Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June trip across America

I was not quite ready to purchase a new motorhome this month, as my life's calender is full thru August.  However, one coach that had caught my eye was soon to go to a dealer, so I stepped up to bat and got tickets to fly,   Once Again!

Flew from Tampa to the N.W.'s Portland Oregon, then jumped in an Avis weekly special to check out a 40' model who's owner and I were communicating for over 2 months.  I was ready to move on it if the coach was what I was looking for/ very good condition and within a range of prices that  the owner and I could agree on.  More mods and upgrades = more $; but the more stock = less $. 

 I covered that last point by email, before traveling west explaining that if all went well during an inspection of the coach, I felt my offer would be between X and Y and if he felt he was OK with that range, then I'd be willing to fly across the country to inspect the coach.  ( I have done that, considering a range of values,  with any coach that was distant to my location; otherwise I traveled, inspected and either walked, discussed or decided to 'give it some thought first-before ever thinking of talking $).
This coach has a few OEM mods, a TV and stereo in a lower bay for outside viewing,  a change from factory Queen bed aft, to a California King with cabinetry mods done by the factory.  Wonderful bed........slept extraordinarily well, which is great for a guy with several old back injuries!  Sofa and valances redone with fabric/not my favorite, but hey? not a deal breaker... some extra gear and it seems,,, very well cared for!  Perfect? no, but yes it's 11 years old.
 Deal was done day one, wire transfer to his account and title in my hand with dinner by 6 p.m.!   Done.

Took a side trip south to visit a 'young then' but now older friend, Odis Sanders.    I coached and managed him as a world class runner in the late 70's and early 80's.  "Google" the name.

  Was lucky enough to be flying into his home state of Oregon, on his 53rd birthday, so it was a fun get together and we pigged out at a local casino's rib, shrimp, ummmmm.
 Nice place!

  By the way, he's still competitively running in Masters divisions--winning, or placing very high.  God bless him!

After the purchase of the Foretravel 2001 U320 40' coach, I drove it south from Washington State to Eugene Oregon; arriving at Oregon Motorcoach Center, a repair/warrantee service center on the west coast for Foretravel which is based in Texas.  This was a 'fun' experience that went quite well.  This rig is the biggest thing I've driven, much bigger than the NYC firetrucks I drove in Brooklyn, way back when,  but it was just fine.  Passing over the Columbia River on the North side of the city of Portland I caught a view of a nice looking marina down below so shooting like Kit Carson, I fired away/never looking at my target..........always keeping my eyes on the road!  A couple of shots came out well! ;)

 Wanted the Eugene facility to check out all systems and do a few things prior to doing any extensive travel.

Flew out early the next morning at 5:20 a.m. on a puddle jumper to Portland, Or. and then--on a Southwest flight thru Chicago to NYC,  to visit with family/ my family's graves and old high school friends before heading back to Florida and then on to Panama.  I did say I had a busy month planned....?
                                                       Hudson Canal, Freeport, NY.
My friend Frankie Carillo, a year senior to me in high school, is an avid fisherman so immediately we were heading out for some Striper fishing!

After fishing we had a few beers on Woodcleft Canal's Miracle Mile-- a must do endeavor if your on the south shore of Long Island; then he drove me past my old house.  Was glad to see the new owners are keeping the 117+ yr. old place, in great shape.  Freeport, Long Island, was established in 1644, only a short period after the landing of the Mayflower in 1620.  It had a natural inlet from the Atlantic, the Freeport River that led miles inland across marshlands from the barrier islands along the southern coast.  Later on, Freeport was known for the rum runners during the prohibition years, with Freeport families becoming excellent boat builders for the trade........ Ah Matey! Grrrrrr. good days they were. Fun historic town! Oh, forgot to mention Al Grover, an older guy who had a great boat building shop in town took his outboard powerd boat from Freeport west to Norway!  yup in an outboard powered boat in the 70's!! Yikes this town has heritage!! My homee(above) had been the residence of a Freeport President in the 30's and 2 mayors after that.  The neighborhood had also been the the eastern location for the Marx brothers, Jean Harlow, Broderick Crawford and many many other Hollywood movie stars that worked the movie sets of Roosevelt Field as "Hollywood East", just a couple of miles north.  Neat old homes all!

Was great being on the old south shore bays I grew up... and the smell of the marshes and bog and sea weed..... was just delightful!  Wonderful to see some of the old  bay houses, originally built by fishermen and squatters of the depression years, still being maintained and enjoyed by local families.

Flying back from west to cannot discount the beauty of America.  I was blessed with clear air for all of the journey.
                       Mt. St. Helen's and Mt, Rainier in backround on flight from Portland.
All has gone well and I'm now awaiting an overdue flight to Tampa.  Life is good.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Well, it's happened.  I decided to write a check for another Motor Home to be able to  take "life" forward into future dreams and somewhat 'planned' events............but,

After a year or two of learning....  innumerable hours of research, travel by auto and cross country flights, some tire kicking,  and of course some B.S.  that comes with such a search, I am now the new/proud owner of a wonderful, top shelf,  STAR SHIP "MEMORY ROADS II.
 I also believe when I shook hands(numerous times over the past few days) with the now...' prior owner's';  that both they and I were --- very well satisfied. 

We live in a changing world.  Some  'leave' this or that' .................while others 'are entering' this or that'.  Honesty and truthfulness makes it all flow.

OK,............... 'Driver's side'
New friend/past owner, Richard.
Stock interior except for the lavander/purple stuff.............changes coming!
30 minute Road schooling went very well.  For those of you that have commented on 36' vs. 40', YOU ARE ALL CORRECT!  ;)  THANKS!!!!!

Mount St. Helen's in foreground and Mt. Rainier off in distance.
Southwest flight east to NY was clear the whole trip! Nice!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wheel Well Moldings-NEW

Sorry, but since someone asked this evening, I realized I never posted this-written last fall!
To finish off the moldings on our class C, I had to make my own fiberglass moldings for the wheel well openings.
 Similar to the front cab-over moldings made and described in other posts, the wheel well moldings took a bit of imagination and effort to complete. Not difficult, but many steps. The end product looked GREAT I think!

 Removing the old aluminum factory installed moldings was the first step, then cleaning the raw material and covering/sealing the area to be protected with the same aluminum/rubber "flashing tape I used on the vertical corners and bottom moldings.

 Using a piece of large flat cardboard, I traced the outline of the now 'bare' opening to make a pattern. In my garage, I cut the pattern out and placed it on some Pink board insulation material(blue board is the same Extruded Polystyrene). Doubled it for adequate thickness for a 'One Off Mold'.

 Bought a 2' x 4' piece of plywood that had a smooth Formica type surface on one side at my local Home Depot and used it for my work platform (shown above)and release surface(the opposite side of this board). I waxed the white side of the board 3-4 times to create the easy release surface I would want later. Taped the cut out template made from the foam insulation and covered the insulation on all surfaces that would possibly see resin, with packing tape and clear plastic sheeting so nothing would stick to the foam. I waxed the tape to make sure it too, released quickly with only slight pressure when done. I wanted a Quick Release and no mess after I got done with the layers of fiberglass.

 When ready, I brushed on 2 coats of Gel Coat, a fiberglass resin with added white pigment. (a bit hard to  see here but it's there) This would be what you see when the job was done. To that, I began to layer up 6-7 layers of precut fiberglass cloth 4" tape. (short 4-6" strips made it easy to apply around corners) Slowly built up the layers then left it to harden.

 The next day, I popped the new crude moldings off the foam insulation and then had to mark and trim off the excess with an electric sabre saw, leaving a molding approximately 2" x 2".

 A little sanding and touch up and the 2 parts were now ready for paint.

 I did use White Gel Coat to get some white color to the parts, but spray painted them with the same paint I used to spray the corner off white.
**Keep in mind that the aluminum/adhesive rubber Flashing Tape is what REALLY seals everything from moisture and degradation.  The fiberglass or PVC moldings are only added for aesthetic/clean, industrial look.

 Looks good huh!