Sunday, August 28, 2011


Yesterday did prove to be an interesting day.  There were times when we thought the sink project was going to get the better of us, but we hung in there and finally had success!  Here is how the story unfolded.....
Here is where we started with the old sink and faucet. 
Here is poor Billy....flat on his back removing the screws that hold the counter top onto the base.  He has already shut off the water and disconnected the water lines and drain pipes.
Our first problem, was locating all the screws holding the counter top to the base.  We thought we had removed all the screws, but it would not budge.  Finally, after removing the interior panels, we discovered more screws on either side which had been hidden from our view.  After removing all the screws the counter top easily lifted off the base and now Bill could easily remove the sink bowl and faucet.
We have solid surface counter tops.  They are thinner than residential solid surface so they use a plywood "filler" to add stability.  That is the old drain pipe sticking out.
What a nasty mess that is.....we obviously had been having some leakage.
We have no idea why they felt it necessary to cut a square outta of the plywood....all that accomplished was making it next to impossible to use a wrench to tighten down the sink.   Which is probably why we were having leaks.
Bill's solution was to fill the square and then drill the appropriate size hole to pass the drain pipe through.  Now he could tighten things down properly!
Here we have the finished installation.......pretty nifty if we do say so ourselves.  One last improvement...we were able to actually center the counter top on the base.  The old install had left the counter top slightly off center in order to get the taller faucet to clear the door swing of the medicine cabinet.  Our new faucet has a much lower we could now place the counter top where it should have always been!  It was a job that took us most of the day, but the end result was well worth the effort.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

RV-Improvement Project

Ok so here we go again....another "RV-improvement" project is beginning today.  We have been very unhappy with our faucet in our bath area and we have had some issues with our sink as well.  Yesterday our new faucet and sink arrived and we are going to install them today...I hope!  I plan on taking lots of photos of the before, during and after to share on tomorrow's post.  

We would appreciate all you folks out in blogland keeping your fingers crossed for us!  Cause ya know, nothing every goes according to plan when it comes to RV-Improvement!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tea Anyone?

I got a lot of comments on my new Altus Tea System on the post before that I have actually used it....
Yes, I still love it.  It is easy to use, easy to clean, and makes a perfect cup of tea!  The only thing I want to point out is that the 3 cups refers to 3 standard tea cups....not an actual 3 measured cups.   I found that it actually holds just under 2 measured cups.  The cool thing is that most loose teas can be re-steeped two or three I just pour more hot water in and I'm ready to go!  As you know, I bought mine in a little tea shop in Delphi, IN.  I knew I got a good price, but I didn't know how good till I did a little internet shopping.  I paid $28.95 plus tax.  The best price I could find is on Amazon for $37.18.  Quite the difference!  If you have an Amazon Prime membership....shipping is free.  I did notice that the Altus comes in a one cup size as well.  I'm wondering if the Delphi Tea Shop didn't get confused with their pricing and give me a 3 cup for a 1 cup price.  I hope that is not the case, but it does make me wonder.
Weather.....we had another storm system come through yesterday.  We were lucky....we had plenty of rain, thunder, and lightening...but not much wind.  I know some were not so lucky.  I have to say I'm a little nervous about traveling this year.  I just don't quite know what we will run into along our journeys.

Monday, August 22, 2011

My new ipad

I have wanted an iPad from day one, but I just didn't really know how much I would use it. The turning point came when Billy and I started sharing my laptop. Sharing a computer is difficult. We both like to spend a fair amount of time on the computer doing different things. Billy does a lot of research and blog reading. I read blogs, books, and do a lot with my photography. We eventually want to get a desktop computer for Billy, but the one he wants just doesn't fit in our budget at present. So, I ordered an iPad 2. We opted for 32 gigs and just the wifi. I have been using it for about a week now and I am absolutely in LOVE!!
With the exception of my photography stuff, I can pretty much do everything else on the ipad. There is a bit of an adjustment to the way some of my apps work. For example, when I use the iPad version of amazon some of the navigation buttons appear at the bottom of the screen instead of at the top. Getting used to the touchscreen keyboard requires a bit of practice as well. But I'm getting better and faster everyday and it is way cool! Reading my ebooks and magazines on the ipad is a dream. I only have one problem. I think I'm becoming addicted to the apple bookstore and all those down loadable apps available to me. Hey.....maybe there is an app for that! LOL!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Great Day

Yesterday, I spent the day with my Mom.  My Mom is quite something......she is 70 years young and still as bright and beautiful as ever.  She still works.....two part time jobs...not because she has too, but because she wants too.  Finally.....a day we took to the road together.  We headed over to Delphi Indiana...which is about 30 miles or so north of Lafayette.  There is a neat little Tea Shop that has opened there and we decided that would be the perfect place to have lunch.  We opted for "afternoon tea" which consist of 3 different kinds of "finger" sandwiches, a pot of Blueberry tea, and a lemon puff and cheesecake for desert.  It was wonderful.....very relaxing and fun.  I do so love tea, but I have never had much success brewing with loose tea leaves at home.  Messing with those darn little tea diffusers....well, I just never found one I really liked and I just don't like fussing with them anyway.  Most of the "bagged" tea I have tried....just didn't seem to carry the same aroma and flavor of the loose tea.  At the tea shop I found a solution to my "tea" problem......
This little pot allows you to put the tea and hot water in the top.....allow it to steep a few minutes....and then with a touch of a button you have the perfect cup of tea.  No muss, no fuss....I can make just one or up to 3 cups.....perfect for me.  I so enjoyed the Blueberry tea that I purchased a small bag of it as well.  I feel so special.....LOL!
After the tea shop, we headed to Zionsville.  Another quaint little town in Indiana.  It's main street is lined with little boutiques, art galleries, and bistros.  I so enjoyed the inspiring to see what other artist are doing.  The main street with its brick pavers and beautifully landscaped shops is inspiring as well....I so wished I would have had my time, I promise!  All in all it was a wonderfully relaxing day and best of all it was spent with my MOM.....

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Straight Line Winds

Wow!  What a frightening evening we had last night.  The weather here in Lafayette has been wonderful the last few days.  80's during the nights.....and no humidity.  So, I guess we were lulled into a false since of security.  We knew storms were forecast for our area and the heat and humidity had rose during the day, but we had absolutely no warning.  We were both just kicking back in our easy chairs watching tv, when all of a sudden a big gust of wind came rolling by the trailer.  I mean it scared the "@#$%" outta me.  There was so much debris...tree limbs, leaves, dirt, and trash flying by......Billy and I jumped up and ran to the door.  I was afraid a tornado was coming......but just as fast as it came, it stopped.  We were lucky our awning was out, but unharmed.  The neighbors behind us were not so lucky.  Their awning was destroyed.  We picked up some trash and saw that a big old tree limb had fallen and just missed our fifth wheel and truck.  After the wind passed, the thunderstorm came through next.  It was not too bad.....although we did lose power for awhile.  We watch the news later and heard that straight line winds had hit the Indianapolis State Fairgrounds.  The state fair is going and it took out a stage and I think some bleachers right before a show was to start......I heard 4 people were dead with many injured.  My heart goes out to all those poor folks.  I know how lucky we all were here at the could have been so much worse. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Guest Blogger

I know....been awhile since my last post.  I guess it is just too darn hot to even type on the computer and my poor little brain is wilting!  The last couple of days the heat and humidity have eased up a bit...thank goodness.  At any rate, Billy and I have been making plans.  I asked Bill for a bit of technical information and he did such an outstanding job of explaining everything that I just decided to let him tell you of our upcoming plans........So here's........Billy

Our rig was factory equipped with 2 @ 7,000# AL-KO axles with leaf springs.  During the Americana conversion process, a Kelderman air ride system was added to the existing suspension.  Basically, the center equalizer was cut from the frame and attached to a newly installed "A" frame with a pivot point on one end and an air bag on the other.  We have enjoyed the ride of our rig and the capability of bleeding air or adding extra air to either bag allowed us to level the rig without having to put boards or leveling blocks under the tires.  This system worked well for us except for near yearly maintenance on the leaf springs and the popping and creaking sounds from the suspension operation.  We have weighed the rig several times and once using individual wheel weights.  We always came in very close to maximum allowance for each axle and each wheel position but not over.  During our 4-years of use, we have had one broken spring our first year out (replaced the one spring in Florida and replaced all 4 springs when back in Indiana) and replaced all 4 springs again last fall because the springs lost their arch.

Last fall, we traveled to White Pidgeon, Michigan to the Quadra Manufacturing plant and had a Bigfoot EZ hydraulic leveling system installed on our 5er.  We now have 17,000# hydraulic jacks on the front to replace the original electric landing gear and new 17,000# hydraulic jacks mounted behind the rear trailer axle.  The Bigfoot EZ is not a full automatic leveling system and uses a central hydraulic pump & reservoir with supply and return hoses to each of the 4 jacks.  You always operate the jacks in pairs, either two fronts, two rears or left or right side.  We still use sprit levels to verify level state for front to rear and side to side axis.  This system has certainly met our expectations and if a need arises, it will lift all four tires approximately 12" off the ground.

Because of our issues with the leaf springs and the fact we no longer need the adjustable air bags for leveling at camp ground setup, we decided an upgrade of our trailer suspension was in order.  A lot of research and thought has occurred over the last year or so and had narrowed our choices down to either the Mor/Ryde Independent Suspension (IS) or a Dexter Airflex system using torsion type axles and 4 air bags.  Because our friends Howard & Linda Payne had the Mor/Ryde IS system installed on their rig last year and the fact that Jack & Danielle Mayer chose the Mor/Ryde IS system over the Dexter Airflex on their new custom built New Horizons rig, we decided that this was the system we should use also.  We made an appointment with Mor/Ryde yesterday and during the coarse of the conversation, mentioned that we were at the point of new tires and wanted to go with 17.5" "H" rated tires and wheels.  Gary Wheeler was our contact at Mor/Ryde and he quoted a price of $600 per wheel position (mounted, balanced and installed) for the Hi-Spec Series 03 17.5"x6.75" 865 aluminum wheels and Goodyear G114 215/75R17.5  "H" rated tires.  The first thing we will do at Mor/Ryde is weigh our rig again and also consider planned weight additions (say Debbie's washer & dryer units) to determine whether we will use a 7,000# system or increase capacity to 8,000#.  Our intent was to automatically upgrade to the 8,000# capacity for a little extra "cushion" but Gary cautioned that the system needs to closely match actual weight conditions.  Anyway, the size of our upgrade will be determined before the work begins and was quoted at an installed price of $2,500 for the 7K and $3,100 for the 8K capacity.  We already have the Kodiak hydraulic disc brake system on our Americana and will reuse these as is.  Our install appointment is for the first week of September in Elkhart, Indiana so we will depart Lafayette the day after Labor Day and spend a couple of days at camp Mor/Ryde like Howard and Linda did.  Our thanks to the pioneers (this would include Mark Bruss, Jack Mayer and Howard Payne , et al) who have put in long hours of research and who have provided information of their experiences and decision making process to the others who are about to take the same journey.

Did a great job....didn't he?  Here are a few links for those interested.......

Dexter Axle Down Load PDF
Kelderman Air Ride
Big Foot Leverler
Hispec Wheel

If you have any questions for Billy you can email me or leave them in the comments section.