Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me

Yep, that time of year again. I just have to share this… plastic pink flamingos have been around since the 1950’s and are typically associated with Floridians and Rednecks as tacky yard ornaments. Well, we don’t live in Florida. Cheri got me a pair of plastic pink flamingos to decorate my camper with while camping.

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Too funny. She also decided we needed a coffee table book for the camper, so suitably she got me a copy of this for the camper.


It was suggested that we photograph the birds in the various venues our camper takes us to in the coming years. Should be lots of fun.

She also got me a bunch of Jeff Foxworthy books and Larry the Cable Guy book. Last year she got me tickets to see Larry the Cable Guy live at the downtown theater, it was a hoot. She knows what I like.

Wet and Wild Milestone

Ok, maybe not so wild, and only a little wet, but a Milestone none the less. This week I bought a specialty hose and put water in the campers tanks for the first time ever. What works: The water pump YEY (even shuts off when water pressure is built up, double YEY), kitchen sink (no leaks either side), toilet 2 stage fill and swirl, and the flush part both work, fresh, grey and black water level indicators on the control panel work YEY, pump switch on the control panel, both grey and black dump valves slide relatively easily and work as they should and the shower drain works as advertised.

The wet and wild (tribulation) part, there is a hose that attaches to the back of the Thetford toilet that is leaking where it attaches to the top back of the unit. This is where the fresh water actually enters the toilet. The line actually goes thru a hole in the floor of the bath/shower, which is not caulked shut so it dribbles on the ground. I need to somehow get this hose off, hopefully it is just a gasket. This looks like it could be a simple fix, we’ll see.

I have found no leaks internally to the plumbing system, Super YEY!!!

*********** Update ***************

I replaced the leaking line on the back of the toilet, only to discover that what appears to be a flapper valve type seal inside the toilet is not seating fully allowing the water to continue to run. I will seal the hole in the bottom of the floor/tray this will force the overflow to the drain and grey water tank. I don’t know if replacement parts are available for this old unit. Thetford is made in England but is the best RV toilet available. To change the seals I would have to remove the entire unit. There is no way to get any tools behind it to disassemble it.  I’ve priced a brand new one, $120 at, that may just be the way to go. Grrr I hate spending money, but it will fix it and I’ll be done with it.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

First LP Gas Fill

One day into this past 4 day stay at the lake I ran out of propane. Temps were in the low 40’s every night so it was COLD in the camper when I came home to go to bed every morning.

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Good news and bad news here. I have 2 20 gallon Propane tanks, not sure how much I started with but finally drained them both after 4 weeks at the campground. I went to a local shop to get them filled and they would only fill 1 of them. Apparently one of the tanks has an old style valve on it that the state of Kansas via some government funded study has dubiously determined is hazardous to everybody's health and outlawed refilling any tanks with this valve. Where in the Constitution does it say the government has the right to tell me what is good and safe for me and what is not. This tank is perfectly fine. I’m so sick of this stupid government wanting to control everything in everyone's lives. There has yet to be a system of government last forever… and this one is going down the tubes fast. With the way they want to tax, control and direct our day to day lives, the end won’t be pretty. Even the very powerful and mighty Roman empire went down in flames because of over controlling of the peoples. Mark my words, it will happen if things don’t change.

Sorry, where was I… anyways guess I’ll have to find a place that can change the valve on the left tank tank. At least I have heat again, geesh.

The MOST Amazing Thing

Anyone following this blog knows I’m really liking my new home away from home. Yesterday the most AMAZING thing happened. I woke up in the afternoon (I work nights) and a good Samaritan had MOWED MY YARD!  How cool it that! Not only mowed, but trimmed as well. I am absolutely loving this.

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Nobody has ever mowed my yard for free before, without me asking even. It must be my birthday :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

A little dab of water

Came back to the camper from a couple days at the stick and brick to find a little dab of water standing in a drip tray at the bottom of the large window in the cabover.

It had overflowed a bit, the wood underneath was damp but not enough to get on the bed, pillows or sheets. I positioned the truck tailgate so I could climb up and inspect the window. I had spent some time sealing this specific window a couple weeks ago. The only thing I can figure is the water came in at the lower corners where the large rubber seal has dried out and does not press tight against the glass any longer.

I have ordered 12 feet of new seal for this window over a week ago from Lance, it has not arrived. They must have sent it by stagecoach. I’m confident a new seal will solve this problem. In the mean while, I slathered a bunch of sealant around the bottom corners gapping the glass and rubber. Hope fully this will hold it for few days until I can get the new seal installed.

Almost 2 weeks and the seal is still not here :(

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Trip to the Marina

Decided to spend an extra day off at the lake instead of hurrying back to Kansas City when I got off work. I drove down to the marina and walked around, I shot a few photos. The crappie are biting, I saw some nice ones on stringers, lots of folks fishing right now.

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The water was calm, a storm was brewing, perfect for fishing.

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There are furry friends all over the place. I’ve seen as many as 8 deer grazing together in the park area.

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The elusive wild turkeys, I’ve seen them several times but have yet to get close enough to get any good photos.

Its been raining for two days now, I hope all is dry inside when I get back. After my next 4 days on, it’ll be time to load up again already. I don’t want my 14 day stay to run out in the middle of a 4 day shift, 12hrs on/12hrs off does not leave much time for fun like loading and unloading the camper and moving between shifts. I am ready to fill the fresh water tank and check out the plumbing system, if all goes well next week when I fill it up, I may try boondocking for a couple nights.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Little Tea Party

My camper made its way to a little tea party this past week. Here in Kansas City, it was held at the home of the local T-Bones Minor League Baseball Team, Community America Ballpark. The weather was fabulous.

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With the camper, I had a comfortable escape should I need it. I loaded up the bicycle and went up a few hours before it started and did some exploring around the Legends area. A few of the attractions there to check out are the Kansas Speedway (NASCAR runs a couple weekends a year), there’s a Cabela’s, a Nebraska Furniture Mart (went in and checked out the new 3D TV’s… gave me a headache, think I’ll pass for now), and tons of places to eat and shop.

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If you look close, you’ll see the Kansas Speedway across the street and the camper right near all the action.


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We had a few folks show up.  


The event went off without incident. There were a dozen or so people running for various local offices there that answered question and talked about what they wanted to do if elected. We had a few songs, a couple preachers talked. Obama’s cousin gave an interesting account of what the health care bill is doing to the health industry. Interesting point he made was how it created 16,000 new IRS jobs and not one single doctor job to take care of all these extra people.

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Local radio personality Darla Jaye was the Master of Ceremonies.


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One of the big events of the day was a salute and tribute to veterans. It was unbelievable, over 500 veterans filed out of the stands and onto the field for a tribute video and the National Anthem. When it was over, we all filed by a camera for a video of us. It lasted over and hour. Lots of tear all around by the time it was over. Some people get emotional over patriotic things, go figure.

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Electoral candidates speaking to the crowd.

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This was a cool truck that was hanging out by the entrance.

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Just a little flag waving going on.

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A few vendors selling buttons, stickers and t-shirts.

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This guy pretty much summed it up.

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All in all, a fun, feel good day of activities with a group of like minded people.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Battery Power is Operational

Yesterday I spent the day wiring up a battery system for the camper so we can have lights, fans, stereo, furnace fan and running water pump when off the grid. This will also give us the flushing toilet and working shower with power for the water pump now.

After hours of research and discovery I ended up going with 2 Trojan T-105 6volt batteries wired in a configuration to output 12volts, which the inverter then converts to power usable by all the stuff. The battery box on the camper is so small there is only room for 1 battery, and that one would have to be about a 100amp/hour 12volt unit which would not be anywhere near enough to run the furnace and pumps for more than part of a day. So, I elected to go with a truck bed mounted battery set up (photos below) which allowed me to go with bigger batteries, with more juice for longer stays.

I read and reread this website a dozen times, it is a one stop education on RV electrics. The 12 Volt Side of Life its a must see. Thanks to Mark Nemeth for the time and effort put into it.

I am now ready to move on to the next step of this adventure.

Actually putting water in the fresh water tank, leak checking the piping and holding tanks and figuring out how that whole system works. Without the battery power, there was no way to pump the water from the fresh water tank, to the holding tanks to see if everything would be ok before I actually put “wasteful” like things in the system.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

They Kick Me Out

Rule is, no more than 14 days in the park unless you are on a month to month contract and parked in one of the dedicated long term residents spots. I’m not. Ironically, none of the long term resident spots have any shade to speak of. All are almost bared of foliage of any kind except grass. Here’s the long term area.

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The on-load went very well, with the manual crank legs it takes about 1 1/2 hours to remove the truck bed cover and tonneau rails, crank up the unit, back in and align, drop legs and install tie downs and chain up. Tip for Super Cab owners.. the tailgate will fit nicely behind the seat in the truck! You can can take it along.

I have 5 days/4 nights off, I can return Saturday morning when I get off work. That will work out ok, if I’m too tired to unload, I can just leave it on the truck. Just plug in the city electric, turn on the A/C and go to bed. How easy it that?

Truck Camper on a 5th wheel

I had a unique situation to deal with, this truck I bought to haul my truck camper in, had a 5th wheel installed. These photos will show how I dealt with this.

I took the the wheel out of course, but I left the rails in. The rails are bolted to the frame of the truck and would be additional strength. Beside I had no interest in taking it out. I got on RV.Net and saw how others had done it. I got two sheets of 2 inch pink polystyrene foam, cut 1 in three pieces, then glued them together leaving a space for the rails. Its worked perfectly.

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I got the benefit of raising the camper up another 4 inches above the top of the truck cab. And as I’m working on the bed mounted battery system, it provided a convenient way to run the electrics under the camper to the other side of the truck where the way too small batter box and hookups are. The battery location is the only place in the truck they will fit with the camper basement configuration. Looking for plastic container for them, Bass Pro doesn’t have anything big enough for those two Trojan T-105’s.

Tip on the wire… 20ft, 4 gauge booster cables at Walmart, $29, with the ends cut off. That's 40 feet of 4 gauge for $30. Save 25% over buying bulk wire at the Depot.

Those are my torklift tie down extensions in the bed, removed them while not in use. Just way to easy.

Clinton week 2

Half way thru week two already. I have all these crazy idea running around in my head about selling the house, buying a cheap 5th wheel and setting up residence here at the lake.

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Kind of like my neighbor who does live here full time. One of these days I’ll venture out and meet some of them. Working 13 hours a day when I’m here doesn’t leave much time for socializing. Being Friday the campground exploded with people.

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But even with an extra hundred people, it is STILL quieter than living in the city. Hmm, if I remember right, about $265 a month plus any metered utilities I use. Another couple hundred a year for permits. I don’t have to mow grass, I work at Walmart so, I can buy literally everything I would ever need on a daily basis, no storage issues. I could jettison a buzzard load of expenses and put away some serious scratch for an early retirement. Sell the house, buy a 5’r be debt free. I’ll see how the summer goes.

OK 1 thing I didn’t anticipate.. as I’ve never camped in the same place for 2 weeks… spiders. I have spider webs all over the camper. This camper is not spider tight. Chased a wasp into the stove vent the other day. He may have a home in there by now. Haven’t used the stove yet. It’s shiny like brand new inside, hate to mess it up.

Grr, tried to upload this from McDonalds, WiFi doesn’t work. Guess it will have to wait until I get home.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Week 1 Life at the lake


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Day/night One at the campground, got off work about 9:00am, dead tired and needing sleep. I was too out of it to try and make the bed, so I just jumped in under a sleeping bag. The light coming in the windows, combined with the heat and being uncomfortable made for a hard night with little sleep. Woke up with horrible allergies. But, did get a great hot shower before heading into town and work.

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Day/night Two, better… different. Was storming, lightning in the distance when I pulled in the campground about 8:50am. I turned on the furnace, it was 48 degrees. It worked great. Not 5 minutes after I got inside it started hailing pea sized hail. Not huge hail, but it sure made a racket on the metal roof. I watched it pelt the truck hood for 5 minutes, then it quit. I turned on the radio to hear we were under a storm warning. In about 10 minutes the heavy stuff was over. Radio said there was 1 inch hail just a couple miles north of me, and the storm had move through Lawrence at 70mph, making tracks off to Kansas City. Surprisingly the camper did not really rock with the wind. I am a little bit protected by some trees, which was by design. I did notice a little water had come in around the big roof vent over the bed, not enough to drip on me thankfully. All the other spots that used to leak are dry, I must have got them sealed ok. I had a snack and a drink to relax a bit before bed. I took the time to put new sheets on the bed and put it together, it was still raining when I went to bed. I know the furnace kicked on a few times, but after I went to sleep, I never heard a thing until the alarm went off at 5pm. A much better night. While I was asleep we had a bunch of new campers come in. I thought about those in tents during the hail storm, and I’ve been there and can sympathize with them.

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Day/night Three… a bit chilly. Like 45 degrees but clear and sunny. As I wait for the furnace to bring the inside temperature up to a level where I can take my winter coat off… it dawns on me that tucked away in a cubby here are a bunch of folded up aluminum padding looking things that I’d forgotten about. At first glance I thought maybe they were leftover parts from when the previous owner replaced the refrigerator. For some reason, out of the blue, it hit me… those are window coverings for cold weather camping. Well duh. I dug into them and sure enough, one for each window, cut to size. As much as they will hold in my heat, they will also keep out the sunshiny morning that would undoubtedly make deep dedicated sleep next to impossible during my days here. The floor is cold to the touch, a new fuzzy bathroom mat is warm underfoot. There is no real draft, but as soon as the furnace shuts off, I can immediately feel the temperature falling. No thermometer, the thermostat says 74. That looks to be a 1992 original, so hard telling how accurate it is. Yes this is a 1992 Lance. The cabover sleeping area stays a bit cooler than the dinette area, I think the window coverings will help keep the heat in better today. I timed the furnace, it is taking 8 minutes for the camper too cool to the point where the furnace kicks back on. That seems like a short time to me, BUT, considering there is no insulation in the floor and the fact that its 45 degrees outside, maybe that’s not too bad. It’s taking 2 minutes to bring the temperature back up to auto shutoff point.

There are 3 truck campers here now. One of the others is a permanent full timer, on a non-service pad. He’s parked right next to the shower/bath/laundry house and has a generator hanging off the bumper. For sure running on a battery bank. I should try and snap a photo of it, it is a piece of 1970’s art on a 1980’s something Chevy. The other truck camper came in last night, a Hallmark pop-up on a Ford F150, towing a nice looking not too fancy fishing boat.

Tomorrow morning  I’ll start my 5 days/4 nights off, I’ll head the hour east to KC. Plan is to get back to the campground day 3 so I can actually spend some enjoyable time here, instead of just sleeping. Project for the week is to get my battery cables built and set to hook into the camper when I put it back on the truck. I also need to build a cradle for the batteries to sit in, in the side of the truck bed.