Wednesday, February 24, 2016

House Sitting & Upgrades to The Duchess

February 3 to February 21:

On February 3rd we drove the motorhome from the Travelers World RV Park in San Antonio to the ranch that my dad owns in Rosanky. We found a place to park the motorhome on the ranch while we are in Cedar Park house/dog sitting for the next few days. I drained all of the water lines and then hooked the motorhome up to 20 amp electrical service using a couple of extension cords. This will be enough power to keep the batteries charged while we are gone.

We spent a couple of hours visiting with my dad before we left to spend time house/dog sitting for Brooks & Heidi Ivey. They are going on a cruise for a week and we will be taking care of their 4 dogs along with Heidi's mom. We spent a couple of nights with the Iveys learning about their house. We have been there on a number of occasions, but living there for 12 days is different. The Iveys left on Saturday to spend the night in Houston before boarding their cruise ship (Princess line) on Sunday.

The next few days we took care of the dogs, made sure that Heidi's mom Sandy took her short walks along with being ready for the physical therapists that came by on Mon-Wed-Fri. Connie also took Sandy to Walmart one day and spent a couple of hours "shopping" there.

From top left: Daisy & Chopper - Eli - Daisy & Chopper (again) -
We enjoyed the hot tub at the Ivey's: using it almost every night we were there. It was great sitting in the hot tub and seeing the stars above. Thanks to Brooks for making the repairs to get it up and running for us. We found out that Brooks became a "star" on the cruise. He competed in a VOICE singing competition on the cruise and finished in the top three. We saw a video of his final performance and were amazed that he did not win (Heidi had uploaded it on Facebook).

After Brooks & Heidi had returned from their cruise, we traveled the 50 miles southeast of Austin back to the ranch in Rosanky. We were going to spend the week making some repairs to the motorhome, added some additional antennas on the roof and going through all of our "stuff" to see what we could get rid of and what we wanted to take from storage.

We spent the first couple of days going through all the cabinets and storage areas in the motorhome to see what we had used and what we could ditch. We were able to gain some space in several areas of the bay storage. We used this space to move our inflatable kayak from the Jeep to the motorhome.

Over the next few days we replaced two light fixtures inside the motorhome where the ballast had stopped working with LED lights from M4 Products. These repairs were made without any problems and the lights worked the first time we turned them on. We then worked on getting several new antennas put on the roof. Our first connection was to add an additional cable from the Winegard antenna on the roof to our DirecTV DVR so that we could watch one channel while recording another or record two programs at the same time. I was also able to connect both of the DirecTV boxes we have in the motorhome to our WiFi Ranger Go2 router so that we can share recorded programs between the two boxes. The conduit that we used to run the cable through we not large enough for any additional wires so we started looking for another method of getting wires/cables from the roof to the inside of the motorhome.

We spent an entire day searching for a way to run wire/cable from the roof without cutting a hole in the fiberglass. We were able to use Fish Tape to get a wire inside through a radio antenna connection, but we could not get the cable through all the turns needed. So we were down to cutting a hole in the roof and in the cabinet inside the motorhome to run two wires through. One of the wires was for a Wilson 4G Cellular Booster that we will use to improve our cellular service for the internet if we do not have a WiFi connection. I had to install a small piece of metal on the roof for the antennas to attach to since we have a fiberglass roof. The antenna mounts with a magnet and the metal will also help the signal boost. The second wire was for a WiFi Ranger Elite Antenna that we mounted on the batwing TV antennas to improve our ability to bring WiFi signals inside the motorhome through the WiFi Ranger Go2 router. I cut the hole in both the roof & cabinet and after some struggles we got both of the cables through the hole and connected to the proper devices.
WiFi Ranger Elite Antenna mounted on batwing.
I then "cleaned" up the work I had done on the roof, sealed everything with Dicor and Enternabond tape. I also made sure that everything was working before I started sealing up the roof.

I want to thank the RV Geeks for their videos on how to do antenna connection and the change over from fluorescent to LED lighting. Since they also owned a Newmar motorhome, the videos are easy to follow and make sense to me. If you own a motorhome, I would recommend that you view their videos to gain valuable information.

On Saturday we cleaned up the motorhome and got rid of a few more items that we had not used. I ordered some additional items for The Duchess: a Viair air compressor system designed specially for RV's, a replacement crank handle for the batwing antenna and a crossbar for the screen door. I also order some Dicor to keep on board in case we ever need it.

On Saturday, February 20th, our good friend (and the person we rent a room from for our permanent address) Marty Rexroat came to spend the night with us in the motorhome. Unfortunately she got caught in Austin traffic/construction and the usual 1.25 hour trip took her 2.5 hours.  Once she finally got to Rosanky, we enjoyed a nice meal of pork ribs with sides and then several hours of conversation.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Two Weeks in San Antonio

January 21 to February 3:

We made the short trip from Port Aransas to San Antonio by going through Corpus Christi to pick up I-37. Connie drove most of the way: across the bridge from Padre Island to Corpus, through Corpus Christi and about 2/3rds of the way to San Antonio. This is the first time that Connie has driven the motorhome for an extended period of time.

Connie driving across the bridge between Padre Island and Corpus Christi
I finished driving the motorhome to our location for the next two weeks: Traveler's World Carefree RV Resort. The campground is located on the San Antonio River about 3 miles south of downtown San Antonio. The area around the park is mostly industrial but the park itself is very nice.
Site 102

View down the road in the campground
This park has been here for a number of years and was recently purchased by Carefree RV Resorts. The campground has access to the River Walk as well as being located close to a number of shopping areas (Walmart, Home Depot, HEB, etc). There is also a golf course located next to the park. The park has been a winter home for a number of Canadians over the years, but this year with the Canadian dollar losing value against the US dollar the Canadians have not been staying as long in the park. We heard a lot of French being spoken in the park as there were more Canadians from the Quebec province that any other of the provinces. All of the people we met in the park were extremely friendly and easy to have conversations with.

Connie and I took several walks and bike rides along the River Walk. If you headed north along the River Walk from the park you would end up in downtown San Antonio. One day we rode our bikes all the way from the park to La Villita Village which is located near the convention center. We stopped at the La Villita Cafe and sampled some of the local beers.
Parking the bikes outside the La Villita Cafe

Barry, the owner, served us our brews

Enjoying a sampling of local beers
Another day we rode south from the park to the Mission San Juan. This is one of a series of missions built by the Spanish along the San Antonio River to protect their interest in the region after the French started settling in Louisiana. The mission is being "restored" and not all of the building were open to the public, but it was interesting to how the building were arranged inside the walls.
One of the building being restored.

Church at the Mission

Unfinished church at the Mission. There is a burial site along this side of the church.

Cross at the entrance to the Mission.

Getting ready to head back to the campground.
There are number of parks located along the River Walk with playgrounds, ball & soccer fields, pavilions and restrooms. The city of San Antonio does a great job of keeping the area along the River Walk clean and well maintained. There are several places along the River Walk where artwork has been installed.
Some of the artwork along the River Walk.

"Unusual" art along the walk.
We spent several evening visiting with our friends, Fran & Mal Vaughn. We ate dinner at their house one evening along with some of their friends, went to happy hour another day and joined them for dinner at Josephine Street Cafe one night.

Patti and Fran @ Happy Hour

Fran, Mike & Connie - Happy Hour at the Canyon Cafe
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in San Antonio. The park had a nice heated pool and hot tub that we took advantage of during our stay. We ended up spending a couple of days in Austin during our stay in San Antonio to attend the funeral of our good friend Marty Rexroat's dad who passed away at the age of 91. While on our way to Austin we stopped off to see my dad in Rosanky who is recovering from pneumonia (he is doing OK).

On February 3rd we packed up the Duchess and headed to Rosanky where the motorhome will be parked for the next couple of months while we house/dog sit in Austin. We will take a week in February to spend time in Rosanky working on some maintenance items along with adding some antennas on the roof for cellular, DirecTV and WiFi.