(Formally "Plan V: A Van Dwelling Blog", when I lived in a 1978 Dodge Xplorer 228 Class B motorhome van)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Salvation Mountain

I woke up around 6:30 this morning and found it to be rather warm.

After breakfast and waking up, I biked back down to "Salvation Mountain", a giant man made mound of hay and adobe, covered in paint and portraying the message "God is love".
Despite not being a Christian, or in favor of religions in general, I still find it a very interesting piece of folk art. At least it's a religious piece that embraces universal love, not selective hatred.

It's very surreal, like something out of  Dr Seuss book when you walk through the inner part. That's what appeals to me about it and keeps drawing me back to see it. I love weird surreal things like that... heh.

I stopped and looked at it when I arrived yesterday, but didn't look around it much, nor did I take any photos then. I had the place to myself this morning when I went for photos and a better look around.

The photos are dark due to the overcast. I usually try not to edit my photos, so you get the impact of what I saw, not a touched up scene to make it look nicer.

For more information about the monument, visit the following links:

        Official Salvation Mountain Website

        Wikipedia: Salvation Mountain

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Slab City

I decided to leave Quartzsite and head to Slab City today. I considered it yesterday, but I wanted to sleep on the idea.

So yes, now I'm in California! Yay!

I took CA-78 down from Blythe and came around that way.
My cell data service is worse here.. runnin at 1X, but it's better than nothing.
My little 12V 7" LCD TV thinks we're in Mexico. ALL the analog and digital channels are FROM Mexico. It seems Mexico does a better job of log distance TV broadcasts than the U.S. does.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hi Jolly 14 day area

I arrived in Quartzsite, AZ on Sunday evening around 5pm (Mountain time) and went up north of town to the "Hi Jolly" free 14 day BLM (Bureau of Land Management) area to use up the free time I can stay here. I will need to dump in about 3-4 days, at which time I will have to see what the most cost effective method will be. It might end up being that paying $40 for 2 weeks in the LTVA will be best, but I'll have to wait and see.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Alternator replaced

I found my battery was dead this morning when I went to leave Wal-Mart. (Oh, and I stayed parked under a "no overnight RV parking sign" for 2 nights without even noticing it.. but luckily no one bothered me). I managed to get it to charge enough via slight solar charging to get it running. I went over to O'Reilly auto and had them charge the battery then test the charging system with their hand hand portable testing device.

Do NOT always trust those devices! They can be mistaken!

(Before that, I had tried a diagnostic method of my own from the Haynes manual involving bypassing the voltage regulator to see if the alternator would output high volts without the regulator present.. and it didn't. That's a sign of a bad alternator. But I wasn't 100% sure.)

The tester said that it was a problem with my voltage regulator's diodes or some such. Being a $20 part, I figured it might be the problem since the diagnostic said it was.. plus it's a lot easier to change out than the alternator.

However, before I paid for it, I asked the guy if I would be able to return it promptly if it doesn't fix the problem. He hesitated a bit... then said he would do that for me as a warranty exchange.  So I install it.. no dice. He tried again testing the system with the handheld tester (they test at the battery) and it said the same problem, bad voltage regulator and that the alternator was fine. He was scratching his head at that point.

So I removed the new voltage regulator, replaced the old and had him check for a new (rebuilt) alternator. He only had the 1yr warranty one in stock. It would be Monday before they could have anything else. Rather than limp for 2 days more on a bad alternator, I decided to nip it in the bud now.

So, I set out removing the old alternator. They have a BETTER test machine inside the store that cannot be moved, and requires the part to be out of the vehicle. After removal but prior to purchase of the replacement, I had him test the old one. It came up FAILED on that better machine.

So, I went ahead and did the return on the voltage regulator and bought the new alternator. I got it put on and all is well now.

If you are in Benson, AZ and need auto parts, I recommend O'Reilly Auto for sure. They were most helpful and patient. They also lent me a hammer to pound in the roll pin for mounting on the new one where it wasn't put in all the way like it was supposed to be.

A tip to someone who may be doing this: Remove the air cleaner housing and get the alternator out via the area on the right side. Your transmission dipstick tube might be in the way a little and the oil filler cap on the valve cover may be slightly in the way, but I didn't have to remove the cap. It's a tight fit but I got the old out and the new in that way.

Also, double check your belts!! I had them on wrong around the crankshaft at first. I double checked due to one being tight and one being floppy. One was outside of the grove, one was in the wrong groove and the other grove was empty. Thankfully it didn't hurt the belts as it was only run for a minute or less that way. It only took a couple minutes to loosen the alternator again, fix the belts back on the pulley right then tighten back the alternator.

The "new" alternator:

Friday, January 10, 2014

Tombstone, AZ Revisited

I revisited Tombstone, AZ today to do a bit of sight seeing I missed back in November since I am about to leave the area.

I am too tired to add photo captions to check back in a few days to see if they have been added.

Bisbee, AZ

I drove down to Bisbee AZ this morning and had a good look around. Then I went to Tombstone (again) and did a bit more sight seeing there.

I am too tired to put descriptions with the photos right now. I may come back and do it later. Check in a few days if you are interested.