Or rather…the power door locks decided to stop opening (popping up) a few days back on my Ford Bronco II. In light of my Blog entry about one month ago…”It Helps To Be Technically Minded”… I thought I’d share this story with you.

After about an hour of cleaning electrical contacts…unplugging and plugging in the concerned solenoids..there are two of them…one for the locking and one for the unlocking functions…I finally decided it was a defective solenoid. I had replaced both of them about 1.5 years ago when I was in Pensacola, Florida.

So I stopped a NAPA Auto Parts and bought a new one. Buying electrical auto parts can be chancy…if you’ve guessed wrong. Once you’ve walked out of the door there is no returning them for a refund of your money. In my case the part number and diagram on the solenoid I was guessing was defective did not match the unit that the NAPA guy said was the right NAPA part…according to his computer.

Fortunately I guessed right and the NAPA guy was right. I installed the NAPA solenoid…doors now lock and unlock as the are meant to do. Another problem fixed. Shouldn’t electrical devices last longer than 1.5 years?

As discussed in the earlier Blog entry…by doing the repair myself I probably saved myself $120 an hour labor charge and a 100% mark-up on the $23 solenoid if I had gone to an auto repair shop. Instead I get to put that money into the motorhome gas tank and move on down the road!

In other news…

Yesterday we moved the motorhome the about 15 miles back to Thousand Trails RV Resort in Bow, Washington. They primary reason for the move was so that Mary can enjoy her daily swim in the Olympic-sized swimming pool here. We expect to be here for an eight-day stay.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2011
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://lulu.com/panamaorbust

Jim says:

While Mary and I are taking care of business here at her home…there is little “new stuff” to Blog about daily. So I’ve decided to share with you some of my favorite photos from our recent 298 day, 16,000+ mile RV trip around the United States.

Since scenery and people snapshot-type photos require little special photography skills…and being limited by the abilities of my digital camera…I none the less took some photos that I really liked. They are presented in no special order of favoritism.

Today’s photos were taken April 15, 2010 at Fort Barrancas, Pensacola, Florida…

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In other news…
62 degrees with showers yesterday. Reading, computer and TV day.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2010
My three books may be purchased at http://www.lulu.com
Just enter Jim Jaillet in the search box.

Jim says:

While Mary and I are taking care of business here at her home…there is little “new stuff” to Blog about daily. So I’ve decided to share with you some of my favorite photos from our recent 298 day, 16,000+ mile RV trip around the United States.

Since scenery and people snapshot-type photos require little special photography skills…and being limited by the abilities of my digital camera…I none the less took some photos that I really liked. They are presented in no special order of favoritism.

Today’s photos were taken at the Pensacola, Florida Naval Aviation Museum on April 7-9, 2010…

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In other news…
82 degrees yesterday. Replaced sewer hose and repaired a bicycle tire flat.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2010
My three books may be purchased at http://www.lulu.com
Just enter Jim Jaillet in the search box.

Jim says:

Yesterday I arrived at the Gulf Islands National Seashore about 25 miles East of Pensacola, Florida. I was in the middle of a seven mile stretch with no housing or commercial developments of any kind.

I’m glad it was an overcast day with a temperature at 69 degrees. When the sun is shining, the sugar-white sand is blinding. Along with the cloud cover, there was a gentle breeze with only the sound of seagulls and the small waves washing up on to the shore. Since it was a Monday…the place was deserted. I had it to myself.

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My current location as seen by Google Earth.
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Looking East.
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Looking South.
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Looking West.

I sat on the beach in my folding chair most of the day reading an Elmer Kelton western novel. It was most peaceful and relaxing. Who knows…I just may never leave here!

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A good place to sit and read.

Unfortunately…Some workers came by late in the afternoon…since there were no signs saying no overnight no parking…I asked…they didn’t know and made a cell phone call to inquire and were told no parking allowed overnight. I normally do not ask…but I didn’t want a Ranger coming by at midnight telling me I had to move. So I moved Easterly for about four miles until I left the park boundaries. I found a nice quiet side street that I had previously scouted and spent the night there.

Here’s the official government website link…
http://www.nps.gov/guis/index.htm

All original material Copyright � Jim Jaillet 2010
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.panamaorbust.com

Jim says:

I’ve done and seen many a thing in my years on the road. One of these things is that I’ve spent a night or two at a VFW, American Legion, Moose, Eagles and Elks, etc…

I usually find these places on Google Earth. All I do is identify the location of where I desire to stay and then ask it to show me the locations of the local clubs. Then Google Earth allows me to zoom in and see the size of their parking lot and if there’s enough room to park an RV.

They number in the thousands and one or more of the clubs can usually be found in the area where I desire to spend the night with my RV. Some have specific RV spaces with electricity available, but most do not. Usually I’m just looking for a mostly flat, safe place in the corner of a parking lot. Then inside I can usually enjoy good drink, food and companionship at a moderate price. Some places request a donation for an overnight stay, most do not.

It’s also an excellent place to get referrals for a local mechanic, etc.. I normally stay only one night, but recently because of waiting on the repair of a vital electrical component for my RV, I spent 13 nights at the American Legion Post #240 in Pensacola, Florida.

Most of these places serve as a social gathering place for persons of similar ilks where everyone pretty much knows everyone. In these places, the members are supposed to be “brothers, if you will. Since I’m usually “just passing through”, it’s interesting how a strange face is received by the local membership.

The first part of the process usually is the showing of a paid-up/current membership card which entitles you to visit the facility. Some places never ask to see it and take my word I’m who I say I am and others have a sign on the door saying only current members may enter.

Since I’m not a local member, I usually cannot use the membership card reader that automatically opens the entrance door. A doorbell is normally nearby that notifies the bartender that a non-local member desires entry. Once the bartender presses the buzzer, the door lock clicks open and entry is made…AND EVERY FACE IN THE PLACE IS LOOKING TO SEE WHO JUST RUNG THE DOORBELL!

Once they see who’s there, most go back to their in-process conversations. I proceed to the bar, and find an empty seat. I usually tell the bartender who I am…name and post location affiliation along the line of…:”Hi, I’m Jim Jaillet, a visiting VFW member from Post #7968 in Apache Junction, Arizona”. I then hand over my membership card for approval, then place my order. A chat with the next sit-ee or two usually develops. That is pretty much what happens at most locations. Sometime the next sit-ees show no indication of desire for conversation, and that’s okay with me. Usually they appear to be in some kind of deep thought, so I leave them alone.

Once in a while, the opposite happens…
Yesterday I had the good fortune to stop at the friendliest VFW (Veterans Of Foreign Wars) Post in Gulf Breeze, Florida. Once through the door, pretty near everyone was shouting at me…”Welcome to the friendliest VFW Post in Florida!” Here even though a stranger, you are truly welcomed as a “brother”. Everyone comes over says hello, shakes your hand, introduces themselves and expresses a welcome. That’s pretty much what happened yesterday. The kinda-sorta leader of this most friendly group was a guy by the name of Mike McDonald, also known as Frogman because he is an ex-Navy SEAL…a long time ago they were called frogmen. He also happens to be the Commander-elect of this local post and assumes his office this July. Mike made sure I met most of the better-than 50 people that came in during the day.

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Mike McDonald is the third person from the left of photo.
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Post 4407 looking North.
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The sign does not say it all. They should add “The Friendliest VFW Post In Florida!”
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Post 4407 looking South.

We spent the afternoon (four hours worth) drinking beer, eating hot dogs and waited for the NASCAR Race on TV which never happened because of rain. Most listened to the stories I told of my many years on the road with interest.

All in all, a most enjoyable day. Thank you VFW Post #4407 for making a wayward brother feel at home. You are most certainly the friendliest VFW Post in Florida…and maybe the entire United States!

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2010
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.panamaorbust.com

Jim says:

In yesterday’s Blog entry I ranted and raved about the U.S. Postal Service. and it was well deserved.

When I went to the Pensacola Post Office on Friday in search of my package and it wasn’t there…Sandy (who would be the only employee working there on Saturday), volunteered to call me if it came in. She did call and it did come in. Hallelujah!

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Sandy – A service orientated postal employee.

The Priority Mail package that took five days from St. Louis, Missouri to Pensacola, Florida, a distance of 734 miles. I think it must have traveled by Mule-Express!

Back to the motorhome…time to install this puppy dog. Its function is to take the 20 volts created by the solar panel and reduce it to 14.1 volts so the coach batteries do not boil. Once the batteries are fully charged it shuts off the current flow. When I use the batteries for a function like watching TV, the controller once again allows the current to flow into the batteries until they reach full charge.

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Not a very complicated device…just have to be sure to get the wires in the right connection.

It took about one-half hour to install properly. The reason it malfunctioned was because the original installer did not properly secure the wires to something stable. While bouncing down the road the wires jiggled around and broke the connector off of the circuit board. I’ve got the wires secured now and hopefully I’ll not have to deal with this issue again.

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Installation complete…functioning properly.

Sandy retires in one year, two months and two weeks and wants to go RVing! Happy Trails, Sandy!

Thanks, Sandy for going out of your way to assist me!

Thanks to American Legion Post #240 in Pensacola, Florida for allowing me to park in their lot for the last 13 days while I took care of this matter.

I’ll be back on the road again soon.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2010
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.panamaorbust.com

Jim says: I’m ready to move on, but I cannot.

In my many years of RVing, I’ve used a General Delivery address with the U.S. Post Office system numerous times. I’ve never had a situation quite like this one…

The norm is to pick a post office located in a smaller town where I expect to be in about 4-7 days (depending on how far out in the boonies it’s located) and my mail is sitting there waiting for me when I arrive. Now I’m sitting in a larger city waiting on my mail!

Last Monday I gave two different mailers my General Delivery address here in Pensacola. The first one was a smaller package sent from Stuart, Florida…only 534 miles away…it arrived yesterday…after four days. The post office clerks can only shrug their shoulders when I ask why. Between two major cities, 2-3 days is what it should normally take.

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Photo courtesy of the United States Post Office.

Now, I’m just sitting here in Pensacola, Florida waiting for the U.S. Post Office to get my solar panel charge controller back to me. I had sent it to the manufacturer for repair in St. Louis, Missouri, only 734 miles distant. They told me they put it in the mail last Monday…and here I sit…waiting. I cannot leave until it arrives and my solar charging system does not work without this component. In addition, I’ve seen all of the interesting things to see here (at least for me) and the daily temperatures are running about 80 degrees…a little warm for me. In addition, the motorhome waste water tanks are approaching full and the nearest dump station is 30 miles away.

One would tend to think, the longer you do a function the better you get at doing it. Not necessarily true…at least when it comes to government!

I’ve got my fingers crossed for today! Fortunately, I’ve got a lot of good books!

Why is a good book like an RV? Because both can take you to many wonderful places!

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2010
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.panamaorbust.com

Jim says: Barrancas in Spanish means “bluffs” and that’s where this fort is built…on the bluffs overlooking the entrance to Pensacola Bay. The Spanish completed Fort San Carlos de Barrancas and Bateria de San Antonio (the water battery) in 1797. The water battery used to bounce cannon balls off of the waters in the bay and into enemy ships. The water battery makes Fort Barrancas very unique as it is the only one in existence in all of the forts in the United States.

From 1839 to 1844, the U.S. Army with a force of some 60 contracted slaves made improvements to the Spanish water battery and built Fort Barrancas over the ruins of San Carlos de Barrancas. It is said to contain 6 million bricks.

I’ve been to many old forts in my travels and spent and enjoyable 1.5 hours exploring this most unique one.

Here’s a few photos I took…

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Enemies attempting to enter Pensacola Bay had to approach from the Gulf of Mexico (bottom of photo).
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Three forts protected the bay entrance. This diagram shows the range of their guns and overlapping fields of fire. Fort McRee no longer exists…the remains are underwater.
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This model shows Fort Barrancas and the white part is the Water Battery and it faces the entrance to Pensacola Bay.
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This view of Fort Barrancas shows the only entrance via a drawbridge. The Gulf of Mexico is to the left of this view.
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The entrance to Pensacola Bay as seen from the wall atop Fort Barrancas.
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Fort Barrancas as seen from the Water Battery. The Gulf of Mexico is at my back.

To see the other 50 photos I took, click this link…
http://picasaweb.google.com/jimjrver/FortBarrancasFL041510

Fort Barrancas is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore and is part of the National Park system. Here’s the official government website…
http://www.nps.gov/guis/planyourvisit/fort-barrancas.htm

Here’s a Wikipedia informational link about the Gulf Islands National Seashore…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_Islands_National_Seashore

Here’s a Wikipedia informational link about Fort Barrancas…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Barrancas

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2010
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.panamaorbust.com

Jim says: As you might imagine, Pensacola, Florida being a major seaport on the Gulf of Mexico has an interesting and colorful history. It’s known as the City of Five Flags. Since its founding in 1523, the flags of Spain, France, Great Britain, The Confederacy and The United States have flown over it. Old Hickory” Andrew Jackson accepted Pensacola from Spain on February 22, 1820.

Yesterday I spent an enjoyable hour in this smaller, but very well done museum.

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Like most seapots, Pensacola had a Red Light District.

To see the other 22 photos I took, click this link…
http://picasaweb.google.com/jimjrver/PensacolaHistoricalMuseumFL041410#

Here’s the official website link…
http://www.pensacolahistory.org/Museum.html

Here’s a City off Five Flags Legacy website link…
http://www.visitpensacola.com/celebratepensacola/legacy.asp

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2010
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.panamaorbust.com

Jim says: Yesterday I headed out on a scouting expedition of sorts. I drove the Bronco about 35 miles east along the Gulf Highway. I stopped at a couple of VFW’s where I may want to park my motorhome. They had smaller parking lots so I’m unsure about them. Then to a Camping World Store and bought some needed items.

Then I crossed the Navarre Causeway Bridge on to Santa Rosa Island.

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Approaching Santa Rosa Island with the Gulf of Mexico in the background.

Turning right I drove the two lane road that runs westerly for about 20 miles back to Pensacola Beach. In the middle between the two extremity points is a 7 miles stretch of a gorgeous white sugar sand beach.

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The Gulf Islands National Seashore white sugar sand is just about blinding in the Florida sun. This stretch is 7 miles of zero development.

I wanted to explore possible overnight parking places. Lo and behold, I found several where I can park the motorhome overnight and no charge. The fees do not start until Memorial Day Weekend. So, when I depart my present location at the American Legion in Pensacola…this is where I will head.

How long will I stay? Who knows? Whenever to mood strikes me…I’ll move on. I just love being a full-time RVer!

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2010
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.panamaorbust.com

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