Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Replacing Our RV Windshield–Finally!!!

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With our carpet project behind us we still had one big issue to address while staying in College Station. That issue was having our windshield replaced in the RV after destroying it after hitting a turkey in the Florida panhandle. It is amazing how long this has taken but is an example of one of the problems with living in a RV full time.

MVIMG_20180412_191951 - CopyMVIMG_20180414_134455 - CopyAfter the insurance adjuster finally looked over our rig in New Orleans we contacted several glass shops in southern Louisiana to no avail. The only one who gave me a quote was outrageously expensive. The Hesters who pen the blog Winds of Destiny – RVLife made a comment on one of my past blogs about a fellow out of New Braunfels, Tx who travels up to 150 miles to do RV windshields. They had theirs replaced by him.

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After this recommendation I contacted Texas Lightning Glass in New Braunfels and explained I would be in College Station and asked if he would travel over and replace our RV windshield. His pricing was more in line with what insurance indicated it should be so we made a deal with him and ordered the glass.

Thankfully the glass made it in unscathed in the shipping process so we scheduled the install to be on a the second Saturday of April. Well, the weather did notd cooperate as the appointed day turned out to be blustery, cold and drizzling which was not conducive to a new windshield installed. Another week passed and finally a date was set where the weather was much better.

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Jerome showed up on time with his son and another young fellow. After unloading the crate containing the windshield from the back of the pickup truck, they backed in to use the bed of the truck as their platform for accessing our windshield First. was removal a beading located in the middle of the windshield gasket which I assumed relieved tension within the gasket holding the windshield. Next they used a special tool to free the gasket all the way around from the glass. This was tedious as there was lots of glue/adhesive in the corners of the windshield.

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Once the glass was freed from the gasket they used 2 large suction cups to hold on to while lifting the damaged glass out. One fellow was inside pushing it to free it from the gasket while the other two lifted it out. With the old glass removed (in one piece, thankfully), they folded it like a taco and set it aside to begin unpacking the new glass. Basically they reversed the steps in removing the old glass to install the new glass. It was a bit challenging to get the last corner in as they still had to remove residual glue which was obstructing the new glass from settling into the gasket. With the glass at last in place they replaced the gasket beading and applied adhesive into the corners.

Wow, it sure looks a lot better not looking through a window full of cracks! Lightning Glass was great!. The owner and lead installer is quite a character and as he was installing the glass he was also training the younger fellows. He sure ribbed them a lot but surely knows his stuff. We would highly recommend them to anyone needing a new windshield should they find themselves within 150 miles of New Braunfels, Texas…

We both want to say a big THANK YOU to the Hesters for their recommendation…

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Replacing our RV Carpet–Part Two…

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Continuing the blog about our carpet installation, pulling up the carpet in the cockpit area was tedious since there were more cuts and thus more staples. With patience I eventually freed the old carpet. Interestingly there was only a little carpet padding as most of the area had a large rubber mat which I assume was designed to decrease engine noise and insulate from engine heat. For the cockpit area we chose a lower piled carpet and as I pulled the old carpet out I those pieces as a template to cut the new carpet. Another 100 stales into the floor and the cockpit was nearly done.

I said nearly since there is a hatch in our cockpit for access to our front engine diesel. This is also carpeted and removing the old carpet was a bit harder since this piece had been not only stapled but glued on using Weldwood contact cement. Using a pair of pliers I slowly pulled on an edge of carpet using the carpet knife to cut the glue away. It took a while but it was done. I also used contact adhesive to glue on the new carpet adding only staples all along the edges. Viola – Cockpit done!

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Next up was the steps in the entrance area. The sides are where the carpet was and man oh man were they stapled in and glued as well… After pulling out seemingly endless staples I was able to use the pliers and carpet knife to remove the old carpet. Using the old carpet as a template, new pieces of carpet were cut and glued in place. A few additional staples and the step area was done.

All that was left was the large living room/dining room slide. Since it was on a slide the old carpet was fairly easy to remove. No glue and only staples were used so I was able to manhandle off the floor. There was no carpet padding under the slide and I didn’t add any either. Again using the old carpet as a template I cut the slide out carpet which was the lusher, higher piled carpet we also used in the bedroom.

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Once it was cut we took it over to Carpet Handlers in Bryan Texas to have the edge of it bound. They charged $3 per running foot to bind it and it took about 4 days to get it back. It needed to be bound as the edge must hang off over the slide to cover up the slide gap. If it wasn’t bound it would have continued to fray and shed carpet fibers.

Final installation of this slide carpet was a snap. I did forget to mention in the removal of the old carpet I also had to take out the sofa which was held down by four bolts. It was easy to remove. Then there were four bolts holding down the seat belts for the sofa which were also easy to remove. I made sure to label where each seat belt went to make it easier to put them back in their rightful spot.

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With the new slide carpet bound all I needed to do was measure and mark the place where all the bolts would come through the carpet and cut little slits so they would come through it. With them in place I stapled along the edges near the bolts so I could locate where the couch bolts would go through the carpet. I marked the spots with scotch tape so I could align the couch properly. Placing the couch near the tape and using an ice pick to locate the holes which hold the couch in place I was able to sink the screws into the floor. With the seat belts and couch back to where they belonged I continued stapling the carpet as I used the knee kicker to keep it stretched.

To finish the job I needed to use a coping saw to remove 1/4 of an inch of the trim that the bound carpet would slide under since the new carpet was a bit thicker. With the trim cut I finished the stapling and put everything back in its place.

Now that all of our flooring has been replaced the RV is ready for many more years of travel on the Road of Retirement…

NOTE: We are still in College Station, Texas for the month of April…

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Replacing our RV Carpet–Part One

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We are still in College Station ticking items off of our to-do list. One item was to take care of my medical appointments and since I am a veteran that meant a few trips over to the VA hospital in Temple Texas. I had a colonoscopy done and went through the normal (and disgusting) protocol necessary for the doctors to have their clear view :) Thankfully I was given a clean bill of health and will not have to do another one for five years.

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With that behind me (no pun intended) I can focus on a larger chore which is the removal of our remaining original carpet and replacing it with new carpet. Last spring we began the process of reducing the amount of carpet in our main living space by converting to a Coretech Luxury Vinyl Tile. The plan is to replace the doghouse carpet, the bedroom and the small area on our slide out. Even though there is not much carpet to replace I have discovered that the prep work has been the worst part. Let's just say I learned to really hate staples

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When removing the existing carpet from the RV there are a few tricks. One thing to know is that when most RV’s are built they already have the carpet laid on the floors before adding any of the cabinets or furniture. That means you either have to remove all the cabinetry or use a carpet cutter to cut around the base of the cabinet to remove the carpet. The other trick is to use pliers to pull the old carpet from the floor freeing it from the staples. Otherwise using bare hands could result in puncture wounds from the many staples.

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Once the old carpet was out I had to remove the old carpet pad. It is important not to scrimp on padding as the cushion feel of carpet is mostly due to this pad so upgrading the existing pad can make quite a difference!.. We were lucky in that we did not have to buy any padding since Dan and Merlene (our RV buddies at Betty’s RV Park) had enough left over from their recent carpet replacement. I cut and stapled down the new padding and after cleaning everything up I was ready to cut the new carpet.

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We found our carpet in two different locations. We were looking for good durable carpet but didn’t plan to buy super high end carpet for the RV. We focused on having a 10 year warrantied carpet which was durable and fade resistant. We ended up with a Shaw polyester for the bedroom and slide which we purchased for the way low price of 99 cents per square foot at a Surplus Warehouse in Bryan. Then we bought a lower piled carpet remnant to redo the front cockpit flooring for 30 bucks.

IMG_20180414_093533Another carpet tip is to remove the old carpet in one piece being careful to cut it out in tact. Doing this allowed me to use it as a template to cut the new carpet to fit. I cut it an inch or so bigger on all sides to ensure a perfect fit. Once the carpet was cut I placed it in the bedroom to staple and trim it to a perfect fit. I worked from one corner by cutting and stapling the corner. Then I worked back slowly using a “knee kicker” to keep the carpet tight. I stapled along the edges using the knee kicker while trimming along the way and before long our new bedroom carpet was in place.We are both very happy with the result as it is so clean and plush. We love it…

I will discuss more in the next blog about the rest of our carpet placement and the process of "pimping our ride". It has been arduous and time consuming but we see light at the end of the tunnel...... 

NOTE: We are still in College Station, Texas for the month of April…

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Welcome to Texas–Yeehaw…

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One of the unique traditions upon leaving Betty’s RV Park is that everyone in the park gathers outside for hugs and farewells. Saying goodbye is always hard, particularly for Sharon, but Betty’s has a saying “if you don't leave you can't come back”! We will surely be back! Once all the hugs and “see ya laters’” were over with we hit the road for a super long day of 300 miles to College Station.

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We had planned to spend one night at Delta Downs Racetrack in Louisiana but since there was an issue with our reservation in College Station we chose to bypass that stop to head directly to our next park. Of course with our (still shattered) windshield we crossed our fingers as we made our way on the rough back roads of Louisiana. With the sighting of the “Welcome to Texas” sign we knew smoother roads were ahead..

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Fortunately we had no issues traveling to College Station and our windshield is still holding up. We are having a fellow come to this park to replace the windshield but I will talk more about that when it actually happens. We are now at RV Haven for the month of April where we will be very busy with a large to do list.

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Besides having the windshield replaced I hope to repair the steps (they don't come all the way in without assistance), replace all the remaining carpet with new carpet, complete all of my medical appointments, have our teeth cleaned, go talk with the Social Security folks, complete other minor household repairs, have Sharon's mother of the bride dress altered and with a little luck we hope to squeeze in some fun around all of this.

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Oh yes and I also had to do our taxes so since the day after we arrived rain was forecasted, I chose to do that. Alas it seems we will receive a small refund...yay! After the rainstorm, we set out for a visit to Texas A&M University. Since I retired from the University the first thing we always do is get my FREE annual parking permit for retirees from the campus. Once that was done we took a nice long walk around the campus to take note of the new additions on campus and reacquaint ourselves with Aggieland.

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It’s good to back in our former hometown where we can hopefully accomplish all our tasks, see friends and eat at all of our favorite places…

NOTE: We left Betty’s RV Park in Abbeville LA on April 1st and stop moved over to College Station, Texas for the month of April…

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Betty’s Birthday Bash and Time to Say Goodbye…

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Yep, we are still having so much fun here at Betty’s in Abbeville. One of our favorite things to do while we are here is to eat some of the best Cajun food around and we started with what we think is the best poorboy in the entire country – Olde Tyme Grocery, a true Road Treat! They have the best Shrimp Poorboy imaginable! Chase it down with a cold beer brewed in Louisiana by Abita Brewing and one will have a truly excellent lunch!

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Another eating event was attended by 21 of the people who were staying at Betty’s as we took over the small Abshire’s Corner Store. This local store offers up some delicious Cajun Food and we pretty much overwhelmed the proprietors Leshea and George. It was great food but it was kind of funny as we discovered they only had 20 chairs but there were 21 of us. Even funnier was Leshea had to ask the first people she served to bring their plates back ASAP because she only had 19 plates and needed two more to serve all of us. What a fun event this turned our to be.

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The food is great in Acadiana but the culture and people of the region draw us back to the area annually. Abbeville can lay it’s claim to being one of the friendliest towns anywhere. Another thing we noticed is that Acadians have a way of escaping father time as people around here are off the charts when it comes to longevity. One of Betty’s aunts will turn 101 next week and she is such a lively person you would never guess her age. One of the local musicians, Joe, is in his 80’s and his mother is still alive in her 100’s. Yes, these folks sure know how to live…

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We also took some time to take a few hikes at the beautiful Palmetto Island State Park. It has a nice campground as well which if we didn’t stay at Betty’s we would certainly enjoy camping at. The trails are very nice and include a small pond where we saw a huge alligator. One of the highlights on the trail is a small boardwalk taking visitors into a swamp where the rare Red Iris grows. We were very lucky to see them on our last walk in the park.

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It’s not just food and people that beckon us back, it is the music too. Local jams at places like the Museum CafĂ© in Erath LA and the cool little bar called Touchet’s near Maurice LA are two of the best jams to attend. Local musicians from all around crank out some great Cajun Music and Swamp Pop. We really love the music in Acadiana…

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As we are wrapping up our stay at Betty’s RV Park there was one final event scheduled which was Betty’s Birthday Party! Betty will be the first to say she really didn’t want anyone to do anything special for her birthday but Betty doesn’t always get her wish. We celebrated Betty’s birthday in typical Cajun fashion with a feast, music and a collection of friends and family. Happy Birthday Betty! We love you and can’t wait to come back!

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NOTE: We left Betty’s RV Park in Abbeville LA on April 1st and stop moved over to College Station, Texas for the month of April…