Saturday, November 7, 2015

I might recover

Today started with the intention of taking my car for an oil change and getting a few things for the bus. That's when all the trouble started..

Reaching the dog food place I'd been told about, there were plenty empty 30 gallon open top barrels. Sadly they're too big at 18 inches diameter. I need 15 gallon barrels. Resigning myself to having to buy barrels at $40 each plus $20 shipping, I headed to Home Depot.

As normal in Home Depot, nobody could understand basic English so I spent the next hour browsing the plumbing bits. The plan was to sling a barrel underneath the bus using nylon cargo straps. It was then that I had an epiphany... Why not instead of using 15 gallon drums, use a few 5 gallon buckets with lids from Walmart at $2.50 for the bucket and $2 for the lid? I hunted in vain for a threaded tube with nuts that could be used with rubber gaskets to create a waterproof port through the bucket lid. This would have been ideal but bar a product sample display, nothing was available.

Abandoning the bucket or barrel idea, I bought some Allen keys that would allow me to disassemble my Harbor Freight grit blaster head in order to work on it. As 13/64 was the recommended drill size for a 1/4x20 bolt, I also bought two such drill bits with hexagon heads.

Moving on to Tractor Supply, I picked up a handful of nuts and a handful of stop nuts. Then I emptied the 1/4x20 by 1" bolt drawer into a bag. There weren't many left but they're all mine now. Checking for water tanks, they had a 30 gallon tank that looked very nice but it was way too large. I looked and they had better plumbing supplies than Home Depot but nothing that would make my bucket idea work properly. I left after buying just nuts and bolts.

The next step was the garage for an oil change. Sadly I was too late (at 3:00) as they were packing up to go home. Typical! From there I went to Walmart where I intended just to get a soft drink and some batteries. There, I had another epiphany. I realised that under the shower outflow, I could just put a bucket with a lid. Under the bathroom handbasin I could just put a bucket with a lid too. Tanotherr), I purchased three buckets. One for shower water, one for handbasin water and one for the toilet. This Walmart had no buckets.

While in Tractor Supply I had noticed blue plastic 5 gallon Jerry cans for $25 each. Walmart had two of the same blue plastic Jerry cans for $13 each. They don't now!

Moving swiftly on, the next stop was Radio Shack for some electronic gubbins. Four capacitors, two battery holders and a couple of other little things reminded me what an outrageously expensive place Radio Shack is! I should have ordered from China via eBay, waited 2 weeks and paid 10% of what Radio Shyster charged.

Next was fuel. That was a ripoff too. Last time it was $1.75 a gallon. Today it was $2 a gallon! Moving swiftly on after putting $20 in the tank, I visited the next Walmart for something not available at the first - the buckets. In that Walmart I got the three buckets and noticed the blue plastic Jerry cans were $15. Clearly different Walmarts have different prices.

Actually, the three local Walmarts are quite wild. The one in Red Bank has somewhat of a reputation for sleaze and gunfights in the car park. The one in Lexington has ladies of the night doing their shopping. The one in West Columbia closes at 10pm because they get robbed if they stay open later. That's probably the most dangerous Walmart as I've seen cars riddled with bullet holes in their car park.

So, I proceeded home. The first task was to work on the grit blaster gun. I cleared some clogs and enlarged some holes as suggested on the reviews of the grit blaster. If it doesn't work at all now then I haven't lost anything because it didn't work before.

The new plan for bus plumbing is to use the shower just as a shower, the bathroom handbasin as a handbasin and have the handbasin empty into a bucket. A different bucket goes under the shower outflow. That might benefit from extra plumbing in order to make positioning the bucket easier. Fresh water is carried in 5 gallon Jerry cans. There's plenty room to stand them in the shower when the shower is not in use.

The plan for the electrical compartment remains the same. I'll drill out the holes to 13/64 and put 1/4x20 bolts through. Meanwhile, if it turns out I need to cook and don't have electricity, I can simply use a sterno stove on a fireproof pad.

The 5 gallon Jerry cans were somewhat of a brainwave. They stand very nicely by the shower. Another will fit (when I get it) very nicely beside the bucket underneath the handbasin. I'm not too bothered about collecting shower water as I rather suspect that nobody will much notice nor care about it. Besides, I can always say somebody pinched the bucket!

I attacked the problem of the door mechanism next and put 6v from D cells into my electro magnets. They refused to repel each other. Clearly something is amiss there! I'll put those down as being cheap Chinese junk. I have never before encountered an electro magnet that would attract steel and attract another electro magnet but would not repel another electro magnet when the power, hence the fields are reversed or rather, opposing.

Next I put some numbers on the bus. Tractor Supply had the cheapest numbers at 48 cents each. I realise I could have sprayed the bumpers but since the Rustoleum garbage doesn't seem to stick to anything whether the surface has been prepared or not, I just used stick on letters rather than spending time with a stencil and a paintbrush.

Clearly I'm going to have to wind my own electro magnets. This, I can do. I'll have to buy some thick enough bolts but that looks like being the solution.

Plumbing has been downgraded to a much simpler and cheaper affair. Indeed, I wonder whether now, its better on several grounds. The cable compartment as is, kinda works. It's just not safe for a battery. Thus, rebuilding that is a priority.

Thinking about protecting crockery in drawers, another yoga mat could be sliced up in order to make liners and dividers. Clearly I need to tidy and clean the bus. The inside is pretty well done. I just need to clean the floors, put in drawer liners where needed, put up some curtains and shower curtains etc. One problem I had was that my bucket won't fit in the toilet side of my toilet unit. The square kitty litter box will, however. Clearly I need a second kitty litter container. I must have designed it like that and forgotten.

I'm definitely going to have to put some kind of solar panel to maintain the bus batteries. I can't have them going flat all the time! There's probably a power leak somewhere and that'll just be hard to trace!

I'll have to see now about registering the bus as a motorhome.

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