Monday, April 18, 2016

Alarming situation in Winter Park

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Well, if it weren't for this incident, you wouldn't hear about this trip.

We headed to Winter Park, Colorado with Tony's HS Band kids, for a Ski Music Festival. We road a chartered bus up from Texas to Colorado, straight through, in about 14 hours. Upon arrival, about 6:30am, we dressed for skiing then headed to the resort for ski rental, then hit the slopes. At 4:30pm, the kids had a little break before heading out to dinner and then their contest performance at 9pm. What a long and busy 32 hours! 

Getting ready to go

After very little sleep on a bus for 14 hours, we're at Winter Park!!
The snow has started! 2 feet predicted this weekend!
Cisco HS Band performs at the Winter Park Ski Music Festival.

Saturday, we skied some more, then kids prepped for the awards ceremony and street dance in downtown winter park.

More skiing 
Award ceremony and street dance

Just as we arrived for the events, I got a call from our security company that there was an alarm at our 5ver. Since we had made arrangements for the cats to be fed, I first worried the sitter had set it off. But she had been there much earlier in the day. 

I checked the email/text, they send when an "event" happens -- I didn't hear them come in since we were giving  instructions to the kids before they left the bus.

The email/text say exactly which sensor was triggered, and this was reported as the off-door side basement compartment. 

We decided to go ahead and let them dispatch the Sheriff's Department to check on the rig, just in case it really was broken into.

Tony also contacted the owner of the park to let him know.

There was a quick response from both the owner and Sheriff, that the door was indeed still locked and did not appear breached. Whew! Tense moments there for a bit!

Cisco trophies

After the awards and (cut short) street dance due to tons of snow falling, we headed back to the hotel. Cisco took home an "excellence award" trophy and "best in class runner/up" trophy.

Sunday we were up early to hit the road back to Texas. The bus had to be equipped with chains due to another 13" of snowfall. We pulled out about 8:20am Mountain time, and made it back to the school about 12:20am Central time.

View from the bus, headed over Berthoud Pass. Glad we had chains!

I checked Monday morning, and sure enough, the basement door was locked. But the sensor had fallen off inside, creating an "open" notification. I re-attached and secured it even better.

Now back to regularly scheduled programming.... 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

New Faucet, Basement Repack and Steps Redux

Saturday/Sunday April 9-10, 2016

This weekend, we accomplished a few projects around the Big Country. 

I ordered a new faucet for the bathroom, because as well all know, they just skimp in unassuming places to keep the price down. One of them is the size and quality of the plumbing fixtures. We like our kitchen faucet just fine, but the bathroom and shower will be replaced. This month, it's the sink's turn. 


New ready to go in


The old faucet came out and the new went in pretty easily. The hard part was positioning the pull rod for the pop up drain assembly. We opted to keep the original, rather than pull out something that worked fine and was sealed well.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it!  But the pull-rod for the new faucet had to be properly connected, and it took some trial and error to get it working correctly.

The faucet is a million times better than the previous as far as output of water, height above the sink, and distance from the edge of the sink. Now we can easily wash our hands with the "just right" temperature of water, and without hitting our hands on the back of the sink and getting water all over the countertop. 

Next on the to-do was to put the basement back together that had been disassembled upon water discovery, see previous post. First was to put the heater vents back in place, then we changed the water pump to the one we had previously in the ElkRidge. The new (old) pump is a Flojet VSD, a variable speed pump that adjusts to the demand for continuous flow. It's significantly quieter than the original one.

Tony was also able to move it back some from its original location, so that we might gain little basement space. That's a project for another day!

Next we put the water sensors from our security company in two places we thought would be vulnerable -- near the back of the water heater and the pump, and a second one near the inverter. These sensors run about $20 each, which is not cheap, but the fact that the security system will alert us home or away if they detect water, is priceless.

We reassembled the basement walls and then worked to reorganize our storage. Since our basement before was much shorter, we used many smaller bins to hold items. Although it was easy to group like items into smaller collections, it realty was difficult to get to anything without moving lots of bins. We consolidated many of the smaller ones into 4 larger, clear but rugged outdoor type bins with lid-locking handles. Many of our old bins, once stuffed, would flex when picked up and the lids would pop off. 

We got everything back into the basement, and now much more organized!! Yay!

Sunday, we took many of the old bins and a variety of other unused stuff to our storage facility, and retrieved some other items. 

In the afternoon, we worked to finally install our Glowstep Revolution Steps. We received the additional set of shims we needed to make the install. 

Here are some pics:


3 shims added to one side of step frame. They were added to both sides. They had self adhesive strips to stick them in place, very helpful!

Tony using a Torque wrench to make sure the bolts are tightened properly.

Steps in the "stowed" configuration.

Steps in the "deployed" configuration.

Straight-on view. The steps are narrower than the previous. Glowstep Revolution Steps come in two installation widths, but the stairs are 22.5" wide, no matter the size of the opening. 

These steps don't flex or bounce!

The positives of the Glowstep Revolution:
- Fairly easy to install as long as you have the right amount of shims for your application, and follow the instructions.
- Very well-made, high-quality product.
- Steps have adjustable feet for varied terrain
- Height of top step can be adjusted to keep the step-rise consistent, no matter the terrain! No other step system does this!
- Easy to fold up and pull out. Very light weight! 
- Feet touching the ground make the steps extremely stable. There is no longer a bounce of the rig when someone goes in our out. 
- Aluminum treads have grooves in them for a good non-slip surface. 
- The treads seem deeper then our previous, and the slope is more gradual.

- In our application, the width of the staircase is about 1.5" narrower. Not noticeable going up the stairs, but coming down I notice it visually. I don't feel it's unsafe, but it will take some time getting used to it. 
- The deployment of the staircase  requires removal, and reinsertion after extending, of a bail pin that locks the staircase in place. If you really need to "rush" inside, this takes a few more seconds over conventional folding steps. I'm sure it will get easier and faster over time. 

Overall, I'm very pleased with the product, and I'm sure my knees will appreciate it too!! 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Getting intimate with the BC

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Today, we had a little mishap. Upon returning from our trip to the North Texas Chapter Rally, we set up fairly quickly so we could go eat lunch. Tony handles the outside stuff while I set up the auto-level and take care of inside stuff. 

On Monday, I knew I might be doing laundry, so I asked him if he had opened the grey tank valve, and he said he had. 

Tuesday afternoon, I noticed a funny smell in the rig while I was doing laundry. Sort of a grey tank "dirty water" smell. But I thought maybe it was the AC pulling in gasses from the grey tank vent, located nearby. 

About 8pm as the last load of laundry for the day was running, I went into the bathroom and felt "squish" on the rug. Immediately turning on light, I discovered the shower full of grey water, and water all over the bathroom floor!

We realized that Tony forgot to open our extra valve, on the end of the sewer line, which caused the tank to back up and flow into the shower and beyond!! 

He opened that valve and everything drained immediately, but we needed to make sure it didn't leak into the basement and behind the basement wall, under the bathroom.

Tony worked on emptying the basement, and I worked on cleaning up the bathroom. 

Upon emptying the basement and removing the back basement wall, we found water had leaked into a furnace vent, and it was sagging from the water -- but not enough to flow into the furnace.

We found some puddled water in places, but nothing too bad. 

I think we finally crawled in bed about 10:30pm once we moved all the basement stuff to my suv temporarily. 

We put fans on the bathroom and basement, left the basement doors open, and with the low humidity of the next day, windy weather and warm temps in the 80s, everything dried easily. 

With the wall down, you can see her innards!

Although it was a preventable scenario, it was good to learn about the bowels of the rig and what "could happen" with water leaks. The plumbing, furnace and some of the tanks are accessible via this area, much more than our previous rig. 

We also noted the water pump could probably move and be less in the way for future access. We planned to replace the pump anyway, with the Flowjet VSD variable speed pump we took out of our previous rig before selling. 

I also ordered some water sensors from our security company. These will alert us via text an email if they detect water in the future. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

How high and how many?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Today we were really slow to get started, we finally got up about 8:30, ate and started prep to go home. 

About 10, we were nearly done, but Tony had heard that Dave had the means to measure the trailer (hooked up to the truck) from the highest point down to the ground. They had done some measuring earlier for folks at the rally, so we asked them to do ours. 

We had quite a group end up watching us get hitched up, and of course that always makes Murphy come along, too! (Remember Murphy's Law?)

Well, we were positioned just so that the truck tailgate was interfering with the forward compartment door, so we couldn't close it. How many Heartlanders doesn't take to help you leave the rally!? It seems like we always draw a crowd. It took us a bit to unhitch to get it closed, as well as getting the wheel chocks stuck and having to raise the rig again to get them out, too. I'm sure we put on a show for them all. Lol! 

When someone is leaving it always draws a crowd.

Once hooked up they got the measuring done.

Dave on the roof, Jay and Tony marking the height. 

 Turns out we are 13'8", which is taller than Heartland's published height of 13'3". Good to know for future trips!

After measuring, we said our final goodbyes and hit the road about 11:30. 

(Pic of Eileen to come)

It was a short 1 hour drive home. We set up fairly quickly and then went to Eastland to go eat and get mail. When we got back, we settled in and both took a nap. Visiting takes a lot of energy!!

It was a great trip, and lots of fun!!! Thanks to Dave & Nancy for a great rally.

Good things in small, and large, packages

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Today, we got up and headed over for continental breakfast at the rally hall again, and visited with more folks. 

At 10:30, rig tours were planned, but we heard that there was a small vintage trailer group, called "Sisters on the Fly" that was staying at a nearby RV park in Santo. (Coffee Creek, where we had previous Chapter Rallies before.) so Tony and I decided to drive over and take a look. Here's a few pics:

Lots of unique painted and restored rigs! They had many 2 to a site, because they fit! There were close to 50 there.

We returned just in time to prep for the Rig Touring, and we were the first rig. We had lotsof folks come though and got lots of compliments on the floorplan. 

(I forgot to mention they the day we arrived, we discovered our dining room fixture had broken and shattered all over the kitchen table! So other then that, we were pleased to show it off. 

We toured quite a few rigs, some old and some new, including the new Landmark 365 Orlando floorplan that Debbie and Lin had just bought 9 days prior! It was beautiful, and we really like what they have done to the look of Landmark. 

Heartlanders enjoy rig touring

After rig tours it was lunchtime, so we ate, and then we made our potluck dish. We made Tony's mom's marshmellow fruit salad, then relaxed for a bit. (I think we both dozed off in the recliners!)

About 4 we went out and visited some more, running into Lou & Betty D, that had come in for the day to visit and attend the potluck. They were staying nearby on Mansfield to see family, and didn't realize they were so close to they rally! We got to show our rig and Dave & Nancy's new rig that are similar in floorplan -- but theirs is a BigHorn -- so they are some differences.

About 5:30 we went to get out potluck items and help out Dave and Nancy with any setup for the evening. 

The group pic was at 5:45, and then potluck began with meat provided. We had tons of food, and everyone got a door prize. There was everything from cleaning products, bungee cords, wine, gift cards, and more. 

A couple that happened to live in the park in their 365 Landmark also attended, and although they weren't members of the club, they happened to win the one year membership extension! I hope they join, they'll get 2 years for the price of one!

The big grand prizes were a truck/tire step, and two pack of Snap Pads, with all names back in the hat for those. Larry & Mary Ann O. won the snap pads, and Paul & Nan L. Won the step. They were both very excited!

North Texas Chapter Rally attendees 

After the festivities, we visited for a long time with Jason, Audra, Colton, Jay & Stella, talking about the history of the club, and how we got involved. We also talked about the tight knit community of RVing, and how you discover how small the world is sometimes while RVing. Stella then went to join the group playing dominos. We visited some more, then about 10, we headed home. 

It was a fun day. I'm so glad to be a part of the Heartland Family. 

Golfing, Meet & Greet

Friday, April 1, 2016

This morning was the Frank Baker Breakfast Extravaganza. We were slow to get going, but made it to the breakfast. 

Breakfast in the rally hall.

At 10:30, Tony headed out with the other guys to golf, while I did some more work. 

After work was done, I did some walking around to see the rigs and talk to folks around.

Heartlanders everywhere!

Mid morning, a new Landmark 365 was coming in, and I knew Nancy and Dave, the Chapter Leaders, were out so I went out to greet them. Turns out, it was their first rally! So glad to make Mike and Vicky C. feel welcome.

After golf, Tony crashed in the recliner for a bit, we ate hot dogs, then headed over to the rally hall for the Meet & Greet. 

We went around the room and introduced ourselves, then had ice cream and snacks. We got to visit with a variety of folks. It was great! Right near the end of the evening, another couple came in with their son. They had just arrived from Lavon. It was nice to meet Jason, Audra, and Colton M. They came with their toyhauler that was now parked next to us!

Looking forward to more fun tomorrow. 

Going to visit Heartland family

Thursday, March 31

Today, we were headed to Oak Creek RV Resort near Weatherford, TX for the North Texas Chapter Rally. Tony took off Friday, and left a little early on Thursday so we could go.

I had a busy day of work, trying to wrap up a few large projects, but luckily things slowed down when we were packing up and we finally pulled out about 3:30. 

A little backstory:

Easter weekend, we had planned to go skiing in Santa Fe. But strong winds and blowing dust warnings helped us decide to cancel those plans, so we instead spent the weekend doing some other shorter trips around the area. Friday we went to Brownwood and scoped out the State Park there at Lake Brownwood, and Saturday we went to Abilene State Park and looked around as well. 

Pic of me at Abilene State Park as a little girl, maybe 6-7?

Me in the same spot, 40 years later! 

We also visited the two RV dealerships in Abilene, Big Country RV and Vincent Motors RV, to let them know about the Heartland Owners Club, and the West Texas Chapter. 

Sunday, Tony and I worked to swap the ski and golf things again from storage, since he'd be golfing with the guys at the rally. We also trimmed some tree branches around our site, so we wouldn't be hitting them as we left. We also trimmed some around the curve of the turnaround near the bottom of the hill.

Trimming branches


Thursday, we had no problems pulling out and around the park thanks to the trimming we did. 

We had no problems, and arrived at the Oak Creek RV Resort. Immediately, folks came to say "hi!" But they were getting ready to go to Brazos River Cafe for catfish. We hurried to get set up, then drove over to join them. 

Our site, #1.

There was a large group already there, but we got fast service, and really enjoyed our meal. Yay! It's rally time! 

Brazos River Cafe

After dinner I had a job request to take care of, so I went to work while tony walked around and visited.

Once I got my project done, I went out looking for him, and ended up talking to a few folks I hadn't seen for a while. I finally tracked down Tony, he was at Ted and Dee's Big Country, along with a group sitting around a fire and enjoying beverages. 

Enjoying the fire at Ted & Dee's

The night was getting cool, and the group finally broke up about 9:45.

What a great start to the rally!!