Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Quick Repair......

Happy Sunday evening everyone.  Can you believe it was raining earlier this evening?  It seems we can hardly go two days without a rain shower here lately.  At any rate, we hope everyone has had a great weekend.  Our weekend was busy, we spent quite a while Friday evening and Saturday morning doing some back-to-school clothes shopping for the both of us.

Our blog post this evening is about a quick repair Rob had to do to Pod this evening.   This is our fourth season camping with Pod.  We usually start our camping season in March, with the last trip as late as the end of December.  During the warm weather months, we tend to camp in the mountains where it is much cooler.  So normally we don't really use our A/C very much.  

This summer we've been to the beach twice, and the mountains twice.   We definitely needed the A/C at the beach, and also used it for a bit in the mountains.  But it seems our Dometic Analog Thermostat has been having some issues this year.

To the left is a picture of our thermostat.  It it supposed to work just like the one in your house, controlling the A/C and the furnace.   We don't use the furnace because it is very noisy and is located underneath the bed.  

It seems this summer, the thermostat lost the ability to control the A/C very well.  It would let the A/C run and run until the temperature in the Pod was unbearably cold, shut off, only to restart in only a few minutes to a few seconds (the latter being very, very bad) later.

After reading about how the thermostat operates, Rob built a cover out of a paper plate this last trip to the beach.  Believe it or not, it did help.  But we would still have to cut the A/C off and on manually at night.  So Rob did some more research, and decided to replace the thermostat.  

A new one just like the current model we have costs in the neighborhood of $50.  To upgrade to a Dometic Digital Thermostat, requires an upgrade kit.  Not only does the thermostat have to changed out, so does the A/C controller in the unit.  The price for this kit was in the $175 plus range.   

Another option Rob researched was to replace the original Dometic thermostat with a simple battery powered digital thermostat.  So off to Lowes this afternoon to get a new thermostat.  The cost was a much more reasonable $25.

Once starting the install, the first thing Rob did was too make sure the breaker to the A/C was switched off.  Then taking the cover of the old thermostat, Rob took a picture of the wire hook-up, and he also wrote down the color/names of the wires.  Then we disconnected the wires, and took the old thermostat off the wall.

The next step was to connect the wires to the new thermostat and mount it on the wall.   The holes for the old thermostat lined right up with the mounting holes needed for the new thermostat!  

Here are the wire colors and what they mean:

Red:  12 volt DC to power thermostat.  Not needed so taped.
Yellow:  Control for A/C.  Connected to terminal Y.
Brown:  Low speed fan.  Connected to terminal G
White:  Control for furnace.  Connected to terminal W.
Green:  Ground.  Connected to Terminal R (Rc) and jumpered to terminal Rh
Blue:  High Speed Fan.  Not needed so taped.  We never use the fan on high speed, so Rob didn't connect this wire.  This can be switched if needed.
Then it was a matter of putting the 2 AAA batteries in the thermostat, verifying the thermostat setting, and attaching the thermostat itself to the back plate.

This particular model of thermostat has a five minute "rest" cycle between run cycles for the A/C.  This allows for the head pressure to dissipate so the A/C compressor doesn't have to start under a load (BAD).  The thermostat also displays the actual temperature, and controls the furnace also.

Rob then spent about an 90 minutes just hanging out in the pod to verify proper operation.  He is glad to report all is good now.  He also made the bed and straightened up a bit.

Thanks for checking by today.  Have a great Monday.

Until next time, stay safe out there.....-R,T,&J.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Rob's Alley.......

Happy Friday to everyone from Rob's Alley, NC.  That's right, we said Rob's Alley.  (It's actually the lower driveway on our property, but just play along anyways.)

This all started several weeks ago when it was suggested on the Facebook forum by Peggy that all the  r-Pod F.R.O.G rally attendees should build PVC a lamp post in keeping with the Pod village theme.  Somehow the whole lamp post thing just snowballed from there.

Of course, Rob built a lamp post.  We took it camping to New River State Park, and well it just wasn't exactly what he wanted.  So, Rob built another lamp post.  It went camping with us this past trip at Huntington Beach State Park.  It is just right.  If you remember, Rob also helped Cousin Sharon build a lamp post too.  But that's all light under the lamp post so to speak.

So here we were with an extra lamp post sitting in the corner of Rob's shop.  It wasn't long until Rob decided to turn the lamp post into a street sign, and he knew the perfect place.  The lower driveway on our property was begging for something to set it off.

Here's a picture of our the lower driveway.  You can see Pod in it's pod-port, Rob's shop, the tool shed, and his mom's old studio.

Look closely, you can see the old lamp post with two banners on it

dressing up the back driveway.  Now look at the next picture, and you can just see the street sign Rob had made to turn the lamp post into a street sign.

Below is a close-up of the street sign, pretty neat huh?

And as quick as that, our back driveway is now known far and wide as Rob's Alley.  The picture on the street sign is courtesy of Cousin Sharon and her artistic talents.  

Thanks for checking by today.  We'll be at home all this next week getting things ready for our big trip to Indiana.  

Until next time, stay safe out there.....-R,T,&J.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Winter Retreat......

Hello on this Wednesday evening.  We were up early and pulled out of Huntington Beach State Park at 8 a.m. this morning.  We stopped in Murrells Inlet for breakfast.  After an uneventful drive, we were backing Pod into its Pod-port about 1 p.m. this afternoon.

Today we want to finish telling you about Atalaya.  The winter home of Archer and Anna Huntington.  It was the Huntingtons who bought the original acreage to build their "Watchtower", and who later donated the property to the state of South Carolina with carefully thought-out requirements for its use.  

We returned Tuesday morning after breakfast for our tour.  Now the home is actually a ruin.  Hurricane Huge redecorated the residence in 1989.  Flood levels were as high as 5 feet, basically gutting the residence leaving little more than the shell of the building intact.  It is still a very interesting place to tour and read about.

One of the first things Rob saw was a sign telling about the Huntington's being very early RV'ers.

The home is build in the Moorish style.  With a high brick wall, inner courtyards, and living quarters for both the Huntingtons and their staff.   The home had NO guest bed rooms.  In the 11 winters they spent here, the Huntingtons never had an overnight guest.  While there were both heavily into the social scene back home in Connecticut and New York, they insisted their time here would be spent in work and quite enjoyment of their home.  They would have friends over for an afternoon tea from time to time.

Anna Huntington was a world renowned sculptor.  The iron bars on the windows (both outside and inside windows) were her design.


Anna only liked to sculpt animals, not people.  She also would only use live subjects.  So the bars were for the protection of the people who worked the home and the Huntingtons themselves.  

The home was built during the Great Depression.  Archer insisted on using only local labor.  In the case of a trade or craft not available locally, he brought tradesmen down from New York to teach the local workforce the skills needed.  The home, gardens, and zoo employed an average of 100 people annually.  Today Brookgreen Gardens remains in operation.  It houses not only a zoo, but showcases the work of not only Anna but many other sculptors.

Archer went on to build the first paved highway in Georgetown County, SC, medical clinics, museums, and many other public facilities.  While here in the winter, Archer also looked after his many business interests back home.  It's interesting to note, there were no telephones to the outside world on the property.  There was an elaborate phone system in the house though.


The home was heated using either coal or wood burning stoves or fireplaces.  It did have indoor plumbing.  An artesian well fed an underground 30,000 gallon cistern.  This cistern was used to let sand settle out of the water.  The water was then pumped into a 3,000 gallon cypress tank in the central watchtower.  This allowed gravity to supply water pressure throughout the complex.

Some of you may already know "Atalaya" is Spanish for "watchtower".  Archer wanted a watchtower on the property, so it was utilized to hold water, not guard for pirates.

In touring the servants quarters and working areas of the house, it was noted the most comfortable room in the house was the servants living room.  

The Huntington's part of the house consisted of a Sun Room, Master Bedroom, dressing rooms for both Anna and Archer, an office for Archer, library, office for Archer's secretary, small dining area, and a huge studio for Anna.  The studio was divided into two parts.  An open air studio, and indoor studio with a massive skylight.

Here are just a few more pictures from around Atalaya.....

One of the interesting details Rob noticed on the tour was the mortar joints of the brickwork.  

The joints on the inside brickwork were finished in the normal manner.  For the outside walls the joints were left "proud" and not finished.

This gives a really interesting texture to the walls.

Thanks for checking by today.  We really enjoyed our tour of Atalaya, and hope you did too!  We will be busy getting ready for our F.R.O.G. rally, and all sorts of other stuff around here over the next week or so.

Until next time, stay safe out there......-R,T, and back home with J!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

An Early Start.....

Happy Tuesday afternoon everyone.  We were up and out about 6:15ish this morning to go for a beach walk.  We saw the sun coming up over the ocean, and collected some nice sea shells.  Here are a two pictures of the board walk from the campground to the beach.

And then of course, a view of the awesome sunrise......

The sea oats were just beautiful this morning too.  In fact, they were full of bumble bees getting their morning pollen.

After spending time on the beach, we went bike riding around the park.  We rode over to Atalaya, the winter home of Archer and Anna Huntington.  She was a world famous artist, he had inherited Newport News Ship Builders and once owned Central Park in New York City.   

The Huntington's bought 9,000 acres along the coast just below Murrells Inlet in Georgetown County in the late 1920's.  He employed all local tradesmen and workers to build a winter retreat for his wife who had recently been diagnosed with tuberculosis.  Archer died in 1955, Anna in 1972 when nearly half of the property was gifted to the state of South Carolina to be developed as a park.  

Our plan was to tour the ruins, but we were an hour early.  Guess it was the early start to our day that did us in.  So we went back to the camper, got cleaned-up, dressed and off in search of breakfast.  

After a short ride to Murrells Inlet, we found Prosser's BBQ, and their wonderful breakfast buffet for only $6.50 plus drink.  

Leaving Prosser's completely stuffed, we went back to tour Atalaya and walk off some of our breakfast.  This had to be a truly amazing home in it's day.  We'll leave you with a two pictures of the outside, and a promise to tell you more later this evening.  The weather here is just too nice to spend too long on the computer right now.  

Thanks again for checking by today.  Be sure to check back later to hear more about our tour.  We are leaving in the morning to head back home.   

Until next time, stay safe out there.....-R,T, but no J.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Great Day At The Beach......

Here's hoping your Monday has been a good as ours.  Our morning was cool and cloudy.  It was perfect for sitting outside and enjoying the morning.   About noon the Sun came out and chased the clouds away.  We haven't seen a single drop of rain all day.  

After a breakfast of bacon and eggs, we got ourselves together and headed into the town of Murrells Inlet, SC.  Our mission was to stop at the Lazy Gator, and get some ice for the cooler.

Now you know Rob loves signs.  When he read the bottom part of the sign, he know exactly who the sign was talking about.  He said, "It's got to be Cousin Becky!"  (He's just kidding Cousin Becky, but he did say it.)

By now the day was down right hot, but there was a nice breeze blowing.  So we crossed the street and strolled down the boardwalk to see the sights.

Trisha even ran into one of her old friends hanging out on the boardwalk.....

And Rob even caught the "big one," what a whopper of a fish tale!

Our next stop was by the seafood market, to get some fresh shrimp and crab cakes for supper.  They even filled up Rob's cooler with ice too!

Then it was back to camp for a  sandwich, and relaxing in the A/C for awhile.  We also did some research, picked out our site, and made reservations for Spring Break 2014.

Rob fixed sauteed Shrimp with bacon and tomatoes, crab cakes, and pan fried garlic red potatoes.  It sure was yummy!  We both ate too much!

Just was we went in for the night, Rob set-up his tripod and grabbed this picture of the full moon rising over the pod.

We not sure what tomorrow holds in store.  Be sure to check back here and find out.  

Until next time, stay safe out there.....-R,T, but no J.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

We're At The BEACH.......

Happy Sunday evening from Huntington Beach State Park in Murrells Inlet, SC.  We left home about 8:30 this morning and stopped at our favorite little cafe in Landis for breakfast.  We arrived here just before 2:00 this afternoon.   We had a good drive with not much traffic.  

We soon had camp set up.  Rob took a shower, and then we were off to find some supper in Murrells Inlet.  We ate at Bovines Seafood and Steaks.  It sure was yummy.  Then a quick stop to fill up Truck's gas tank and it was back to the campsite for some relaxation.

It was been a nice afternoon and evening.  While it is somewhat humid, there as been a nice breeze ever since we got here.  We did have one small mishap.  As we were turning into the campground on our way back from eating, this lady was turning out.  Kings Highway is a four lane divided highway.  Somehow the lady managed to just every so lightly tap the corner of Truck's rear bumper with her fender.  We are happy to report the damage to Truck was just a small amount of paint on the bumper Rob was able to clean off.  The chrome wasn't broken or even scratched.  Rob was able to determine the non-damage to Truck quickly at the scene.  The lady's car had more damage.  Rob was OK with not filing a report, so the lady was very happy to go along with that plan.  It just so happened not even a minute after the "incident"  a Sheriff's Deputy pulled up.  Rob and the lady involved explained everything to the deputy, we were OK, the lady was very OK. So we all continued on our way.  Whew!  Too much excitement after a great supper!!

Later we rode over to the camp store to check it out.  Get a couple of stickers for our collection, and take some pictures.  Here are couple for you to enjoy......

How do you like those giant beach chairs.  Rob used his tripod and shutter delay to take those pictures.  He would run and jump in the chair to be sure to get in the picture.       

As the Sun went down, the breeze got even more cool and pleasant.  The campground is full, so we have had a parade of cars and people by all day.  In fact, we hadn't even gotten unhitched yet and thought we were going to have to give a tour.  

We're not sure what all we may get into tomorrow.  We plan to do some exploring of Murrells Inlet.  We also plan to just relax around the campsite some too.  We are here until Wednesday morning.  Once we get home we will have about a week and a half to get all ready for the long drive to Goshen, IN for the F.R.O.G. rally.

Thanks for checking by today.  Be sure to come back again tomorrow evening to see what our day had in store.

Until next time, stay safe out there.....-R,T, but no J.  

Friday, July 19, 2013

What To Blog About Today.........

Hello there everybody.  Now we have to admit sometimes we just don't have the slightest idea what to blog about.  Some days it seems like all we do is just go to work, come home, go to bed, and repeat.  But dang it, this is summer.  A time when we should have plenty to tell everyone about.  

This Friday started off with Rob mowing and trimming the yard before it got too hot.  He also did some other outside maintenance type things before retreating inside to the A/C, showering, dressing, and off to the grocery store.  Trisha vacuumed, washed clothes, and did a few other chores to get ready for our trip to the coast on Sunday.  You can read all about it on our 2013 Trips page.

But back to the blog.  None of what we just told you was very exciting at all was it.  But then, Rob's cousin Sharon posted on his Facebook wall, "This one's for you Cuz!! Love ya, mean it!!"  What she was referring to was a whole blog post featuring Rob (she must have been suffering from blogger's block too) and the disorder he suffers from "Tinkeritis."  Cousin Sharon points out that owning a camper has made it much worse, but Cousin Sharon apparently doesn't know about the hours upon hours Rob spent working on his boat.  

To be fair, Cousin Sharon also notes that she too belongs to Tinker's Anonymous.  In that tiny statement comes the inspiration for our blog post today.  We just have to show everyone some of Cousin Sharon's tinkering.....

Before and after views of a SplashT@B green beverage dispenser.

A really nice Dremel Moto-Saw that we suspect Cousin Sharon used camping as an excuse to buy!!  (Rob want's one too!!)

Jackson's very own name sign she whipped up when Jackson pointed out he didn't have one of his very own!

A before view of a boring polished aluminum trash can........

And now an after view of the same trash can all fancified by Cousin Sharon's creative talent!!!

New shoes for Splash T@B!!

(We do wonder how Cousin Sharon installed those though?)

A pizza bag for her leveler.  

(We're pretty sure this was added to an order to get free shipping.)

A lamp post that was a joint effort on the part of not one, but two Tinkerer's.....

(Guess who they may be.....)

And while we could go on and on, this final picture sums it all up.  The big smile on either Sharon or Rob's face when the UPS, FedEX, or USPS person makes a delivery at their door.  

Thanks for checking by today.  Here's a link to Cousin Sharon's POSTCARDS blog.  Check back by again Sunday evening to hear about our trip to Murrells Inlet, SC.  

Until next time, stay safe out there......-R,T,&J.