Monday, October 24, 2011

Work Like a Dog!

Friday afternoon Jim and I drove up to Indiana to pick up a used Motorhome.  It is a 1988 Mallard Sprinter, 28', and not too large, but big enough for us and the dogs.  The engine was well cared for (though the rest of it was in less than pristine condition), and ran incredibly well, transmission and brakes seemed to be in order, so we paid the man for the vehicle and title.  I drove it back while Jim drove my truck back.  It was an interesting, and a bit of a harrowing experience.  I hadn't driven a motorhome for quite a few years, and this one was power-assist brakes, so rough on stopping power.  It also has a floppy right mirror, so I had little view out the right side (passing was nerve wracking, but hard not to when folks go down the highway at 60 mph in a 70 zone).  But being cautious and extending lead and reaction times, we made it home without incident (a bit rough driving on the narrow mountain roads, but by then I'd gotten used to the handling of the beast).

Saturday early, I harnessed up the race team, woke Jim and James, and grabbed the hd vid camera.  My intention was to vid my run, but the camera had other plans.  We hooked the dogs in, I hopped on and released the catch.  The first few seconds of the run are always frantic holding on and minimal braking, but once stablized, I fumbled with the camera one-handed as we approached the bridge.  I was able to turn it on and press the button, as we careened around the corner and up the hill.  we passed the trailer, flew around the railroad corner, and stormed up to the barn as the walkie fell out of my pocket.  Oops.  When we got level with the barn, Freya simply halted and turned around without being asked.  ???

I got up, and pulled her back towards the donkey farm, but as soon as I went back to the seat, she had pulled the team around again.  I pulled her back to the proper direction again, and went back to the seat, and she again pulled the team around, only this time, she went between Bucky and Yukon and really balled up the team.  Exasperated, but trying not to show the team my frustration, I ended up having to unhook Bucky who was hopelessly tangled in tugs and gangline while holding on to the leaders neckline to keep them from injuring him.  He was so badly wrapped up, that if they had lined out, they might have broken a leg.  Having straightened out that mess, I weighed the decision to keep going or to return to the house.  Not wanting to deal with another ball up.  I let Freya keep her homeward direction and started up again.  When we got level with the walkie, I scooped it back up and we continued on home. 

Jim and I then washed up and did our weekly shopping.  When we got back and everything put away, it was time to start work on the motorhome.  I had thought I would simply have to wash down the roof then begin re-caulking and sealing.  When I got on top, however, my initial glance had not done justice to 23 years worth of dirt and neglect.  There were lichens growing on the paint!  The soot and oxidation was very thick, so I had my son bring up a scrub brush.  For six hours, I scoured the top of the motorhome from front to back.  It was late by the time I was finished, so I let it dry overnight.

Sunday I got up and harnessed up Moony, Ace and Bandit.  I then tried for over an hour to convince Demon that he wanted to get harnessed and run with us to no avail.  With a sigh, I woke Jim and James, and got the three dogs out to the cart.  When Bandit was hooked up next to Ace and she saw him whining and leaping to go, she panicked and tried to back out of her harness.  She put on that scared stubborn face I knew meant that she was not going to run.  I asked James to remove her, and took off with just Moony and Bandit.  They did excellent considering the weight they were pulling, so at the .5 mile mark, I turned them around and let them run home for a full mile. 

After taking care of them and putting everything away, I checked the top of the motorhome only to find it was still wet in some places and damp in others.  So I waited a couple hours for the sun to dry it out while I vaccumed and steam vac'd the inside.  I checked the roof again, but it wasn't drying fast enough.  Armed with towels, sealant, sealant paper, scraper, screwdriver, brush and determination, I scaled the ladder and started to work on the rear most vent.  It took nearly four hours to scrape, wash, sand, wipe, paper and seal the vent with three coatings of sealant, but I think it was pretty well protected by the time clouds began to roll in.  I painted sealant on some other spots that needed it and hoped it would dry enough that rain would not wash it away.

With the brush as clean as I could get it, I went out back of our house to pick up walnuts out of the yard.  Two more hours and I had 22 bags of walnuts that I hauled up the hill and had my son take from the back porch and put them on the front patio.  Around 5 pm I washed up and started up a boiler of crab legs for my birthday dinner.  My favorite meal has always been snow crab since I first learned their taste.  More succulent than king, far smoother than lobster, they are a delicacy that delights my palate.  So I enjoyed every morsel before settling down with an ice cream sandwich and cuddle up with Bucky, Princess, Moony and Samantha to watch a bit of TV.

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