Monthly Archives: August 2015

Sean’s RV Remodel

My buddy Sean at Blair Mail has an older Tioga and wants to do a remodel on it. I assume it’s all original, or close to it. I offered some suggestions but given that I really need ideas for blog posts, I thought I’d write it up, too.

Remodeling an RV isn’t for the faint of heart. It isn’t made using standard construction practices. Some of the plumbing fixtures aren’t what you’d find in a home. The walls are thin and mounting things isn’t like hanging something in drywall at home.

Come Up with a Theme

I’m no interior designer, but it always looks better when you have a theme. Since they are camping in the Pacific Northwest, a cabin theme might be good. If they’re like me, a beach house theme might be good. If they’re going to be doing a lot of traveling, maybe a Route 66 theme. Whatever floats your boat. Having a theme helps you with colors and layout choices.

Low Hanging Fruit

Some easy fixes to make an RV look better are to change out the cabinet hardware. You can also repaint the cabinets. Change out the towel racks and toilet paper holders. Change out the faucets but be careful, most aren’t standard sizes. You’ll want to measure and make sure what you’re getting fits.

It’s the Little Things

Look for hooks that match your theme. If you have a cabin theme, look for something that looks like a tree branch or antlers. If it’s a beach theme, look for something like a seashell. Find covers or pillows that match the theme in color and design. Hang up some pictures that you might expect to see in a cabin or beach house — or pictures of Route 66 in its heyday. And don’t forget the trim around the floor and ceiling.

Remodeling a Bedroom

Sean’s RV has a back bedroom with two twin beds separated by a closet and that just won’t do. Oh, no. It’s time to rip that stuff out and put in a queen bed with closets on the side. I thought I’d include some pictures of how ours looks. We have the queen bed in the middle, which comes up for some storage for the bed. We have closets on either side and drawers above the bed and beside it.

Our bedroom is set up with the bed in the middle and closets on the side

Our bedroom is set up with the bed in the middle and closets on the side

The bed comes up

The bed comes up

The bed comes up with some storage underneath.  It has lifters so it stays up.  It looks like it’s about half but it’s really about a third.  It’s good for blankets and linens.  The space on the left is for a heating duct.

A closeup of the lifters

A closeup of the lifters

You can get a better idea how they are affixed and operate from this picture.

It Smells Like Home

All this stuff so far really works on vision. Fabric choices may affect touch, but this needs to be the whole package. Find some Glade plug-ins or something with a scent that goes with the theme. When you walk into your newly remodeled place you’ll be bombarded with the sights and smells of your new home.

One Final Word

Good luck.


Sleeping In

Sleeping In

We like to sleep in on the weekends because, darn it, we work hard. I can’t sleep when light is coming in the windows so the upgrade I did with Reflectix to keep the light from coming in the three bedroom windows was helping.

I did notice that there was some more light coming in, though, and it was keeping us from sleeping in longer. The way Cousin Eddie is set up, the shower is separate from the toilet and sink. We have skylights in both and had an insulating cover in the bathroom already. But we didn’t in the shower, and that was where the light was coming in. It’s an irregular shape so buying another insulated cover wasn’t the answer.

I decided to cut up some extra Reflectix and put velcro on it so we can keep the cover on it when we’re sleeping and take it off if we ever want to take a shower in there.


My Advice for Jim

My Advice for Jim

A buddy of mine recently retired from the military and is starting  a new civilian career. He called me because he wanted to go on a big trip before going to the new job and he wanted my advice on sites to see and routes to consider. We met for lunch on his way through town, off to his new adventure. He mentioned in the conversation that he is considering trading off his small SUV for a smaller SUV. He will be moving to Michigan and it seems he is interested in doing some travelling in his off time. He didn’t mention it specifically, but here is what I would advise if he asked my advice about getting out there. And since he didn’t give me permission to use his story, let’s just call him Jim.

Defining His Needs

As would be my advice before about finding the right RV for you, I’d start off with where he is and how he wants to travel. Jim is a single guy and has no pets. He’ll probably want to travel on weekends around the Upper Peninsula. He’ll probably stay in campgrounds and not boondock.

What Might Be a Good Fit

Since Jim is a single guy with no pets and no one else traveling with him, he could get by on just about anything. It all depends on what he considers comfortable while traveling. With a Yukon he could put a sleeping bag in the back and run an extension cord to a power pole at the campground to run a small heater and charge his phone. Maybe they even sell some kind of tent that attaches to the back of the Yukon like they do with Jeeps.

Instead of buying a Yukon, he could get a camper van, like a Dodge Xplorer or a Roadtrek. Or convert a cargo van or sprinter to his needs. A Roadtrek, if he can find one at a good price, would be an excellent choice. They have a very active community of owners.

A third option would be to use the Yukon as a tow vehicle for a small trailer like a Casita, rPod or T@b. They have just enough room to comfortably support him while he travels and require little setup.

Other Options

I left out pop ups because they require a lot of setup and aren’t real insulated. They use canvas and from what I hear from people that have them, aren’t the most comfortable in rainy weather or cooler weather. Being up in Michigan, where they say it’s 10 months of winter and 2 months of crappy sledding, he really would want something with hard sides.

I also left out travel trailers, fifth wheels and Class As and Class Cs. I’m not sure if his Yukon could tow a bigger travel trailer and he doesn’t need to buy something bigger like a Class C or A. He also doesn’t need to buy a pickup to tow a fifth wheel. He can get by with his Yukon if he sticks to small trailers.


Being new to town, Jim will obviously want to meet people in his neighborhood and at work. As he gets to know people he’ll get the lay of the land around town, so to speak. He’ll have resources to answer questions and give advice. Like having neighbors in town, he can have neighbors in the RV community. As he travels and meets people, he will see some in more than one place and hopefully form some friendships. We belong to a group called Nebraska RV Communities on Facebook. We always get posts from people going out camping in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and South Dakota. I’m writing this post at Louisville State Rec Area and there is someone from our group is in the site next to us. Jim can make some good friends by reaching out to other RVers.

Camping at Louisville State Rec Area

Louisville State Rec Area

Where It’s Located

Louisville State Rec Area is located in Louisville, Nebraska, just off Highway 50. The Platte River borders it on one side and Highway 50 is on the other. Right now, in August 2015, it’s a bit of a pain to approach from the north because of road construction. You can also get to it from Highway 66 where it intersects with I-80.

Campground Setup

The campground is a Nebraska Game and Parks, uh, park. You do need a vehicle permit to legally enter but there’s a station right as you come in so you can get one if you don’t have it. The park has four campgrounds with several different loops. It supports tent camping all the way up to Class As. It has a swimming beach, several lakes, a nature trail, shower houses and store. It has a dump station with two lanes.

Individual Sites

The individual sites are spaced apart well and they are level. The most you’ll get is electricity, though. You have to fill up with water at the dump station and no sites have sewer, either. Each campground loop is situated with a big common area in the middle so you never feel crowded.

Sites at Louisville State Rec Area

Sites at Louisville State Rec Area


This is where this campground falls flat. These things are nasty. The best you’ll find is at the far end of the park. The rest really do smell like a sewer. Showers cost fifty cents.

Swimming Beach

The beach at Louisville

The beach at Louisville

Internet and TV

We are getting decent cell reception out here. I have two bars of 4G on my Verizon phone. The park has no campground wifi so if you want internet, bring your own. We have only been able to tune in three TV stations with our antenna, and they’re not that great. It’s kind of surprising since we’re not really that far from Omaha. I would expect more stations out here.

Final Thoughts

This is an okay campground. The sites are spaced well enough and it has enough to do. If you’re looking to relax, this is a good place to do it. If you have kids that don’t like to fish, the only thing here is swimming and a nature trail.

Fixing the Awning

Fixing the Awning

We noticed when we got back from Branson that our awning had started to shred. We knew we needed a new awning when we bought it but still, who wants to pay for a new awning without trying other things?

One day when our son and daughter-in-law were over, I enlisted (voluntold?) him to help with the awning. We pulled it out and let it dry for a little bit and then got to work. My daughter had some white duct tape so we got that and taped over the top area that was showing wear. We also put some on the leading edge of the awning to help stop the wind from tearing it up again.

The new duct tape across the top

The new duct tape across the top

I think we can get another year out of this awning. Our hope is that when we do replace it, we get an electric awning.

The leading edge

The leading edge