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Summer Trip 2011 • Newsletter #2: May 27-June 11, 2011 • On the Road with Chris
Summer Trip 2011
• Newsletter #2: May 27-June 11, 2011
• On the Road with Chris & Sally Mendola •

Day 15; Friday, May 27

Dave & Chris were at it again – working on the new laundry room installing electrical boxes, connecting wiring to the main panel, cutting & installing drywall, adding more framing, etc. They’ve still got a long way to go but it’s really shaping up!

Summer Trip 2011 • Newsletter #2: May 27-June 11, 2011 • On the Road with Chris
Summer Trip 2011 • Newsletter #2: May 27-June 11, 2011 • On the Road with Chris

We took a break for what Dave calls, “fun time”. Dave & Margo treated us to an afternoon movie, The Pirates of the Caribbean, followed by dinner-out at Perkins.

What a fun time we all had together.

Day 16: Saturday, May 28

We continued working on the laundry room by going to Home Depot for some tools and supplies. Applied drywall compound between the joints and on the corners. Set up a fan to help it dry faster.

Summer Trip 2011 • Newsletter #2: May 27-June 11, 2011 • On the Road with Chris

Day 17: Sunday, May 29

A quick breakfast had us on our way to Margo & Dave’s church, Redeemer Free Church, followed

by lunch at Fazoli’s Italian fast food. We then went to Home Depot, Hobo’s, and Menard’s, all building supply stores nearby, picking up Formica-style countertop surfacing, vinyl floor sheeting, and other supplies. Sally and I went out for frozen

Summer Trip 2011 • Newsletter #2: May 27-June 11, 2011 • On the Road with Chris

custard and then a walk around the neighborhood. We saw two teenage boys struggling to get a riding mower started. Chris gave them some ideas, and then we finished our walk. Chris chose to go back to them after changing into work clothes and further diagnosed wiring faults. He left them to their own devices after running out of ideas.

Jon, Dave & Margo’s middle child, back from graduate school, joined us as we watched a PBS special on Simon & Garfunkel. A knock at the door produced the “mower boys” who, finding our camper, asked in the “Florida man” was inside. I spoke with them and found they had changed spark plugs and the mower ran. I toured our camper with them and they thanked Chris for all his efforts. It gave him a good

feeling to help these boys.

Day 18: Monday, May 30

Worked on the laundry room all day, sanding the joint compound so the drywall panels are flush, ready for primer. At the end of the day Chris looked like the Abominable Snowman, covered from head-to- toe in white dust. Still not done yet!

feeling to help these boys. Day 18: Monday, May 30 Worked on the laundry room all

Day 19: Tuesday, May 31

Continued sanding today. Almost done. Helped Dave with some

plumbing related to this project.

feeling to help these boys. Day 18: Monday, May 30 Worked on the laundry room all

Day 20: Wednesday, June 1

Applied primer to the drywall, first with a brush at the joints where one wall meets another, and then Sally applied the primer to the rest of the

walls & ceilings with a roller. Chris then applied ceiling white to the ceilings.

feeling to help these boys. Day 18: Monday, May 30 Worked on the laundry room all

After supper Chris “cut-in” the light beige paint on the edges where the walls meet the ceiling, and then painted the corner joints, followed by rollering the walls. Looks great!

Day 21: Thursday, June 2

Sally & Margo went to lunch with

Jackie, Greg’s mother. Greg is Holly Parker’s fiancé, and Holly is our niece and godchild from Tampa. (Greg was originally from Milwaukee, and a neighbor of Dave & Margo.)

feeling to help these boys. Day 18: Monday, May 30 Worked on the laundry room all

Dave concentrated on plumbing, and enclosing the (exterior) garage-

side of the laundry room with plywood & drywall sections.

Chris built the countertop framework making it strong enough to stand on to reach deep shelves above. He then cut pieces from the laminate countertop materials to cover the plywood. Because the countertop had to be built in place, he had to make a template and cut each piece of counter material by hand, taking hours. He finally finished all the edges and caulked the slight grooves between counter and walls. He finished the task at around 9:30 tonight.

Day 22: Friday, June 3

The goal today was for Chris to

install the one-piece sheet vinyl flooring in the new laundry room.

feeling to help these boys. Day 18: Monday, May 30 Worked on the laundry room all

The floor part was done today so that it would tack-dry overnight. The staircase to the basement enters part of the closet that we’ve made into the laundry room. This ceiling was just lumber studs that became exposed during construction. To gain some useful space from this area we converted the area to an open cabinet in which we will install shelves. A portion of the slanted ceiling now forms a slanted wall that intrudes just a little into the laundry room. On top of this we will

The Culinary Comments Corner

Our daughter, Cindi, often comments that we should be food critics as we often make comments about eating establishments while on our trips. Our ultimate purpose is to give a hooray to those eateries who are better than average, while alerting folks to those so bad they should be avoided.

The large chain restaurants can be counted on to generally deliver the same ‘taste’ from location to the next. But several months ago we had CRAP at Bob Evans and Chris is looking forward to it again! (?) Some of you may be familiar with the beverage named the Arnold Palmer – half iced tea and half lemonade. At our Silver Springs, FL Bob Evans the waiter offered to add raspberry syrup or cherry syrup to our iced tea. During supper I tried both individually, then took the wild, free spirit path by asking for BOTH cherry AND raspberry syrup in my Arnold Palmer. It was FANTASTIC, and it was crap.

So if you venture to a Bob Evans restaurant, ask if they have both cherry and raspberry syrup for inclusion in ice tea. Then, if they do, tell them you heard so many good things about their CRAP and that you want to try it for yourself. If you like sweet drinks, you’ll love the crap they’ll serve you. I usually ask for unsweetened ice tea and add one packet of artificial sweetener, but it can easily get too sweet. You may even want to talk to the manager and express your thanks for the CRAP your host/hostess served. Just don’t do what I did and tell everyone around you that you enjoy the crap this restaurant serves… you probably won’t be understood.

install leftover vinyl flooring to give it a more ‘finished’ look.

Supper was Dave & Margo’s treat to us at Famous Dave’s BBQ. We’ve enjoyed their food before, and Chris thinks their BBQ sauces rival that of Sonny’s BBQ in the South.

Day 23: Saturday, June 4

Chris glued down the vinyl on the slanted wall. Dave worked on installing drywall in the garage on the back wall of the laundry room. Both Chris & Dave worked on soldering copper pipes to supply water to the laundry room. This all took the entire day.

Day 24: Sunday, June 5

We attended Dave & Margo’s church again, then did our day’s

shopping at Home Depot. (Seems we go there everyday!) Lunch was at Fazoli’s Italian fast food restaurant. They have very good meals at reduced prices!

The Culinary Comments Corner Our daughter, Cindi, often comments that we should be food critics as

Chris installed metal trim on the slanted wall to keep the edges of the vinyl flooring from becoming frayed or torn. Dave painted the drywall in the garage. We planned the final steps to complete the laundry room by tomorrow for the washer & dryer’s arrival Tuesday.

Sally & Margo spent several hours cleaning wood trim from the old closet (now the laundry room). Then they stained & painted it to be ready for installation tomorrow.

Day 25: Monday, June 6

With the wood trim installed, and a few finishing touches, the laundry room is essentially complete. Dave & Chris moved on to install the new tub faucet. The planning and some disassembly were done today.

The Culinary Comments Corner Our daughter, Cindi, often comments that we should be food critics as

Day 26: Tuesday, June 7

The entire plumbing job was started & finished today but it wasn’t as easy as one might guess from such a simple sentence. Since then we’ve been plagued with random “trash” getting into the tub valve and blocking it or causing dripping. Chris has done several ‘flushes’ of the system but we’re still getting some residual particles that seem to dislodge in pipes when major plumbing work is done.

AND electrical power went out for about 4500 households due to a wiring junction below ground shorting out. This occurred while Margo’s new washer & dryer were being installed by Home Depot sub- contractors (see next page). Margo & Sally had to pull our supper out of the (electric) oven and take It to a church friend’s house for the final half-hour of overtime. They came home with hot food a minute after power was restored.

Day 27: Wednesday,June 8 Chris purged the tub’s valve again today and Chris & Dave rotated

Day 27: Wednesday,June 8

Chris purged the tub’s valve again today and Chris & Dave rotated the

dryer receptacle 90º for a better fit. Then we drove 1.5 hours to Waterloo, Wisconsin to take a tour

Day 27: Wednesday,June 8 Chris purged the tub’s valve again today and Chris & Dave rotated

of the Trek bicycle factory. On the way we experienced a hailstorm. This US plant makes the high-end bikes made by Trek, costing from $5,000 to $12,000 each!

Day 27: Wednesday,June 8 Chris purged the tub’s valve again today and Chris & Dave rotated

All of these high-end bikes are made of a special carbon fiber with a proprietary method of construction. They produce several hundred bikes per day and everyone we saw was already sold by advanced, custom order.

The tour was great and our tour

guide, Jason Mountford, (below) with the Trek sales department, did a superior job of taking us around and providing expert information about the company, its employees, and its products.

Day 27: Wednesday,June 8 Chris purged the tub’s valve again today and Chris & Dave rotated

On our way to lunch we took a walk around the river park area of Waukesha, Wisconsin. The park along the Fox River was very pretty (see below).

Day 27: Wednesday,June 8 Chris purged the tub’s valve again today and Chris & Dave rotated

Dave & Margo treated us to a grand luncheon buffet at the Golden Corral, followed by a short trip to the Salvation Army thrift store.

While doing odd jobs in the evening Margo heard a weather alert telling of severe weather heading toward Milwaukee. A sudden drop in temp from the afternoon high in the 90s to mid-50s temps resulted in a forecast of straight-line winds from 50-100 miles-per-hour! We began covering cars with blankets due to expected hail.

Sally brought forth a great & sudden thought, “We need to lower the Aliner while we have time!” And so we did, moving important items indoors in case we had to ride out the storm tonite. After two hours we were able to reset-up the Aliner.

Some may ask, “With your wind kit in place why not leave the trailer up?” We never expect our wind kit to handle 100MPH winds!! It’s always wiser to take the safer path and not gamble on the results. With an Aliner you can take-down in less than a minute, and set-up just as fast. Wouldn’t it be foolish not to protect your investment (your Aliner) by droppin’-the-top until the storm passes, and then set it up again?

Day 28; Thursday, June 9

Sally & I awoke a bit later this morning. I stayed in bed while Sally

stepped out to head indoors for a potty visit and some breakfast coffee. Within a few seconds of her leaving I heard her yell, “Chris! It’s all wet!” We had covered the roof and windshield of our car with beach towels, and then covered them with two large blankets. This was intended to provide protection from hailstones that were predicted to fall last night. Chris secured the blanket by pinching them in doors and the tailgate so winds (50- 100MPH prediction) wouldn’t blow them away. We never removed them when the winds stopped, so during the night the blankets served as wicks to… you guessed it… carry the night’s rain indoors over many of our belongings.

We spent most of the day drying out items, especially books, magazines, maps and clothing. But, it could have been much worse!

Day 27: Wednesday,June 8 Chris purged the tub’s valve again today and Chris & Dave rotated

Tonight Dave & Margo treated us to a fabulous supper at Michael’s Italian Restaurant in Waukesha. They had manicotti and we shared

a pizza (with anchovies, of course!).

Day 29: Friday, June 10

After seeing the window shade system that Dave & Margo have in their family room, Sally wanted to see if any styles would meet the needs of our dining room. This shopping trip also saw Chris buy a couple hundred special nuts to meet the sudden results of additional Aliner kit sales.

After having dealt with the small ravages of rain damage inflicted on the contents of our car from yesterday, we expected an easier day today. No such luck. Our GPS wouldn’t work even though it wasn’t water damaged. In the interest of time we borrowed Dave’s GPS (same model we have), so our travels in unfamiliar locations was much easier.

a pizza (with anchovies, of course!). Day 29: Friday, June 10 After seeing the window shade

Upon getting back to base Chris & Dave took the GPS apart. Chris had a feeling the battery was the culprit as this same GPS wouldn’t work a year ago and we replaced the old battery in Milwaukee last summer. Sure enough, the plug on the battery (lower arrow) had somehow slipped a sliver of a micron from the socket on the circuit board. Once pushed back in it fired right up! Praise the Lord! He was watching out for our welfare (as He always does.)

Supper was stew with Dave, Margo, their daughter, Emily and granddaughter, Elly.

a pizza (with anchovies, of course!). Day 29: Friday, June 10 After seeing the window shade

Husband, Eric, joined us later after work. Elly did her first extended distance walking on her own tonight. We expect she’ll be a pro by next week.

Day 30: Saturday, June 11

This is our last full day in Milwaukee and we still have a few jobs to finish. Sally did some packing of the items that got wet in the car. Chris installed a shelf in Margo’s new laundry room. We all went out to Fazoli’s for lunch, and then back home so Chris could wash the VW and Aliner. Dave made more shelves for Margo. We also took in a movie, Super 8, which is a very good adult version of ET, but the language is adult and a bit bloody in some parts. Middle school and above could manage it. Very exciting.

Dave installed the vent system for the dryer.

a pizza (with anchovies, of course!). Day 29: Friday, June 10 After seeing the window shade

We pack up tomorrow morning and head off to the Aliner RV Rally in Sparta, Illinois.

a pizza (with anchovies, of course!). Day 29: Friday, June 10 After seeing the window shade

Don’t Throw Out that GPS

As mentioned in this newsletter, our GPS wouldn’t turn on. Chris went into ‘diagnosis mode. He wanted to share his findings with our readers…

Brother Dave has the same model (Garmin) GPS, so we borrowed his unit and plugged it into our charger base. It lit up showing that the charger base was operative. Our unit quit last year and we installed a new battery (2.5 years old). It then started fine. This phenomenon also occurs with older laptop computers – they need an charged, operating battery to start, even if plugged in.

Chris used a special, tiny Torx screwdriver to remove the two screws, then popped open the case by carefully prying open the bottom, sides & top of the GPS. He found the battery’s plug was slightly ajar (see lower red arrow on left). He carefully pulled off the plug and then reinserted it. Whahlah! Started and ran fine. So… take a chance and carefully check your unit before discarding it. A $30 battery is better than a new $200 GPS! Oh yeah!