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  1. Yes. The dark grey in the photos is the original rubber membrane. The acrylic paint coating over that was where most, if not all of the chaulking was coming from.
  2. I have been absent from these blogs for a while. I just read of your loss. My condolences to you both. I have been hit by thieves at my home a couple of times over the years. You definitely feel violated. I hope they can find and trace some of the items, and prosecute the culprits. However, the reality is that there is so much theft going on, and so many unscrupulous people willing to buy "bargain" merchandise with no questions asked, that the chance of any recovery and/or prosecution is somewhere between slim and none. May God bless and protect you in your travels.
  3. GrampaDennis

    MH Roof Job

    GrampaDennis' MH re-roofing job
  4. Our 1998 Southwind was overdue for a roof rehab - see photos 1 and 2. The original top layer was almost gone in places and we were having a lot of trouble with chalking and grey streaks forming on our windshield, windows and side panels. I researched various treatments in forums, ads and websites. I wanted something long-lasting and relatively easy to apply, since this would be a do-it-yourself venture. I was tempted by an expensive two-part liquid roof system, but the cost would have been over $1,000. Following up on an ad in one of the magazines, I found Ultimate Roof, from RV & Marine Technologies. Theirs is a one-part acrylic laytex rubber that is applied with brushes and rollers. They use a fabric reinforcing strip over joints and seams. You apply two heavy coats of this material. It is supposed to last 10 years or more. Because you put it over all your existing caulking, they say you don't have to caulk again. Their website is www.rvroofing.com. They sell the materials and application kits, or you can hire them to do the job for you. The materials and application kit for my 33 ft coach cost approximately $650. I got started late last fall on this project, which turned out to be a problem. I was trying to do this in early October in Maine. I didn't get enough warm weather and sunshine to cure the material before the dew started. We also got frost, then a heavy rain that washed off much of the uncured rubber from my edging job. I cleaned up and recoated the damaged areas, but I could tell that I was fighting a losing battle. We called our warehouse and made arrangements to get the MH inside immediately for winter storage. This spring, I was doing another project at home in my "spare" time, so I was a bit late getting back to the MH roof rehab. Today, we finally finished it. Yea! I think it came out well. Check out the photos. Now, I can give the coach a good thorough outside cleaning and it should stay much cleaner than it used to. Our coach has never had water damage on the inside. I think we can keep it that way for a good while yet!
  5. Good luck, Harvey. Hopefully, your "break-in" is about done.
  6. Cherry Hill Park is located next to where I-95 meets the Beltway, north of Washington, DC. They have a bus stop on the property, where Metro busses pick you up. In the morning, they run several express busses to the College Park station on the Green Line subway. The campground is neat and clean and appears to be very well managed. They have a very nice store, with lots of RV parts and supplies. We had heard good reviews on this place, and we agree with them. Highly recommended! Using the Mass Transit System is easy. I bought our SmartTrip passes at the campground store - Two Senior passes for us older folks and one regular pass for our grandson. These passes work like a prepaid credit card. You add money to them using vending machines at any subway station. You touch your card to the reader when you get on the bus, when you enter a subway station, and when you leave a subway station. Most of the readers in the stations also tell you how much credit is left on your card. The Washington Metro subway trains are fairly comfortable and are cleaner than they are in some cities. While you see all kinds of people, we didn't encounter anyone who was really scary. We did not have a car on this trip and we only took the MH out of the campground once during our stay (because we needed to leave before the first bus). Being in our late 60's, it was a little different experience taking a 10 year old on our trip. It's been a few years since our kids were that young. Our grandson was a good sport nearly all of the time and we had only a couple of difficult moments. We let him bring his PC and his portable videogame system along, to help with some of the long hours riding. (This kid has not yet learned the fine art of relaxing!) We really enjoyed his amazement at the large bridges we crossed, at he subway system, and at the sights in Washington. He said that he really enjoyed the National Zoo much more than the Museum of Natural History because "stuffing all those animals was just wrong!" He would far prefer to see them alive. He also said he enjoyed Mount Vernon much more than the White House because, "at Mount Vernon they let you see the whole house." If you have an opportunity to take a grandkid on a good motorhome trip, I recommend it. It will make you feel younger! Wednesday On Wednesday, we went to Representative Chellie Pingree's Office first, because it was our understanding we had to pick up our tickets for the White House tour there. That turned out not to be the case - the paperwork they sent via e-mail was all we needed. One of the interns was Hope, a very nice college student from Camden, ME. Hope offered to take us on a Gallery Tour in the Capitol while we were there. We took her up on her offer. (We're glad we did, because we missed our "official" Capitol tour on Friday.) The security in the place is a bit of a hassle, but we got accustomed to the routine. You have to leave your electronics, etc in a numbered bin at the security station on the way to each gallery. You then have to go through a metal detector and take off our take out anything metal that would set it off - similar to airport security. The Senate wasn't doing much when we first went in the gallery. Some Senator was delivering a speech to a TV camera and a nearly empty room. Grandma and I were kind of disgusted to see that operation. In knew that was what happens, but it's not pretty to see. We then went to the House Gallery, where nothing was happening, then back to the Senate Gallery, because they had a vote scheduled. The vote didn't happen quite like I expected. Silly me, I thought they would all come in and take their seats at the appointed time, then they would have a quick and orderly vote. Instead, the Senators came in, two or three at a time, gave the clerk their vote on the issue, visited with each other, and perhaps some staffers, then left. There might have been a dozen of them in the room at any one time. A very few of them sat in their seats briefly to look at some paperwork or something, but most just stood around chatting, until they decided to leave. We watched quite a while, but the vote was not finished. It probably took over an hour. I believe it was some nomination they were voting on. After our visit to the Senate, we returned to Rep. Pingree's office to pick up the backpack we had left behind, then we ate in the cafeteria in the basement of the Longworth Building. We did not get to meet Rep. Pingree. That's just as well - she and I are on opposite ends of the political spectrum anyway. Our next stop was the Natural History Museum. Joey had seen the "Night at the Museum" movie, and I had hoped he could see the big T Rex skeleton. However, that exhibit was stored away for renovations. They did have the big elephant, the blue whale and lots of other stuffed animals. Perhaps it was because it was very hot, and the AC wasn't working very well, but I didn't enjoy this museum as much as I had years ago. Thursday On Thursday, we visited the White House. We had an 11:30 tour time, but arrived over an hour early. When we reached the gate, we found quite a line had formed. It turned out that these were the 10 AM and 10:30 folks. We went to the Visitor Center, where there was AC, and watched the introductory movie. When it was our turn to check in, we had an unwelcome surprise. The "guest list" had Grandma's birthdate listed as 2003, which is our grandson's birth year. I don't know whether I had trouble with the online form when I applied for tickets, or somebody mixed things up when they transcribed the information. They put Grandma and Joey in an area that I called the "penalty box" and Grandma later called the "Group W Bench" (some folks our age will understand). I was told that I could wait for them under a lamp post farther up the sidewalk. Soon, there were others joining me, whose family members had also been detained. A Park Ranger came by and told us we could proceed into the White House and wait for our folks inside where it was cool. I wasn't about to do that! I could see my wife and grandson from where I was. I was prepared to leave with them, if they were turned away. After quite a wait, they decided that Grandma and Joey were for real and weren't terrorists, after all. There was another checkpoint yet to go, but they just called back to the first one when they also discovered the discrepancy in Grandma's birth date. We each went through a body scanner, then were allowed inside the White House. We saw a library and a reception room on the way in, then we saw several rooms in the main floor. We did not get to see the Oval Office. Was it worth the trouble? Barely. You could buy yourself a good picture book and save a lot of hassle. On the way out of the White House grounds, I asked one of the guards for a recommendation for a good, reasonably priced, lunch spot. He recommended the Corner Bakery, a few blocks away. This place had a BBLT (like a BLT, but twice the bacon), which was great. This place is apparently a chain - sort of a more upscale version of Panera's. After lunch, we walked to the Washington Monument. It turned out they only let people go up it in the evening (when it's cooler) and we would have had to wait for tickets. Joey had wanted to go up, but I was relieved that we couldn't. We stopped at the World War II memorial, then walked the shaded path along the Reflecting pool to the Lincoln Memorial. Thank God for the shade! We also got an ice cream bar from a vendor cart along the way. At the Lincoln Memorial, I read his 2nd Inaugural Address, which is inscribed inside the north wall. It made me think about what our country went through in the Civil War. We walked from the Lincoln Memorial to the Metro station at Foggy Bottom, near George Washington University. That was quite a hike, and it was mostly uphill. Our train was held up for a track problem two stops before L'Enfant Plaza, where we planned to transfer to the Green Line. We got off the train and walked to the Archive Station. I think we saved some time that way and we were moving - not sitting in a stopped train! We certainly got our walking exercise in on this day! Friday On Friday, we went to the National Zoo. Both Joey and I got some nice pictures of the inhabitants - a few of which are included in the album that I have posted here. We had hoped to tour the zoo, then get to the Capitol for the 3PM tour that I had tickets for. We didn't pull away from the zoo soon enough. It was a long walk to the subway station, and a long walk from the station where we got off to the Capitol. We went there anyway, hoping to get in to see the inside of the Rotunda. It turns out that you can't just come in off the street and do that (Like we had once in the early 1970's). I asked a guard which was the nearest subway stataion, and he said "Union Station" We did a very quick walk-through of Union Station while looking for the escalator to the Metro. I'm glad we got a peek at it. It was quite impressive. Grandma was almost totally out of patience by this time, so we didn't linger. Saturday One of the women in Grandma's exercise group had recommended the boat trip from the waterfront in Washington to Mount Vernon, George Washington's home. We took this trip and it turned out to be one of the highlights of our vacation. I bought tickets online, for boarding at 8:00 AM on Saturday morning. When I checked with the Cherry Hill staff about when the earliest Saturday morning bus left, I learned that we could not get a bus early enough to take the subway ride and make our boat trip. Their first suggestion was a taxi. I wasn't confident in that option. On Friday night, I asked the staff whether they thought I coud park the motorhome at the park and ride lot at College Park station. They weren't sure about that, but said that some of their customers had been able to leave their coach at the Greenbelt Park and Ride, which is at the end of the Green Line. On Saturday, we got up early and drove the coach to the Greenbelt Station. We found that they do not charge for parking on weekends. We were more than early enough to catch the first train, at 7 AM. We got to the Waterfront station, and walked a few blocks to the Spirit Tours dock, in time to pick up our tickets and board as soon as they let us on. We had great weather for a boat trip. It was another hot day inland, but comfortable, with a light breeze, on the Potomac. They have done a great job of restoring and maintainng the buildings at Mount Vernon. In the house, almost everything is original. GW planned and organized the place very well. Thinking of that helps you realize what a great man he was. George Washington was considerably more than just someone who was in the right place at the right time. There was more to see here than we could take in during our 4 hours there. I would like to go ba again, perhaps when it is a bit cooler. When we got back to Greenbelt Station, we found our motorhome unmolested. It was a little hot from sitting in the sun all day, but fine otherwise. Sunday On Sunday, we stayed at Cherry Hill Park, trying to rest up before leaving the next morning. I finished reading a novel on my Kindle. We all went to the pool in the forenoon and Grandma took Joey to the pool again in the afternoon. In the evening, we hopped on the tractor-drawn wagon ride around the Park. The tractor was a Farmall H. I had a lot of hours operating one of those when I was a kid. On Monday, we left for home. I definitely would like to stay in Cherry Hill Park and visit Washington again. I noticed that they are open year-round and have heat tapes on the water spigots. We didn't make our trip to Florida last winter. Maybe we'll do it this winter and stop at Cherry Hill on the way to or fro (maybe both).
  7. Since I wanted to avoid the NJ Turnpike, we went home via I-476/Pennsylvania Turnpike, west of Philadelphia. This is an OLD turnpike, which is very narrow. Much of it is under reconstruction - it should be better when finished. The right lane had bumpy drainage structures in it, so I drove mostly in the left lane. Meanwhile, the signs and their supports, that were mounted on the median barrier, were scary close. The only thing about this route that was better than the New Jersey Turnpike was that you had to put up with the misery for a few less miles. Heading north on I-476, we saw warnings about a tunnel coming up. We got off at a rest area to study alternative routes. It turns out that the tunnel in question was just north of our intended exit to I-78 anyway. Heavy rain and thundershowers were in the forecast. We found them just east of Allentown, PA. I had searched our Woodall's directory for a campground along I-78. I found Jugtown Mountain Campsites. While this campground is fairly easy to find and get to from I-78, and has quite a RV and Trailer parts store, it does not have much else to recommend it. When I checked in, the guy circled an area on the campground map and said he thought I could find a space somewhere in that area. Most of the area he indicated was filled, but I did find a site. This place was poorly maintained and the pool was closed. There were several older trailers there that looked like they were abandoned. There were no signs indicating where the dump station was. I found it by exploring. I went into one of the restrooms. It was filthy - the worst I've ever seen at a campground. It's too bad, really. With some maintenance and proper management, this could be a nice campground. We had more heavy showers in the evening. I was glad we had stopped relatively early. I guess the best I can say about Jugtown Mountain is "Any port in a storm." I recommend you avoid this place. I later found some online reviews. I'm not the only one who had negative comments about Jugtown Mountain. While at Cherry Hill Park, I found a copy the RV Gypsy Journal. One of the articles in this paper reported on free places to park overnight. One of these was the Danbury CT Welcome Center. Since we were going through Danbury, I decided to check it our for possible use in the future. This was basically a rest area. There was a building there with rest room and vending machines. No gas, no restaurant. However, then had a nice parking area for RV's and Busses that was separate from the truck parking area (though a couple of trucks were using it when we got there). They even had a free RV dump station! The place was neat and clean. Nice! We just may overnight there on some future trip. The supply of food in the fridge was getting low, so we decided to eat lunch out. We had a bit of trouble finding a restaurant in Danbury where we could park our RV. We went by a steakhouse with adequate parking, but that was not the type of place we were looking for. Eventually, we found our way to the Danbury Mall and a Panera's. The parking lot was not the best for maneuvering the MH, but we made it. While we were eating, the rain started again. There was another very heavy thunderstorm as we left Danbury. We stopped for gas in Chelmsford, MA. We chose a station close to the exit. It was OK getting in, but it was hard to get out of. If we had been towing a car, we would not have made it. I had to back up twice in order to make the turn to the exit. We were hit by more heavy thunderstorms, with wind gusts, as we left Chelmsford. They continued as we traveled through NH, and into Maine. The old Southwind was more solid feeling in the wind gusts than I would have expected. I had to react them some, but considering how bad the weather was, I did OK. We saw a couple of trees that were blown down. On past trips, we have had a few problems with a loose connection on the module that controls the windshield wipers. I thought maybe I had that licked, but we did lose the wipers for a minute or two. Then they came back. I've got to see if I can do more about that issue. Somewhere on I-95 in New Hampshire, the "Service Engine Soon" light came on while driving in the heavy rain. The engine continued to run fine. I did find that upshifts from 3rd to 4th were a bit rougher than normal. I'll write another entry about what that turned out to be. We arrived home about 7:20 PM. The entire trip was 1,395 miles. Our daughter cooked supper for us, and had it ready soon after we arrived. I was a great trip, but it's always good to get home.
  8. GrampaDennis

    Washington DC Trip 2014

    GrampaDennis, Grandma, and Grandson went to Washington
  9. We left our home in Readfield, Maine at 8 AM on July 7th. We made 2 rest and lunch stops and 2 fuel stops along the way. We were in a long rolling traffic jam on I-495 in Massacusetts, north of State Route 2. Traffic only stopped completely one brief time, but was just crawling for miles. I turned on the CB for a while. I got a bit of useful information from the truckers' chatter, especially about where the traffic opened up again. However, I could have done without the profanity. It was a construction lane closure that had everything messed up. It could have been worse. We arrived at Black Bear Campground in Florida, NY around 5:30 PM. Black Bear is a very neat and well-maintained campground. I recommend it. It's a few miles off I-84, but worth the diversion. The campsites are up on a ridge and the pool is down near the store and office at the entrance. If you don't have a toad or a golf cart, plan on a good hike down the hill and back up again, if you want to use the pool. On the 8th, we got going a little slow and rolled approximately 9 AM. We made 2 rest and lunch stops and one fuel stop along the way. We got to Cherry Hill Campground around 4:15 PM and were set up on our site by 4:45 PM I learned some things about the MH on this trip: While running both air conditioners at home before the trip, on a 20amp circuit, I forgot I was so overloaded and started the vacuum cleaner as well. That tripped the breaker in my garage. When I went to hook up the shore power on the trip, I found that I had melted the plug adapter. I had to pry it apart, then cut off some rubber remaining from the adapter, and clean one of the prongs of my 30 amp plug. Maybe there's a reason my manual says not to run both air conditioners on a 20 amp plug. While plugging in a night light for my grandson, I discovered that the outlet under the table didn't work. I thought "that's funny - it always has worked." I then checked and reset most of the 120 volt breakers. No problems found there. I checked the outlet on my side of the bed and that was dead, too. Next, I checked the bathroom outlet, which is one of those GFCI units, with the Test and Reset buttons. It was dead also. I pressed the reset and it worked. It was then that I had an "Aha moment!" The other dead outlets are wired through that GFCI outlet! Sure enough, the other outlets worked fine after the GFCI was reset. Grandma was observing my frustration with the outlets and confessed that she "may have" blundered into the test button on the GFCI outlet earlier. I should have diagnosed the problem sooner. At home, we have several outlets wired through a GFCI outlet the same way. This Spring, I paid a goodly sum to have the dash AC fixed in the motorhome. On this trip, I got some return on that investment! The temps were in the low to mid 90's. With the dash AC blowing on me, I was comfortable most of the time in the driver's seat. However, the rest of the coach was getting quite warm. During rest and lunch stops, I started the generator and ran the two rooftop AC units. On the last leg of the trip in the afternoon, I let the generator and the rooftop AC's run while driving down the highway. I have read in the forums that some other folks do this. It helped to keep us cooler, and it didn't seem to use a lot more gas. Besides, I understand that it's good for the generator to run it under a good load occasionally! I'm not sure if it is due to a problem in the ductwork, or a problem with the AC unit itself, but the front rooftop AC (actually closer to mid-length) does not push much air to the front two sets of vents. The rear AC, over the bedroom, will freeze you out. Some day, I may take things apart enough to find out if there is an obstruction in the duct. Other comments: The EZ-Pass is fantastic for paying tolls! We have a lot of toll roads and bridges in the Northeast. All of them on this trip took the EZ-Pass. Several toll stations had high-speed lanes that read the EZ-Pass at full speed! I am getting somewhat used to driving the MH in any lane, with traffic and big trucks all around me. It's still a little tense, but I can manage. The NJ Turnpike was the worst driving. I decided to take another route on the return trip. It is my understanding that some of the diesel pushers handle much better than our 33 ft gasser. That would be nice - especially for the kinds of driving we have had on this trip! As I am finishing up this entry, we are back home and I'm back at work (some day, I'll REALLY retire!) I plan to write a post about our time in Washington and another about our trip back.
  10. We have a reservation at Cherry Hill, in College Park, MD. The place comes very highly recommended and they have a bus stop. It's a short bus ride to the nearest subway station. Our plan is to get around that way.
  11. I enjoyed reading of your adventures. I wish you many more!
  12. Thanks, Jurisinceptor, for adding your experience. I got into a scary iced mountain situation once in Colorado, but that was in a rental car, not a motorhome.
  13. This past weekend (June 20 - 22, 2014), we camped at Paradise Park Resort, in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Years ago, we had tried 2 or 3 other campgrounds in the OOB area. We liked this one the best of any we've tried. It's a tad expensive, compared to the places we normally stay, but worth it. The pricing is similar to other places in OOB. This campground is VERY neat and clean and has the best restrooms we've seen. The location is on a side street across from the upper end of Old Orchard St, where Route 98 meets Route 5, and is within a reasonable walking distance of everything. If walking is not your thing, they also run a shuttle service on a stretched golf cart. On a trip home by car a few weeks ago, we took a side trip off I-95 to check Paradise Park out. We inspected the place, picked our site, and made our reservation on that stop. Even though the selection was a bit limited, due to making the reservation late, we got a nice site on a corner. Our site was a bit larger than most. We'll definitely keep this place in mind for a future fall or spring getaway, when the rates are lower and the crowds are thinner. Close to half of their sites are seasonal setups. However, these are all very neat and well done, unlike some of the seasonals we have seen in our travels. As with most of the OOB area, our French-speaking neighbors from Quebec are well-represented. There was a mix of all types of tents, all types of trailers and all types of motorhomes. This is a family atmosphere, where folks are quiet and respectful of others. One of my pet peeves in life is the tendency to hype products by giving them names that are impossible to live up to. Having stayed at Paradise Park, I must say that the name is not all hype. It IS a little bit of paradise! Now, a little bit about how the motorhome went. This was our first outing since I had an alignment done and new Bilstein shocks and steering stabilizer installed. These improvements made a definite difference in the ride and handling of our 33 Ft Southwind. It still steers a little too easy, and you have to be especially watchful in crosswinds, but it recovers from bumps better, and has less tendency to wander. I had the work done at a truck and suspension shop in Waterville, ME, which has a good reputation - Harry J. Smith & Co. While there, I had the annual State Inspection and a chassis lube as well. (I had done an oil and filter change last fall.) In a couple of weeks, we are headed out to Washington, DC. I'll let you know how that goes.
  14. For a couple of years, I've had my desktop computer set up with a boot menu that lets me boot in either Windows XP or Ubuntu Linux. More and more, I have been using my Android tablet (another story there). For a couple of reasons, I had been primarily using XP on the desktop. Since XP has "expired," I have turned that around and now use Ubuntu for almost everything. I still boot XP once in a while, but I'm trying to wean myself from it. For this year, I'm still paying for Norton Antivirus on the XP side. I'll have to decide before the next renewal time, but I may be off from XP entirely by then. Ubuntu is not perfect, but it's not bad. In my case, I've had prior experience as a System Administrator on Unix systems and on VMS systems. Therefore, learning Ubuntu was easier for me than it would be for some. These days, you can get all the tech support advice you need online.
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