Unraveling (but in a good way)

It’s Day 393 of 15 Days to Flatten the Curve. Deb and I are fine.

Deb snapped today’s header image during our shakedown cruise, on a rainy day in a Tennessee campground. Dipstick, Scout and I had just returned to the coach after a business trip. A sudden downpour had us all drenched.

The adoring look on Dipstick’s face in this photo is something we’re seeing a lot these days. Since we’ve gotten his Cushing’s under control, his personality has changed dramatically for the better. It’s been quite remarkable to watch.

The little shit is a pleasure to have around these days. And he loves The Ernie Life as much as we do.


Ernie’s previous owner took very good care of this motorhome, and we’re reaping the rewards of his attention to regular maintenance and proper storage. We’ve discovered, however, that he addressed a lot of issues with either black duct tape or industrial-strength Velcro — not a bad thing, necessarily, just the way he did it.

The entry, typical of most RVs these days, features both a solid door and an aluminum-frame screen door. A removable screen at the top of the latter is held by six plastic keepers, four of which had broken over the years. The only thing preventing it (sort of) from falling out of the door were strips of that black duct tape.

We decided we could do better. Step one was to pull off the aging tape and take the screen out of the door.

Next came the laborious task of removing sticky white tape residue from the frames. We used Goo Gone* — amazing stuff, arguably a miracle product, but the job still took an hour.

I drilled out the rivets holding three of the four broken keepers, then rummaged around in my parts bins for self-tapping screws and washers to take their place. After a little fiddling, the fix worked.

It may not be the most elegant solution, but that screen is now solidly mated to the door. And to us it looks better than black duct tape.


We’ve noticed that everything we undertake with Ernie leads to something else. Every repair, every task and every idea seems to spawn more items for the to-do list, a system that needs tweaking, another spare part we should probably carry.

It’s like pulling on a tiny thread, only to unravel the whole damned sock. That’s true of many things in life, of course — and, as the saying goes, it’s a feature, not a bug. It’s how we learn.

After dinner last night, for example, I decided to eyeball what the turn signals looked like to surrounding traffic — something I hadn’t yet done, believe it or not. I saw that each time I flick the stalk one way or the other, a total of five amber lights flash on that side of the bus. Pretty cool.

I also discovered that the light under the driver’s-side mirror arm wasn’t working.

I popped off the plastic lens and the light immediately began flashing properly, so the problem wasn’t the bulb. Wiggling the bulb, the issue didn’t seem to be the wedge-style socket, either.

That’s when I spotted a small amount of green corrosion around the screw securing the socket’s ground wire. I removed the screw, grabbed a piece of emery cloth and sanded every surface shiny — the copper contact, the lug on the end of the wire and the head of the screw — then reassembled everything and flicked the turn-signal lever.

That was it. Problem solved.

A bad ground is a common issue, especially on components exposed to weather, and it’s a simple fix. It occurred to me that I should probably add a sheet of emery cloth to Ernie’s repair kit.

Then I realized that we should take extra chassis bulbs, too — clearance lights, turn signals, brake lights and taillights. I have most of those, I think, in my garage stash, and I’ll add a few to our kit.

Truly, there’s no end to it. It’s always something.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

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