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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Campground Pfundtner! Making a Motorhome Parking Pad and Power Post

Five and a half years ago, when we were searching for a house, we made sure we were able to buy one in a city or town that allowed us to keep our motorhome parked in our own yard. Some areas have zoning laws, some areas have HOA rules, but here in Chilton we were informed that we didn't need any special permit to park our motorhome in our yard at the particular house we were looking to purchase.

Before we even wrote the offer on the house we made sure with THREE official sources, the city planner, the city zoning department, and the City Police Department. All three gave us the go-ahead that it was okay to park our RV in our yard as long as it was licensed, operational, and not parked up by the street. Putting it in the backyard at the far back end of our driveway was just fine with them.

(the red box is where we wanted to put it)


The weekend that we moved into the new home was on December 31st 2012, We had a contractor team over doing some skim coat plaster in the ceilings in all the rooms on the main floor, before we brought over our furniture. The contractor guy just so happened to have a big plow on his pickup truck. So for an extra $20, we had him plow straight back from the end of our driveway to the back lot line so we would have room to bring the motorhome over in a week or two.  He plowed it wide enough for two motorhomes side by side! LOL


The week before we were ready to bring the motorhome over, there was a huge crash in our backyard during a storm. Oh my goodness! A huge section of the old box elder tree in the backyard crashed down right in the exact section we were going to put the motorhome. If we had brought the motorhome over that weekend, it would have had a big section of tree go through the front windshield or smash the roof!



Steve needed to cut down this rotten big old tree before we could even bring our motorhome here to our own yard in the middle of winter. We had to move the motorhome out of the storage unit because a new renter was taking over the lease by January 15th.  Yes, we normally keep the motorhome outdoors all winter where we used to live as well.  Because we usually do take off for 6-7 weeks each winter to travel south, it doesn't pay to rent storage for a full winter.

Using the chainsaw, Steve took care of the remaining tree and cut up the huge hunk on the ground too. He is a certified by the by the state of Wisconsin DNR, Department of Natural Resources to cut down trees safely. 



Both trees in the backyard had rotten centers so he took them down to the stumps.
We would remove the stumps in the spring when things thaw out.  



We advertised on Craigslist, for anyone who wanted the free wood to come and get it. Within half an hour there was somebody here loading it up as fast as Steve could cut it into chunks. Since most of it was dead, it was pretty dry already. We don't have a wood burning fireplace so it was a win-win for both of us.

Now we could bring over the motorhome and park it in the plowed area. We moved it to our yard just the nick of time because an ice storm was coming that night. It patiently waited in our yard for a couple weeks before we hopped in and went away on a pre-planned vacation to Louisiana and Texas for the next two months..


By the time we got home at the end of March it was mostly bare in the yard --- the snow had mostly melted. Of course, the ground is all grass and still frozen.  But it would become a muddy mess in no time once the frost came out of the ground.

Now came step two of our plan:

We contacted back to the city and made sure that we were doing everything "legit" by extending our driveway backwards to the end of the property with gravel. They said it was absolutely okay and we didn't even need a permit! Imagine that?

We contracted about five or six different landscape contractor people, asking for someone with a little skidloader to level out the yard, and then have a load of fine gravel "screenings" dumped, and level it out for our planned motorhome parking pad. We measured out our plot and staked it with string so it was easily discernible. 

Not a single contractor followed through! Some even give us an exact time over the phone that they would stop by to give an estimate. Not a single one called us back with a price or even to discuss the job. Geesh.

We took matters into our own hands. Steve rented a cute little skidloader unit from a local implement shop. He didn't even have to trailer it here. They said just drive it straight down the side of the road over to our house, right in the middle of the city. They said people do it all the time!!

It was about 2 miles from our house,
and here he came, right down the street! 


He went right to work, and leveled out all the soil, after scraping off the sod.  The device sure made it easy... and he was done in no time.  Plus, he had a lot of fun!  He is like a big boy playing with a sand box toy.  LOL



Steve arranged for a dump truck full of fine screenings --- which is a very fine gravel with powdery stuff kind of mixed in that will compact as it rains and becomes a good hard surface. Less weeds grow through and it stays level and doesn't develop ruts after a while like regular driveway gravel does. We used the same product in our driveway up in Oconto and knew it was what we wanted.

Steve leveled out the yard and had everything ready. The dump truck delivered the gravel right on time. The driver was even skillfully able to spread it out in smaller piles as he dumped and moved along, taking care with the overhead power lines as well.



Steve played with his little toy 
and finished leveling it off .
He made a beautiful parking pad!!!



Can you see him grinning from ear to ear while doing this? 



Once he returned the skidloader,
then he drove our tracker over and over it back and forth,
packing it down evenly.... 


The driveway is on our property but we allow the neighbors to use it to access their garage. They even help with snowblowing sometimes when we are gone. By extending our drive now straight back, it gave us both more turnaround room from our garages when leaving. 

 the red line is where we added the gravel motorhome parking pad


Fast forward 5 and a half years----
The parking pad is just as beautiful as it was when we put it in.

We always wanted to run a power line out to the motorhome. We wanted to wait until we had the electric panel to the garage upgraded. Otherwise, it had originally only been 15 amp in the garage. Really, that was not enough. We would just run an extension cord out to the motor home if need be. But it really wasn't enough power to run the air conditioners or an electric heater or anything. Even running the vacuum cleaner would make it pop the breaker. It was just enough power to maybe turn on the fridge to cool it down for a day before we were loading up for camping.

This year, since Steve had the garage panel updated, he wanted to put in a 50 amp line out to the motorhome.  He gathered all of his materials, including a power post just like what the campgrounds use. He purchased extra heavy duty #6 gauge wire and the underground conduit to run it through.


He measured out where the line would run. We already had called Digger's Hotline when we did the fence and knew there weren't any power, gas or water lines in that area of the yard.  He painted a line on the ground where the trench would be dug.



Thursday morning he rented a trencher, and it was the best $30 he ever spent. We haven't had much rain here in Chilton and the ground is rock hard. This thing dug a beautiful trench about 14in deep by about 35 ft long.



 I shot a little You Tube video 
of how neat this thing worked:


He only ran into three rocks, and NO tree roots. Whew! 
The dirt is all hard packed and dry 
no moisture or mud at all, 
even 14 inches down. 



At the end, he just had to use this little trowel to get under the fence. I was being silly and posted it on facebook --- saying that he dug the whole trench that way!  LOL !



In 20 minutes, he cleaned up the trencher and returned it back to the store in better shape than when he got it. What a nice guy.



~~~~~~~ 

Sunday morning he decided to set the post in concrete, after laying the conduit underground and running the wire out to the area where the post was going to be located.

Before he began he had to carefully make a template of the bottom bolt pattern of the post. Then he knew where to put the four anchoring threaded rods to set into the cement. What a smart guy!



He likes using this new post cement concrete mix--- You just pour the bag of powder in the hole and spray it with a hose.  Then mix it up with a big pipe or stick until it looks to be the right consistancy. It sets up REALLY quick!  He figured between two and three bags to fill the hole.



He mixed up the first bag in the hole by adding the water and stirring it with a big pipe. Then he set his wooden template with the four threaded rods into place quickly before the cement hardened.


Now he did the second bag of cement mix scooping it in one scoop at a time around the threaded rods and mixing it as he went. Doing about two or three scoops at a time made the mixing easier than trying to dump in one big bag at once. Slow and steady wins the race he says.

Now he was right near the very top. The two bottom bags worth of cement were already solid and firm. He was able to take the wooden template off as the four bolts were now firmly cemented into place. They were not going anywhere.




Now he opened the third bag and mixed that a scoop at a time until he was up level with the conduit.  You can see the lip edge of the conduit around the opening of the loop of the heavy wire.  The tips of the four threaded rods were protruding just enough to mount the post. Perfection! 


It dried very quickly.  In a half hour, he set the post into place and it was perfectly level. He carefully bolted it down using lock nuts, sometimes called aircraft nuts. The post was perfectly level, plum and and straight in all directions.  I love how precise he is when we work on projects.


That's the way Steve likes to do things!

Once he got that far, now it was time to call our electrician friend Tom over to finish the final hook up. He came this afternoon, but I was napping and missed him.  Steve said he double checked everything, hooked the lines in the breaker box in the garage, and we were good to go.



Wallah!

Now our "guesthouse" motorhome can be securely plugged in using the thick 50 amp cord. We can now run both roof air conditioners safely, in case of friends wanting to visit.  The motorhome makes a great mini hotel room out in the yard.  Plus, my my mom and stepdad want to spend a couple days in there when they come up to visit from Florida in August. They can be comfortable and have their own personal space.

We mainly will use it to run an air conditioner to cool down the rig while loading up and prepping for vacation or weekend trips. We can start the refrig on electric a day or two before leaving, and get it cooled down before loading it up.  Or if something happens in the house, we can be comfortable in the motorhome until things are made right again.


Also, where Steve located the post in the driveway, we could easily accommodate a second RV if we had company come and moochdock in our driveway for a visit. 

CAMPGROUND PFUNDTNER! 

~~~~~~~~~

On a side note, follow-up with doc on my blood pressure spike. The meds from the doc on Friday didn't work so well.  By Saturday, (non stress day) it rose and rose... by dinnertime it was up to almost 200.  Talked to doc, back to the ER we went. Once there, it went over 200. Time to take action. In 5 minutes they had me settled in a room and started doing tests.  Trying a different drug and will follow up with a specialist next. It came down and I was released by midnight.


    Will see how this one works? 



Thursday, June 7, 2018

Spike! And A New Power Line

Spike!

I don't mean an electrical spike.
And I don't mean a spike in volleyball.
Or what they do to the football in an end-zone celebration.

Instead my "Spike" ended me up in the emergency room. Not fun!


My sudden spike in blood pressure went up to 190 and I was not feeling right inside. I alerted my hubby after using our home BP cuff, so Steve bundled me up and off we went to the ER in Fond du Lac. From there it kept increasing up to 226. They got me on some medication and it started to slowly come down. They ran me through an EKG, a CT scan, and of course all the necessary blood work and lab work. Then they gave me a second clonidine pill and I could relax and really feel it coming down.


After three hours I was finally in enough of a safe zone to be released. He gave more clonidines to use in case it gets above 180. Since I normally don't have high blood pressure, he is not putting me on a full-time medicine. Instead he gave me pills for just in case. And of course, he wants me to follow up with my regular family physician.


The very next day we ended up going back there again to see if we needed to change a medication because it was creeping back up again in the 165 range.

I am following up this Friday with my doc.

This happened once two and a half years ago, on the day I planned my dad's funeral after a horrible battle with cancer, and dealing with my stepfathers soon to happen demise also from cancer.

This time, it happens to also coincide with a dosage change on my hormone replacement therapy patches, which may be a contributing factor. But, I feel there's enough crazy family stress happening in my life from all angles that is contributing to the spike again.

In the meantime, I am monitoring my blood pressure and it's been in pretty good zone since --- so I hope this is not going to reoccur again.

~~~~~~

Onward to other things!

The ER doc prescribed me one hour of peaceful sewing or weaving or knitting if I feel my blood pressure going up. Now that is a good prescription to hand out!!


I managed to put together these 20 blocks into the main section of this quilt that I started while on vacation a few weeks ago. Now all I have to do is work on the borders.


I also managed to paint a rainbarrel for our brother and sister-in-law, Pete and Cindy. They built a new house and are starting their landscaping and yard work. The rainwater will come in handy. I use stencils and Krylon spray paint for plastics.  Steve drills a hole and puts in the bung plug and spigot.



Since we changed the color of trim on our house from green to blue, I decided to paint up a barrel in blue for us as well. I am selling the green one on the local Facebook Marketplace. I still have another green one in the backyard but I think I'm going to paint over that one next time it's empty so it can be blue as well. I just love using rain water on my plants and flowers instead of city water. Not only for cost but also because it is minus all of those chemicals. I even painted up both of my watering cans.




~~~~~~~~~


Almost all of the crazy little helicopter seed pods are down from the soft maple trees in our neighborhood. We had a lot of wind the last few days and they have really covered the ground.


I've been waiting to spread my pretty black mulch around in my flower beds until these crazy things are done falling. Otherwise they look so messy on top of the black mulch.  The last few times Steve has mown the lawn, he uses the bagger device and sucks them all up. Then he deposits them in the city garage mulch piles for yard waste so they are no longer in our yard.


As it is, we still get seedlings 
popping up on our lawn,
in my flower beds,
and among my tomatoes.  GRRRRR

~~~~~~~~~
It's a beautiful week of weather here in Wisconsin with low humidity and in the low 70s. Right now I'm dictating this blog while sitting outside in the shade on a lounge chair. I'm watching Steve work on his newest project.

Steve has decided to run a 50 amp line from our updated electrical panel in the garage out to our motorhome where it is parked in the back yard. He has acquired the heavy electrical cable, the underground conduit to run it through and a post with the 50 amp outlet and breaker, just like what you see in a campground.

Now if we have guests stay in our motorhome, we can safely run both roof air conditioners, the refrigerator, or an electric heater if need be without worrying about overstressing the power cord from the garage.

With our updated service in the garage now we can run a full 50 amp power line instead of extension cords. The old service was only 15 amp off the house, and we could pop breakers just running a vacuum cleaner out there or trying to cool the rig down before loading for a trip with the fridge on.

We had already called Diggers Hotline last year to do the fence and knew there were no power or gas lines or water service in this area of our yard. Safety first!

He measured out and marked the line with paint across the grass and now has commenced digging where the post is going to be set in cement by the fence.



I'm enjoying watching him work, and I told him there is only one shovel so that means he gets to use it!?  Next he needed to dig the long stretch from the garage out to the fence through the yard.

He rented a trenching tool from the local hardware store. For 30 bucks for 2 hours it's well worth it rather than having to dig this distance all by hand.  PS he has on his safety work prescription glasses and steel toe sport shoes from work.  Even in retirement, he finds use for them.


We haven't had much rain in Wisconsin lately, so our ground is pretty hard and dry. Steve will let the trencher do the hard work instead of his back.



He completed the entire trench in about 20 minutes flat. He only ran into three rocks and no tree roots.


It's about 35 ft long and 14 inches deep.


Once he was done, he took the time to clean the machine all off. Being returned a much cleaner condition than when he rented it. That's my guy!



Whew.. that is enough work for the afternoon.  He said we should relax now and take a nap. I am up for that!!!