Although we continued to work on numerous electrical projects in support of Ron, who is a skilled electrician, and Darwin plugged away at fixing and maintaining the myriad small machines at the church, it seemed that there were a few projects that seemed to loom larger than others. Dave kept activating new routers to extend the wifi throughout the campus – to Wesley Hall and the sanctuary and creating documentation of what was there. However, one of the bigger projects was Lazarus.
Lazarus didn’t start with that name. The golf cart was towed into the church’s parking lot looking pretty forlorn. No seats. No batteries. No brakes. Wiring from the dark ages. That didn’t deter Pastor Barry from asking us to get it running again. At that point, parallels with the biblical Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead, seemed all too appropriate. Loren drew the short straw to assess its condition. He did yeoman’s duty on Lazarus: sorting through the wires and electrical systems to understand them and to try to repair what he could. Fred was assigned the task of getting Lazarus some power. There was another golf cart that had a broken frame that had several batteries which were long overdue for a charge. Over several days, they were slowly resurrected (pun intended).
Seventeen. That’s how many crepe myrtle trees there were on campus that needed pruning. (Well, there was an 18th one, but Cathy drew a line on pruning that one. It was way too big.) With 4 days left before our departure, surely Pat and Cathy could cut them back, a job that was long overdue. Unfortunately, the temperatures started soaring, and it seemed that all of the trees were in full sun. And then there was the question of how much to take off. Wrestling with the various opinions found on the internet, we opted for what is so kindly called crepe “murder”.
On the 4th day, we finished up by removing the 2 remaining branches, one of which required a rope to ensure it didn’t fall on the roof. But, in the end, we did all 17.
Number 18 will have to wait for someone else.
Cathy had to finish the boat cover before we could leave Orion Jr behind. We had purchased an RV cover in December, but realized it wouldn’t be deployed for almost a year. It was also approximately the right length and height to cover Jr. So with Pat’s help, Cathy modified the cover to serve as a boat cover. We took advantage of the existing vents, straps, zipper panels, and chafe protection. Before fitting it for the first time, we used measurements from the boat to establish a ridgeline in the cover, removing most of its existing roof fabric.
To minimize the sun damage to the straps, we covered the portion still exposed to the sun ensuring all were in good shape. Although the flap on the cover did a good job protecting the dinghy, the rudder was more exposed to the afternoon sun, so Dave moved that to sit behind the dinghy. With these changes, we felt pretty good that Orion Jr would do well sitting for several months. Although we know she misses being on the water.
With the boat taken care of, we had a few things to do on the truck and trailer before moving. Between the 2 vehicles we now had 8 tires that could have a problem, 4 of which we wouldn’t be able to see or hear if something went wrong while underway. To remedy this, we installed a tire pressure monitor. Sensors installed on each tire’s valve stem send a signal to a display in the truck, programmed with the optimal pressure of each tire If the pressure falls outside of a tolerance, an alarm sounds.
On the 3rd Friday of the month, we headed west to Fruitland Park and the UM Life Enrichment Center that was hosting a Nomads get-together. We made a day of it, joining Barry, Pat and Fred and Bonnie and Darwin for trip west across the state to a lovely camp setting. Dave and Cathy spent some time in the afternoon attending leadership training for possible future Nomads projects, while the rest of the crew took in the sights – a couple of local thrift stores.
With Pat and Fred, we made our way due west across Florida. We were headed to Fort Pickens, a campground in the Gulf Isles National Seashore that was almost as far west on the Florida panhandle as you could go. To our surprise, we even changed time zones. After a stop at a Wal-mart south of Tallahassee on Saturday, we arrived at the campground Sunday afternoon. We backed into our site pretty easily and then went to unhook. That’s when it stopped being easy.
Although the hitch handle popped out, the trailer pin wouldn’t release. We tried several heights of the trailer, tried moving the truck slightly, but nothing was working. We were in a dilemma, because we couldn’t get the hitch to lock back on the pin and we couldn’t get it to release.
We had some assistance from a fellow fifth-wheel owner, but we were not coming up with anything. At his suggestion, we finally decided to release the hitch from the truck. Once we did that, the pressure released and the pin came out. This was the 2nd time we had struggled to release from the truck, although it was far worse. Something had to change.
We had about 5 days to figure out what that something was.