Sunday, July 16, 2017


Places we want to visit!
  • Elgin State Park (near Chicago Illinois)
  • Orange Beach (Alabama)
  • Gulf Shores (Alabama)
  • Alabama Ghost Towns
Places we have visited (and want to visit again)!
  • Brown County State Park (near Nashville Indiana)
  • Story Inn (Story Indiana)

Black Valve Handle Fiasco

Honey, I broke the van!

While travelling up to Iowa to visit with other Travato's and join the Winnebago "B" Factory tour, I dumped our tanks along the way.  But I had a surprising thing happen to me -- the black handle pulled out a little farther than it normally does.  Actually a lot further.  I was able to stuff it back in the hole after it finished dumping and it pushed closed, but it then didn't open up again.  Oops.

Bago parts to the rescue!

On our way out of Forest City, we stopped off at the facility near 9 and picked up a replacement valve.  I realized while travelling back south that it should just bolt in, making it unnecessary to break the glued piping joints and reconnect.  But, there was of course the problem of the stuff in the tank.

Macerator Must-have

One of the other Travatoans that I hung out with in Iowa pointed out how easy it was for him to use a macerator pump to dump at home - through a hose into the toilet.  So I grabbed one at Camping World, so I could go ahead and empty the tank and affect the repair, while parked in a convenient driveway with a hardware store down the street.

Opening the valve

Of course the big problem was how to open the valve on the existing one prior to unbolting it to reduce the messiness of this operation.  I came across a solution in the form of a 1/4-20 x 5 inch long threaded bolt of the same diameter as the metal rod actuator, and was able to screw it into the worn plastic hole and pull the valve.

Dumps away

The macerator worked well to deal with the contents of the tank, which were transferred safely to septic system in the back yard.  I then was able to complete the repair with only a minor smelly mess, which was of course caught completely on video.

Video evidence

Warning: This installation video includes leakage of contaminated water.  Viewer discretion advised.
Note: I own the driveway I'm doing this on, so it's really not a serious problem.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Under Bed Hanging Storage

A place to put your pretty dresses

Crystal's dresses don't fit in the hanging cabinet right of the fridge (not tall enough) so we came up with a way to store them under the bed.

Items used:


Overhead storage screws damage prevention

Get protection from screws!

The overhead (over cab) storage has some screws sticking slightly up from the metal support bar.  There are plastic nuts holding the storage tray down, but if the screws stick up through the plastic bolts the threads can catch on things as you try to remove them from storage and cause tears.

Simple fix is to put a couple of washers under the nut to space it up and cover enough of the screw.

Pantry Shelves

Crystal needs a pantry!

The hanging storage closet to the right of the fridge has two problems for us:

  1. It's too short.  Crystal's dresses won't fit.
  2. It's too small.  Not all of her dresses will fit.
  3. It's in the kitchen.  Who wants to store clothes in the kitchen?
Okay, so that's three things.  But it could make a great pantry, with the addition of some shelves.  So I got to work and purchased "standards" which are the vertical slotted thingys that you put clips in to hold up shelves.  Cut two in half, set them to rest on the bottom of the storage, and cut some shelves to fit.  I added a trim piece on the front to dress them up and make a slight lip to keep things from wanting to fall out.  Here's the video:

My wife is very happy with the result!

LED Light in Bathroom

Let there be bright light!

I wanted to be able to see what I was doing in the bathroom, which I consider to be an important consideration.  A single incandescent bulb just wasn't cutting it.  So I grabbed an automotive tail light replacement LED bulb (type 1156) and swapped it in for the original.

The result was a significant improvement that I'm very happy with.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find the exact part I used on Walmart's website (this is not the first time this has happened, so apparently Walmart the store and Walmart the online sales are not operating from the same stock).  However, anything 1156 compatible will work.  This will be a metal base with two side bumps at the same depth (for locking it in place) and a single connection on the tip of the base.  The one I purchased has 19 square led elements and was sold in a 2 pack with a button for testing it in the store (handy for estimating the brightness).

Convection Microwave

Crystal wants Convection!

My wife is a good cook, and wants the flexibility of being able to do baked dishes while we travel.  And I'm interested by the grill option that is also on this smallest of RV ready combo microwave and convection oven. Dometic DCMC11B.F

But will if fit?

Not really.  The space vacated by the original microwave is large enough for the microwave itself to fit, but not the frame kit or the extra air gap around it that is required.  But that didn't stop me from trying anyway.

Install Video


I don't actually recommend anybody try to do this.  You'd have to be really desperate to have convection mode, and willing to ignore manufacturer specs and deal with the consequences of that choice.  But now I get cookies on the road!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Dinette Table Improvements

Loose tables sink bagos

The Dinette table was very wiggly and gets in the way both trying to use the bench, and also get in/out of the front cab.  I was able to eliminate nearly all of the wiggle by tightening some screws, and also moved the hooks inwards to allow it to slide further in each direction.

The result is that I can get into the bench more easily, into the front cab easier, and the table doesn't wiggle around as much.

Replacing the Bed Strap

Belt Buckle Bed Betterment

The original strap holding up the bed failed.  I expected the plastic catch to be the first to go, but it actually just pulled out of the wall.

This is the new "seat belt" that I used: 

Replacing the toilet seal

As many have experienced, or rather smelled, the toilet seal on the Thetford toilet can sometimes not work as well as it should, and leak fl...