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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Day Night Shade Repair (Part Two)

We had a short drive (97) miles today, and are staying overnight at a…gasp!  KOA in North Carolina.  Expensive, yes, but convenient and close to the highway so we didn’t use gallons of diesel fuel.  So without any major catastrophes or other interesting disasters today, I’ll put up part two of the shade repair.  

Now that all the waiting is over, I’ll soldier on.

I used one of Marti’s embroidery needled to pull the sting through the holes.


Using a new spring from the kit, I put a roll of string through each eye of the spring and pulled the string through until it was even on both ends.  It was done on both ends of the spring.


Next, using s little duct tape, the spring was secured in the middle of the top rail.


Now the second hardest part, threading all the string though all the holes in the top portion of the slide.  There are four sets of holes to thread the string through.  The extra set of hands (Marti’s) really came in “handy” in this step.


Now for the really fun (hard) part.  The bottom fabric has to be slid into the middle rail.  You have to keep the string from getting caught.  The two strings on the right side have to be pulled out to the right side, then the fabric has to be slid half way out of the rail.


Here is the process, almost confusing.  You thread the string through the holes following this pattern.  The inside string has to go through the outer hole, the outside string goes through the inner hole.  Yes, they are cris-crossed.

One that is done, slide the fabric back the opposite way and again to halfway out so the opposite strings can be threaded through, inner string to outer hole, outer string to inner hole.

Now we’re almost done.  The bottom rail can be slid over the fabric and the end caps can be put on with the string threaded through the holes.`


The ends of the string are threaded through holes in the tension spools and tied off.


Place the slide back in the plastic clip and reinstall the two screws on each end of the shade into the valance.  All that is left is to reattach the tension spools in place.  You can now adjust the tension on the shade by loosening the screw that holds the spool in place and turning it a bit to increase or decrease the shades tension.


Done.  And I bet you thought I couldn’t do it.  ;c)

All tolled, it took me two hours, some of time was needed to fix the mis-drilled screw hole and drill a new one.  This shade was a four string shade, a two string (narrower one) would be easier.

I’m going to pick up some more string repair kits, I know I will be repairing some of the other shades one of these days.

PS:  Sorry for all the typos, I’m writing while using a cracked screen on my laptop and I can’t always see the mistakes.  That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!

Thanks fro visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Scratch This One Off Your List

I looked out of our window this morning at a nearby trailer and saw a man standing in the doorway taking pictures of the Journey.  I originally thought he was taking pictures because he might have thought our Journey was pretty.

Later I realized he was taking pictures to prove there was a motorhome this big in this campground.

I’m not usually one to comment on campgrounds by name, but I have to call this one out.  Statts Mill RV Park in Ripley, WV.  Exit 132 on I-77.

Not big rig or even medium rig friendly.  That entrance problem I had yesterday was bad, but even turning the opposite direction is dangerous, there is a ditch that you have to be careful that your rear wheels don’t drop down into it.  Unless you have a Class B RV or a small trailer, I would not recommend this park because of the difficult, narrow entrance.

No wonder the only RVs in the Park were a few small trailers looking like long term residents.  In fairness to the park, it was clean and neat with some new playground equipment, we didn’t use the bathhouse, but it did look a little run down.

I decided, even though it is a bit of a pain, to remove the tow bar from the Journey to make sure I had enough clearance on the way out.  I brought it inside and laid it on the floor to give it a careful checking over.


The only damage other than the cable hooks was a scrape mark on the bottom of the hitch, a solid block of steel.  A thorough inspection of the tow hitch didn’t reveal any damage or broken welds.


It was a good thing I removed it, because Marti told me after she followed me out that the tail end of the Journey almost dragged again, the exhaust tailpipe missing the ground my mere inches.

We set off to the right this time.  Another mistake.  It was 18 miles of turning, twisty, hilly, narrow country roads.  Marti went on ahead to warn oncoming cars that I was behind her.





To test my driving skills even further, there was a one lane bridge with damaged and bent guard rails from big trucks catching them.  There were jagged edges sticking out several inches just waiting to cut into one of the Journey’s side compartments.

I inched across the bridge, watching the jagged guardrails like a hawk and just cleared them.  No pictures, my hands, eyes and mind were too busy.

Finally we reached the main road, hooked up the Element and were on our way.  We figured, not counting the cost of the damaged hooks and the years taken off my life by driving those back roads, we wasted about $16 worth of diesel fuel. Tonight, after driving 195 miles, we’re overnighting at a Flying J in VA.  Maybe my pulse will return to normal. ;c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Why We Often Choose To Blacktop Boondock

I’ll get back to the shade repair, but today we hit the road, leaving Ohio enroute to South Carolina. Because we were parked at Marti’s sister’s house for a week with no hook ups other than a 20 amp electric cord, our holding tanks were pretty full and our fresh water tank was just about as dry as Quartzsite, Arizona.

Researching possible dump sites along our route resulted in a big goose egg:  “0”.

That left only other solution, a campground for the night.  Campgrounds in West Virginia where we were traveling through resulted in slim, really slim pickings.

Marti found one on line and reviews of it indicated it was just okay for an overnight.  We decided to go there, the Journey needed to dump bad!

Marti called to see if they had a site to fit us for the night and the lady that answered the phone said they did and then gave us directions to get there.

The campground was waaay out in the sticks and the road to get there was about a lane and a half wide.  It made passing the rare car an interesting evolution.  We encountered a black Porsche speeding around a blind curve.  He screeched to a stop as he saw us.  We slowly inched by, clearing him by mere millimeters.  After I passed by I looked at him in my rear view mirror, he didn’t move as long as I could see him, maybe he was waiting for his heart to start beating again.

The road twisted, turned and went up and down for over six long miles.  I was expecting to see lions and tigers and bears any second.

Finally we came to the entrance of the campground, a really tight, very sharp right hand turn up a hill.  I pulled the Journey as far to the left as I could and then swung right into the driveway.

The Journey shifted into first gear and began to climb the hill and then it stopped going forward.  I had a second’s panic that the transmission had just failed, until I realized we were…


The right side wheels were spinning on wet grass and starting to dig in.


Now we had a real problem.  I couldn’t back down with the toad attached and because it was behind the Journey and not straight, it was going to make disconnecting difficult. 

It was a struggle, but I got it loose, with Marti behind the wheel and jockeying the transmission back and forth to loosen the pressure on the tow bar.  She backed the car out of the way. 

I didn’t want to try and go forward and dig in deeper.  I could just imagine how long it would take to get my emergency road service to respond and tow me out.  That left the only option, to back up.

I told Marti to stay clear as I backed out because I was going to come out hot.  I put the Journey in reverse and backed up hard.

As I got out in the road, I heard a scraping noise, the tow hitch was dragging on the pavement.  Great.  I was able to straighten the Journey out to make another stab at the driveway, this time hoping to be over far enough to stay on the gravel of the drive.  The tow hitch dragged a second time.


I had to back one more time to get far enough over to the left to get fully on the drive.  Of course, the hitch dragged again.

Once I finally got up on the gravel drive, I stopped and checked the hitch for damage.  The hitch had some scraped paint but the link for my safety cable was bent and broken.


Fortunately I carry a collection of spare links, but no hooks, but at least I can make a temporary repair using a couple of links until I can get some hook replacements.

While I was taken the damaged links off, Marti went in to the office to register.  $20 for 50 amp FHU.  Okay, not bad.  The lady in the office had seen the trouble we had coming in to the campground and said she didn’t understand why the lady we had spoken to previously on the phone had told us to come in from the direction we did.  She always gives people directions to come in from the other way because of the tight turn.  Sheesh!

The site was all grass which made me nervous, I didn’t want to sink into the wet ground.  I got out and inspected it and found it was okay but would need to put down my jack pads so my levelers didn’t sink into the ground.  Plus we had to stay as far forward as possible because the site was off level.  It canted down to the right.


After getting situated, I dumped the tanks.  I swear I heard the Journey breath a sigh of relief.  The 50 amp electric plug was interesting.  No cover for the plug and no circuit breaker to turn it on.  Another reason I’m glad to have a surge guard protector.


Tomorrow, when we leave, I’m going to remove the hitch first and reinstall it at a safe place.  And we are going out the other direction!

Lastly, for my buddy, Rick, he was disappointed that I didn’t have any pictures of me accidently stepping on my laptop and cracking the screen.  So the best I can do is show him what my screen looks like.  I can’t wait to get it fixed, hope it isn’t too costly.  :cO


Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Day Night Shade Repair (Part One)

It was bound to happen, one of my day night shades broke a string.  I can’t complain, it lasted seven years.  I had repaired day night shades on my last motorhome about ten years ago, so I decided to tackle this repair myself.  It is not hard, just time consuming and a second pair of hands is a definite help.

I bought a repair kit at Camping World, about $12.  It comes with everything you need to effect the repair.


The shade is held in the valance by a screw on each end and a plastic clip in the middle.  Remove the screws and then using a screwdriver, open the clip to remove the shade.  At the bottom of the shade on each side is a little round plastic tension spool with string on it, held in place by a screw.  Remove the screws to free both spools.


I put the shade on my portable table to work on it.


First off, clip the string off the tension spools.


Pop off the end caps from the bottom rail of the shade.


Slide the bottom rail off.


Next remove the end caps from the center rail and the top rail. 


Cut and remove all the string and discard it.


My shade was not installed right, one of the mounting screws was screwed through the side of the top rail making it difficult to slide the rail off the fabric.


I had to trim the hole with some cutting pliers to remove metal that was hanging up the rail.  Once I cut it away, I was able to slide the rail off.


Once that was finished, I slid the bottom fabric clear of the middle rail


Now that everything is taken apart, it was time to inspect the plastic grommets that are located on all the rails.  Most were pretty worn and one was never installed, just a hole with rough metal edges.  Amazing that the string lasted as long as it did.



I removed all the old grommets and installed new ones using needle nose pliers.


Part Two will be on the reassembly if the shade.  I know you’re on the edge of your seat to see if I can really do it.  :c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Rubber Ducks

Okay, what does RVing have to do with Rubber Ducks? 


Unless you are Sherry, who has a trio of rubber ducks that ride on the dashboard of her motorhome, absolutely nothing.

However, it was our Journey that transported us to Ohio, where we got to go to a farm team baseball game in downtown Akron with Marti’s sister Anne and brother-in-law, Bud.  The team?


The team’s name comes from the large tire manufacturing history of Akron.  The best part?  We had seats in one of the sky boxes.  Yep, living large!  You can see the sky boxes over the seats where the “poor” people sat to watch the game.  ;c)


The Rubber Ducks played a team from Philadelphia.


Usually, farm team games are much more exciting than many professional games.  This game, not so much.  The Ducks lost 4-0.


In between innings, the sideline entertainment was much more fun, with the team mascot and friends performing.


Or during one inning break, a sling shot launched hot dogs,


to a kid that tried to catch them in his oversized pants.  I’d have been glad to just buy him a hotdog to avoid his embarrassment.


Then there was the kiddie stampede on the field right after the game ended.



That should have happened before the game to burn off some of their energy so they could sit still during the game.  ;c)

Just a different kind of experience we’ve enjoyed while traveling full time in the Journey.  You never know what you’re going to find or see next!

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.