Thursday, July 2, 2015

Bus report

We are under way, heading for Solomons, Maryland, on the way to Annapolis. As I begin typing this we are crossing the Potomac, heading for Point Lookout at the northern edge of the mouth of the river, where it meets the Chesapeake Bay.

Approaching Point Lookout. The lighthouse is part of the state park.

We've spent the last two days at Olverson's Lodge Creek Marina, just off the Yeocomico River (map), one of the numerous tributaries of the Potomac. We arrived in the Yeocomico fairly late Tuesday, and just dropped the hook for the night one cove short of the marina (map). Long-time readers may remember we took shelter near the mouth of the Yeocomico two years ago, after getting beaten up pretty badly in the square waves of the bay.

What we did not realize then (or maybe we were not yet members) was that this marina, just a couple of miles further up the river, offers a free night to MTOA members. Additional nights are discounted for BoatUS members, making our two-night stay quite the bargain.

We stayed here because it offers fairly easy access to where we have the bus stored. When we visited the bus in October, after a full year of storage, we determined that a year between visits was too long, and we needed to get the interval down closer to six months. With convenient access from the Chesapeake, there's really no reason not to stop each time we pass.

With the shorter interval, things were much easier this time -- I did not have to jump anything from a rental car. Also, more fully disconnecting the batteries last time helped a great deal. I'm sorry to say that, even so, the house bank is beyond end-of-life and was completely flat on arrival, but at least I was able to quickly get the charger on-line, and they do take enough of a charge to keep everything running for a short while. Perhaps it is just one or two bad batteries in the bank that are dragging the rest down.

The start batteries were fine, and had enough charge to bring the inverter/charger up far enough to get the charger started. With the charger running and some juice in the batteries, the big Detroit fired off on just the second crank attempt; the computer reported all normal and I ran it until the coolant came up to 176, as high as I could get it without a real load on the engine.

The generator similarly fired off on the second crank after bridging its battery. This at least I could load up, running all three air conditioners and the charger at once. On two of the air conditioners I needed to pull the shrouds and free up the fan motors, which had lightly seized their bearings from non-use. The compressors were fine and things got nice and cold once I got the fans turning.

Overall, the bus was in pretty good shape. I have a few things I'll need to fix if we need to use it -- the driver A/C is not coming on (probably a pressure switch or refrigerant issue) and the hydronic fluid pump for the diesel-fired heating system has an issue of some sort, but otherwise everything is working.

All of that said, it becomes increasingly hard to watch it sit there unused, or, worse, slowly deteriorating from non-use and exposure. So as hard as it is for us, we made the decision on this visit to put together some marketing materials and get it sold. We had put it in storage in part as a hedge against the boat not working out in some way, or if we wanted to try to alternate. But we are quite happy with and on the boat, and laying the boat up for months to go gallivanting about in the RV has its own issues.

We found someone locally to hold a set of keys, in case we find a buyer who would like to go have a look at it. They'd have to settle for a static look, because it is really not practical to leave it with electrical and water systems fully connected. But if we have a buyer that is interested enough to put down a deposit, I will fly or drive in from wherever we happen to be in order to fire it up for a demo and/or test drive. Since I can't find a dealer to take it on consignment (too unusual), that's probably the best we can do.

Vector is the biggest thing in the marina right now.

Olverson's is not really close to anything, but we drove to nearby Callao both nights for dinner, sampling Nino's Pizza and Italian, and El Indio Azteca Mexican Restaurant, both quite tasty. We also ran into nearby Lottsburg for a few items at the well-stocked Ace Hardware store there.

We were prepared to buckle in right there at Olverson's for the holiday weekend, in the event that I needed to work on any bus issues longer than a day or two. But we really only needed the first day; I used the extra time to cycle the batteries a couple of times and give them an equalization charge. The marina, which appears to have a vibrant community of regulars, is having a big pig roast and fireworks on the 4th, but we opted to move along.

Among the friendly staff at Olverson's is this cat, to whom everyone refers simply as "the Office Manager."

With a good day and a half before the holiday weekend boating crowd comes out in force, we figured we could make Annapolis in time to get well settled before their holiday show, scheduled for 9pm Saturday. It's a comfortable two-day run for us.

Tonight we'll be in Solomons, a familiar stop, and tomorrow afternoon we should be in Annapolis someplace. I copied the boundaries of the safety zone from the Local Notices to Mariners and plotted it on the chart; we'll find a spot to drop the hook outside of the zone.


  1. i bet the bus will sell faster than you can imagine. and just like a house left behind? maintenance is everything. sell sell sell :( when one door closes, etc... and keep the journey going

    1. I do hope you're right, Charles. Now I just need to get off my duff and get the listing materials together...

  2. Market as the goofy bus !! Devin saw this and said " gee I wish I could buy the goofy bus". Out of the mouths of teenagers

    1. Tell Devin I'll make him a great deal... at least I'll know he has some place to take it for maintenance! I'll even give him a credit to have "Odyssey" painted over with "Goofy" :-)

  3. Hi, Please forward your bus details including price ideas for my wife and I to consider.

    Best of travels

    Robin and Christine

    robint777 at hotmail dot com

    1. We are still putting together the details, including the asking price, so please bear with us. I will drop you a note with our initial thoughts.

  4. I am curious as to who made the grill guard for Odyssey. I'm presuming it was a completely custom job?


    1. It was, indeed, completely custom fabricated. That was a decade ago; I no longer remember the name of the guy who did it, but he was subcontracted by Infinity Coach.

      We had a bit of a squabble over it, actually; he exceeded estimate by a factor of three, and when we got the bill (along with Infinity's mark-up), I blew a gasket. They argued with him until he reduced it somewhat, and then took off their markup, and we paid it, but still more than I wanted to pay. Still, it proved its worth several times, including when I obliterated a steel (really) traffic cone in Mexico (story here).

      The bars were powder-coated initially (part of the high cost), but over eight years, rock chips and other damage took their toll, and corrosion got under the coating and started peeling it off. We had them re-coated in bed-liner, which was a better choice, as it stands up to the rocks and other debris much better, and can be touched up, unlike powder coat.

      The story behind why we had the brush guard made is here. And a photo from the original installation is here.


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