Category Archives: Spyder

Cadman Park Gang

I took a break from pickleball on Friday and took care of a few domestic chores. First of all, I dumped and flushed our holding tanks. I usually do this once a week when we’re on full hook-ups. Then I took care of house cleaning. Donna often says that when you live in 300 square feet of space, everywhere is a high traffic area. High traffic areas require frequent cleaning. I also cleaned out the shower drain and had the place ship-shape by noon.

My next task was adjusting the parking brake on the Spyder. As the brake pads wear and the parking brake cable stretches, it goes out of adjustment. With too much slack in the cable, it becomes difficult to get the brake to release once it’s applied. The procedure calls for tightening the adjusters until the brake applies, then backing off the adjustment lock nut four and a half turns. Sounds precise but it’s really only a guideline. It’s more of a trial and error process until you get it right.

Friday afternoon was warm – the temperature reached 84 degrees. Around 3pm, I rode the Spyder to CVS in Pacific Beach to pick up a couple of items. Although CVS is only a few miles from Mission Bay RV Resort, it was a tough ride. Traffic was backed up on Mission Bay Drive and barely moving. Grand Avenue wasn’t much better. It took me about 20 minutes to get to CVS. I planned to go to Offshore Tavern and Grill around 4pm for a cold one with the guys. I could see that getting out of Pacific Beach on Grand Avenue or Garnet Avenue would be slow going.

I took an alternate route that was much longer mileage-wise but ultimately I think it was quicker. I rode south on Ingraham Street to Sea World Drive, then hit Morena Boulevard and continued onward to Offshore Tavern and Grill. With Donna away visiting her parents in Vermont, I decided to take advantage of the happy hour pricing and ordered a poke plate for dinner. Poke (po-KEY) is cubes of sushi grade ahi tuna over chopped cabbage with green onions and Asian dressing. Fried wonton chips and avocado complete the dish. It’s delicious.

Poke plate

Saturday was another warm day with the temperature reaching the mid-80s. As I was getting ready to head over to Cadman Park for a get-together with old friends from my school days, Ozark was taking her usual mid-day nap on her bed attached to the living room window. With abundant sunshine, she needed to shield her eyes while she slept. She does this when it’s bright outside.

Ozark shielding her eyes while she naps

We had about a dozen people show up at Cadman Park. Someone was grilling burgers and we had snacks out. We stood around and talked over a couple of beers.

Some of the gang at Cadman Park

There were some people I haven’t seen in a few years and there were some I haven’t seen in decades – Mike McMahon, J D Mincey and John Drake. A little after 3pm, we moved the venue to the patio at Offshore Tavern and Grill and a few more people showed up. It was a fun time.

Party on at Offshore

I left before 5pm and came home to watch the Moto GP qualifying and Moto America races from Austin, Texas.

Today we have cooler weather. We may see 70 degrees, but it won’t be any warmer than that. I’m meeting up with Gary Stemple and a few friends at Dana Point around 1pm to go out on his boat for some wake boarding. Sounds like it’ll be another fun afternoon.

 

 

 

Girl’s Week in Sedona

I haven’t posted for a few days – mainly because nothing remarkable has happened since we went to the Arizona Renaissance Festival. It’s been pretty routine around here. This tends to happen when we spend two or more months in one location.

Yesterday the routine was broken. I took Donna on the Spyder to the Budget Rent-A-Car location at Superstition Springs Mall. She picked up a car and drove it back to our site where she loaded up her bags. She was off for a girls week-long adventure. Her friend from her college days, Lynne Ogren, flew in from Albany, New York. Donna picked her up at Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix and they drove up to Sedona.

They booked a room in Sedona and plan to explore the area and spend a day sightseeing at the Grand Canyon National Park.  Sedona is a small city of about 10,000 people located south of Flagstaff, Arizona. The area is known for it’s natural beauty with red sandstone rock formations – it’s called the Schnebly Hill Formation. The elevation there is 4,326 feet above sea level and the temperatures are generally about 10 to 15 degrees cooler than here in the Phoenix area. I’m sure they’ll have a great time.

Meanwhile, I’m a bachelor once again – this time for one week. Donna will return next Tuesday. I’ll probably stick to my routine of pickleball in the mornings and happy hour meet-ups with friends. I don’t cook like Donna, so I can see pot pies and pizza on the dinner menu.

We’ll be hitting the road in about two and half weeks, so I need to start straightening up and organizing the trailer. I’m starting to feel the hitch itch and I’ll be ready to hit the road again. Although we were surprised with an overnight rain shower Monday night, there’s no rain the forecast for next couple of weeks. A cold front will move through on Friday dropping the high for the day into the upper-60s. The rest of the days look to be in the 80s.

St. Patrick’s Day Gathering

I went out and ran a few errands Thursday afternoon. Before I left on the Spyder, I dropped Donna off at the nail salon here at Viewpoint RV and Golf Resort. You gotta love an RV park that has its own nail salon! Earlier I had stopped at the main office and booked some time here next season. I reserved a site starting December 21st for a three-month stay.

While I was out and about, I made a stop at Lucky Lou’s where I found my friends John and Stan. We had a few laughs and a cold one on the patio. Before I left, another Can-Am Spyder parked next to ours. This one was a newer touring model called a Spyder RT. The touring models are more luxurious with more comfortable passenger accommodations and we tend to see these more often than the other models.

Can-AM Spyder RT – built for comfort

They also include more storage space with built-in saddlebags. This one was even equipped with a trailer hitch!

Our Spyder is the RS model – more nimble and sporty. We find adequate space in the frunk – the name Spyder enthusiasts use for the forward trunk space. Donna also carries a backpack for groceries if she’s making a big grocery run. The passenger seating isn’t as comfortable on an RS.

Our Spyder RS – nimble and sporty

Of course, the RT models with all of the creature comforts and accessories are priced several thousand dollars higher than the RS model.

I hit the pickleball courts on Friday morning. The pollen count remains high and I suffered a bit, but felt better overall than I did earlier in the week. I played eight games and got in a couple of hours of activity. I wrote about the hawk’s nest by the courts in an earlier post and stated that I hadn’t seen the adult hawks in a while. I surmised that they moved on – well, I was wrong. On Friday morning, I saw both adults and one of them flew to the nest with a mouse in its talons. So, they are apparently still feeding the juveniles in the nest.

Red Tailed Hawk perched above its nest in a power line tower

On Friday evening, we went to a St. Patrick’s Day happy hour and dinner at the Northpoint Gathering Room in the RV park. One of our neighbors, Dave and Molly MacFarland, organized the event. For a cost of just five bucks per person, they supplied liquor and food. Others pitched in to help and Donna made her famous Irish soda bread from scratch and brought it along. Dave clued me in to the hiding place for the good IPA beer and told me to help myself – which I did.

They had all of the traditional fixings served buffet-style. The corned beef brisket was some of the best I’ve ever tasted. They served it with a mustard gravy – a first for me – and it was delicious. They had scalloped potatoes, garlic mashed potatoes with green onion, cabbage, carrots and boiled onions. They ran a 50-50 raffle to help offset the cost of all the food and drink. Donna snapped a couple of photos.

Back of my bald head on the left at the St. Patrick’s Day gathering

Lots of green in the Gathering Room

The pickleball tournament scheduled for Saturday morning wasn’t what I expected at all. It turned out to be a “fun tournament” where we had to play some silly games. Our first match had to be played with your weak hand. I never hit a ball with my left hand and it showed. Things were a bit chaotic but I had fun.

The temperature has reached the mid 90s for past few days and we can expect the hot weather to continue for a couple more days. The past two nights were a little rough for me as my allergies interrupted my sleep and I feel like I may have a sinus infection coming on. I’m planning to have a mostly quiet day today.

Ozark the cat spends most of the mid-day hours napping in her window bed. That leaves her with plenty of energy to get up and tear around the place at 4am!

Another mid-day nap

I’m going to have to find a way to change her sleep pattern.

Heat Wave

Wednesday was pretty low key for me. Donna went to the pickleball courts in the morning while I stayed home and nursed my hay fever. I ended up spending most of the day indoors – just as I thought I would. The thermometer hit 92 degrees in the afternoon. This heat wave may be a blessing in disguise – it seems like the hot daytime temperatures are causing the orange blossoms to drop from the trees prematurely. The pollen counts are still quite high, but I slept well last night and I’m feeling a little better this morning.

Donna and I had a conference call with our tax accountant in the afternoon. I always dread these things. We uncovered a mistake in last year’s filing and it looks like we overpaid, so that may be a good thing for us this year.

On Wednesdays and Fridays, there’s live entertainment from 3 to 5pm here at ViewPoint RV & Golf Resort. Donna walked down with her hula hoops and hoop danced to the music. She always takes two hoops in case someone wants to join her. Yesterday, she offered a hoop to a young girl who was visiting her grandparents and the two of them had a lot of fun. I only got out once all day and that was just to make a run on the Spyder to the store.

Donna defrosted the last of the lamb rib chops we bought from the farm in Portland near the Columbia River RV Park. She put them on the grill along with some sliced zucchini, peppers and onions for dinner.

Grilled lamb chops with zucchini, peppers and onions

Lamb chops are very flavorful but a little fatty in my opinion. I guess it’s an acquired taste – I didn’t like lamb when I was younger but I find it a pleasant change now. I paired the lamb with an IPA from Elysian. Although Elysian is located in Seattle and typically brews West Coast style IPA, this bottle called The Immortal is more of an English style IPA with pronounced malt flavor and a sharp bitter finish. I liked it but wasn’t crazy about it.

The Immortal

High, thin clouds formed in the late afternoon sky. This always brings a colorful, fiery sunset here in the desert.

Fiery sunset

I’d like to get out and about today – hopefully my allergy symptoms will continue to abate. I plan to hit the pickleball courts tomorrow morning and we’re both signed up to play in a tournament on Saturday. The heat wave is expected to linger through the weekend with daily highs in the mid-90s.

Whiskey or Whisky

Donna had an appointment at the hair salon in Tempe on Tuesday. We rode the Spyder there – about a 20-minute ride from ViewPoint RV Resort. I dropped her off at 11am and continued on to the Total Wine store at Tempe Marketplace. Total Wine is a big box discount liquor store. They have a huge selection and good prices.

I was looking for a bottle of Scotch whisky. I like to sip single malt Scotch occasionally. There’s a difference between American whiskey and Scotch whisky – beyond the spelling and geographic origin – they are made from different ingredients. Scotch is malted barley that’s been distilled twice and aged in oak barrels. American whiskey is distilled primarily from corn.

The aging process for Scotch whisky takes place in oak barrels – usually in barrels obtained from American distilleries after they’ve been used to age whiskey. Some Scotch distillers will then transfer the whisky to used European wine casks – like sherry casks. The aging process takes place while it’s in the barrels or casks. Once it’s bottled, the aging process stops. So, if you have a bottle of 10-year-old Scotch and put it on the shelf for five years, you still have a bottle of 10-year-old Scotch.

Scotch whisky also has distinct flavors depending the region it’s distilled in. The largest region is Highland which is known for a warm, smooth product. A sub-region is called Speyside and it’s similar to Highland Scotch but also produces fruitier flavors. Scotch produced off the coast in the islands (Islay) is often peaty and/or smokey.

My preference is Speyside or Highland Scotch that’s been aged a minimum of 12 years. Scotch that’s aged 18 or more years is usually far superior but the price jumps exponentially. A lot of people will say not to waste your money or taste buds on inexpensive Scotch. I disagree – to a point. I look at it like shopping for red wine. Anyone can spend $30 or more and come home with a decent bottle of red wine. To me, the trick is finding a decent, affordable daily glass of wine for about a third of that cost. I shop for Scotch in this manner also.

My fallback position on single malt Scotch is Glenfiddich or The Glenlivet 12-year-old Scotch. These are very popular and affordable. I like to try out different offerings from time to time. When we’re in California, Trader Joe’s carries their house brand of Scotch which they obtain from a brokerage called Alexander Murray. Alexander Murray buys from various distilleries and bottles under private labels. They carry 750ml bottles ranging from cheap 8-year-old Scotch to very expensive 25-year-old Scotch. I’ve had their 13-year-old and 15-year-old and it’s quite good.

At Total Wine, I found a bottle called Glen Ness 12-year-old Highland Scotch. It’s their house brand and I thought I’d give it a try. It was a couple of dollars less than Glenfiddich and I found it to be fairly comparable – although I think Glenfiddich has a little more complexity. That was probably more than you ever wanted to read about Scotch.

After we returned home, I took it easy for the rest of the day. The temperature reached the upper 70s and things are blooming all over the desert. Tree and grass pollen counts are high and I’m suffering from pollen allergies. Donna rode her bicycle to her physical therapy session and afterward continued on to complete a 16-mile loop.

Donna prepared one of our favorite fish recipes for dinner. She wrapped individual servings of cod with asparagus, orange juice, butter and fresh tarragon in parchment paper.  She put the parchment wraps on a baking sheet and cooked it in the convection oven.  It’s very easy. She makes four servings and we enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Parchment wrapped cod filet

Perfectly cooked

Here’s Donna’s recipe…

Fish in Parchment with Asparagus

4  15×15-inch squares parchment paper
4  5-to 6-ounce fish fillets (such as halibut or cod; each about 1 inch thick)
12 fresh tarragon leaves
2  tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces plus extra for buttering parchment paper
1  pound slender asparagus spears, trimmed (and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces if desired)
4  tablespoons orange juice

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place parchment squares on work surface. Generously butter half of each parchment square (I rub the parchment with one end of a stick of butter). Top buttered half of each with 1 fish fillet. Dry fish with a paper towel and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top each fillet with 3 tarragon leaves, then 1 piece of butter. Arrange asparagus around each fish fillet; pour 1 tablespoon orange juice over each. Fold parchment over fish and asparagus, folding and crimping edges tightly to seal and enclose filling completely. Place on 2 rimmed baking sheets, spacing apart. Bake fish packets 17 minutes. Slide packets onto plates and serve.  NOTE: Can be made 4 hours ahead and chilled, making it a great dinner for company.

On Wednesday morning, I played in the round robin pickleball matches. In the cool morning hours, my allergies seem to be a little more subdued. By the afternoon, I was going for eye drops every four hours or so. I took it easy for the rest of the day. Yesterday the temperature reached 86 degrees and we should see upper 80s through the weekend.

WinCo, Rain and Wind

After writing my post on Monday, I rode the Spyder to my new favorite grocery store. I went to WinCo Foods a few miles away from here on Southern Avenue at Power Road. I first shopped at a WinCo store in Washington when my daughter, Alana, took us there. WinCo is an employee-owned business with stores in eight western states. They have a great selection of groceries in clean stores with great prices. The history of the company is interesting – you can read about it here.

I wanted to get a few things at the store, then cover the Spyder before the rain started. Right on cue, the rain came around 1:30pm. It rained off and on all afternoon and into the night, with heavy showers at times.

We still had a few showers lingering on Tuesday morning. Donna had a physical therapy appointment for her shoulder – she injured it ice skating when we were in Santa Fe last fall. Her appointment was at 11:20am and the rain stopped falling around 10am. We were thinking it was only a mile and a half or so to the therapist’s office and Donna felt like walking there. By the time I finally got around to mapping it out, I found it was actually 3.3 miles and would take at least 45 minutes to walk there – it was too late to walk and make the appointment.

I rode the Spyder and dropped Donna off at the corner of Brown and 80th. It was a mile and a half walk from there and she wanted to walk. While I was out, I made a stop at CVS to buy wine for Donna – they have a great sale on Lindemann’s Pinot Noir. The nearest CVS had sold out of the wine, so I went a few miles down Ellsworth to the next store. It seems like there’s a CVS Pharmacy every two or three miles around here. I bought the last four bottles they had.

I parked the Spyder and came inside and was surprised by the crack of thunder. Rain started pouring down!  It was still raining at noon when Donna sent me a text telling me she would walk back to the park. I told her it was raining here. She was west of our location and told me the rain had already passed and was moving east. She was confident it would move on before she got here. She was right, but only barely as the next round of showers started as soon as she arrived here.

Donna spent the afternoon working on a project she’s been thinking about. She has a greeting card company that caters to professional organizers (Organized Greetings). Ten years ago, we had boxes of cards on shelves in the garage and Donna would fulfill orders from our home. Later, she changed her business from stocking cards to a print-on-demand model fulfilled by Cafe Press.

Now she’s offering the organizing cartoons featured in her greeting cards under license to professional organizers for use in blogs, newsletters, and social media. I spent most of the evening formatting the cartoons and watermarking them so she could put up samples.

Donna made garlic and lemon roasted chicken thighs with oranges in her cast iron skillet – she started out pan frying on the induction cooktop, then finished it in the convection oven. Served with sweet potato and green bean’s it was a delicious meal.

Chicken thighs with sweet potato and green beans

We watched the president’s address to congress on TV. I thought Donald Trump gave a great speech, very Reaganesque with a message of confidence and prosperity ahead.

On Wednesday morning, the rain was just a memory as we had blue skies and a dry landscape. It was breezy though. I played in the 3.0-3.5 round robin pickleball match and got 10 games in – the windy conditions made it tricky and we switched sides of the court at six points. Then I made a quick run to Costco to buy Keurig coffee K-cups. It seems odd to many people to go to Costco for one or two items, but sometimes it’s worth it to me. Costco is nearby and you can’t beat the price for K-cups.

In the afternoon, I went through Donna’s greeting cartoons again and standardized the format for electronic fulfillment. The original formatting seemed haphazard with different resolution settings and sizing of the images. Then I kicked back and read a book outside in the sunshine.

Today we woke up to clear skies with no threat of rain in the forecast, but it’s windy. I would guess we have gusts up to 25mph – it’s enough to feel it in the coach. The funny thing is – the weather forecast calls for gusty winds tonight and tomorrow. No mention of the wind gusts we had overnight or the current gusty conditions. I checked three weather forecasts and all said the same thing – gusty winds later today and tomorrow. Hey, take a look out the window!

 

 

Face Down Under the Sink

I usually write my posts first thing in the morning. Not this time – I’m writing at 4:30pm on Friday afternoon. If you read on, you’ll understand why.

We’re really enjoying our time here at Viewpoint RV & Golf Resort. The people here are so friendly and it seems like everyone is active. They have two golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools and five pickleball courts. On Thursday, I walked up to our mailbox which is next to a baseball field and saw a ladies softball team practicing. The coach was hitting balls as they did infield drills. They were looking good – most of these women put my arm to shame as they threw to first base.

Ladies softball practice

Donna rode her bicycle over to our friend Lana’s house to help her with organizing some stuff stored in a guest room. While she was away, I took care of a couple of maintenance items. One thing that was overdue was replacement of the filter on our purified water spout on the sink.

Rick at the RV Water Filter Store told me I should be good for two to three years on this filter since we have two-stage filtration for all of the water coming into the coach. This additional filter adds bacteriostatic filtration and is supposed to be good for 1500 gallons of water. We only use the purified water spout for the coffee maker and cooking, so we don’t run much water through it. I’ve been putting off the replacement because I remember what a chore it was last time I did it.

The filter is mounted under our kitchen sink. It has quick release fittings attaching it inline to the PEX lines plumbing the spout. The quick release fittings make removal a snap – but installing the replacement wasn’t so easy.

Purified water filter – that’s the sink drain pipe in the foreground

Removing the filter is a one-handed affair. I just pull the collar back on the fitting and pull the PEX away from the filter. The replacement filter I had didn’t come with the fittings. You can get it with or without the fittings. I figure it’s simple to remove the fittings from the old filter and install them in the new one and save a few bucks.

Old filter on top, new below

A 9/16″ wrench was all it takes – plus some teflon tape to seal the threads.

The issue with getting the new filter attached is the sink drain pipe. It prevents me from being able to reach in with both hands – one to hold the filter and one to pull the collar back on the quick release fitting to attach it to the PEX plumbing.

Instead of beating my head against the sink pipe and stretching arms to limit, I tried another approach. I took off my glasses and put my head – face down – under the sink drain pipe. Then I visualized the task with my eyes closed and tactiley worked the quick disconnect fittings. It took a couple of attempts, but I got it done!

After that my only maintenance chore for the day was to dump and flush our tanks. I dumped the tanks when we arrived last Wednesday. On Saturday I was surprised when I heard a gurgling sound coming from the kitchen sink while the clothes washer was running. This sound is an indicator of a full holding tank. I immediately dumped the gray water tank.

The tank was nearly full judging by the time it took to drain. What I didn’t know at the time was Donna had done at least seven loads of laundry – catching up from our time at RV Renovators. This alone accounts for 70+ gallons of gray water. So, I’m keeping a close eye on the gray water tank.

Friday morning I headed out early for the 3.0 to 3.5 round robin pickleball match at 8am. Donna came to the courts around 9:15 for open play. Once again I was a glutton for punishment and played 11 games over three hours on the courts. I’m feeling it now.

Pickleball courts

It was noon by the time we came home. After lunch, Donna headed out for another grocery shopping run. After she returned, I rode the Spyder to Lucky Lou’s for happy hour with the guys. We firmed up our plans for the NHRA drag races at Wildhorse Pass raceway – formerly Firebird Raceway. I’ll be up early again tomorrow as Mike Hall and Ray Laehu will pick me up at 7am. So that makes two early mornings in a row without a chance to write a post. We’ll spend the day at the races.

A cold front is stalled in the area. It got cold overnight – it was 39 outside when we woke up this morning and 51 in the coach. Today we had clear sunny skies, but the temperature only reached the low 60s. The same is forecast for tomorrow. I’m looking forward to the middle of next week when the forecast calls for upper 70s!

 

RV Renovators – Day 29 – Outta Here

Steve and John put the finishing touches on the paint job Wednesday morning. For good measure, Steve painted the latch handles on the basement compartment doors. This gave it a crisper overall look – I think I’ll paint the latches on the other side of the coach.

Black paint on the latch

Once they were finished, Izzy put a new seal on the slide where the outer wall meets up against the body when the slide is closed. He also went over all of the molding with silicone sealant.

Then Dave took over and installed the window awning and slide topper. With that done, we moved to the wash bay at 3pm for the last step in the process. They washed the coach while I settled the bill in the office.

We headed out around 3:30pm. Donna rode the Spyder while I drove the coach and we met at Mike Hall’s house. I hooked up our trailer and we pulled out – Donna was following on the Spyder. It didn’t make sense to load the Spyder in the trailer for a trip of a few miles only to unload it again.

We pulled in to Viewpoint RV Resort a little past 4pm. I told Donna to take the Spyder to our site after giving her directions. The security person wanted me to wait for an escort to take the coach there. After waiting for five minutes, I told security that I knew where I was going. She said I was supposed to have an escort, but could proceed if that’s what I wanted to do.

The RV sites here are wide. I didn’t think I would have any trouble backing the trailer in. What I didn’t realize was how narrow the road was and we had a fence and structures right on the edge of the road across from our site.

I made several passes before I was able to position the trailer on the concrete pad. Then I drove the coach to the end of the road and made a three-point turn to come back facing the opposite direction. I wanted to back the coach in from this direction.

It was a tight squeeze with an small orange tree on the passenger side and a street light post on the driver’s side. Again the narrow road didn’t help. We had an audience of several people watching while they enjoyed happy hour. One guy – our new neighbor to the right – came out to help. The thing is, Donna and I have our system worked out. Sometimes too much help just jams us up. This was case here. In fact, he even opened the door to the coach while I was backing in so he could talk to me!

I had to jockey in and out of the site several times to position the coach. I would gain a few inches closer to the concrete pad with each pass. At one point I was extremely close to the light post. I could see in my side view mirror I only had a couple of inches when I heard a bang! The slide topper on the bedroom slide extends a couple of inches beyond the side of the coach. It hit the post. This is the first time I’ve ever hit anything with my coach.

Once I finally had the coach positioned where I wanted it, we had another issue. They placed the sewer connection at the rear center of the site! It was under the rear of the coach. I had to pull forward, attach our sewer hose, then back in over it. Otherwise I would be crawling under the coach to attach the sewer hose.

Several friendly neighbors came over to chat while I was setting up. I was friendly as well, but I don’t like anything to break my set-up routine. That’s how mistakes can happen. When I put the slides out, I had a problem with the bedroom slide. It was binding after moving a few inches. There’s a stop lever on the end of the topper tube. When I hit the light post, it pushed the stop lever to the side and it was hitting the mount. After I finished the rest of the set-up and dumped our tanks, I got a ladder out of the trailer and pounded the stop lever back in place. Now the bedroom slide opened fine.

Roomy site, but difficult to enter

It was after 6pm by the time I had us set up.

We’re so happy to be out of the shop and in a nice, quiet environment. We’re also going to take advantage of the amenities here – pool, pickleball and whatnot.

The next couple of days are forecast to be sunny with highs in the mid-70s. Rain is coming this weekend though.

RV Renovators – Days – 25 – 26 – Almost Done

The weekend was low key. On Saturday, Donna felt jet-lagged and had a rough feeling in her throat. She’s still feeling the effects of something she picked up on her trip to Vieques – a cold or some virus.

We managed to get out for a while on the Spyder to start looking for our next place to stay. February is probably the busiest month of year for RV parks in Mesa, Arizona. Things start thinning out in mid-March. We went to Val Vista Villages first – this is a huge park with somewhere around 1600 sites and lots of pull-throughs. The pull-through sites are 100 feet long.

Unfortunately, they wouldn’t have a pull-through site available until March 17th. They didn’t have anything for us unless we wanted to make a few moves over the next month. This park is part of the Cal-Am family of RV parks. They told us not to bother stopping at a couple of their other parks in the area as they are all full.

So we went east on University Drive about seven miles to Viewpoint RV Resort. This is another huge place with a golf course, pickleball courts, tennis and a bar and restaurant on site. The regular rates there are high, but with our Thousand Trails membership, we qualified for their Encore rate. I booked two months there starting tomorrow, leaving on April 14th. The total bill is $1375 ($687.50/month) plus electricity.

On Sunday, we ventured out to visit our friends, Dave and Stilla Hobden. They’re fellow Alpine Coach owners who recently bought a home here in Mesa. They were on the road full-time, but decided to set up a home base and also provide affordable housing for their single-parent daughter and grandson. We had a nice visit and toured their new digs. Stilla has been under the weather and is staying home while Dave heads out to Lake Havasu for the Winter Blast Alpine Coach rally today. We were with them there at this time last year.

We’re assuming we’ll be done at RV Renovators by the end of the day today or late morning tomorrow. Over the weekend, Steve the painter came by. On Saturday, he spent some time doing touch-up on the paint but couldn’t stay long due to family commitments – he’s a single parent. He came by again on Sunday and sprayed clear coat. He wanted to seal the paint job with a layer of clear as there was rain in the forecast and it looked like it could start raining at any moment.

Today he needs to do a little sanding and finish the touch-up work. Then he’ll apply two more layers of clear coat. This will be followed with final sanding and buffing. Then all we need is to have the slide topper re-installed. I had a seam on the topper repaired while it was off.

Another job I had them do while we were here was repainting the front lower valance. Some people call this the front bumper area, but I don’t think I would ever want to bump anything with it. A while ago, I talked to Levi about painting the lower area where there were large stone chips and some peeling paint. He said he would have a guy sand it, put down a layer of texture coat and then paint it since we already had the paint. It would be a minor job.

This job was assigned to John. He worked on it last Thursday while Steve was painting the slide out wall.

Lower valance sanded and primed

Texture coat added

John told me he thought having the lower valance painted in the dark brown color wasn’t right. He thought it should be the light pewter color to better match the coach. I agreed with him and told him to go ahead and change the color. You can see the brown on the lower valance in the header photo.

By the end of the day on Thursday, he had it sprayed. He actually used two colors – the color we discussed and the silver 1/4″ trim color. I thought it looked good until I looked closely. There’s a light brown strip above the 1/4″ trim. I could see splotchy areas where the paint was coming off. John saw me looking at it and said the paint peeled when he pulled the masking tape.

So on Friday morning, John masked the front again and applied light brown above the newly painted area. Now we have a three-color job on what was supposed to be a simple sand, texture and shoot job. John was two days into it. I talked to our service advisor, Jim. I told him how the front paint job transpired. He told me John had already told him about it. He said he instructed John to do whatever takes to make the job right and he would only bill me for the simple job we originally agreed on. Nice!

New paint on front

When the generator compartment is completely closed, the paint colors will align

Our stay at the RV Renovators workshop is about to come to a close. We’ll be happy to settle in to a real RV resort with full hook-ups and the slides out. Donna joked that she’ll miss the banter, the singing and noise of the workers here.

The rain came last night along with lightning, thunder and high winds. This morning, we have mostly cloudy skies which are supposed to move out east. The forecast looks good for the rest of the week.

RV Renovaters – Day 16 – Smooth

I wrote in yesterday’s post how smooth the fiberglass lay up over the seams was. I also wrote that I thought we’d be ready for primer. I was wrong.

Izzy explained to me that although it felt very smooth when I ran my fingers over the seam, there were still high and low areas. These aren’t detectable by running you fingers over the seam – but you would detect them visually once the finish was applied. There were surely some pinholes as well that would show up when it’s painted.

So, Armando coated the seams with a two-part lightweight filler. He sanded them flat with a long narrow air operated sander. It was about a foot long and a couple of inches wide. Paint and body guys call this tool an air file.

First filler stage

After he sanded the filler he applied a spray paint called Guide Coat. This sprays a very thin coat of black paint over the filler. Then he hit the filler with the air file again. The black spray was removed from the high spots first and remained in the low spots. This way he could decide if he needed another layer of filler or if he could sand the area flat.

Guide Coat

He spent about six hours applying filler and sanding the surface.

A high spot where he sanded through the filler

When he was satisfied with the surface, he applied a glaze coat. This sealed the filler and closed out any pinholes that may still be there. The filler and glaze are two-part products with a catalyst. This allows them to cure and be sandable in about 30 minutes.

Glaze applied

Armando was spreading the glaze coat when Donna and I headed out at 3pm. We rode the Spyder over to the Graff’s house to pick up a package Donna had delivered there. Then we went to Lucky Lou’s to catch up with the usual suspects.

Jodi, Mike Hall, Donna, Ray, Kim, Leendert and Mike Childs

Donna wanted to visit with them before she leaves for her trip to Vieques.

It was another nice day weather wise with the temperature in the mid-70s. But, once the sun sets it cools off quickly. We decided to get take-out from the Thai Kitchen next door to Lucky Lou’s rather than dine-in and have a cold ride home after dinner.

When we got home I saw that the glaze had been sanded smooth. Now we’re ready for primer – I’ll see how that goes today. The final finish paint will take four or five days. There are four colors to apply plus clear coat and complex masking to recreate the original paint scheme.

This morning Donna woke me up at dark-thirty – it was 4am. I walked her out to the gate and unlocked it so she could meet her Uber driver. Her flight was scheduled at 6am and the Uber driver picked her up at about 4:30am. She should be in Vieques around 4pm local time. I locked the gate and went back to bed!