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Southeast (Gulf Coast), Texas, United States

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mike and Linda Come to Visit

Linda Oddo and Mike Desch are a friends from California who we met several years ago at the RVAmerica gathering in the desert at Quartzsite, AZ.  Mike and Linda are the “official” host of the annual Quartzsite gathering.  You can follow their travels on Linda’s blog.

They are on an 8 month RV ‘tour’ of the USA in their Winnebago Suncruiser motorhome, and stopped by for a one night stay in our driveway.  They arrived on Wednesday at about 4:00pm, and got set up.  We went for a drive around Victoria, and then went to a local Mexican food restaurant, Ventura’s Tamales, for dinner.  Here’s a couple of photos of their rig in the driveway…….

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On Thursday morning, Linda made a very good breakfast in their motorhome, and we discussed a problem that they were having with the Winnebago……. the water pump was not working, so they did not have water when not hooked up to a city supply.  Mike and I decided to check it out before they left, and found the power to the pump to be good, and the pressure switch working.  We removed the pump & motor assembly, and took it apart on my workbench.  We discovered that the failure was at the coupling between the motor shaft and the pumping diaphragms. 

We decided that finding a new pump would be easier and faster than finding repair parts.  However in checking, we could only locate a smaller GPM pump in Victoria…….. and Mike knew that Linda would not be a happy camper with a lower supply of water to the shower!!   We located an exact match to the original pump in Rockport, Texas at Camper Clinic, so Mike and I drove to Rockport to pickup the new pump.  It has to be mentioned that Mike and Linda had come to Victoria from Rockport the day before!!!

We retrieved the pump and got it put in without much trouble.  After the install, Linda turned on the bathroom faucet, and announced that she had not seen that much water flow in a long time!!!  She was happy with the installation, but even though Mike and I had no problems with the installation, Linda did not fair as well.  She was helping by turning the city water off, so we could test the pump.  As she did, she came around the back of the motorhome, and walked right into the bedroom slide……….. the following pictures were taken a couple of hours later, after the big bump on her forehead had shrunk!!

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We had left Victoria at 11:30am, and did not get back until 2:00pm, so they decided to accept our camping offer for another night!!  That was good in that it gave us more time to visit and play some cards.  It also gave Mike a chance to get a haircut……….

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After Linda cleaned up Mike’s appearance, she decided that he was too good looking to be driving a dirty motorhome, so she declared it was time for a wash job….

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I explained to her that my “full hookup” offer did not include helping to wash a motorhome, but I did provide the ladder and technical assistance!

Once the rig was cleaned up, they decided it would be OK to add “Texas” to the ‘states traveled’ map on the side of the motorhome.  Mike and Linda's Visit 016

They were proud to add it, although Mike had a little trouble figuring out where it went!!  I guess Linda does all the navigating!!

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We also went to dinner at the local Olive Garden restaurant, and had an excellent meal.  Linda put enough makeup on her injuries, and she looked as lovely as ever……

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We had a good visit, and were glad that they honored us with a visit on their USA tour.   I was saddened to see them go……. it really bothered me to see a rig leaving on a trip from my driveway, and it was not mine!!

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They are now off to Galveston, TX to see the Strand and the beach.  Then they plan to visit our friends, Mark & Sue in Lake Charles, LA

Safe travels, Linda and Mike, and have a really good trip around the country. 

Also, Linda……… The next time Mike gets mad at you, DUCK!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

At Home – Repairs and Upgrades

Since we aren’t traveling for a while, and the weather is nice, We have been doing some repairs and upgrades.

While at the Red Bay Campground, we found wood grate covers for the Bus to replace the old metal ones that were originally installed.  When we bought them, the finish did not match our cherry wood very well, and the finish was not clear!  When we got home, I sanded them to the wood, stained and finished them.  Here are pictures of the installed grates:

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While at Red Bay, we got a ceiling fan installed in the bedroom by Brannon at Custom RV, Inc., and when I got home, I installed the remote (with holder) under the cabinets above the bed to act as a convenient switch:

The fan……

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The cabinets above the bed….

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The switch/controller…..

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We also worked on the bedroom closet.  The Bus came with only one light in the closet on the left side.  I bought a similar fixture while in Red Bay, and installed it when we got home.  Much better lighting, and Patsy is happy because her side was the one without the light!!

Closet Mods

We also wanted to improve the closet storage.  The first picture shows the bottom of the closet as built.  We added the wire “pantry shelf” from Lowe’s.  We will be using plastic baskets similar to other bedroom storage containers.   Here are the pictures:

Original bottom…….Closet Mods 006

With shelf installed………..

Closet Mods 007 With baskets and clothes (more baskets on order)….

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We also installed some brackets to hang the stools that the grandkids use……….

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Another upgrade was the installation of a remote light switch controller for inside lights.  As discussed on the TRVN, I purchased a 12v controller over the internet for about $25 including shipping, and installed it on the light switch for the center row of lights in the living area of the Bus.  The controller came with two remotes, so I used velcro to attach one at the entry door, and will put the other in our towed car.  Here are some pictures (note: I forgot to take a picture of the controller wired to the switch before I re-installed the switch):

Switch wiring for installation of controller….

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The controller package with remotes…..

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Wall switches after re-installation…….

Remote Ceiling Lighting 005 Remote switch at entry door…..

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Ceiling lights that are remotely controlled from entry door, or from a remote in the car when we return from a trip.  Note:  They can still be turned on/off by the original wall switch…….

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In doing some periodic maintenance, I discovered some acid build-up in the battery compartment.  I took the metal battery holder off, grinded off the corrosion and loose paint, primed and painted it with epoxy paint..  The reinstall looks like new:

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We have also been “spring cleaning”.  We have had the Bus since Dec 2008, so we cleaned the inside from back to front.  We even cleaned every screen and window.  It is now ready for a road trip…….  Soon, I hope!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Home Sunday….. Visitors on Monday!!

This post is a little late, because I brought the Bus to the house and got started on some changes, and I think of this as a “travel” blog……. not a “being at home working on the Bus” blog!!  Late, but here is the latest update covering a very nice visit by friends that we met via the TRVN (Tiffin RV Owner’s Network) forum, and got face to face in Quartzsite two years ago.

We got home from our trip on Sunday afternoon, and parked in the driveway as always to unload and cleanup the Bus.  This time, however, we had guests, Chuck and Lorraine North scheduled to show up on Monday, and we planned to park them in the driveway like we have done other RV guests!

Usually, we get lazy and take a week to 10 days to unload the Bus and get it into the storage garage.  This time we had it empty and in storage by Monday morning!!. 

Chuck and Lorraine had spent the previous week with Connie and Manuel Esparza in San Antonio, TX.  They had a great tour of all of the sights in the Alamo City.  We had decided to show them Aransas Pass, TX and Corpus Christi, TX, including Padre Island.

Chuck and Lorraine showed up about 3:00pm, and got settled into the King’s RV park………

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and here is the lucky couple……..

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On Monday evening, we visited, and since we were taking care of our grandkids after school for a while, they got to meet my son, Rick, and his two kids.  The main reason that we had them was that Patsy needed her Grammy fix, after being on the road for the past 6 weeks.

On Tuesday, I introduced Chuck to the local German Bakery (Halepska’s) and my personal Shell station with a section donated to pastries and sausage kolaches.  That morning, Chuck and I ‘made’ breakfast for the group.

After breakfast, decided to drive down to the coast.  On the way, we went by Rick’s house, since Patsy and I had not seen it.  When we left on our trip, it was a vacant lot!!

Tuesday was a  great day for the drive, and since the sun was shining and it wasn’t cold or windy. We drove to Rockport, and went to the port area:

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I wanted to eat at the Big Fisherman, but they were having a special priced meal for seniors and there was a long line at 2:00pm.  So, we headed to the Port Aransas ferry, and headed for  Mustang Island.  Chuck was able to check an item off his bucket list by driving his car on a beach, and Lorraine got to put her toes into the water!  She claimed the water was warmer than in Washington state.

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We drove into Port Aransas, and Lorraine picked the restaurant for lunch…… Moby Dick, where she and I had the big shrimp plate, Chuck a burger, and Patsy had a crab cake plate.  Lorraine did good on choosing the restaurant…. the food was good.  Here’s a picture of the restaurant…..

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After lunch, we visited some of the tourist shops on Mustang Island, and the drove to Padre Island National Park, and then headed into Corpus Christi on our way back to Victoria.  Here is Lorraine taking a picture of Patsy at one of the shops……

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It was dark when we got home, and since we were hungry, we introduced Chuck and Lorraine to Texas landmark…. Whataburger.  Once home, we ate our burgers and played some card games.

On Wednesday Patsy took Lorraine on a tour of the city of Victoria, and many of the homes in the area.  They also went shopping, stopping only a little while to call Chuck and I to join them at a local Mexican Restaurant for lunch.  After that, they made us meet them at a department store so they could buy some shorts (on sale, of course) for our summer wear.

On Thursday, Patsy decided to cook.  She made a breakfast for us, and then ran some errands. While she was out, Lorraine also headed out to a local mall.  In the early afternoon, Lorraine showed up with some snacks and we played cards.

For her second meal of the day,Patsy made a ham and a bunch of vegetables for dinner.  Since we had the food prepared, we invited our son and his wife, Laura, and the grandkids over.  Patsy had a commitment to play Bunco with her group on Thursday night, so our son took the kids home, and our daughter in law stayed and played card games with Chuck, Lorraine, and I.  

On Friday morning, the North’s had planned to leave and drive to East Texas to visit other friends before dropping back down to New Orleans to meet Chuck’s Brother for a couple of days. However, King’s RV does hot have Full Hookups (no convenient sewer dump), so before they hit the road, Chuck and I drove down to our local city RV park, and he dumped………… and I could not resist a picture or two……


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Chuck really gets into his work….. Doesn’t he??   I just couldn’t find any pity for him, since he was about to hit the road for New Orleans, Red Bay, Alabama, and other points of interest, and I was going to be ‘parked’ for a while!!!

Safe travels Chuck and Lorraine…. we enjoyed the visit.