Tuesday, August 6, 2013

First Leg to Wichita, Kansas

I dropped the Admiral off at the Austin Airport , she went to Fort Worth to get in a visit with her parents, I headed back to Corpus down the New 130 toll road with 85 MPH speed Limit....the trip from Austin to I-10 was really quick!

The wind farms around Corpus have expanded greatly since I was last down this road. 

Tropical Marine Air sent me these pictures of my pump full of Florida  Oysters. 

The pump had to work so hard with those oysters in it that it was burning out!

Sprecial Treat in Austin with my Son at the Continental Upstairs to hear some free Sunday night Jazz. 

Braums was born and raised in Oklahoma so we thought it best to get some  while we were there.

This was the picture after arriving in Wichita....pretty nasty to drive through, heard later that Oklahoma City caught the worst of it. 

We could not believe TOTO was in our room!

First Leg to Wichita, KS

Everything was on schedule to make the transition to Seattle to be with the new Grandchild on his arrival to the Pacific Northwest. I completed re-finishing all the handrails on the deck, refinishing the caprail, clean and wax the entire deck, cleaning all the remaining Polyglow off the topsides, 2 coats of wax on the topsides, made arrangements with friends on H dock to closely monitor Wand’rin Star while we are away. All this took 58 days to complete. Then the Forward AC unit started to stop cooling. Fortunately it was under warranty but we had to ship it all to Mermaid Air in Fort Myers Florida for repair, turns out it was a collapsed expansion valve. The unit would be returned to late for me to re-install and Thank God for sailing friends, Phillip who will stay on the boat a couple of times a month agreed to re-install the unit for me. He is the one of the few people in the world I trust to do this type of work for me. It is very difficult to let go of this and allow someone else to do this for us. Shortly after the forward AC died, the Aft AC pump stopped working at 10 pm.  I found that if I tapped on the motor housing the pump would start up. To keep the motor from cycling off I turned the thermostat way down so we could sleep through the night without me getting up and tapping on the motor every time cyled back on. It was one of the coldest nights we spent in the summer aboard Wand’rin Star.
I knew the motor was burning out, but why? It was only 1 yr 9 months old and we went months without even using the AC. I called Shurflo and they wanted to know how many hours I had on it. Not many dude! Anyway they said I had to return it to the company I bought it from so I called Tropic Marine Air in Ft. Lauderdale FL. He listened to my story and told me to ship it to him and he would fix it and send it back, so I two day’d it out and called him the day after it arrived to get a update. He sent me pics of the pump head and the motor. The pump head was full of oyster shells, and the motor had a lot of black dust indicating it was burning out. He said the unit was done and he would 2 day ship me a new one for $200 less than the original cost, .I took the deal. I used the Forward AC pump for the Aft AC so we could still live on the boat. The pump arrived on the Friday before I started the drive up to Ft. Worth to pick up the Admiral so I was able to re-install both AC pumps and get some of it back to normal. The customer service I received both from Mermaid and Tropic Marine Air was outstanding. Both companies knew summer was a bummer to not have AC working in Texas.
I left Corpus Sunday August 28th and stayed at my brothers in Austin 1 night to make a quick Dr. appointment on the 29th. My son invited me to the Continental Club upstairs for some free Jazz. Of course it did not start till 10:30 pm but anytime you can spend with your kids is special so I had a great time listening to a cool Trio and I got to bed by midnight. On Monday I arrived in Fort Worth at 4pm and picked up the Admiral from her parents to start the drive to Seattle. We knew we could make Oklahoma City but the Admiral wanted to get to Wichita KS so the next days drive would not be so long.
We were both surprised at how beautiful Oklahoma was, perhaps it was due to all the rain they have had this year, neither of us remembered Oklahoma as beautiful in the several times we had driven through before on our way to see family in Kansas. The Arbuckle Mountains and the Oklahoma Hills were very picturesque. I remember Woody Gutherie had a song about the Oklahoma Hills but I never considered it valid till now. We did not get to see much of KS as we crossed the border toward Wichita since it was getting dark and rainy. I was feeling pretty good and felt I continue to drive for 2 more hours so we aimed for Wichita. As we neared the OK/.KS border around just after sundown I could see lightening in the distance ahead of us. I checked the radar app on the IPhone and sure enough a Huge storm was brewing up ahead. The Dark colors were on the West side of 35 and it was just green on the East side of 35 I was hoping it would stay that way (but I knew it would not), so we continued to drive but I noticed all the Big Rigs exiting the highway. We slowed as it began to rain, thunder and lightening all around us. Soon we were in a Dorothy storm and even though we were just on the edge of it we had to slow to about 35 mph, I followed another SUV close enough so I could see his tail lights to make sure I was still on the road. As we got into Wichita the rain slowed thankfully till we found our hotel and got in the door. We went out to get our bags and it all of a sudden it started up again, a lady who worked there was outside smoking and ran inside saying, “I’m going in, this might be a tornado” Yikes, we tried to get a couple of bags but it was to late, even though we were under a huge awning the flood of rain came in sideways and we just shut the car doors and ran inside completely drenched.

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