Monday, February 11, 2019

Motorhome Maintenance–Windshield

We’d been here about a month, sitting in one place, not moving at all, when one morning we noticed a line in the center of the windshield.  Tom thought it was a drip of water, but after looking closer, we realized that it was a crack . . . and we had no idea where it came from!  The next day, it had moved a little further, and started taking a turn toward the side of the windshield.

We weren’t confident that we could find a place to replace the windshield this far south in Texas, and thought we might have to wait until we got up closer to Corpus Christi or Houston before we could get it fixed.  Tom started researching the MH forums online, and calling a few RVer friends, and found an RV glass company that works with installers all over the nation.  He called them, and actually found out that we had a better chance of finding an installer, and even a mobile installer, down here in the RGV.  He recommended a shop in McAllen that can do mobile RV windshield replacements, who they’ve worked with on over 100 RVs. 

We decided to go ahead and get it done, so we had them initiate the claim with our insurance company . . . and were pleasantly surprised to hear that we had a $0 deductible!  The windshield was ordered, and we were told it would take a couple weeks to get to us from the glass company in Oregon.

One day when we were in McAllen, we found the shop and stopped in to talk to the manager.  He explained that they typically schedule RV installs for Saturdays, because he needs to bring 4-5 guys along, and that it needs to be a warm and dry day.

The first weekend after our windshield arrived was incredibly windy, so they could not do the install and we had to wait until the following weekend.  We got a surprise call on the Thursday afternoon, saying that they were going to come out on Friday morning, if that was OK.  We said sure, and were ready for them when they arrived.  In additional to clearing off the dash area, we had to bring in all the slides and dump all the air out of the suspension.

They got right to work, loosening the old windshield from the gasket.

It gave them a little trouble, but after some pounding and prying between the glass and the gasket, it finally broke loose, and they got it out.

With the glass removed, we could get a better look at the crack, and we could also feel the stone chip that started it – way at the very top edge of the windshield, right up against the gasket.  It was in the dark area of the windshield, and from inside there was no way to see it because the top of the windshield is above the bottom of the overhead cabinets.  We didn’t even know we had a stone chip there, and have no idea when we got it.

When the windshield came out, the gasket cam loose from the fiberglass, and the rain gutter above the gasket came off entirely.  Tom had wanted that replaced anyway, so they had a new one with them.  They got the gasket back in place, and put the new windshield in.

It took a little bit of time to make sure the glass was seated properly in the gasket, and once they were sure it was, they added the new rain gutter to the top.

They were really good about pointing out anything that they found out of the ordinary, and explaining the process they were following in installing the new glass.  There was a little bit of concern over the amount of flexibility in the fiberglass above the windshield, but after a call to the glass company, we determined that it was OK to continue with the install.

The final step was to seal the space between the gasket and the rain gutter, and then they washed the whole windshield.

We needed to leave the slides in and the air out of the suspension for the rest of the day, preferably 24 hours, to allow the urethane to fully cure.

It looks good . . .

and no crack!

They did a good job – we were really happy with it!  The total process took about 2 hours.

We had originally planned to go to the South Padre Island Kite Festival that day with a group from the RV Park, but by the time the windshield was done, they had already been gone a couple hours, so we decided to wait and go on Saturday.  We talked to a few of the people who went, and they said it was good but that the beach was very wet, with huge puddles everywhere from the rain we had gotten during the week.  They also said it was very foggy for the first couple hours that they were there.

We had hoped that the weather would be better on Saturday, but it wasn’t.  As we reached South Padre, we could see that the entire island was blanketed in fog – we didn’t have much hope of seeing anything.

We parked at the Visitor Center next to the beach, so we wouldn’t have to drive through the puddles, and sat for a while hoping that the fog might lift.

It didn’t, though, and eventually started to rain, so we left and went back to the RV Park for the fish fry dinner they were having that afternoon.  That was a bummer – we had been looking forward to the kite festival!

We had much better weather on Sunday, and I was able to get some sun and read for a couple hours!

Ah, that was nice!!

Meanwhile in Michigan, they were preparing for the big snow and deep freeze headed their way!  Bryce and his friends took advantage of an earlier snow and went snow tubing, before it got too cold.

Bryce with two of his roommates,

and Bryce & Hannah,

Most of the group of friends . . . looks like they had fun!

We had 4 days of super warm temperatures in the high 80s, and then this past weekend, the cold weather settled in down here, forcing us to spend most of our time inside, watching movies . . . and I got some sewing done . . . finished my new wall hanging.

When we did go out, we just did some shopping and tried a new BBQ restaurant that looked interesting.

We actually parked in the back of the building and were going to walk around the front, but a guys outside directed us to a back door, taking us right past the smokers where he was cooking the meat for the following day.

Between all that smoking meat, and the burning oak, it smelled so good out there . . . and the fire felt pretty good too!  The day before, when it was 85 degrees out, it would not have felt so good in there!

Inside, it’s like a big open warehouse with a giant bar in the middle of the room.  They also had another smaller room for private parties.  It was a cool-looking place,

and the food was really good, too!  We split a turkey sandwich and a brisket sandwich, and Tom got beans with his, and I had a salad. 

Fortunately, the cold only lasted for 2 days, and now we’re back into the 70s/80s for this week – we like that much better!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Biking at Santa Ana NWR

Last Sunday was a beautiful day, so after we got home from church and the grocery store, we decided to load up the bikes and take a drive over to the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge.  I had read that their park road is open to bicycle traffic Thursday – Sunday, and we could get in a good 7 mile ride in the afternoon.

We stopped in the Visitor Center to get our bicycle permit and wrist bands (no charge for either, but required to keep bicyclists in the park), and started out on the wildlife loop.

First stop was the Observation Towers.

We had a nice view of the refuge, but didn’t see any wildlife – not eagles or hawks, or any other birds for that matter.

The second tower had a swinging bridge between the tower and the steps,

that was fun!

We continued on, until we came to an old cemetery.

We walked along the trail, until we reached the cemetery.

Most of the grave markers are simple crosses, but there are a few headstones, too.

This historic marker was at the grave of Thomas Walter Jones.  He was the one of the surveying team who marked the US-Mexico border along the Rio Grande River, following the Mexican War.  While working on the survey, he drowned in the river.

Leaving the cemetery and getting back on the bikes, we reached a trail that goes down to the Rio Grande River.

We followed the trail, on the lookout for interesting birds, but only saw a bunch of airplants in the trees.

We reached the river,

where we could see a beautiful cattle ranch across the river in Mexico,

and plenty of evidence of trails coming up the bank from the river on the US side.  We couldn’t help but wonder how many illegals try to make their way through the park.  There’s a permanent Border Patrol station inside the park, so I guess they keep a pretty close eye on the situation.

This wildlife refuge is one of the areas that is designated to get a section of border wall, and some people are upset that it will cut through the refuge property.  If they have a gate where the wildlife drive goes through the wall, though, it really shouldn’t make any difference to access for the public.

Photo Op at the Rio Grande!

We finished the ride around the park, stopping at one more trail that sounded like it might take us to a lake (Cattail Lake Trail), but apparently it’s a dry lake, since we never did find any water!  The last section of trail was along the levee wall back to the visitor center.

It was a really nice ride, and a beautiful day to enjoy it!

Friday, February 1, 2019

McAllen Car Fest

We weren’t sure what Car Fest was going to be like, but it sounded fun, and Tom is always up for a car show.  This one is indoors, reminding us of the Detroit Auto-Rama at Cobo Hall, but definitely on a smaller scale.

The show started Friday evening, and then went all day Saturday and Sunday.  There was also a free Drive-In movie on Friday night in the parking lot of the Convention Center (not really part of the Car Fest, but they were showing “Gone in 60 Seconds”, so related . . .), so we decided to head over to McAllen on Friday afternoon, do some shopping and get some dinner, and then go to the Car Show and the movie afterwards.

Sounded like a great plan for a nice evening – date night!

One benefit of going to the show on Friday afternoon was that there weren’t as many people there.  I saw pictures from Saturday, and it was really busy – there was no crowd at all on Friday!

There were about 300 cars in the show, small in comparison to a Detroit car show, but not bad for south Texas.

There were some very unique vehicles,

like this super cool Super Duty truck!  Lots of awards for that one!

There were several Classic Car Clubs sponsoring the show --

the Mopar Club had the best display in my opinion,

but they didn’t have as many cars there as the Corvette Club,


and NEW

or the Mustang Club.

A few other classics that we always see,

including Nicolas’ favorites!

Speaking of Nicolas, this was something we’ve never seen before.  This Rat Rod was dedicated to active duty military members and veterans.  There was a sign asking people to add their own or family member’s names if they have served or are currently serving.

It was hard to find an open spot!  But we found one, and added Nicolas’ name.


Another Rat Rod,

and some nice looking Broncos, too.

There were some really cool old classics – check out those trunks --

and those huge back bumpers!  Love all that chrome!

Then there’s the “only in Texas” sights that we saw!

El Jefe,

and Lowrider Row.

There were a few “celebrity” cars, too.  The Batmobile was there, but not doing any performances that night,

but as we were leaving, we saw Bumblebee put on a show.

It was a nice show, not really big, but big enough to keep us busy for a couple hours.  We went out to the Jeep, and drove around the parking lot for a little bit before we found where they had an big inflatable screen set up.  We pulled into the field, and parked in the 2nd row directly in front of the screen to wait for the movie to start.  There was a guy walking around selling popcorn and snacks, but we had brought our own.

They told us the radio station to tune to for the movie, and it was a station out of Reynosas, Mexico . . . uh oh, is the movie going to be in Spanish, too!?!?  Eventually, the movie started, and it was in English!  Whew!  We’ve seen it before, but it was still a fun evening!

Successful date night!