Archive for the '2011' Category

Nov 08 2011

The Natchez Trace

Published by under 2011

The Natchez Trace (a word that means trail or road in French) was originally a network of Native American trails.  By the late 1700’s when the United States was just beginning to expand into the area along the southern Mississippi, what became the Natchez Trace developed in prominence.  It was designated as our first National Highway by Thomas Jefferson.

You can read the story about the Trace on Wikipedia or you can read my condensed version here.

The Trace ran from Natchez, MS to Nashville, TN, thus joining the lower Mississippi with Daniel Boone’s Wilderness Road that ended in Nashville.  Its original use was  by boatmen and entrepreneurs who built flat bottom boats on the Ohio River, loaded them with goods, and floated them down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to Natchez where they sold the goods and the lumber from the boats.  At the time, Natchez was the most important city on the Mississippi.  They then had no choice but to walk back north.  Steamboats had not yet been invented, so there was no way to go up river by boat.

The trip from Natchez to Nashville was about 450 miles through wilderness and Indian Country.  Eventually some very hardy individuals built and operated “stands” about a day’s walk apart.  So every 15 miles or so there would be a small cabin where the travelers could stop for the night and get a meal.  The trip took about a month to complete.

The Trace was in use for only about 30 to 40 years.  During that time it was very important, both as a route for commerce, and in later years as a postal route when the US was attempting to lay the claim to the lands in what was then the west.  When the steamboat was developed, it eliminated the need for the Trace.  It fell into disrepair and  might have disappeared from history if not for the Mississippi chapter of the DAR which took on the project of restoring the Trace in about 1930.  They sold their idea to the government and  in 1938 the Natchez Trace became a unit of the National Park Service.  The road was finally completed in 2005.

The Natchez Trace is essentially a 444 mile long National Park.  They have done as much as possible to follow the route of the original trace, and to give the feel of the wilderness.  If you have ever driven on roads in National Parks, you know what this looks like.  There are no billboards, power lines, fences or other signs of civilization; at least to the the greatest extent possible.  There are no stop signs from beginning to end, and the road crosses over or under all major highways.  Many small roads do intersect with the Trace, but the Trace always has the right of way, and all access to the Trace is through ramps that camouflage the other road as much as possible.

The road itself is in excellent condition.  The speed limit is 50 MPH, and we saw only very few people driving over 55.  There are a lot of motorcycles on the Trace, so we were right at home.  We started from Tupelo since it is approximately in the middle of the Trace.   We used the trunk on the back of our scooter as our “suitcase” and filled the underseat storage with cold weather and rain gear.  Unfortunately, our delay in getting the trailer painted meant that the weather was not nearly as nice as we had hoped for.  We encountered no rain, but it sure was cold.  With snowmobile suits and our heaviest insulated gear, we managed, and left on our adventure on Wednesday.

We first went south towards Natchez.  It was only in the upper 40’s as we left, and the sun came out for only brief periods throughout the day.  There are exhibits, nature trails, signs and things to see every few miles, and we stopped at just about every one of them.  We saw cypress swamps, hardwood forests, remnants of the old Trace, Indian burial mounds,  sites of treaties, Indian villages, boundaries, geological formations, sites of old stands, and ferries.  Below is a photo I took in one of the cypress swamps near Jackson, and a picture of Dianna standing in the old trace with her cold weather gear on.

It was getting late, and we were getting saddle sore by the time we reached Jackson, MS, so we stopped for the night.  The next morning we continued on south toward Natchez, about 80 miles away.  The entire trip from Tupelo was mostly over flat  land.  The elevation did not change more than 200 feet from beginning to end. About 15 miles north of Natchez we stopped at the only restored stand on the Trace.  It was also one of the most luxurious due to its proximity to Natchez.  It also served as a working plantation, and it was owned by the original family until the 1940’s when it was taken over by the National Park Service.   It has been restored to its 1810 appearance, and approximately 25 percent of it is original.

We then continued into Natchez where we visited the “Under Hill” area.  It is where the steamboats tied up.  Natchez itself is located on the highest bluffs anywhere along the lower Mississippi, which was the reason it was settled in the first place.  We then toured the Natchez Visitor Center, and finally we toured Melrose, a plantation that was built in 1841.

By now it was late in the day, so we spent the night at a Day’s Inn.   It was somewhat unusual in that not only was breakfast included, but also dinner.  They served red beans and sausage over rice, with cornbread.  I thought it was pretty good.  Dianna does not like sausage so she was not as impressed as I was.

The next day, Friday, we rode all the way back to our trailer in Tupelo.  Since we didn’t have to stop many places, it took a lot less time getting home.   Saturday we rested, did laundry, and prepared for the trip toward the northern end of the Trace.

It wasn’t quite as cold on Sunday, but we were still bundled up.  As we rode north the terrain began to change, and there were fewer leaves on the trees, although beautiful fall colors were on display everywhere.  Again we stopped at all the exhibits, overlooks and falls, tobacco farms, ferries, fords, Indian mounds and other sites to see.  As we neared Nashville we got into much more mountainous country, but the Trace followed mostly along the ridge tops, which provided great views.

Near the northern end of the trace, yet still well into the wilderness, is the burial place of Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame.  He died there under “mysterious circumstances” at one of the stands while traveling the Trace in 1809, three years after returning from the famous expedition.  By then Jefferson had appointed him as the Governor of Northern Louisiana.  He was only 35 years old.

 We continued on to the end of the Trace and found ourselves in a major city, Nashville, with Interstate highways and lots of traffic.  I had used Travelocity’s “secret hotel” feature to find a place to stay.  It was described as a 4 star hotel for only $59.  It turned out to be the Sheraton Music City, and it indeed was a very nice place.  We paid less than half the normal rate.  We had a nice dinner at the hotel after soaking our aching bones in their hot tub.  By the way, our dinner cost a lot more than the hotel room.

Monday we headed back.  We retraced our route across Nashville to the start of the Trace, then south for about 40 miles until we turned off toward Columbia, TN.  It was the home of President James Knox Polk, also a relative of Dianna’s.  We toured the house his parents built, which is now a museum that contains most of the artifacts of his presidency.  He did live in the home for a short time, but it was his parents home.  It is the only house he lived in that is still in existence, except for the White House.


 The video and tour lasted quite a while, so it was getting late by the time we had something to eat and left Columbia.  We rode south to Lawrenceburg, where Davy Crockett lived from 1817 to 1821.  He served as a state representative while living there, but had moved further west when elected to congress.  Of course, he died at the Alamo in 1836.

From there we continued west to the Trace again, and then south to Tupelo, arriving about 6:30 last night.  It was well past dark by then since DST is no longer in effect, and we are near the eastern edge of the central time zone.  We were happy to be home, but we have great memories of our adventure.  We rode just about 1,000 miles in total, saw some great scenery, and learned a lot of history.  Next year, maybe the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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Nov 01 2011

Arkadelphia, Tupelo, and a Droid

Published by under 2011

We hung around Denton for a few days so we could celebrate Deidra’s 19th birthday and take care of some last minute business, and left there on Tuesday the 25th of October.  We drove to Arkadelphia, AR where we stopped at a very nice Corps of Engineers park.  We stayed two nights since rain was forecast.  That’s when we found the leak in the freshly painted trailer.  They had not sealed the roof properly where they added the new wall/roof radius.

While in Arkadelphia, Dianna did some genealogy  research.  One of her ancestors was a Confederate governor of the state, and he was from there.  There is a lot of history about him in the town, including his original law office which has been preserved.

We then drove to Tupelo, MS where we planned to ride the scooter on the Natchez Trace.  Unfortunately, I came down with a bad cold and did nothing for 2 days.  The 3rd day I finally got dressed and we visited the Natchez Trace Visitor Center, just north of Tupelo, and we made the obligatory visit to Elvis’s birthplace.

There is not a lot to see unless you want to pay to go in the house and visit the museum.  We’ve never been huge fans, so decided to pass.  We came, we saw.

While in Arkadelphia my Motorola RAZR died.  I have had it for many years so it served its purpose.  I purchased a Droid Bionic smart phone to replace it.  It’s a nice phone that does a lot, but I’m not sure I really get the love that some people seem to exhibit.  This has one of the largest screens available, but it is still very small print, even when enlarged.  I’m sure I will find I use it more as time goes on, but it is not going to replace my laptop.

The biggest reason I went with this particular phone is that it is 4G, and because Verizon is currently running a little known promotion.  For $30 per month they will enable the hot spot feature, and include unlimited data for life!  I’ve been thinking about purchasing a cellular connection to compliment or eventually replace my satellite internet.  This deal made it a no brainer.

I have now had an opportunity to use the hotspot in a 4G area.  I can tell you that it screams.  Even in a good 3G area it is much faster than satellite for small amount of data, mostly because of less latency.  For large files the satellite is still better due to some recent improvements from HughesNet.

That’s it for this part.  The next post will cover our adventures on the Natchez Trace.

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Nov 01 2011

The Finished Product

Published by under 2011

Although it has been completed for a couple weeks, I finally had an opportunity to take a decent photo of our freshly painted trailer.  We are reasonably pleased with the result.  There are a few flaws, and a mistake on their part resulted in a very bad leak the first time it rained, but overall it looks very nice.

They had originally estimated that the job would take 3 weeks.  It ended up taking almost 7.  It was a huge job and I think they underestimated just how big a job it was going to be.  Then they had employee problems, paint problems, supplier problems.  By the time it was finished we were both glad it was over.


The new fiberglass radius where the wall meets the roof is a huge improvement.  We decided not to have any brand name painted on it.  Since Teton is no longer in business, there doesn’t seem to be any reason to advertise for them.  Now if we can just keep it looking good …..

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Oct 11 2011

Three More Day Trips

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Needing to be out of the trailer while they are painting has allowed us to take three more day trips.  Last Wednesday we spent the day at the Dallas Arboretum.  It is a world class arboretum and we had a wonderful and relaxing time looking at all the gardens. They have a Fall theme going and there were pumpkins everywhere.


It is located on the shores of White Rock Lake near downtown Dallas. The property used to belong to the DeGoyler family who made their money in oil. They built the house in the 1938’s and it is an architectural treasure. Some of the furnishing were purchased from William Randolph Hurst who had more things than he could fit in his castle on the coast of California.

On Thursday we went to the State Fair of Texas. Seniors get in free on Thursdays, so we drove to the nearby DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) station and rode it to the main gate. The DART only cost $8 for the two of us round trip. Parking at the fair, after fighting the crowds and downtown Dallas traffic, costs $15. It was a no brainer.

The Texas State Fair is the largest in the country. We spent the whole day there, leaving about 7 PM, and still did not see everything. We didn’t go to the midway at all, yet still had a good time seeing all the exhibits, animals, free shows and other fair displays.

Yesterday we drove south about 120 miles to Waco, TX where we visited the Texas Ranger Museum. They were/are an interesting group with a varied history. They have served in different capacities at different times, starting during the pre-Republic days, and serving during the Republic, early statehood, Confederate days, Mexican War and finally their roles during modern statehood. Even then they served in an evolving role. Today they are basically a state FBI type organization that provides assistance to local law enforcement agencies.

Our outings have been fun but we are ready to get on the road. The painting is all done and they are now working on reinstalling all the lights, awnings, ladders, etc. They also still have to reseal the entire unit. It should be all done in a couple days. We will post pictures when it is complete.

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Sep 24 2011

Eisenhower’s Birthplace

Published by under 2011

The weather yesterday was very nice, so we took a motorcycle ride to Denison, TX, a little town about 60 miles from Denton.  Its primary claim to fame is that it is the birthplace of our 34th president, and the man who led the allied armies in the defeat of Hitler.  Knowing that the first Texan elected president was Dwight David Eisenhower may win a trivia game sometime.

The Eisenhower family was from Abilene, KS, and they lived there most of their lives.  The family moved to Denison after the failure of the family business and losing everything to bankruptcy.   Ike was the only one of the seven children to be born in Texas.  The rest were all born in KS.  They only lived in Denison for three years and Ike was only a year and a half old when they moved back.  He remembered nothing about the time he lived there, but did visit the town and home three times after the end of WW II.

In an interesting parallel to recent questions about the birthplace of a president, Ike had no birth certificate since he was born at home.  Worse, the county records were lost in a fire.   Interestingly, he had no need for one his entire life, but although it was not required, one was finally issued for him just before he was elected president.  As the curator of the Eisenhower Presidential Library explains:

Dwight D. Eisenhower did not have an official birth certificate until Oct. 1, 1952.  When Eisenhower supporters in Texas learned he didn’t have a birth certificate on file in Texas, they decided to obtain a delayed birth certificate for him.  Mr. Lonnie F. Roberts of Denison, Texas obtained birth information from Mamie Eisenhower and got Ike’s older brother, Arthur, a banker in Kansas City, to sign the necessary documents.  We have a copy of this certificate in our files.

The house itself is a typical 1870’s house, but it was on the wrong side of the tracks.  Rather, it was almost on the tracks as they were only about 100 feet from the front door.  Ike’s father worked for the railroad as an engine wiper, the lowest paid job in the train yards.  Denison was a major railroad center at the time, and jobs in the busy town was the reason the family moved there in the first place.

It was a nice day for a ride, and we learned something too.  Below are some photos we took.

The birthplace is now owned and managed by the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife

 There are four rooms downstairs and two rooms upstairs.

 This is the bedroom, though not the actual bed, that Ike was born in.

 This bronze statue stands in the garden.  It is the first of five that the sculptor made.  Each is different.  The other four are located at the Presidential Library in Abilene, West Point, The US Embassy in London, and in Normandy.

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Aug 22 2011

Interior Trailer Remodel Completed

Published by under 2011

In our last post we told you about some of the things we were doing to our RV, but we were still in process and did not have any pictures to show you.  I’m happy to say that we are now about 99 percent complete and ready to share what we have done.  It has been a difficult period in which to accomplish much.  Texas has had one of the hottest summers on record and doing anything outside has been no fun.  While most of the work was done inside, we still had to do some parts of it outside, and just the general heat and humidity made doing anything unpleasant.  That’s one reason why it has taken longer than we had hoped to get it all done.

As we mentioned in our last post, changing the refrigerator to a household unit became part of the project.  When it arrived we had to get it into the rig by opening the escape window in the slide out and lifting it from the tailgate of the delivery truck through the window on its back.  There’s no other way to get it in.  It took a while to get all the blocking, bracing and trim just right to hold it securely in place and to look just the way we wanted, but we are very happy with the final result.

 As you can see, it is a side by side unit with water and ice through the door.  It draws air in through the lower right side of the grill, and exhausts through the left side of the grill.  There is no need for any air movement behind or beside the unit but there is space all around anyway.  I secured it by raising the front wheels and wedging the top against the upper cabinet, then added extra security by installing a Z bracket that goes behind the upper rail and screws into the top front face of the refrigerator between the doors.  It is painted black so you don’t even see it.  I secured the bottom by making a board that is just the right height to slip between the floor of the opening and the bottom of the refrigerator.  It sits against the front wheels and is screwed to the floor of the cabinet, securely holding the refrigerator in place.  It cannot move.

While waiting on the refrigerator I completed the rebuilding of the water damaged wall, and I did the preparation for the new shades.  This involved running 12 volt electrical lines to all the areas where we would be installing shades.  I had to tap off several different places in both slide outs and in the rear.   It was quite a job to keep all the wires hidden behind walls or inside cabinets.

I also began the process of making new valance boxes for the shades.  I used 7/16 oriented strand board.   They have a leg and a top section, both of which were covered with batting and fabric.  The top section is plum colored and has a geometric pattern.  The legs are a solid plum colored microfiber fabric.    All the pieces of wood were cut at Jenning’s on Chris’s table saw and assembled here.  I used his pneumatic brad nailer and glue. Here’s a look at the finished product.

After the refrigerator was installed we began putting up wallpaper.  We purchased a light tan, textured, cloth backed vinyl.  It has the  appearance of corduroy.  Given all the windows etc., I don’t think there was a single piece that did not have cutouts in it somewhere.  It took quite a bit of work, but it came out very nice.  You can see it in the previous photo as well as this wider shot.


After the wallpaper was done we installed the valance boxes and then the shades.  The MCD shades are the top of the line window covering for RV’s.  They are not cheap!  While there are many options available, ours are typical of what most people do.  They consist of a day and a night shade.  The day shade is solar blocking and is pulled down in all the photos below.  They really help keep it cooler inside.  The night shade is a cream colored vinyl material.  The day shades are manual and the night shades are electric.  Even the manual shades are a far cry from the old style roll up shades.  The roll up speed and the upper height limits are settable.  That means you can just give it a tug and let go to put it up.  It slowly retracts to its preset location.  The night shades are electric and remotely controlled.  Here is a photo of the remote.


There are 14 buttons to control individual shades, but we only have 11 shades.  I have programmed the other three buttons to work groups of shades.  One does all, one does all the shades in the rear of the unit, and one does all the shades in the curb side slide out.  These are great!  Raising and lowering all the shades in this rig used to be a major hassle.  We rarely opened more than a few.  Now we can open or close all the shades with the push of two buttons.  It’s one of the best upgrades we’ve made.

Once the shades and valances were complete I installed base molding along the bottom of all the walls, crown molding along the ceiling, and new corner molding in all the corners.  We took some of our wall paper to Lowes and had them mix a paint to match which we used on all the molding before installation.  The molding gives the place a nice, finished look that feels more like a house and less like an RV.  You can see the molding in the previous photos as well as in this one and some of the photos to follow.  The photo also shows the trim around the slideout that we covered in fabric to match the window valances.


The next project was the tile in the kitchen area.  We removed the mirrors that Teton had installed on the walls, and replaced it with 3/4 inch square glass tiles.  We used a spray on mastic that works better than thin set or regular mastic on slick surfaces  like the original walls.  We also used an epoxy grout that is normally used in commercial applications. We were concerned that regular cement based grout might crack due to the flexing and movement of the trailer.  I had to make oak trim to finish it off nicely.  Here are several photos of the finished tile job.


The tile is much darker than the original walls.  This, along with the removal of the mirrors, made the counter area quite dark.  So, we ordered and installed some 12 volt LED’s for under the upper cabinets.  That involved running more 12 volt wires inside cabinets and through walls.  The lights are hidden behind the front trim and really brighten up the counter area.   In fact, they are almost too bright first thing in the morning, but just great the rest of the day.  Here is a photo of three of them installed just behind the front lip of the upper cabinets.  This photo is taken from the top of the counter looking up.


Somewhere along the way, Dianna decided she didn’t like the original 120 volt lights any more.  So we replaced all of them, including the ceiling fan.  They do look very nice.  You can see some of them in previous photos.  Here is a closeup of the fan, and you can see the lamp above the rear window as well.  The new wall sconces are shown in previous photos.


Once we finished making messes, it was finally time to replace the carpet.  We ordered a two tone cut pile carpet made by Mohawk.  It is a new product that they call Triexta or SmartStrand.  It is guaranteed not to stain.  For demonstration purposes they installed it in several animal cages at zoos around the country.  You can see some of the videos on their web site where light colored carpet that had been in a rhino pen for two weeks was cleaned with a just hot water.  Even bleach is not supposed to affect it.  I’m sure some of it is marketing hype, but it does seem to be pretty good stuff.  I doubt we will be as hard on it as the rhinos and camels were, but it’s nice to know it should last.  We’re really enjoying walking barefoot and feeling how soft it is compared to the old carpet.  Here’s a photo of the carpet.

That’s about the end of the interior remodel story.  Somewhere during the past couple months we have also refinished the kitchen table and moved all our stored goods from a regular storage facility to one that is climate controlled.  Of course, that required building more shelving and working outside in this terrible heat, but we got it done.

Next on the agenda is the outside.  We have an appointment starting the day after Labor Day to get the outside of the trailer repainted.  We’re going to keep it white but have some new graphics painted on.  There will be no more decals or vinyl graphics.   They will also be replacing the radius where the outside walls and roof meet with fiberglass.  Teton used a cardboard form for a couple years, and brought the roofing material down over that form to meet the top of the walls.  Of course, the cardboard did not hold up and they abandoned that method, but that’s how ours was built.  It sags and looks very ugly.  Some other minor body damage will be repaired before they paint.

The one other thing we may change is the sofa.  It doesn’t really go with the decor any more, and the hid-a-bed is almost impossible to sleep on.  We are thinking about installing a smaller sofa or love seat with storage underneath, and using an inflatable bed for the rare times we have guests.  Stay tuned.

So, for those of you who thought we have just been goofing off all summer, now you know.  We hope you like it as much as we do.



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Jun 08 2011


Published by under 2011

For some time we have been planning to do a major facelift to our home, and make some upgrades to certain equipment as well.  Part of that has already been done.  We added new and better brakes while in New Hampshire last year, and we replaced the wheels and tires with heavier duty ones when we lost the wheel in Globe, AZ earlier this year.

We then went to an RV repair facility near San Antonio for repairs and adjustments to our slideouts.   They replaced some parts and installed a bracket to keep the slide from coming in too far.  Then we continued on to Denton where we planned to make the majority of the modifications.

Dianna has posted about our family activities since we arrived, so I will post about the plans and progress of the upgrades.  The first item was not planned.  Our refrigerator failed.  RV refrigerators use ammonia as a cooling agent, and are powered by electric or propane.  Our cooling unit, the thing on the back of the refrigerator, sprung a leak.  They are not repairable.  We then discovered that our 10 year old refrigerator is no longer made, and repair parts are not available from the manufacturer.  Even worse, no one makes a refrigerator of the same dimensions as ours.  To replace it with a new refrigerator would require cabinetry modifications.

We found a company that makes replacement cooling units and ordered one.   It was shipped to a trucking terminal in Grand Prairie, about 45 miles south between Dallas and Fort Worth.  We picked it up and enlisted Chris’s help installing it.  It was described as a DIY project, but I dare say most would find it more than they would want to tackle.  Our refrigerator was the largest RV refrigerator made, so it was heavy, and it had an ice maker, heat tapes, and cooling fans installed to make it more difficult.  We got it done but immediately had concerns.  It did not cool as well as the original unit.  After a lot of work, including adding fans and rebuilding baffles to route air through the fins, we finally gave up and decided to send the cooling unit back.  The company offered a replacement but we decided we have had enough of RV refrigerators.  They gave us a full refund, including shipping charges.

Many people now order their full time RV’s with residential style refrigerators.  We decided that was the route for us too.  Our trailer has an inverter that lets us make 120V AC current from our batteries when we are not plugged in.  So, after removing the refrigerator and the cooling unit again, and taking it back to the trucking terminal in Grand Prairie, I set about modifying our cabinetry to hold the new refrigerator we picked out.  It is a 21.7 cubic foot Whirlpool with ice and water in the door.  It should be real nice.

I removed the drawer below the original refrigerator opening, removed the gas line, rerouted electrical lines and moved the plug, closed off and insulated the outside access doors in the wall since rear access will no longer be needed, fabricated and installed mounting brackets to hold the TV cables and 12V wiring on the back wall, and strengthened the floor.  I also enlarged the cupboard above the refrigerator opening by extending it an additional 9 inches to the rear.  This space was used for air movement above the rear of the original refrigerator, but it would now just be wasted space.  It certainly didn’t get back as much space as the drawer we lost, but it helped.

We are now waiting for the new refrigerator to be delivered.  That will be another interesting experience.  It will have to come through the escape window because it is too large to fit through the door.  We’ll let you know how that works out.

In the meantime, I have also rebuilt the end wall in the living room slide out.  It had a water leak some time ago that rotted the wood structure.  I had to completely disassemble it, rebuild parts of it with an epoxy putty compound (that smelled worse than Dianna’s nail chemicals), replace the wood framing, and resurface it in preparation for new wall paper.  That’s the next item.  We have decided to re-wallpaper the entire living room area.  After several trips to home improvement stores and other stores, we finally found the one we liked.  We just received it today and will begin on that project in a few days.

But, that’s not all.  We’ve always disliked the day/night shades that came with our trailer.  They are difficult to get to behind sofa and chairs, cumbersome to operate, and most of them have now been repaired at least once when the cords wore through grommets in the mechanism.  So we decided to replace them with new shades from MCD, a company located in McKinney, just a few miles from here.  They will have both a night time shade and a separate sun blocking daytime shade.  Best of all, they will be electrically operated with a remote control.  At the push of one button we will be able to lower or raise all or any of the shades.

The shades have been ordered but we do the installation ourselves.  I will be running 12V power to the valences where the shades will be located.  This will require opening slots in the walls, another reason for new wall paper.  And, as long as we are redoing the wall paper and shades, we also decided to replace the valences and the legs that surround the shades on several of the windows.  We have purchased the plywood from which they will be constructed, and we have purchased the new material they will be covered with.  They will go in as soon as the wall paper is up.

We have also decided to replace the mirrors that serve as the back splash in the kitchen with tile.  In fact, we will be adding the tile in the entire kitchen backsplash area.  We chose a small glass tile that should look very nice.

Of course, when all this is done, we will replace the carpet.  We’re still contemplating about whether or not to replace the current hide-a-bed sofa with a built in seating area with underneath storage.  That one will probably be decided by how much energy we have left after all the other upgrades.

There are still a couple more things in the works.   I plan to replace our current inverter, the thing that makes 120V AC power from the batteries, with a different kind.  Ours makes a form of power known as “modified sine wave”.  This means it is not exactly the same as utility power we have when plugged in or using the generator.  Most things work OK with it, but some do not.  We will replace it with a true sine wave inverter that makes power exactly like utility power.  It will be better for all our electronics, and for the new refrigerator.

And, when all this is done, we plan to have the trailer painted.  That’s still a ways off, but we’re working at it as much as we can.  The temperatures have been brutal the past few weeks.  This week it has been up to 105 with high humidity.  It makes going  outside no fun, and we’re both feeling the effects of the heat.

So, there you have it.  Now you know what we’ve been up to, and what we will be up to for the next several weeks.  I’d sure rather be doing it somewhere more comfortable that here, but we have everything convenient to this location.  There are two Lowe’s and two Home Depot’s within ten miles, (I visited one Lowe’s every day for 14 straight days), and many of the larger tools, like the table saw and chop saw are in Jennings garage, just 5 miles down the road.

I’ll try to post a little more often as the projects move along.  I may even include photos!

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