We left the Gulf Coast and headed north. Getting as far as Livingston, Texas, we stopped at Rainbows End to check out the headquarters of Escapees, and now its a week later and we are still here. Its been such a busy time that we are extending our stay here until next week.
Now the plan was to use this place to get caught up on some maintenance and to do some Alaska planning. Basically get the rig ready for the trip up north. The one of our concerns has been to secure our new tv so that it won't bounce onto the floor when we get to the frost heaves on the Alcan highway. Another has been to work on rust from exposure to the salt air along the coast.
See our old tv was dying and the new leds have gotten so cheap that we were able to buy one that is four inches bigger and yet weighs only eight pounds. The problem was twofold, it didn't fit into the old space and the screws holes that secure it to the swinging wall mount are pretty lame for a moving and bouncing fifth wheel.
We talked and looked and thought and decided to construct a mantle that supports the weight so that tv won't go anywhere. After several trips to Lowes, I built an upper and lower frame and then Renita finished it in provincial oak, hoping to match some of the interior woodwork. Now, besides sitting on the bottom mantle the tv is actually locked into place by an upper and lower wood molding that velcros the set into place(I do have one more trip to Lowes to make some side panels and finish the frame). The molding removes easily to allow us to access the back storage area when needed.
The second project was to attack the rust on the hitch and rails. Using a steel scrapper and a wire brush I removed as much of the damaged area as I could and then painted it with a rustguard paint. I have no illusions about my work actually stopping the rust but at least covering the damaged areas will stop them from coming in contact with oxygen and slow further damage.
Besides working on the tv mount and chipping, brushing and repainting the hitch, I actually washed the rig and then set up the Genie, to grind some cabochons. Now in an Escapee park, setting up something outside is a great way to meet others and soon Al and Joan stopped by. It turns out they are rockhounds and also make and sell rock art, wood whirlygigs and spoon pendants. During our visit they told us of a rock shop outside of Livingston and we agreed to make a day of it, just to see the place.
After they left, I continued grinding on rock and before long a Rhino atv pulled up and Greg introduced himself,(Chief Neon). It turns out he and his wife Karen are 2007 class mates,(An Escapee group of people like us that retired and started full timing in 2007). Oh and they also love rocks. Greg naps them into beautiful arrowheads and Karen does silversmithing, including making the most beautiful silver chains we have ever seen.
So we are still here and now we have been blessed with making more friends. That is one of the blessing of our lifestyle and the blessing of belonging to the Escapees organization. We now have friends all across the United States. Friends who are all filled with the spirit of adventure! Thank goodness we sold our house. Clear skies
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