Happiegrrlcs Covid Migration

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    People have told me that they have missed my annual travel thread this year. I kind of felt a little wrong in making one, with Covid and all, plus I wasn't sure what I would have to say, with a van that would be (hopefully)more reliable than the two I've ran cross-country before.

    So - as I enter "the southwest," I will begin the thread, and hopefully keep people entertained if nothing else. I'm currently in Wichita Falls, Texas, and face a travel conundrum, which I'll get to soon. However, I HAVE had some van troubles," so I'll start with that.

    Today I got an oil change, because I was concerned with my dipstick reading a few days ago. I couldn't get a reading and was like 'It CAN'T be so low.... " I'd drive a bit, look for as level a spot as possible, read and... these damned new dipsticks are not like the good old flat ones. I just could.not.tell if there was oil on the stick(sure didn't seem to be) or if I was an idiot(debatable)....

    So, finally I was like "okay, I'm going to add a little...."

    And then, I worried I was overfilling it and going to kill the engine, because though the stick was still annoyingly hard to read, I could tell there at least was oil on the engine. I knew I had to change the oil, start fresh, and get with the program on this issue.

    Do today I had it done, and told them my story. It was 1.5 quarts low, they said. I'd put in about 3/4 quart(which is a LOT to add for a vehicle that isn't burning oil). So, it was 2 quarts down when I couldn't get my reading, which was why I couldn't get the reading. Not good.

    My friend told me, when I bought this van, to get an oil change right off. I didn't. And though I had checked the oil a few times, I didn't pay the attention that I will now. Daily. Until I get a handle on whether I'm losing oil or not. I don't think I am, since the engine is almost pristine, and I see none underneath, nor any drops on the ground when I park. I had assumed the place I bought it from had done a change. Maybe they didn't.

    Anyway - we're full up and I can stop fearing I'll be driving down the road and... unfortunately, I do know what an engine freezing up sounds like (rip '72 440 Plymouth Sattelite from my young adult years).

    So....the other problem I had was about a month ago, when the coolant reservoir was shockingly low. Now, it should be said that I didn't even know WHAT this tank sitting stop the engine WAS. But whatever it was, the fluid inside was at a level of below the Minimum line...

    I tried to find out by googling. Now, if I had taken a guess and entered "what does the coolant reservoir on a 2014 Ram Promaster look like," I would have found results. But..... Anyway, finally I got around to reading the owner's manual.

    You'd think that would have been fine on day one, but it's a PDF file and so unlike a reasonably helpful guide to your vehicle like my old van had, it was torture reading it. If you don't believe me, download it for yourself and see if you still disagree.

    Anyway, so when I got to the part where I knew what I was looking at, it said "Some of these vehicles need a special tool to open the fill spout, and damage may occur if you don't have that special tool and try it. Have this service performed at a dealership.(yer gonna die!!!111).

    I posted pictures on the Promaster discussion forum and asked, and was replied to, a bit facesiously, that it was a damned screw off cap...

    And, though I wasn't really sure I wasn't going to DAMAGE the thing, I...unscrewed it and filled it up with the proper coolant, which I did buy at the dealership and which costs a lot more than good old coolant for older rigs.

    But, they gave me a free calendar!

    Annd, I have an electrical.iddue I need some brainpower to solve, but will post in its own slot next.

  • So here's the electrical problem I don't think a multimeter will help, since I have no idea how to use one....

    So I can NOT get my laptop to charge on the inverter. I was gifted an inexpensive one and it worked for a while and then sometimes it would, sometimes not. It would however, charge my cel phone.

    So,the big lighter is does not have a blown fuse.

    I figured the load was too much for the little inverter, so upgraded and it worked. For a while. Then nothing.

    I thought it might be my laptop either battery or the power cord. Great.... neither of which can be bought at a store on sight.

    So, today I went into Best Buy, where I bought both the laptop and the inverter. On the way in, I saw a power outlet and plugged in.

    It charges.

    So, I figured I must have overloaded the second inverter. Talked to a salesperson who said it should have been able to handle the load, but they would accept exchange to the better inverter they had, which for certain can handle the load.

    It doesn't charge.....

    Laptop is Lenova Yoga, 65w
    This inverter can handle 175w continuous
    Like I said, the inverter will charge my cell. The LED light is out, indicating power.

    What is up?

    EDIT! Good news - it is WORKING! The inverter will make the fan running sound after being on a bit, and that just happened. I looked at the laptop and it's red charging light is on!

  • inverter will automatically shut off when your battery is low. try to charge your stuff while you are driving... Always change the oil or at least check it on a new used rig. people are cheap and will skip that if they can... hopefully your journey continues to be safe and fulfilling.

  • I've not been charging unless engine running, but I have left the laptop plugged into inverter pretty much all the time, since the laptop loses battery at night cause it's been so damned cold....

    Maybe that caused it to overheat, though I rarely drive more than 100 miles before stopping.

    So... I had been chronicling this trip on my Instagram, and pictures deleted from my phone since then. If anyone does have interest, that's at [www.Instagram.com/TalismanToo]

    Today I'm heading to the Coronado National Park for a few days. No internet... I'll be going into withdrawal.

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    Hello again...

    So, I spent a few days out in the Coronado National Forest in southern Arizona (in the section off hwy 80 northish of Douglas).

    Lots of pictures on my Instagram page.

    Last couple days I'm in Bisbee, and let me tell you - I had NO idea how historically and architecturally magnificent it is. I always thought that when I get old(or lose my spot in NY) that I would base out of Flagstaff, but... Bisbee is giving it a run.

    I had planned to go back into the Coronado National Forest tomorrow, in the area southwest of Sierra Vista, but there's rain forecast for tonight through Thursday, a sunny day Friday, and then some.... rain.

    I've asked on the Bisbee FB page whether it is stupid to even think about it, or what(and I'm assuming that yes, it is stupid), but going to ask if anyone here has any experience with that region, and how bad it can get with rain.

    Considering flattish Quartzite gets floody from the little hills they have, and that this region is ruggedly mountainy with pretty good elevations and steepness, I think I need to do something different.

    I was intending to go into Tucson on the 27thish, to shop for some rock slabs (outdoor venue), and though it's early to head that way, I figure, better to be in a larger sizes town where I can overnight on pavement.

    So, it's looking like that.

  • Oh - that picture was in the wash behind a campspot I had. It was 20 feet deep in some spots, and though chossy in a lot of spots, definitely a bit of highball potential. There are a lot of Rick formations in that area too, but I don't think you can get close without "some effort." No car-bumper belaying there....

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