Airstream Remodel (Part 10) – New Carpet

The old carpet was 20 years old and had done it’s job, it was getting pretty rough. Plus the new dinette requires carpeting in places that used to be covered up, so new carpet was needed. I went to Lowes and found pretty much the exact same carpet in the rolls of carpet they have there against the back wall, and for $40 got a 12 x 7 piece cut and rolled up.

I made room on the back patio as it is the only place big enough to roll this out. I put it face down, and laid the old carpet on top of it. Then I traced around the old carpet with a sharpie. Then I went to the trailer and carefully measured the new dinette and marked it on the carpet too. I measured the width of the aisle in several spots and ended up with what I thought was pretty close.

I don’t know why it looks so dirty in the picture, it was quite clean!

And then I cut it out.

When Dave got home we wrestled it into the trailer, lined up the side that went against the kitchen cabinet and entryway, and it all kind of fell into place, leaving just a bit of trimming around the new dinette.

And I’d say that looks like a success!

We are just over one week until our first Airstream Rally of the year, and just a bit of this and that left to do!

Airstream Remodel (Part 9) – Exterior Electrical Port

The current setup for plugging the trailer into electric when parked is to run an extension cord down through a hole in the floor and bellypan and plug that into the outlet. One of the downsides to this is that there is a hole which mice can use to climb up the cable and enter the trailer. So over the years I try to plug it by stuffing it full of steel wool scrubbie pads or whatever, but it isn’t a great solution. Also, feeding that extension cord out is a PITA, it is thick and stiff and hard to wrestle down through that hole, and so I usually just use a lighter weight cord which I can run up through the hole. You know what, it would be nice to just eliminate that process all together. So I purchased a marine exterior electrical port.

NOTE: Do not take my word for how to do anything, I just followed the instructions. I am not an electrician!

Step one – I cut a hole in the trailer. There was not much space to play with, but it just fit between the existing electrical fuse box, and an interior rib.

Honestly, getting up the guts to drill the hole was the hardest part, and then I had Dave do it! He cut through the interior aluminum first, then confirmed there was no wiring in the way, then continued through the exterior aluminum.

Next, install the mounting bezel. I don’t know why I used pop rivits, I have Olympic rivits in my toolbox, I just forgot about them.

So far, so good. Now, cut off the existing cord, which is already wired into the fusebox – this way I don’t have to open up the fusebox and do anything with it. The color coded wires in the cord matched the color coded ports in the socket, so no problem wiring it up.

Getting the whole thing snapped back together was tricky because I think the cord is thicker than intended for this outlet, but I got it.

Fastened down, nothing here is going to be moving around. That wire wrapped up behind the box is a pre-wire for an air conditioner, it’s not hooked up to anything.

The only trick fastening it down was that there were pre-drilled holes in the bezel, but because I turned it a little to miss riviting into the rib next to it, the holes did not line up to have the port oriented the way I wanted it. I drilled my own holes and got it mounted. I pre-painted it silver so it wouldn’t stand out so much.

Next – attach the new connector to the remainder of the cord.

This was also pretty self explanatory. No issues.

The new plug has a waterproof casing that screws onto the outlet, so the whole thing is very secure once plugged in.

Another benefit is that now that heavy cord, which used to take up the entire side access area, can be stowed in the rubbermaid tub I carry in the car with other stuff for setup, and that will leave more storage space in the utility area.

One last check to make sure everything is hooked up correctly:

Deception Pass Camping

In October we decided we needed a vacation from this miserable year of lockdowns and Covid, and scheduled a spot that was recommended to us at Deception Pass. It is an area we haven’t explored, and thought it would make a nice getaway. We arranged for Scott and Sherry to watch the dogs, and made our escape.

After all the wildfires, the trailer needed a good scrub.

We had reserved a spot that was supposed to have a great view, but t the last minute I realized that we might be hard pressed to last a whole week on one battery, even with LED lights! So I asked the ranger when we checked in if we could upgrade to a spot with electricity, and she found us one. It turned out to be a super tight back-in, on a corner and downhill, but Dave managed it perfectly as always.

Cell Service required some contortions…

Although you can’t tell through the trees, there was a bit of a view of the lake, though it was so foggy it didn’t really matter.

It was too foggy to even see the bridge everyone is always on about

It was a very ‘boaty’ place, which I was quite enjoying, because I have a thing for boats right now. It’s a phase I’m going through.

Saw this neat toy on the street in LaConner I think
Cleared up a bit by afternoon
Making faces 🙂

We were having a pretty good trip. I had actually packed well and we had food for breakfasts and dinners without having to go hunting around, so we could enjoy lunches out and about.

The next day we went to Port Townsend, which involved a Ferry ride.

Port Townsend was also Boaty
We had a nice lunch with a view of the water

We were waiting in line at the Ferry dock to go home, when we got a call from Sherry that Barclay was not feeling well. He had been throwing up, and looked shaky. We discussed it and decided to wait and see. But by the time we got back to the trailer we decided he should go to the emergency vet. So they tried to do that, while we packed up the trailer, thank goodness for having a simple setup, cut our vacay short, and headed home.

Lockdown in the time of Coronavirus

I guess we’ve been hearing about the virus in China for a month or so, but it has suddenly hit us hard. With the knowledge that this bad new flu is circulating, but without testing capability, and an already overtaxed medical system, we are now in semi-lockdown. The play we have been rehearsing for over a month (Much Ado About Nothing) is on hold until later in the summer, I’m working from home, and people are wiping out the grocery stores (glad I went to Costco with friends and stocked up a couple weeks ago). Crazy times.

I had just settled on a plan to expand my photography into family portrait work, and decided that this summer I would train and do any odd jobs I could get, and hone my craft. I bought a new (used) lens just for this pursuit.

2020-03-13 20.07.32

This is a Sony f/4 70–200mm. It takes really sharp pictures with nicely blurred backgrounds. I’m really happy with the few test shots I’ve done.





Combined with my full-frame a7ii, this is certainly a rig capable of producing high-quality images.

I also plan to dedicate any ‘hustle money’ I can make to my meandering Mustang project. But who knows when things will get back to normal, when I can start hustling, if I will even care about the Mustang when this is all over. Maybe priorities will change? Right now the poor Mustang is buried in the garage under shipping materials leftover from Christmas. The toy shipping season has stretched out significantly. Things are still selling now in March!

But I don’t mind working at home. I’m hanging out with my hubby and dogs and cats:

2020-02-18 22.40.26

2020-02-09 21.03.15-1

surrounded by all my craft projects I’ve been putting off. Like my ‘learn to paint’ project. I’ve got my paints, I’ve got my easel, all I need is time.

2020-02-29 14.02.07

I can FINALLY follow along with BOB!

2020-03-15 16.40.44

It’s actually kind of nice, but I’m only a few days in. We will see how it feels by the end of the month! I hope to sneak off for some fishing when the weather warms up next week. We will see how it all goes. I’m just hoping people handle this sanely, take care of each other, remember to be kind and considerate, and we will all ride out this strange time, stay healthy, and be back to normal sometime this summer.

Until then I’ll try not to spend too much time riding the range in Red Dead Redemption.

Red Dead Redemption 2 (13)

I bought a boat!

In my continuing effort to find the best way to get out on the water, I added to my vehicle collection this week.

I have had my mighty blue kayak for 3 years, but it takes two people to launch because it’s so heavy.

I have had my inflatable kayak for one summer. I can take it out alone, but odds of getting very wet in it are fairly high, so it is summer-time only.

And now there is a boat.

2019-11-17 15.19.56

This little guy is a 12ft Gamefisher. My goal was to find something I could take out myself and launch/recover alone. I looked at several larger project boats, like an aluminum StarCraft that needed to be completely rebuilt, and a finned runabout that was rough. They both looked like a lot of work, and would not fit in our short garage.

This boat had caught my eye earlier in the summer because it looked like it was ready to go. Seats, shade cover, 2 motors, fish finder, oars – pretty much ready to launch and go. The trailer even looked like it was in good shape. So I went to check it out with an amount of cash in my pocket slightly less than he was asking. We came to a deal and I dragged it home.

Although I liked those other boats, they all looked HUGE in person, and like a bit of a handful. This boat is small, the trailer is small, and I can move it around by hand if necessary. And best of all, after Dave spent the evening organizing, it fit safely in the garage, so I didn’t have to worry about anyone picking it clean out in the driveway.

2019-11-17 20.25.14

It just squeezed in there!

2019-11-23 14.34.16

This boat has a tri-hull shape to it, which I’ve heard is very stable. I’m not going to be taking it anywhere crazy, just out onto the local lakes. It has a 30lb/thrust Electric motor, and a 5hp gas motor. The electric should be fine for my needs for now.

2019-11-23 14.32.30

It has a livewell which needs to be hooked up, or I guess it would function as underseat storage just fine. And it has an old fish finder, so that should be fun to learn about.

2019-11-23 14.33.08

It needs some cleaning up, and the trailer was missing a few lights and has some rusty spots that could use to be touched up, but for the most part, I think it is ready to go, and I’m happy with this catch – I hope I will have many happy catches in it on the water!


Spring trailer trip

We started off spring by breaking the trailer out of hibernation well before Memorial Day for a change.

Everything was ready to go, except for a very tiny leak at the new water hammer prevention device. The good news was that the device worked very well.

We headed out to Cape Disappointment. You are guaranteed a good time with a name like that!

We got a nice spot in the campground, but it was very narrow, and we could barely set up the dog yard. All the space was behind the trailer.

Barclay, stealing stuff

Dave had a talk to him about his behavior, and how we expect better of him now that he’s 11.

Navi was a good girl, as always.

No complaints, it was a very pretty weekend. We hiked up to a WWII defense installation and saw the bunker and where the cannons were mounted. Looks like a goldfish pond now.

We had lunch in town at our favorite diner – located in a caboose! We explored a bit and stopped at the grocery store. I waited in the car with the dogs and I felt a bump – someone had backed into the side of the Flex with an old pickup truck! Before I realized what happened they drove off! How annoying!

We had two lovely days and then it was time to head home.

When we got home the trailer was rewarded with its Spring Bath

I hope we get it out more often this summer!

Winter Artwork

Wow, it has been a long, cold, boring winter. I don’t remember a winter that has been this cold, or snowed so many times. We usually barely get any snow, and usually get none at all. But this winter…well, at least the dogs enjoyed it!



Not sports car weather!



I do love it when the trees look like this, especially against a bright blue sky.



And I love the dramatic shadows cast by the low winter sun.


Tree Shadow

So I cleaned it up in photoshop and made a piece of art of it. That is actually a pretty nice way to pass the time when trapped inside by winter cold.


Mount Navi

Winter Navi.

We also went to a Winter Woolies horse show and took some photos. I love doing horse photos.

English Horse2

English Horse 4


And then for something completely different:

boats in the bay

This piece was made from a screenshot from Red Dead Redemption 2. I added the textures to make the sky-glow and painted it. I was really happy with how it turned out.

So that’s how I’ve been fighting the winter doldrums! Luckily it is almost over, and spring is on its way.

Red Dead Redemption 2

After breaking my GTAV habit, I swore I wasn’t going to get caught up in another video game, but with the new Red Dead Redemption coming out in late October, just in time to give me an excuse to stay inside where it’s warm, I got sucked in. But really, they deserved it, because the game makers really made something special with this one. It felt more like being caught up in a movie than playing a game, and in spite of the action always being directed back to the story they wanted to tell, somehow it still felt like I was mostly in control.

Night view of mountains

This was a game I could get completely lost in. Trotting around the map on my horse, doing this and that, hunting for food to bring back to camp, interacting with other characters, and basically just running around and having adventures. There were surprises sprinkled throughout this game, in ways they didn’t really have to do, but they did anyway. Tons of details that made it feel like an authentic experience. Little interactions that were inconsequential to the plot, but were really cool to experience. And of course, horses just being weird.

Horse being weird

My playthrough ended up being a love story between Arthur and his faithful horse Maggie, who I picked up early on and stuck with through most of the game.

I love the horse animation so much, sometimes I just pick a point far away and send them off to it just to watch them trot along, and see the wildlife that scurries away as they pass.

Unlike most video games, where your character grows stronger and stronger, Arthur grew weaker and weaker as he was consumed by tuberculosis – a heartbreaking death sentence. So even though I was playing ‘good’ as opposed to ‘evil’, there was no reprieve for Arthur as his time wound to an end, no matter how many people he went back and did right by. It was moving and made me reconsider how I was spending my precious allotment of lifetime (paying video games probably isn’t the best use of my time, but hey, you gotta do something after work).

In spite of playing good, I had one very funny incident that was pretty bad. I was riding away from camp, and a guy ran into my horse, and then started shooting at me, so I shot him in self defense. But as I was hauling his body off the road a witness came along, and I tried to convince him not to report me, but I ended up shooting him too, and as I was dragging his body off the road..well, you get the picture. It was comical as I had to keep shooting witnesses and drag them away, and after about 6 of them, the next guy came along, I clicked the button to reason with him, and he says “I didn’t see nothin'” and rides away.

By the lake

Aside from inadvertent mass-murder of NPCs, this game was full of exploration, beauty, wild animals populating the land and sky. Some of my happiest memories are of just camping by a lake, fishing, cooking over the campfire. All things I’d like to do in real life someday. At one point my character stayed out so long just hanging out in the woods that the gang sent someone out to bring him back to the main plotline!

outside the map elk 2

After I finished the game, there was still months of entertainment in completing all the challenges, encountering stranger missions, finding little secrets and surprises scattered around the map, and even escaping the confines of the map to wander in the back-country outside the borders. There is so much in this game, I am still being surprised by little things, and only now, 5 months after I bought it, am I starting to run out of things to do.

sitting at fire

This article explains it much better than I could. Reading the Game: Red Dead Redemption 2 It has been not just a game, but an experience. Something amazing, and beautiful, and moving, and really unlike any video game I’ve ever played. It felt like a step forward in video game development. Not a constant shoot-em-up of bigger and bigger bad guys, but a game that required thought, and where the action was interspersed with quiet times. Now, when I’m tired at the end of a long day, I like to take John and ride out to Cattail Pond, and watch the elk splashing through the pond, fish until the sun sets and then sit by the fire and watch the clouds pass over the moon while the coyotes sing to it. It’s what Arthur would have wanted.



England – London

Our train pulled into Victoria Station, and we followed the flow of the crowd out onto the street. We looked at our offline maps and confidently went in the wrong direction for a few blocks, then turned around and tried the other direction. On the way we passed this:

2018-10-10 10.22.23


We continued and found The Grosvenor Hotel. After checking in we followed the long, convoluted trail to our room which involved TWO elevator rides with a long walk between them, as we were in the annex. Later we discovered we were at the farthest end of the hotel, as indicated here:


And if we’d taken the right exit from the station, we would have come out literally right next to our hotel.


The view from our window. Neat!

We decided to head right out and walk off all those hours spent on the train by swinging by Her Majesty’s home.


This was pretty close to our hotel, and we would be walking by it many times in the next couple days.


Wow, now THAT’S GOLD!


I have a crush on these little black taxis, I wonder if I can get one in the US?

The first night we decided to take a night time bus tour, as Rick Steve’s guidebook recommended them as a great way to get your bearings, and during a time when you probably wouldn’t be doing anything else. I think it probably did help a bit. Problem was, getting to it. We bought tickets online, then were supposed to catch it by the Ritz, on the other side of the park next to the Palace. But when we walked there, we got a little lost, and ended up hurrying, and ultimately flat out running to catch the bus just as it was ready to go! I did not think I had any running left in me after all the walking we had done, but there you go. We got our seats, and enjoyed a cool evening tour around town.

The next morning we got breakfast at a nearby coffeeshop, then took a bus down to Westminster to catch a waterbus to Tower of London, because I believe the main thing we had to do that day was go to a play at the Globe, and we already had tickets, so we couldn’t be late.


Water Bus! These were part of the bus system and you paid for them with your Oyster card, same as regular buses, so that was pretty cool. Transportation, plus a fun ride on the river all in one!


We got off at Tower of London, but after seeing the lines and the price of admission, we decided to pass on it. We headed over to cross to the South Embankment to walk to the Globe. And to do that we had to cross:


Tower Bridge! It’s beautiful!


Once on the other side there’s a nice promenade that runs the length of the waterfront, at least as far as we went. Lots to see, and benches to rest on (we were getting REALLY tired from all the walking).


Along the way we saw whatever this is. It wasn’t moving, but it looked like a lot of its parts were water-animated when it was turned on.


We also saw this beautiful ship in drydock.

Finally we got to the Globe, where we got our cushions and waited with a mob to get in. For a weekday afternoon, there were plenty of patrons!


Lots of people on the floor! The whole theater was packed. The seats in the balconies were benches scrunched up to the railing so tight my knees were touching the railing and I couldn’t quite put my feet on the floor. It was super-uncomfortable, and my legs fell asleep, which definitely cut into my enjoyment of Othello. It was probably the best performance I have seen of Othello, but if Dave hadn’t wanted to stay I would have bailed at intermission.

Afterwards I had a little meltdown as I was tired, my feet were tired, my legs were sore, and we didn’t have a phone to direct us to a good restaurant, so the last thing I wanted to do was wander aimlessly looking for a place to eat and end up at some weird pub that didn’t have table service. Dave stayed cool and led me to an italian restaurant nearby with a view of the river and St Paul’s Cathedral, and table service. Perfect.

Next: A long boat ride to nowhere, as I get us lost.


The whole trip:

England – Getting There

England – Bath

England – Stratford on Avon and Warwick Castle

England – York

England – York Part 2

England – London

England – London Part 2

England – London Part 3

England – York

We arrived in York just as the sun was setting. We grabbed our rolly suitcases and headed into town, navigating by phone, to find our AirBnB flat, above a pub. After we settled in, we went down and wandered around the immediate area, trying to decide on where to go for dinner, and finally came back to our pub and ate there. It was very good, kind of gourmet pub-food!

Our flat had an entrance on the ground floor, where a little room had a clothes washer, and then the next floor had the bedroom and bath, and up one more was a living room/dining room/kitchen. It was quite roomy for us!


For some reason there was a small reflector telescope there, set up all wrong. I entertained myself by sorting it out. It wasn’t even pointing up!

The next morning we grabbed breakfast at our pub and headed out to catch the local volunteer guide tour. We met at the museum just outside the city walls. Although there is a modern part of York, we were staying in the historic portion, which is ancient, and is still mostly surrounded by medieval protective walls.


The guide took us to see some of the original Roman walls, topped by medieval walls.


In one place as we walked along the wall you could see where the moat used to be.

2018-10-08 04.03.52

In the center of historic York is the Minster, which dates back to at least the 1200s. Obviously it took a very long time to build something that big! It looks amazing from every angle. It very much dominates the skyline.

2018-10-08 04.36.29

At one point the tour group stopped in the shadow of the Minster while the guide told us about how the medieval stained glass windows were removed and shipped out to be hidden in countryside homes during WWII to protect them from bombing. We were freezing the whole time, because the Minster is so big it causes winds to blow down the sides of it.


When he let us go, we went back and explored inside the Minster. Unfortunately it was under restoration inside. I would have liked to be able to see it without all the scaffolding. Maybe next time.



Outside the city walls, near the museum, is what’s left of another church. Built in the 1200s, St Mary’s Abbey was torn down during King Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539-ish.   I think this was one of my favorite things in York!


As we walked around it, we looked down and realized the footprint of the original building is clearly visible, and it was HUGE (as you can see in this view from Google Earth). The best part is that if you go into the museum next door, down in the basement you will find more of the Abbey preserved on display!




And back outside, if you walk around you will find the remnants of the wall that would have protected the Abbey grounds.

2018-10-08 07.30.33

We just sat on a bench and rested for a bit and enjoyed looking at this and imagining what it must have looked like in it’s day.

With the big churches out of the way, lets go look around in town…


The whole trip:

England – Getting There

England – Bath

England – Stratford on Avon and Warwick Castle

England – York

England – York Part 2

England – London

England – London Part 2

England – London Part 3