Saturday, 3 December 2016

Quick fix for rattling dishes

The majority of RVs, especially campers and fifth wheels are built with a weight consideration in mind. Our White Hawk has a very nice interior, however the top cabinets of my 24 RKS galley are fastened only with screws to the thin plywood (no glue between) of the outside walls. That plywood is bonded to an insulation layer of Styrofoam, which itself is bonded to the fiberglass of the outside walls.  So I will not test their weight capacity by filling them with heavy items especially while traveling. Looking at the space available to store our dishes and glassware I have been concerned about their safekeeping and clattering should we bounce around lets say meeting unexpected potholes or uneven roads.
When I outfitted our camper, the Corelle dishes appealed to me. Corelle is a brand of dishware made of Vitrelle, which are tempered layers of glass developed by Corning Glass Works (Corning, NY) in 1970. They are lighter than China dishes and extreme shatterproof and break resistant. I happened to like the square forms so they do not fit the plastic molds for dishes that are available at some RV outfitters.  These Corelle dishes come in good-looking d├ęcor and different shapes. To keep the plates and bowels secure during travel days I made inserts out of anti-slip material to insert between every item.

This practice served us well on our yachts during our travel years on the oceans, where the motion got pretty rough during some passages and the technic is used by most blue water yachties, which sail off the beaten path.
I also found that if I place a mat on the shelves in the fridge it helps the food to stay put and not to slide around while traveling.  Of course I also lined the shelves in the lower cabinets with the anti-slip material to prevent other items to move around.

The anti-slip material I got at the Dollar store where they sell it in rolls of 5 feet, but there are several similar products available in other stores as well they come in a variety of colors.  The coated fabric is easily cut with a pair of scissors and the shapes can be traced with a pen around an object placed on the mat.

We like to drink wine from real glass stemware and for the camper I found some inexpensive glasses at the IKEA store that I liked.  To simplify their storage solution in the camper I kept them in the box they came in.  Had I not had this container, I could have perhaps used a box for bottles from the liquor store cut down to size with a box cutter. Those boxes by the way I find handy to store our stash of liquor and wine in the camper too.

Friday, 25 November 2016

The big difference 10 inches make

Last week the temperatures down here in southern Ontario reached a whopping 20C/68F for a couple of days.  For the middle of November that is truly a gift and everyone who could used the opportunity to spend some time outdoors.  I packed away the garden ornaments and furniture, raked leaves and waked the dogs.  Benno thought that was a good time to mount our bicycles to the back of the trailer particularly because we had received the ordered bicycle cover in the mail a little while ago.  The baskets for the dogs had to come off and the saddles too.  It took a bit of fiddling and by removing the two outside pedals to prevent chafing, the cover fit nicely.  However, fastening the cover with just the one string provided underneath would not do.  During our boating years we had fabricated several covers for all sorts of items out of canvas and Benno had become an expert in fastening grommets into the seams for tying them up.  Luckily we still had a box of spare grommets and the tools to do this task and that came in handy now.   He did a neat job and with some sturdy string (yes, leftover from the boating stuff) this bicycle cover is now a perfect fit that won’t come loose while we are towing the camper.  We were quite happy with this arrangement until we read Rick’s blog of “It’s about time” where he is describing his project of adding extra tail lights to his 5th wheel to be better seen when his bikes are mounted at the rear of his rig.

That made us think of our situation and by looking at the finished job of the bicycle carrier with the covered bikes on them; we realized that we might have a problem there.  You could barely see the lights and license plate from the back and because of this a County Mountie or State Trooper having a bad day could maybe give us a ticket for obstructing the view to the tail lights and license plate part wise.  Of course there is also the possibility that the driver of a following vehicle doesn’t pay close attention to our signaling and braking lights and we might be in trouble.
So off came the bikes and the carrier.  Benno thought by raising the bumper hitch adapter by 10 inches could solve the problem. 
Paul, a friend living in the neighborhood is a retired welder who had his own business; we gave him the job of making this hitch a bit taller to mount on the bumper of our travel trailer.  Paul had done other welding jobs for us and always produced super good-looking items.  When he came back with the finished welding job of the raised hitch it looked like it was factory fabricated or better.  What a fantastic good looking hitch mount.  Thank you, Paul. All that was needed now was for Benno to put a couple of coats of paint on to protect the metal and we are good to go. 

I include pictures of before and after.

Did I mention we are happy campers?  Well, soon I hope. It’ll be only a matter of a few weeks when we are actually going to be on the way.


looking at the grommets


so much better, but not quite

In addition, Benno shortened the factory-installed ladder, 
which obstructed the view of the taillights.

Monday, 7 November 2016

He did it!

Benno could not hold off anymore and got our power dolly "Parkit 360" out of the crawlspace of our house. Reading up on fellow RV travel blogs and seeing that everyone is heading south right now makes us very travel itchy.
“I better do it now and not when we have some snow on the ground,” Benno said. The weather forecast indicated that there could be some snow in the coming weekend in Northern Ontario. Hmm, but we live in Southern Ontario, Canada’s most southern point right across from Detroit, Michigan and might not see any snow for many weeks to come. Haha, there was no holding back of my hubby. It was the starting gun to get off the couch and turn the White Hawk 24 travel trailer around on its resting place next to the house. When it’s done, the truck can be hooked up in a flash and we can be on the road south in minutes.

We store the power dolly during the summer down in our crawl space under the house.

We purchased the “Parkit 360” power dolly in 2014 to be able to maneuver the trailer in tight spaces. The dolly is using the trailer’s 12 Volt battery power.

Here the Parkit 360 power dolly is hooked up

A very tight turn, no problem

The trailer is almost in position

It steers with ease

No muscle spasm to move 5210 lbs.

The Parkit 360 power dolly accepts the shaft of the trailer's power jack
and swivels around it for steering control
the switch close to the handle is for reverse & forward

The black & red cables from the power dolly
are hooked to the trailer's group 24
12 Volt AGM battery

Our “Parkit 360” model can move a 10.000 Ibs trailer. In our case, the “White Hawk 24 RKS” weight empty is 5,210 lbs., this is very well in the capacity of the power dolly.
The dolly could almost turn a trailer on a dime. It is a very good engineered unit and made right here in Ontario in Carleton Place, a town close to the city of Ottawa.

The trailer is ready to be hooked-up

The way we are parking our trailer during the summer months here next to the house, the hitch coupler is facing the garage. 180 degree to the picture above, the RAM truck could not accomplish this, only if it could fly back out straight up in the air, but with the “Parkit 360” it’s an easy task.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Yard cleanup

Yesterday morning we were greeted with a layer of frost on the ground when we woke up.  Brrr, I’m not ready for winter weather and hopefully we will avoid it altogether.  As soon as the sun was out things looked so much better outside and in the afternoon we decided to cut the grass one more time, maybe the last time this year  (hopefully). 

We’ve got quite the routine doing this chore. Me, riding the “Green Machine” lawn tractor, Benno using the self-propelled Husqvarna push mower with Honda gas engine where I cannot get at with the big machine. When all is cut, I go around with the weed trimmer to trim along the fences from both sides. However, we recently bought more property from our neighbor and now the process has grown to a bit more work and time to accomplish this task. In addition there are large trees across the road and the wind had blown the leaves onto our properties.  Benno uses the leaf blower to help with the piles, but it takes still some effort.

At this time of year one does not know how the weather will cooperate.  Most RV folks are getting ready to leave the campgrounds if they haven’t done so already.  Benno winterized our travel trailer because we don’t want to take any chance of freezing temps to damage the tanks and water lines before we are also leaving for warmer climates somewhere south of here. My husband is eager to turn the “White Hawk” trailer around for an easy hook up, but we have not made up our mind when to depart. Will it be at the end of November or will it be after the Holidays.
It was time for me to collect my fairy garden and various statues to put them away to sleep until next spring.  Sad to see it all disappear.

They are calling for a snowfall in Ontario this coming weekend. “Good Heavens”
So, do I rearrange my garden shed to park the snow blower in front or, do I keep the lawn tractor up front?  I pray that the snow blower will collect dust!!!

That was quite a busy afternoon for us working in the yard, but we were on a roll and many of our neighbors were out too with the same tasks.  Finally we were done and it was time to cook some dinner.  Guess who had some boredom while we were working outside and decided that our made and orderly bed would be a good playground?