Cleanup and Mods

Current Location: Rainbow’s End RV Park, Livingston, Texas

This morning we headed over to the Escapees office and set up our mail forwarding service, so we now have a Texas address. They were very helpful in discussing the requirements for becoming residents. We’ll need to have a few more things handy to get our drivers licenses than we have right now, and getting plates for the truck now but licenses in a couple months might incur fines or additional fees.

Their recommendation was to wait until we can come back with all the various things we’ll need and just take care of it all in one shot. For now, Escapees will be our mailing address, but Alabama will remain our physical address (for purposes of insurance, etc.).

With the mail thing taken care of, Malcolm decided to get the oily mess off the front cap of the trailer. Once done with that, he did the same with the truck, giving it a long-overdue bath. One thing led to another and Malcolm eventually ended up cleaning the whole outside of the trailer as well as the top side of the awning.

Oily, greasy, grimy mess

Oily, greasy, grimy mess

Sparkly clean

Sparkly clean

Shiny rigs

Shiny rigs

Malcolm finished our taillight mod (the lights mounted to the rear bumper) by using his fish tape to run the wires to the new lights out of the bottom of the trailer instead of having them taped to the back wall of the trailer. It looks much cleaner now.

Our main mod for the day was based on something we saw in newer units at the Tampa RV Show in January. Our washer/dryer closet has two doors on it, but the newer ones use on big door. We like the big door idea and were considering seeing if we could get one from the factory and staining it to match our interior. Val had a great idea today, though, so here’s what we did to convert our two doors into one big door.

We headed to Lowes and purchased a six-foot long 1×2 board and some 1 1/2″ wood screws. Back at the trailer, Malcolm removed the two doors from the wall and laid them face down on the picnic table outside. He cut the 1×2 into two lengths and stained them with some quick stain we have that pretty well matches our interior woodwork.

Ready to cut the wood

Ready to cut the wood

Doors laid side by side

Doors laid side by side

Wood strips stained

Wood strips stained

With the stain dried, Malcolm mounted the 1×2 boards across the joint where the two doors come together. A few screws driven in and the two doors are now joined together as one.

Screwed down strip

Screwed down strip

Back inside, the door was mounted using only the right-hand hinges (the left-hand ones were fully removed). We left the two handles as they were for continuity reasons and to keep from leaving two holes in the middle. The catches were all removed and one was replaced on the side of the door that opens (the left side). Here’s the final result both closed and open.

Single door, closed

Single door, closed

Single door, opened

Single door, opened

While we were out shopping for lumber and hardware, we also stopped and ate at Joe’s Italian Grill restaurant. We each brought home about half of our food. The portions were really large. Looks like Italian food tomorrow for lunch.

 

On to Livingston

Current Location: Rainbow’s End RV Park, Livingston, Texas

We hooked up this morning and headed out from San Antonio at almost 9:00 AM. The drive was pretty uneventful. We headed east on I-10 to Houston, then took the Sam Houston parkway around to the northeast side of town and picked up I-69, which eventually turns into US 59. That leads up to Livingston, Texas, where we are now.

The campground here is part of the Escapees RV Club facilities and is the main headquarters for the club. Our main purpose for this trip is to get our Texas residency underway. We’re not sure how much of this we can get done the next several days, but we’ll get all we can out of the way while we are here.

The first step is to get our new address via the mail service here. We’ll stop by the office and get that taken care of in the morning. We arrived and got set up a little too late to do it today. Once we have an address, we can start working on licensing the truck and trailer and getting Texas drivers licenses for ourselves.

The first step in the licensing portion is to have the truck and trailer inspected. One issue we’ve had for quite a while that would fail inspection is that two of our three clearance lights on the front cap of the trailer are no longer working. We’ve been debating fixing this for quite a while.

Malcolm bought lights, wire and other materials yesterday before we left San Antonio. As soon as we were set up here today, Malcolm got to work on fixing the lights. He had them all working just after dinner time. Unfortunately, he wasn’t aware that the side marker on the front of the unit was wired in with the front cap lights and now it was dead (from cutting the wires to the former front cap lights).

A brief inspection showed that a trim panel could be removed from our bedroom closet to gain access to the (non-working) off-door side light. The trim panel in our washer/dryer closet could be removed to gain access to the (working) door side light. Malcolm needed more wire, so we took a break and went shopping. Malcolm dropped Val off at the HEB grocery store and he walked next door to Lowe’s to get  more wire.

Once back at the trailer, Malcolm ran wire from the off-door side light along the baseboard of the closet to the opposite side and hooked it in to the other light. A quick test outdoors with a jumper wire showed that everything is working now. Yay! We loaded everything back into the closets and plopped down to relax.

New Water Pump

Current Location: Nashville KOA, Nashville, Tennessee

After debating what to do about our water pump, Malcolm decided to buy a new one at Camping World and install it. The other one will go back to the manufacturer under warranty and get fixed or replaced. We’ll keep that pump as a spare.

While Malcolm was picking up the pump, he also decided to get an accumulator to go along with it. He installed the new rig while dinner cooked on the grill. We tested it after dinner and Malcolm buttoned everything up. The new pump is reasonably quieter than the old pump.

New pump and accumulator

New pump and accumulator

Today while Malcolm was at work, Val cleared out the basement and put a fan in to help dry out the carpet. It got fairly dry, but we put down a couple old towels before loading the basement back up with totes. We were planning on replacing the towels, so we’ll let them soak up for a couple days since we’ll be traveling this weekend.

Malcolm found out earlier this week that one of his cousins lost her battle with cancer. They are having visitation in Louisville Friday evening and a service on Saturday morning. We won’t be able to make the service, but plan on driving up to Louisville on Friday afternoon, visiting with family for an hour or so, then driving back to Nashville. Since we’ll be doing that tomorrow, Malcolm decided to go ahead and turn in the rental car this evening.

We finished buying Christmas gifts this evening, loading up on gift cards at Kroger. In the process, due to a promotion Kroger is running, we got 4X the fuel points for buying the cards ($350 worth of cards). After paying for those and a few groceries we needed, we went across the street to their gas station and fueled up the truck at fifty cents off per gallon ($3.23).

We still have enough points to get another tank at fifty cents off per gallon, so we’ll use that after we get back from Louisville and before we pull out Saturday morning to head south.

LEDs and a Leak

Current Location: Nashville KOA, Nashville, Tennessee

On Monday, Malcolm ordered replacement LED bulbs for our halogen puck lights from Amazon and they arrived at the office today. We brought them home and replaced the seven working halogen bulbs and one burned out one this evening.

LED Replacements

LED Replacements

We got BrightChoice G4 Warm White bulbs for $5.95 each. Malcolm mis-counted and ordered 10, and we only needed 8, so we have a couple spares. They are not much whiter than the halogen bulbs that they replaced, which we like. It lends a warm atmosphere instead of a cold, harsh light.

Val went to the office with Malcolm today, so she could look around and see where he is working. She had planned on exploring downtown this afternoon, but decided to sit in the quiet office and crochet all day. She also took advantage of the fast wi-fi.

After work, we walked downtown with one of Malcolm’s co-workers and had excellent pasta dinners at Demos’ Restaurant. It was just around the block from the office building, so we walked there and then walked back to the parking garage afterwards.

Once back at the trailer, Malcolm went to get a couple of things out of the basement for Val and found that the carpet in the basement was wet. Malcolm pulled out most of the totes and removed the basement wall to track down the source of the leak. It took a while, but he finally found that the water pump was slowly dripping from underneath the pressure switch.

Water pump leak.

Water pump leak.

Not sure if it is an easy fix, be we’ve been debating purchasing a nicer water pump, so this may be the reason to move ahead. To keep it from soaking the carpet any further (the wood floor seems to be firm and not swollen), Malcolm slid a lid from one of the totes under the drip to catch the water for now. We’ll probably tackle a more permanent solution next week in Florida.

Maintenance Type Mod

Current Location: Traders Village RV Park, Houston, Texas

First, I (Malcolm) must apologize for the lack of any mention of anything Val did the last two days in yesterday’s blog entry. She has, in fact, been very busy around the trailer since we’ve been here in Houston. Lots of sewing projects have been accomplished, cookies baked, crochet work completed and the list goes on. I appreciate all the things she does and I apologize for not mentioning them yesterday or in prior posts.

With that said, Val pushed me to get a couple of things done that I’ve been putting off. First up was replacing the plastic shelf thingies in the pantry/cabinet next to the recliners. As you can see from this photo, the clips tend to bend down under weight and stress and we tend to put heavy things in this cabinet.

One of many bent brackets.

One of many bent brackets.

We replaced the plastic things with metal rails designed for the inside of book shelf units that you put clips into to mount your shelves. Malcolm removed the old plastic rails and installed the metal ones using the same screws in approximately the same locations.

Before starting.

Before starting.

All the stuff that was in there.

All the stuff that was in there.

The metal rails.

The metal rails.

Malcolm measured how long to cut the rails (they are 72″ long from the store) and used his hacksaw to cut them all down to size. Then, they were mounted inside the cabinet.

Rails mounted

Rails mounted

The short pieces that were left over were mounted in the lower cabinet, which didn’t originally have rails or shelves. We’ll end up making a shelf or two at some point.

Rails in lower cabinet.

Rails in lower cabinet.

We didn’t take any pictures of everything put back into place, but the astute observer can probably imagine it looks more or less the same.

While we were at it, we finally hung up Malcolm’s birthday present from our daughter. She fashioned this sign from a cedar shingle. It hangs in the bedroom next to Malcolm’s side of the bed.

New sign

New sign

That’s all for today. We’ll be here a couple more days, then pull out Saturday.