Curtain Upgrade!

Originally, our Safari had a bi-fold door that tucked around and against the wall in the bathroom. It was a great design, and we intended on replicating it when we had time, but in the meantime, we made a quickie curtain and hung it on a wire. Not a great look, but it worked! Just before the Christmas camp out we decided it was time for an upgrade. We abandoned the plan of rebuilding the original wood bi-fold door and decided to try something different. We purchased a white plastic accordion style door at Lowe’s for $27.00, cut the length to fit, and then covered it in Sunbrella fabric. The solid white looked great on the bathroom side but we felt it would look better on the outside of the bath covered in fabric.  We are really happy with the results and think this is a great alternative to a curtain. Hope it works for someone else! Happy Trails!

Texas Gulf Coast Holiday

We started the year off right with a Christmas and New Year’s trip to the Texas Gulf Coast. First we spent several days in Port Aransas with my parents. We stayed in a RV park that was…well…what can I say, we were packed in there like sardines! To be fair, the park was very nice, we just haven’t stayed in that many RV parks and never in one where you don’t have room to put your awning up! Having full hookups is always nice, but next time we will find a place to dry camp where we have a little room around us. Most of our time in Port Aransas was spent either walking on the beach or cruising around town in a rented golf cart. It is legal in Port Aransas to drive golf carts on the city streets as long as you stay off the main highway. It was such a fun way to see the city, souvenir shop, stop for lunch, drive on the beach and park and watch the ships come in. It was money well spent. My parents loved it! We enjoyed beautiful clean beaches, fabulous sunrises and shrimp every day! (The Castaway was excellent!) It was a wonderful Christmas to remember.

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A few days after Christmas we headed up to Matagorda Bay Nature and RV park. Wow…what a wonderful surprise this place was! The park is located where the Colorado River meets the Gulf of Mexico so you have river on one side and the beach a short walk away. I must say, we are in love with this place! Our site was so spacious and beautiful. We didn’t really know what to expect so we didn’t take our kayaks.  Big mistake! Fortunately the park offers kayak rentals so we rented a tandem kayak…twice!  New Year’s Day we walked down the beach (way, way, way down the beach!) and found the most beautiful seashells I have ever seen.  It was another day to remember! Our cat Mister was happy not to be left at home, Dan baked bread in our 51 year old oven and I….walked, and walked, and walked. Everyone was happy! We will go back…for sure!

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A Texas Hill Country New Year!

A four day weekend over New Year’s was a great time to visit the Texas Hill Country. We chose to camp at Inks Lake State Park due to it’s close proximity to Longhorn Cavern’s State Park and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, two places we wanted to visit.

Inks Lake State Park was amazing!  We were surprised to see the park was full on New Year’s Eve but soon figured out why.  It’s beautiful! The first evening we hiked the trail to Devil’s Watering Hole. The entire trail looked as though it was professionally landscaped with every rock and plant placed precisely.  I didn’t have my good camera on this hike but took a few photos with the phone.  We intended to go back and hike this trail again, but it seems there’s never enough time. If you’re ever near Inks Lake, stop and hike this short trail.  It’s amazing!

 

The next morning (New Year’s Day!) we drove the short distance to Longhorn Cavern State Park and took the 1.25 mile long tour through the cavern that took about an hour and a half to complete. It was well worth the $13.00/person price of admission. The tour guide was very informative and the cavern was BEAUTIFUL! It was a great start to the New Year!

From Wikepedia…

“The park is named for Longhorn Cavern, a limestone cave formed by the cutting action of an underground river that receded thousands of years ago. Before the cave became a tourist attraction, it was used over the years by Indians, Confederate soldiers and outlaws, including outlaw Sam Bass. In the 1920s, during the prohibition period, the cavern was used by Burnet County residents as a speakeasy. Performing musicians would entertain through the night. The popular spot was known as Sherrard’s Cave before it was dedicated as Longhorn Cavern State Park in November 1933. From 1934 to 1942, Company 854 of the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed Texas Park Road 4, residences, pavilions and an observation tower in the National Park Service Rustic architectural style. They also explored the cavern and made it accessible by removing some 2.5 tons of silt, debris, and guano and building stairs and walkways both into and inside the cavern.”

No tripod so photos aren’t that great. It really was beautiful!

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Next stop was Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. We had been there once before but didn’t get to take the short .6 mile hike up to the top. My Dad was with us at the time, it was 105 degrees out, and we didn’t want to leave him out in the heat while we hiked. 😉  On this visit is was cold and windy but that didn’t stop anybody! It was packed! Even though there were people everywhere, and I mean everywhere, it was a great hike up. Everyone was happy and festive on their first hike of the new year! It was another great way to spend New Year’s Day!
Wikipedia information about Enchanted Rock:
“Enchanted Rock  is an enormous pink granite pluton batholith located in the Llano Uplift approximately 17 miles north of Fredericksburg, Texas and 24 miles  south of Llano, Texas. The prominent granite dome is visible for many miles in the surrounding basin of the Llano Uplift. The weathered dome, standing above the surrounding plain is known to geologists as a monadnock. The rock is actually the visible above-ground part of a segmented ridge, the surface expression of a large igneous batholith, called the Town Mountain Granite of middle Precambrian (1,082 ± 6 million years ago) material that intruded into earlier metamorphic schist, called the Packsaddle Schist. The intrusive granite of the rock mass, or pluton, was exposed by extensive erosion of the surrounding sedimentary rock, primarily the Cretaceous Edwards limestone, which is exposed a few miles to the south of Enchanted Rock.”

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On our last day in the Texas Hill Country we visited The LBJ National Historic Site and The LBJ State Park and Historic Site.  We were not able to take pictures inside what is known as “The Texas White House” and it rained all day this day so…pictures were few. We learned a lot about President Johnson, Lady Bird, and their strong ties to the Texas Hill Country. The tour of the house was great and was $3.00 /person but there is no charge to drive through the ranch, see his airplane and tour the hanger. Their beautiful ranch sits right on the Pedernales River.
Our next stop was to visit Pedernales Falls State Park and see Pedernales Falls. It was another beautiful surprise!

Hope everyone had a very Happy New Year.

Remember…….”See more, Do more, Live More”!

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Palo Duro Canyon

We recently took a few days off and headed to Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo. It is often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of Texas” and is the second largest canyon in the country. During the summer months, performances of the musical “Texas” are held in the outdoor amphitheater, and there are an abundance of hiking and biking trails throughout the canyon.  The campgrounds and facilities were extremely clean and well maintained and when we arrived, we were surprised to find only one other camper in our campground. We were even more surprised to see it was another vintage Airstream! Unfortunately, they left out early the next morning so we didn’t get to meet them.

“Christmas in The Canyon” was being held that weekend and the first nights event was hot air balloons in the canyon. It was beautiful!

The rest of our time was spent hiking. The first day we hiked 6.73 miles round trip to the iconic Lighthouse rock. It was a beautiful hike and the views did not disappoint! The next day we hiked another 7 miles though the canyon floor and decided next time we will take our bikes. We had a fantastic time and are looking forward to our next visit. It’s a beautiful park…go see it! Happy New Year!

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Paint, Waste Tanks and Flooring!

Progress on the Safari is painfully slow at times but, we HAVE made progress!

We scrubbed the inner skins several times and patched the old ceiling light holes and other unused holes.  With the inner skins back up we primed and painted using Sherwin Williams primer and paint. The color is “Stucco” and a close match to the original. We had an issue in the Overlander with the vinyl off-gassing and becoming a little tacky in the heat.  We decided to not take the “wait and see if it happens again” approach and go for the “better safe than sorry” one instead! We used Minwax Polycrylic to seal the paint in the Overlander with excellent results so while everything was taped up, we sealed the paint on the Safari with it as well. The results are a super tough finish with a nice satin sheen. Done!

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Next we moved back down to the tanks and waste lines. The location for the toilet, vent pipes and tank heat ducts were marked on the floor. We raised the tanks up temporarily so we could drill a marker hole through both, then lowered the tanks, drilled the correct size holes and installed the correct fittings in the tanks. Next, we ran wire from one tank to the other in pex for the  SeeLevel Tank Monitoring System and installed the tank sensors on the tanks. The new dump valves were installed, plumbed together and out to the new bayonet fitting.

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We chose to use Armstrong VCT tile again for the flooring.  We loved it in the Overlander and had no problems with it whatsoever. It comes in a million colors but we chose…of course…GREEN. Kiwi to be exact. It’s bright, fresh, clean, happy, and we love it! I’m sure there will be haters but you gotta go with what makes you happy! We took the screen door to Wise Powder Coating in Chico, Texas and had it powder coated to match. It’s GREEN! 🙂

Up next….new laminate for the bath walls! Sneak peek…..

New Belly Pan!

The old belly pan aluminum (along with the old wiring) has been taken to the scrap yard for recycling and the new one is up! We used the old pieces for a pattern, for the most part. The space behind the axle with no aluminum is where the grey tank and pan will go and the black tank and pan will be at the rear.  After popping a million rivets by hand on the Overlander we splurged on a cheap air rivet gun from Harbor Freight. BEST TOOL EVER! We had aluminum left over so went ahead and replaced the side wrap pieces as well. She’s looking good!

 

Ready to Roll!

Our Safari may be in a million pieces right now but…she looks good sitting there! We took the wheels to Wise Powdercoating in Chico and had them powder coated black. They did and excellent job, were very reasonable, and fast!  The original baby moons were re-chromed, and for tires, we went with a Yokohoma P235/75R15 truck tire.  WooHooo…Let’s go!

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