Easter Weekend and Mods Super-Post

Current Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

David came up Friday evening and stayed with us Friday and Saturday nights. Malcolm picked up some supplies at Lowes to build an organizer in the basement. David assisted in the assembly. Now we can put the grill and other outdoor stuff in a neat, orderly fashion (pictures below).

Later we all headed out in the to the storage unit to do some organizing and to take a few things over that we won’t be keeping in the trailer for the short term (i.e. bicycles, carrier and cover among a few other things). David picked up a few of his things that he wanted and then we all headed to lunch in Montgomery.

After lunch, David and a friend of his headed off to do things while we picked up a few items at the store before heading back to the trailer. We did some organizing and other little mods in the trailer when we got back, then grilled out dinner.

On Sunday, we all got up and headed to church for Easter service. David went to lunch with us at Mellow Mushroom, then headed to visit a couple friends then travel on back to base. We picked up a few items at Home Depot and Lowes for the trailer and headed back home to take care of a few more little items here and there.

On Monday, Malcolm headed into work here at the Alabama office. After lunch, we both headed to the dentist to have our bridges installed that we were fitted for way back in January when we were through here last. Malcolm worked again today. After dinner, Malcolm installed the EMS unit in the trailer’s electrical system, then we celebrated with a treat at the local DQ.

Here are a bunch of captioned pictures of mods we’ve done so far (for the most part):

Towel hoops in the main bathroom

Towel hoops in the main bathroom

Toilet paper holder in main bathroom

Toilet paper holder in main bathroom

Pulling out electrical box for EMS install

Pulling out electrical box for EMS install

Electrical box and EMS

Electrical box and EMS

Wiring up the electrical box

Wiring up the electrical box

EMS all wired in

EMS all wired in

Done. Remote display mounted on 12V fuse cover

Done. Remote display mounted on 12V fuse cover

Dometic 320 toilet in main bathroom

Dometic 320 toilet in main bathroom

Water shutoff behind new toilet

Water shutoff behind new toilet

Kitchen trash Rev-A-Shelf

Kitchen trash Rev-A-Shelf

Old king mattress

Old king mattress

Bed platform cut down to queen size

Bed platform cut down to queen size

Ready to cover platform with tiles

Ready to cover platform with tiles

More tiles

More tiles

All done

All done

New mattress (compacted and vacuum sealed)

New mattress (compacted and vacuum sealed)

New mattress unwrapped and relaxing

New mattress unwrapped and relaxing

Pots and pans Rev-A-Shelf closed

Pots and pans Rev-A-Shelf closed

Pots and Pans Rev-A-Shelf bottom open

Pots and Pans Rev-A-Shelf bottom open

Pots and Pans Rev-A-Shelf top open

Pots and Pans Rev-A-Shelf top open

Magnetic boards on fridge

Magnetic boards on fridge

Chalk boards on coat closet

Chalk boards on coat closet

New shower head and corner bottle caddy in main bath shower

New shower head and corner bottle caddy in main bath shower

Taxes and Maintenance

Current Location: The Scenic Road RV Park, Quartzsite, Arizona

This morning was a lazy morning. Malcolm gathered all the information he needed to do our taxes, installed the latest H&R Block software and typed everything in. We’ll have to print out the forms and mail them in. We’ll probably do that once we get to San Diego this weekend.

After lunch, Malcolm decided to work on a couple of projects in the trailer. The main one was to remove our “spice cabinet” from the corner of the kitchen counter. The cabinet is mainly there to hide the gray tank vent tube that runs up in the corner. Not sure why 3/4ths of the cabinet was simply blank space, but now that it is removed, we have just that much more counter space.

Malcolm essentially busted the cabinet off the wall. Only two screws were easily gotten to. The rest were buried inside the cabinet. It was probably built in place at the factory. Malcolm reused one of the exterior panels to cover the pipe in the corner, screwing it to the wall. A little clear silicone along the bottom sealed it all up.

The cabinet before destruction.

The cabinet before destruction.

With door open. Cabinet is 9" deep, but back wall is only about 3" in.

With door open. Cabinet is 9″ deep, but back wall is only about 3″ in.

Front part removed.

Front part removed.

Everything removed. Look at all that space.

Everything removed. Look at all that space.

Pile of scraps. We removed the hardware and kept it.

Pile of scraps. We removed the hardware and kept it.

One of the side panels repurposed and screwed to the wall to cover the vent tube.

One of the side panels repurposed and screwed to the wall to cover the vent tube.

Clear sealant to finish the job.

Clear sealant to finish the job.

With the job done, we relaxed the rest of the afternoon. Malcolm grilled dinner outside and emptied gray tanks while it cooked. The sunset this evening was gorgeous as usual. Tomorrow we pull up stakes and move on into California. We’ll be staying in Indio, California over the weekend, then on to San Diego on Sunday.

Tonight's sunset.

Tonight’s sunset.

Weekend Fun and a Mod

Current Location: Nashville KOA, Nashville, Tennessee

On Friday, Malcolm left work a little early. Some fellow Heartland RV owners, the Powells, came over to our place at the KOA and took the tour of our rig. Afterwards, we convoyed over to McNamara’s Irish Pub for an excellent time of food, fun and conversation. Afterwards, we parted ways and we headed to Target for a few items before heading home.

Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrel

Today we slept in a bit, then headed to Cracker Barrel for breakfast before heading out to do some shopping at Costco. We had lunch at Chick-Fil-A, then stopped by Home Depot on the way back to pick up some materials for a modification to the trailer (what else does an RV’er do on a lazy weekend?).

We bought two 30″ rails, two 48″ by 12″ wire rack shelves and four brackets. Malcolm cleaned out the front compartment on the trailer and installed two shelves to take better advantage of the tall space in there. We now can store our golf clubs in the front compartment. Having them in the basement made for awkward placement of other items. Now the basement is back to normal and we’ve taken advantage of some formerly wasted space.

Shelves

Shelves

Another view

Another view

After the pictures were taken, Malcolm also put his camera tripod and monopod on the shelves, as well. Also, he put bungee cords across the bags to keep them from flipping forward when in transit. Most of the stuff went back into the bottom of the compartment except for a few things that Malcolm cleaned out and got rid of. He also permanently mounted the tire pressure monitor repeater on the wall under the bottom shelf.

Working and Some Mods

Current Location: Nashville KOA, Nashville, Tennessee

Malcolm’s been working this week. We’ve also put together another mod, of sorts.

Over the weekend, we purchased a Mac Mini computer from the local Apple store. Malcolm set it up as a server. Next, we purchased a desktop organizer to put it in along with a couple external hard drives and a new network router, repeater, range extender.

Pile of boxes and mail that arrived today

Pile of boxes and mail that arrived today

New media server and router

New media server and router

The server contains all the iTunes media which is shared and can be streamed to either of our Apple TV units (living room and outdoor kitchen). The new router is high-speed, designed for high bandwidth applications such as streaming high definition movies. Our initial tests proved very successful on the indoor TV. We’ll test with the outdoor unit later on, but we’re confident it will work just as well.

On Wednesday, Malcolm noticed that a full-time RVing family that he follows in Instagram was in town. We invited them to go bowling with us at Dave and Busters. Wednesday night is half-price bowling night. The father (Jeff) and his two sons joined us. Mom works and was busy with meetings at a nearby hotel. Hopefully, we’ll get to meet her this weekend. We’ve tentatively scheduled a cookout.

Val rode the shuttle downtown today and joined Malcolm for lunch. She also took advantage of the free and very fast WiFi at the office to update her iDevices.

We also did another mod this evening – replaced the faucet on our outside kitchen sink. Malcolm put that in a separate How-To blog post, which can be found here.

 

Weekend Activities

Current Location: Nashville KOA, Nashville, Tennessee

It was cloudy and cool all day Saturday, so we spent most of the day working around the trailer. Malcolm finished up his wax job by completing the off-door side of the trailer. The whole outside has now been buffed with a cleaner wax. It looks so new and shiny.

After finishing the wax job, we headed over to Camping World and purchased two new 12V batteries for the trailer. We’re in the early stages of upgrading to a residential refrigerator. We have an inverter and are just now picking up batteries. We have two battery boxes, so we planned on having two 12V batteries wired in parallel. Rather than risk pairing up a new battery with our older one, we went ahead and bought a matching pair of new batteries.

Old battery ready to come out

Old battery ready to come out

Two brand new batteries

Two brand new batteries

Malcolm wired up the batteries in parallel using two black cables (they didn’t have a correct red one), then hooked the trailer input cables to the bottom battery. The input leads for the inverter, which is mounted on the other side of the wall in the front compartment, were hooked into the top battery.

Wired together and to the trailer

Wired together and to the trailer

140915-04

Inverter cables hooked up

Finally, the two small connectors were wired up to the tire pressure monitor repeater which sits inside the front of the top battery box. It now serves the dual purpose of keeping the top battery from sliding forward in the battery box (we probably could have gone with the next size battery, but Malcolm bought the same size that was already in the trailer to begin with – a group 24).

A quick test of the inverter shows it is working and that the batteries had a pretty good charge to begin with. Checking later, the voltage was slowly rising, indicating that the converter was topping off the charge. Malcolm turned the inverter back off after the checks. Nothing for it to power just yet. Also, Malcolm is going to go back and wire the incoming lines to the inverter through a separate 150 or 200 amp fuse.

Power check

Power check

After the battery job was done, Malcolm set about our next task – to remove the built-in grill that came with the trailer. We retained the slide-out platform that it was mounted to and cleaned a huge, messy bunch of grease off of it. We put our Coleman two-burner stove on the platform and will use it for grilling purposes along with a couple of different cast-iron griddle/grill plates that we have, or recently purchased. We found in the past that the Coleman stove will grill burgers, etc. a lot quicker than the built-in grill ever could.

Ewww.

Ewww.

While waxing the off-door side of the trailer, Malcolm noticed that water was dribbling down our hose at the campground spigot. He eventually traced the leak to a joint in the water pressure regular we had just recently purchased here a couple weeks ago. When he tried to tighten it, nothing changed. When he decided to loosen it to see if it needed more Teflon tape, it broke right off. We figure the brass had a crack in it from the beginning. Camping World gladly exchanged it for a new one.

Oops

Oops

On Sunday, we decided to check out the Tennessee State Fair. We arrived at the fairgrounds around 11:30 and found out that it opened at noon. We waited in line until noon and paid our way to get in. The State Fair here is not as large as we’ve seen in other states, so there wasn’t a whole lot to do. We walked around several exhibits and watched a Tennessee Walking Horse show for a bit. We ended up leaving after an hour and half and ended up at Mellow Mushroom for a late lunch.

State Fair

State Fair

Gigantic pumpkin

Gigantic pumpkin

Cute bird house

Cute bird house

Horses ready to compete

Horses ready to compete

Part of a huge model train layout

Part of a huge model train layout

Typical fair attractions

Typical fair attractions

After lunch, we headed down to the mall and wandered around before heading back to the trailer for the evening. Malcolm washed the truck before dinner since it hadn’t been washed for a couple months, at least. While sitting at dinner, Val was checking her Facebook feed and noticed that Malcolm’s high school buddy, John Boehm, was just down the road at the Opryland Hotel complex for a trade show. Malcolm called him up and told him we were just a couple miles away.

Today, John called Malcolm and arranged to meet us for dinner at the Opryland hotel. We met up at 6:00 and found a place to eat inside the hotel. We ended up chatting and catching up until at least 9:30.

We’re here this week and next before we travel again.