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Thursday, March 22, 2018

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS - *S* is Shower Skylight, Signs and Splendide Washer/dryer

I am going to start off the new year with posting some of our motorhome modifications, a few at a time. I will post repairs, modifications, or neato things we have found for RVing.  I have lots of pics in my files so I will do them in alphabetical order.

Underneath that stuff, I will post my regular daily stuff..... kinda sorta fun, eh?

So here it goes, we are up to the letter S now!


Shower Stall Skylight Surround:

Speaking of our tub, we are very glad to have a large tub/shower combination in our motorhome.  It has glass side panels and a glass door, so we never have to deal with icky shower curtains or breezes blowing the curtain to stick against your body.  Before we get out, we spritz the inside surfaces with a daily shower spray, and once in a while we squeegee it down. Stays pretty good and streak free. 

We can bathe in the tub portion with only a 10 gallon water heater by filling the tub first with only the hot water until it runs to cold.  Shut it off and wait 15 minutes for the heater to recover. Then run in hot mixed with cold set at a good temp mix until it runs cold. Now it's the perfect temp to crawl in the tub.  I have a little bath pillow, and lay with my legs bent up a bit.  A good book, glass of wine, some bubbles and I can soak and relax in my motorhome! 


For some STUPID reason, the designers at Safari thought that trimming out a dome skylight in the shower stall with CARPETING would be a good idea???   IN the shower stall??? Carpeting OVERHEAD???   Over the years the moisture would build up and get greyish moldy looking areas around the edges of the carpeting.. where moisture comes dripping down off the skylight .. .remember... this is IN the shower.  (I say 20 lashes with a wet towel for the designer who came up with that bright idea)

Because of the light shining in when I took this pic
you can't really see the moldy carpeting around the edge.
But the next pic below shows the story:

We removed the brass trim strips, and then removed the icky moldy carpeting. Oh my gosh, I could not believe it was this gross! Just look at this.... ICK! 

Why on earth would you put carpeting around a shower skylight??

Steve installed wide rubber moulding around the area, (it is made for floor baseboard moulding at home improvement stores)  with the bent lip edge upwards to the dome.  Using a good adhesive caulk (PowerGrab) Steve cut some angled cuts for the corners, glued it all up and replaced the brass trims.  WOW... what a difference!

So clean and nice and neat! 

The other modification I mentioned that dealt with dumb designers, I spoke about a few blogs back when I mentioned the Oxygenics shower.  Here was the problem and the first "fix" we did. 

When I wrote that, I totally forgot the new and improved fix that Steve did a few years later.  Hey, we aren't out in the rig this winter, so it's from my memory that I am trying to recreate these projects and retell the story for my blog readers. 

I forgot that Steve got two big fender washers and a plumbing nipple and a few compression nuts that fit our plumbing shower hose.  He painted a large washer with gold paint, and then secured it into place with a bead of silicone both above and below the tub fiberglass surface. 

 No more dribbles to the area below the tub! 

Our tub is great for the grandkids, 
who can splash and make a fun 
good fishy swimmy time in the tub. 

I put a folded  towel along the edge 
as they get out, because the gold metal trim
is sharp along the rim of the tub.

When not in use for a shower, we keep our wicker clothes hamper in the shower, and also my precious antique sock knitting machine sometimes rides on a bunched up towel for cushioning. It is a nice secure place to ride without anything falling down on it or it tipping over.

Another good use is for scrubbing up the dogs if we need to.  Muddy or sandy or stinky!  We do have an outside shower, but sometimes that won't work for muddy dogs on a wet rainy day.  Soooo we plop them into the bathroom, just around the corner from the entry door, and into the tub they go.  I take the shower head off the wall hook and scrub them up, and let them drip dry for a while in the tub.  They are not too happy, but they are clean!    (this is our old Ducky collie and Duke sheltie from 5 years ago)

Signs for Campsites:

Oh, someone asked me about my signs.  Here they are... I have 2 of each.  They have cardboard behind them so they stand up in the windows inside between the curtain and the window next to our mid-entry door, and  the other up front by the driver's side of the windshield behind our windshield shade. 

I have used the "Parked With Management Permission" ones a number of times at stores, especially with shift changes of staff, not knowing someone else gave you permission already. Once I check out, I ask at the service desk if we can overnight in the lot. We always try to ask and I jot the name of the manager on my sales slip, just in case there is a problem later after a shift change.   Even if the lot is posted "NO TRUCK OR TRAILER PARKING- TOWED AWAY AT OWNER'S EXPENSE" we ask and often given permission.  That is why I like the signs. That way parking security doesn't have to come and knock on our door during the night if there is even the slightest doubt of us being there.

The "Campsite Occupied" ones help when you leave your already paid site for a few hours, or even to bring your motorhome to the dump station, and hate the thought of coming back to someone else setting up on your site.  This can happen, even if you leave a tag on a post or a lawn chair etc. in the site.  So putting up one sign on the table and one on the post is helpful to deter the next person from moving on in.  Many of the campgrounds we go to are first come, first serve rustic sites with a self-pay registration post.  Then when a dispute occurs, you need to call a ranger out from the next office to settle it by who has their envelope in the post first.  No thanks... it happened to us once, and not ever again. A simple sign can help alleviate that circumstance. 

Splendide Washer/Dryer Combo:
I hate laundromats!  We are so glad to have a washer/dryer comb unit on board. It takes less clothes per load than a household machine, but it's worth it to have instead of wasting vacation time sitting in laundromats.

In between wash and dry cycles, I take the wet clothes out and shake them well and put them back in.  Otherwise they are plastered tight to the sides of the drum from the spin cycle.  If it goes into the dry mode with them flat against the drum, they will dry with wrinkles in them.  That is a little trick I picked up from other RVers with the same kind of unit.

When each load was done, I removed about half the clothes that can hang on hangers and let the rest stay inside the machine to dry.   I found our smaller window awnings are perfect for hanging clothes on, with the hanger tips in the grooves of the awning.  Easier than stringing a line up to dry!

If we are camped with water, but not a sewer hookup, we have to do things a little differently when washing clothes.  The washing machine does NOT drain into either our grey or black tanks. Instead, it is piped to drain directly out our drainage pipe (and into a sewer hookup).  It uses about 5 gallons for the wash cycle and 6 gallons for the rinse.  

No problem though, because we have a special drain cap that goes on the end of our pipe.  On that cap is a little threaded section that a garden hose can screw onto.  I run a thinner (waste) hose off the drain cap and drain the washing machine run-off water into a big tub we keep on hand. 

In this case, we use a large plastic bin and then we can dump the water into our bathtub to go in our grew tank.  We also reuse the water to wash the dogs or dump into our campfire pit to put out the fire at night. 

Another hint: we had some shaking of the machine during the spin cycle.  Someone suggested that we set two bicycle inner tubes down each side, inflate them till the machine is snug, and it helps to keep down the shaking during the spin cycle!  It works!


This week is flying by already.  I think I picked up some little kiddo germs or relasping from last week's cold that was starting.  I am having a sore throat, crackling ears and sinus troubles, as well as a gunky eye.  Megadosing on the Airborne for vitamin C, and eating some oranges and yogurt too. I took a long nap today that makes me not sure how much sleep I will get again tonight.  Hmmmmmm

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS - *R* is Roof Coating With Elastomeric Paint and Babysitting Weekend

Sorry!  I took a couple days off writing the blog. We were "preoccupied" with having a sweet little dumpling come to visit!   This is our youngest grandchild, and we took her over the weekend.  More pics down on the end of the blog....


I am going to start off the new year with posting some of our motorhome modifications, a few at a time. I will post repairs, modifications, or neato things we have found for RVing.  I have lots of pics in my files so I will do them in alphabetical order.

Underneath that stuff, I will post my regular daily stuff..... kinda sorta fun, eh?

So here it goes, we are up to the letter R now!


Roof Coating with Elastomeric Paint:


On our 1996 Safari Serengeti, our filon fiberglass roof can be known to get tiny microscopic cracks and fissures after 10 years of age.... resulting in potential leaks! Although we don’t have any leaks yet, we decided it was a good idea to Git Er Dun! 

In 2006, we had already replaced the sealant tape at the front and rear caps with new layers of Eternabond, removing the OEM sealing tape that was on there.  We also used Eternabond around the sky light, and roof vents.  

These are common places for leaks to start, so we did the preventative thing and had sealed those too the first year owned the rig.  We use Dicor caulk for sealing up any areas around any things that could leak:

So, keeping in mind that we want this rig to last a looonggg time, we decided to take the advice of the guys on the Safari list with rigs the same vintage of ours.  They are all coating their entire roofs with a special elastomeric coating made for fiberglass roofs.... (similar to Kool-Seal, but we had to get the formula made for fiberglass roofs like on our rig) 

There are a lot of different brands of elastomeric coatings out there. You have to find one that works for your type of roof. (ours was fiberglass in this case). Read the cans and find something with a long warranty life. Ours said 7 years if you do two coats. 

Here is the brand we bought, called SealBest at Menards, a mid-west home improvement chain (like Home Depot or Lowes).

(DON'T use that fibered roof coating stuff that is used for mobile homes, it's very thick black tarry stuff that dries silver-- I did that on my old motorhome in the 90's ... not good, and not the right product for a flexing moving structure)

The roof surface on our rig is like a textured sheet of fiberglass that is laid on top of the substructure and sealed around the edges, but left loose in the middle to allow for expansion and contraction in temperature changes. 

But not being sealed down allows for any little leak around vents, AC units, or skylights to let in water and create horrible damages.   Thus the preventative care is very important. 

We checked the weather forecast and found three days in a row of nice 70-80 degree days and warm nights, without any rain in sight.  We hoped.

First,  Stevio scrubbed the roof really good with TSP, a heavy duty cleanser.  He then rinsed with a lot of hot water, and let it dry... Using blue painter’s tape, we taped off the sides where the white roof meets the blue colored sidewalls.

Whew, I sure don't like heights, but with adrenaline rushing and heart pounding, I joined him up there to work fast as a team effort to get it done! 

I sure was clutching that ladder!!!! I HATE heights.. but Steveio needed my help, so I bit the bullet and squeezed my eyes shut and did it. The worst part is when you reach the top of the ladder and have to swing your leg around to get ON the roof. 

Even with Steveio holding the ladder firmly down on the ground, I was still a scared silly mouse. Tee heeeee

I crawled around on my hands and knees, hand brushing liberal amounts around all the vents, air conditioners, skylight and antennas. 

Steveio rolled the remaining parts with a thick napped roller on a long handle. He got to stand, I was too scared to stand!  I built up around the vents with dicor and then coated with elastomeric paint. 

It was a beautiful day and we got the first coat on before noon.

The first coat is all done! 

While the first coat was drying,
on the ground I took care of coating the Maxi Air roof vent covers

We used almost a full gallon with the first coat. 
This is a wide body motorhome almost 40 feet long. 

We waited until the next day after the dew was dry to roll the second coat. We used the second gallon and rolled it on as thick as we could. 

The warranty reads that you must put on 2 coats to comply with the 7 year warranty. There was still some left, so Steve got almost a full third coat done that afternoon before we ran out.


 It sure looked nice,
compared to how it was when we started.

Here we took off the blue tape,
we only coated up to the line where the silvery blue paint 
where the side walls start. 

It was a job well done.  

*added note: it is now 2018 - 
9 years later, 
and it still looks great!

since those photos were taken,
we added 500 watts of solar panels to the roof:


Back to the Babysitting! 

We enjoyed some warmth and sunshine out on the front porch. Here she is exploring the newest paperweight to my collection, from her great grandfather!  The grandkids love having the chance to play with something "glass" -- which is really pretty indestructible.  

We bundled her up to take a nice walk.
with her softy ensconced in the little red wagon.

Guess it was too comfy, 
she was asleep before we got to the end of the block! 

It was so much fun to have her all to ourselves.  We cherish our time with all of our Grandkids, and it's nice to take them one or two at a time. It lets us really get to know them without all of them clamoring for our attention.

We gated off the tv and all of the electronics,  This ain't this Granmuddah's first rodeo.  We de-kidderize before any of the grandkids get here.  The rest of the time is spent playing and having fun. No housework or errands or menial tasks are done when the wee ones visit.

Toys are rotated to keep the interest up,
but the Fisher Price Farm from MY Grandma Kafehl
(would be her GREAT GREAT Grandma)
is the number one toy and stays out all weekend. 

Both of our dogs are good with the little ones who come to visit. With adults, they often hide, but they seem to know the little ones mean no harm.  We do watch close for abrupt movements or eye poking etc.  Little Claire has 2 doggies in her own home and knows how to "play nice".

The dogs also enjoy the dropped Cheerios that get scattered about! 

I made this little You Tube from some time spent out in the sunny front porch:

The most favorite book 
for ALL of our Grandkids is 
Brown Bear Brown Bear:

All too soon, it was time for her to go home.  Her Mommy and Daddy picked her up, and the house is quiet again. 

We needed Monday to recover!  
(and take long naps)  
I think the dogs needed it too! 

Monday we also ran up to Green Bay to get our new phone.  After three replacement phones in the last 30 days from Verizon (refurbished ones of the same 2+ year old model each time) it has been determined that the old phone is unable to handle the newest software update.  With the help of our soninlaw, Waylen, I got a brand new phone now and am getting used to new features, set ups and apps that are on it.  I lost some of my contacts, not all, during the transfer, so if I don't call you, you will have to call me first! LOL

We are now facing a colder week in Wisconsin, with dull skies and cooler temps. It was down to the single digits last night, and we heard the furnace kick on quite a few times.  Guess it isn't Spring yet in Wisconsin!

Friday, March 16, 2018

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS - *P* is for Party Patio Lights and Passenger Side Stuff

I am going to start off the new year with posting some of our motorhome modifications, a few at a time. I will post repairs, modifications, or neato things we have found for RVing.  I have lots of pics in my files so I will do them in alphabetical order.

Underneath that stuff, I will post my regular daily stuff..... kinda sorta fun, eh?

So here it goes, we are up to the letter P now!


Party Patio Lights:

We have had various light sets over the years, and last summer we found this pretty set at World Market on sale. It looks so cool and patriotic! They are glass, but we put them away carefully in a tote when not in use. 

Each is an individual light bulb and we found clear replacements in case any break or burn out.... (1 filament burned out so far after a year of use)  I like them because they are not garishly bright or a penetrating dazzle glare like LED types.

We clip the party lights out on the awning.  Our awning is a thinner fabric type, and normal clothespins don't seem to work as good.  So we use these type of light clips that are similar to the ones our moms used on our winter coat cuffs to keep our mittens attached.  

We do turn them off at night at bedtime. I know some folks leave them on all night long. Light Pollution! Plus it bothers other campers. These lights do draw more wattage than our other set, so we only use them when we have electrical hookups.  The other set we own are LED and draw much less power so we put those up when boondocking.

Kinda Purty, eh? 

Passenger Side Stuff:
When we put on the miles, mostly it is Steve driving the rig, with me in the passenger seat.  Yes, I do drive it and can handle it easily.  Often I would drive it to Steve's place of work, fully loaded up for the weekend and pick him up to go for the weekend.  Now that he is retired, I drive it a lot less.  (ps I had my own motorhome when I met him, so I was used to doing all of the driving back then).  

My passenger side of the rig is comfortable and Steve has done some extra modifications to make it even nicer for me!  These seats are very comfortable, but the base is up higher than my legs can reach.  Actually my feet can dangle in the air if I sit all of the way back in the seat! My legs fall asleep after a while and my feet hurt as well.  Steve made me this adorable little foot stool, and now my traveling is done in comfort! 

This is a mesh office organizer rack we velcroed to the side wall. It can be removed easily if we want.  It keeps all of our extra clutter, maps, brochures etc. in an accessible place, but not scattered across the dash. 

Steve also added extra electrical outlets up near the dash.  This one is easy, it's just a short corded power strip that lets us access power from the outlet that is originally installed up under the dash. You can't reach the original outlet unless you get down on your knees and look up under the dash among the heating/air conditioning duct hoses.  Strange place for an outlet!   By installing the power strip, and attaching it to wall, it makes a lot more sense. 

That beige printed padded area below the power strip is really a baby changing table pad. The dogs use it as their bed.  It has a washable flannel bassinet sheet that stretches over the vinyl pad. It's a nice spot for them to sleep out of the way when we are camping, and they are not sprawled out across the aisle (like our collie Ducky used to do!) Their own little Doggie Cave.

Another electrical modification he made was to install this outlet... it has a 12 volt cigarette plug in outlet as well as two USB ports. He made sure to hook it to the "house" battery power system (that recharges from the solar)  and not on the "chassis" system which would drain the driving batteries when we are parked and camping.

My passenger dash has this really nice laptop desk unit that came original to the Safari motorhomes of this era.  Here is how it looks all closed up: 

I just think it was really state of the art stuff to include a laptop desk wayyyy back in the 90's when this rig was built.  Actually it was designed in 1995, and our rig was built at the end of 95. 

I know computers had gone from the "all in one" units of the 80s to the huge desktop computer towers.  They had those big CRT monitors and coily cord connected keyboards in the 90s.  Not too many folks had personal laptops in that era. I think laptops back then were about $2,000-3,000 range. I remember my first Compaq laptop was in 1998 and my daughter Erin bought a Dell laptop in 2002 for well over $1,000.  So Safari was way ahead of their time by creating this work station for laptops back in 1996.  It must have been "state of the art" for those designers to figure on people traveling with laptop computers. 

The front panel flips down....  and it's also easy to push away and snap shut when we stop somewhere. Easier to get in and out of the seat, plus I don't want the computer visible through the passenger side window when we leave the rig. 

The inside desk slides out to any comfortable distance.  I have the cords setting there right now in the pic, but they feed down through the back holes and plug into the various power outlets that Steve added for me.

The basket to the far left has a stack of our "traveling cards" 
I have 500 printed up for $10 from Vista Print. 
We love to swap cards with folks and keep in touch. 

The cards are also handy to give to campground owners if you are going to leave for the day, for emergency, or if you might want to have them check the dogs for barking etc if you go to the beach or the pool where the dogs are not allowed. We do set the tv on loud, pull down all of the shades and keep the fan or AC on for the dogs if we do leave for a bit. We would hate to ever have them barking or bothering other campers.  We have set up a video camera from time to time set on 2 hour mode to monitor them and see what they are up to when we are gone.  Upon later review: very boring, they sleep, get up, turn around, sleep, drink water, sleep.  hahahaha

Also we recently have started to jot down the campground and campsite number on the back of a card and keep it in our pocket or face up on the console in our Tracker when we are out and about. Hiking or shopping or just any time driving away from the campground.  If something happened to us, God forbid, the emergency personnel would know where we are camped at and where the dogs are in the rig.  

Okay.. back to the power outlets Steve added: 

Another thing the extra power outlets do is power up our cell phone, tablet or our antenna booster from Wilson.  It is powered for 12 volt and helps increase the signal if there is one.  A small antenna sticks to the window via suction cups.  It works well and increases 1 or 2 bar signals to 3 or 4 when we are out in the boonies.  Of course, if there isn't any signal, it doesn't help.


We have had this one for quite a few years,
I think there are newer models out now.

I use the laptop on a 12 volt cord, as we are driving down the road. I have it tethered to the hot spot on either our tablet or our cell phone.  

Why? Because I love using Microsoft Streets and Trips. I know it is no longer "supported" by Microsoft, but the maps still update. 

 I like it a lot better than the GPS apps on our cell phone. 

It has a cute little GPS dongle that plugs into the USB on the computer
that I set along in the window as we travel. 

What I like best about using a large laptop screen... it is easier to see on the fly compared to a small GPS screen. 

The program is so nice, once you get used to it. I can mark multiple stops, zoom in and out, calculate a bunch of mileages between towns or campgrounds without disturbing the original settings, and I can even mark notes at each stop of items like cost of fuel, dump stations, campground ratings and other information. it lets me import POI files of all the campgrounds, Walmarts, Cracker Barrels etc.  I keep entire maps of each trip we take and save them in separate streets and trips files.

And best of all, it leaves a blue *mouse trail* of the exact route we traveled, 

If you zoom in, you can see exactly 
where you drove, parked, camped or even turned around!

Looks like this with info and routes traveled. 

I sure wish it was still being supported by Microsoft. It's the best GPS I have found to work with, and find it the most handy for our needs. Isn't it always like that?  When you find something you like, the powers that be go ahead and change it or discontinue it. Argghhh! 

One last thing about my passenger seat area fixed for comfort....   Of course, you need cupholders!  We have two in the console that were shallow and our cups tipped over!  Steve found many RV stores sell deeper recessed cupholder pieces meant for inserting into tables. We ordered two of the nice deep ones that prevent spilling.  He replaced them and we now have no more spills. 

Here is one other modification Steve did-  the center console cabinet used to just have a shelf, and you had to dig wayyy back to get anything and shuffle around in the dark. So he made this nice pull out drawer unit that on glides to move in and out of the compartment. 


Gearing up for the weekend here.  I am starting what I think is a head cold, and I am trying to fight it off.  Taking extra vitamin C and I steamed in the tub with eucalyptus oil.  After three bouts with the flu and pneumonia, I don't need to get sick again. 

We have plans to babysit the youngest grandchild, Claire for the weekend and I sure don't want to be sick.  Steve is also going to help my brother and nephews take down some trees at the cabin, so we have a full weekend of plans ahead.  

The sun is shining but it's cold out, 26 degrees. We are hoping for it to warm up enough to take a walk with the dogs this afternoon, or maybe a walk with the grandkid on the weekend.  Spring comes slowly to Wisconsin, and we are known to get snow into mid April, especially ice.  Ick!  

We did notice some tulips peeking up along the south side of the house...  So take heart, and keep faith that Spring is on the way??? 

These tulips were planted many many, years ago by the old Grandpa Kopf who used to live here.  He loved this house and took very good care of it and his yard and gardens as well. I keep separating the tulip bulbs and have been moving them down to fill in the blank spots. They keep coming up more and more plentiful each year in the last 5 years we have been in this house.  I think it would make him smile! 

This is a photo shared with me by his granddaughter Paula. 

 Grow up little tulip....

Make Grandpa Kopf proud.