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Fresh Air

An OEM RV vent fan nastied up with some puckerbrush dirt and dead bees.

An OEM RV vent fan nastied up with some puckerbrush dirt and dead bees.

I have been here at this location north of Fowlerton, Texas for 196 days straight. My last trip to town for supplies was 38 days ago.  I have one package of bacon left. Something must give soon. Bacon withdrawal is ugly and I would not wish it on any man.

A Puckerbrush Barometer –  I am 30 yds from a much traveled oil patch highway.  Thankfully, there is an automatic gate which is only opened with the correct keypad combo between me and the sneakers and salesmen.  The folks here at the ranch were quick to tell me they were not running a sightseeing operation politely meaning, of course, it was my job to keep the riff raff out.   When I got here six months ago, traffic on the highway was light for this part of the patch.  I noticed it was mostly oil tankers.  These days the volume has gone up considerably and is definitely more “healthy”.  I see water tankers and vac trucks regularly.  Welders in service trucks that always seem overly loud,  hot oilers, wireline trucks, pole trucks and set up trucks for moving big equipment and fuel trucks hauling diesel to fill up thirsty generators that dot the land.  In the past two weeks I have seen two things that used to be commonplace – a rig move and a Halliburton frac convoy moving to a new location.   Perhaps the financial barometer is heading up?

Flying solo- I enjoy my solitude and freedom afforded by being by myself.  Sometimes the fragile nature of what just one person is capable of comes to the front unbidden.  I got a sticky burr nettle or a cactus spine in the ball of my foot.  I could feel its’ presence with every step I took and I knew the actions that must be taken.  To leave it in place would mean it would work its’ way deeper and deeper into my foot where it would cause added discomfort and possible infection.  I haven’t seen the bottom of my feet since the last cactus spine invaded the zone.  Sitting down at the dinette, I grabbed a flashlight and my pair of steel tweezers which are a must down here in this cactus country.  Bending my back and foot in ways 60 yo equipment has no business being bent, I was finally able to locate the spine that was finer than baby hair and probably only protruding 1/32″ above skin level by dragging a finger nail across my foot.  Now, if I could only SEE the damned thing and then actually capture it with the tweezers, we would be all good.  It took several tries but eventually success!  I was thinking how much easier it would have been to have a partner to take front and center for this operation.

Fan stuff that has to go from here to rooftop level to be of any use.

Fan stuff that has to go from here to rooftop level to be of any use.

Fresh air-  About this time last year at the Secret Hideout I was wishing for a way to move just a little bit of fresh air across the bedroom of The NO Princess Palace  when I attempted to sleep.  Budget shortfalls prevented any modifications at that time  so I just gritted it out.   One of my few vices (!) besides cussin’, drinking  distilled spirits of all kinds and the appreciation of fine women is smoking.  I do not intend to give up that vice; most likely none of them others either. When Vela Von came along I was still reeling from the too soon passing of Tuco the Dog and I know I paid far too much attention to every little cough and butt burble.  Couldn’t help it because I definitely felt snakebit; can you say over-parenting?  One of my genuine concerns for Vela Von was second hand smoke.

In the Old Girl, I had a Fan-Tastic vent fan in the hallway to exhaust the smoke.  I literally ran it for years non-stop with few problems.  When I did have a problem, a call to Fan-Tastic resulted in the needed part being sent to me with no questions asked- and at no charge. Over the years they had developed a loyal near-cult following in the RV community- and rightly so.  I knew Fan-Tastic had changed hands in the last few years and their customer service had suffered.  Gone were the days of buying a fan and Fan-Tastic guaranteeing its’ continued service indefinitely. So I decided to shop around.

The old roof vent/fan GONE!

The old roof vent/fan GONE!

One of the fans I looked at was the Maxxair MaxxFan Deluxe Fan with Remote . It has the fan up in the vent which is supposed to be more efficient and quieter.  My first thought was all the busted vent covers on the Old Girl after the Big Hails.  A broken vent is easy and fairly cheap to replace. This Maxxfan – not so much.  There was also some ambiguity on just exactly where the Maxxfan was manufactured.  Some internet sources said USA but I searched the Maxxair corporate website and that info was not readily available.  I would imagine if it was Made in the USA they would have the good sense to prominently feature that fact. The Fan-Tastic goods have Made in the USA stickers right on them.

I went with the Fan-tastic fan in the end.  The bill of goods necessary to replace my old OEM vent fan follows:

Fan-tastic Vent 1250 3 Speed with Reverse  – Just the basic fan like I had in the Old Girl. It did the job.  K.I.S.S.

Fan-Tastic White Ultra Breeze Vent Cover.  – A vent cover allows you to run the fan even if it is raining and it protects the pricey fan from the elements.

Fan-Tastic Ultra Breeze Bug Screen Kit. I was not entirely happy with this bug screen that I hoped would keep out the dirt daubers, bees and waspers. The fit was kinda loose and sloppy. I may secure it up tighter with some zip ties at a future date.

Dicor 501LSW-1 Lap Sealant This sealant/caulk is pricey but I do not want to deal with even the slightest chance of a roof leak. I used the entire tube.

Fan-Tastic vent fan and vent cover in place

Fan-Tastic vent fan and vent cover in place

I asked the ranch boys to borrow a ladder and they brought it by mid-afternoon on the hottest day of the year so far.  97 degrees out and up that ladder I went!   Removing the old fan was straightforward. I had disconnected the 12v wires before venturing up on the roof.  One I got all the screws out, it was pretty easy to pry the old vent off.  The hardest part was removing all the old caulk and what looked like a gasket.  I will tell you right now NOT to use a scraper with a metal blade! You will slice through your roof cover like buttah!  I used a plastic caulk scraper and even though it took some time up on that blazing hot roof it was not physically hard.

Once all the old caulk was removed, it was easy peasy to lay down a new caulk bead and put the Fan-Tastic vent in the hole.  I went back inside the Palace and put the inside cover in place and wired up the fan.

Neat, clean install.

Neat, clean install.

The Aftermath –  I opened a kitchen window on the other end of the Palace 1″.  I can feel air being pulled through that slightly open window. I might have to deal with a little (more) dust being pulled in but I need the cross ventilation.  The next morning after my foray on the roof was no bueno.  My lower back was screaming from being bent over for so long  and my knees, my poor knees…….  Either I rubbed them raw scruffing around up on that roof or the heat blistered them.  They both looked like hamburger.  I gritted my teeth and scrubbed them hard with a towel. Then I soaked ’em good with hydrogen peroxide and put neosporin on them.  Hopefully, I can keep an infection at bay. No snivelin’ in the Oil Patch!  Move along, move along!

Another addition-  When I was down at The Enclave, one of the gate guards had a chair at the guard house that I admired. It was a GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker Chair and I sorely missed it when they moved on. It sits nice and it rocks! I hope it fairs better in the UV Blast than the Gorilla Chair did.  The UV ended up just destroying it in shorter order than I felt comfortable with. I definitely will not buy another one of them.

 

End Note: In the Meantime by Chris Knight from the Little Victories cd.  Been awhile since I did an End Note on Kentucky’s favorite son (in my book).  There is nobody quite like Chris Knight. Umm, how many Calf Fry festivals could there possibly be in the entire country?  I love calf frys though. perhaps,maybe, it is an acquired taste.  Not familiar with calf frys???? Get you some education good neighbor!

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2 comments to Fresh Air

  • vince

    Kinda quiet in here Andy.

    I was reading one of your old blogs when you and Miss K were in Terlinqua and it made me think about the
    Glenn Felts murder. That story just amazes me. Don’t see murder in it but manslaughter without a doubt.
    Unbelievable!

    Buzz tails are out here. One of our outside guys dispatched two yesterday. A 4 and a 7. Rattles.

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    • Andy

      As the country has changed so has Terlingua Vince. When we first bought down there it was like the Old West. Over time snd with the decay of our economy, the attraction of cheap land and little lawdog presence attracted too many ne’er do wells. It just got plain uncomfortable and we bailed.

      Ranch guy came by this morning to tell me he had rattlers out in force – most likely due to the weather change. Comes with the territory I guess.

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