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Western Fires

California Wildfires

As I’ve sure you have seen on the news, there are some pretty spectacular fires going on in the West.

We’re fairly close to one of them – the Ferguson Fire – which is currently about 58,000 acres located on the west side of the Sierras:

Ferguson Fire Map

Another way to gauge the scale of a wildfire is to see how many resources are involved in fighting the fire. For example, for the Ferguson fire that equates to 3,638 personnel which include 219 fire engines, 46 water tenders, 14 helicopters, 93 crews, 5 masticators and 72 bulldozers.

Though we probably won’t be affected by the fires themselves, the smoke from the fires is another story. It reminds me of our trip through Montana and Utah last year (Note to Self: Avoid the West During Fire Season).

Recent arrivals to our campground from the north, tell us of smoke as thick as fog and run sun in the middle of the day,

Luckily Bishop has been spared from thick smoke, but that could change in the next few days . . .


Wisconsin winters are looking better and better.

The Places We Eat

CARDINAL LODGE, Aspendell, Breakfast

Cardinal Lodge01

At 8,500 feet elevation, the Cardinal Lodge is much cooler than down in the valley (aka Bishop). Besides temperature, the mountains provide the perfect backdrop.

Jan had eggs over medium. I had French toast. Perfect.

Cardinal Lodge02


WHISKEY CREEK, Bishop, Dinner

We ordered off the “Healthy Bowls” menu . . .


I had the Teriyaki Chicken Bowl . . .


Jan had the Chicken Pineapple Curry . . .


We’ll be back.




Sleeping by the Pond


An Update & Ducks


Completed Automatic Satellite Internet Systems and Manual Tripod Satellite Internet Systems on the Satellite Internet for RVers page.



Every night between 7 and 8 pm . . .

Dometic Penguin II Install Fail

Penguin II


NOTE: This describes a ducted AC install, not a non-ducted unit. Non-ducted units blow air straight down from the bottom of the AC itself. Ducted ACs blow the air through roof channels with ports that distribute the air along the channel.


When one of our two Dometic Penguin II ACs on our 2001 Newmar Mountain Aire gave up the ghost recently (see New AC, New Campsite), we had a local RV repair shop replace it. Before they started, I suggested they contact Newmar because I thought there was a special gasket that went between the Penguin II and the RV roof. There actually is a special gasket, but the repair shop didn’t get one.

The Special Newmar AC Gasket (#017841)

Instead they used the gasket that came with my new Penguin II.

It didn’t work. Though our new Penguin II worked fine, after an all-night rain, water leaked into our RV from the AC. I had to punch holes in the AC ducts to let the water drain.

Long story short . . . I contacted Newmar support and ordered the Penguin II gasket kit (#017841) for about $120. The guys from the local RV repair shop came back, installed the Newmar gasket, and after testing with a water hose . . . no leaks.

Here’s what a successful gasket install looks like:

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How to tell if you had the wrong gasket installed:

Good vs Bad Gaskets



(1) For a major repair, do your homework by researching the manufacturer, Google, and YouTube. You may end up knowing more than the repair shop — imagine that! In my case, I did.

(2) If possible, don’t let non-customer-service-centered techs work on your RV. I had two techs who were having none of my suggestions. For example, when I said “You have to set the AC DIP switches correctly”, they didn’t know what DIP switched were. Yeah, there’s probably nothing worse for RV repair shops than a know-it-all old fart telling them their business. However, I did know more and I was paying for it. So there. Nevertheless, don’t become a PITA.

(3) Don’t pay until you’re satisfied. I had paid the repair shop by check after they first installed the new AC. However, shortly after the installation, I discovered the leak and cancelled the check. I told them I wouldn’t pay until it was fixed.

Mind Those Flash Flood Advisories

About 6 inches deep behind us — but the wall held !