On Tuesday we were on our way back from the Menards Home Improvement Store with a load of trim wood, aluminum soffit and fascia, and other supplies. I feel he is trying to drown himself in the house repair projects to take his mind off his family situations.
We got back to the house about noon and unloaded the trailer. I whipped up a quick lunch while he was thinking of things he wanted to do next on the house. I turned on the TV and saw the noon weather report and it was going to be beautiful weather for the next 3 or 4 days.
That was it.
I put my foot down and said we're going camping!!!
By 1:30 in the afternoon we were on the road heading north!!!! Yayyyyyyy (or so we thought).
Rut roh ... They always say things happen in threes. Here's the first of the three:
Because the motorhome has been setting for the last 3 months, things can kind of seize up or rust up from non-use.
We got up the highway few miles and I said: "Steve I smell something hot!" his smeller doesn't always work so good. He's learned from past experience he better rely on me and my nose. He pulled over on the side of the highway and got out and walked around the rig. The hot smell was coming from the driver's side rear dually wheels. He couldn't get close enough safely, because of the passing traffic. He diagnosed from afar that it was a stuck brake caliper.
We limped ahead to the next exit and pulled off into a vacant parking lot. Now he could safely examine the situation. Yes the caliper had been stuck but it appeared to have broken free after a few stomps of the brake pedal and he relieved a bit of the brake fluid at the bleeder valve.
We stayed for a while in the parking lot until things cooled down on the caliper and rotor. No sense ruining it any further by driving if it was still hung up.
He was pacing back and forth kind of like a caged tiger. I could tell this was really stressing him out. We were safe and sound. We had the generator running with the air conditioning blowing and I made him sit down and relax for a while.
After about half-an-hour we were good to go. We drove around a big block of the industrial park and came back to the same parking lot to double-check the brake caliper. Yes! It had released. Whew.... Crisis averted!
From there, we drove up past Peshtigo, Marinette, and into Michigan through Menominee. We headed to one of our favorite parks. It's called Kleinke Park and it's on the bay Waters of Green Bay near where it flows into Lake Michigan. It is a little County Park of only 31 campsites. It sports a beautiful picnic area, shower building clean and neat, a dump and fill station, and a beautiful sandy beach. It is also dog friendly as long as it is on a 6-foot leash. The park has three different stations with doggie pick up bags and your dogs are allowed on the beach and anywhere else within the park.
This time we decided to drive in and park cross-ways horizontally in the site. The park does not care which direction you park your rig. This way the majority of our windows look out over to the beautiful water.
In the pic below we have the awning out and lowered for some shade in the morning because we are facing the east. By afternoon we raised the awning up higher and get a really good view out across the bay.
But one thing we did note is that at their fill station, the end of the hose is a straight pipe without any threads. That is fine for people who gravity fill their tanks like in tow behind travel trailers. But a lot of fifth wheels and motorhomes have what's called a street connection. The only way to get water into your fresh tank is by a hose with threads hooked up with water pressure to fill the tank. This can be a problem for people who have traveled long distances and need to refill, or who travel with empty tanks to cut down on their weight. I later did mention this to one of the park supervisors that was nearby and showed him our filling apparatus and why their lack of a threaded fill hose can be a problem for approximately half of the rvers that patronize their park. I mentioned to him that we generally stay at state parks and all of their fill stations have threaded hoses. Anyhowwwwww on to the park itself which is absolutely beautiful!
We walked around a bit with the dogs and just let ourselves unwind. There's a little creek that flows out along a sandbar into the bay. A few weeks ago our grandkids were here catching polliwogs in the same creek.
This is the view directly across from our campsite. Absolutely beautiful. You can see way way far off in the distance the very tip of Door County. You know, the long skinny finger of Wisconsin that reaches out into Lake Michigan?
We cooked a nice supper and set back to relax in our chairs. I had flicked on the water heater to heat it up to get dishes done.
Here comes thing number two!!!
A few minutes later, we could hear water running on the ground on the other side of the motor home. Rut roh!!! Water was pouring out the side of the water heater compartment door!!!
Steve got the door open and water was pouring out of the pressure relief valve. We immediately cut the pump pressure inside and opened some sink faucets to reduce the pressure on the lines.
Once things cooled off a little bit and the pressure went down. Steve tried resetting the pressure valve to see if it would hold. Nope.
Water would still come out as soon as we pressurized the line and water heater.
Again, things like this happen when a motorhome sits for a while. Because we hadn't used it in 3 months. It was time to think about replacing the pressure valve.
It was about 7 p.m. in the evening and we knew there was a Menards further back to the south in Marinette, WI about 20 miles. There was also a Menards up in Escanaba, Mi to the north about 35 miles. I had in my mind to also pick up pasties at Dobber's pasties in Escanaba, so this would be a good time to do both if we went to the Menards up there.
We checked online if they had the correct pressure relief valve in stock. Yes they did. So off we went in our little Tracker to buzz up there and pick up a new one. It was either that, or we would not have showers or dishwashing that night.
As we buzzed up further north, I realized Dobbers pasties closed at 8 pm. This is a problem because the section of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan we were in happens to be an Eastern Time zone. Other parts of the UP of Michigan are Central Time zone like all of Wisconsin. Dangnabbit, it was already past 8 pm eastern time - too late to pick up Dobbers pasties. Oh well. We continued on to Menards as planned.
Steve went right to the plumbing department and picked up the exact part he needed. It was only $14 and we would be able to install it ourselves and have water again in the motorhome.
While he was in plumbing, I wandered on back through the clearance area of construction materials. I have had my eye on the look-out for a piece of matching countertop to make a coffee bar in our kitchen back at home. We know we could just buy a piece of matching laminate and make our own with some wood and a router, but it would be much nicer to get one with the pretty scalloped edge exactly matching the countertop we already have on the island and throughout the rest of the kitchen.
The reason for the coffee bar is that our present coffee maker, which grinds the beans for us as well as makes the coffee, is too tall to fit underneath our cabinets on the existing countertop. We have to take it out each day and set it on the island and plug it in just to make coffee where there is enough overhead space. But.... there's an awkward space on the wall where the refrigerator cavity used to be years ago. It is the perfect spot to erect a coffee bar with an adapted piece of other cabinetry we had taken down to create a doorway into the half-bath. All we need is about a 2-foot hunk of matching countertop.
By buying this piece of countertop, we can just cut off the one side, reattach the end piece, and have the exact length we need for under $20. Much easier for sure.
We just managed to fit it into our little Tracker and have it extend up between us in the front seats. Steve needs room to shift gears, so it was tilted to my side. Lol
We got back to the campground just about by dark, and Steve installed the new pressure relief valve while I held the flashlight. That's my job, you know.
We fired up the water heater and pressurized the lines with the pump. Yay! It worked! Now we could finish up the dishes and also take showers before bedtime.
That was number two. Now we have to have number three, right? They say things happen in threes.
Steve went inside to the motorhome to turn on the lights. Only some of them were working. Others were not. This just got to be too much. Like I said, he's been under a lot of pressure. I think he was almost reaching his breaking point. Instead of being so upset and thrashing around trying to figure out what's going on with the electrical system, I handed him both dog leashes and told him to walk the dogs. It was almost dark and they needed one last walk before bedtime.
The 12 volt DC items were working but not the 120vAC items. (battery operated stuff vs regular household current stuff)
I checked our plug-in connection at the post. I checked the breakers at the post. Those are the two most common problems in a campground. Nope. Then I checked our breakers on the inverter. Then I checked our breakers in our electrical panel. Finally I did the last known thing was to check the GFCI buttons on each of the three GFCI outlets we have on our rig. Voila!!! The one up in the kitchen under the paper towel roller is the victim that had been tripped. I reset the GFCI and everything was right again. Yayyyy
So the third thing was easily resolved.
Honestly, Steve came back from walking the dogs and his mind was so hepped up with his own worries that he didn't even notice I had fixed the light situation. Lol!
We sat back and had a couple adult beverages of choice, talked out some of the family situations, and realized we cannot change the choices that some people make.
No matter how much it hurts us and stabs us in our hearts. Steve needs to realize that we didn't do anything wrong. We cannot have a discussion with somebody who does not answer our phone calls, messages, or even multiple handwritten letters. We had a good cry. And I think it released the pressure just the same as that water heater valve.
By then we took nice long showers and headed to bed and got a good night's sleep.
I woke up early, and this is the beautiful scene we could see as the sun rose along the shore of the campground right outside of our windows.
This gave us a better perspective on the day.
A while back, we had stopped at Brubaker's. It's a Mennonite store out in the country on County Road A, just east of Lena, Wisconsin. Besides fresh produce, the best thick slab bacon, fresh eggs, and some of the most wonderful meats, they also sell bulk food ingredients and unbaked pastries in their freezer department.
I had grabbed a pack of 6 apple turnovers and decided to try baking 2 of them in our little oven in the motorhome. We keep a large pizza stone in the bottom surface of the oven to help spread the heat out more evenly. You can see it in the pic below.
The apple turnovers came out great. I had whipped up a little batch of frosting to drizzle over the top as they cooled.
We were sitting out in our lawn chairs, sipping our coffee, and watching the sun come up over the water. It was truly a great way to start the morning. Our Things of The Threes was over. We can look ahead now.
Our things are now resolved, as well as our family situation put to rest in our minds and our hearts. There are other family pressures with medical implications going on right now that we need to focus on instead.
We happened to contact some good friends of ours, Roz and Gary, with their dog Charlie. We told them we were up here at their favorite campground. They said "save us a site!" and soon they were on their way to join us.
They pulled into site number 2 next to us with their new motor home they just bought this past spring. It would be good to share a couple days with them.
Things brightened up in a hurry and we enjoy being together with these people. We all have a lot in common and now that we are all retired, we can spend more time camping.
Roz and I walked the dogs down along the beach. As you can tell, Charlie just loves the water. He laid right down in it a number of times and said "This is good"!
As the day wore on and the sun was starting to go down, the bay got so calm. This doesn't happen very often. What a beautiful place to be. We can wander up and down the beach and enjoy the views. There aren't too many people here during the week. A lot of the campsites are occupied by campers who pay for a month at a time but just come on the weekends. Things were pretty quiet.
We did get some rain the next day, but we huddled in underneath the awnings and waited it out.
Did you ever know, before a rainstorm, the flies seem to bite on your ankles and your legs?
Well, these two old retired farts each got out their fly swatters. Take note, Steve could probably use a newer flyswatter than the ancient beat up antique that he has in his hand.
Both guys took out their aggressions on the flies.
It was hilarious!
I even made a YouTube video of them:
Roz and I both decided to go back inside of our campers and take naps.
After the rain was done, the guys were able to get us a roaring campfire going. A neighboring property owner had stopped to chat and brought us a nice stack of firewood. During our conversation, he also happened to mention that he was a retired engineer. I told him I was a weaver. He said he had bought his daughter a loom some time back and he himself would absolutely love to learn to weave! I am sending him my DVD in the mail on Monday....
As the guys sat around the campfire, I could see Steve's tension slipping away. Yep, he needed to go camping!!!
Once we unloaded the camper, tossed in a load of laundry, it was time for a nice long nap.
Steve said he was going to start again with working on the exterior trim around the back French window panels. They were almost done and he only needed four more trim boards around the edges for them to be weather tight and secure for the winter.
He got out the wood and the cutoff saw and the caulk and the air nailer. I got out my paint brush and can of paint. The dogs of course think they are helping too, if they stand on the inside and bark their fool heads off at Steve with the air nailer and air compressor tank.
Soon we had the trim finished and everything painted. Steve had pieced in the missing sections of cedar shingle siding. Now the east side exterior is complete.
What a transformation!
We now have windows on all four sides of the She Shed!!!
On the East side, we have these four French window panels.
On the North side we have a French door.
On the South side we have a French door and a small crank-out window.
On the West side we have 3 double hung windows that match the front window style of the house.
This morning, as I write this, Steve is working on replacing a few more pieces of damaged cedar siding on the corners of the She Shed.
And to add a very very very happy note to this blog,
our darling daughter and son-in-law
have made it now public
and I can announce....
GRANDBABY NUMBER 8
IS ON THE WAY!!!!!
This is how our daughter Heather
announced it on Facebook....