Saturday, August 7, 2010

27th June to the 6th August 2010 in Rocinante

27th. June till the 6th of August 2010-08-06

At 407 East Dewey Avenue Youngstown; this location is not what my first impressions led me to believe.

Spent today "no-more-gapping" the many nail holes in the shingles on the roof from the inside!!. Very poor roofing installer many years ago and a few larger holes effectively repaired. Filled the long gap alongside the chimney. Should be weatherproofed for a year or so now. Borrowed 3 foot pry bar from Ken the neighbour at 405 and removed the top floor kitchen bench and the entire wall covering over the rotted and rusted out cast iron stand (stink) pipe that runs from the basement to through the roof. The section from the floor level of first floor to basement is totally rotted away. Will replace with 3” plastic and fit new waste pipe from first floor kitchen sink which was doing all the water damage. 90° F today! Prepare to lift flooring of front porch by car jack and fit 4” beams on bricks to re-level it from the 40cm depression in middle that exists now!

Relax after a big day by watching Spanish Grand Prix on TV!

Next day I am able to contact the recalcitrant contractor who accepted large payment up front for work and then did a “no-show”. He turns up for a meeting and is a “new man” after problem with cocaine!! He is a 49 year old ex CEO and Inventor with an MBA and a world patent!

He assures me that he will provide labour to the value plus interest for our payment. I am hopeful but not confident!

Get all the plumbing materials, the neighbour has a utility and is a great help with 10 feet pipe lengths.

The roof has come through its fir5st rainshower withy no leaks!

On Tuesday the 29th I am able to jack up the porch deck and now it is level again. Screw doublers under all the suspect decking material between the bearers! The Rental managing Agent has and is a problem, has avoided meeting and now I find that he has taken out a small claims case that was undefended by virtue of supplying the court with an invalid address for us!! So we did not find out it was happening!

The other house in Youngstown is about 2 miles away and Jeff the ex CEO takes me to the Realtor who still has the keys. We then visit a nice single family home in Labelle Street is a reasonable; for Youngstown, street. A slight amount of water leakage in rear bedroom, but investigation by Jeff assures me that the repair would be negligible materials and 2 hours work to properly waterproof the displaced shingles and weatherproofing around a chimney.

Next day Ken and I head over to warren where a 4 apartment property is located. Jeff, the CEO, is to meet us there and take us to the house. Warren is quite nice, but as we get closer to our address, the atmosphere alters decidedly. What was a prestigious street in 1920 is now an unsavoury location. The neighbour to the rear of the property is helpful to us in gaining access. He was a source of information about the area. His security precautions were quite extensive! The City Authorities has screwed 8’ X 4’ sheets of ply over all the front doors. This was to stop the prostitutes gaining access for their activities. The lower left apartment had been completely renovated to liveable condition in 2008 and the ex CEO was to live in it while he renovated the other 3 units. Of course this has not happened and a roofing contractor that only did half the roof before leaving the job has resulted into massive water damage everywhere and vast amounts of the ceiling have “black mould”

No one will work where this has occurred. The winters here are quite terrible with -20°Someone has already unscrewed all the heating water radiators, but they were still on site, all the copper plumbing fittings have been stolen. Remarkably the very large furnace boiler and gas hot wat6er system are both still there. I arrange for these to be removed and taken to Youngstown.

The City had posted a demolition order on the house that was going to happen in August… disaster.

Have the City water Authority reconnect the water to 407 Dewey to find a myriad of leaks in the 2 units. A trip to the hardware store to buy a variety of plastic fittings and repair them!! Eventually!! Test the sewerage system by dumping all my waste from Rocinante into the basement main!!! No blockages!! Thank goodness. Cut all the grass at the Labelle Street house, now looks good.

Friday is a trip to The Courthouse to talk to the Small Claims Office and write a detail rebuttal to the judgement of 6 weeks previously. This was to be presented to the Judge on our behalf.

I had information that my presence in Youngstown was not totally appreciated by this Realtor whom I had made accusations against in my letter to the Court.. So I headed for Ravenna about 60 miles to the NW and as it was the July 4th long weekend, I had heard that a concert btof the Cleveland Symphony orchestras Festival Band at The Blossom performance bowl in the country side near there.

On Saturday I head to the Hartville Flea market.

This has to be the biggest and best flea market I have ever seen. It is operated by the Amish Community that is very large here. Bought some great bargains and my only toast rack I have found this trip!!

The 3rd of July evening fireworks were readily viewed from my Wal-Mart parking spot. Great display. Flat batteries on Sunday morning!! I had left the headlights on. I had moved in the Wal-Mart parking lot late at night and the bright Parking lot lights meant I did not see that my lights were on!!!

The joy of an on board generator saves the morning!! And I am able to go out to the Blossom Festival area and await the evening performance. I have met some marvellous people here, very friendly and have been taken out sightseeing to local beauty spots. The concert is fantastic and I shared it with 25,000 others. The fireworks at the conclusion of the performance; which concluded with the 1812 Overture!! Were magnificent. Traffic jam to end all traffic jams afterw2ar5ds. But I just waited till all had disappeared.

Next morning it was a little bit of local sightseeing and my friend’s wante4d their 95 year old mother to meet me and to see Rocinante. She arrived in her small 4 cylinder sedan and was more agile than the kids!!

Next port of call was Darlington on SW Pennsylvania. There is a little Air Museum here and I have an invite to park on a property for a couple of days. It is not far from Youngstown and I can get back there if necessary.

Stinking hot for next few days and I had power connected to Rocinante and was able to relax on the small farm, Thank you Jeffrey and the boys. A little bit of local exploring and and a good look over the Local Vocational College. Very well set up, impressive. The rides in your Corvette will stay with me for a lifetime, and I did not realise how nice big cats can be.

Back up north on the 8th July to Erie and a revisit to the farm at Edinboro. They have contacted me and said they have some Spalding sports memorabilia to pick up!! Also was able to visit Joe who lives on his extensive property down the road on Saturday the 10th. He has an ex SA Harvard as well as a J3 Cub, 1951 170 Cessna and a Stearman. A lovely 7 place hangar as well as a very big separate 2 airplane workshop. A spraybooth on the side of the workshop and large aircon / heated work area. 2200 feet of level and good approach runway make for a lovely property.

On Sunday morning I headed for Rochester and the last house to investigate. A tenant was installed in November 2008 and had been terribly silent!! I arrived in Rochester after travelling through eastern Pennsylvania and large tracts of wine grapes and Vineyards. Very beautiful country. Refuel in Pennsylvania at good rate; $2.80 US Gallon. Arrive at the house at 7.30pm and no answer on door. Let myself in as the mail in the post box was not the names of my tenants!~ Obviously occupied, food and very tidy setup, lounge and bedroom and kitchen furnished. Clothes neatly hung and good supply of food in 2nd bedroom. Investigate basement and no gas nor electricity connected. So I turned the water off and wired the valve closed! Lefty message on front door to contact me and removed the locks and knobs.

Checked into the local Wal-Mart and had a comfortable night. Early next morning went back to street and asked at Ex?? Tenants parents house and was informed that they left our place some 18 months ago!!! But no-one in the street had ever seen the mystery occupants!!!!

Went to local bank to open an Account into our LLC (Pty Ltd) Company’s name so the back rent being held by Social Security can be recovered??!! And then went to Social Security and stood in a line for 2 hours and 5 minutes; after the severe security check, to be told to ring a number I already had!! So was given an alternate number that had a full message bank!~!! Off to the Sheriffs Dept, City Police and Eviction Office to discuss Squatters. Result= squatters have rights, Landlords have a problem. Was told to call police when I wanted access.

Next morning at 5.30AM I am knocking on the front door; my notes had been removed! I am using a length of 4 x 2 softwood for a door knocker!~! No answer, so I let myself in and surprise, houses squatters are not here, but all their stuff is. You see I have not been inside before!!~ Well that was what I told the Police when they turned up 10 minutes later after I made the 911 call. In fact 4 cars arrived within the next 10 minutes! And later a 5th!! They went inside with guns drawn and I followed. They said that it was the neatest squat that they had ever seen. They went through everything… pockets books, clothes, bags, under bedding, found nothing but latest Playboy magazine!! They did get the names of the 2 occupants from paperwork. The Police were marvellous and all got little koalas!! And I got a signed incident report! The occupants had been using a hot rock cooker on the table to cook with!! And candles and all blind were drawn. They said I could toss all the stuff out on the street, but I was only one person and did not need a confrontation from someone who was clearly my build of larger and about mid 30’;s from clothing size and styles!! They suggested as an alternate to move all the stuff into the unrenovated 2nd apartment in the building, but bit sounded like to much work, and still dangerous. So I went and bought all new locks and a bunch of padlocks and locked the water valves closed and used 3 inch screws and 2 x 4 studs to fasten all the doors except the front door from the inside. The front door was fitted with conventional and deadlocks; both locked and I gave a Realtor the approval to list and sell the property.

I did one last inspection and slammed the front door and as I locked the deadlock, it sounded like a kid was on a skateboard on the first floor room! Could not be, But someone may have come in, so opened the front door again and as I stepped inside, the rest of the suspended ceiling in that room fell down on me!! Only injury was a large bruise on my left arm above the wrist as I protected my head! So I disconnected the power wiring that was holding the parts connected to the li8ught fittings and stacked all the panels against the wall, locked the door again and left!! What else could I do!!! I was due to be at Paul and Lorraine Irwin’s farm in Ontario that night!!! $1000 would have been necessary to replace the suspended ceiling in both the bottom room. The fine wire used to suspend the ceiling frames had rusted away over the many decades since they had been installed 50 years ago and not a cent would be added to the resale value. In fact the realtor that had just inspected it and said he would list it, suggested that as the house next door had plywood over every window and door, would dramatically affect the value of our place!!

Next stop was Niagara and a walk along the shore of the Falls on the Canadian side never fails to impress. The road from Rochester to Niagara follows the river and is very impressive. Customs and Immigration was a breeze, I was the only vehicle in the RV and Bus queue. My GPS did not cover Canada!! So after I missed the turn off that bypassed Toronto, I had a very interesting trip that took me through downtown Toronto at about 5pm and then through the Chinatown!! In a 38 foot long apartment!! Eventually got onto the highway that goes NW to the Irwin farm some 160 Km away.; arrive on the farm at 8pm. A LONG day!!! The Irwin’s farm is called Boar Rock farm, 100 acres of lovely country and the new runway is very well positioned!!

A nice level place in front of the garage gave me a panoramic view to the west, the newly painted house and barn are a dramatic improvement to their property. Young Dalton who is 15 is in British Columbia with his Grandparents and is ready to do his first solo flight as a aeroplane pilot. Quite an achievement. His sister Kassidy is about 12 and away at a lake home of a school friend.

I spend 4 days cleaning the underside of Rocinante with detergent by high air pressure and after a couple of coverages of that, I had my high pressure water blaster do the final clean. Looks good.

Did a few jobs with Paul and had a big rubbish tip run and rear porch spring clean.

Head off on Sunday about 9am and head to the Grey Roots Museum.

This is a history of the area where Paul and Lorraine live. The Extension Officer is an older Australian fellow. Very interesting place. It was down the Highway 21 which borders Lake Huron. I crossed back into the US at Sarnia; Port Huron is on the US side. It was a 1 and a half hour queue for Immigration over the river bridge that separates the 2 countries. The free Black eyed Peas free concert in Sarnia did nothing to ease the traffic congestion! I rolled up the north bound highway for 4 miles to the nearest Wal-Mart! For the night. Filled up with fuel at the Murphy Petroleum at Wal-Mart for the cheapest so far, $2.76 a gallon. Travelled west on State 90 and then 57 to get to Greenville 2/3 of the way across Michigan to yet another Wally world!

My destination on Tuesday is the home of Gary and Carol Tripp. I met Gary on a Greyhound bus between Indianapolis and Benton Harbour in Michigan in 1975!! And met again in Florida in January 2008. So it was back to Grand haven again after 35 years., The last time was when Gillian and I were doing our US trip in’75 and Gary arranged for us to stay withy his Mum and dad and younger Brother then. We attended his Grandparents 60th wedding anniversary back then. The old family home was being just put on the market when I arrived today. His Mother passed away just a few months ago. WE did all the tourist things. There is a great Maritime Museum; Grand haven is on the shoreline of Lake Michigan which is an enormous area of water; like open ocean!! That evening we went to the Water and light show.

It was quite magnificent, but a chilly night! Carol went off to Chicago to do Grand kid stuff and Gary and I were left to our own devices!! So we installed a ham radio HF radio in his Ford Utility and made a fantastic transmitting loop antenna setup in his attic. The Housing association in which their Condo is located prohibits external antennas!! I was able to use his tools to fabricate a reinforcing aluminium plate for the Refrigerator door in Rocinante and several other small jobs; there are always small jobs.

Next day was a very early start to Ludington where the regular ferry crosses massive Lake Michigan and departs from for Manitowoc on the Wisconsin shore. The ferry is a coal fired steam ferry that was built in 1953 to carry about 40 rail cars of coal and general cargo. It was modified in mid 70s to carry about 300 cars on 2 decks and big motorhomes like Rocinante and semis as well. It cost me $269 for Ronnie and me and saved 9 hours travel by road. Which is through Chicago, so you can add another hour!! The trip is 60 miles across the Lake and takes 4 hours and a time zone! I was ashore at 1.30pm and was on my way to Oshkosh where I arrived at about 2.30pm. I had pre booked a camp site several weeks ago and when I arrived at the gate, I was told to park somewhere in town and come back in2 hours as the grounds were too waterlogged for big rigs. It transpired that the heaviest July rains on record had occurred the day before!! 3” in a couple of hours! I came back in 2 hours to be given the same story. The organisers were trying to get permission from large retailers in town who had large car parks, to have the RV’s park there!! I did not come to Oshkosh to park 5 miles from the venue!! So I went down a side road and a farmhouse with a couple of acres beside it; which was opposite the campground, had tents and caravans and a few small RVs. I parked on the road and when I went in saw that a 44 foot rig was quite well bogged. I walked the property and found a spot where I thought I could get Rocinante in to. I negotiated with the owners and had them clear the way of victims; sorry pedestrians and faced myself into the driveway on the property. I locked Ronnie in 1st and hit the place at 20 mph!! I got right to my assigned place with disappearing. I had my 8 x 2 short planks out and backed her onto these which stopped her disappearing to the axles. I was in for the week and only 15 minutes walk from the main gate at about the same cost as the Campground and closer!!

Felkers Farm at 1864 Waukau Av was to be my home for the week. As I was set up in a few minutes, I wandered down to the open air Theatre. It was a 25 M wide and 15 M high blow up screen. The projectors were located in the back of a big tray pantechnicon and shot out the back. All the movies had an aviation theme of course!! The camp site was just 200 M from the EAA Museum and a source of Wi-Fi. Perfect, had airconditioned comfort and a power point and comfortable chairs. My weekly Airshow pass gave me unlimited access to the museum as well.

It was onto the airshow ground early on every day. Registered at the Overseas Visitor Tent and there are hundreds of Australians here. Several large organised groups. They were accommodated in vacant school rooms!! In town! Accommodation over AirVenture week is big business.

There are no words that can describe what AirVenture; or Oshkosh Airshow, really is. Gigantic and immense are just not enough. The website is a good start,

23 DC3’s flew over in formation on Tuesday before landing to celebrate their 75th anniversary!!

Hoards of T6 Harvards created aluminium overcast and private jet fighter were so common, about 10 T39 Albatrosses were in the air bat one time!

As things dried out, thousands more private aircraft arrived. They had been waiting at numerous local airfields for the OK to come in.

Friday at 12 midday was time for the International Visitors Parade march and official welcome by the CEO of EAA and also a welcome from the founder Paul Poberezny. I was fortunate to speak briefly with him and shake his hand at the end of the ceremony. See Picture at head of this blog!!! A couple of thousand people were in the march and at 5.30pm that afternoon a free dinner with unlimited beer and wine was provided. The Canadians and the Brazilians were outstanding performers in this arena!! It was early to bed this night. The Saturday night was the first Night air display and fireworks display afterwards. See the above photo link for magic photos of both these events.

Asleep at the Wheel; gave a magnificent Show in the theatre in the Woods at 6pm before the Night airshow. People dancing in the aisles, I even was invited to get up!! Just lucky some days!

After the spectacular finale of the Fireworks, it was in the stampede to get out of the very dark grounds!! But I managed to find a courtesy bus back to the Museum to save my aching feet!!

I had planned an early start back to Florida on Sunday morning; BUT.. I had not bought any Air Show T Shirts!! So at 7.30 am I was on the airfield taking photos as the sun rose behind the aircraft. A great photo of the C5A with the sun creating a halo around it. By 9am I had backed out of my bog hole of a week before onto solids ground and was on my way SW to avoid going through Chicago or its environs.

Down through Wisconsin into Illinois w on I 39 where the flat farm lands continued with not a breath of wind. I mid Illinois there were at least 200 electrical generating windmills with not a single one moving!! East on I74 and cross over into Indiana and more flat country. The expansion joints every 8M on the concrete roadways were a slight nuisance. But I did not realise how much until late in the Sunday afternoon I went to use my loo and a cover plate for the gas stove which i stored beside the pedestal, had vibrated forward and held the flushing handle on!!! So it had emptied my fresh water and filled my black water. There is no reversing this process. So at Terre Haute I found a KOA Kampground and did a dump for my waste tanks and refilled my water supply again. Thank goodness for no hills as the temperature was over 35°. Next morning it was south on I41 through Kentucky and into Tennessee to Nashville where I picked up I65 south. I made Montgomery Alabama by 8pm and sought out the Wal-Mart. Did not need rocking to sleep!!! 450 miles on day one and 550 miles on day two!! Awake at 5.30am and started on Highway 231 SE straight away while it was still under 30°!! Had breakfast and a shower at Troy Alabama and by 8.45 was at Ozark where the Army Aviation Museum is located just 10 miles to the west of I231 at Fort Rutter. I certainly had time to go in here. Very strict security provisions to get Rocinante on the Base. But it was worth it. Magnificent collection of fixed and rotary wing aircraft.

Out on I231 again and in no time I was in Florida and at Marianna I got onto E10 which was taking me directly to Jacksonville. I10 is a marvellous highway and no hills. Rocinante was flat out at 77mph on the flat! I had to try it out!!! Sat on 65 to 70 in the 35°+ day and a couple of very heavy thunderstorms to boot! Arrived at Middleburg Wal-Mart at 6pm to make a trip distance from Oshkosh of 1,354 miles.

Up early next morning to be at Rivers RV and Bus Workshop to be in time for my arranged appointment. Needless to say, the process of this job has drawn out and 4 days later; Saturday, I am sitting in their lovely Customer lounge; airconditioned and Wi-Fi and large screen TV, while Rocinante is in the complimentary campground about 100 M away with lots of parts and panels removed waiting for the expert to arrive with the parts on Monday morning!!

I have had the opportunity to replace the 2 fan belts on the hydraulic pump that have been squealing for the last 10 weeks. I fitted a 1” shorter pair of belts and now have ample adjustment and no screaming!! The camp site is under trees, so it was a good location to work on it. I have the use of the Company’s courtesy car; a 2005 Lincoln, to do my parts buying, laundry and grocery shopping!! I have found what has been slowly flattening the House battery. The coaxial cable to the roof antenna has 12 feed to supply the powered antenna. The coax had deteriorated and was shorting out and drawing a constant 3 or 4 amps and I could not find it!! I have bought a new antenna and now have 28 channels where before I had 3!!

Rocinante is booked to be shipped out of Jacksonville in the 4th of September and I am able to leave her with the shipping Company this week. I will then get a rental car and drive to Miami from which I depart for home on the 17th August.

Magnificent and adventurous holiday!!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

May 15th to 26th June 2010

15th May to 26th June 2010

This picture is of my camp site on the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, right on the seawall and the overseas cargo ships passed just 150 metres in fron of Rocinante. But back to the story from the middle of May!!

Jetty park at Port Canaveral is quite comfy, It only has power and waste hookup, no cable TV or internet, but a short drive down to MacDonald’s allows a check of emails and to do shopping for food etc. But it does have a wonderful beach and a closeup view of the large cruise ships as they exit and enter the harbour.,

The nice location also allows me to chase a few little problems in wiring and plumbing in comfortable circumstances!

Monday 17th and off to Kennedy Space Centre again as weekday and fewer people. The queues last Thursday were quite long. It was straight onto the buses this morning and rained!! But all the things to see were inside. Included 3 3D movies!! Great day. The initial entry charge covers 2 days.

It was an overnight at Wal-Mart at Port St John. Good location. Not too close to railway track!!

Next day along the coastal highway to gamble Rogers State Park and camped on a nice location that is in fact on top of the coastal dune. Great beach walks in the front yard!! We rolled in, we connected the water supply to Rocinante as well as the 110Volt power and went for a walk! Came back to a lake underneath Rocinante. The electrical water dump valve on the 120 gallon fresh water tank had not closed properly after a clearing purge before connecting the local water!! Had my togs on, so it was throw a mat underneath in the twilight and try to remove the offending valve and I managed to fabricate an alternative connection without the purge valve from scrap parts I had n

bought from the RV wreckers at Hot Springs!! Managed to get it all “watertight” before it got totally dark!!! A Gin and tonic has never tasted so good!!!

Spend 2 lovely days and nights here on the beach. Along the coastal highway A1A to St Augustine. I had been here before in winter and it was good to see it in the high season. Stopped at the classic and very well restored Lighthouse on the way up the peninsular before heading across the estuary to St Augustine. Used my old boondocking camp site at the Riberia Street Electric Company switchyard entrance which was within easy walking distance of everything. The Fort, The Lightner Museum and the old part of town. The Americana gallery;

Michael Roux the owner and creator of this marvellous place was my host to take me around the exhibits and to tell of his amazing life.

After 2 nights in the switch yard spot it was on to the St Augustine Flea markets. Many secondhand professional stalls, but a few small kitchen items for Rocinante.

Down I95 to Daytona beach markets for an hour or so and then out to New Smyrna Speedway for the big night there. Overnighted in the carpark and the quarter midgets with 160cc 4 stroke engines and under 16 year old drivers were hard at it in the 150 metre oval track. Lap times of 16 seconds!!

Big days easy travel to Sat Johns River at Jacksonville. I was on the barge for the river crossing and another driver was looking over the side of the Ferry for the 10 minute crossing and I asked whether there was any RV parks nearby. Without me following him right into it, I would never have found it, not on the net, it is a fishing camp and is right on the river, see the photo taken from the seawall at the start of this blog.

Spent 6 very relaxing and glorious days here watching the big cargo ships passing just 150 metres in front of Rocinante! Did some day trips in a borrowed set of wheels to Fernandino Beach which is literally infected with secondhand and antique stores; yes, I did fall victim to a few small pieces, and on to St Marys on the Georgia side of the Georgia Florida border. We call it the state Line here!!

There is no cable TV hookup at this site, so I pull up stakes and head down to Daytona Beach to a good campsite there at KOA Speedway. Walking distance to the enormous Daytona fleamarket and then on the Sunday afternoon spend the rest of the day in front of the TV with a beer in hand and watch the Indianapolis 500!!

31st of May and it is a midday departure for Ocala where I have an appointment for an RV place to investigate the inverter switching system for 110 VAC on 6 power points. Back to my Wal-Mart campspot!! Am invited to a pool party at a large gated community for a swim at the pool, great company and meet lots of great people, thanks!! It is Memorial Day Public holiday.

Next morning it is on up to Bob’s RV Salvage at High Springs, I know what I want to stock up on now!! I spend several 100’s on new and used parts to improve and repair any problems if they should arise! Even manage to get a set of main door lock locator pins!!

Made contact with the Williams family up near Jacksonville and may be able to find underbody truckwash facility near there. Also looking for an RV or Bus repair facility to fit new aircon compressor and alter system to current R134A gas, and then remove it prior to shipping!!

Found both places near Jacksonville and with a clean underbody and a quote for air conditioner work to be done the first week of August.

Back to RV salvage to have yet another sift through the yard and come out with a big bag of stuff for $20! Then into High Springs and a marvellous group Antique Mall!! Down Highway 441 towards Ocala and big dirt Speedway! Overnight at RingPower; Catapillar Dealer, carpark. Complete with WiFi. Friday is Speedway day and park in carpark area early!! Lazy day and read.

Great night and the last race is a 75 lapper around the 3/8 mile track. The smell of exhaust and burnt rubber still lingers!!

Saturday and the Bull Riding Rodeo is in town. Friends from Ocala have included me in their party. Overall, the Bulls won!! And it was back to my camp spot at Wal-Mart Silver Springs.

I had an appointment with Kenworth in Jacksonville to do an underbody steam and pressure clean, looks good and then on to Rivers RV to quote on the Airconditioning rebuild.

Stayed at Wal-Mart Middleburg for 2 nights and went to movie Prince of Persia, very good. The Williams family showed me the sights Thanks Chuck and Cat, while I waited for an 8.30 am Wednesday appointment with “RV electrical Specialist” at De Land. I arrive there on time, but the spec was not there yet!! It took me 10 minutes to assess the “specialist” as I placed all the circuits for this section on the table. It was patently clear that reading a schematic was not his thing! I watched for half an hour and then he asked me to help!! An extra pair of semi skilled hands was all I had needed in the first place. I spent 3 hours there using their nuts and bolts tray and pvc tape and power connected to Rocinante. When finished, they only charged me half an hour labour!! I now have power to all my points and they as well as I know a bit more about Rocinante!!

Pulled into Marina 44; naturally enough on Highway 44, for lunch after my morning of ‘assisting” and when I went to start up, all I got was RR, RR, R nothing!! Pull out the massive chassis battery tray and every connection was either warm or very hot!! I did not have a file, but a begging trip to the marina workshop equipped me with 3 feet of emery tape!! The steam clean had obviously removed the gunk on the lugs and terminals that had been giving some sort of connection!! Found yet another connection on the chassis battery lead join where the positive lead had been getting VERY hot, so back to the workshop and a small stainless bolt and washers and it is now like new. I know a little bit more about Rocinante now!!

Overnight at the horse stud and go to a Movie, Letter to Juliet was only non violent!!

Next morning it was of north to Ohio on Highway 121 and joining 301 in Georgia. 301 and 25 takes me all the way to Greenville South Carolina and Wal-Mart is my overnight stop at about 9pm as it just gets dark. I am hearing a lot of fan and compressor belt slip, so I am concerned; but this was overcome with my concern for the mountains!! Jones Pass was the first one just 12 km north of my overnight. The alternator is overcharging as well!! The Appalachian Mountains range from about 1500 feet to a top of 3772 feet. The interstate 25 goes up and down and up and down etc for about 300 km!! Rocinante and I arrive in Kingsport Tennessee just after lunch and Stowers CAT Service Centre immediately put a real specialist on the job, tensions were down, But RingPower had put oversized belts on and no more adjustment available. But much better and access to the alternator showed a little cleaning and regulator tag terminal clean and it is perfect again. Plenty of more hills and Parkersburg West Virginia is my overnight. Another good day with 750 Km done.

Saturday the 12th June

Parkersburg is on the southern bank of the Ohio River, and the highway 7 follows the river closely all the way through Ohio. I get to Clarington about midday and a big Fair is in progress. Great atmosphere in this small town. Church has roast beef lunch on and the banjo player turns out to be the Pastor!!

After lunch it was on to Bridgeport and my first Investment House location. My friend was “guided” back in 2006 by a “shrewd” strategist; also can be referred to as a spiv!!, to buy cheaply, renovate; and the spiv was going to do this, and then get reasonable rental returns. Problem was that the towns are all old Iron and coal towns and the industry no longer operates in this whole Ohio River valley any more. Coal for power generation is very much mechanised and iron and steel is processed in Korea!!

The little cottage in Howard Street looked very forlorn, but a couple of days of yard work and internal cleaning and it shamed the neighbours into doing their yards as well!! Door locks fitted and basement siphoned out and some siding sheets replaced on the side wall. Looked good. The home is 14 squares over the 2 floors. A good size for the street. It was then listed with the local Realtor and it was time for me to move on to the next at Johnstown Pennsylvania.

I moved on from my campsite of the last 4 nights; I may add that Howard Street has a 4 tonne load limit. I am 14 tonne!! And it is a no through road, so a U turn was necessary when I returned from any shopping trip that necessitated going more than a mile on foot!!

The way to Johnstown was due east from Bridgeport, straight across the Ohio River to Wheeling West Virginia; which has been made famous in a song of that name!!, and straight into a long tunnel that emerged on the range out of the Ohio River valley. Toatally different country. It was east on Interstate 70 without many bad hills till my turn off north at Somerset. I took state road 601 for a scenic run, nice and narrow, but lovely severely undulating farmland! Back to 219 and then into Johnstown. The astern side of town is at 2600 feet and as I descended into the valley and town centre, it was 1200 feet asl. Wood Street is a one way street and getting a 38 foot vehicle in took care, but a parking spot was available on the street directly in front of 427 / 429.

It had all the outward indications of abandonment! So A circuitous inspection revealed the 2nd duplex to be actually locked. The first was open and it was evident that some renovation had happened a fair while ago because all the rubbish had been thrown down the basement stairway!! I put my work overalls on and hauled for 2 hours, The stack of rubbish was enormous. About 20 garbage bags and 3 carpets were eventually folded and left on the side of the rear lane for garbage pickup next morning. Numerous cardboard cartons were added and then an inspection of the interior indicated the 2nd to be habitable and the first not so because people had been having stone throwing practice at the windows and had also stolen all the copper pipe visible and the gas hot water service!! The new straw broom got a serious workout and a coup[le of cartons of glass were added to the heap at the rear. New locks were purchased and fitted and I collapsed!!! Next morning and the Garbos went straight past my heap. I caught up with them a street down the hill; I had my wallet in my hand, and a negotiated stop was arranged in 20 minutes! By the time they got back I had a bed base or 2 out for collection and to be crushed into the back of the truck!!

I rented a whipper snipper and was ¾ done when the little 4 stroke motor stopped dead, broken crank I imagine, took it back; no fee, and the wonderful neighbour across the road, Sandie, offered their little 2 stroke giant killer with which I finished the yard and it even looked good!! Took them out toi dinner as recompense!!

Next day was down to City Hall and see how much back taxes were due, could only get the current year and that did not look good!!

The tourist information was promoting the Flood Museum as the prime tourist spot. Which in fact it was, with good reason, marvellous displays and artifacts oif the 1889, 1936 and 1977 floods. The last of which put paid to the last of the Steel Mills in town!

This was a steel town and nothing else, without the mills, it was a town without purpose. The real estate market reflects that.

The single most outstanding feature of the town is the Inclined Plane!!

It does not have wings, it is a cable car that runs on rails straight up the side of a mountain !! Not only does it carry passengers and motor cycles, It can carry one car and saves several miles of road travel.

That evening was the first night of the annual Film Festival of the town. So I walked the 2 km. downtown to The Flood Museum again; they have the best small film theatre!, and enjoyed 6 short feature films that were vying for the medal. Home by 9:30pm in dwindling light, the last few streets were travelled with a little fear!!

The Real Estate people agreed to list it and after I put a couple of For Sale by Owner signs up, it was on the road again.

I had seen an advert on TV for a Truck , Tractor and Big Rig Pull at the Fairgrounds at Brookville about 150 km to the north! Arrived there about 4.30 and the parking people put me in a nice level place, as I told them I wanted to stay the night. The fun started at 7pm. Look at this link, easier than trying to explain!!

The big rigs were spectacular, The Noise was unbelievable!!

It took the crowds over 2 hours to get out of the carpark, while I had a wee dramn before bed!!

Next day it was north to Edinboro to hook up with some folks met at the Pull. The opportunity to park on a small farm for a few days was a possibility and I was putting off going to Youngstown where I had heard some terrible stories about the crack and gang problems there!!

As it turned out I had 5 very comfortable days at the farm and did a multitude of small maintenance jobs for the Ellis’s and attended to my compressed air leaking problem that had happened near Brookville. I was kindly chauffeured to the local car parts places where I was able to find a replacement pressure switch to fix the air leak. Critical in a vehicle that relies on air for gear change, brakes and throttle!!

On Friday 25th June, it was onto state road 98 south and I ran into a heap of garage sales!! Needless to say , but I was late in the day arriving at 407 E Dewey in Youngstown. A nice looking duplex on a nice street. Made myself known to all the neighbours and it was in no time at all that help and advice was offered. My $20 whipper snipper from a garage sale earlier in the day was a great success when I attacked the yard next morning. Investigating the sewer leak as reported by the managing agent several months ago revealed a much less serious situation. Looking better all the time. Rocinante is parked on a level spot in the driveway, comfortable for a few days of work here.