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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Foggy Window Repair at Suncoast Designers in Hudson, FL

We have heard so many good reports from RV folks who deal with Suncoast Designers in Hudson, FL.  Located just north of Tampa, FL.

Suncoast Designers
15050 Labor Place
Hudson, FL 34667

Many RV's have double paned glass called "thermopane" windows.  With all of the twisting and stress that an RV chassis frame goes through, not to mention the speeding down the highways in our travels can sometimes make the thermopane leak.  This is called a "blown seal" and allows intrusion of air and moisture in between the glass layers that leads to fogging.  We have that on our passenger side window up front.  The faulty metal band between the layers of the glass has allowed the air to leak inside.

Also, some RV's have a different type of window construction with a black rubber seal around the edge that gets sucked inwards and leaves a black rubber "snake" between the layers of glass, called "snaking" ... our friends Mel and Paula have that on their motorhome.

Two weeks ago, Steve called Suncoast Designers and we made appointments for both of us to have our windows repaired.  They were assigning appointments two weeks in advance and told us to come on a Tuesday night for a Wednesday appointment.

They have room in their lot for about 20 motorhomes, 
and offer FREE 50 amp electric and water too... 
and even a dump station! 
(under the orange cone) 

We got settled into our spots for the night 

 Most of the sites have hookups, but the last few on the end are boondocking 
or overflow area if you are waiting for a spot.

(we did notice some folks staying a day longer after their windows were done, 
taking up sites that new arrivals could be occupying....argggh! )

They even offer free wifi! 
If you sit in the pretty gazebo, you get the best signal.  
Also a couple picnic tables are available to eat out, socialize or rest. 
 A doggy walk area across the parking lot makes our stay complete! 

Wednesday morning we woke up in the pre-dawn hours to our weather radio alerts of a tornado watch in the area!!!  We filled an "evac bag" of current medications, purse and wallet, laptop and cell phone etc.  That was setting by the door in case we had to leave fast and get to the big building. We kept our shoes on which we normally don't do in the motorhome. The dogs were both ready with harnesses and leashes trailing inside the motorhome.  We could grab them in a moment and run if we had to!

We kept the news on to watch the progress of the storm, and most of it went south of us and some to the north.  We only got a few drops and some light winds... very lucky!

We got a knock on the door at 6:40 a.m. with a form to fill out and get ready to have our window removed. We had a bit of mix-ups at the office on our reservations. By 6:45 a.m. they were removing our window!~  At least we were going to get our window done, so that was good!   We were invited back later at 1 pm to get a tour of the window repair process inside of the factory.

These guys were very courteous and friendly.
You can see how foggy the large pane in the passenger side window is. 

 We watched the careful window removal process, cutting the silicone around the frame
and removing the window without damaging the frame or surrounding area.

This is how thick the walls are on our coach.
This guy came over and cleaned up the outside area 
to make sure it would be a good surface to adhere the frame back onto.

Then he stuck up the plastic coated window covering that would be in place during the process.  Now we felt like "part of the crowd" with our green taped up window like the rest of the folks around us! LOL

Later that morning Paula and I snuck off to the quilt shop and a grocery stop. which I wrote about on my blog before this one.  Steve and Mel held down the fort.

By 1 pm we went to the building to take our tour.  We donned safety glasses and were lead to the back work area.
This is one huge place! 

 Kevin was our tour guide 
and took the time to explain each step of the process 
and answer our questions.

He told us that even though we were just doing the one large window pane on the top of our window, that they do ALL three pieces in the window frame.  That was good to know, because we were wondering if we had to pay an extra $225 for each smaller window pane in our window. Nope... we were happy to hear that!

He said each window is clearly labelled and tagged.  Then they remove the glass from the frames and seals.  Care is taken to not bend or kink the frames in any way with a spreading tool to get the glass out. Some folks are having ALL their windows done, so the frames are laid out according to job order on the open space.

None of these frames are our window....

The glass is taken away to a clean area where it is processed...
 pieces are rolled on these beds of wheels into machines that clean the glass

New seals are added to replace the original thickness of your particular window brand.
This is done in a very clean area to not allow any dirt particles to enter the seal.

Now each panel of sandwiched glass goes into this oven and baked
at around 400 degrees (I forgot the exact temp he said) 

Here is a finished panel of glass with the new seal in between
the layers...  ready to go back into a frame! 
(sorry, it's a bit blurry, I snapped the pic in a hurry before he set it down)

They have two of these ovens to work on glass panels, 
and I bet it gets REALLY hot back there. 
not a place I would want to work.....

Thank you, Kevin for the great tour! 

At the end, available in the office are cans of the really great window cleaner they use. Someone on our RV list told me to be sure to buy some.  It's only $5 a can here, and I found it online in the $8-12 range plus shipping.  So I thought I would give it a try. 

We bought one can, and it cleans great with no streaking! The glass and mirrors feel smooth after wiping them down, the rag just slides across the surface.  I am going to get some more before we leave, for sure. 

Okay.. now it's the next day..... 
It is noon and they have our window all done and completely installed!  

Here are the pics I snapped of the guys who came to our rig.  They came and prepped the outside surface well before adhering the window frame.  It came all pre-gooped up with black butyl caulk on the inside of the frame where it meets the outside wall. 

It fit snugly into place and they had to tap it a bit and lift it a bit to get it into the most centered position.  With one working outside and one working inside, they had it all set in a minute.  The guy inside started screwing in the bracket tight to the inside wall, while the other guy on the outside held the frame tight to the body.

They would make wordless motions to each other through the glass, and you could tell they have done this before!   The guy outside was also using a clear silicone caulk around the top edge, then down each side as the inner guy was tightening the screws... then he went all around the window frame, even on the bottom.  I was hoping he would!  So it is good and sealed on all four sides. Thank you!  Here is a pic of the caulk they used around the edges.  The window frame itself is sealed with black butyl caulk to the body of the coach.

Now it was "clean up time" with their good can of the Ardex window spray. 
They washed the window free of all handprints and smudges both inside and out.
Of course I had to teasingly ask if he does ALL the windows all around the coach as a courtesy???

I bet he hears that 20 times a day-----

That window cleaner is really nice , and we bought two more cans before leaving.
They even gave us a handy, dandy tote bag to bring it all home in.  Ahhhh! 

Next, it was time to water test it. 
 The guys brought over a hose and sprayed it down... 
while one sat inside to look for any leaks. 
We were good to go! 

 Well, not quite.

First, we had to PAY the bill!

It was exactly as quoted. 
We are very satisfied and the window has a ten year guarentee,
with a sliding scale of pro-rating for each year in use. 

Here is our invoice, (plus sales tax on the bottom cut off) 

It was time for us to head up to Mom's ... and other people were wanting our parking spot in the electric sites, so we had to get a move on. 

We got road-worthy and headed on out, after saying our goodbyes and see ya laters with them.  They are heading south to join with some friends at another park, and we are now heading north back to Mom's house. 

Got more projects to finish up for her! 


We are now heading home to Wisconsin.... and are really appreciating our view out of the newly redone passenger window.  It's clear and no longer streaked, fogged, or full of moisture (even in the horrible humidity and pouring rain we just went through)  Thanks Suncoast Designers! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Quilt Til' You Wilt shop in Hudson, FL

We are patiently parked in a lot at Suncoast Designers in Hudson, FL.  They have removed our blown thermopane window and are going to take it apart, clean the glass, and reseal it up and put it back in!

I will do a complete blog post on that tomorrow with pics of our tour. I am waiting for the final pics to post of the finished project.

I promise, my dear RV readers, it will be an interesting post!

We woke up at 6 am to tornado watch alerts... but all storms soon passed around us to the south or the north, and we were just fine. But just in case, we packed an Evac Emergency Bag with laptop, meds, purse, wallet and phone.  Both dogs were on harnesses and leashes, and we had on shoes were ready to grab the dogs and bag and run to the big building if anything was happening nearby.

Paula and Mel, fellow Safari-ites who have been at my mom's with us these last two weeks were with us too.  They are having a window fixed on their rig as well.

While we are waiting for our windows to get done, Paula found two quilt shops in the area!  Imagine that!  One was closed and moved to another location further away.  But the other sounded interesting.....  We googled for directions, and found this delightful place tucked back in the Florida woods.  At first we were not sure if we were in the right place, till we saw all the cars parked by this adorable little building set back in the trees.

We came into a wonderful shop full of fibers, fabric, tools and lots of friendly chatter.  That is a sign of a Good Quilt Shop!  Sometimes you walk in and people stop and stare, but this one was busy!

This is the first shop I have been in that has it's bolts of fabric displayed sideways on hinged racks. You can page through the bolts like pages of books hanging on a wall!  What a great layout display idea!  All the prices and manufacturers were readily available on the ends of the bolts, and you could still see the the fabrics  (AND TOUCH THEM) as you paged your way through.....

All around the store were interesting displays of finished projects
inspiring with a lot of ideas! 
(I know my mom would want to see the bears!)

Towards the back of the shop was a class room.  Instead of a sign that said "keep out"  this one had a sign that encouraged you to "peek inside"!!!  How refreshing!   We saw a number of ladies working in a class, with a lot of wonderful items on display too.

I saw some beautiful looking new machines...  these came out in honor of Singer's sewing machine anniversary.  How cool is that?  Everything Old Is New Again?   I told the ladies that I do most of my piecing on a 102 year old Singer treadle machine.

Since we are RVer's, 
this display of little blocks was pretty cute.... 

In another room, off to one side, were a couple long arm quilting machines.  This gal was from out of state, but was here "renting" time on this machine to do up her quilts.  This is where the pieced quilt top is sandwiched with the batting and bottom fabric.  Then she can make the patterned quilting stitches all over the smooth quilt layers and have a finished quilt (all she has to do now is sew on a binding around the edges) .

She worked so fast (even with me interrupting her) that she was already loading up another quilt to get worked on before we were ready to leave!  She sure is doing a great job.

I haven't had the need yet for a machine so big, but never say never! 

The owner of the shop, Pat, created this wonderful lighting bar over the other machine.  Great ingenuity!  She used shelving brackets, L brackets and track lighting.  Great idea!

Another cute idea was this bobbin holder! 

We looked at a lot of fun stuff.  I was on the hunt for a certain book, but she didn't have it. I guess I will have to order it from Amazon.  I was hoping to find it in a little shop, so I could have fond memories of buying it from a special place.  Oh well, instead I bought some fabric that "spoke" to me when I first came in!   Quilters know that feeling.....     

The top one is the speaking fabric! 
Paula helped me pick out two other coordinating fabrics to go with it.... 

I found some little sections of fabrics called "fat quarters" for my mom. She likes to clip out little patterns and figures of fabric and glue them to cardstock. She makes wonderful note cards and greeting cards, and sells them at craft shows.  Now when she reads this, she will see the ones I picked up for her. 

 Paula had some fabrics cut up too, 
and we both left the shop with big smiles on our faces. 

It was a great outing,
and next time we are in the area, 
we will be SURE to stop back! 

Monday, February 22, 2016

A Poopy Day? (Using a Mascerator)

We all do it.


We sure do.

We use the toilet.

Well, most do.  Some prefer to do the natural thing in the woods. That's okay I guess.  But when you have a motorhome, it usually has a bathroom that contains a toilet.  And that stuff has to go SOMEWHERE~  Right?

We have been in my mom's yard for over two weeks, and our black tank (the toilet stuff) is just about full. So is Mel and Paula's.  We have dumped our grey tanks every other day or so into the sandy soil, as it's only our shower water. We use a hose and run it into mom's flower beds, which love it.

Our black and grey tanks each hold 50 gallons, and our freshwater tank holds 100 gallons.

Now, most folks have to pull up stakes, stow the gear, and look for the nearest dump station.  That usually involves a monetary fee to whatever campground is nearby.

Steveio has this SUPER DOOPER POOPER TOY to play with.... called a Mascerator! It's similar to a garbage disposal.  It grinds up the errrr ummmm waste, and pumps it out a hose with pressure. Enough to go uphill and over humps or even into a household toilet!

Here is a link to one like Steve's that I found on Amazon that is for a marine use: Jabsco-18590-2092   Steve chose the marine type one over the ones available thru RV dealers because some of their impellers are only plastic.  Here is what it looks like.

He bought an extra drain cap and adapted it to fit the bottom end of the mascerator.  He cut a hole in the cap to match the end of the mascerator, and sealed it on with some good glue. There are four screws that also hold the cap into place on the device.

It runs on 12 volt power, so you need to install a 12 volt socket in your dumping bay, or else put on longer wires with clips to hook to a battery on a vehicle parked nearby. Steve chose to install an outlet in the compartment.

With the adapted cap, it just hooks onto the bayonet mount
of the drain outlet on the motorhome. 

Steve and Mel set about to dump Mel's tank first.  Next to Mel's rig was the septic tank cleanout within reach. We have a dedicated long black 1 inch 50 ft garden hose that is used for only the mascerator.  It was close enough for Mel's rig to work.

Our rig is parked closer to Mom's house.  There isn't a septic cleanout or tank access close to the house. So Steve chose to run the black hose up and into the bathroom through the window and have it flush into the toilet.

 Steve and Mel got it hooked up and made their plans of the process.
They are always fiddling with something or other.
Two peas in a pod. 

This is definately a TWO MAN operation! 
(we women stayed far away and let them deal with it.) 

Mel stayed outside to man the 12 volt power plug on the machine
and Steve stayed in the bathroom to hold the hose into the toilet

They got the job done, and our tanks are now empty.  I did not take any pics of the ummm errrr process, as you can use your own imagination.  The clear section on the mascerator hose is there to observe the situation, and once the black tank is emptied, then they did flush some grey water through the system to clean out the machine.  Once that is done, fresh water is used to flush it out, and the machine and the black hose are stowed into a separate bin from any of our other compartments.

That is a poopy way to end the day!

We took care of things all week around mom's house and got progress made on selling off some of my step-dads other vehicles, clearing out excess parts not needed and more little repairs around mom's house.

Yup, the jeep sold right away, 
and the guy is coming to take it away soon.

We do have a Demco Excali-bar tow bar still for sale, $200.  
Email me at pfundt@gmail.com if you are interested! 

We did some grilling out on the deck in the pleasant evening weather

We did take off Saturday to hit the Waldo flea market for some fun! 

We went home with bags full of treasures...
not to mention bags full of fresh Florida Produce! 

We got in a stop at Gainesville Trader Joes, 
the Holy Grail of my Two Buck Chuck wine,
some jars of Cookie Butter,
and my newest obsession, 
Trader Joes Cookie Butter Cookies!!!!

One lovely warm evening, Steve took out his 
Flame Genie firepit. 
Here is a link to their website:

We bought ours from them through Amazon, but I think Home Depot carries them now too.

It burns bagged compressed wood pellets, 
which are safe to transport as opposed to firewood. 
With the increase in emerald ash borer in areas, 
firewood is banned or restricted to carry from area to area.  
The bags of wood pellets are safe to take anywhere. 

It was a great evening to sit out and unwind

The doggers enjoy the campfire evenings as well,
and Da Momma came out and joined us after Wheel and Jeopardy were over! 

We also took some time for some crafting!  A new fun project we found to do....  After writing on them with Pigma Micro 01 permanent pens, we will cover them with a layer or two of Modge Podge.

And back to one more motorhome thing....   Tuesday evening we are both travelling down to Hudson, FL to park at Suncoast Designers to get our appointments early Wednesday morning. We have a thermopane window that has blown it's seal so it's foggy between the panes.  Paula and Mel's rig has a window with the "creeping" black seal to be repaired. They come highly recommended from fellow RVers to be "the place" to get the RV windows repaired in one day and resealed correctly back on the RV.

So stay tuned for another RV Modification and Repair blog.....  (plus Paula found out about a nearby quilt store we can explore!)