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Friday, January 27, 2017

MOTORHOME MODIFICATION - *D* Dash and Desk and Drunk Doggies

I am going to start off the new year with posting three of our motorhome modifications 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 D now!


Dash Componants:
We didnt do a lot of modifications to the dash, but I thought it would be interesting to go over our dash and cockpit area of our motorhome, just for grins.

Our motorhome dash is protected from the sun damage by lowering the MCD powered windshield shade all the way down when we are parked in the yard.  The shade also can ride at any height as a full-width sun visor! Easy to adjust with the push of a toggle switch to raise or lower it.

Of course, Steve's side is like an airplane cockpit, while mine has all the comforts of home. I have the pretty woolen woven mat from the Grand Canyon for decor and the computer, GPS, remotes for the stereo indoor/outdoor thermometer, backup camera monitor, and of course, my own horn button! You can read about that horn button here:

I will start over on the driver's side.... the console underneath the window has a lot of fun stuff. From L to R is the ash tray, (we do not smoke) but it has a 12 volt cigarette outlet that we do use from time to time.   Next are the buttons for the cruise control, fast engine idle for starting, and adjustment device for the power mirrors.  After that are three lit toggle buttons: exhaust brake, backup camera, and the third is called ''BLINK''!  It is used to flash off and on your clearance and marker lights all around to let passing truckers know they are fully past you and can pull back into the lane ahead.  Seriously! 

Ahead of the 3 toggles in the touch button shifting pad and a tiny micro bubble level.

Round the corner to the area to the left of the steerig wheel are all the electrical buttons for lights, dash fans, mirror heaters, music and side docking lights. They are huge spotlights that help light up around you during backing up at night.  Underneath that is a set of switches to run the hydraulic levelers.  There is another set of the same leveler buttons in an outside compartment.  The big yellow knob is an emergency brake release, by the main headlight switch. 

Here in the middle are all of the gauges and idiot light panels.  Ignore the dust the motorhome has been sitting since the end of October and we will spiffy it up and dust it off when we get ready to go sometime in spring.  The gauges are all kinda extra bling, because Steve mostly uses the Silverleaf VmSpc computerized unit on the far right.

The top is the Silverleaf unit. It gives more accurate readout of the computerized functions of the engine and transmission.  It gives, of course, speed and trip mileage information.  But it gives instantaneous fuel consumption, fuel mileage, turbo boost pressure, engine temp, tranny temp, rpms, driveshaft rpm, road speed, cruise lock speed, turbo temp, and current charging voltage from the alternator.  So it gives a LOT more information than the needle gauges.  Underneath are the dash ac/heater controls and a stereo system hooked to the surround sound in the rig. The far right is the handheld CB that I talked about in my blog yesterday.

Underneath on the far right of his foot pedal area is the traditional ''red box'' that all Safari motorhomes came with.  Filled up chock full to the brim with all the manuals, books, and data sheets for everything that came with the motorhome. The ''Handing Over of the Red Box'' is a momentous occasion when someone sells their Safari motorhome to the next guy.

Between our two dash consoles is the new little back up camera monitor. I wrote in a previous blog about how we moved the camera cable from the overhead tv down to this little 12 volt digital monitor. It is setting on my cute little woven mat we bought in the Badlands of South Dakota.

Of course, you need cupholders... 
Here is one 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. 
Much better! 

Underneath our dash, wayyyyy up high upside down is a 120V AC outlet.  WHY>>>> on earth did they put it there?  You have to crawl under the dash and reach wayyy up and move over a ventilation hose to even plug anything into it.  Sooooo we ran a power strip to the side wall and mounted it tight.  Now we have four outlets close to the front.  I used it mostly for plugging in my computer while we have the inverter on when driving down the road.  (since then I have bought a 12 volt cord for my laptop that plugs into a cigarette lighter)  The outlets are also handy for vacuum cleaning to reach the front areas of the coach.   The dogs lay out of the way on the pad by my feet. It is actually a baby changing table pad with a nice soft flannel cover. 

Since I got the 12 volt cord for the laptop, Steve installed this 12 volt outlet under the dash near the console.  It has two USB charge ports that we can plug in our tablet or cell phone while travelling.

We set the tablet or cell phone over to Hot Spot for data and tether our laptops to it.  I can be online while we are driving down the highway. And why would I want to do that?  Because I have this Super Cool Slide Out Computer Dash Desk!

It extends out into my lap and can fold up and out of the way in a flash to get up and out of my seat. The cord in the pic is the 12 volt cord for the laptop. It is such a nice handy setup for putting the computer inside and folding it away when stopping for a short time like at a store, so nobody can see it from looking in the window.

 See?  closed up toot sweet! 
I just think it was really state of the art stuff to include a laptop desk wayyyy back in 1996 when this rig was built.  I know computers had gone from the all in one units of the 80s to the huge desktop computer towers, and big CRT monitors and coily cord connected keyboards in the 90s.  Not too many folks had laptops. I think laptops back then were about $2,000-3,000 range. I remember my first Compaq was in 1999 and 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.

Here is my laptop setting on the desk.  Kinda cool to be zooming down the road, working on my blog, editing pictures, Skyping with the grandkids, looking up campground information or anything interesting in the towns coming up on the road.

One of my favorite things to do with the laptop is run Microsoft Streets and Trips!  Yes, I know it is no longer supported, but the maps still update.  I have a GPS dongle that attaches via USB port, and the whole screen becomes a huge GPS!
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.  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 travelled, 
and if you zoom in you can see exactly 
where you drove, parked, camped or even turned around!

Looks like this with info and routes travelled. 


Enough of that... now on to the Drunk Doggies! 

While we went away today with the big dog Millie to visit Steve's Dad in the rehab therapy center, we first dropped off our two little shelties at the local vet for a teeth cleaning dental appointment. Both dogs came from a very unhealthy environment and bad breeding and inbreeding. Most of the dogs that came from the raid of the hoarder have very bad teeth.  Binney is Auntie and Finney is nephew.  

We left them with a pat and hug and knew they would be fine while we were gone. (more on our Millie visit tomorrow)  

When we got back about 3 pm, we found them all groggy and goofy and dazed from the anesthetic.  Yes... they were Drunk Doggies!  LOL  The vet put them together in the same recovery cage, and it was good that she did.  The tech gal said Finney came to with such a yelping hollar and squeal... but once he saw Binney next to him, he cuddled up to her and shut up and looked like he said ''Oh, Okay then, that's all right now''   hahahhaha

Finney had a large fang tooth on the upper right that had grown straight out and not down.  It was not really bothering him to eat, but if he was gnawing on a hard dog chew it would bleed once in a while.  The vet said she would evaluate it and remove it if need be.  Well, she discovered it not even attached to his upper snout jaw bone, but floating free horizontally along the gum line, with only a small part sticking out.  The rest of the whole huge tooth (almost 2 inches long) was loose and pushing against all his other teeth under the gum line!   Now he has some dissolving stitches and will be fine in no time.

Binney had some deep periodontal disease pockets they filled and has some infection. So she is on antibiotics for two weeks to help clear that up. We got all our drugs, updated their shot records, bought new heartworm and flea/tick drops and paid the bill. It was not as bad as I thought, and a lot cheaper than the expensive vet we used to go to in Appleton.  Kudos to Pheasant Hill Animal Hospital in Chilton.  (the Wisconsin Sheltie Rescue uses them a lot too and they come recommended) 

We carried out the two dozy drunk doggies to the car and brought them home. Millie was sooo worried about her buddies. She kept sniffing them gently to make sure they were all right.

Our little stumble bunnies staggered across the floor, like two drunks at the end of the night.  After a lap or two of water they both cozied up on the couch to snooze away their troubles. 

For supper I heated up leftover juice from a pot roast, and poured it over small chunks of soft carrots and potatoes and small bits of roast beef mixed in.  We had to give Millie a dish of it too so she didn't feel left out.  They licked their bowls clean, although slowly, and appear to have lazy tongues.  But they got every last drop, for sure.

They straggled back to the couch to curl up in my blanket and sleep again.  Finney once in a while is rubbing at the side of his face, but I keep stopping him and moving his paw away. I think he understands because the last two hours he has not bothered it. I do not think we need a cone, but if we do, Walmart pet section has them 2 miles away.

Night Night drunk doggies,
tomorrow you will have a hangover! 


  1. I have been enjoying reading about your motor home modifications it is fun to read how others set up their home on wheels. Plus, you get hints as to what may or may no work. (I can now see a recliner may not be the best option, thank you.)
    You and your doggies are very lucky to have found each other. Sounds like they have a wonderful home and you have wonderful cuddle buddies.

    Celebrating the Dance

  2. Karen I am really enjoying your posts on the motor home and modifications you have made. I look forward to each one.
    Dean and I both have "hitch itch" but we are busily working on some projects around the house until March. Then we plan to attend our first Escapade in Tucson. We are both looking forward to that.

  3. Glad those teeth got fixed...I am sure it feels so much better now!!
    Nice GPS set up!!

  4. Hello, I am wondering where you got your super cool laptop desk ? I have been trying to find one for my motorhome but don't know where to look.
    Thank you for any help Peter. parry@verizon.net.

    1. It came direct from the Safari Factory with that. But you might be able to find one if you Google for RV salvage yards, like Colaws in Missouri.


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