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Kenny and Nancy call Oconto, Wisconsin home during the summer boating season where together they enjoy recreational boating on the Oconto River and the Bay of Green Bay. When boating season is over they become snowbirds and head south for the winter in their Monaco Windsor luxury motor coach named OWFISH.

Kenny lived and traveled in OWFISH with his late wife Barbara from 2002 until she had a disabling stroke in 2011 and passed away the following year. From then the OWFISH set, except for a short trip in 2013, until Kenny started traveling again with his new wife Nancy in 2014.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Death and destruction in Oklahoma

Today's tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma was devastating. Bodies are still being pulled out of the rubble. Only two fatalities was reported in yesterday's tornado that destroyed a neighborhood near Shawnee. Today two dozen third-graders are feared to be dead at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore Seven schoolkids were found dead in pool of water. Total confirmed storm deaths as of 8:30 tonight are now at 51. They are classifying today's tornado as an EF-5 and has done as much damage as the one that hit Joplin, MO 2 years ago.

The news station showed the track of today's Moore tornado. Had it continued another 10 miles, it would of hit us. Yesterday's tornado pasted just a couple miles south of us.

UPDATE: After the dust settled, the number of fatalities were corrected to 24, with 9 of those being children, in Monday's storm. Total destruction is estimated at $2 billion being the most expensive tornado damage in US history to date.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Survived today's Oklahoma tornadoes with no damage. The motorhome was pelted by golf ball size hail but no damage.  Lots of damage. People killed. Neighborhoods destroyed near Shawnee Lake. Several tractor-trailers overturned on I-40/US-177 in Shawnee. Two clusters of multi-tornadoes today. First cluster went north of Oklahoma City through Edmond, Arcadia, Carney. Second cluster started just east of Norman at Lake Thunderbird, went through Shawnee, Prague, Paden. This one missed us by only a couple of miles.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Is this a test?

I know what it is... I think. The Coast Guard must still be testing me to see what I would do in some maintenance situation.

The new alternator came in yesterday. This morning I pulled the old one off. They're not the same. The old one has more wires hooked up to it because it's an Ignition Excited type alternator and has a lug for a Duvac System, whatever that is. I called the alternator shop in Green Bay to let them know. No problem they said. The new alternator is a Self-Excited type alternator. There is a modification that can be done so it will work with a Duvac System. Go ahead and put it on they said.

Well first I have to take the pulley off the old alternator to put on the new one. It takes an impact gun to get the nut off. No problem... my son-in-law has one here that I can use. But there was a problem. His air compressor couldn't supply enough air pressure. So I took the alternator into town and found a shop that could get it off for me. I went to pay they guy for his trouble and realized I left my wallet back at the motorhome.

Okay I've got the pulley off the old alternator and onto the new one. I get the wires hooked up and the new alternator mounted. I start the engine and... it's not charging. I pull the new alternator off and mount the old one again. It's charging... but erratically... the way it was before I pulled it off the first time. I called the alternator shop and talked to them about it. They told me sometimes a new alternator might have to be "flashed" before it will start charging the first time and told me how to go about "flashing" it.

So I pull the old alternator back off, change the pulley back to the new one and mount it a second time. I start the engine, the alternator isn't charging, so I "flashed" it as instructed. It starts working! Great... I thought. I shut the engine down and restart it. It's not charging. So I "flash" it again a second time... then a third time. I called the alternator shop in Green Bay. Sounds like a defective alternator. Maybe if I can "flash" the alternator each time I start the engine, when I get back up to Green Bay, bring the new alternator in and they will send it back giving me a $242 refund and fix the old alternator. Yeah right!  I have to crawl under the back of the motorhome to get to the back of the alternator to "flash" it. So... having a background as an electrical engineering technician, I rigged up a way so all I have to do is open the engine hatch that is under the bed in the motorhome and spark a wire I have going to the back of the alternator to "flash" the alternator. At least this will work until I get back up to Green Bay. OWFISH!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New alternator

The new 160 AMP alternator for the motorhome came in today. $242.92. It's a little rainy today so I'll get it changed out tomorrow morning. I also checked on the mount for my highway navigation computer system that I ordered a month ago. Supposedly it is being shipped out today so I should have it in the next few days.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

50 Amp service

When I first got to my daughter's house, the only electric hookup I had was a 30 amp receptacle on a 20 amp breaker. I had to use a 30' extension cord just to reach that. That's okay to keep the batteries charged or to watch TV. Today I installed a 50 amp RV service box right behind the motorhome where I don't have to use the extension. Now when it starts to get hot here in a few days, I'll be able to turn the air conditioners on.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Brakes fixed

The parts house called me this morning letting me know the rebuilt air dryer for the air brake system was in. I picked it up and installed it this afternoon. The brakes work like they are supposed to. In the process, I found a small air leak from a cracked air line and fixed that.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Brake Repair

I made to to my daughter's house Saturday somehow. The voltage regulator on the rebuilt alternator gave out but it was still keeping the batteries charged. I still need to take that off and have it fixed again. I don't know how I made it in without the air brakes locking up on me though. On Monday I bought a repair kit for the air brake air dryer system for $170. The fixed one problem but not all of it. With the engine running, the air drier purged the air a couple of times but it didn't seal after purging and was leaking air. I did find an air leak in a cracked air line and fixed that. Then I ran the engine at full RPM, the dryer purged then remained opened. I ordered a rebuilt air dryer today for another $335. It should be in tomorrow.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

On the road - Day 3

Today was my last travel day down to Oklahoma. The day started again when I woke up at 4:30 this morning. A fast shower then into the travel center restaurant for breakfast. I was on the road again by 6:15.

Everything went fine on this leg of the trip until I stopped in Oklahoma City for fuel. There was something going on with the air brake system. I had brakes and everything but a pressure relief valve kept releasing every few seconds. Now what I thought. After topping off the tank with another 27.4 gallons costing $96.74, I continued the last 30 miles to my daughter's house.

I pulled into her driveway at 11:00. She gave me a quick tour of her new house and property and where I could plug in. Then she had to leave to show her house in the city that she's wanting to sell. While she was gone, I had lunch and setup my satellite TV system.

Things are looking up tonight though. I found the electric skillet and my coffee cup that I had thought I had left behind.

Friday, May 3, 2013

On the road - Day 2

Day 2 catches me awake at 4:30 this morning. Not bad though. I went to bed at 8:30 last night and I was tired. So that's 8 hours of sleep. Well I was hoping I didn't leave anything behind, but when I started looking for my electric skillet so I could cook breakfast, that's when I realized that not only the skillet, I forgot my coffee cup too. OWFISH! I needed to get a new electric skillet anyway and I've got other coffee cups onboard.

Today promises to be a nasty day with rain, snow and winds.  I was on the road by 6:15 and at 6:16 I was crossing the Mississippi River. At 9 o'clock, I stopped at a truck stop restaurant for breakfast that Barb and I always stopped at going this direction. There was snow and ice on the ground. Afterwards, the closer I got to Des Moines, the more snow there was on the ground. At least the roads are only wet. I stopped at the Pilot Travel Center in Des Moines for fuel. $206.81 for 56.676 gallons of diesel. I'm glad I only needed half a tank.

After filling the tank, I kept heading toward Kansas City on I-35. I thought of stopping north of the city for the night, but since I was making good time, I wanted to get through that mess before the traffic got ugly. In fact I kept going until I made it to Emporia, Kansas. A total of 515 miles today. Boy was I beat fighting the winds driving this rig. I pulled into the Flying J Travel Center for the night, topped off the tank with another 41 gallons for a whopping $151.42, and $15.14 to replace the wiper blades. So far I've spent $358.23 for fuel and have drove only 784 miles. 256 miles to go. At least Flying J has WiFi... for a cost.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

On the road

I was up by 5 o'clock this morning. I took the clothes the drier I had put in the night before. I watched the sun came up as I made my morning coffee. A red ball on the horizon. Then it disappeared behind the clouds. After a cup, I went in and took my morning shower before making breakfast. By then it was 7 o'clock. I knew I had to finish packing everything in the motorhome if I wanted to leave by noon.

The mail came in around 11:00 o'clock. Just a cell phone bill and a piece of junk mail. The post office will hold my mail starting tomorrow until I got back. I had everything packed up, the truck was hooked up behind the motorhome and I was ready to go. I thought I might as well stop and get some lunch before my hearing test appointment so I was on the road by 11:30. I hope I didn't leave anything behind.

Twenty miles down the road I stopped to top off the fuel tank and get a bite of lunch. Then headed over to the medical center for my hearing test. Now just to find a place to park a 60' long vehicle. I'm glad I looked at it on Google Earth the night before so I would have an idea of what the parking lot looked like. I found a place, now hope they don't give me a ticket for parking there for an hour.

It was 1 PM by then, my appointment was for 1:30. I went in and done the paperwork they wanted me to do and went into the sound chamber as scheduled. The hearing test was completed, I pass with a 92%. I needed at least a 90%. They charged $175 on my credit card and I was out of there and back on the road.

It started to rain and I was hoping my wipers were going to work. Several  things haven't been working right on this rig since I parked it two years ago after our last trip. Good they work but I'll need to change the blades first chance I get. Not everyone carries wiper blades big enough for a bus. I got into Madison a little before 5 PM so I hit the city before the traffic rush. I still have to get to the south side of the city though to beat the traffic. No, didn't make it. Not to bad though. Only about 5 miles of traffic before I turn off the freeway.

I made my exit onto US-151S going out of Madison, got in the left lane and continued out of the city heading to Dubuque, IA. Everything is going okay... I thought.  About 20 miles south of Madison I notice the volt meter surging. Now what I thought. My destination for the night was a rest area on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River at Dubuque. If I can make it there I'll check things out.

I got to the rest area at about 6:35, turned off my headlights and the meter is still surging. I get out, open the engine hatch. Everything looks okay. I was hoping may be the belt was loose but it wasn't. I grab my volt meter out of my electrical tool kit and check the voltages at the battery with the engine running. The voltage is surging between 13 to 15 volts. I turned my headlights back on and watch them. They are fluctuating along with the alternator surging.  Well all I can do is shut down and spend the night here. I'll call the alternator shop tomorrow and see what they think.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hot water

A mobile RV technician came out to the cottage and fixed the hot water heater on the motorhome. It would try to ignite but wouldn't stay lit. Cost: $151.80.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Moved the motorhome

I got the motorhome moved down by the house today so I could open it up to air out after setting all winter. Next I have to clean it up inside, flush the antifreeze out of the freshwater system, get the water heater fixed so it will heat on propane, and start loading clothes, bedding and other items back into it. We parked it a year and a half ago when Barb & I moved into the cottage and has only been use a couple of times as a guest bedroom.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mattress bag and DryMesh

The new mattress bag and DryMesh came in today. It took almost an hour and a half to take the foam layers out of the old bag, clean them and stuff them into the new bag. Afterwards I placed the DryMesh anti-moisture layer under the mattress and cut it to size.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Rebuild alternator

I done some more work on the motor home this morning. I put the new battery in yesterday but the alternator wasn't charging. So I took the alternator off and took it into an alternator shop in Green Bay where they rebuild starters and alternators. That was at noon today. About 3 o'clock they called and told me the alternator was ready. Green Bay from where I was working on the boat this afternoon is about 25 miles so I told them I'd pick it up on Monday since they are closed on weekends. The technician told me he lives only about 5 miles from where I was so he'd just bring it home with him and I could pick it up there. I told him I'd meet his at his house in about a half hour. Darn I thought I was going to get the weekend off. lol Last time I had alternator problems with the motor home was in May 2005. We were down in Florida. For a rebuilt alternator plus labor to pull it and put it back on the bill come a little over $700. Today's bill was $116. But then I'm doing the labor myself of pulling it off and putting it back on.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

New mattress bag

A few years ago we had a custom mattress made for our motor home while in Oklahoma. It was something that Barb just had to have after laying on one down in Florida. It had to be custom made because it's a non-standard size. It's made with a layer memory foam over a thick layer of latex rubber. We paid $1300 for that mattress. A couple of years ago, I noticed the bottom of the mattress bag had rotted after getting wet and not being able to dry out completely. I couldn't remember when or where we bought it but we were in Norman, Oklahoma at the time. I was able to go back through my travel blog and found the month we were there, then was able to go back through my computerized finance records and found the day and name of the company who made the mattress. A search on the Internet and I found their phone number. I was able to order a new $260 bag for the mattress. I'll make sure next time it will be able to dry out by placing an anti-moisture layer under the mattress called DryMesh.

New starting battery

Started working on the motor home to get it ready to go to Oklahoma with it the end of April or 1st week of May. It's been off the road since Barb & I moved into this house in October 2011. $195 to replace the starting battery. Also got with the service manager of a local RV dealer about doing some needed work on it. At 1st they didn't want to because it's a big Class A Diesel Pusher and the only RVs they handle are small Jayco travel trailers. But what I need fixed would be items that would also be on their trailers. So whenever the snow melts enough so I can get it out, they're going to take care of me.

It's emotional just thinking about going on a trip without Barb. Barb and I lived and traveled through most the United States for 8 years in this motor home before we had to stop because of her health. Last summer she told me she really missed living in it. I did too, but my health was getting bad because of the stress I was going through because of her health.
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