Thursday, December 25, 2014

Far North Morning

"This is my truck windshield this morning.
I could work for years to draw or paint this. I hope you enjoy."
-Tim Bennett, Alaska

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Habitat For Humanity, Las Cruces, New Mexico, Volunteering for the 1st time...

I've been wanting to gravitate into a part time effort for Disaster Relief, for some time.  However, all groups want you to have prior "build" experience. 

Habitat For Humanity needs folks to help build within their local affiliates around the country and a part of that is open for those traveling in RV's.  I signed up and had a great time, exercising my mind, body and my spirit actually got a free 'boost'.

Here are some photos.
Day 1 for me, I saw the outer walls had been framed, installed, braced and partially sheathed.   This work had been done in the prior 2 weeks before I arrived.
These 2 shots were taken at lunch time, day 1.
Day 3, all the outer walls were nailed properly and many other smaller details done so the structure could accept the Trusses(roof timbers).  All of them were installed in 1 day by the volunteer crew, with superior direction from the On Site Supervisor 'Pete' (dang good at what he does!!) and his assistant Dyana ( also Amazing!!!)
Gorgeous views here in Las Cruces, N.M.  the mountains are absolutely beautiful!
Once the Trusses were raised and secured, the framing of the Interior Walls began with help from Local Volunteers such as this college student in black, Pete the Supervisor in white and others in the background, often RV group that works at these projects around the country.
Details checked, then walls went up.

 And after 10 days with this crew and local volunteers, prospective families, here we see the results.  The house now has windows, doors, roofing shingles mostly installed and the property next door? well we began on that too!

Great bunch of folks and a wonderful experience.
I was extremely impressed with the 'quality' on every detail..  Not a mansion but a Quality Home.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Cap Rock Canyon, Panhandle of Texas

Moving west towards Albuquerque for this years Balloon Fiesta, I took time to enjoy a few more park campgrounds of  Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.  I swung north into Oklahoma and enjoyed a few days south of the town of Sulphur, to view a display of dug out canoes, brought to the Chickasaw Reservation Cultural Center for display, from the University of Gainsville, in Florida.

Caprock Canyon State Park, was the next stop, kind of S.E. from Sulphur but in the Panhandle of Texas.  It was a nice ride going there through open areas of farming, ranching and just open spaces.  The canyon is between small quaint, well preserved towns of Quitaque, Tx. (pronounced Kitty-Quay) and Turkey, Texas, on decent roads.

It's an interesting area for hiking within a preserve for the Texas herd of buffalo.  Many other animals and birds are easy to find.  My dog Pete got a real boost every day viewing the prairie dogs but thankfully did not see the coyotes that often came into our campground..   This photo is blown up from one taken at dusk, of a quickly moving coyote, so it's not great.  However, one large one came through my site, while I was relaxing in a chair enjoying the last light of the day.. He passed within 20 feet, until he noticed me sitting there and then he bolted into the bushes again.
Rock formations were typical of canyons out here but I found beautiful.  Shifting light of the day from sunrise to sunset always presented something to enjoy.
 Driving into Quitiquay for lunch one day, I stopped to take a couple of photos of quality local art and humor.  

One of the locals, Bob Wills, made it big time as a musician and his tour bus is still displayed in town.

The bus itself, a "Flexible" was slowly degrading, but here's a picture of one I found by accident, a few days later in an RV Museum.

This bright and shiny Flexible, was restored and used in the movie "RV" with Robin Williams.  Some contrast, but a movie company does have the bucks for such a restoration.

The town is well preserved and definitely showed pride.  The early architecture had detail in it's brickwork and the art, humor and preservation was shown on every street.  This town cares and shows respect for it's heritage.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2014

While in Oklahoma, I exchanged emails with friends Jack and Nicole who were going to the balloon festival in Albuquerque, N.M. Oct. 4-13th.

A few quick decisions were made and I was off to Albuquerque!

Worked with them as part of a "Chase Crew" for a great family of balloonists.  Back in Tucson, they have an RV business and a commercial balloon business, so they brought several special balloons to the Fiesta.  One called "the World" which of course looks like the globe and another very large one in the shape of a sujaro cactus.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Foretravel Dining Table Upgrade

Foretravel offered 3 dining arrangements; booth, J bench with sliding table top or table and chairs.  We liked the booth idea although the space for your feet below, was very tight.

The coach I bought had the J bench arrangement, which I liked the least, but it is what came with the coach I bought.

Soon, after much frustration with the sliding table arrangement, I began sketching out ideas for a new table.  The existing table only allowed about 10-12" for someone to squeeze into the seat at the aft end, whether the table was pushed in or out.
 ....the blue tape was the conceptual new table .
 If the slide was in, the table had to be pushed in towards the seat so someone can walk for and aft in the coach.  This left NO space to sit except awkwardly at the corners.

 If the slide was extended, you would normally slide the table top towards the isle for more seating room, but even then seating was uncomfortable.

While at Foretravel factory this winter, I began sketching ideas for a table with some similar characteristics of the one I built for my sailboat.  One that could flip, drop or twist, for any needs.

I kept it simple but it works!

The main idea was to have a constantly good seating position at the table whether the slide was in or out.  Secondly, the table surface area could be doubled for full table benefits.

I bought a sheet of 4' x 8' furniture plywood and a similar sheet of Formica that would match the Corian counters now in the coach, from Lowes.

Joe Griffin, a friend, came over to help out.  I cut the plywood into two 16" x 44" panels and then softened the outer long sides with a 3/8" gentle curve facing the seat and rounded the outer corners with a 2.5" radius.  Also, pre-bent the Formica with heat, to prevent cracking of it when applying to the outer rim.

All went well.  Used the existing pedestal as the tables base, but added 4" in length to the table and always allowed 16" from seat back to table .  This now allows comfortable seating.

Secured one section of the plywood to the pedestal and using a piano hinge (continuous hinge) secured the other one on top, so it could be folded out towards the isle.

To support the leaf that would be flipped towards the isle, I bought a piece of 4" x 12" x 3/4" walnut online, and used my router to pretty it up!

It lifts into position to support the extended table top and itself is supported by two 10" Drop Leaf Supports. (national hardware V1896  N249-250)

another job done.....................