Three updates

It has been a while to post but three events had taken place so I will lump them together.

One.

Our daughter Hannah has been going to school (Academy of Art) to get her Bachelor’s degree (she is the first one to do so in the immediate family). She has finally achieved it! Her graduation was on May 22 which happens to be one month to the day after Roxie had her back fusion surgery. You think Roxie, or I, would miss that? No way!

We decided to take the trailer as Aaron, his girlfriend and Paige (granddaughter) were going to be there for the weekend also so an RV park made more sense than a hotel.

We left a day early and stayed at WalMart in Los Banos:

Los Banos

This time I chose to stay at the Trailer Villa in Redwood City. A bit far from the city but cheaper and not too bad in the back. It backs up to the Redwood Slough (so get one if the back in spots, we will next time):

Slough

 

We attended Hannah’s graduation as very proud parents. The ceremony was in the Cow Palace and we saw her on the Jumbotron!

Hannah

It was a good weekend of family times:

Family

 

One added note. Roxie did an amazing job only one month post surgery and having a temporary Handicapped parking placard is amazing!

Two.

I had a Snugtop shell on my truck for a year and a half. For almost all that time I have had problems with the shell fitting close enough to the cab. It was very frustrating. I worked with my local dealer and they were wonderful. The issue was with Snugtop itself. I created a website about it: http://snugtop.casarodante.org They did not decide to work with me to get it fitting. I even offered to drive to Long Beach so they could do it. Eventually, after more emails, a negative Yelp review, a negative Facebook post, Snugtop gave up and gave me a full refund. Thanks for that but no thanks for not even trying!

I took that refund and immediately purchased a Leer top. Although I had to wait 6 weeks again for a shell, here it is:

Shell

I really like the Windoors that have a screen also. I am overall happy with it but I will let you in on a secret, the Snugtop is higher quality than the Lear.

Three.

One other trip to mention. Father’s Day. Aaron wanted to do a Father’s day thing so it was decided to head to the Dodger’s game on Saturday. With Roxie still on the mend we opted to spend a couple of nights in Valencia which is not too far from Dodger stadium. Five of us went to the Dodger game, me, Aaron, Paige (granddaughter), Rachel (Aaron’s girlfriend) and David (Rachel’s Dad). Roxie and Julie (David’s wife) hung out together are Julie’s house.

It was a fun time except the fact the Dodgers’ lost. Here are some shots from the stadium:

Chavez Ravine Dodgers

There you go! Three in one!

A few days in San Francisco

We hadn’t seen our daughter for a while, she lives in San Francisco, so we thought we would take a trip over there to visit. We wanted to take the trailer so the options were limited. The RV park in Pacifica might be in the ocean currently as they were suffering a large erosion of the cliff they are perched on. There is an RV/mobilehome park in South San Francisco that we have never stayed at. There is also an RV park right next to Candlestick park but it is near a pretty seedy neighborhood. What to do? We called upon a site from our history. Anthony Chabot campground in the East Bay hills north of Castro Valley.

The campground has a few negatives but the positives are pretty nice. One negative is you have to be back to the campground at 10PM or you are locked out. Another is the road to the campground is really long and curvy. However, you ARE close to the populous cities but it does not feel like it. You are up in the hills in a eucalyptus grove. There are only 12 full hookup sites and it is very hilly. That is where one of the other negatives came into play. But more about that later.

We were happy to get out of the central valley and the heat. The previous days were over 100 and pushing 110. The forecast for Castro Valley was high 60’s to low 70’s. As we started out all was going good but the truck seemed a bit sluggish with the trailer attached. Usually the truck will get going pretty good from a stop but not so now. We pulled off of I5 around the Westley area. When I got back on the onramp was uphill. The truck had an issue doing so and was belching out a goodly amount of black smoke. This is not normal. It also started huffing when you would hear a thump under the hood and then a large puff of exhaust. Needless to say I did not like this but I had seen it before.

Now that I know what it is I can rest a bit, well sort of. We still had a few hills to get over before we made it there. One was the Altamont pass and the other was between Dublin and Castro Valley. The Altamont went pretty good. I found that if I did not go higher than 2000RPM I would do OK. I was able to do so on this pass and we made it over. However the next pass was different. I could not get a running start on this one and near the top I had to downshift out of overdrive which started the huffing. Luckily we didn’t have to go too far huffing along.

Once we got to the campground we found the hills. I reserved this spot specifically but I could not tell the terrain. The spot was on a downhill road and at a 90 degree to the road. Here is a picture that does NOT show the grade:

Chabot 01

Pretty nice spot. Let’s look at the other side:

Chabot 02

Ah, there’s the slope. Still doesn’t look too bad. Next shot:

Chabot 03

This is taken down the hill where I had to back in from. I started backing in and my rear wheel started spinning on the asphalt and my other was on the dirt. I was not getting anywhere. It might have been because of the engine running rough also. Anyway I put the truck in 4wd and tried again. I had to get up some speed and crank the angle pretty tight but I got it in. We hooked up the hookups, Roxie is getting very good at this, disconnected the truck and met our daughter at the BART station (two days earlier BART had agreed to stop the strike for 30 days). She spent the night with us in the trailer. It has been a LONG time since she did that last.

The next day I had a mission. I needed to get my diesel filter replaced. I started out at a JiffyLube (why not, it worked before) after dropping off Roxie and Hannah at a shopping mall. The guy flatly said they don’t do it here. I called a SpeedeeLube and they said, “Sure we do it!”. When I got there the tech said they did not and the management did not know what they were saying. However they recommended me to a tire/service location. I was able to get it replaced there and 2-3 hours later the truck was running good again.

I picked up Roxie and Hannah and we did some errands then headed into the city. Driving my truck in San Francisco is a real experience. If you just take it slow and deliberate you are good. However, people usually give you room if you start moving into their lane. The rest of the days were filled with driving places, parking, shopping, eating, all the fun boring stuff.

Wednesday eventually came and it was time to go home. I was a bit concerned about the road out of the camp area. It was curvy and steep. I have a video that I took. I have kept the commentary in it also so enjoy:

On the way home we stopped at Toscano’s RV to get the hinge on our stove covered fixed under warranty. Then the long drive home.

We wanted to take a short trip before we are off on our long one to Alumafandango in early August.