The Home Office

Current Location: Pineglen RV Park, Panama City Beach, Florida

First of all, a third blog post in as many days (patting ourselves on the back). For most of the day today, Malcolm got in a full day’s work and Val did laundry all day. Have we ever mentioned how much we love our washer/dryer combo? Even with a smaller washer that has to double as a dryer, Val caught up on a week’s worth of laundry in one day. Not bad.

This afternoon, David came over to assist us with our latest plan for the trailer. We decided to remove the couch from the rear of the trailer and replace it with a couple desk chairs and desks. We bought the chairs yesterday afternoon. The desks are ordered from Amazon and are being shipped to friends in Alabama. We will be back there at the end of the month.

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Couch before removal.

While we waited for David to come over after work, Malcolm emptied the truck bed and put most everything inside (the hitch base got locked up outside).

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Cleaning out the bed.

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Stuff staged on the picnic table (including the chairs)

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Couch base ready to move.

When David got to the trailer, we had the couch back and cushions already in the truck. The heavy part – the base – was ready to move. David and Malcolm got it through the door with relative ease and loaded it into the back of the truck. Then, it was off to David’s house to unload it. That just took a few minutes.

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David testing out the couch

While we waited for David’s roommate to take a shower so we could all go to dinner, we visited with Callie for a few minutes. She told us all about her stay at David’s house (David claims some of the complaints weren’t valid).

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Callie

We all loaded up in the truck (except for Callie) and headed to Captain D’s for dinner. We dropped the guys back off at home and headed back to the trailer. Malcolm loaded the hitch and totes back in the truck, brought in the bikes for travel and assembled the two office chairs.

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Chairs assembled and ready for service

The leather on the chairs almost exactly matches the leather on our theater seating unit. The wood is a little redder than the other wood in the trailer, but we like the look nonetheless. The desks we’ve ordered are a craftsman style writing desk. The wood should match the chair bases fairly closely. We’re looking forward to having the area all put together.

Tomorrow morning we head out and east to just north of Jacksonville for the night, then on up I-95.

 

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Catching Up and a Move

Current Location: Nashville KOA, Nashville, Tennessee

On Monday, Malcolm drove the truck in to work. He called the local Ford dealer to check to see if they could take care of a few items on the truck before our trip (oil and filter change, fuel filters changed, tires balanced, air filter changed and shock absorbers checked). They said bring it on in. Malcolm left work at 4:00 and stopped by to pick up Val. We stopped by the local car rental place and picked up a rental car, then drove on over to the Ford dealer to drop off the truck. After dropping off the truck, we had dinner at Taziki’s then headed back to the house.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Ford dealer called and said the truck was ready to go (didn’t need shocks). Malcolm left at 4:00 again, just as a pretty good line of thunderstorms rolled through the area. That slowed him down coming home. The storms had passed by the time he got to the trailer to pick up Val. The power got knocked out during the storm. Traffic was bad getting to the Ford dealer, so Malcolm called the rental car company to tell them we wouldn’t return the car before they closed. They said drop it off and put the keys in the key drop and they’d just charge us for the day’s rental.

We picked up the truck, had dinner at NYNY Pizza then headed over to drop off the car. Traffic was still bad in the area, but we were able to bypass it, fuel up the car, drop it off and drop the keys in the slot, then drive back to the trailer where we found the power was still out. Fortunately, the trailer was still fairly cool from earlier in the day and the recent rain storm cooled the outside air off into the mid-70’s, though it was still humid.

We opened windows and turned on the power fan in the ceiling to draw air through and eventually went on to bed. Fortunately, our iPads, computers and the mifi unit all had good battery charges.

When we woke up this morning, still no power. Malcolm decided to work at home during the morning until his laptop battery ran out of power. We ended up driving over to Camping World (who also was without power, but was using a generator to power part of the store) and bought a small Honda generator and a Fantastic Fan and cover to put in the front bathroom.

Generator in action

Generator in action

We stopped by the gas station and fueled up the new generator, then took it home to the trailer to hook it up. Malcolm couldn’t find his 30 amp to 15 amp adapter, so it was back to Camping World (which fortunately is literally next door) and picked up one of those. Once back, he had the generator running and the trailer powered up. Our EMS initially was faulting saying that the generator power had a floating ground (Honda generators are known for doing that), so Malcolm searched the internet and found the solution and had us powered up in no time. The new generator is only a 2000W unit, so it won’t run an air conditioner, but at least will power up smaller stuff and run the converter which charges the 12V batteries on board.

By mid-afternoon, we still had no power. The outside temperature was in the mid-90’s, the humidity was high and the inside temperature was close to 100. We were miserable and the cat was looking pretty miserable as well. We decided to take a ride in the (air conditioned) truck to the front of Jellystone to check on when power might be restored. They said the power company kept saying they were working on it, but couldn’t make any promises. Best they could say was “maybe tonight”.

We drove over to the KOA and walked into their registration area. We asked if they had power (yes, they did) and if they had a space our 42′ trailer would fit into. The gentleman at the desk looked at the computer for a bit and said he had one back-in space that was listed as 46′ long. We paid for it and said we’d be back with the trailer. Turns out there was a pretty steady stream of campers from Jellystone doing the exact same thing. We hitched up the trailer and moved it to KOA, hooked up and turned on the air conditioners.

Moved to KOA

Moved to KOA

After running the air conditioners for about 20 minutes. Probably was close to 100 earlier.

After running the air conditioners for about 20 minutes. Probably was close to 100 earlier.

While the rig cooled down, we drove up the street to Logan’s Roadhouse for dinner and dessert, then back to the trailer, which had cooled down fairly well. Malcolm got ambitious and went ahead and installed our new Fantastic Fan in the front bath. He will install the matching vent cover at another time, to allow the self-leveling sealant time to skin over up top.

Malcolm up top with the fan removed

Malcolm up top with the fan removed

The old fan

The old fan

New fan dropped in, screwed down and sealed up top.

New fan dropped in, screwed down and sealed up top.

Installing the inside trim

Installing the inside trim

Success

Success

We were fortunate enough to get our site through Saturday, so we’ll be right on schedule for heading out west.

Weekend Wrap-Up

Current Location: Jellystone Park, Nashville, Tennessee

Malcolm is feeling much better now. He felt well enough to work all day at the trailer on Tuesday, but had problems getting sleep that night. He was pretty much worn out on Wednesday morning and spent the day just relaxing. Thursday he was back at the office and worked Thursday and Friday there. He has been driving the truck into town this stay, instead of renting a second vehicle.

The Postcard Map at Work

The Postcard Map at Work

Garage-top Parking

Garage-top Parking

Though our space is sort of small here at Jellystone (about 55 feet long), we’re otherwise enjoying the peace and quiet at the back end of the campground. All of the children-friendly activities and, thus, the family campers are all located towards the front of the park. We are also further away from the traffic noise on the Briley, especially the bridge over the Cumberland River which is close to the back side of the KOA.

This afternoon we enjoyed sitting outside for a while, especially since our entire row emptied out and left us a decent view of something other than the broad side of a Class A RV. Saturday evening, we rode our bikes up to the ice cream shop in the park and had some pretty good hand dipped ice cream cones.

One fix/mod we did on Saturday is to better secure our couch to the back wall of the trailer. The factory had put two screws through the back board of the couch into the wall, but both screws were simply screwed into the wallboard, which did absolutely nothing towards anchoring the couch. During a recent hard braking incident, we found that the couch apparently flipped foward and the back of the couch broke the handle on the window opener.

Broken handle, bent mechanism

Broken handle, bent mechanism

We picked up an eight-foot long 1×4 and brought it home. Malcolm cut it to length between the two “end tables” mounted to the side walls of the trailer. He was able to actually anchor the board to five different studs behind the wallboard, so it isn’t going anywhere now. We pushed the couch back against the new anchor rail and drove screws through the couch board into the anchor rail. The couch shouldn’t go anywhere now.

Rail installed. Callie inspects the work.

Rail installed. Callie inspects the work.

Couch pushed up to the wall and screwed into place.

Couch pushed up to the wall and screwed into place.

Close-up.

Close-up.

Other than that, we’ve just been doing a little shopping and preparing for our trip out west, which starts on Saturday, August 1st. We will be getting the truck serviced in preparation for the trip sometime during the week.

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.