Thursday, February 15, 2018

Getting Hitch Itch and Making Spring Plans…

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, tree, sky, cloud, plant, outdoor, nature and waterIt's hard to believe that our three months stay is about to be over here at Imperial Bonita Estates, but it's true! The time has passed fairly quickly and with only a few weeks left I am definitely starting to get the itch to hit the road. It’s not that we haven’t been having fun with all of our activities. We have done a little hiking, played a little disc golf and reconnected with RV friends from the past. It is just that it is about time to go!

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We sure have gotten a lot done while we've been here though. We were able to install new slide toppers on our slide outs and they were definitely needed as they had begun to tear. We also bought new shades to replace out old and stained day/night shades and I installed all of them in our motorhome. They really do make the inside of our RV look real nice. All we need to complete our interior re-do is to replace what little bit of carpet we have left. We have also done a lot of other odds and ends and small chores to get the motorhome ready for the next season. So where we going to go next?

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To start with I'm having the plan a lot more now than I used to in the past because it seems that there are so many more people are on the road now as compared to several years ago. So I have made our reservations from here all the way to Texas! Our first one is a stop outside of Tampa Florida for about three nights. at Little Manatee State Park. From there we'll hug the coastline and we'll stay at a little park at Keaton Beach FL for 3 nights. Then it's on to Mexico Beach, our last Florida stop, where we will stay at a park called Rustic Sands RV Park. We really love the Mexico Beach area so we're going to spend four nights there.

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After Rustic Sands we scored our next two nights in Gulf Islands National Seashore at Davis Bayou Campground and we are looking forward to staying at this new location. Then we will leave Mississippi and enter Louisiana where we will be at Bayou Segnette State Park just south of New Orleans. We will stay here for three nights so we can get our New Orleans fix and get us ready for the Cajun hospitality. From Bayou Segnette we move east to our next stop which will be a longer stay of 15 days at Betty's RV Park one of our favorite little places in the world. At Betty’s we should get our fill of Cajun cuisine and Cajun music before we head into Texas.

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In Texas will spend one month at are former hometown in College Station where we can check out our rent house and reconnect with old friends. Here we can visit some of our favorite bars and restaurants (at least the ones that are still open) before moving west over to Lockhart State Park to get our fill of fabulous Texas BBQ. Our last planned stop for this leg of our travels will be for a two-week stay at Potters Creek Park, a Corps of Engineer park near Canyon Lake. Here we will spend some quality time with our grandchildren. Then we will have to make our late spring and summer plans and who knows where we will end up as we haven't got any plans yet! Stay tuned to find out where we head this summer On the Road of Retirement…

NOTE: We are in our winter home until March 1st in Bonita Springs Florida at Imperial Bonita Estates RV park and Coop.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Replacing Our Day/Night Shades–a DIY Project…

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With our RV now 10 years and going on 11 we decided that this year would be the year we would upgrade our RV. We don’t see going off the road anytime soon and we see no reason to purchase a new motorhome so the only logical choice was to (as Sharon would say) Pimp our Ride!

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Last spring we replaced the flooring and got rid of much of the carpet. We still have some carpet left and we will replace the areas remaining with new carpet. Earlier this month I replaced all of our slide toppers because after 10 years of wear and tear it was time for them to be trashed and replaced. Next up for us was replacing our horrid day/night shades.

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After reading tons of reviews about replacement products I kept reading rave reviews for the MCD shades. After pricing them out however I decided I had better dig deeper to see what other options were out there. Spending over $2000 for window treatments was simply way over our budget! We did discover there is a small shop out of Red Bay Alabama who also does a roller day/night shade and at first we considered it because it was 1/3 less in cost. However, they explained the cornices would all have to be modified to add about 1” in depth. As a result it would be just as costly as MCD shades and we really did not want to add more width to our cornices so we rejected this option.. Was there no other alternative?


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I came across a website called Selectblinds. After reading all the product information and reviews I found a couple of honeycomb shades that seemed perfect for us at over half the cost. I chatted with an agent online and finally decided to order them. Eight replacement shades at about $100 per shade on average made it affordable.

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I ordered two types of shades. The first a classic day/night shade. Yes these still have strings in them but at no angles thus leaving less chance of breaking. They fit perfectly in our valances  so there would be no additional modifications. The second shade I ordered was a top/down bottom/up blackout shade which had a special feature in that you could open the shades from either the bottom or from the top down. We have some extra tall windows so being able to open them from the top we could have some sky views from windows we otherwise rarely used – Sweet!!!

Installation was simple and straightforward (after I figured out how the attachment clips worked). The steps I performed are below:

  1. Remove cornices by removing screws from the side braces and then those in the top or sides of the cornices. This is where an extension Phillips will be a godsend.
  2. Remove old blinds by removing the screws from the string attachments and then pressing the attachment clip releases to free the old shades from the cornice. This is an excellent time to thoroughly clean the windows and the window screens, which we did.
  3. Next I needed to remove the old attachment clips and install the new ones. These ere type “C” attachment clips and the installation guide had very poor picture of how to install them. It took me the better part of an hour to solve the riddle of how to install them so I have included pictures of how they are installed.
  4. Now all I needed to do was align the new blinds equidistance from the sides of the cornice and snap them in place. Also I  added the two plastic window lift tabs onto the new blinds and they were ready to reinstall.
  5. Before installing the blinds I had to replace the screws along the right and left side of the window to reduce the height of the screw head. Why? Because the blinds were hitting the larger screw head but not the smaller one when I replaced them.
  6. Lastly I had to  re-install the cornices the opposite way I took them off. An extra hand here helps immensely with this step. One trick here I used was to tape the screw on the extension so it wouldn’t fall off before I could get it started back in!

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I was easily able to install all eight blinds in an afternoon but I was a bit sore from having to contort myself in ways to be able to remove some of the screws from the valances. The only special tool needed here was a drill extension and long bit with a Philips head on it. The tool is pictured below for your convenience.

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So now we are enjoying our new blinds and only time will tell if these blinds are the perfect blinds for us and our RV…

NOTE: We are now in our winter home until March 1st in Bonita Springs Florida at Imperial Bonita Estates RV park and Coop.