Just a short update right now… more to come now that we’ve kinda settled in.
We’ve sold our original house in Virginia and the RV. We’re still working on the house here in Jacksonville (that will probably never end). I’m now working a “regular” job, while Dasy is working part-time remotely for a company back in Virginia. The sprinklers are finally running, although a couple zones need “tweaking” and we bought a new front lawn. We’re still figuring out what to do about the back yard. :S
We’ll continue to update the blog with various posts of our Florida life. Maybe some beach posts, kayaking Florida waterways, etc.
Our rig is now officially up for grabs on the eBay…
Just helping spread the word. If you know anyone looking for a nice diesel pusher at a reasonable, send them over.
Update: The Beastie has been sold. :S
We’re still getting settled in our new home (which I really will post about soon), but I think we’re settled enough that it’s time to start working on selling the Dutch Star. We’ll post up here for a couple weeks and see what happens. After that, she’ll probably go to a dealer for consignment sale.
So, without further ado, we’re looking to sell our 2001 38′ Newmar Dutch Star motorhome. I took a bunch of pictures last week, but apparently my lens is dirty or dieing, so they didn’t come out. There are still some decent pictures and all the pertinent specs on the “Our Rig” tab, plus you can see the new laminate floors in this post. I’ll get some more pictures some time this week and post them up with all the new revisions and some of the features that we haven’t talked about in our blog.
If you’re interested, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sorry for the lack of updates, but we’ve both been super-busy. Most of that has been because we’ve purchased a new home in Jacksonville, FL. It’s a bit of a Fixer-Upper, but we like it and we think it has a lot of potential. I keep telling everyone that “if it was in good shape, we couldn’t afford it”.
The actual purchase was a bit of a fiasco, mostly due to me traveling and my bank being pretty much useless. I may tell that story later.
Anyway, I just wanted to post a quick update filling everyone in on our status. I’ll probably post more about the house and what we’re doing with the RV (most likely available for sale in a couple weeks)… Things are starting to settle down a bit, so we should be able to keep up with fairly regular posts.
We’ll cover a bit about the house and what’s been involved there, some of the reasons why we’re settling back down, some of the activities over the past few months and what’s next.
Just a quick update… I’m headed to Dayton, OH for a couple days to sit a class I’ll be teaching some day.
Sorry for the lack of updates, but I’ve been running around like a headless chicken. Expect a bunch of updates later this week as we share our future plans.
Current location: Jacksonville, FL
We spent our 11th wedding anniversary being a tourist in DC. It’s fun being a tourist in your own city. Washington DC has so much to offer it is just too bad that most people who live in the area are just too busy or too stressed to enjoy its many parks, world class museums (they are free!!) and history.
We began our day at the National Gallery of Art. We picked the exhibit featuring Paul Gauguin’s work which it available February 27th - June 5th. What an interesting man! Here is a man who went to the South Pacific in search of happiness in “Paradise”.
Our next stop was the US Botanic Garden, it is right next to the Capitol building. We’ve been here a few times before and have enjoyed the garden each time. It’s not too big that you feel overwhelmed and not too small that you’ll loose interest.
Enjoy some of nature’s color in bloom:
Afterwards we had supper at Neisha Thai in Tysons Corner Mall and then bought ourselves some goodies from Shilla Bakery in Annandale. Yummy!
It was a good day. Thank you for the sunshine and flowers. And family and good food.
Jonathan surprised me with a new camera. What a sweetie!!
My last camera died an unfortunate death in a canoe accident.
My new camera is a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS2. This little guy is blue and it is shockproof(dropproof from a height up to 6.6ft), waterproof (depth of 33ft), freezeproof (freezeproof to -10 degrees C/14 degrees F), and dustproof.
The Star is still parked in Central Florida but we are both in Northern Virginia right now. Jonathan will be here for another week or so and I be here for two to three months. I’ve committed to a work project in the DC area and I will be staying with my family during this time. We’ll be going back and forth to visit each other.
Yes, it’s cold here but it is slowly warming up. It is early March and the crocuses and daffodils are out in the yard. These flowers are harbingers of Spring!
The year 2011 will see a lot of changes for us. So far, it has been quite busy already. Our 11th wedding anniversary is tomorrow. We will attend a friend’s wedding in Bruceton, West Virginia the following day. We will have to miss another friend’s Memorial Service that is taking place in Falls Church, VA that same day. It’s too bad we cannot be in two places at once. On the one hand there is hope and new beginning (wedding) and on the other there is death and sadness but there is hope too. That hope is the resurrection hope of a better future to come. Maintaining a balance and the right frame of mind can be a challenge sometimes when “life happens”.
Juniper Springs is located at Juniper Springs Wilderness and Recreation Area on the Southeastern part of the Ocala National Forest off of SR 40. It offers a full range of outdoor activities.
The springhead area offers swimming, a pleasant picnic area and a great nature trail that runs along the spring creek run. One of the highlights of this place has got to be the canoe run on Juniper Creek, Juniper Springs’ crystal clear spring run. It is 7 miles long and it takes an average of 4 hours to complete the course. Because the course runs through a National Wilderness area, you are guaranteed to see wildlife.
We had visited the park once before last Spring and we had a blast! We did the canoe run and walked the nature trail.
Last week my sister and her husband were visiting his folks in Kissimmee, FL. The whole family drove up from Kissimmee to Juniper Springs last Friday to do the canoe run with us. We invited another friend of ours along as she has never been on the canoe run before.
NOTE: You cannot bring any food/drink in a disposable container on the canoe run (I believe it is an effort to minimize trash in the pristine wilderness area). So, put your food/drinks in a reusable container.
The canoe rental/loading process is a little lengthy. First, you check in at the gift shop. Then you walk over to the canoe rental area to load your canoe on to a cart. After that you wheel your canoe down a path to the take out point and drop it off. Now, walk back to the check in and collect your oars, life jackets and whistle and walk back to your canoe. Before you lift you canoe into the spring, there is a cooler check to make sure that you don’t have anything disposable. Finally, off you go!
The canoe run has a lot of challenging turns with many low hanging trees that you have to duck under. Some branches are so low, you have to lay back completely. Since we recently has a couple storms come our way, the water level is higher than normal thus creating “rapids” in a few sections . One fork of the path had a fallen tree completely blocking the entire length of the creek. We had to get out and lift the canoes over. There are a couple places along the run where you can take a break and stretch your legs. We decided to take a lunch break at once such spot. Jonathan had pulled the canoe half way up the bank. He got out. As our friend got off the canoe, it rocked and SPLASH!!! I was under the water! I was so certain, we would not flip that I put on Canon PowerShot SD770 in my shirt pocket! So, no more still pictures after this moment. I reverted to using the waterproof video camera.
Sometime after this episode, we converged at a point. We hear my sister making funny noises and I turned around with the video camera in hand to catch her & her husband flipping their canoe over. The look on her face and the events proceeding that were priceless! I feel so bad for them but it was so funny! No one was hurt, thank goodness! (You’ll have to wait for Jonathan to edit the video.)
The wildlife scenery is incredible. We saw lots of turtles sunning themselves with their legs spread out, a couple of alligators sunning on the bank and otters swimming around. My sister and her husband saw a snake hanging from a branch. We saw one otter playing in the “rapids”, its heading was bobbing up and down with the waves. There was a variety of birds including blue and tricolor heron. It is a wonderful thing to see animals in their natural habitats.
It took us (3 canoes) about 5 hours to get through. Last time when it was just Jonathan and I , it took us under 4 hours.
We got picked up at Juniper Wayside, located about 4.3 miles north of SR 40, on SR 19.
The events of the day was certainly memorable:
- Park entrance: $5 per person
- Canoe rental: $35
- Dinner at Lena’s Seafood: $44
- Camera damage: $145
- Whole experience: PRICELESS
Yes, my handy dandy Canon PowerShot SD770 IS is toast! Every time I tried to power it on, I get “Lens error, restart camera” and the camera lens will not retract. I am saddened by my loss but I am already researching a water proof one for my next purchase.
Last month our friends from southern Maryland came to Florida to get away from the cold and visit some old friends. We were on their list too.
We spent an enjoyable afternoon at De Leon Springs State Park in De Leon Springs, FL in Volusia County. The park covers over 600 acres and is built around a natural sulfur spring flowing at a rate of about 20 millions gallons a day. The spring water remain 72 degrees year round (the spring water is still cold even if the weather outside is lower than 72 degrees). The park offers a wide range of activities from boating to wildlife viewing.
The park used be the site of an old plantation with a mill to grind corn and sugar. The plantation was destroyed during the Civil War but the waterwheel and building remains. The building now houses a pancake restaurant called The Old Spanish Sugar Mill. Each table in the restaurant has a griddle on the table where you make your own (all you can eat) pancakes. The table also has honey, molasses, honey and pure maple syrup for the pancakes. We came into the park around 1PM and we told the restaurant has a waiting time until 4PM. We decided to put our name down and take a boat tour in the mean time.
We saw lots of wildlife! Some that I could remember included: American alligators, turtles, otters, great blue herons, American white ibis, egrets, limpkins, tricolor heron, hawks and vultures. We saw manatees playing in front of the springs. Manatees are cool! Scenery was beautiful too.
After the boat tour, we went to check on our waiting status. As it turned out, they were ready for us! The three men and myself ordered pancakes. I can speak for myself, I ate too many pancakes but it was good!
After this meal, I felt I wasn’t going to be able to eat until the next day. I was stuffed. We were invited to Eustis/Mount Dora for an authentic home cooked Peruvian lomo saltado dinner. It was delicious! Our hostess prepared this delicious meal for eight people (I was so caught up in the moment and conversation that I forgot to take pictures!). Needless to say, we had a wonderful day! Good friends and good food make for a good time any day!
Attached are pictures of our screen door.
It consists of three parts. The top part is meshed screen. The middle part is the glass slide out for access to the door knob/handle. The bottom part consists of a metal diamond shaped design on the inside and meshed screen on the outside. I guess this would be a great door if you have pets that like to lean against the door; they could lean all they want and the meshed screen would still remain intact.
We have been at Whispering Pines RV Park in Silver Springs, FL for about a month now. We will be here for the winter season. It is a quiet and friendly park. Juerg & Germaine Mueller bought this park in 2003 and they have done a great job in turning this RV Park around (we heard what it was like before). This park has few frills but it is clean, quiet and friendly. We like it.
We are reasonably close to our congregation, our family/friends and the city of Ocala. It’s good to be back to familiar places and friendly faces. As much as I like visiting new places and meeting new people, there is no feeling like being back “home”. Right now, home is Florida.
Jonathan replaced the existing convection/microwave oven a with new GE Profile 1,000 watt convection/microwave oven. . We have been using a semi working Sharp Carousel 850 watts convection/microwave oven for the past six months (the oven is almost ten years old!). When using the microwave, the turn table stopped turning. When using the convection oven, you need to turn your food around to get an even browning. There were some other minor irritants but its better days were behind it.
Our old oven and new oven side by side.
We were hoping we can use the existing mounts for the new oven but that wasn’t the case. Jonathan had to completely remove the existing bracket and wood backing. The existing bracket did not fit the new oven and the new bracket needed a bigger wood backing. So, more work for Jonathan! His to-do list is getting smaller but he’s not done yet.
Here he is working hard:
Our new oven again!
Here are some pictures of the finished product of our hard work. Whew!!! We are happy with the new floor.
Bare floor is colder on bare feet than carpet (we have carpet in the bedroom and under the sofa). That problem can be easily rectified with an area rug or wearing socks/slippers. We choose not to put a rug in the main area because we like the bare floor. We also like the visual continuity of the floor.
Yes! We finally completed the main area! We aren’t complete with the project as a whole as we still need to finish up with quarter round in some areas, put furniture back and finish up the steps. However, the challenging parts are done!
I may do another post or two regarding this project when we are “done” but our experiences thus far should (hopefully) provide some helpful insights to those contemplating any RV flooring remodeling project.
On Day 9 we did the following:
- completed laying down laminate
- added additional nails to the trim piece under the slide out steel plate
- sunk the nails down (and remove screws)
- made two trips to the hardware store
Here is a rough break down of our costs:
We made progress on Day 7 and Day 8! But we are not done. We lay most of the laminate and set up support for the main slide out area (more on this later). Here are some shots of our progress.
The slide out area is a touchy area. If you do it wrong, you are in deep doo doo. Each slide out works a little differently depending on the make/model of the unit. Sometimes you don’t know how the slide out works until you do it.
Our main slide out has five rollers and each roller rides on five steel plates that ramp up/down as the slide out comes in/goes out. The old carpet went under those steel plates. Since the laminate did not have the correct slope, we bought a general sloped wood trim that is about the same height as the laminate and put it under the steel plates. First, we had to pry the steel plates up so that the trim would go under it. Then we sawed off excess trim so that it is flushed against the edge of the carpet. We then glued and screwed the trim under the steel plates.
So, Day 7 and Day 8 we did the following:
- laid laminate in bathroom area
- laid laminate around the pedals and steering wheel
- laid down about 90% of the laminate
- made two trips to the hardware store
Here is to an uneventful day tomorrow! We don’t like drama!
Are we done yet? No. Are we quick? No. Are we efficient? No! Did you count how many trips we made to the hardware store each day?!?
Are we going to do a good job? We hope so! Will we be happy when this is done? YES!!
We are more than one third of the way with laying down the laminate. We are probably closer to half way done. We got the laminate under the galley counter. It took muscle and lots of cutting but it looks good! That makes me happy! I’ll take slow & done right over sloppy & quick any day!
On Day 6 we did the following:
- laid down over one third of the laminate
- made two trips to the hardware store
We will be visiting friends in Jacksonville tomorrow, so we will not be working on the floor at all. We will not be posting about the floor remodeling until it is completed. I look forward to that day!
It may take us another work day or two to complete this project.
We finished patching and sanding from the previous day.
When shopping for our floor, we were told it doesn’t matter what you end up buying but make sure you buy the best underlayment. So, we bought the best underlayment we found; FloorMuffler underlayment and moisture barrier. We measured and cut the underlayment for the front of the Star.
We laid the first and second row of laminate planks. The first plank alone took several cuts to get it under the step trim and around the seat belt holes. It was a lot of measuring and cutting. The first two rows took a lot of time. It is most likely going to be like this for the next few days; measure twice/thrice and cut once.
Our accomplishments on Day 5 are:
finished patching and sanding from previous day
laid first and second rows of laminate
made 2 trips to hardware store
We continued to remove all traces of laminate underneath the fixtures. The only thing left remaining on the plywood is the linoleum that is used under the sinks and drawers. Some of the old laminate was glued on top of this laminate under the fixtures. We cleaned and scraped off any and all traces of glue and put down the first layer of patching. We’ll most likely do a second layer tomorrow. The sections that need patching were underneath the old glued down laminate.
Also, before we took any action regarding our seat belt dilemma, we called Newmar Corp. The customer representative gave us the confidence to remove the bolts, he said the bolts were screwed in differently using lag bolts and indicated we shouldn’t have any problem. The bolts were not technically lag bolts (lag bolts have pointed ends) but hex bolts with some sort of threaded nut under the plywood. Newmar Corp came through again! Thank you Newmar, you guys rock! We have resolved our seat belt dilemma! Hurray! !
We did the following on Day 4:
- removed all traces of the old laminate (even under fixtures)
- patched some areas of plywood
- resolved our seat belt dilemma
- made one trip to the hardware store
The end of our prep work is in sight! We have about another day of prep work and then we can start laying down the new floor!