Water Pump 101

Today (Monday June 26th, 2017) we did not wake up planning to spend all morning installing a fuel pump.  Well, I did not anyway.

The fuel pump went out at the start of our stay at Stayton Acres and we had flooding twice in the bathroom.

That sounds so dramatic.  Our bathroom is super small and technically you could consider a cup of water spilled on the floor “flooded”.

This flooding was because the pump was malfunctioning and wouldn’t stop water from filling the tank for fresh water. Some small part of the system was broken.

It made awful sounds and we woke to puddles of water.  Not good.  I think the number one killer of RV’s has to be water.  Luckily ours was about 1/3 cup spread over the 2′ x 3′ space.

I’ve noticed Randy has said, “Oh shit” a lot lately.  It’s for both bad and good situations.  Since it was 3:45am I knew it wasn’t a good one.  He quietly mopped up the water not even swearing once.

Later in the morning after camp classes Randy called the manufacturer and was shocked to have next to instant help resolving the issue.

They shipped out, at their cost, a brand new pump!  What!?  Yes.  That’s right.  Shurflow gets an A+.

It arrived about a week later (we were cool because it worked but just had to be jerry-rigged not to flood).  We had a great set up at Stayton Acres’ South 40 aka  the edge of their avocado grove.  We were dry camping with full use of the pool house with a blasting awesome shower (full bath).  We feel SPOILED!

The day had come.  We are leaving this Friday and need that water pump working.

We got home from teaching classes at 8:30am and scrambled to eat breakfast.  I began my daily cleaning routine and Randy began the pump repair.

Three hours later (and many trips in and out of the bathroom) Randy informed me that we would have to take the trailer to Conejo RV so Mike could repair the pump.  There was a freaky screw that had embedded itself deep into the rubber seal at the base of the pump.  The space was microscopicly small and he could not get leverage to remove it.

“Oh shit.” was all I could think.  I replied, “OK.”

Meanwhile my mind was racing on how in the world this was going to workout.  Getting into Conejo RV is NOT simple.  He is a very good mechanic and his time is always booked.  It was generous he was taking us on Thursday.

We did not know how long it would take which brings a big problem into our lives: where would we live while he held and worked on our RV?

I messaged Missy letting her know we were likely going to have to leave earlier than planned to get the pump fixed.  Ugh.

Joe arrived a little later to look over the situation and lend a hand with advice.  From his years working for the city of Los Angeles he had dealt with plenty of “impossible” mechanical tasks.  He first said to WALK AWAY FROM IT for a while rather than trying to push it through.  Take a break and do something else.  You will drive yourself nuts otherwise.

Randy gave him the details and showed him the screw and its lodged in spot.  Joe told him he could handle this – he gave him a push in the right direction.

It was 100 degrees out (ok, maybe 86…but HOT in the trailer even with the AC running) and Randy went at it one last time.  Suddenly there was the sound of success from the floor of the bathroom!!!  He did it!!


He got that dang screw OUT and he easily replaced the part.  WE HAD A WORKING PUMP!


The proof is in the pudding.  It was time to turn on the water spigots and let’er rip.

I carefully turned the knob in the kitchen and after a few sputters and spits the water poured out and the pump began humming.

I love that my husband got back in the saddle and HANDLED the problem!  I love that Joe came in and gave him that push which I think had to help a bit.

We’re over a small bump in the road and avoided a completely awful situation.

Good Job Husband Unit!

Water Pump: 0

Randy Shoemaker: 1


How Many Pairs Of Underwear?

I had no idea how much to pack on our new adventure.  

In a forum about RV Travel and Working I posted that question (explicitly for clothing) and the replies didn’t really help at all.  A few people work FULL TIME JOBS and need business suits, there was one gal that mentioned she prioritized bikinis and then there were the people that had just two of everything.

This advice, in our circumstances, was useless!

First off we had to plan for Mammoth Lakes which has been under snow, 9,000 feet elevation and outdoor work that would require a uniform plus appropriate foot gear (BOOTS).  Our jobs, as we anticipate, will require 3 hours of outdoor work every day.  We are 5 miles from a laundry mat and I bought a minimalist washing machine just to make sure I had fresh underwear at all times!  I’ve got my priorities.

Going to Mammoth Lakes is not immediate (our start date continues to move around because it is still snowing there and our site isn’t ready to go yet with the full hook up we are going to have at Lake George).  We have one month of boot camp to deliver which require an entirely different type of apparel!

And what if I get asked out on a date?!  I have to have “pretty clothes” right?!

Can’t forget about a girl’s morning and evening routine.  Hair, skin, make-up…blah blah blah.  I knew this would be a difficult area going from a full vanity spread to “who knows what”.   A year ago I began paring down that part of my life.  Now I use nearly zero make-up (mascara, blush and one eye shadow).   I plan on zero make up when we get rolling across the planet.

Lastly, the subject of shoes (or foot ware in general) is a huge part of this too.  We need so many different types of shoes and that’s frustrating.

I took three closets, three open bins and nine actual dresser drawers down to two giant bins.


What I currently own and what I started with.

40 short sleeve t-shirts for work to 10.

15 short sleeve t-shirts not for work to 10.

24 work trousers (pants, skorts, shorts) to 8.

12 sports bras to 6.

40 pairs of underwear (all sorts for all sports and activities) to 20.

20 regular bras to 6.

12 jeans down to 2 (sadly I donated my FAVORITE pair…I’m sick to my stomach about that because we all know how hard it is to find that one pair you want to wear everywhere).

10 sweaters down to 3.

8 sweatshirts down to 2.

50 pair of shoes to 10 (including new boots I had to get for “work” at Lake George).

20 dresses (all occasions) to 3…back up to 4 because I need one for a funeral.

4,000 pairs of socks to 12, including boot socks.

On one hand I feel fantastic about giving away so much.  The other side is the fact of not knowing what is on he horizon. I know I can solve my problems with a quick stop at a mall or even better a thrift store.

So much of my apparel sat untouched for months in the closets, drawers and bins.  I even had dresses that were over 20 years old with the tags on them still. Crazy.

Stuff is too easy to collect! 

The start to my process was not coming home with anything new!  I realized every single day we leave our homes and return WITH MORE STUFF.  The worst are the “just in case” items.  They oftentimes never leave their packaging OR how about the bulk purchases?  We had, no kidding, 8 Windex bottles and 6 (I’m not exaggerating) bottles of H.E. laundry detergent.  I wish I’d taken a photo.

That’s all for today!

10-4 Loud And Clear. 10-10.

Chiquita Banana Walkie Talkie
Yep, they’re bananas AND walkie-talkies.
I love walkie-talkie stuff.  My sister and I had Chiquita Banana Walkie Talkies and inbetween building forts of our mom’s sheets in the livingroom we would run around the neighborhood testing their range (which was about 10 feet).

1985 was when I was stuffed in a Greyhound bus and taken from the secret Scientology International Base with WAY MORE PEOPLE THAN SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON BOARD to help fight for RELIGIOUS FREEDOM in Portland Oregon.

Portland Religious Crusade 1985
My actual pin from the Religious Freedom Crusade in 1985.
We marched the streets chanting. We slept on the floor of the Portland Organization (Church) in hallways.  The senior executives stayed in fancy hotels.  I was chosen to be a Communicator for Nancy Pomerantz.  In ENGLISH, I was her PERSONAL ASSISTANT.  It meant I got to have AN ACTUAL WALKIE TALKIE and communicate over it in ACTUAL HAM RADIO LANGUAGE.  Granted, this was for a few weeks of my life but I will always remember what 10-4, ‘what’s your 20’ and 10-10 mean.

I’ve got to share that whole experience in another blog post.

The point of this blog post is to share feelings about people in my life.

To anyone that knows me reading this post I can sincerely tell you that I feel for you exactly what you feel for me.  Actually, DOUBLE my feelings for you.

This goes all the way back to the day I was born.

I have learned so much in the last 10 years.  As I wrap up my 40’s I have to say that this point has become crystal clear.

No matter how old you are or when you came into my life I can see clearer now than ever before.  That is very grounding and makes me feel good.

Forget “Facebook Friends” and “Likes” and the “Followers”.  That is superficial bs in my opinion.  You know who your friends are by that energy you get  and hopefully you give it back double.

Think about the people around you and what they give you.  Don’t second-guess or question it – it is for real!

Mark and Jaydee speak
Time for a speech. Tough.
Last night was a special night for me. I’ve never experienced something like I did.  It was overwhelming and heartfelt.   I want to thank our friends that wanted to celebrate and send us off onto our next adventure.  I’m reading the notes and I admit I’m crying.  I know exactly what I am going to have as a giant void in my life when we lift off and that part just sucks.

It’s not a complete 10-10 just yet. 🙂

But that day is coming soon and I’ll be in touch with my 20.

Check out this CRAZY delicious cake made by Lizzy Whitlock.  Without a doubt she is a young woman to keep an eye on – I can’t wait till she opens up her own business.  Thank you Lizzy!!

Happy Trails by Lizzy Whitlock
Incredible cake. The USA! Made by Lizzy Whitlock.
I will put more photos on my blog as they come rolling in.  I didn’t take ONE photo last night which is a miracle.  What a night packed with so much LOVE.  Ugh my heart!



How To Travel With A Cat


Captain Dad and First Mate Piper

She sat staring at us sitting by the fire pit, ticked.
Taking your cat on the road with you can be done!

We rescued Piper from our local no-kill shelter (Ventura County Animal Services) after I lost my cat to a hungry coyote. In my life I’ve had so many cats, starting with Poncho, then Bach, Patty Mayonaise, Buster and Arya.  Not one of my cats has had the same personality.  In hindsight, they were all rescue cats!

Because cat has its own personality it is absolutely a factor as to whether or not your cat will dig riding in the car.  Patty Mayonaise would have sliced my eyes out within 2 seconds.  Buster would have just hung out in the back with the dogs, Arya wouldn’t have tolerated confinement and dogs.  So, you have to be realistic in your demands of your pet.



We are at the start of including her in our family adventures.

So far, so good!

We got this amazing carry case from bergan while visiting Portland Oregon. It gives her enough hiding space but also allows her to peek out while in it. Now she goes into it willingly on her own. We leave it open in our house and she oftentimes just finds it to relax in.

While driving we have the windows up 90% of the way because we’re not sure she won’t get sucked out! The truck has enormous windows for both dogs and the cat to get a great view.

Dad went to talk to a man about a horse, Piper found the warm dash.

Piper wanders all over the truck but loves our laps the most.

No complaints from the backseat on our family road trips…ever!
After we begin the trip and get comfortably rolling we unzip the case and let her roam. I have a blanket in my lap for her to stand or relax on. She normally chooses the center console or our laps. She never sits still and will pop her head up to see where we are (not sure what triggers that).
Overall we are taking small steps toward her independence (like our dogs) on travel.

Here are the few factors to consider:

  • Transport to and from car in a pet travel carrier. Leave it out for your cat to sniff and hide in during the time you are not traveling.
  • Cat box. We bring the cat box from home because she is comfortable with it. We only bring her with us while traveling with the RV trailer. You need to have a solution for your cat to go potty.
  • Short trips. Start off just driving around the block. Cats are super sensitive to sounds so don’t play the radio blasting (or at all) or play calming music.
  • Once your cat seems less nervous on the trips (and with someone else in the car) open the carrying case and let them exit on their own. Never open the door with your cat roaming free.
  • Cat Harness. We have a harness we leave on her full time during the day. We take her out on walks and that is getting better and better. She is getting comfortable being on a lead as The place you take a walk at should be calm. We tried the ocean and the crashing waves freaked her out.
  • Food and water. In our little trailer we try to feed her separately from the dogs. She still gets irritated when they walk on her planet and gives a hiss and sometimes a little swat. We have a community water bowl and all three of them sip from it no problem.

With a little practice off and on we are grooming Piper to relax while riding in the truck as well at a campsite to roam on her leash and check out the planet too!

She still prefers to sleep most of the day and roam the trailer during the night (sometimes landing on my feet…which I love!)

Good luck.

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