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  • Writer's pictureLaurie

Week 43: Decals, Upgrades, and Maintenance

Updated: Mar 22, 2021

We started out this week by putting another decal on the RV. This one was just mountains and went on the passenger side just behind the door. We got a 2 pack so maybe we will put the other one up or maybe we will just hang on to it for now. It was also laundry day and we picked up more presents from the office. We also got to walk one last time with the friends that we had made while staying in this area as they were leaving the next morning. They have been wonderful to us, a resource of full timing information, lending us tools to work on the RV, and always walking the campground with us so that the puppies got to spend time with their girlfriend Pepper. She is a spicy little pup who loves to chase turtles and frogs, right into the pond! We will miss them and hope to catch up again out on the road.

Tuesday was a late shift so I finished my scarf before work and after work got more presents and opened them. The water heater was not working very good and we think it is time for that maintenance thing everyone talks about. Time for more research.

Wednesday was the appointment to get the wheels and tires installed on the Jeep. We swapped out the 20" factory wheels for 17" wheels and matched the overall size by buying an All Terrain tire which gives us more off road traction as well good road traction. Plus, they look pretty BA now. After they were on, we headed to the storage unit to drop off the old wheels and tires, do you know anyone that wants 20" black wheels and almost new Michelin highway tires for a Jeep or Dodge? They are now for sale.

Thursday we put on yet another decal. This one is a compass and, you guessed it, more mountains. I think I can see a theme going on here. This one went on the door to the outdoor kitchen. The tiny pieces of it made it really difficult to get off the backing but we got it done and we really like how it came out. That is the last one, maybe. Then we headed to REI for a consultation on the roof and how to best organize it for maximum storage and carrying capacity. We chose the Yakima skybox 16 as we found out that we couldn't fit what we had planned for the roof. This box should be enough for all our biking stuff and some extra things which are lightweight but bulky. We put it on hold to come back the next day to have it installed.

Friday headed to REI to pick up the box. We ended up installing it ourselves as it seemed pretty straight forward. Well, it took awhile without a stool and it was hard to reach and get leverage to manage the attachment points and locks inside the box. We did get it on there though and it was centered. Proud of our accomplishment, we grabbed some "Mediterranean" (Lebanese) food for dinner. We have found a place that we like nearby and their food is very tasty.

No riding this week as we had too much to do to get ready for our upcoming trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia. Saturday morning we wanted to adjust the rooftop box as the roof rack could move forward one place on the front and provide additional support and balance. We took the box off, took the front crossbar off and got ready to move the screws in the roof rails. The passenger side adjusted without any trouble. The driver's side was another story. The bolt that had been holding the crossbar on was spinning the mount inside the roof of the Jeep, making it impossible to remove. We tried in the cold for an hour before it started drizzling. We were lifting the mount up with pliers and a screwdriver trying to get the screw threads to catch. Once we reached the point of "oh no, we are going to have to bring the car to the dealer to try to get this out since now we can't even put the crossbar back on. And what to we do with the box while we are gone?" Dom had one more idea. We removed the back crossbar and all other screws then pulled up on the roof rail as hard as we could and up popped the screw. Right out of the roof of the jeep taking the receiving nut with it! We now had what looked like a small cherry bomb explosion of roof metal facing up. We got a hammer, a rag, some Chinese 3MM stickers that we got with something that stick more like superglue than 3M and went to work. We used the hammer to tap the sharp metal explosion with the rag on top and got it to go down some. Then Dom fashioned a waterproof gasket out the 3MM stickers to seal the hole and fix the spinning receiver nut into place inside the roof. (Freaking Macgyver over here) Then we put the roof rail back down and were able to get all screws back in place, move the front rail to the forward most position, and put everything back together. Now our roof top box is the most stable that it can be and the weight will be the most evenly distributed on the roof. Success! Of course, once we were done, the sun came out and it warmed up. We headed to the store for waterproof bags to keep our biking stuff from getting wet inside the box in case we got bad rain while driving. These boxes are pretty water resistant but, driving in a strong rain at highway speeds can cause some water to get in. We don't want moldy gear.

Sunday was another big day getting things ready to leave. After a conversation over coffee in the morning, we decided to cancel our trip to Georgia as the Covid virus is still ramping up and we won't have a support system once properly on the road. We felt that it was safer, until the infection is under control, to stay within a day's drive from where we have been living for the last 6 years and we have friends nearby who could help us if we both feel ill. In 84 sq. ft. there is no room to quarantine, so if one of us gets sick the other one will get sick too. At least here, we know that we have good cell service to work, we have friends and there are plenty of delivery services if needed for medications and groceries as well as hospitals nearby. It was a sad choice but ultimately we feel like it is the right one for us.

We called a few campgrounds to ask about availability over the holiday week coming up and found one that could accommodate us in Galveston, TX. With that out of the way we got started on our next project, cleaning the water heater and replacing the anode. This should be done every year and it has been almost a year for us and we've never looked at the anode so we felt it was time. The anode ended up being about 50% used but we replaced it anyway.

There was a lot of sediment inside the water heater and we pressure washed it out as best we could with the special wand we bought that fit on the regular hose. After that we walked the puppies around the campground to stretch their feet and came home for some marshmallow lovers hot chocolate with a candy cane in it.

It was a good week and great weekend. We are looking forward to next week which will be a short work week and then we leave for the beach! See you here next week.

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