Monday, April 27, 2015

Moving on: Saguaro Co-op Escapees Park, Caballo Lake and Elephant Butte

Since leaving San Diego, Katie and I have been traveling east to New Mexico and we're finally here.  We stayed a couple of nights at the Viejas Casino in Alpine, CA, then traveled to El Centro to stock up on food, gas up and spend a night at Wal-Mart.  We drove onward toward Benson, AZ, spending a night at the Love's Truck Stop in Gila Bend. Next we traveled to the Saguaro Co-op Escapees Park in Benson, AZ where we spent a night in their dry-camping lot, right next to the office.

While we were in Benson, we met up with Judie and Gary, fellow RVers, from Sierra Vista.  We've been trying to get together for a while and finally things worked out.  They came to get me and treated me to a wonderful dinner at Mi Casa, Gary's favorite restaurant in Benson.  I had a wonderful time - they are the most interesting couple!

After dinner we came back to the The Palms and spent a couple more hours visiting.  The evening came to a close, and I hated to see them go - they might be traveling to the New Mexico State Parks this spring/summer and I hope we will meet up again.

Thanks for your visit and a great dinner, Judie and Gary.  I'm so happy I finally met you both - see you soon!  :)

I got some photos of a few birds at the Saguaro Co-op park -

and my first cactus blooms of the year.  Some of the toughest looking cactus have the most delicate flowers.

There were a lot of "babies" in one area of the landscape - this is one of them.  I was surprised how many were ready to blossom at this tiny size:

This Escapees park is beautifully landscaped with different kinds of cactuses and little signs telling what kind they are.  Not a weed in sight - they do a great job.  It's a very nice, clean park.  I have been thinking about spending a month or more there in the future.

The next morning we headed to Caballo Lake State Park in New Mexico.  I have to say, I don't enjoy driving like I did in the beginning.  It's still exciting to get behind the wheel heading toward a new destination, but after about two hours of driving, I'm ready to stop.  That's one reason this area is so great.  Caballo Lake and Percha Dam State Parks are very close to each other, and Elephant Butte State Park is just 30 minutes down the road.  And Truth or Consequences (T or C) is right up the road from there, and it has a Wal-Mart in addition to other stores and restaurants.

We've been here at these state parks for the last four years, and taking photos isn't as high a priority as it used to be.  Most of the sites, birds, flowers, etc, have already been snapped and posted more than once.  I did take one photo, though, at Caballo.  We camped in the parking lot above the lake and boat ramp for three nights.  We had a great view of the lake, blue and  beautiful, then changing to grey as the clouds came in and the wind started up.  We had some rain, too. 

When the wind whipped up one afternoon, the lake below was sparkling with diamonds.  It was so pretty, there must have been little whitecaps all over the surface of the water and the sun was hitting them just right.  I snapped a photo to see if it would show the "diamonds," and it wasn't bad:

We caught a mouse in the trap under the driver's seat the first two mornings.  I got out my flashing solar light strings and put one in the engine compartment and one under the seat in the cab - and that did the trick; we didn't have any more mice.  :)

Then on Sunday I decided to head on to Elephant Butte, do some shopping at the Wal-Mart in T or C, then get a free dry camping site (with my annual pass) overlooking the lake.  We got here in the late afternoon and there were NO sites.  There are not many designated dry camping sites here, but there are two I know about that I've used in the past, and I was able to grab the last one.  The lake is so high I actually have a lake view from this parking place.  And super good Verizon and TV channels.  I was planning on staying at South Monticello, but just might stay here for the 14 days.  We'll see.

That's about it - just driving east and hitting a few spots along the way.  Now that we're in New Mexico we'll settle down a little and hopefully have a nice summer.

And one more thing:  I wanted to let you know - Discount Tire/America's Tire has never gotten back to me after that first e-mail.  I didn't want anything from them, except maybe paying the extra to exchange my four tires for the four I originally thought I was purchasing.  I'm disappointed; I thought their customer service would be better than that, and they dropped the ball.  :(

From me and Katie, have a great Monday, everyone!  :)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Exciting new RV upgrade/mod - Part 3 of 3

Here we are, ready for the...

The pantry box with the hinged door attached was ready to be attached to the wall in The Palms.

This is the "before" photo showing where the pantry will be.  It's a perfect size and place for the pantry.

Tom put it on the wall to be sure it still fit after he inserted the top, center and bottom interior cross boards, and it still fit.  He leaned it against my closet and went back for his tools.

Next, fitting the pantry between the floor and the two finish strips on either side of the wall space.  He nudged it a little here and a little there, and then started drilling in screws on the top corners and bottom corners and the middle section on both sides.  There weren't any studs inside this wall, so he double-screwed the center and each corner and it's very secure.


Next step was attaching the four "double roller catches with spear spikes."  The catches were screwed to the inside of the Pantry wall.

Some of these pictures were taken after the pantry was in use.

Then attach the four spikes to the inside of the door.

Next was inserting the "spoon" cabinet shelf support pins into the drilled holes and laying the selves on them.

These are the original cabinet handles in The Palms.

Tom had this knob in his bag of cabinet hardware and it was such a close match, I decided it was perfect and we used it.

Here it is, all done and full...  very full!

View from the dinette:

It is only four inches deep; the room I lost was so minimal, I don't notice it.  The cabinet is 75" tall, 20" wide, and 4" deep and has 11 shelves, counting the bottom of the pantry. I took out one shelf to get a taller space - they are adjustable for the things I need to put in there. And as you can see, Tom matched the stain color perfectly. 

The Roadrunner knot in the wood is on one of the shelves.  :)

And that's the Pantry upgrade mod install.  I can't tell you how much

The morning it was finished, Tom headed up to Disneyland to meet up with his family spending the day there and I took off east to wait for a week for my next doctor appointment.  When I stopped at Viejas Casino, I was beat, but got super energized as soon as I got things settled in the rig and walked Katie.

I started putting things inside the pantry and filled it completely.  I was on a roll and had so much room in the cupboards now, I was able to move things and re-arrange some of the spaces. I totally cleared out my shower (so now I can just jump in and turn on the water), and threw away bags and bags of things I no longer needed or never used. I had four bags of "good" stuff to give away, and did that when I went on to Hot Springs.

The funny thing is, from the first day I filled the pantry, I've never accidentally reached up for the cupboard that used to hold most of my non-refrigerated food.  All my spices are in the pantry, dry goods, canned goods, sweets, grains, oils and vinegars, etc.  It holds a ton of stuff!

When I drove back to San Diego for my last doctor appointment, Tom took me out to lunch and picked up a few things that I needed him to store for me, and he looked in the pantry.  "You've really utilized this space!" he said.  You bet, every available inch, and I can find everything.  I used to have my spices in a small decorative suitcase in the cab of the truck, and the canned/dried foods four deep in an upper cupboard in the kitchen.  I didn't realize I had four cans of re-fried beans!

All that reorganization led to a major cleaning frenzy, too, in the rest of The Palms.  Funny how one thing leads to another.

THANKS, TOM! for doing all that work for me, spending so much valuable time on my project, and picking up the cost.  Win/Win/Win for me, and I so enjoyed spending the time with you and watching how you work.  I'm so proud of you and the way you handle yourself, your work ethic, and all your skills.  And the pantry is

From me and Katie, have a great Monday, everyone!  :)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Exciting new RV upgrade/mod - Part 2 of 3

Ever since I saw Andy Baird's post on his new pantry I've wanted one.  Then when I met Andy, he showed me some of his motor home modifications that are documented on his website, and one was the pantry.

Then last winter, Jeanne was visiting her parents in Texas and she and her Dad built a pantry for her Lazy Daze, too.  After seeing hers I really wanted one!

I printed out their posts and Andy's pantry plan for Tom to see, and we followed that plan with some adjustments to fit The Palms.  Thanks to you both for your informative posts on how to do this. 

Here are the photos of the next phase of my new RV mod - the building of my new...

Tom finished up fitting the four sides of the outer box, attached them together, and added boards on the top, middle and bottom for stability.  (He used wood glue on parts of the pantry before attaching the wood with nails or screws where he wanted the extra hold. ) 

You can see, if you look close, the holes already drilled to hold the pins that will be inserted into the frame to lay the shelves on.

Then we walked over to The Palms to place the box on the wall to be sure it fit, and it was perfect.

We brought the pantry frame back to the garage.  The second piece of plywood was used for the back, which was attached next.  When we got the two pieces of plywood, we decided to get one with a finished side, in case we wanted to use that for the inside of the pantry.   After talking it over, we decided to use the finished side against the wall and stain the unfinished side to use inside the pantry.  We were both happy with that decision when it was done.

Tom had already blended stains to match the cabinetry in The Palms, and with the final stain can and a clean rag, I started rubbing it on. 

I've never done this before, and was surprised how easy it was and how nice it looked.

While I was staining the wood, Tom prepped the shelves, sanded the edges and applied the stainable  iron-on edging.  He had already done that with the wood edges I was staining.  The cabinetry in The Palms is Honey Maple, so everything we got was maple, and the stain matched the honey color.

Then he stained the door, and once they were both dry, he did a little hand sanding.

When they were dry, he sprayed on the seal.  It dried overnight, and the next day he sanded it and re-sprayed the seal for a beautiful smooth finish to match the cabinetry in The Palms.

I'm not sure of my timeline here - we worked on the pantry and also did other things and had Easter with the family all during the same time, over a few days.  Sometimes Tom was out in the garage working by himself while I was doing other things.  He got piano hinges to hold the door on, and decided to attach three of them to hold the door securely.

And he got the closure hardware, double roller catches with spear spikes.  He used four of those along the door and inside the cabinet to make sure the door didn't open while I was traveling.  The ones he chose keep the door closed tight, but are easy for me to pull open.  They were attached after the pantry was on the wall.

When it was finally done and we had some time, I moved The Palms up to the driveway, opened the door, and...

In the next post I'll show you the install of the pantry and how it looks on the wall.  Plus how much it holds.  Amazing!  :)

From me and Katie, have a great Sunday, everyone!  :)