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Ole, For the list
We ran into a few challenges! First of all we seen Terry the hog farmer. We had a great visit with him! He is doing a
lot of value added selling all his pigs privately. One of his big markets is barbeque roast pigs at about 40 - 50 pounds.
They gut the hog and roast it whole on a spit! He says he has a waiting list. He has purchased and cleared a half section
and will be moving there soon south of Copper Center. He rents the land he is now on but can move all the building,
machinery and double wide trailer. He worked a garbage route for 10 years in Sioux Falls before moving to Anchorage and
then after a couple years to the McCarthy Road. His wife teaches school and he said they are doing pretty well financially
now. He said it is great to live in AK but most people have a hard time making enough money to stay!
We then headed for Valdez and parked north of town at Blueberry CG which is by Thompson pass surrounded by snow capped
mountains. We left the trailer and took the F-350 to Valdez. It is a very pretty area with high mountains, green up quite
aways and snow on top with many streams of water falling down the sides. We seen two beautiful falls along the road called
bridal veil and horsetail falls. In Valdez we toured the pipeline terminal, the harbor, checked out the RV Parks which
were packed, checked out the fishing spots where the pink salmon were not running yet and watched some videos on the
wildlife and building the pipeline while waiting for the tour bus. We also got some bottled water and seen how high priced
food was and sure are thankful we have all our food with us. Got diesel for $1.77 which is the cheapest since about our
3rd day of travel. We then went back to the CG and it was getting chilly and raining pretty hard so we ate some supper and
went to bed. We slept in as it was raining and very foggy. We got up, did some chores, checked and sent some E-mail,
worked on web page pictues and finally decided we would stay a second night since we would not be able to see any scenery
if we headed for Anchorage anyway. I made my radio schedules at 5 pm and noticed my mobile amplifier was not working.
Ultimately I discovered the keying lead had broke. Apparently we jerked it sometime taking things in and out of the
pickup. It gets hard to find a place for things sometime. I sure was glad I was able to fix it as I thought it was going
to have to wait until I got home. After I fixed it the amplifier still did not work but I finally discovered I did not
get the plug in correctly. Fortunately when I plugged it in correctly everything worked. WIll have to watch that in the
future. Most plugs you can not get them wrong but this one you can. We ran the furnace for the first time as you could
see your breath. It sure felt good as it was about 50 degrees in the trailer and warmed it right up to 70 degrees. I
noticed the voltage from the battery bank was much lower than I though it should be. I checked the input fuses and they
were blown. I thought that was strange but had extra fuses so went to put one in and it instantly blew! THIS IS NOT GOOD!
This is our life line that permits us to be self contained and to go with out hookups each day. We are now day 27 and
have never had hook ups and we don't run the generator other than to vacuum the rug once a week. It also is key to the
radio communications and the E-Mail on the road. That I could still do by using the generator but we would loose all our
freedom of parking when and where we want. I decided to switch my knife switch to put the wiring back to the original
configuration to see if the second alternator was still working or had blown diodes or other problems. NOT THE THING TO
DO!!! I swithced the knife switch and immedately smoke started rolling. I yanked the knife switch back up and yelled at
Edith to get the fire extinguisher. Smoke was coming out from under the hood of the F-350 and out of the battery box.
The smoke started decreasing but still was coming out of the other end of the battery box which is WOOD! I thought it
was on fire. I had a vision of the F-350 and 5th all going up in flames if the fire extingusher did not do the job. We
have about 3 small ones along but fortunately the smoke kept decreasing and stopped and I felt and smelled and determined
there was no fire.
Ultimately tonight in Anchorage at Mike's AL7OB house, he grew up at Redfield, SD and we got into ham radio at the same
time I discovered what had happened. The lug that attached the charge wire from the second alternator had broken. It
was a heavy duty lug but we have been on some terrible roads and the wire had dropped down and was touching the frame.
When I switched the knife switch it shorted the F-350 batteries back thru the charge wire to ground. That is the only
thing not fused! I am going to look into fusing that but meanwhile I am never going to switch the knife switch that way
until I check for a short with my meter and then do so for just a second until I am sure everything is OK. The other
tense thing yesterday was if the F-350 would start because at that time I was not sure what happpened. Anyway thank the
Lord we have a lot of spare parts along so we got the broken lug off the alternator. WOW WHAT A JOB! Virtually
impossible to get at down underneath. We then found some flexable wire and soldered a lug to it and again WOW WHAT A
JOB to get it back on the alternator. We left some slack and being standed, flexable wire I don't think the lug should
not break this time. I think it was to tight before and with all the rough roads we have been on I think the vibration
got to it. I then checked for short and it was gone and then put in the fuses with no sparks indicating no current being
drawn and started the F-350 and observed the input voltage to the batteries was climbing indicating the alternator was
indeed OK and charging the battery bank. WHAT A RELIEF, WE ARE BACK IN BUSINESS THANK THE LORD! I ran the F-350 about
an hour and got the battery bank back up to 12.42 volts form 12.22 volts so things are WORKING!
Anchorage is a busy town and the streets we were on were plenty narrow so it was not a fun time going thru with the 5th
wheel. It is tough making the corners and not getting over in the other lane. Got a couple of "HONKS" We are settled
in here and need to see the Jayco dealer about some warrenty work as the replacement leaf spring is sagging and it not
strong enough and we also need to get a rim, find out about tire warranty and get the brakes checked and a thermostat on
the ventilation fan replaced and a few other things that has shown up.
BTW diesel at Palmer was $1.65 so that is more like it. We have used one 30# propane bottle so far and are on the second
one. Also got satellite TV going tonight. We could not get the Canadian one as it was at 7 degrees above the horizon
pointing at 109 degrees and we just did not have a clear shot that low in that direction. We did get the dishnetwork
going as it was at 15 degrees elevation pointing at 117 degrees which worked. We could only get about 50 on our relative
signal scale which normally I can get 80-100 and I find out only certain transponders come in here. The ones that do
are nice and clear so Edith can watch a little TV if she wants. She really has a good book that she can't wait to read
when we are stopped.
Hopefully things will work out and and I can upload to the web page in the next few days.
Ed and Edith
[MID: 1055_W0SD Sent Via: KA6IQA Date: 2001/07/08 03:20:28]