Thursday, November 25, 2021

Building a Cabinet Door for our new Fridge Cabinet


I left the refrigerator project on hold when we left Mesa AZ because to finish it off I needed to find a cabinet door. I looked online and found that a narrow door in the same wood type as our rig, alder, was going to quite a challenge.


I did find a site which would build a cabinet nearly to my needs but it would have to be 1/2 wider than I desired. After remeasuring everything and taking into account that the door had to open to the right meaning the hinges had to be set in a particular spot to allow for the clearance of the door opening in toward another cabinet I figured I could make it work.


I kind of gave up on the project and thought I would reinvestigate it later. Well that day finally came because here at Far Horizons RV Resort I discovered the park has a wood shop. Since there were no fees associated with using it I decided that maybe I could build my own cabinet door.


Scouring You Tube videos trying to find a solution on how to build a cabinet door with minimal tools I finally came upon one that was perfect for what I needed. A You Tube video titled Build Shaker Cabinet Doors With Table Saw | New to Woodworking.


After watching the video a few times I knew this would work for our needs. And as luck would have it the local lumber center had alder wood and the same hinges we have in our RV. I bought a couple of pieces of 1x2’s and some hinges then I was off to the wood shop.


First I used a radial arm saw to cut the pieces to size for the cabinet door frame. Then I used a table saw to cut the groove on the edge of the frame pieces that I could later insert a 1/8’ piece of plywood that I had leftover from tearing out the old Norcold fridge.


Next was a tricky part to make the stub and groove tenon joints as can be seen in the above photo. These joints make the cabinet door stable and study to allow for the abuse of constant opening and closing that cabinets endure.The video showed me how to do this using only a table saw.


Measuring was critical and I lucked out as I was able to do so by only messing up one small piece. Once all the cuts were made I cut the 1/8” plywood cabinet face to fit inside the groves of the frame pieces. I dry fitted all the pieces together and once satisfied that all the pieces fit I glued it all together using wood frame clamps to hold it tight to dry overnight.


The next day I took off the clamps and gave all the pieces a light sanding including rounding the edges. Next I used a cherry stain I had previously purchased based upon Tiffin’s recommendation as one that would match our cabinetry the best.


Sharon and I couldn’t be more pleased at how the cabinet door turned out. After we installed the hinges and a door catch we now have a new storage area that looks as if it was always there and all built for less than $35.

NOTE: We are currently in Tucson AZ until December 1st…

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Repairing a broken double-paned RV window…


As the saying goes, sometimes caca occurs, or something like that. When we arrived at our site in Tucson Arizona there were a lot of tree limbs overhanging our site. We backed in figuring we would be able to trim them so they would not scratch the slideouts.

111I got up on the roof and trimmed all the ones touching the roof but there were several more leaning on our slideouts. Other than noise my biggest concern was that they might tear the slideout toppers since this tree had thorns. Well, I could only reach some of the limbs and a neighbor across the way said he would contact maintenance to come by and trim them on Monday for us. Great!

We settled in and after seeing lots of hummingbirds in the area we put our hummingbird feeder out on the side window of our slide-out. Sure enough, in no time we had hummingbirds feeding at our feeder. With our site all set up and birds at the feeder we felt pretty cozy.


Monday while Sharon was fixing lunch the maintenance guys came over to trim the windows. I offered to pull in the slide so it would be easier to trim the limbs. Well, when I pulled in the slide we heard a loud boom and feared maybe something in the slide got crunched. But no… it was the hummingbird feeder on the side window which as the slide was coming in caused the outside tinted window pane to explode into a zillion little pieces. CRAP!!!  We were amazed it broke the window rather than popping off the feeder. Gee whiz. I mean if you want a hummingbird feeder that will stick to your window this is it!


No problem, we bought a window from Tiffin for the other side and after finding the receipt I not only had the part number I needed for this 26x30 window but I saw we paid $220.00 for it last time so had an idea of what it would cost. After calling Tiffin I was astounded to learn this window would now cost $723.00 plus freight and shipping for a total near $1000.00, YIKES!!!


After calling every glass shop I could find here in Tucson and Phoenix only one could repair it in time but we had to take the window out and take it Phoenix. The shop said it could maybe be fixed before the end of the month for less than $350, but no guarantees it would be done by then.


Then I found  on the web and they could send me just the broken pane replacement for $125 but no guarantee I’d get it before we left due to supply chain issues. Left with little choice we decided to take the window out, disassemble it, remove the broken glass, measure the window glass for replacement and reinstall it back into the RV to be repaired later.


Let me tell you about a great YouTube video I found on taking a window out and apart. After watching it I felt confident enough to remove the window and disassemble it. Removing the broken glass was tricky but once I finished breaking all the little pieces off and disposing of them I just used a single edged razorblade to cut under the remaining broken glass for removal.


I measured all the details of the window for replacement and reinstalled the single pane of glass left in the broken window. It will need caulking if we get into a stormy situation but I will wait until then to do so since caulk is messy to remove. We decided we will likely order a replacement pane from and have it delivered to our son’s house in Texas where I can fix the window properly. Never a dull moment!


NOTE: We are currently in Tucson AZ until December…

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Thoughts About Our Phoenix Stay and What’s Next…


When we decided to modify our beginning of the year plans due to the impending birth of our daughter’s baby girl in North Carolina, it gave us time to pause and reflect. While I sat for a few months alone with the RV in Rockport Texas and Sharon was in North Carolina helping our daughter with the new baby, I had some time to begin seriously thinking about what’s next for us after we stop RV’ing.

We know we won’t be RV’ing fulltime forever so we need to iron out what the next chapter of our lives will look like. Thoughts about this process led to us deciding to cut short our planned stays in the pacific northwest this past summer and instead focus on the southwest.


We decided to take advantage of Cal-Am’s fall special where we could stay at several of their parks for an inexpensive price. We did this to answer a few questions we had about Arizona. One was could we live in Arizona during the cusp seasons of early fall ad late spring? Another was could we settle down in cities such as Phoenix or Tucson? And lastly, would we like to live in a Cal-Am Park? Or as the top photo suggested… Does X mark our spot?


We booked a month in September at Sun Life RV Resort in Mesa AZ. This would be the first of three Cal-Am parks we would visit. What we learned while staying there was we really like Sun Life and what Cal-Am offers it’s residents. Our next month in Mesa Regal was equally enjoyable.


The difference between the two parks is mostly size. Sun Life is a much smaller version of Mesa Regal. Both offer way above average facilities and both are fun places to stay (during season) and are conveniently near just about anything one would need or want.

What is it about our stay we didn’t like? Well there were two huge negatives to us. First was there is no way we want to live in an area where the daytime temperatures rise well past 110 degrees Fahrenheit! Overnight lows during this time (September) seldom dropped below 90 F. We found this to be way too hot for active people like us!


The other big negative to the Cal-Am parks is that they are very expensive in their monthly fees. It is $8500 or more annually for site rent/HOA fees. Monthly charges for sewer/electric/trash are quite high as well. We understand they have great amenities but we could experience the same amenities in apartment complexes at a much less fee.


Have we completely eliminated living in Arizona? No, not yet… but we have decided if we do so it would have to be seasonal… We are now in Tucson staying at our third Cal-Am park and wonder what we will think after this stay is over…

NOTE: We are currently in Tucson AZ until December…….

Monday, November 1, 2021

Gilbert AZ Riparian Preserve…


What a neat spot we found nearby in Gilbert Arizona. The Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch was once just a slice of the Sonoran Desert until the town of Gilbert converted it into a wonderful preserve. The preserve is a great places for visitors and residents alike to go walking, fishing, birding or picnicking. They have created a perfect slice of wildlife habitat within the city!.



In 1986, the Town of Gilbert made a commitment to reuse 100% of its effluent water which led to the development of the Riparian Preserve in 1999. There are 110 acres in this preserve and of the 100 acres 70 acres are part of  the 7 water recharge basins which are filled on a rotating basis with treated effluent in order to allow these waters to percolate back into the aquifer for future use.


While hiking on the over 4.5 miles of trails in the preserve visitors will be hiking through various vegetative zones ranging from marshlands to native riparian and upland vegetation areas. Here you may encounter some of the 298 species of birds which have been identified on the site. The hiking and the birding is what attracted us to this site.


The preserve is also used for community development and for educational purposes for the children attending schools in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. We have seen many people fishing, children learning, people walking their dogs and nature enthusiasts in the park on our many jaunts to the preserve.


On any given afternoon we will drive the 8-10 minutes to enjoy a nice walk. We have hiked all of the trails within the park and have seen many different species of birds. With fall migration in full bloom we have seen some birds one wouldn’t expect to see in the desert such as Whirl Pelicans and even a Roseate Spoonbill!


Another neat aspect of this preserve is the abundance of rabbits. While walking on trails throughout the preserve you will see 100’s of rabbits and even more Gamble's  Quail and Abert’s Towhees. These species have obviously benefited from this wetland oasis in the desert.


What makes this preserve even better for us is the proximity to the old downtown area of Gilbert AZ which has become quite the entertainment district. After hiking/birding in the preserve we can be found at one of three downtown establishments who offer up some of the best food and happy hours we have encountered during our travels.


O.H.S.O. in Gilbert is a brewery currently offering $7 32oz. pitchers of any of their Arizona craft brews until 5pm. Along with a nice selection of food on happy hour and some great burgers this is a must stop in town.


Another favorite is a wine bar called Postinos who offers $5 32 oz pitchers and $5 glasses of wine from 3-5pm. Wine lovers can also opt to have the whole bottle for only $20. On Monday and Tuesday evening they offer a deal of $25 for a bottle of wine and a bruschetta board with ample portions of various bruschetta choices.


Our favorite has to be the Joyride Taco House where we have become somewhat regulars during our stay here in Mesa. Their 3-5 happy hour offers $5 32oz beers as well as $5 margaritas (until 6pm). Even better a basket of hot chips and salsa is served to everyone for free. Finishing the evening with 2 or 3 of the street tacos at $2.50 apiece makes for not only an inexpensive dinner but a great night out on the town. Joyride is always an energetic, happy place to be.


We are certainly going to miss these locations when we leave this area on November 1st…