Monthly Archives: February 2017

Meet Me at Fat Willy’s

I was up early Saturday morning. I walked down to the park entrance on Hawes Street by Fat Willy’s restaurant. Mike Hall and Ray Laehu picked me up there a little past 7am. We were heading out for a day at the races. It was time for round two of the NHRA National Championship series at Wild Horse Pass Raceway.

Over the past four years, I’ve joined my friends at the races here – we get a deal from another guy named Ray. He pays for a space to park a motorhome and puts up a scaffolding to view from. He has a number of passes to get people into the event. We pay him and he provides the pass, food and beer. It’s a great deal – food and beer from the vendors at the track is incredibly expensive.

We took an early walk through the pits to see the teams preparing for the day’s qualifying runs.

Jack Beckman’s car packed in tight in one of his trailers

Jack’s crew pulling tires from a trailer – it takes a lot of tire to put 10,000 horsepower to the track

Tim Wilkerson inspecting parts while one of his crew members builds the bottom end of the engine

The Kalitta team putting the body for J R Todd’s funny car on a rack

Bill Miller Engineering showing his political viewpoint

When we got back to Ray’s space, they had breakfast fixings ready. We made breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs, sausage and hash browns. We watched the Sportsman events until the pros started running after lunch.

Redneck grandstand built from scaffolding

As always, it was good time. There’s nothing like a nitro burning Top Fuel dragster or Funny Car thundering down the drag strip at 300 mph.

Meanwhile, Donna spent the morning playing in her first pickleball tournament. She enjoyed it and hopes to play in another tournament. Afterwards, she met her friend, Stevie Ann, for a long lunch at Baja Joe’s. Stevie Ann was one of the first friends Donna met when she moved to Arizona back in 2002.

On Sunday morning, Sara Graff picked up Donna at 9am. They planned to spend the morning hiking up the Wind Cave Trail in Usery Park. Sara’s husband Howard picked me up. Howard is a member of the Rio Salado Gun Club and their gun range is also located in Usery Park.

We spent the morning shooting. I had a great time. I used to shoot regularly at a gun range in Michigan. I also shot frequently when I was with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office in Washington. Since we’ve been on the road, I hadn’t visited a range.

My rifle skills are still up to par, but my handgun skills have deteriorated. Like most things, it takes practice to maintain proficiency. I plan to get out and shoot more often in the future.

Rio Salado Gun Club below the Usery summit with the Phoenix sign

Shooting benches

Afterwards we met Donna and Sara at Fat Willy’s for a late lunch. It’s nice being in an RV Resort that has a restaurant and bar. And it’s always nice to spend time with the Graffs.

The weather here in Mesa, Arizona was pleasant over the weekend. We had daily highs in the upper-60s. Today is cooler with high clouds. We spent the morning on the pickleball courts where gusty winds made things interesting. The forecast calls for rain to move into the area this afternoon and linger for 24 hours. It’s been unusually wet in the desert – the February rain total has exceeded the monthly average just as it did in January. Donna figures that today will be a good day for her to make a pot of pea soup. I need to make a run to the grocery store before it rains, then I’ll probably relax and read a book.


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!


Pickleball and a Movie

The nice weather continued on Tuesday – the temperature hit a high of 77 degrees with sunny, blue skies. We had a notice in our mailbox of a package being held at the park’s post office. As part of my effort to increase my activity, I walked to the post office to pick it up. This is a large park. We’re in the northwest end, the post office is located to the southeast.

It was about three quarters of mile from our site to the post office. When I got there I found they had not one, but two packages for us. One of the boxes was little bulky, the other was a Priority Mail box with a month’s worth of mail forwarded from our service (MyDakotaAddress). Carrying the two packages made the walk back seem a lot longer.

Donna’s keeping her activity level up as usual. She went out for a 16-mile bike ride Tuesday afternoon.

Wednesday morning I went to the pickleball courts for the 3.0-3.5 level round robin matches at 8am. Donna came down an hour later to play on the open play court.

A pair of red tail hawks are nesting in a high voltage utility pole near the courts. I saw one of the adult hawks return to its nest with a snake in its grasp. I wish I could have taken a picture. I’m pretty sure there are immature hawks in the nest and it was bringing back the snake to feed them.

The round robin matches consisted of six games played over a two-hour period. I stayed for another hour and played nonstop, ending up with 11 games played. Donna played quite a few games as well.

After lunch, we headed over to the Harkins Theater on Superstition Springs Boulevard. We went to the 3:20pm matinee and watched John Wick: Chapter Two. It was all action and an entertaining shoot-em-up movie. We watched the original John Wick movie released in 2014 a couple of weeks ago on TV.

We don’t go to movie theaters very often. One thing that kills me at the theater is how they gouge you for snacks and drinks. You can’t bring your own, so they charge $4.50 for a bottle of water! A large popcorn, a soda and a bottle of water was $18.25! After sitting in the theater for more than two hours – with very comfortable seats – I was feeling a little stiff from the morning’s activity.

Last night, Donna prepared something new to go with the salmon cakes she made for dinner. She made a cheesy cauliflower bake. This was steamed cauliflower with cheddar cheese, bacon and green onion baked about 20 minutes to meld the flavors. It was a little labor intensive to make, but it was very tasty.

Cheesy cauliflower bake

We had a discussion about whether to call the entree salmon cakes or salmon patties. I decided to call them salmon cakes as they are made like crab cakes. Salmon patties implies something akin to a burger.

Salmon cakes with cheesy cauliflower bake

I opened a bottle of Ninkasi Total Domination IPA from Eugene, Oregon to go with the meal.

Ninkasi IPA

Before I went to bed, I checked the S-Health app on my Samsung Galaxy smart phone. It showed 12,999 steps for the day. I went over 13,000 walking from the living room to bed. The activity bars on the screenshot below show the pickleball activity and then an inactive period in the afternoon – that was the movie theater time.

Steps recorded on the S-Health app

I had to close our bedroom window in the night. We usually sleep with the window open, but a cool breeze was blowing in overnight. Today the forecast calls for a high of only 63 degrees. The next seven days will be cool and Friday the overnight low is expected to be 39! Brrr.


36 Hours of Rain

We sat out another wet weekend. The rain was falling when we woke up Saturday morning. It was a wet, cool day. After lunch, my friend Howard picked me up at the Viewpoint RV Resort and drove me to his place. We hung out in his garage and he taught me all about AR style rifles. It was the full armorer’s course. It was a good time. I came back home around 4pm and it was still raining off and on.

Sunday was more of the same – steady, light rain with occasional cloud bursts and short dry periods. More than an inch of rainfall was recorded over 36 hours. It felt more like Seattle than Mesa – the temperature only reached a high of 59 on Sunday. It was nothing compared to the rainfall on the California coast – I read that four to six inches fell in some areas.

Mostly dark clouds at sunset on Sunday

Donna prepared a pork tenderloin – she seasoned it with adobo seasoning and glazed it with pomegranate and mango chipotle sauce. Then she roasted it in the convection oven – no grilling in this weather.

Roasted pork tenderloin

For side dishes she served mashed acorn squash topped with pomegranate seeds and steamed green beans with sliced almonds. A nice meal to end a cold, wet weekend.

Monday morning was bright and cheery. The ground was drying quickly. I went to the pickleball courts at 8am for the level 3 to 3.5 round robin session. Over the following two hours, I played six games. It was a lot of fun and I plan to continue playing with this group on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I should be able to play my way back into shape in a week or two. Donna came to the courts for open play around 9:30am. He ankle held up fine and she plans to work her way back into it.

I failed to mention our upgrade to the Weber Q grill we made when we were in San Diego. A fellow Alpine Coach owner – I can’t come up with his name at the moment – had a Weber Q 2200 for sale. It was in immaculate condition. I bought it for about half the cost of a new one. Our old one was a Weber Q 1000. The new one has built-in folding shelves on each side and a thermometer. It also features a larger grilling area – 280 square inches versus 189 square inches. He included a grill cover and an adapter hose for hooking up to a large propane tank.

Weber Q 2200

On Monday evening, I grilled Italian sausages on it. Donna served it with roasted cauliflower and cheese mezzelune pasta and her homemade marinara sauce. It was a delicious meal.

I snapped another photo at sunset on Monday night. What a difference 24 hours can make.

Clear skies at sunset on Monday

The temperature should reach the mid- to upper 70s today. The forecast for the rest of the week looks good.


*Just so you know, if you follow one of my links to Amazon and decide to make a purchase, you pay the same price as usual and  I’ll earn a few pennies for the referral. It’ll go into the beer fund. Thanks!

Decompressing at Viewpoint

Friday was our second full day here at Viewpoint RV Resort. I feel like I’m still decompressing from four weeks at the RV Renovators shop. Around 9:30am, I went to the pickleball courts. They have five courts here.

Three of the courts were reserved for round-robin play for players that are 3 to 3.5 level. I learned that this takes place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8am to 10am. Next week I’ll enter to play with this group. I played on the open courts for about two and half hours – I’m feeling it today. Four sedentary weeks at the shop will do that to you.

Donna didn’t play pickleball – she’s not confident in the strength of her ankle – she sprained it on the pickleball court in Pacific Beach five weeks ago. She’s been able to get out and run for the last week and a half, but the stopping, starting and pushing off to the side required on the picklball court may be more than she’s ready for.

We had partly cloudy skies yesterday but the temperature reached the mid-70s. It was windy though – that made the pickleball games interesting. I haven’t played on outdoor courts since we were in Crescent Bar, Washington in July.

Last night Donna made a new favorite – a one skillet meal that she made once before. She calls it garlicky shrimp with white beans. Very tasty!

Garlicky shrimp with white beans and a dollop of pesto

Overnight rain moved into the area. It’s the remnants of the storm that lashed southern and central California yesterday. The forecast calls for rain throughout the weekend.

We don’t have any big plans for the weekend. I’ll probably spend time reading a book. I’m hoping I have a chance to get together with my friend, Howard Graff, at some point. Donna’s hoping for a break in the weather to go up to the fitness center. Meanwhile, she’ catching up on laundry and doing some deep cleaning – these are some of the things that fell by the wayside while we were dry camped at RV Renovators.

A reader posted a comment on my last post. This morning I accidentally marked it as spam and it was deleted. If your name is Mike and you posted a comment, please try again and I’ll take you off of the spam list. I enjoy comments on the blog, but I also have to deal with hundreds of spam entries into comments daily. Sorry about that, Mike.

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 27-28 – The Best Laid Plans

I’m sure you’ve heard this before – the best laid plans of mice and men go awry. Well, it’s true – at least in this case. Monday morning I was optimistic about getting the job finished. I was sure we would pull out of RV Renovators no later than Tuesday, possibly even by the close of business on Monday.

On Sunday, our painter, Steve, told me he had a few small touch-ups to do on Monday, then another clear coat. After that it only needed to be blocked and buffed. Izzy has some sealant to apply and the slide topper needed to be installed.

Around 9am, I realized we might be in trouble. I went outside and saw John sanding the clear coat. I asked him what was up. He said he didn’t think Steve was coming in, he had called in sick. John said he was going to sand then buff the clear coat. I told him that’s not what Steve intended. I showed him a few areas that Steve wanted to touch up. I also told him Steve only applied a light clear coat to seal the paint before it rained and he was going to clear coat it again.

Here’s an example of the small imperfections Steve wanted to touch up

John said he would handle it. He cut through the clear coat and masked and painted several areas. He was still working on it when I left around 3pm to go to Viewpoint RV Resort to choose our site and also inform them that I may not be out of the repair shop on Tuesday.

From there, I stopped at Red, White and Brew and had a cold one with my friends Pat and Leendert.  When I got back to the coach a little past 5pm, John was gone. He had sprayed clear coat and at first I thought he was done. Then I looked closer and felt sick to my stomach. The paint didn’t have small touch ups – it had major flaws now. John had screwed it up completely.

Bad tape job

More bad masking

Waves sanded into the trim

Tuesday morning I had a heated conversation with the owner, Monte. I was totally frustrated. All the hard work done by Izzy, Armando and Steve had gone by the wayside. In the end, people won’t see the time and talent that went into the job – they will only judge the job by the finish applied. I’m sure it was disappointing for Steve, too. He had to sand out the mistakes and start taping all over again.

Masking and re-shooting the base coat

He spent about five hours taping and applying colors again.

More taping

Around 3pm he was ready to apply clear coat. He rescued the paint job, but it has a few minor flaws that weren’t there on Sunday.

Clear coat applied

Oh well, the rest of paint on the coach isn’t perfect either. I’m not going to lose any sleep over it at this point. I’m hoping there are no more glitches today and we can get out of here.

We’re looking forward to moving into an actual RV Resort with a patio outside our door, pickleball courts and swimming pools. I’ll have our trailer and can set up the barbeque and Traeger smoker/grill. The weather looks good for the rest of the week – highs in the mid 70s and sunny. They’re calling for rain in the area over the 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 Renovators – Day 24 – Five Colors

While I was watching Steve mask an area he had painted in preparation for the next color, one of the service guys stopped by. He mentioned how labor intensive repainting a coach is. I agreed with him. He told me he often gets requests from customers to do a “spot repair” on peeling clear coat. Then when he explains what’s needed to repair it right, they’re shocked at the cost.

Clear coat on a two-stage paint system contains UV inhibitors to prevent the base (color) coat from deteriorating due to exposure to sun light. Peeling clear coat can be a indication of the base coat deteriorating. You can’t just shoot clear coat over the area and call it good.

As Steve was masking, I realized I was wrong about the number of colors in our paint scheme. Earlier I said it was four colors but it’s actually five colors. I wasn’t counting the base layer that makes the 1/4″ stripe between the other colors. So what I was calling the first color was really the second color.

Second color masked and Steve is spraying the next color

The blue areas you see in the photos are painter’s tape masking the previous coat of paint. We don’t have any blue paint.

After each color, Steve masked the freshly painted area, then sanded the overspray with 800 grit sand paper and Scotch-Brite pads and wiped everything clean with solvent.

Third color on and masked

The fourth color covered large areas and is masked with paper

All five colors revealed

Now the end is in sight. Steve will touch up a few spots, lightly sand the surface and apply clear coat. Once the clear is cured, it will be wet-sanded in stages with with fine grit, then buffed for a final polish.

With the weekend upon us, we’ll have a few more days here at RV Renovators before we’re done.

Donna made it home from her trip to Vieques around 9:30pm Friday night. It was a long day of travel. She had a great time there and she’s feeling refreshed after spending a week in the sun and sand – although she may have caught some kind of cold virus on her flight there. Hours of flying in a crowded airplane can spread a lot of germs. She still has a rough throat, but nothing too debilitating.

We’re expecting the temperature to reach nearly 80 degrees today and tomorrow with a chance of rain moving in Sunday night. I don’t know if rain will affect the final steps of finishing the coach. I hope not.

RV Renovators – Day 23 – Paint

Thursday morning Steve sprayed the first base coat of paint. He started by spraying a fine, misty tack coat. This fine spray isn’t meant to cover the panel, it just puts down a very light coat that sticks and creates a tacky surface for the next pass to adhere to.

Steve spraying over the tack coat

Once he had this first color applied, he carefully inspected the surface. He found two flaws – tiny chips in the gelcoat that I doubt I would have even seen if he hadn’t pointed them out. He filled these spots with polyester resin. Once it set, he sanded the areas smooth and painted them again.

Filling a flaw

First color applied

This first color coat provides a base that seals the entire surface. The thing is, this color is only needed for the 1/4″ stripes that separate the other colors in the final design. Once the design is taped with 1/4″ tape, this coat will be painted over in the other three colors used. When all of the colors are done, the 1/4″ tape will be pulled off, revealing the stripes.

Taping the design on the slide out wall is a long, tedious process. At the factory, they use templates to outline the design and can mask the design quickly. Steve had to re-create the design free-hand. He did this by looking at the original panel that was removed from the wall and matching the existing points where the slide out meets the rest of the body. With the slide pulled in, all of the lines and colors need to match up.

Taping the design

There’s no way I could have done this. It takes patience, attention to detail and downright obsession with perfection. Steve made several attempts with each tape stripe before he was satisfied. He would lay out a line, then see a tiny squiggle or an arc that he didn’t like and he would pull the tape up and start over. Once he had it down to a point where it looked good to me, he would continue to adjust the tape line until he felt it was perfect.

Around 4pm I left. I rode the Spyder to Mike Hall’s place and retrieved some supplies from the trailer. Then I went to Lucky Lou’s where I had a couple of cold ones with Mike and Jodi Hall.

When I returned to RV Renovators, they were done working for the day. Steve had started spraying another color. Once the areas of this color are painted, he’ll mask over the color up to the 1/4″ tape lines. Then he can do the same process with the next color. When the last color is applied and cured, all the masked areas will be uncovered and we’ll see the result.

More color

Then it will only be a matter of applying the clear coat, wet sanding and buffing to the final gloss.

Donna is traveling back home today. Her week in Vieques went all to quickly for her – although I’m looking forward to her return. I’m sure she’ll have lots of stories to tell me. She won’t arrive here until 9pm or later.

We’re expecting the temperature today to match yesterday’s high of 84 degrees. The weekend should be a little cooler, but the rain they were predicting has disappeared from the forecast.