, I decided to do another task. Our neighbor wants to install a fence beside his garage that borders out backyard. There would only be 9 inches of space between a fence and his garage wall. We’ve tried to convince him it is a very bad idea and will end us as a rat refuge when it gets filled with leaf debris for the redwood and oak trees above it. We’ve put it off for several years but he still wants it. I have a stack of flagstone rocks that would be in part of the path so today, I moved the pile and cleared the ara so he can install his fence. It was a pile about 3’x3’x8’. I only moved it about 10’ into the tent next to it. I also cleared up the leaf debris that our recent storm left back there as well. I just cleared it three weeks ago and still filled two 60 gallon compost bins with just the new debris. Once I started I just continued to work at it not taking lunch and I finished up about 1600. After a nice shower, I had a BBQ pulled pork and cheese sandwich for lunch. Then it was nap time. I just had some ramen noodles later that night for dinner.

Monday: (03/20) Nice day even though it was a little cool. I finally got bold enough to cut a hole in the floor of the van for the ink. I also drilled a pilot hole for the shower to determine if it has clearance below. Fortunately it does. I still need to determine what size hole is best for the shower to allow access to tighten the drain tailstock. I also painted the sink cabinet pieces. To do that, I had to make a run to Lowe’s for more paint, varnish and a couple of other things. Granola for breakfast. Leftover corned beef and cabbage for lunch. Leftover Chinese food for dinner.

Tuesday: (03/21) Another extremely rainy day with high wind gusts. I relaxed in the man cafe all morning. I did some planning and material searching for the van. I found a possible counter top. Lou had another dental appointment then visited Lowe’s to make a return. When she returnee about 1300, we all went to IKEA. I needed to get the mattress for the van. Dawn is having trouble sleeping on her sofa bed at her apartment. We dropped off my new mattress there, even though my mattress is a full and her bed is a queen. We were able to determine it does seem to eliminate feeling a cross brace and does fold and collapse into the closed sofa. A nice pork chop, cheese and egg sandwich for breakfast. A late lunch at IKEA.

(03/22) I spent the day working on getting my driver’s license renewed and upgraded to a “Real ID”. My opinion of the DMV’s website is not a good one. Following the information on the website never led to either a new license, or simplification of an office visit. It wasn’t even possible to make an appointment. The only benefit of the use of the website was to take the drivers test but, even though that was accomplished, there was no indication that it had been on the website. In addition when I lagged in and confirmed it was me with a confirmation text code, I still had to enter my username and password again to get in. It even allowed me to pay my fees twice because there was no indication I had previously paid last month. Definitely an opportunity for improvement by a competent web developer. After two trips to Los Gatos, the mission is accomplished. I didn’t think the Real ID program was an effective means of identifying people and I still don’t. In fact I now have even more doubt. I now have a valid Real ID that could get me on a flight or into a Federal building but I could just as easily just printed my own. What I have until I get my new license arrives in the mail is my old license and a plain piece of paper that says I have a real ID now. Not really worth a day's effort. Granola for breakfast. Leftover corned beef and cabbage for lunch. Shepherd’s pie for dinner.

Thursday: (03/23) Avocado toast for breakfast. KReinstalled the sink cabinet in the van. I modified it a bit more by adding reinforcements for the counter extension braces. I also installed the outlet for the water heater and the Water heater time switch and outlet by the sink. Lunch from Los Altos Taqueria. Dawn’s vegetable soup for dinner. Overcast with only a couple of short showers today.

Friday: (03/24) Granola for breakfast. I headed off on bus #22 to the Palo Alto Caltrain station to go up to San Francisco. I didn’t go to our closest Caltrain station because the next train that stopped there was a local and would have picked me up 30 minutes later and then taken longer to get to SF because it stopped at all stations. Once there I walked South by the bay. I stopped and looked at the bridge by the ballpark that had been attacked by two barges that came loose from their moorings during a recent heavy storm. I continued on through San Francisco State University and into the Mission District. I stopped for lunch at La Torta Gorda at 1130 after only a three mile walk. Then I caught a bur out to Golden Gate Park and walked some lesser trails out to the ocean, another three mile walk. I stopped along the way for a nap in one of the yellow Adirondack chairs. Then I caught bus 3R to Market Street and walked a little more then finally caught the N line train to the Caltrain station and back home. Leftover Shepherd’s pie for dinner.

Saturday: (03/25) Granola for breakfast. Lou and I rented a trailer and moved Dawn’s bed from San Jose to her new apartment in Palo Alto and also moved the convertible bed from Palo Alto to San Jose. Dawn has had problems with convertible beds like the wall bed and the sofa. It took all day to make the moves. Lou and Dawn still need to reassemble the bed frame in her apartment. No work on the van on this sunny day.Leftover corned beef and cabbage for lunch. Chinese food for dinner.

Sunday: (03/26) Granola for breakfast. I worked on the van all day. Mostly I cleaned it up and emptied out the stuff that will be installed later. I also installed the new dimer button switch and all the pump control buttons and control board. I can’t test the pump yet because I need to cap off the shower valve since it wont be finished before this trip. I also cut out a piece of plywood for the sink cabinet top and painted it. It’s all just temporary for this trip. Leftover Chinese food and an artichoke from our garden for lunch. Dawn made savory pancakes with ham for dinner.

Monday: (03/27) Granola for breakfast. I started by getting the painted countertop and installing it in the van. I then secured everything in the van to get ready to roll. I then headed off in the van to our local ACE Hardware store. I parked in their lot and made numerous trips inside to get materials needed to complete the installation of the sink in the van. It wasn’t easy to fit the drain into the space available but I eventually figured a way that worked. Then I installed the sink. Since this is just temporary in that I’ll install a butcher block countertop later, I used VHB tape to secure it in place then hooked up the water lines. I couldn;t test it right away because I needed to complete the upper part of the drain line. I couldn;t find the parts needed to complete the installation at the ACE store. So, about 1300, I headed off toward Lowe’s. I stopped to get Chinese food for lunch on the way. At Lowe’s I eventually found the parts needed to complete the installation. I even did a little reworking from the morning’s try to regain more clear storage space under the sink. I made a stop on the way home for a final return of unneeded items at ACE then visited Walmart to get a smoke detector and a couple of other things. I also visited Target. I was looking for an electric blanket but didn’t find any at either store. Eggplant casserole for dinner.

Tuesday: (03/28) Only light sprinkles in the morning so I worked of preparing the vn to roll. I made the bed, vacuumed and dusted the van, especially the driver and passenger areas in front. And I stowed what was going with me under the bed and moved what doesn’t need to go out of the van. When the rain got worse, I headed off shopping. I visited ACE and returned as coupole of more items and bought some 15 gallon containers for under the bed. I also visited Sprouts for tea, ciabatta bread, and peanut butter. Next I visited a Walmart neighborhood market for other stocking things for the kitchen of the van. I stopped at Marshalls and bought a frying pan. And, of course, I stopped at Grocery Outlet Market for more things. Back home and more stowing things away in the van. Mostly ready but need more things from the list I keep adding to. Granola for breakfast, Leftover Chinese food for lunch. Beef stroganoff for dinner.

Wednesday: (03/29) Granola for breakfast. I was busy making the final preparations to leave. I emptied the holding tanks in the motorhome and filled the water. That way Lou can enjoy a get-aways spot while I’m away from the man-cave. Later, I went to Dawns apartment and we discussed some programs she’s using. Next, I was back home to attend my AlphaSoftware webinar. Then, Lou invited me to lunch at the Crepevine. A little more packing of things that were forgotten. Likely I have three times what I need for the trip. I finally got away a little after 1500. After finding the cheapest gas station and filling up, I was on the road on this inagural trip in my new adventure van. Not even an overnight trial sleep out has been done previously. Traffic was terrible on Highway 85 I’d call it screech and slow. Lots of sudden stops. I decided to just take the side roads all the way down to Gilroy where I stopped to pickup my dinner at the Longhouse restaurant. I got it to go since it was still early. Another stop at Walmart for a couple of things. One thing I wanted was an electric heater but it’s too late in the season for even a super Walmart to have any. Back on the road I creeped along on Highway 25 into Holister and then had the road to myself the rest of the ay to the Pinnacles NP. I arrived about 1830 and took a drive up to the High Peaks Trailhead for a nice post sunset silhouette photo of the High Peaks. I checked at the campground planning to camp there but they didn’t have any pay envelopes nor a posted price. Plus, there was no hone or data service. Usually we have both on our Tmobile there. That prompted me to try out along the road but I never found any service. I camped beside the road about 10 miles South of the park.

Thursday: (03/30) Leftover pancakes for breakfast. I was off on the trail in some sprinkle rain at 0715. Lots of water flowing through Lower Bear Gulch Cave wasn’t bad. The fall and stream in the cave was flowing well. There was a nice waterfall where the water exits the reservoir by the staircase to the top of the dam. Weather was nice all the way but the very beginning of the hike. Great views, even some condors in the air. I finished up about 1100 and left my parking spot and drove down to the High Peaks viewing area to let others get to park at Condor Gulch parking. I was the only car there when I arrived and even when I started my hike. It was full with people looking when I finished the hike. After lunch of leftover corned beef hash and eggs at the viewing area I headed back to civilization. I did some shopping in Paso Robles and Atascadero before heading off to Carrizo Plains. National Monument. I arrived about 1930 as it was getting dark. I spent a lot of time on the way out stopping to get photos of the flowers. I didn’t see too much in the way of flowers at the monument. I planned on stopping beside the road to dispersed camp but didn’t see any good spots so I ended up getting all the way down to the Southern entrance to the preserve where I parked for the night. I had picked up dinner at Panda Express Chinese fast food joint but didn't eat it until I stopped for the night at 2100. Lucky to have a really good cell signal here.

Friday: (03/31) I was up early with a knock on the door. A ranger advised me I couldn’t camp where I did and where I could. I pulled away quickly and tried one of the dirt roads up into the hills. I quickly decided it wasn’t a good idea to continue due to the mud and ruts and the fact the early morning sun was shining directly into my face. Another thing I didn't pack was sunglasses. I came back out and continued on through Maricopa on Highway 166 to Interstate 5 and stopped for breakfast at a rest stop in Gorman. From there I continued on Highway 138 into Antelope Valley to the California Poppy Preserve. I hiked some of the trails there looking at the flowers. More poppies than other recent visits but not as many as I have seen there. There were lots of flowers in the preserve but not as many poppies as there were on nearby hills outside the preserve. I stopped in Lancaster to find some more things on my missing list. I also picked up my lunch and dinner from Panda Express again. I continued on to Barstow and stopped for gas at a TA truck center. Cheaper gas than expected in Baker where I stop for today. I checked at TA, Pilot, Love’s, and Terrible’s truck stop stores looking for a 12 volt electric blanket. None found but I did find a deal on throw blankets that were not plush, velvet, or the like. More like army or Afghan blankets. I pulled into a campsite in the Mojave Preserve after dark. There was a sign up at the entrance on Highway 127 that said the road was closed but the gates were open so I checked online and the road recently reopened.

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