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Friday, March 16, 2018

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS - *P* is for Party Patio Lights and Passenger Side Stuff

I am going to start off the new year with posting some of our motorhome modifications, a few 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 P now!


Party Patio Lights:

We have had various light sets over the years, and last summer we found this pretty set at World Market on sale. It looks so cool and patriotic! They are glass, but we put them away carefully in a tote when not in use. 

Each is an individual light bulb and we found clear replacements in case any break or burn out.... (1 filament burned out so far after a year of use)  I like them because they are not garishly bright or a penetrating dazzle glare like LED types.

We clip the party lights out on the awning.  Our awning is a thinner fabric type, and normal clothespins don't seem to work as good.  So we use these type of light clips that are similar to the ones our moms used on our winter coat cuffs to keep our mittens attached.  

We do turn them off at night at bedtime. I know some folks leave them on all night long. Light Pollution! Plus it bothers other campers. These lights do draw more wattage than our other set, so we only use them when we have electrical hookups.  The other set we own are LED and draw much less power so we put those up when boondocking.

Kinda Purty, eh? 

Passenger Side Stuff:
When we put on the miles, mostly it is Steve driving the rig, with me in the passenger seat.  Yes, I do drive it and can handle it easily.  Often I would drive it to Steve's place of work, fully loaded up for the weekend and pick him up to go for the weekend.  Now that he is retired, I drive it a lot less.  (ps I had my own motorhome when I met him, so I was used to doing all of the driving back then).  

My passenger side of the rig is comfortable and Steve has done some extra modifications to make it even nicer for me!  These seats are very comfortable, but the base is up higher than my legs can reach.  Actually my feet can dangle in the air if I sit all of the way back in the seat! My legs fall asleep after a while and my feet hurt as well.  Steve made me this adorable little foot stool, and now my traveling is done in comfort! 

This is a mesh office organizer rack we velcroed to the side wall. It can be removed easily if we want.  It keeps all of our extra clutter, maps, brochures etc. in an accessible place, but not scattered across the dash. 

Steve also added extra electrical outlets up near the dash.  This one is easy, it's just a short corded power strip that lets us access power from the outlet that is originally installed up under the dash. You can't reach the original outlet unless you get down on your knees and look up under the dash among the heating/air conditioning duct hoses.  Strange place for an outlet!   By installing the power strip, and attaching it to wall, it makes a lot more sense. 

That beige printed padded area below the power strip is really a baby changing table pad. The dogs use it as their bed.  It has a washable flannel bassinet sheet that stretches over the vinyl pad. It's a nice spot for them to sleep out of the way when we are camping, and they are not sprawled out across the aisle (like our collie Ducky used to do!) Their own little Doggie Cave.

Another electrical modification he made was to install this outlet... it has a 12 volt cigarette plug in outlet as well as two USB ports. He made sure to hook it to the "house" battery power system (that recharges from the solar)  and not on the "chassis" system which would drain the driving batteries when we are parked and camping.

My passenger dash has this really nice laptop desk unit that came original to the Safari motorhomes of this era.  Here is how it looks all closed up: 

I just think it was really state of the art stuff to include a laptop desk wayyyy back in the 90's when this rig was built.  Actually it was designed in 1995, and our rig was built at the end of 95. 

I know computers had gone from the "all in one" units of the 80s to the huge desktop computer towers.  They had those big CRT monitors and coily cord connected keyboards in the 90s.  Not too many folks had personal laptops in that era. I think laptops back then were about $2,000-3,000 range. I remember my first Compaq laptop was in 1998 and my 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.  It must have been "state of the art" for those designers to figure on people traveling with laptop computers. 

The front panel flips down....  and it's also easy to push away and snap shut when we stop somewhere. Easier to get in and out of the seat, plus I don't want the computer visible through the passenger side window when we leave the rig. 

The inside desk slides out to any comfortable distance.  I have the cords setting there right now in the pic, but they feed down through the back holes and plug into the various power outlets that Steve added for me.

The basket to the far left has a stack of our "traveling cards" 
I have 500 printed up for $10 from Vista Print. 
We love to swap cards with folks and keep in touch. 

The cards are also handy to give to campground owners if you are going to leave for the day, for emergency, or if you might want to have them check the dogs for barking etc if you go to the beach or the pool where the dogs are not allowed. We do set the tv on loud, pull down all of the shades and keep the fan or AC on for the dogs if we do leave for a bit. We would hate to ever have them barking or bothering other campers.  We have set up a video camera from time to time set on 2 hour mode to monitor them and see what they are up to when we are gone.  Upon later review: very boring, they sleep, get up, turn around, sleep, drink water, sleep.  hahahaha

Also we recently have started to jot down the campground and campsite number on the back of a card and keep it in our pocket or face up on the console in our Tracker when we are out and about. Hiking or shopping or just any time driving away from the campground.  If something happened to us, God forbid, the emergency personnel would know where we are camped at and where the dogs are in the rig.  

Okay.. back to the power outlets Steve added: 

Another thing the extra power outlets do is power up our cell phone, tablet or our antenna booster from Wilson.  It is powered for 12 volt and helps increase the signal if there is one.  A small antenna sticks to the window via suction cups.  It works well and increases 1 or 2 bar signals to 3 or 4 when we are out in the boonies.  Of course, if there isn't any signal, it doesn't help.


We have had this one for quite a few years,
I think there are newer models out now.

I use the laptop on a 12 volt cord, as we are driving down the road. I have it tethered to the hot spot on either our tablet or our cell phone.  

Why? Because I love using Microsoft Streets and Trips. I know it is no longer "supported" by Microsoft, but the maps still update. 

 I like it a lot better than the GPS apps on our cell phone. 

It has a cute little GPS dongle that plugs into the USB on the computer
that I set along in the window as we travel. 

What I like best about using a large laptop screen... it is easier to see on the fly compared to a small GPS screen. 

The program is so nice, once you get used to it. 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. it lets me import POI files of all the campgrounds, Walmarts, Cracker Barrels etc.  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 traveled, 

If you zoom in, you can see exactly 
where you drove, parked, camped or even turned around!

Looks like this with info and routes traveled. 

I sure wish it was still being supported by Microsoft. It's the best GPS I have found to work with, and find it the most handy for our needs. Isn't it always like that?  When you find something you like, the powers that be go ahead and change it or discontinue it. Argghhh! 

One last thing about my passenger seat area fixed for comfort....   Of course, you need cupholders!  We have two in the console that were shallow and our cups tipped over!  Steve found many RV stores sell deeper recessed cupholder pieces meant for inserting into tables. We ordered two of the nice deep ones that prevent spilling.  He replaced them and we now have no more spills. 

Here is one other 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. So he made this nice pull out drawer unit that on glides to move in and out of the compartment. 


Gearing up for the weekend here.  I am starting what I think is a head cold, and I am trying to fight it off.  Taking extra vitamin C and I steamed in the tub with eucalyptus oil.  After three bouts with the flu and pneumonia, I don't need to get sick again. 

We have plans to babysit the youngest grandchild, Claire for the weekend and I sure don't want to be sick.  Steve is also going to help my brother and nephews take down some trees at the cabin, so we have a full weekend of plans ahead.  

The sun is shining but it's cold out, 26 degrees. We are hoping for it to warm up enough to take a walk with the dogs this afternoon, or maybe a walk with the grandkid on the weekend.  Spring comes slowly to Wisconsin, and we are known to get snow into mid April, especially ice.  Ick!  

We did notice some tulips peeking up along the south side of the house...  So take heart, and keep faith that Spring is on the way??? 

These tulips were planted many many, years ago by the old Grandpa Kopf who used to live here.  He loved this house and took very good care of it and his yard and gardens as well. I keep separating the tulip bulbs and have been moving them down to fill in the blank spots. They keep coming up more and more plentiful each year in the last 5 years we have been in this house.  I think it would make him smile! 

This is a photo shared with me by his granddaughter Paula. 

 Grow up little tulip....

Make Grandpa Kopf proud. 

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