Monday, May 17, 2010

Land of Starbucks

We are parked on a city street in Kirkland, Washington (map). We remembered this spot from a few years back, and had saved the coordinates, as parking is tight in this town. It's a great spot, kitty-corner across the street from the Park Place shopping center, walking distance from the water front, and just a block from the bus stop. We are on the north side of the street; the south side is reserved for transit buses laying over between trips.

We arrived yesterday afternoon after a short drive from Sumner, where we first dumped our tanks and topped up our water before leaving the Infinity Coach parking lot. We had a nice dinner with local friends Pat and Carol last night, and are looking forward to seeing them again before we leave the area, possibly at Trawler Fest this weekend (they have a 56' trawler). Since the bus stop was so convenient, today we rode the #255 into downtown Seattle and had lunch at the Columbia Tower Club. Seattle has a whizzy underground tunnel for its buses, complete with subway-style stations and platforms. You can't go anywhere in this area without passing a Starbucks on nearly every street corner, and there was even one at the 40th floor sky lobby in the Columbia Center.

We had a very productive week at Infinity Coach. A section of rotted subfloor was replaced in the bathroom, and the window whose leakage had caused that condition was sealed up. All the roof seams were also sealed, and the brittle and cracking rubber trim under the rain gutters was replaced all the way around. The trim, incidentally, is now unobtainium, and I managed to snag a box of it from another Neoplan owner, who bought it five years ago but never used it.

We also had all eight house batteries load tested, and they tested as "good." They did find, in the process, a couple more loose terminal connections on the bank, which probably contributed to the appearance of diminished capacity. And finally, the generator got a new radiator and thermostat, as well as yet another attempt at a heat deflector on the intake grill, in the hopes of curing the overheating problems we have whenever the main engine has been run hard. While we were in the genny bay with the coolant drained, they pulled the top coolant pipe out and removed the valve cover for me so I could adjust the valves, overdue now at the 2,000-hour mark. Remarkably, they were all loose rather than tight.

While we were at the shop I also used the downtime to tackle a couple of projects, including replacing seals on the fresh water pump intake, which has been gulping air as the tank gets below quarter-full. I also finished the routine maintenance on the scooters, including replacing the spark plug on the Kymco. It also included changing out mild steel fasteners on the mirror quick-releases for stainless ones, which I was able to find at McLendon's hardware just down the street. Infinity took the ~3 pounds of R-12 refrigerant, that I have been schlepping since we left San Jose, off my hands.

We pushed hard to get all the work done by Friday, so we could leave Saturday morning to have a leisurely run to Anacortes. We ended up staying over Saturday night just so we could have dinner with friends Bob and Shirley, something we'd been trying to schedule since we arrived at the shop. As always the hospitality of everyone at the shop was unsurpassed and we enjoyed spending time with Jim, Danny, Cathy, Mitra, Bob, Shirley, and all the kids. We also managed to catch a window of perfect weather, and enjoyed walking or scooting to dinner almost every evening.

As long as we were in town I took advantage of our nationwide but Washington-centric preferred healthcare provider list to get some overdue doctor visits out of the way. I haven't seen the bill yet, so it remains to be seen if there was any advantage to sticking with the preferred list; only after I had filled out all the insurance paperwork did I learn that I would have gotten a 40% discount had I simply told them I had no insurance at all. Which is nearly correct, since we have never once come even close to reaching our annual deductible on this policy.

In a few minutes, we will continue north only a few miles to Woodinville for a visit with Louise's cousins (and loyal blog readers) there. Tomorrow I expect we will be at the Tulalip Casino, and Anacortes on Wednesday.

Photo by Viton, used under a Creative Commons license.

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