Saturday, May 16, 2015

Hero Truck Camper Saves

Saturday morning the residents at the end of the cul-de-sac woke up to a disturbing emergency. Mr. and Mrs. Gish had a family breakfast to attend at 9am across town and there was no hot water.  Their 2006 Lance 1030 Truck Camper rushed to the rescue by providing hot water and safety for morning showers.

“I was beside myself,” Mr. Gish said when prompted for a statement, “I just could not go to breakfast without a shower and a shave. It would have been too embarrassing.”

During the night, the aged water heater in the home had sprung a small leak that let all the hot water out. The offending unit was located next to a drain, which contributed to the success of resolving the emergency. Later inspection revealed little to no damage to personal items or property other than the water heater itself. The offending water flow was terminated at the outer wall of the basement. Arrangements have been made for a new unit to be installed Monday afternoon.

“I need to drive down to the local camp ground and dump the tanks,” Mr. Gish conveyed “then we can boondock in the driveway until Monday.”  Mrs. Gish seemed unphased by the whole event.

Thanks go out to the truck camper once again for making a family emergency seem like a non-event.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Graduation Weekend

We took a little trip of about 180 miles so I could take a little walk and pick up a piece of paper. Saturday the 9th I walked across the stage at commencement and picked up my Associate of Applied Science in Aviation Maintenance degree from Kansas State University - Salina.

I headed out first thing Friday morning to make a 1pm commencement practice. My mom went with us as it was Mothers Day weekend and her birthday. I am the first of her kids to earn a degree. It was great to be able to bring her along. Reservations were made at the KOA in Salina, Kansas. I booked a deluxe cabin for my mom and a 30amp site for our truck camper. Debbie joined me late Friday night after work.

The campground has been continuously managed for over 50 years. I lived there for two years in our fifth wheel camper while I attended school. The owners are wonderful, easy to get along with and will do anything to make your stay enjoyable. It is at exit 252 on I-70. I would highly recommend it if you are passing through.


 Across the road from the KOA is the Central Kansas Flywheels Museum. It is worth a visit. This is a video I made during an open house event they had while I was staying there. If you like antiques and old tractors and such it has some neat rare WORKING steam equipment.

I spent two years in taking classes, then finished my requirements online over the last two semesters. We had fun seeing old friends and catching up with my professors. The fifth wheel got sold when I moved back to Olathe. We just had no where to store it and no plans for any immediate traveling. We just picked up this truck camper last month. We really missed have our get away home. We have lots more adventures planned. Friend us and check back in to see what we are up to. Here's a hint... we leave for Florida in about 6 weeks for a two week trip.

A Weekend at Hillsdale Lake

This was actually two weekends ago, I have been so busy I am just now getting around to putting this post together. We packed a few goodies into the camper and made the 30 minute drive down to the marina at Hillsdale Lake. We found a place right in front to back into and proceeded to stealth camp for three days. Off the grid baby, yep, boondocked. We had heat, running water, cold beer and hot food in-between rain showers, boat rides and fish catching. You can see the dock where our boat is parked through the trees behind our truck camper.

The first night we had an awesome sunset that Debbie captured for us.

The next morning I made breakfast after a bit of morning fishing.

The fishing was not spectacular, the rain and storm system kept them spooked the whole weekend. I did end up catching a few, two White Bass, two Drum, one Walleye and one Crappie.

This was the first weekend we really got to get the boat out and it ran great. We had some work done to it in the fall and are glad we did.

Sunday we stopped at K&M BBQ in Spring Hill, KS on the way home from the lake. The Deluxe Dinner with ribs, brisket and sausage filled the bill for me.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Parkville Microbrew Fest

I belong to a microbrewers club. We call ourselves the Johnson County Brewing Society. The majority of us live in southern greater Kansas City. We are home brewers who get together and share ideas and recipes. April 25th we participated in the annual Parkville Microbrew Fest. The event was located at English Landing Park situated on the Missouri River in downtown Parkville, Missouri. Our club provided and served 9 kegs of beer at the event. The event invited almost 100 brewers, commercial and individuals to showcase their wares for the general community.

 Over 1000 people bought $35 tickets to sample beers for four hours on a Saturday afternoon. The event was a wonderful success. We had a couple spits of rain as the gates opened but for three hours the sun shined and fun was had by all. I provided the club hauling services for the Jockey boxes (mobile tap units), supplies and kegs. We decided to take the truck camper as well as it provided a "no line" clean restroom facility for us to use. We had about 12 members show up and help pour our special offerings.

Check out the video of our fun and camaraderie.

A fine crew put on a highly successful event for us. Thanks to all those who participated!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Wasp Prevention

I was out puttering around the camper the other day and saw a wasp hanging around the vent on the water heater. I thought to myself "that guy is looking for a place to build a nest". A couple days later I found him and a small nest started in the corner of the opening.

 He had helped himself by squeezing in these tiny louvers in the door.

    My solution was a piece of cheap aluminum screen. I bought a roll of screen from Home Depot for about $6, it was the smallest repair screen they offered.

I used RED high temperature RTV because this door will get very hot and any other silicon will break down and fail.
 I made and outline with tape, then make the inside box. I cut the screen down to fit inside the white line. I then took the inside masking tape box off in one piece and centered it on the screen. I held the screen in place with one hand and applied the RTV with the other until I had a nice glob all the way around.
I timed a one hour wait before I pulled the tape off. In retrospect I might only wait 30 minutes next time. The RTV had dried too much and wanted to come off on the tape. Razor cutting the edges did help get the tape off. The wasps will not be making next in our water heater any longer and no holes in the door to look at.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Dewinterization of the Lance Truck Camper

Saturday brought a nice day to be outside and get some work done on the camper. I dewinterized it by flushing the water system and filling the tank and lines with fresh water. I also installed two new Trojan brand Group 27 AGM batteries. One in the slide out battery tray and the other is located in the optional generator compartment. The original owner did not include the generator option, instead deciding to have storage the storage. Somewhere along the way two extra batteries were added to the system along with the solar panels and 3000 Watt inverter. I had Trojan brand batteries before and they lasted longer than I owned the unit they were in. I was very happy with them.

The interior checkout went well, all water faucets work and are leak free. The bath features all work like new. The fans are fantastic and the windows all work. The foam seal around some of the windows is old and deteriorating but I believe I have found a replacement product I can install myself. Lowes has a 3/8 x 3/16 weather stripping that should work perfect, only they did not have it in black. I may need to order it online to get the color I want. I will do a post when I undertake that project.
The water heater and all the gas appliances fired up just fine. The microwave worked when plugged in to 110 volt power. the power and water system monitoring station systems all seem to be working like they should.
I examined every gas connection I could find and all were checked for leaks and tightness. I hooked up an external propane tank and chilled down the refrigerator. I also ran the refrigerator on shore power for a while and the electric side also worked great. There was a wasp hanging around while I was working that gave me the notion to plug some entries. I went to Lowes and picked up some screen to make covers for a couple of vents that could be trouble areas. The vents behind the refrigerator and water heater are notorious places wasps like to build nests in. The screen project is on my list to do sometime this week.

Saturday was also brew day at my house. I am a home brewer. I brew beer in five to six gallon batches in my basement. Today I made a basic India Pale Ale, one of my favorites. It will sit in the carboy and ferment for a week or so, then I will transfer it to another carboy, add more hops, and let it enjoy another week or so of secondary fermentation. This will mellow it out and really make the hops pop on the pallet.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring Launching of the Boat

It is finally that time of year again. Time to peal the winter away and bring our 22 foot Aqua Patio pontoon boat back to life.
I rose early for a Saturday and began checking off a mental list of things to do in preparation to launching the boat. I knew the boat battery would be dead so I had charged up the backup unit. I also new the trailer had two flat tires so I had obtained an extra air bubble in addition to the small portable air compressor. I had unloaded the truck camper Friday night and still needed to install the truck tailgate to ensure these items remained in place during the trip. I spent the better part of an hour loading up for the day. Nephew Woodie arrived mid morning and we piled into the pickup truck and headed towards Hillsdale Lake.

We stopped at Lake-n-Dale and ate Pancakes and Sausage until we were bloated. Then we pushed on to the lake. The boat had survived the outdoor storage none the worse for wear. The first order of business was to check for power and ultimately installing the backup battery. With power assured I turned to the two flat tires. The first took air and rose to the occasion. The second was not so cooperative. The ten year old tire had given up the ghost. The sidewalls were cracked clean through, the air escaped as fast as it went in. A new tire was going to be required.

Debbie got on the phone and started calling around looking for a tire. Walmart and Tractor Supply were no help. Big O tires in Gardner saved the day and came through with a new tire. We headed to town. They were fast and friendly, our experience was great. I must recommend them. We will be buying three more tires later in the summer as they all are 10 years old.

Returning to the lake we had the tire on in short order. Woodie assisted by installing the lug nuts. I tightened them up. We removed and stowed the boat cover, hooked up and headed for the boat ramp.
We rent a slip at the marina boat docks year around. The cold icy winter months find our boat in open storage behind lock and key, the summer enjoying the warm summer waves. The weather was a bit cool so the first trip around the lake was cut short but warmer days will show up shortly.
We can’t wait to bring the truck camper down and spend some time. Fishing, floating and relaxing during the days, camping and enjoying the day’s catch in the evening is in our future. The camper is self contained enough we can boondock from the parking lot next to the docks.
Stormy weather the next week and busy days will keep us from the camper. I have made arrangements to pick up two new Trojan brand Group 27 Deep cycle AGM batteries for the camper next weekend. I have a sneaky suspicion I have a slight gas leak somewhere to track down. The gas alarm goes off when the unit is locked up and the windows closed for any length of time. It quickly resets when I open the door and let fresh air blow in. I have made arrangements to get it into the shop on the 20th for an operational inspection. In the meantime, I will keep fixing things that I can. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Catching up... We are Happy Kansas Campers again!

Time flies when you are having fun. The old saying we have heard for years on end has proven itself again. It has been years since I last put an entry on this blog. I am at a new place in life and we (not I) are starting another adventure. The urge to write bug has bitten again due to more than one reason. Let me briefly fill you in on my whirlwind life the last four years and catch you up.

The last you knew my camper had been damaged in a hailstorm, repaired and returned to service. In the fall of 2011 I began dating a young lady who caught my eye and we hit it off. Debbie is a teacher and in the summer of 2012 we had the opportunity to take a six-week vacation, meeting up with family in Orlando for a week of fun. We had half heartedly looked at 5th wheel campers a while and one day we stumbled upon an immaculate 2006 Keystone Laredo. We traded the 1998 Lance truck camper for the Laredo and took to traveling. We went straight to the east coast, spent some time on the Space Coast and St. Augustine, Orlando, eventually making our way to Pensacola for a week of fun. In August of 2012 I started college at Kansas State University in Salina, Kansas. I lived at the KOA in the Laredo and was quite content. I commuted home every other weekend, Debbie commuted from Kansas City. We traded weekends making the 400 mile round trip. In June of 2013 we were married. I took the camper and went to Lincoln, Nebraska for 10 weeks for an internship over the summer. Debbie came with me. In May of 2014 we bought a home, I finished my program at K-State and came home to Kansas City and went to work. We decided to sell the Laredo in June of 2014 rather than let it sit and rot as we paid storage on it. Extended travels were not in our near future. 

We never wanted to sell the Laredo but logistically and economically it made no sense to keep it. Debbie often perused the Craigslist ads and began hinting that maybe a truck camper was what we needed. It could stay on the truck all the times in the driveway. We could use it for quick getaways on the weekends. We could also slip down to a nearby lake and campground where we have a pontoon boat in a marina slip and spend the day and night when the fish were biting. She was planting seeds; I was skeptical. One day she found one she seriously wanted to look at. We drove 40 miles to look at a Lance on an RV lot after the dealer told us it was still there. As we drove in a couple was digging around in it, they were the new owners. A little more searching craigslist ads turned up this unit in Valley Falls, Kansas. We made the two hour journey to see it and negotiated what we feel was an excellent deal.

This 2002 Lance 1030 is sweet, clean little unit with a two panel solar set up and electric jacks. Those two things I did not have on my older Lance. It is no longer I, but we and we are Happy Kansas Campers again.