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1860 - Colonel Thomas F. Mitchell arrives in Soledad Canyon [story]


Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Tuesday, Feb 4, 2014
Darryl Manzer

Darryl Manzer

You probably know I live nearly full time in a rather large recreational vehicle, or RV. That makes me a “full timer.”

You might think being a full timer in an RV captures the magic of the road and the ability to drive your house just about any place at any time. You can follow the sunset West, or drive to the sunrise in the East. One can also be a snowbird and avoid cold weather by moving South every winter and North in the summer. Packing isn’t a problem. You have it with you already. Just imagine watching the sunset over the ocean under the awning of your RV, parked near a secluded spot on Highway 1.

Soon, reality steps in and you find out about “home repair” in an RV and you learn that an RV’s electrical system was designed by someone who wanted to avoid logic. So you get to learn new terms like “converter” and “inverter” and “auto-switch.”

Parts you can find at a local hardware store will cost three times more at an RV place – only you don’t know that until after you’ve bought those parts at Camping Universe or RV Heaven. If you own a boat, you know what it means when the sign says, “Marine and Boat parts and service.”

Same thing. It means the price goes up exponentially.

In an RV, stuff breaks at the worst time because Murphy’s Law was written by a guy living in an RV.

For instance, just last month in Kentucky, when the temperature was hovering around 10 degrees, my electrical system was damaged by a connection to electrical power on the garage of a kinfolk. Let’s just say 220 doesn’t fit in 110. Major components of the electrical system were toasted. Crisp.

My submarine training kicked in, and soon I had some form of heating device working. My propane heater worked, and in combination with some electric heaters, I didn’t freeze. I was able to drive to Paducah and get the first major component replaced. The auto-switch. Parts and labor were only $600. This allowed me to drive to warmer climes in the West – so drive I did.

In Las Vegas I found out that my “inverter” was cooked, and a new one might cost $2,000. I could put in a “converter” for about $500 total.

With that done, I now have full electrical capability in the RV. I put away the heaters and the extension cords and headed to the SCV pretty happy. Well, except for the lack of my radio/CD/MP3/Satellite radio. I lost the 12-volt DC power connection to it. That means I had to find other means of staying awake.

I want to thank the many friends who took my calls and kept me awake during the drive from Kentucky. I had thought I might get my radio working in Las Vegas. Everything else works now.

Once the phone calls stopped, I resorted to singing – because if you talk to yourself, folks think you’re crazy. Just why is that? You can drive down the road singing, and folks who can hear might want to join in. If you talk to yourself, those same folks might call the men in the white lab coats with an “I-love-me” jacket. I decided to sing.

I sang a lot. Mr. Renly, my basset hound, got as far away as possible in the back of the RV. I sang just about every song I know. Mostly old standards from what the “Great American Songbook.” Sinatra songs, Dean Martin songs, Nat King Cole and Louis Prima songs, too. I even did a couple of gospel tunes. At one point I resorted to singing scales, just to help increase the range of my voice.

Early in life, I took a few voice lessons. I’ve even done a little singing with a big band and a Dixieland band. I’ve belonged to various choral groups and church choirs. I also sing in the shower and when I cook. I have been known to frequent karaoke places, too.

Do you identify with this in some small measure?

Now that my electrical problems are mostly fixed, I thought I would go get some coaching for my singing. This Friday, I’m headed to Vibe Performing Arts Studios at 6:30 in the evening, hopefully to get some instructions on how to perform a little bit better … well, maybe a whole lot better. Would you care to join me and a bunch of other folks in this quest?

Now, the Good Book says for you to “make a joyful noise.” That is what karaoke is all about. A joyful noise for yourself. Ability and intonation not necessary. Fun is necessary, and this event will be fun.

I’ll be there, and you can laugh at my singing and whatever else. This won’t get us on “Idol,” but it will get us past the fear of performing in public … we hope.

So I’ll see all y’all there. It costs $10 and you can buy refreshments, too. Next door is a great pizza place that might serve some Karaoke Courage if you need it. Sometimes that helps. Vibe Performing Arts Studios are located at 24460 Lyons Avenue in the Valencia Plaza. Give them a call at 661-255-7464 for more information.

Now I’m headed back into the wiring harness in the dash. Won’t be long and I’ll have some tunes again.

Oh, I did find out that my CDs for karaoke will play just fine on my machine. I can’t read the words, but I can learn the tunes.

Note to self: Teach the basset hound to hold the flashlight.

 

Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com and his commentaries, published on Tuesdays and Sundays, are archived at DManzer.com. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

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1 Comment

  1. Melissa says:

    Hi Darryl,

    I enjoy reading your column, and all about your adventures.

    With all the repairs in tight places that are necessary with an RV, have you considered wearing a “headlamp?” I bought my hubby one last year from Amazon.com, and he loves it. It comes in handy for those times when he must go outside after dark. (Mr Skunk lurks nearby).

    Might be easier than teaching the Bassett Hound to hold the flashlight, too. :-)

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