West Coast Visit

Current Location: Washington State with Family

Tuesday morning we got up at the crack of dawn, tossed all our luggage into the rental car and drove to the Nashville airport. We left the car in a prearranged spot in short term parking per the rental car company’s instructions (private rental car company) and headed on into the airport to catch our flight.

We flew on Delta from Nashville to Salt Lake City on a smaller regional jet. It was a comfortable flight and we arrived on time. We had a really long layover in Salt Lake City – around five hours. We passed the time on computers, iPads or with crocheting. We hopped on our next flight on into Seattle. Elizabeth and the girls surprised us by waiting in the baggage pickup area. We got our luggage and headed on out.

Salt Lake City airport

Salt Lake City airport

Pa and the girls

Pa and the girls

We stopped for dinner at Taco Time, then stopped at the house to drop off luggage and grab some stuff for the pool. Violet had a 7:00 swim lesson, then we all had a free swim afterwards before heading back to the house for snacks and bedtime.

Swim lessons

Swim lessons

Scarlet practicing her photography skills

Scarlet practicing her photography skills

One of the reasons we are out here (other than to spoil visit the grandchildren) is for Malcolm to photograph Cole’s cousin’s wedding. We drove over to Steilacoom, Washington this morning to check out the wedding venue (the City Hall building).

The wedding venue

The wedding venue

Afterwards, we ate lunch at The Bair Bistro. The restaurant is located in the old Bair’s Drug and Hardware building. Bair’s opened around 1900 and gradually grew to include the post office. Now it is just a restaurant, but a lot of the old drug store and hardware store items are displayed around the room for all to enjoy. The original 1906 vintage soda fountain (foreground in picture) is still in use today.

Bair's Bistro and soda fountain

Bair’s Bistro and soda fountain

We headed from there over to Puyallup to the library and city park. Malcolm drove on down to the Washington State Fairgrounds to reserve our campsite for later this summer when we are out here. Since our visit overlaps the state fair, he managed to get a campsite all the way up until a eight days before we were going to leave the area.

The city of Auburn has a pretty nice campground that Malcolm had found on the Internet. He called them to try to reserve for the other eight days and could only reserve seven days (the day we leave the fairgrounds, the Auburn park is full). That left just Sunday, September 6th to find a place to park the trailer. We lucked out and found a spot for the night at the Seattle/Tacoma KOA, not far up the road.

The bride-to-be stopped by the house after dinner this evening and we discussed pictures and wedding coordination things with her. The wedding is this coming Saturday.

Ready to Travel

Current Location: Nashville KOA, Nashville, Tennessee

We had a quiet weekend. On Saturday morning, our friends Nathan and Byrd stopped by. They are the Tennessee chapter leaders for the Heartland Owners Club. They were stopping by the KOA to finalize some fall rally plans. They dropped by our rig to take the tour, as well.

On Saturday afternoon, Malcolm’s co-worker and his wife and daughter stopped by to check the place out as well, but for a different reason – they’ll be watching our cat, Callie, while we fly out to Seattle for a couple weeks. We showed them were everything was and gave them a key to get in. Afterwards, we all went over to the Cock of the Walk restaurant for dinner.

Sunday morning we got up and went to church, ate lunch out and picked up a couple things at Target before heading back to the trailer to start packing for our Seattle trip. We were generally lazy and hung around the trailer all afternoon and evening.

This morning, Malcolm emptied all the tanks, folded up and stowed our bicycles and took down the outside flags/sign. Afterwards, we ran a few errands and ate lunch out, then back to the trailer to do a few final little packing items and then relax the rest of the evening. We fly out from Nashville really early in the morning.

A Birthday Visit

Current Location: Nashville KOA, Nashville, Tennessee

On Sunday we went to church again at First Baptist. We met Malcolm’s co-worker and his family after the service and talked for a bit before finding a pretty nice little Mexican restaurant for Mother’s Day lunch. It wasn’t too busy but the food was really good. They were giving all the mothers there a free small dessert. We took care of a couple little things around the trailer and mainly just bummed around the rest of the day.

Malcolm took out the two fixed shelves in the top half of our kitchen pantry and added shelves via the side rails, clips and board method like we used in the tall half bathroom cabinet. Here are some pictures.

Hard at work

Hard at work

Scrap materials

Scrap materials

Ready to start

Ready to start

Rails

Rails

Done. Double the number of shelves.

Done. Double the number of shelves.

We also moved our dining table a few inches away from the theater seat. It wasn’t centered between the dining room chairs, but now it is. Malcolm also installed screens on the refrigerator vents. We used these that we bought from Amazon. They were actually too long (they have correct size ones, too, but we clicked the wrong link), so Malcolm cut them down to fit. Should keep the flying critters out of the refrigerator compartment.

On Wednesday, David drove up to visit us overnight. Wednesday was his birthday, so we took him out to eat at McNamara’s (the Irish place), then wandered around the mall. Malcolm bought his birthday present in the Lego store while we were there.

Today, David and Val rode downtown on the shuttle and wandered around the town for a while before heading up to Malcolm’s office. We walked around and introduced David around then headed down to eat lunch. After lunch, Val and David headed back downtown to catch the return shuttle since David needed to head down the road.

This evening we went out to eat at Pie Five pizza and stopped by the mall to exchange a mattress pad we had bought for the couch bed (wrong size – we accidentally bought a full size instead of a queen). The couch bed sleeps “OK” according to David. Malcolm laid down on it briefly and decided it wouldn’t be too bad of a place to sleep if needed.

Tomorrow is Malcolm’s last day of work here before we fly out next week to Seattle.

Weekend and More Little Mods

Current Location: Nashville KOA, Nashville, Tennessee

Sometimes it seems that Malcolm gets most of his exercise carrying tools back and forth between the inside of the trailer and the outside storage compartment. Unless you count frequent strolls around Home Depot. Things are actually tapering off in the modification department, but here are a few we’ve done in the last couple of days.

We had recently replaced the shower head in the main bathroom with one from Oxygenics. The old shower head had a flexible metal hose and the new one a flexible clear plastic hose. We found that the plastic hose was a little too stiff, especially when filled with water. We found a suitable replacement at Home Depot and Val installed it. Much more flexible and actually a bit longer, as well.

Old hose. Looks are deceiving, though. It's not very flexible.

Old hose. Looks are deceiving, though. It’s not very flexible.

New hose with packaging to show brand.

New hose with packaging to show brand.

While the end of the new hose that rests in the shower head holder doesn’t fit as neatly as the original hose, it works.

The next project was to replace the cheapie drawer glides on Val’s cabinet with nicer cabinet grade self-closing glides. Malcolm built this cabinet a few years ago to hold two drawers left over from Val’s father’s desk. The simple glides were starting to stick. The new glides were actually about 1/4″ too long, but it works. Maybe a thicker piece of trim on the front of the cabinet?

Work in progress

Work in progress

Much better

Much better

Next up, installing AC/USB outlets on either side of our bed frame. There were already standard 110V AC outlets there, but we liked the one that we installed in the center of the theater seating unit so well, we bought two more. We bought a black one and another white one. After looking at the white one we put in the theater seat console compared to all the black switches and outlets already installed in the trailer, we decided to change that one out to black and put the two white ones on either side of the bed.

New junction box.

New junction box.

Outlet installed.

Outlet installed.

Ready to charge

Ready to charge

One final mod was another light switch relocation project. The lights over the couch in the rear of the trailer are controlled by a switch on the underside of the cabinets high above the couch, making it difficult to find and operate. We decided the switch really should be down at a typical wall switch level.

Malcolm suspected that the power going up to the lights and the two wall sconces on the back wall of the trailer probably ran up one side or the other of the back window. He was hoping it was the door side of the trailer (left end of the couch as you are facing it) since that is where Val likes to sit.

Malcolm pulled the AC outlet out on that end of the couch, fished around in the insulation and found a low voltage line running up towards the top. We figured it was powering either the inside lights or the outside clearance lights. Fortunately, it was the inside lights. Because there was little slack in the wire, Malcolm had to go ahead and cut out a hole for the switch and test the wire there. Fortunately, it was the correct one.

One of the two wires was cut, stripped back and connected inline with the switch. Once it tested fine, it was assembled in the wall and now operates the overhead lights. The wire fed not only the overhead lights, but also the two wall sconces on either end of the couch. Since we rarely use those, just having a switch at a more convenient location is what we needed.

Wire found

Wire found

Switch wired in and tested.

Switch wired in and tested.

Switch mounted.

Switch mounted.

All back together.

All back together.

Other than the two wiring-related tasks that were done today, the rest of the day was uneventful. We headed over to Camping World to have a propane tank filled. While there, we bought bug screens for our refrigerator vents, but found that they wouldn’t fit. They were listed as for Dometic brand refrigerator vents, which look almost identical to the vents behind our Norcold brand refrigerator, but were just different enough that they wouldn’t fit. Back to the store they went. Fortunately, Camping world is literally just a few hundred feet up the road from the campground entrance.

We also purchased a hose that would connect to our propane tank on one end and to our Coleman gas grill on the other. Unfortunately, Coleman makes the connection just different enough that the hose wouldn’t work. It went back to the store, as well.

We also headed out to Sonic to get some slushies this afternoon, since it was such a warm (90-ish) and sunny day. Once we were back, Malcolm got pulled into a nap by the bed as he walked by. We grilled dinner out and had a short bike ride afterwards.

Organizational Mods

Current Location: Nashville KOA, Nashville, Tennessee

Back to work for Malcolm this week. He’s enjoying having found a better route into town (coming in from the north to avoid various construction projects and inevitable downtown road closures around the Broadway area for various events. Val has been busy doing various little organizational projects as well as working on some sewing and crochet projects.

Speaking of projects and organization, we’ve also done a few small organizational mods. Most of them are repeats of ones we had done to the previous trailer. One is using large paint stirring sticks and cup hooks to make hangers for the various measuring cups and measuring spoons. The sticks are cut down to size and mounted on the back side (inside) of the pantry or cabinet doors. Cup hooks are screwed in and now you have a place to hang these items within reach.

Measuring spoons in the pantry

Measuring spoons in the pantry

Close-up

Close-up

Another project Malcolm tackled was some way to organize the various stereo and computer components in the cabinet above the TV. Each time we travel, we find them all bunched up in disarray. Plus, most of these components generate heat and were stacked right on top of each other – not good for heat dissipation.

We looked and shopped around for some type of shelving or rack type system to mount items on where they weren’t stacked right on top of each other. We finally found a solution at The Container Store – wire type letter trays in the office department. Wiring is run out the open sides (the bottom and back have wire mesh). The computer (bottom shelf), Apple TV and Blu-Ray player (middle shelf) just sit on their respective shelves. We will evaluate if we need to secure them better after our next move.

The home theater component (top) was about 1/4″ too wide to fit inside one of the trays, but perfectly fit between the raised tabs on the sides that are used to interlock with a tray stacked on top. We used a couple pieces of velcro to hold it in place on top, then another piece to secure the wireless router on top of that.

Media cabinet looking more organized

Media cabinet looking more organized

Close-up of the rack

Close-up of the rack

Not really a mod, but more of a necessity. We found birds flitting around the front of our trailer, flying in and out. We found that they had started a nest inside the pin box on the front of the trailer. After debating several methods of preventing the nests, we decided on a low tech solution for now since we’ll be stationary for about 4 more weeks. Some blue painters tape and a large lawn and leaf bag covered the whole assembly rather nicely.

Not the prettiest, but it works.

Not the prettiest, but it works.