Saturday, January 17, 2015

More RV Repairs And Moving To Canyon Lake Texas

While in El Paso, TX our washer's drain hose got clogged, so I took the drain plug out and fished out a penny, some hair, and a small toy.  After running it again it still gave us an error that it could not drain.  I thought something was lodged in the hose so took a coat hanger and tried to fish it out.  Lesson learned, do not try to fish anything out of the drain hose with a coat hanger.

The damage done by a coat hanger while trying to fish out a clog in the hose.
The job of pulling out the dryer to pull out the washer is just that, a job.  It is so tight that really a professional needs to do it, but I went a head and did it myself.
The dryer pulled out so I can work on the washer.
For two or three weeks we lived with the dryer in the middle of the bedroom, which was very tight.  The only saving grace was that Misty could use it to wrap Christmas presents on, which was better than doing it on the bed.  This also meant we had to wash our dirty clothes in the laundry mat, which added more stress to the situation.

After trying to order a hose locally, which was impossible, I then got on-line and ordered it from an on-line parts store.  Even though the web site said it was in-stock, come to find out, it was not, so I cancelled the order.  I then got onto Sears website and ordered it there with two day shipping think that they would be more reputable and better to work with.  Wrong, after ordering I get an email that it is on back order.  I email them back and ask that they refund my shipping because I was not going to get it in two days.  They did and told me that it would ship out the next week.  The next week came, but my hose did not, so I cancelled that order too.

We were getting to the point of leaving El Paso and so had to put the washer and dryer back in to move, but I did not want to do so until it was fixed, since it is such a job.  So I decided to just patch the hose with a plastic union and some clamps.

First I cut the hose through where the hole was.

Cut hose with PVC union.
 Using what pretty much comes to a radiator hose repair kit, I bought a 1 1/2 inch piece of PVC union pipe and two clamps.
Second half of hose with clamps attached.
 I made sure there was still plenty of slack in the hose so it could still move freely while the washer is draining.
The fixed hose, which is as good as new.
 After the repair I replaced the hose on the washer and ran a rinse cycle to make sure it did not leak.  So far it is doing fine after ten or fifteen loads of laundry.
The fixed drain hose back on the washer.
Needless to say, when removing the dryer, I let it slip and drop, hitting the washer selection knob and breaking it off.  I also punched a hole into our ceiling liner while trying to force the dryer back on top of the washer.  Luckily it is barley noticeable and since it is in a low wear area, will not increase in size.

After the New Year we made our way to New Braunsfels, TX and found a nice place to say in the Joint Base San Antonio Canyon Lake Recreational Park.  The price to rent a lot for 30 days is the lowest we have ever paid anywhere, which was nice.

To rent a spot here you have to be either Active Duty, National Guard, Reservist, Retired, 100% DAV, or DoD.  Also you can only rent for 30 days at a time during the months of Nov-Feb and must leave for 2 days after staying 30 days and then you can return for another 30 days.

During our trip from El Paso, TX to here we traveled on I10, which had some snow the day before and really high winds.  I would say while on our 570 mile trek we saw at least 10 or 12 wrecks with half of them being tractor trailers.  I would have taken some pictures, but did not want to become one of them.

Also either due to the high winds blowing gravel up on the road or the TX Department of Highways using gravel to treat the slippery roads, we obtained 2 chips on our Nissan van's windshield along with a good 8 inch crack and a chip on the RV's windshield.  Luckily we have windshield insurance on the RV since that is going to be an expensive replacement.  I think I will try to get the chips patched first before having the windshield replaced.

It was a beautiful drive down I10 which we did straight through.  The Moon was hanging low in the sky and felt like it was watching over us as we trucked down the road.

Mr. Moon, Moon, bright and shiny Moon, won't you please shine down on me.
The Moon at the Waxing gibbous phase at 98% visible.  The next night would have been a full moon.
Since we drove straight through, we decided to stay in a Wal-Mart parking lot the following morning for a few hours of shut-eye.  Shortly after parking and shutting down the RV our low battery alarm went off due to the batteries being dead.  Since it was 34 degrees Fahrenheit out, I had to start our generator so that our propane heaters would run.  I asked the Wal-Mart store manager if it was OK and he said to do whatever I had to do to keep the family warm.

There was a Class C RV parked a couple rows over from us that left shortly after I started the generator, which was around 3:00 AM.  I hope we did not upset them running it, but we had no choice.  Our generator really is not that loud anyway.  There were actually 6 other RVs in the lot and most of them had their bedroom slides out too, which was nice because we like to put ours out so as to give everyone more room to sleep.

I guess I need to perform maintenance on the house batteries more often so that they do not go dry and die on me.  I'm going to try and fill them back up with distilled water and equalize them to see if they still have any type of life, but I am afraid I'm going to have to buy six new ones, which is not cheap.  I'm also going to buy a watering system for them so that it is easier for me to top them off every month so the fluid levels stays current.
One of my six house batteries in the RV.
The average cost of replacement batteries is over $100.00 and that's me doing the work myself.  If I can not get the old ones to come back to life, then I guess I will be adding this to the expense list for RV living.  It is my fault by the way, so another lesson learned, perform monthly maintenance on your batteries or you will be buying new ones much sooner than needed.

Now that we are settled for a while on Canyon Lake, I'm going to rest some and worry about fixing the batteries in a couple weeks.  The park is really nice with a full concrete pad for the RV to sit on, which is always nicer than gravel or dirt.

There is also wildlife everywhere with the most abundant being deer, rabbits, and foxes.  Some of the deer are so used to people they come right up to you.  Below are some deer that welcomed us when we first parked the RV.
Deer coming up to the RV to check us out.
The doe in the below picture is so used to people she will come up to sniff your hands to see if you have any food.  One day while eating an orange she came up and bit my thumb thinking it was an orange section.  It did not break the skin, but hurt a lot.  It was also hard to get my thumb back because she did not want to let go of it.  I guess there was orange juice on it and she was determined to eat it.
One of the bravest does that will come up and sniff your hand.
 Usually there are a bunch of deer that pass right behind or next to the RV, but on this evening this lone buck was sneaking by.  I never could get a good count of his points, but he was at least an eight point, if not bigger.  Needless to say, he has a magnificent rack.
A very nice buck!
On 15 Jan 2015 Avery turned six years old which was celebrated in the usual manner by buying him a birthday cake and presents.  Do not pay any attention to the left side of the cake where it is messed up.  While in transit from the store the Ninja Turtles ornament slid over to the edge of the cake and messed up the icing.  It still tasted good though.
Avery and Mom on his 6th birthday.
Avery's slightly mangled 6th birthday cake.
Lately, just like most of America, it has been crappy weather for the past week with the sun barley showing itself at all.  Also the temperatures have been in the 40's mostly during the day with it getting even colder at night.  But today it was in the 60's with plenty of sunshine, so like most, we had to get out and do some sight seeing.

One place we ate while in New Braunsfels, Texas was Di's Homemade Pizza, which is some of the best pizza we have eaten.  Sirianni's Cafe in Davis, WV is still our favorite pizza in the entire world, but Di's pizza is a very close second and satisfies our pizza craving, something the big pizza chains cannot do. 

The owner Dianne, was very nice and we ended up talking to her for quite a while.  She gave us all the good places to eat in the area to include the places to avoid, which we very much appreciated.  If you are ever in New Braunsfels, Texas you have to stop by her pizza shop for some of the best pizza you will ever have.

One such place to go see, according to Dianne, was the town of Gruene, Texas, pronounced green, which was settled by German farmers in the mid 1840s.  It has a rich history and is just nice to walk through.
The biggest landmark of Gruene Texas, its water tower.
While there we ate at the Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar which was a real treat.  The food was great with me getting the Baby Back Ribs and Misty getting the Fire Seared Chicken.  The Gruene beans were also some of the best we have had in a long time.  It is also easy to find since it sits right under the water tower.
Some of the best Baby Back Rib I have ever eaten.  It was very close to the ribs at Brother BBQ in Kentucky.
Free range organic chicken is used for the Fire Grilled Chicken.
Stuffed to the gills with Baby Back Ribs.
The restaurant is in the old cotton gin building and is full of character.  If you watch the video on the About page off of the Gruene, Texas link, it shows some of the building when it was purchased, which looked pretty rough.  They have really done a good job of converting it into a restaurant.

One of the many mantels over one of the many fire places.
Another mantle over another fireplace.
Some of the truss work in the building.
One of the many brick walls in the structure.
Another brick wall which adds character to the restaurant.
Some of the outside eating areas overlooking the Guadalupe River.
More dining over looking the Guadalupe River.
Tia enjoying the view of the river.
The courtyard at The Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar.
Another dining room in the restaurant.  Just love the pot belly stove.
The main entrance into the restaurant.
Another picture of the main entrance to the restaurant.
The walkway to the restaurant from the street.
Gruene is also filled with all types of stores selling all types of products such as the Tipsy Gypsy, the Fickle Pickles, and the Gruene Coffee Haus.  The lady working in the Tipsy Gypsy was very friendly and accommodating, but we did not get a good feeling from the gentleman running the Fickle Pickles.  As we walked into the store he quickly jumped on us about keeping an eye on the kids so that they did not tip over the free pickle display on the counter.

I realize that when we do enter a building, sometime it seems you are being swarmed by kids, but please observe us prior to barking out commands to make sure our kids behave, because they do behave and know not to touch anything without asking.  He did not seem to be kid friendly.  You might say he was a little fickle.
The Tipsy Gypsy and Fickle Pickles stores.
Since the Tipsy Gypsy had everything marked 50% off, Misty decided to let the kids pick out some new headgear to ward off the cold.
The kids showing off their new headgear.
We also drank some of the best Cinnamon Dolce Lattes that we have ever had from the Gruene Coffee Haus.  They were way better than what you get from Starbucks.  The young lady who made them for us wanted to make sure they were just right.  You could tell she really took pride in her coffee making skills.
Gruene Coffee Haus.
Also while in Gruene we notice a shop that had some of the biggest wind chimes we have ever seen.  The picture does not do them justice.  I would estimate that some of the chimes were six feet tall if not taller.  They made the most wonderful sounds too while the wind was blowing.
Some of the largest wind chimes we have ever seen.
Another eating establish you have to visit when in New Braunsfels, Texas is the Buttermilk Cafe.   If you like comfort food then you will love the Buttermilk Cafe.  The staff is so friendly and really care that you are there.  

While we were walking through the town of Gruene today, R.C., who is the husband of Carol, the chef and owner of the cafe, shouted hi to us while driving by.  It just makes you feel like you belong and are welcomed when people go out of their way to say hello.

So that is what's been going on with us, up until now.  We did plenty more on this day, but I will stop here since this one is getting long and you are probably getting really tired of reading.

If you like our blog please follow us.  You can also become our friends on Facebook or in Rvillage.  You can also leave us comments to let us know what you think of our travels.

Also if you are interested in Young Living Essential Oils, please click on the link to sign up under Misty.  God has blessed us in may way with Young Living Essential Oils being one of them.  If you would have any questions Misty would be more than happy to answer them.  You can private message her on Facebook or just send her an email.

So God Bless you all and may He keep you safe in all that you do.

Don, Misty, & Kids...

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