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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Motorhome Modification, Custom Campfire Pit, and Ballerina!

Finally... a post for my RVing folks who follow this blog!   Since we came home from vacation 4 weeks ago, my posts have been lacking in RV stuff.  Sooo this one's for you!

Our motorhome has three nice dark acrylic? glass? doors across the front of the motorhome.  Inside each one is all of the surround sound system control deck, booster and amplifier for the sound system.  Plus other electronics: dvd player, vcr player, dvd storage, our fans and some other doo-dads.  They are major storage areas for us and all our "stuff".  We even mounted a clock with velcro to one of the doors, so it can removed to adjust time or change out the battery.

The far left part is a bit of a challenge.  Many Safari motorhome owners will call that cabinet that encloses the tv as a "headbanger"  or some other %*$@))&!! word.  Because it suspends down lower into the cockpit area, it is easy to knock your head against it when getting up from your seat.

We long ago stopped using the big CRT televison overhead as a main tv.  Instead, we mounted a slim LED flatscreen to a bracket suspending it from under the cabinets on the passenger side of the rig. It uses less power, and weighs less and has a much better/larger picture too.  So we are happy with this change, and can see the tv better from the loveseat on the opposite side.
(I LOVE Andy Griffith and Mayberry... 
playing dvds from a collectors set from daughter Heather) 

Well, then why keep the big CRT tube type tv, you ask? Because it doubles as a back up camera screen for the built in camera system in the motorhome.  About the only time we use it to flick it on to see if the Tracker is hooked up properly and turning corners correctly behind us as we tow.

One fine day, Steveio's brain was a-working on this head-banging matter. After he had banged his head again, of course. He decided that if we order a nice small 7" monitor screen we can eliminate that tv.  Then he started thinking even more.... what about removing the cabinet, cutting it off at the top, and installing it back into place now flush with the others?  The front and underside surfaces are finished like the rest of the cabinets.  They are all solid wood, nothing paper particle board garbage like in our old Coachmen. These are western alder wood and such lovely pieces of cabinetry we don't want to wreck them or try to replace that one unit on the left.

Great thinking.... lots of work, but great thinking!   And since when did Steveio shirk from work???

He had the big tv out in no time, that was the "easy part"....  now we looked behind to realize that a whole slew of wires for all the electronics were not just behind the cabinet... noooo.. they were through a hole IN the wall of the side of the cabinet leading into the other cabinet.  We would have to unhook each and every one before we can remove the cabinet.  I am talking about TWENTY different wires that had to be unhooked!

We photographed all the wire connections for the surround-sound, booster, amplfier and camera/tv systems, and I carefully labelled each one before disconnecting them. Let's just hope we get each one hooked back up correctly when this job is done?

Now Steve could carefully unscrew all the mountings to get this piece of cabinetry out of that section of the motorhome ceiling.  Whew... it worked!

This is what it looks like behind there. 
All of those wires need to be fed back through that tiny hole
 to the right when the cabinet goes back into place after it's alteration.   
(See what I meant about the wires???)

The motorhome looks a little funny right now, but soon he will get the cabinet cut down along the top edges and mount it back into the space, with the bottom edge running along the same level as the rest of the cabinets. 

I contacted Colaw's RV Salvage in Carthage, MO to see if they have one more door the same as our others.  Not sure if they are acrylic or glass. It would be a lot easier to just order one from them than having a new one made.  Trying to match the same color and sheen as the other panels, and also the hinges, hinge covers and latch would be more difficult. These doors are 20 years old ya know. 

I hope they find one, and get back to me. I am sure we saw some on our trek through the RV Boneyard 2 months ago when we were there.... 

Today we ordered the new little 12V 7" monitor from Amazon and went through a link on our RVfriends Keven and Ruth's blog site http://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/  so they get a little kickback for ordering from Amazon via their site.  This can be mounted on the dash between the two consoles in the center and swivel for either of us to monitor what is going on in the back....
I would imagine Steve will get the cabinet cut down to size and mounted back in before that even arrives in the mail, eh? 

Since we are at a standstill with that project, here is the next one... It is kinda camping related because it involves a CAMPFIRE!   

Our wonderful son-in-law Jesse is a computer programmer designer engineer for metal cutting... (I am not sure of his actual title but I think that is close enough). He is very talented.

This is a beautiful galvanized steel fire ring!  
He made it for us for a Christmas present for our backyard. 
Now the snow has melted so it's time to set it up. 

Here are all three scenes that go around the ring:

He can do just about any design you want... 
let him know what you would like to have made! 
He can be reached via facebook
 Jesse Wade Facebook Page to place an order.

We went to the local home-improvement place to buy some stones to go around the edges... and we will later put down a bottom layer tarp for weed control and some layers of gravel and sand inside of the ring.  For now we wanted to get the stones arranged and plan it out to see if we bought enough. 

 Three stones of each leftover that we can return to the store later. 

The ring sure looks nice and we can enjoy some backyard campfires.


Thursday night our oldest granddaughter, Allegra, had a Dance Recital.  Of course all of us proud grandparents were there to cheer her on and enjoy the performance.  Even her little brother Mason was happy to see his big sister up on the stage! 

Here is a little Utube video clip to enjoy:

Afterwards we posed for photos with the little ballerina girl

and then we went out for ICE CREAM! 
and a little silliness....

Not sure yet what other projects we will be doing around the house this weekend. Stay tuned, ya never know what kind of stuff we are up to, eh? 


  1. I have not had a lot of time recently for reading blogs then tonight I clicked on yours and there on your TV is the Andy Griffith show. We have been slowly heading north towards our home in the UP but we are presently in Mount Airy, NC. We always enjoyed the show and thought it would be fun to check out "Mayberry". I thought it was a cute coincidence. Though not has cute as the Ballerina or her brother.

    1. We drove through that area once, and didn't stop and sure wish we did. It is on our bucket list for next time! Our local tv station has a sub channel called MeTV that shows 2 episodes of Andy every morning from 7-8 a.m. and again from 7-8 p.m. at night. Much better than the depressing news or crappy reality shows on current tv.....

  2. The RV I had before this one had a head banger like that. Steve did a great job of fixing it.

  3. That is a BEAUTIFUL fire ring! Always love to read about your talented family and the "fixes" you come up with! :-)

  4. I love the idea of cutting down the cupboard from the top to preserve the finish at the bottom. Not sure we would have thought of that.


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