Sunday, July 31, 2005

Tonight we are parked at Peninsula Glass, makers of "Motion Windows," in Vancouver, Washington (map). We don't have an appointment, but we are hoping they can deal with us in the morning. Peninsula made the four "operable" windows on Odyssey's main level, and we have a couple of small drips, plus three of the screens need to be re-screened due to vicious, killer cats. They were conveniently on our way to the paint shop in Eugene, and who knows when we will be back this way again.

Last night we stayed on a city street in Kirkland, Washington (map) , where we visited our friends Pat and Carol, owners of Yacht Products International. These are the nice folks who built our nifty portable spa, the YachTub, which can be seen in this photo from one of our camp spots in Florida. In addition to wanting to stop by and socialize, we needed to have our unit looked at. As the very first beta-test RV unit, we had some issues that have since been ironed out in the production model. Also, we needed to exchange our pre-production two-person tub for the production four-person model that we originally wanted. Pat and Carol are great people, and it is nice to see the production units working so well and incorporating many of the suggested changes that we proposed during the test phase. We were also a bit surprised, but pleased, to see the photo of Odyssey on the new marketing flyer for the RV version. (A small disclaimer and commercial is in order: we are actually itinerant YachTub dealers, and I am pleased to offer a 10% discount from the current list prices to readers of our blog. Also, I am happy to answer any questions and assist with installation issues.)

We wrapped up at Infinity Coach around mid-day yesterday. While they were not able to complete our rather extensive list of repairs and upgrades (nor did we expect them to, as we gave them a fixed time frame and a list that we knew would exceed it), I think we were able to hammer out the most pressing and major issues. All the windows have been re-caulked to Neoplan specs, the roof seams have all been re-sealed, as have the cutouts in the rear cap for the high-mounted stop and turn lights. The generator has been quieted down some, and we have hopefully dealt with the issue of it losing its prime frequently. Various "warranty" items have been equitably addressed, and several gremlins that we noted in the last ten months got some attention. In addition, the custom trailer hitch that nestles into the OEM tow-out pintle was added, as well as the absolutely killer "brush guard" whose photo Louise has already posted.

This last item, lest it seem like some over-indulgent kowtowing to modern SUV-styling one-upmanship, is actually to protect Odyssey's rather delicate, expensive, and impossible-to-get plastic front-end bodywork, as well as her equally delicate, expensive, and impossible-to-get Mercedes headlamps. The custom brush guard incorporates Lexan covers for these latter items, and the whole assembly should stand up to minor parking-lot fender-benders and similar accidents. We've already replaced the glass lenses on both headlamps ($165 each, on three month lead from Germany) due to rock strikes, and we figured it was only a matter of time before some bozo backed into us and took out $1,000+ worth of bodywork and headlamps. (Why didn't Neoplan include a bumper, for crying out loud?)

After dealing with the windows tomorrow morning, we will head south to Eugene to see Mike Wilson, the gentleman responsible for our beautiful paint job, for some touch-up work. Some of the touch-up stems from minor oversprays and other issues from the original paint job that we simply did not notice until we were well on our way, while some of it is the result of some of the repairs and upgrades we have made to the coach in the last two weeks. I am ashamed to say it, but, yes, a handful of touch-ups are also attributable to attempted violations of the laws of physics, committed by yours truly, including a run-in with a post several weeks ago and, gulp, hitting a garbage dumpster with the tail-swing just last week at Infinity.

I will close my post today with a quick note about our map page. Observant readers will note that tonight is the first update to this page since we left the Jubitz truck stop nearly three weeks ago. The simple reason for this is that the satellite that we use for our internet service, by our own choice, is SatMex5, which has a coverage area that stops somewhere in the middle of Washington. In fact, we get no coverage in the northern halves of Washington, Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota. Things get better along the Canadian border as one gets further east. Since the software we use to update our map position relies on the dish working, we don't update it when we are out of the coverage area. (We have been relying on the office network at Infinity coach for the last week.) We chose this satellite because it has superior coverage in the rest of the US and well into Mexico, and we expect to spend much more time south of here than north of here.

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