Monday, March 16, 2020

Some Minor Repairs

We're still trying to find the cause of an intermittent stalling issue in the Escalade that only occurs once every 6 months.  We brought it into a shop, which after a thorough examination, concluded that they couldn't reproduce the issue and had no idea what could be causing it.  Unfortunately, the issue occurs so rarely that we probably won't know if or when we have fixed it.

We sent a sample of the engine oil to Blackstone Labs for evaluation.  We're hoping they can give us a better understanding of the internal condition of the engine to see if there may be deeper issues.

Recently, we changed the transmission fluid and filter, changed the engine oil, and replaced leaking transmission fluid cooler lines.  Unfortunately, the only access to the lines is behind the plastic bumper / grill unit which surprisingly is only held on by a handful of small bolts.

After those repairs, we replaced the variable valve timing actuator and solenoid (which required removal / replacement of the belts and water pump).

Next up: the crankshaft sensor.

Removing the transmission oil pan proved challenging.  The exhaust pipe runs beneath it, preventing removal of the pan.  Frustratingly, you only need a couple of millimeters of extra clearance.  So we found a 3' crowbar at Harbor Freight, then pried the exhaust down slightly using the floor jack to hold it.  The exhaust went right back into position afterwards -- no harm done.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Savannah the Author and Her New Book

Savannah decided to become an author.  She bound her book with cardboard and cloth backing, wrote, and illustrated it.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Landscape Arch and Others at Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

After finishing the Delicate Arch hike, we had a picnic, then explored other arches including Landscape Arch, the Window Arches, and Balanced Rock. 

By the end of the day, Carson's FitBit showed we had hiked for 11.5 miles (25,000 steps).  We were exhausted.

Landscape Arch

Our picnic table.

The hike to Landscape Arch starts with this huge rock wall.

The trail was slushy and muddy.

The Landscape Arch was incredible.  Snow on the top was melting into drops glistening in the sun.

Taking a break.

Pine Tree Arch

The Window Arches (viewed from another arch).

Balanced Rock.

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Moab, UT

We had a great time with Phil and his kids at a condo that we rented in Moab, UT.

We started by hiking to the iconic Delicate Arch.  It is 3 mile round trip hike, uphill most of the way there.  Unfortunately, the last stretch of the hike is cut into a rock cliff and partially covered with ice and snow. 

The view at the top was well worth the hike.

The trail up to the arch:

Hanging out at the condo:

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Goblin Valley State Park, Utah

Goblin Valley State Park is in the middle of Utah, which also happens to be the middle of nowhere, but it is well worth the drive.  This is the most fun nature park our kids have been to and was just as incredible for the adults.

Years of erosion left this valley entirely filled with sandstone 'goblins'.  Each goblin is unique and interesting to see.  But the best part about it is that the state doesn't force to you keep your distance.  You are allowed to get up close and personal with the goblins, climbing in, over and through them.  

We found a narrow cave, that after crawling about 30 feet, it opened to this small room.

Some areas were a little tricky to navigate.

But some were just so inviting to relax.

Carson and Jace testing how much they can scare their parents by standing so close to the edge.