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Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Besides having little Jameson here for the weekend, we got a few motorhome modifications done too!  He "helped" Granfaddah get another solar panel ready for going up on the roof!   Here he is gathering tools and helping to put things together (or tear them apart?)

He just loves it when Granfaddah hauls out the tools.....

Steve is waiting for a warmer day to apply the Dicor sealant to the brackets on the roof around the screws so they cure and seal properly in medium temps.  We lost our wonderful early summer temps in the 70's and 80's and are back to normal in the 30's and 40's range.  Typical temps for Northern Wisconsin in March, so we are resigned to put up with them for a bit longer.

We currently have four 100 watt panels for the coach (house batteries) and he is adding one more panel.  For the chassis (driving) batteries he has a 15 watt solar panel to keep those up to snuff.  We have four 6v golf cart batteries in the tray now, and the two 12v driving batteries.  But soon we will move the driving batteries to the rack he made in the engine compartment, and then have room for SIX of the 6v batteries.  When we do the switchover, we will upgrade to six all new Trojan batteries.  (you should never mix new and old batteries)   Our four 6v ones are still operating good, though they were purchased in early 2009 so are still okay.  Guess we will offer them to our camping family to see if any of them can use em for a few more years, hooked up in pairs to make 12v,  on their trailers.

Jameson also helped me inside the motorhome too.  

A few years ago, we added this rack, similar to hotels for the wash cloths, hand towels and regular bath towels.  My dad sprayed it gold to match the motorhome for me when we were visiting them in Florida.  It works very well for the washcloths, hand and bath towels, but the spaces are not big enough for the biggest bath sheets.

We like the large big bath sheet type towel and double use as a beach towel, but they take up a LOT of room on the base of Steve's closet area.  We used to have only one towel bar in the bathroom that could only fit two of the big bath sheet towels.   The rest of the bath sheets were stored on the floor of the closet on Steve's side, and we wanted them up and off the floor in preparation for fulltiming.  Thinking: "Best Use Of Space!" here.

So we decided to buy two new towel bars and replace the existing one, plus add one more a bit lower.  Jameson helped with the screwdriver and the tape measure and holding the screws and wall anchors for me... counting each one as we drilled it back into the wall!   What a great helper!!!

 Now all of our towels are off the floor of the closet and on the racks!

Speaking of closets... on my side, I always stow my spinning wheel in mine.  It rides upright, protected from tipping over by my hanging clothes.  Only problem, I end up tucking all of my shoes around the base of the wheel and in between the treadle base legs.  I already have one huge gouge in the finely finished wood of the wheel from things being jammed in with it.  Steveio to the rescue!   I described what I needed and drew a quick diagram.  He made me this platform to go in my side of the closet.  My shoes and umbrella can be tucked into the cubby hole compartments, and the spinning wheel can now rest on the new *deck* of the closet!   It's not stained yet, but you can see how well it will work.   In the background you can see the folded up base to my sock machine stand too.  I think this will be a great resolution to my storage problems.  Thank you, Steveio!

Another storage problem in the motorhome has been my spices.  Someone on my RV list suggested this great pull down rack from Rubbermaid that we found at Walmart for only $12.  (some larger Walmarts have them, but not the smaller ones)   It's a great idea and heavy duty, but alas and alack, it's too WIDE for my cabinet!!!  The center post between the cabinet doors is in the way.  It has to go back to the store.  Sigh.

(pic on left is from the ad       ~~~~    pic on right is from my rig) 

I will explore some of the other pull down type units that fit up under the cabinet.

When we bought the 1997 Tracker, we had hoped to just swap over the Blue Ox baseplate from our 1995 Tracker.  Not so.... they were somewhat different.  Steve was hoping that he could adapt it, but we decided to bite the bullet and order the right one for the 1997 Tracker.

After shopping around, we charged a $370.00 baseplate for our Tracker on our American Express from US Auto Parts Warehouse.  http://www.autopartswarehouse.com/  They assured me 3 times during the phone call that it was "in stock"  and hit our credit card with the charge within 1 hour of ordering.  Five days later I found out it was NOT in stock and wasn't even MADE yet due to a backorder at Blue Ox.  We could expect it in 7-9 weeks.  I cancelled the order and the company would NOT issue a refund. After three frustrating phone calls to them, I decided to dispute the charge on my card instead.

Good ole American Express went to bat for me, removed the charge immediately from my account, and now, 4 weeks later they finally got that company to comply with the refund status.  Amazing!

Anyhooooo  Steve looked closer at the Blue Ox baseplate that we had and figured a way to adapt it to fit on our 1997 after all!   So with a bit of this and that, my fine engineering hubby now has our original baseplate mounted and in working order!  


He also installed a hitch on the back for the random times we might want to pull a small trailer or a boat (not when toading behind the motorhome)  so that is done now too.

Other projects this weekend were dipping more of my deep sea fishing weights.  Sadly, I could not let Jameson have a hand in this one.  I order 24 one pound weights at a time from a company and dip them in rubberized coating made for handles of tools.   The rubber can get EVERYWHERE ... not good for 3 year old boys to help with!

After three coats, they dry and I put them onto the flattened silver dinner forks.  Just the tips are bent over to be used when knitting socks on a sockknitting machine.  I sell these in sets of three to fellow sockcrankers on both Etsy and Ebay!

Once all of our projects were done, it was time for a Sunday birthday party!   Our youngest daughter Heather has turned 27... oh my am I that old already?  I was 24 when I had her, you do the math!

Steve put a pot of 6 pounds of Alaskan Snow Crab legs in the big kettle to steam (this is a base from a turkey deep fryer)  and some tenderloin steaks on the grill for those who don't like the crab legs.   Yummmmmmm  

While Granfaddah and Granmuddah cooked the meal, the kids took the grandkids out to the yard to play a bit.  This may very well be the LAST family party we have at this home, as it will be going on the market soon.  

After singing the Happy Birthday Song... 
the little ones helped blow out the candles! 

We were missing little Allegra, because our daughterinlaw "Mommy Heather" is due very soon and didn't wish to travel so far from her doctor.  Also our daughter "Mommy Erin" is due within the next few weeks.... so the next news should be NEW GRANDBABY NEWS!!!


  1. As always, Karen, great work! I remember seeing your blog when you mounted the towel bars, looked on line but could not find them. Tried BB&B, hotel supply houses, etc., Thousand of choices, can't find circular ones. Do you recall where you found them?
    Thanks, Lynn

  2. I love the way you customize your MH for the way you live and the things you carry. Great picture of Heather and the kids with the birthday cake. Happy birthday, Heather!

  3. I got ours off Ebay... search for "hotel towel rack" and you will find a bunch
    like this:


  4. You guys are really preparing in earnest now! I have that pull-down spice rack; sorry it didn't fit your cabinet! I'm sure you'll find just the right solution. :)

  5. We love our American Express card--they have gotten us out of several situations!

  6. I am sorry the spice rack didn't work out. It looks like a nice one.

    Hmmm, I should have stayed longer and gotten in on those crab legs! Lol.

    Steve is so handy. I don't think there is anything he can't do!

  7. Kathy uses spices in her cooking not only at home but in the trailer as well. What we found we magnetic based spice containers which are about 2 inches in diameter and 2-1/2 inches high with clear tops. (This is the third trailer we did this with.) I mounted a wooden rack on the wall with three tiers to hold 18 containers with a piece of 18 guage galvanized metal slipped into the dado slots for the shelves.

    We have been cut off a few times having to do emergency stops with cupboards spilling their contents but have not lost a dash of any spices.

    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  8. I'm begining to think you and Stevio never sleep, with all the projects you're doing you can't possibly have the time. ;c)

  9. Walker built me a wooden container to sit on top of my counter close to the back wall. There are 4 compartments in it. I only keep my most used spices in it, my medicine I take daily, and a couple of my oils. The rest of my speciality spices I keep in a rubbermaid under the cabinet. I took a good plastic hanging shoe holder and I cut it...4 pockets for each door. I glue it on the inside of the kitchen doors. It holds my pot holders, zip lock bags out of the box, the other door holds some baking spices and popcorn spices...more ziplocks. I have one in the back of my pantry wall for package spices, and one on my pantry wall for measuring spoons and cups for baking. I use these allllll the time with us living and cooking full time here. They have held on great!!!!
    I use them also in my Bathroom closet for meds..and misc. stuff and in my closet for misc stuff.
    I will send a picture of the container Walker built me..I know Steve could do it for you. It doesn't move when we went down the road!

    We so want to go solar...maybe someday!

    Cindy and Walker

  10. You guys are soooo fortunate to be sooooo talented. What I wouldn't give to have just a tenth of Steve's patience & ingenuity when it comes to all those mechanical smarts he has.

  11. Chuck found these spice racks for me and I have been uaing them for over 2 years now with no problems! They stick inside your cupboard doors and I have never had one fall off PLUS they are very affordable!


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