"Then it will be back to Meadow Lake to work around our property, finalize plans for our trip to Ireland in August and then prepare the rig to head south this winter. I promised to grease the wheel bearings earlier this year so it is not a last minute issue. Then there is the small crack that had started in the frame of the rig and discovered just before we headed north. The temporary fix held up well, but first order of business is to do something more permanent with that. Then there are the myriad other homestead and building tasks. And maybe squeeze a couple of weeks work and maybe a trip to the Maritimes and maybe.... always more dreams than time."
Here's some of what we did in July and August:
When July began we still had not completed our trip to Powell River and back. We spent July 1st, Canada Day, celebrating in the Edmonton area.
Becky, Nick, Ezekial, Juanita and I went to the parade in Sherwood Park and the activities in the middle of Sherwood Park. Canadian Forces Base Namu held some events in honour of the day. Ezkekial got to be on a tank and we all watched the mighty military mobile machinery munch old cars in demonstration of clearing an urban path for the troops. The day ended with fireworks at Fort Saskatchewan.
Back at the Ranch
There are a range of approaches to maintenance of equipment ranging from total neglect through benign neglect to always working on and never using. Most things suffer from not enough maintenance, but there is also the risk of over-maintaining - opening things up that were fine and adding problems by the well-intentioned maintenance activities. I had started to wonder if I was over-maintaining the wheel bearings by doing them every year. The axle manufacturer suggests every second year and many dealers recommend every year to pull off, inspect and repack with grease. So my approach was not unprecedented, but the source of the suggested frequency certainly has a bias. "Never ask your barber if you need a haircut."
My bias against doing the wheel bearing every year has come partly from that I had never found anything wrong with the bearings. What I had found wrong with the brakes would have been discovered from the noise the brake was making. No need to pull the wheel on spec. It was crying out for attention.
The other part of the bias against doing them every year is that it is one of those things that we do before going south and it seems more work than it is because it seems we are always doing it somewhat under the gun. Not this year! I did them in July. Also found a bearing going bad and replaced it and it's mate before it could cause us grief on the road. That is, unless in replacing it I did something wrong or maybe the name brand (expensive) replacements will suffer premature failure and not give the years of service provided by the Chinese made original equipment bearings. The imaginativer man sleeps poorly.
Other non-family activities in July included applying for a quote for electrical power to the property. This application happened July 19th. Update: Sometime later, after Thanksgiving (Columbus Day to you southerners), when no quote was forthcoming inquiries were made. "Well, the engineer left a voice mail on August 2nd." That worked well. We were gone to Ireland just long enough that the voice mail died awaiting, Since a quote is only good for 30 days he will have to start over.
Started asking welder to come and weld crack in frame of trailer.
Applied for permit for septic tank and for DWV plumbing. Nick was in town so we went shopping together for lots of plastic pieces.
Finished framing inner frame of house downstairs.
Arranged for electrician to install electrical power service (meter base and panel and wires between them).
We continued our planning for our Ireland trip. "We" is paulspeak for "Juanita". She laid out routes and chose Bed and Breakfasts to keep on track to see the maximum of my ancestral isle in the time we had without resorting to sleeping in our rental car.
We went to Ireland by way of Chicago and hardly looked back.
The trip is written up here with links to the pictures. We faithfully followed the itinerary that Juanita worked so hard on and it worked for us.
After our return from Ireland, Nick came and helped Paul do the rough-in plumbing and that was successfully inspected as was the electrical service when the electrical inspector came down the wrong drive way and stopped to ask for directions. He pointed out one change he wanted, answered some questions I had about wiring options and left.
The welder came by a couple of evenings and did a sturdy, more permanent repair to the trailer frame than the temporary one from February. Then it was off to Fort McMurray, Alberta for Paul and to Fort Saskatchewan for Juanita. Paul was to do some instrument installation in a potable water plant at Syncrude and Juanita to mind Ezekial while Nick worked at a shutdown at the Husky Refinery in Lloydminster.
Juanita helped celebrate Kohen's birthday latter in the month and watched the kids shiver in the water at Meadow Lake Provincial Park. Juanita did some geneology exploration in Partridge Hill and Fort Saskatchewan.
When some wizard at the R-Vision factory welded the rear hangers for the axles he welded them in the wrong place. He then removed them with a cutting torch and welded new ones in the right place. The moonscape from his cutting torch activities created a weak spot which started to crack last winter.I noticed it just before departing for Canada from Texas and did not have time to find a reliable person to make a permanent repair. I had access to a welding machine and could have attempted a repair myself. Although, my welding is not much worse than the factory welding at the now bankrupt R-Vision I wanted something better than that. So some beam clamps were purchased from an electrical jobber and some metal strips from Home Depot and a temporary repair was made that managed to keep the crack from spreading further on the trip north.
A qualified industrial welder came by a couple of evenings in August and beefed up the cracked side with more metal and welding. He also did the same to the other side which had been factory botched as well. The result doesn't look too pretty in the picture but looks to be much stronger than factory.