Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Wednesday, November 28 – Saturday we went to Pub Fiction with Carrie and the gang to watch Ohio State (12-0) beat Michigan and Virginia Tech beat Virginia. Too bad OSU is ineligible to go to a bowl this year. Who knows, they may have been selected to play in the BCS National Championship game.

OSU game

On Tuesday, Paul took on one of his planned 5th wheel “up-grades."   We have been unable to use our Direct TV DVR recorder because it needs 2-wires running in from the satellite dish. Our Cameo is only pre-wired with one TV jack.

Paul's been researching the best way to add a second line and decided the simplest approach was to just add a dual TV jack on the outside of the 5th wheel, drill through the wall into the entertainment area and add an entirely new 2-wire TV outlet.

After careful planning and measuring, Paul was faced with the most difficult part of this project, getting the nerve to drill through the 5th wheel's exterior wall. He first drilled a small pilot hole figuring if he did screw-up it would be easier to patch.

Here goes nothing.
getting ready to drill

Whew! That went well.
drilling hole

With a 1/2” drill bit now in his drill, he preceded to drill two side-by-side holes through the exterior wall of the trailer. He was then able to fish the TV coax cable through the wall from the weather-proof outlet to the Direct TV DVR Receiver.

drilling outside



He caulked the outlet and holes with silicone caulk to prevent leaks and screwed the outlet to the exterior wall of the 5th wheel.

He had to remove the TV to get to the rear of the entertainment center. With Marsha's help, that was pretty easy. We did carefully mark the wires so we could easily get them back in the proper position when finished.

no TV

The wire was then fished up through the holes already drilled in the entertainment center to the shelf where the DVR was located.

wire through hole

With that job out of the way and since we had the TV off the wall, this was a good time to add a 110-volt receptacle to the mantle like area under the TV. This gives Marsha a nice area for displaying her electronic picture frames and holiday decorations.

This required cutting a hole in the front panel, adding an electrical box, wiring in a receptacle, and finishing it off with a cover plate. A pretty straight forward receptacle installation especially since 110 wiring was already present in the entertainment center.


Now to connect all those wires back to the TV.  DONE! No sweat!


With that completed, another project was to add a 110-volt receptacle in the bathroom. We have one on the rear splash area of the sink, but Paul wanted a second receptacle on the side of the sink cabinet.


Adding a second receptacle meant fishing a wire from the existing receptacle down through the wall to a new electrical box under the sink cabinet. Then a wire was ran over to the side of the cabinet where a new outlet was installed in a hole cut in the cabinet side.

This was a little tougher installation requiring “stiff-old” Paul to once again practice his contortionist positions under a tiny bathroom vanity in a small RV bathroom surrounded with hundreds of tools.

With a minor amount of swearing, he pulled it off with a limited amount of frustration. That's enough for one day!

new receptacle

Marsha was pretty smart choosing to go to the nearby laundry mat (called Washateria here in Texas) while Paul struggled in the bathroom. Smart girl!

Wait, Marsha found one more job. Because the bed is in front of the mirrored closet doors, Marsha can't see what her entire ensemble looks like before she heads out the door.

mirrored door

So we looked around and found the perfect spot for her new mirror. We put it on the back of the bathroom door. All she has to do is remove the two towels when she wants to see herself and…wala…full length mirror.

mirror on door

That's not the end of Paul's projects, so stop back and see what's next :-)

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y'all back real soon. Have a great day!

Friday, November 23, 2012


Thursday, November 22 – We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at our daughter's place.

Carrie, Marsha and Carrie's roommates, Nick (in the back), Bo (making his famous mashed potatoes.)

It was a small gathering of 26 young people. Carrie gets this “Big Party” spirit naturally. Marsha has always loved big parties!

Not everyone was there when we took our annual group photo.
the group

We had a wonderful time visiting with all her friends. Many are from distant cities and were unable to make the trip home to spend Thanksgiving with family, so this is a wonderful gesture on Carrie's part to provide a place to enjoy the day with friends.


Of course, we had turkey....two as a matter of fact.... and all the trimmings. Everyone brought along a dish to add to the buffet. We all enjoyed a fabulous dinner.

Carrie tried a new recipe on one of the turkeys…wrapping it with bacon….YUMMY!
turkey with bacon

Look who got to do the honors of carving the turkeys this year.
paul carving turkey

There was football (Houston beat Detroit in overtime), Cornhole (a bean-bag toss game for those unfamiliar to the game), and lots of sharing and conversation.

Watching the big game.DSC01602


Nick's custom-made Cornhole board.DSC01582

What form.

This bag is for you.


As evening approached and things began getting “loud,” it was time for us “old folks” to head home and let the young people enjoy the end of the day.

Hope y'all had as wonderful, fun, blessed Thanksgiving as we did.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y'all back real soon. Have a great day!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Thursday, November 21 Our shortest blog ever.


On the lighter side.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y'all back real soon. Have a great day!

Monday, November 19, 2012


Monday, November 19 – After spending a week in the Rio Grande Valley (Leisure Valley Ranch in Mission, TX), we returned to Houston today to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with daughter, Carrie.

The Houston Elks campground is packed! We are parked on one of the end gravel sites. There are 8 FHU concrete pad sites and 2 FHU gravel sites.

We had a long but trouble free drive up from the Valley. It is 435 miles and takes about 6.5 hours to make the trip. The weather is surprisingly, much nicer here than down south. It was cloudy most of the time there, but we found sunny skies and hot temps here in Houston.

Not any statistics we wanted to see.
drug seizures

We had a good time during our week stay in the RGV. Busy, busy, busy. Our main objective was to surprise Angie and Rick for their 40th Anniversary party and surprise them we did! It was a fun party, and we enjoyed getting together with many old friends.

Angie had a "thank-you" and "good bye" happy hour all rolled into one. The happy hour went on for hours. What a wonderful spread of food and drink. Thanks you two for another wonderful time in the RGV.

Anniversary girls, Angie and Marie.
Angie and Marie

We celebrated Susie and Leah's birthday also.Susie and Leah

The "boys' had a great time visiting too.Paul, Jay, Chuck

We will be returning to the RGV after the Christmas holiday for a two-month stay. We had considered Florida for this winter but decided we preferred being a little closer to Carrie. We hope to see her frequently the next couple months and again in March before heading North.

Paul has several “housekeeping” chores he wants to perform on the 5th wheel while here. He also plans on picking up materials for additional projects to be completed once we return to the RGV. One thing about Houston – if they make it, you can find it and buy it here!

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y'all back real soon. Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Tuesday, November 13 – We pulled up the jacks again early Saturday morning for the long drive to Leisure Valley Ranch in Mission, TX, known by Winter Texans as the Rio Grande Valley (RGV). We drove 345 miles in 6.5 hours....these long drive days must stop!

We are here to celebrate a 40th anniversary with dear friends, Angie and Rick, and Dave and Marie. They are having a party and dance to celebrate the glorious occasion.

We started the weekend at a Happy Hour at Susie and  Chuck's house so Marsha could spring the “Big Surprise” on Angie and Rick. Marsha and her crazy plans! It worked out well, and Angie and Rick were shocked we were in town.

Marsha and Angie
Marsha and Angie

Marsha, Susie (Marsha's partner-in-crime), AngieDSC01186

We then attended a dance at the club house. The Country band, Sweetwater, was performing. This is a good band, and we had a great time renewing friendships with old friends.

There's never a dull moment here at Leisure Valley Ranch. You can do something everyday if you wish. With warm weather and many old friends, we'll be busy that's for sure!

We are staying a week and will then head back to the Houston Elks to spend the holidays with Carrie, our youngest daughter. After Christmas, we'll return to the RGV for several months.

We are located on Lot 243, 2003 E. Bogey. Our site is HUGE. We have privileges to use the garage. This is where we will stay when we come back in January and February.

Our site

Not sure what Paul is doing in this picture.DSC01191

We have no one directly next to us.

Looking left.

We are directly across from the Clubhouse. How convenient…we can use the hot tub everyday!

Looking right.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y'all back real soon. Have a great day!

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Sunday, November 12 – What a day! On Thursday, Paul replaced the burned-out heating element in the hot water heater. We were able to heat water with propane but not electric. This isn't a big job if you have the correct tool. Unfortunately, Paul did not have the socket wrench necessary to remove the element. After searching Lowes, Home Depot, Harbor Freight, Sears and Northern Tools, he finally took Marsha's suggestion and went to PPL, a large RV consignment dealer and parts store here in Houston. Yep, Marsha was right again, they had one, and Paul picked-up the heating element while there.

Paul had to practically take the entire front off the tank to get to the element, but he was successful. We now had hot water via electricity, which is included in our $15/night price here at the Houston Elks. (If staying a month it's only $300/month – that's $10/night!)

Wish we could say that was the end of our hot water issues! After cleaning up and putting everything away, Paul noticed water on the concrete slab. No, the element wasn't leaking. After removing panels under the kitchen sink to expose the entire hot water tank, Paul found a soaked floor and a leaking hot water tank.....DANG!

leaking hot water tank

So, Saturday morning it was back to PPL to purchase a new Suburban hot water tank. Never having replaced a hot water tank, Paul was a little worried, but luckily the neighbor has done a replacement and encouraged Paul that the job is pretty straight forward. Of course, Marsha was there with plenty of encouragement also!

hot water tank

He started by removing the old tank which involves detaching hot and cold plumbing lines, 110 volt electric lines, 12 volt electric wires, propane lines, and exterior trailer moldings. It requires some contortionist positions under the kitchen sink as well! OUCH!

replacing tank



After removing the old tank, Marsha helped hold the new tank in the hole while he reconnected wires and propane lines.

Marsha holding tank

The new tank slid in fairly easily, and Paul crawled back under the sink to complete the plumbing connections.

new water tank


new tank

After filling the tank and finding no leaks, Paul fired up and tested the propane heating element. Finding it working correctly, he then tested the electrical heating element and was happy to see it working correctly. And most importantly, we have hot water with NO LEAKS!!! Yeah!

SIDE NOTE #1: Paul checked the service desk at PPL, and they wanted $240 for installing a hot water tank and couldn't get to it until late this week!

SIDE NOTE #2. Regardless what Marsha might tell you, Paul was not stressed-out, didn't swear, and completed the job with a smile on his face and whistling a happy tune! At least that is Paul's story, and he is sticking to it.

Happy Veterans day to all who have served our country so proudly and bravely. Thank you for your unselfish service.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y'all back real soon. Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Tuesday, November 6 –  Our voting precinct is right here in Rainbow's End, so we were able to walk over and cast our ballots early today.

Only in Livingston would you find this type of

We also are getting the 5th wheel and truck weighed today. We first drove the truck fully loaded with fuel and supplies, as it would be on a typical travel day onto the scales.

Mark Nemeth reads the scale.weighing truck

We then returned to our campsite and hooked-up the 5th wheel. We returned to the weighing sight for the final weighing.

weighing 5th wheel


Chris helps out with the weighing.DSC01144

The results were very good with all four corners of both the truck and the 5th wheel coming in way under maximum allowed weight.

Chris and Mark go over the results with Paul.getting results

We now need to download tire statistics so we can adjust inflation rates. Since we are under weight, we can reduce the tire pressure in both the truck and 5th wheel tires.

After weighing, we pulled-out for the two hour drive to the Stafford Elks Lodge on Route 59 just South of Houston. We are frequent visitors of this Lodge, staying here whenever we are in town visiting our daughter, Carrie. We are at site #6 and will be here through the Thanksgiving holiday.

Look at that blue sky, and the temperature is in the 80's….ahhhhhhhh!DSC01163 

It still looks like summer here with all the green trees and bushes still in bloom.

Most of the afternoon was spent trying to aim the satellite dish properly and get reception on the TV. Two of the neighbors were here offering their advice, Marsha was on the phone with Direct TV, and eventually we were successful in getting reception. We did find out that it will be necessary for a service technician to pay us a visit to fix our receiver. We do have a picture, we just can't record on the DVR.

With the TV working, we settled back to watch the election returns and spend the evening unwinding after four hectic days traveling from Ohio.

ON A SIDE NOTE: While taking pictures at our weighing session today at Escapee's Rainbows End, Marsha was reading the SmartWeigh poster.


She looked closer and noticed a picture of us at our last weighing in Livingston two years ago. It was on the poster advertising Escapee's Smart Weight Program. Then later that evening while reading the latest edition of the Escapee's magazine (November/December 2012), Paul saw the same picture on page 96, the last page in the magazine. Pretty neat!

That is our Phaeton in the upper-right hand corner and Paul and Mark.DSC01148

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y'all back real soon. Have a great day!