Wednesday, July 5, 2017

5 Days at the Cabin.

Getting Started.

We got up early and after breakfast we finished loading the last minute stuff in the van.

We stopped at Arco for gas and were on the road heading for the cabin by 10:00.

Dead Van.

The van was running great going up the freeway, lots of power.

We took the highway 128 exit from 101 and started climbing the hills. The van is climbing the hills nicely.
About 5 miles out of Cloverdale on 128 there is some road work so we had to stop for the flag man.

While we were waiting for the traffic to start moving again Patti said that she felt something hit the inside top of the engine box.
We could also hear some squealing coming from the engine area.

The traffic moved forward so I followed.
Just a short distance past the road work Patti said that she could smell engine coolant. So could I.
I looked at my gauges and saw that the generator light was on.

Did the fan belt break? No, I have two fan belts, they both couldn’t have broken at the same time.

As soon as I could I found a safe spot to pull off the road,

IMGP0694 I started to open the engine cover and steam and water spewed out around the engine cover. I closed the cover and we waited for the engine to cool down.

Good Samaritans.

Some guys in a pickup stopped and gave us some water for the radiator.
Thanks guys.

Strange problem.

Once the engine had cooled I was able to top off the radiator.
I checked the belts and they were still in place.
What could have caused the engine to over heat so quickly.
When the radiator was filled I tried starting the engine.
It started right up.
What the heck? The engine is running but the fan isn’t turning.
I checked it out and found that the Harmonic Balancer had come apart.
The Harmonic Balancer is the bottom pulley on the engine.  It is connected directly to the end of the crank shaft and turns the fan , the generator and coolant pump.

Between the center of the pulley and the outer surface is a rubber insert. That is supposed to allow a certain amount of movement to keep down vibration.
Some how the rubber had come unsecured from the center. The crankshaft was turning but the outer part of the pulley was not so therefore the fan and generator were not turning; hence overheating the engine.

Call for a Tow.

Fortunately we have AAA road service and in under an hour we were on the hook and heading back to Santa Rosa.


Lets Try This Again.

Once we were home we took all the stuff that we would need for the weekend out of the van and loaded it into Patti’s car.
We had to stop for gas and lunch and we got to the cabin around 4PM.

Some Disturbing News.

When we arrived, Bob was sitting on the bench on the hill by the cabin.

As we exited the car he asked; “Do you want the good news first or the bad news”.

“Well, I have had enough bad news for one day” I replied; “how about the good news”.

“The good news is; the bear didn’t get into the cabin”.

“Okay, that’s good. What is the bad news”?

“He did break (tore a hole) in one of the plastic windows”.


He also tore a hole in Dave’s tent again. On the opposite side from where the bear tore a hole last time.


The bear got in and knocked a bunch of stuff around in their tent but didn’t destroy anything.


Bob also told us that he saw the bear the evening before we arrived. It was coming into the clearing near the dining hall.
Bob yelled at the bear and it took off.
It’ll be back.

Something has got to be done about that bear!

Water Leak.

Another thing that the bear did was to bite the main water line in half.

Bob and I went up and fixed it before dinner.

Here is Bob pushing the splice together.


More Arrivals.

Around 5:00 Josie arrived. We had a nice visit and then she went to set up her camp.

Around 8:30 Dina arrived.
We talked about where she wanted to camp. Originally she was planning to camp at the Grove down by the creek but after hearing about the bear she decided to camp at the cabin site with us.

After a little discussion she tried to move her car but it would not start. We will have to address that tomorrow. It was full dark before she and Robert got their tent up.

Okay that was our Friday I sure hope Saturday is an improvement.


I woke up around six o'clock and got up as I had several things I wanted to do before everyone else was up.

Fix the Frig

The first thing I tackled was the refrigerator. It seems that every time I come up here I have to work on the frig. What happens is; rust falls down the chimney and collects on the burner partially snuffing the flame. The flame is needed to heat the chemicals in the system to cool the frig. Low flame = low cooling.
I pulled the back off the frig and cleared the rust from the burner.
Now the frig should work right.

Set up the shower

After breakfast I tried setting the shower up but when I transferred the stuff from the van to Patti’s car I forgot to transfer my tool box so I am very limited. I have a Crescent Wrench,  a Multi Tool and a Screw Driver.

I needed Channel Lock Plyers to tighten the fittings.  There is a bad leak in the shower connection. It may be missing an
“O” ring. I gave up on that for the time being.

Mow the flat.

Once most of the others were up I decided to see if the lawn mower would start.
I filled it with gas and pumped the bulb on the carburetor, pulled the rope and it started right up.

I mowed a little, then Bob took over and mowed most of the flat.


Cover the Spring.

Bob had been doing some work on one of the springs before we came up. He wanted to finish covering the spring so he and I went up to check it out.

Here, we are hiking up to the spring.


The spring is in the rocks in the gully.



Here you can see the rough screen covering the drain and Bob starting to cover it with rocks.


Once the rocks are all in place he covered the pile with some plastic and more rocks. Then he connected the out put line.


That done we went back to the cabin. 

Bob Left.

Around 1:00 Bob decided to take off.

We hung around camp the rest of the day and around 5:30 we  had supper.

First Campfire.

Around 7:30 we decided to have a campfire. I set up the fire ring last season but haven’t had a chance to have a fire in it until now.


We are wearing hoody’s and long sleeve’s not because it is particularly cold but to keep the Mosquitos at bay.


Joanne and Dave.

Joanne and Dave showed up around 10:30.
They had read Bob’s blog and knew about the bear break in so they weren’t surprised.
Dave brought some canvas and stuff to fix their tent.

The Shower’s Fixed

He also brought some other tools.
I was able to borrow his large locking plyers to work on the shower.
I found the missing “O” ring stuck to a piece of blue tape on the shelf above the water heater.
We now have Hot showers.

Peter Shows Up.

Around 11:30 Peter showed up. We had a nice visit and he brought us up to date on the status of the property.
Things are still in flux.
He assured us that the parcel that the cabin is on will be kept safe.

Call a Tow Truck.

We tried several things to attempt to get Dina’s car going but no luck.

We decided that the only thing to do was to see if a tow truck would come out here to pick the car up.

It took Dina and Robert until 2:00 to get their shit together so Patti could take them down to the highway and try to get a tow truck.

About two hours later they showed up with a big flat bed truck.
The driver was bitching and complaining about having to come all the way out these dirt roads but it only took him around 15 minutes to get the car on the truck.


We waved good by to Dina and Robert as the tow truck disappeared around the corner. 

Peter Leaves.

A short time after the truck left it was Peter’s turn to leave. He has to get up at 4:00am to go to work tomorrow.

Jean and Don Arrive.

After supper we were just sitting down to play cards  with Joanne and Dave when a vehicle pulled into the compound.
It was our friend’s from Seattle, Jean and Don. They were on a road trip and we were on their itinerary.
We hung out with them until after dark then they had to leave as they were staying at the Anderson Valley Inn in Philo. 
They will be back tomorrow.


Nothing Like a Hot Shower.

I got up early and got a hot shower this morning. It sure is nice having a working shower again.

Jean and Don Show up.

Around 10:30, Jean and Don showed up. We spent some time shade hopping and visiting.


A Walk in the Woods.

After visiting for a while, Jean, Don, Dave and I took a walk on the cabin loop trail.


It only takes about 45 minutes to walk the loop from the cabin.


A short time after we got back from our walk the ladies decided to play a tile game called Quirkle, or something like that. They played in the dining hall for an hour or so. Patti won.

Supper in the Dining Hall.

Around 6:00 we cooked some Burgers and Brats and we all ate in the dining hall.


Jean and Don left for their hotel around 8:30. They will be back tomorrow.


I got up early and after breakfast I fired up the weed whacker and whacked some weeds before Jean and Don showed up. Now the place looks better.

We visited with Jean and Don at the cabin for a while then drove down to the Grove to check it out. We sat in the shade by the creek visiting until around 1:00.


Joanne was the only one to play in the water.


Heading back to the Cabin

Jean and Don decided to walk up the road to the cabin from the creek.
It’s a pretty steep climb so we gave them about a half hour start and then drove up the hill.  We passed them about 1/3 of the way up the hill.
They didn’t want a lift so we continued up to the cabin. Jean and Don arrived about 20 minutes later. They made good time.

Jean and Don left around 4:00 as they had to drive to Marin County.

Supper and Cards.

After Jean and Don left we fixed supper.
When we had finished our supper’s Joanne and Dave came to our place to play cards.


Got up early again. While the water for my breakfast was heating I started striping my bed and folding up the bedding. We are leaving today and want to be ready to go by around 11:00.
I had breakfast and was lingering over my coffee when Patti got up.

Once Patti was up and running, we began the task of moving out of the cabin. By around 10:15 the car was packed and Patti had the cabin all swept out clean.

Window Fix.

Dave had some clear packing tape so we used that to put a temporary patch on the window that the bear tore.

Here is how it looks from the outside.


It looks a little better from the inside.


Heading Home.

We left around 10:30 and stopped at the Hamburger Ranch in Cloverdale for lunch.
We got home around 1:00 and in a half hour we had the car unloaded.

The Van’s Harmonic Balancer.

After we had been home for a short time I decided to start trying to fix the van.

I removed the radiator and the fan belts.  Then I removed the outer pulley from the Harmonic Balancer. The center of the Balancer is still on the engine.

This view is looking up from under the front of the engine. You can see the center of the Balancer below the fan.


The Harmonic Balancer should look like the one on the left in the picture below.


The ring on the right is the outer ring of the Balancer that is still on the engine.

On the left is an old Balancer that I am using as an example. Unfortunately that Balancer is worn out and can’t be used on the engine.
The black line round the center of the Balancer (on the left) is the rubber that should bond the inner hub to the outer ring.
There is no rubber on the outer ring of the failed Balancer (right) and there is no rubber on the inner hub of the failed Balancer, as you can see in the view of the engine.
The rubber was totally gone so the center was turning but the outside was not.

A Stripped Bolt Hole.

I got out my pullers and tried to remove the inner hub of the Balancer but one of the holes that the puller bolts go into is stripped.
It looks like I will have to enlarge the hole and rethread it for a larger bolt.
By this time I was hot and tired so I stopped for the day.

I’ll work on it tomorrow.

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