May 28, 2007

Table Mountain

We spent Memorial Day weekend at Table Mountain in the Angeles National Forest. While it was a very nice campground, the main distractions were the lack of level sites, flush toilets and showers. These are nice things for a "family trip" but not so important on a "guy's" trip where we can rough it a little more. Our campsite was next to the amphitheater and had some incredible views into Pinon Hills, about 6,000 feet below us.

Sherry was able to get some reading in, and my folks came up to spend all day Saturday. My favorite quote of the trip came from my father, who announced, "Those two ladies in the next campsite have a strong physical attraction for each other."

Andrew brought his buddy Caleb on the trip and they spent several hours hunting for lizards with grass lassos and doing a good job of playing Marlin Perkins and Jim on their own episode of Mutual of Omaha.

Finding a fairly level site with shade and close to a pit toilet can be a little rough on this mountain top. My favorite sites are 85, 112, 113, 72, 73, 74, 75 and 76. We all came home wind and sun burned and I decided the counter top and air gap mods need fine tuning. We also need to work on a standard checklist for these trips.

May 20, 2007

Can I Get Some Air?

One of the things I've noticed about the sink in the Caboose is that it drains very s-l-o-w-l-y. In looking at the plumbing, it is obvious that there is no vent stack, which as any plumber will tell you, is vital for proper draining. I decided to experiment with this five-dollar fix from the irrigation section of my local Lowes. On the next trip, I'll attach this to the bottom of the Caboose, where the gray water drains. The vinyl tubing will be threaded outside and above the height of the sink. My fear is that this will be too low in the flow to have any effect on the drain, and so I may have to find the way to install this closer to the sink. The problem there will be the folding galley. I don't want to create a situation where the water reverses and flows out of the vent.

May 18, 2007

Where was I?

OK, the BAL leveler is pretty cool, but then I saw this Onix 400 advertisement today. It is a Bushnell GPS navigation system with real-time satellite download of weather forecasts and radar for the location of the device. The frosting on the cake is that it is an XM Satellite radio receiver! I listen to XM radio about sixteen hours a day (usually channel 26), so the idea of having one of these on a trip sounds like a must-have compulsion. It has a 3.5" color screen and it can store up to 1,000 waypoints, 20 trails, 20 routes, topographical maps... Too cool! Unfortunately, it hasn't been released yet, but should be out by the end of the summer.

May 17, 2007

On the Level

This has to be the coolest gadget I've seen in a long time. Front to back leveling of the trailer is easy, but side to side leveling is an art. With the BAL Leveler, you slide the device around the tire and use a ratcheting wrench to turn that silver post. The cradle then lifts the tire up until the trailer is level.

I took it out of the box and leveled the trailer in less than a minute - Super Cool!

May 13, 2007

Weekend Mods

I worked on some more mods (modifications) to the Caboose this weekend. I added this shelf to the space behind the RVQ so I have a spot for the tongs and sauce. I also added this lift-up counter-top for a little extra working room in the kitchen. I think I'm done for a while.

May 12, 2007

Cabinet Doors

Today I added these doors to the bench seats in the Caboose. Before I did this modification, the only way to access the storage space under the seat was to lift the cushions. Now the doors make access easy. These doors came from the front of the galley. I have another modification planned for that area.

I also added a simple toggle to the heater thermostat. The factory model failed miserably, and this was an easy modification. Now I can make sure the heater is on (or off) with just a flick of my finger. Click on the photo for a closer view.

May 6, 2007

To Do List

On Saturday, I added a second propane cylinder to the Caboose. We were worried about having enough propane left after running the heater all night, and I didn't like the anxiety during an otherwise relaxing weekend. Now I won't have to worry about that anymore. Sherry bought a string of kitschy lights for the awning. She says she wants lawn flamingos too.

There are still a few things on our list after the trip (in no particular order:
  • A clip to hold the broom and dustpan. Done
  • Unbreakable mirror (don't ask!)
  • Add a shelf behind the RVQ. Done
  • Shelving behind the galley sink.
  • Convert galley doors to drop down design.
  • Add end doors to bench seats. Done
  • Build a light-weight pantry.
  • Personalized duffel bags. Done
  • Pop-up trash can.
  • Step stabilizer.
  • Something to cover the pipe chase in the galley.