Surprise Package

Current Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

Yesterday was a fairly quiet day. Malcolm went to work and Val ran more errands. Malcolm had his yearly physical and everything looked good. The only concern that the doctor had was that Malcolm seemed a little too short for his current weight.

Malcolm stopped by the house after work yesterday to pick up some mail and a package for Val. While there, he decided to jump on the riding mower and mow the front yard real quick. We recently had our road widened to allow for bike lanes and as a result, there are a lot of gravels and rocks down in the culvert at the front of the yard.

Malcolm figured mowing right through the rocks wouldn’t be too bad of a deal. As a result, we now have a broken window on the front of the house. Fortunately, it only broke the outside pane. The inside pane is intact. One more thing to fix on the house.

Today, David stopped by the office and rode with Malcolm to pick up Val at the campground. After a fine dining experience at Taco Bell, we headed down to the courthouse to take care of tags and other paperwork. Since Malcolm had financed David’s car, but it is now paid off, we gave him the car so it will be fully in his name now. He got a new tag and they’ll mail him his title later on.

We got Val’s car, the truck and the trailer tags done, so we’re all set for another year. Total damage was $511 (about half of that was the trailer tag renewal).

Malcolm dropped Val and David off at the campground and they went shopping. Val stopped by the house and found two packages on the porch for Malcolm (he was expecting one). When Malcolm got home after work and pulled the packages out of the trunk of the car, he found that one of them was from Heartland RVs. Last Friday, Malcolm had emailed Heartland service about the fading furnace cover and the broken landing gear switch. Today, the parts arrived. Excellent service.

New parts

New parts

While hamburgers cooked on the grill, Malcolm replaced the landing gear switch (and took pictures in the process). The first steps involved removing the old switch. Four screws and some sealant hold it on. Once those were removed/cut through, the switch was loose.

Old switch with screws removed

Old switch with screws removed

Cutting through the sealant

Cutting through the sealant

Switch is loose

Switch is loose

Looking behind the wall, Malcolm found four colored wires (red, blue, yellow, green) that matched the wires on the back of the old switch as well as the new one. To keep wires from shorting against each other, Malcolm removed the tape from around the wire nuts and clipped each wire on the switch side.

Four wires

Four wires

Tape removed from wire nuts

Tape removed from wire nuts

Malcolm shortened the leads on the new switch (they were almost 2 feet long) rather than having to bundle up a bunch of extra wire. The switch was mounted to the front of the coach and the screws reinstalled. Then, he removed a wire nut and the scrap wire from the old switch and attached the wires, one by one, to the new switch using the existing wire nuts.

New switch mounted

New switch mounted

New switch wired up

New switch wired up

At this point, Malcolm gave the switch a quick test to make sure that Up was Up and Down was Down. All worked fine, so it was time to tidy up the wires and retape them and then apply sealant around the switch plate outside (not shown).

Wires taped up

Wires taped up

The entire process took about as long as it did to cook hamburgers on the grill. After dinner, it was time to tackle the furnace cover. Malcolm didn’t take any step by step pictures of this process, but it mostly involves removing screws. The screws holding on the vent plate were removed (they are odd-sized Torx screws that a T-15 removed, but would spin inside them). The four screws holding the cover on the coach were removed and the entire assembly was wiggled off. There is a long tube on the bottom vent hole and a short one on the top vent hole.

While trying to reattach the vent assembly onto the new cover, Malcolm found that the T-15 Torx bit was just not going to grab the self-tapping screw well enough to get it started into the hole on the cover. So, a quick trip to Lowes to buy equivalent Phillips self-tapping screws was successful. They ended up being #10 by 3/4″. Once those were used, the entire thing went back together easily. A plastic bezel was included with the new cover, but the one on the coach was fine, so Malcolm didn’t replace that.

Here’s a before and after shot.

Before: Note faded cover on right.

Before: Note faded cover on right.

After: Now both match

After: Now both match

Various Errands and Repair

Current Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

Callie (the cat) has adapted fairly well to the trailer so far. After her initial investigation into this new space, she has decided that it is acceptable and that we should be allowed to stay and feed her.

Val ran errands today, heading out to get her hair cut and a stop by another pet supply store to see if she could find a larger pet carrier for Callie to ride in when we travel. We met for lunch in Montgomery and then Val continued finishing up her shopping.

This evening, Val headed to her prayer shawl ministry get-together. Meanwhile, Malcolm stayed at the trailer and, with Callie’s help, replaced the seals in the toilet. It was a fairly straightforward job (though smelly). The toilet flushes much better now.

Taco Tuesday

Current Location: Vacationer RV Park, El Cajon, California

Malcolm is back to work the last couple of days. Val has been helping David get packed up and ready to fly home tomorrow. They set out the empty LP tank from the trailer today and the staff picked it up and filled it, putting it on our bill. They dropped the full tank off next to the LP compartment on the trailer and David hooked it back up later.

Our parts (roof to rear wall transition trim) arrived from Heartland today at the office. We picked them up on our way to the park-sponsored Taco dinner. The park provided tacos and fixings, while others pitched in side dishes or desserts. Val baked a batch of gingerbread cookies to take. They were gone by the time we left. There was a pretty good crowd there for the dinner.

The crowd at Taco Tuesday

The crowd at Taco Tuesday

Some of the good food

Some of the good food

After the dinner, Malcolm and David removed the old trim piece on the corner of the trailer and installed the new one. Though Heartland sent proper color silicone sealant, Malcolm couldn’t find the tip that screws on the sealant tube, so he used the almond colored general silicone sealant he had left over from the hot water heater repair. It’s close enough that he’s not worried about the look.

Heartland did provide a tube of Dicor self-leveling sealant for the top part and Malcolm used that. He used some of it to make sure the kitchen fan was fully sealed, as the factory sealant looked a little cracked in spots.

New piece installed and screwed on.

New piece installed and screwed on.

From the back

From the back

All done. (Not the best picture, as it was getting dark)

All done. (Not the best picture, as it was getting dark)

Tomorrow, Val will take David to the San Diego airport to fly home. We’ve enjoyed having him around and will be sad to see him go, but his roommate is leaving for school the end of this week, so David will be back in charge of keeping up the house and feeding the cat.

Sightseeing, Lunch, Repair and a Leak

Current Location: Vacationer RV Park, El Cajon, California

We were lazy this morning, taking it easy all morning. We walked over to the office to pay for our site. They had initially set us up using the daily rate for 21 days. However, the lady in the office this morning changed it to a monthly rate which is $400 less, but we will have metered electricity. Either way, since this is an out-of-town company trip, it will be reimbursed (still cheaper than a hotel).

Here is a picture of our site, since we got in too late to take one last night. The front cap of the trailer is pointing north, so we get the morning sun on the door side of the rig. The tree is nice enough to shade the rear half during the mid-day and the sun sets on the off-door side (and is shaded by our neighbor on that side).

Our site for the next 3 weeks.

Our site for the next 3 weeks.

As we were walking around the off-door side of the unit this morning, Val noticed a couple of wet spots on the gravel under the kitchen slide. Water was dripping out from the slide nearest the outside wall. Upon further inspection, Malcolm found the water line going to the refrigerator ice maker was leaking under the stove. Since this was a fairly new leak, it probably didn’t soak too much into the subfloor. Our fix (for now, anyway) was to just turn off the shutoff valve. We’re pretty much inclined to give up on the ice maker at this point (since this is the third leak we’ve had in the water line).

We finally headed out the door around 11:00 AM. The first stop was a nearby gas station where we fueled up the truck (the low fuel light came on when we were unhitching last night). Fuel wasn’t too bad, considering the location – $3.89 a gallon. After that, we drove through downtown El Cajon and past where we will be picking up a rental car tomorrow (so we know where it is). From there, we drove on the route that Malcolm plans on taking to work each day. It was about a 30 minute drive in light Sunday traffic, so he’s planning on an hour commute, just in case. Since he’s picking up the rental car at 7:30 tomorrow, he’ll be late the first day, so it will be Tuesday before he has a better idea of travel times.

Once we found the office, we headed generally towards the beach. We ended up on a bunch of tight little streets and a lot of traffic (it is a summer Sunday afternoon). Since it was past lunch time, we decided to head back toward San Diego and found a really nice restaurant overlooking a bay near downtown and the airport. It was called Island Prime. Here’s a picture of Val’s lunch – a Mahi Mahi salad sandwich. Malcolm had fish tacos and David had a Lobster BLT.

Yum!

Yum!

After lunch, we got on I-5 north and Malcolm thought it might be better to visit somewhere other than San Diego area beaches, so he headed to La Jolla. Unfortunately, we found more of the same:

Everyone going to La Jolla.

Everyone going to La Jolla.

Besides the streets being narrow, making it difficult to get around in the dually, traffic was just bad all over. Not having a game plan is a bad idea. Having a wide pickup truck was just as bad, so we headed back to the trailer and gave up on sightseeing for the day. We’ll plan better, and drive the rental car, next time out.

Once back at the trailer, we decided to just relax. Malcolm decided to go ahead and fix the wire raceway under the door side slide. Rather than explain the whole process, here are a bunch of pictures.

Old raceway with wires removed

Old raceway with wires removed

Dangly wires.

Dangly wires.

Junction box for 110V. 12V wiring came through a hole in the frame. Wire nuts were employed and re-used.

Junction box for 110V. 12V wiring came through a hole in the frame. Wire nuts were employed and re-used.

New, double-width raceway in place.

New, double-width raceway in place.

Wires tied down on the outside portion of the slide

Wires tied down on the outside portion of the slide

Wires run around the raceway, and around the back of the hinge point (the factory originally had the wires up and over the raceway, causing it to be pushed down.

Wires run around the raceway, and around the back of the hinge point (the factory originally had the wires up and over the raceway, causing it to be pushed down.

Wires tied back up under main floor.

Wires tied back up under main floor.

Everything hooked back up successfully.

Everything hooked back up successfully.

We will see how the new raceway retracts when we pull the slide in next. The rest of the evening was just spent winding down and preparing for the coming week.

Last Day in Washington

Current Location: Washington State Fairgrounds Campground, Puyallup, Washington

This morning we got up, gathered our laundry and eventually headed up to Elizabeth’s house to visit her and the grandchildren. She was also sitting for a friend’s two children, so she had a house full. We dropped by the Dollar Tree to pick up a couple items for her and tried to stop by Papa Murphy’s to pick up some pizzas for lunch, but they weren’t open for another 20 minutes, so we went on to the house.

At the house, Elizabeth called Papa Murphy’s and ordered pizzas. Malcolm and David drove back over and picked them up. If you haven’t seen a Papa Murphy’s, they can make you pizzas to order and wrap them. You then take them home and cook them at your convenience. When Malcolm and David returned with the pizzas, we threw a couple in the oven to cook. Eventually, we all got some pizza.

Elizabeth’s friend came over to pick up her children shortly after we ate. Then, as we were approaching nap time, the UPS truck drove up and dropped off two of the three packages Malcolm was expecting. Shortly thereafter, the FedEx truck drove up and dropped off the last package. Since the girls were both down for naps (or heading that way), Malcolm and David headed to the trailer while Val stayed at the house to do laundry.

The first task was to fix the frayed cable on the kitchen slide. It was literally down to the last couple of strands. Pulling the rubber seal away from the frame, it was evident how the cable was getting frayed as there was a deep groove cut into the frame from the cable, indicating it was mounted too low on the slide.

Last few strands.

Last few strands.

Groove cut in frame.

Groove cut in frame.

The first step was to remove the bracket from the side of the slide, then cut off the frayed end of the cable.

Frayed end removed.

Frayed end removed.

Clean cut.

Clean cut.

The next step was to slide the end of the existing cable into a sleeve provided in the kit. You then slide the end of the new cable in the other end. If you pull on both cables, the sleeve tightens up. To be safe, though, Malcolm taped the sleeve up and overlapped onto the cables, per directions.

Sleeve

Sleeve

Taping it up.

Taping it up.

Once the two cables were connected, it was a matter of pulling the cable inside above the half-closed slide and pulling the old through and the new inside. Once the cable was taut outside, it was time to work inside.

Pulling through above the slide inside.

Pulling through above the slide inside.

The end of the cable is cut to length and looped through an eye bolt and a swage is placed around the cable and the end. Malcolm found a swaging tool at Lowe’s for about $25. The swage is crimped onto the cables, the eye bolt is placed in the adjuster over the slide and the new cable is complete.

Swage in place, before crimping

Swage in place, before crimping

The cable was adjusted inside and then checked outside for proper alignment by running the slide in and out. Malcolm ended up mounting the bracket about 1/4″ higher. The screws are self-tapping.

New cable pulled into place. Bracket screwed back onto slide.

New cable pulled into place. Bracket screwed back onto slide.

With the slide repaired, it was time to move on to the other project – the rear bike carrier. Here are the ingredients:

Receiver bumper mount (installed last week)

Receiver bumper mount (installed last week)

Bike carrier.

Bike carrier.

Anti-rattle locking bolt for the receiver

Anti-rattle locking bolt for the receiver

Assembly was straightforward and the mount is sturdy. Here it is with both our bikes mounted to it. The wheels block the taillights to some extent. We’ll ponder that issue for a bit.

Assembled and mounted.

Assembled and mounted.

Bikes are on.

Bikes are on.

And they don't rub on the back wall.

And they don’t rub on the back wall.

With the bikes removed, the center bar can be swung down to allow access to our rear storage door.

With the repairs and modifications complete, Malcolm headed back to the house to pick up Val, most of the laundry and the evening’s dinner – Lasagna. It had to cook in the oven for quite a while. We had Cole’s aunt and uncle over for dinner so that they could see the trailer and sit and chat for a bit. Cole had to work late and missed the event, but Elizabeth and the girls came over.

After dinner and cleanup, everyone went home. We went up to Elizabeth and Cole’s house to say goodbyes and pick up our remaining laundry. We headed back to the trailer and started preparing it for hooking up and rolling tomorrow morning early. We’ll be heading down I-5 and will probably stop for an overnight somewhere in Oregon.