Casita Repairs — & Epic Fail!

Several months ago we had taken the Casita to a local tire shop to have them check the bearings.  They apparently forced too much grease in and blew out the seals on the back.  We ended up with grease squirts in our wheel well, and our brake controller started showing wildly random, nonsensical readings.

Ron took the truck in for service and had them check it to make sure that wasn’t the problem.  They told him the truck’s brakes were fine.

Long story short… we’re having a guy look at the electric brakes on the trailer Wednesday, and are pretty sure they’ll have to be replaced.  And that’s something we need to have done before our next trip.

Secondly, we have to park the Casita under trees, so we have a problem with mildew growing on the roof.  Before our last trip, Ron was scrubbing the roof and decided that a foam mildew remover would make the job easier.  What we didn’t count on was the foam running down the sides of the trailer and leaving chalky streaks in the Poliglow.  It did.  It totally ruined the finish.

So I got the old Poliglow stripped off the top half of the trailer before it turned cold.  But the weather hasn’t been warm enough to reapply it until now.  Now that it is warm enough, we are also getting rain.  And I can’t apply the new coats of Poliglow when there is a chance of rain.

So we will probably head to Texas with a matte finish trailer instead of a shiny white egg unless we get a break in the weather really soon.

My cayenne infused oil made a gorgeous pinkish red salve.  Unfortunately, it doesn't work!  :)

My cayenne infused oil made a gorgeous pinkish red salve. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work! 🙂

The epic fail story?

I’ve rarely used shea butter before.  When I did, it was always way down the list of ingredients in a lotion.  Since I had read that shea butter was superb for eczema treatment, I ordered a pound of it for my homemade creams and lotions.

Last night I made two big batches of shea butter cream and lotion — then slathered myself with that wonderfully rich, creamy goodness before going to bed.

Rich, silky, deeply moisturizing cream -- that I'm violently allergic to!

Rich, silky, deeply moisturizing cream — that I’m violently allergic to!

I woke up itching — bigtime!  I had a weepy red rash all over my body!  It never occured to me that I might be allergic to shea butter, but I am.  Violently allergic to it!

So tonight I’ll scrape my creations out of the jars so I can reuse them.  Then I’ll make another batch.  This time it will be unscented, and with no shea butter!

Camping This Week

We’re skipping the mountains this time.  I’m a worry-wort, and I’m concerned that so much rain may have weakened some of the roads.  Probably totally unfounded, but it’s a real concern to me.  Also, I’m concerned that going a week without hookups in cloudy weather might mean the solar panel couldn’t keep our battery charged.

Last week I checked the weather in northern Mississippi and it looked great, so we were going to head there to escape the rain.  On checking it now, they are predicted to get as much as we are.

So we’ve decided to head to the Doll Mountain campground at Carter’s Lake in north Georgia.  At least our Georgia fishing licenses are good there.

If I can get everything done, we’ll leave Wednesday.  I not, it will have to be Thursday.  I don’t have a long enough lead time to make reservations through Reserve America, but it looks like there will be enough walk-in sites available.

Today I thought I’d give the Casita a quick wash.  But I found black mold (mildew?) embedded in the roof.  So by the time I scrubbed all that off with bleach, dish soap and a nylon scrubbie cloth, I realized I’d also removed most of the Poliglow.  The roof still shines, but it doesn’t bead water anymore.  So redoing the roof’s Poliglow is another project on my list.

The rest of the trailer was as easy as I had expected it all to be.

Except that I discovered road tar on the bottom front of the trailer and in the wheel wells.  I didn’t have the energy to tackle it, so I’ll worry about that later.

When I was putting up the shelves in the bathroom the other day, I decided to open the bathroom window for ventilation.  It’s always been hard to open.  This time, it was really hard, so I gave it a mighty pull — and the metal top, along with its rubber seal, came off in my hand, leaving a bare glass edge in the window.

I wasn’t sure what to put it back on with.  It looked like there had originally been some kind of sticky glue on the front edge of the rubber.  I was afraid to use anything too permanent in case I messed up and would have to redo it.  So I put some silicone sealer on the inside of the rubber and put it back on the glass.  I let it set overnight, then put a little more of the sealer in the metal track of the piece that came off, then firmly pressed it on.  It looks okay, but I haven’t tried to open the window again.

I did decide that if I put some silicone lubricant in the window track it would make it easier to open and close in the future.

When I finish packing the Casita tomorrow, I’ll use the lubricant in the other window tracks, too, as they are all hard to open.

Sorry, no pictures today.  I was too pooped to worry about the camera.  🙂

Poliglow Touchup & Plumbing Mods

Not bad for a 2005 Casita!

It took me most of the week to scrub the Casita and put a couple of coats of Poliglow on it.  I sure don’t work as fast as I used to!  But it feels so good to have it done.  My reason for doing it this week was that it was the last stretch of days in the 70’s that we are likely to see for a while.

A lot of people like to use floor polish like Red Max Pro to restore the shine on their fiberglass trailers.  But since I live in the Deep South and the sun exposure down here is brutal, I’d rather pay more for the Poliglow with its UV protectors.   Since Poliglow is made for fiberglass boats that are out in the sun all the time, I just feel safer using it on my sweet little Casita that I waited so long to get.  🙂

The new toilet water supply cutoff kit from Little House Customs

I had bought the toilet water supply cutoff kit a while back, but hadn’t gotten around to installing it.  So today, with great trepidation, I cut my water line and prayed for the best.

It was amazingly simple!  And, to my surprise, it doesn’t leak!

My reasons for installing it were two-fold.  First, when we flush, we have a very small fresh water leak — from the toilet valve, I’m guessing.  I’ve read that those valves can fail and flood your bathroom with an unstoppable deluge unless you have installed the cutoff valve.

My second reason was so that when we are camping and worry about filling our black tank before our stay ends, I can turn off the water supply and flush with a spray bottle.  I just have to remember to do a very good job of rinsing out the black tank when we finally get to a dump station.

I also bought a hot water bypass kit and a winterizing kit that I plan to install next week.

And I plan to do a storage mod that I saw at the Cherokee rally.

Jean (borderbrae) had removed the slanted raceway board under her rear dinette, replaced it with a straight shelf with a lip to keep things from sliding off.  She also used a tension rod above it to hold larger items in place.  Since she removed her rear dinette, she also added another shelf at bench seat level.

I won’t do the upper shelf since I have twin beds at both dinettes.  But I do want to do two smaller shelves where I can store things I need to carry but don’t need frequent access to.

I was really surprised at how much storage space the slanted raceway boards waste.  They protrude way beyond the wires and water lines they cover.

I’ll post pictures of these mods when I get them finished.

Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park

Foot bridge at FDR State Park

On the way up on 27 south of Columbus, a big, shiny red motorcycle pulled up and yelled something and pointed at the trailer.  Afraid something was wrong, we rolled down the window.

Stream flowing into and through an old hollowed out stump

“Did you wax that trailer?” He called.

“Yes,” Ron replied.

The biker gave us a thumbs up and a huge smile, then sped off.

It makes me feel so good when people comment on the Poliglow.  My favorite so far was when the guy at Cotton Hill asked me if my 2005 Casita was a new trailer!

The Casita at FDR State Park

We are only two hours from home tonight.  When I bought a Friends of Georgia State Parks membership, I got a coupon for one free night’s camping.  So we decided to enjoy our freebie at FDR instead of going home.

I love this park.  It’s an old park.  We don’t see many big rigs here.  It just has water and electric — no sewer.  And some of the sites would be difficult for a big rig to get into.  So it’s mostly moderate sized

Tent campers

RVs, along with a few popups, a hybrid or two, and tents.  Maybe it’s just my perception, but this group seems to be friendlier campers than the big rig crowd.

There are a tremendous amount of things to do and see in this area.  There’s Calloway Gardens, FDR’s Little White House, Warm Springs, the Pine Mountain tourist area, and 24 miles of hiking trails.  The brochure says that some of the trails have panoramic views from Pine Mountain along with several small waterfalls.

Sunny looks like we feel this evening!

The last time Ron and I hiked here, we got lost and had a LONG road walk back.

This trip, we have both come down with a stomach bug, so don’t have energy to do anything but relax and just enjoy being here in these peaceful, rustic surroundings.

Getting Ready for a Trip Home

Our electrician installed my new Progressive Dynamics 4645 converter with 4 stage smart charger this week.  So I can leave the trailer plugged in without boiling my battery dry now.

It’s too late for the existing battery.  It was reading 10 amps the other day.  So I plan to get a new Deka Group 27 battery this week.  I wanted an AGM battery, but the RV place said they don’t carry AGMs for RVs because it needs a specific kind of charger.

I guess that’s true technically, but I had very good luck using two 6 volt AGMs in the Aliner with a PD 3 stage charger.  I have to get the battery this week for our trip next week.  If anyone reading this has a better suggestion, I’d love to hear it.  We are in a rural area and there aren’t too many battery dealers nearby, so I’m not sure where to look for true deep cycle batteries.  Most people only know about dual purpose marine batteries.  Sure don’t want to pay for shipping on one!

I caulked around the refrigerator vent, outside lights and kitchen vent.  Not a perfect looking job, but I did it with Proflex, and the seals are nice and tight.

In the process of cleaning before and after the caulking, I damaged my PoliGlow finish, so will have to strip and redo a few areas.

I am not fond of going to Florida when it’s hot (and it’s already in the 90’s at Mom’s place), but that’s how it worked out this spring.  We plan to leave on May 6, spend three days with my sister Ann, then move to Mom’s for Mother’s Day and stay there a few days.  Then we want to head somewhere in Central Florida that’s central to Ocala, Orlando and Clermont so it will be easy for friends and family down there to visit us if they want to drop in.

I was thinking Lake Louisa State Park in Clermont would be ideally situated.  But there’s no shade there, so I’ll look for some place a little cooler.  We might end up staying at Salt Springs again as they have full hookups, the icy spring to swim in, and a beautiful campground for $18 a night with our senior pass.

I’m working on trying to regulate the temperature in my refrigerator.  It usually gets up to 65 when days are in the mid to high 90’s.  It looks like it is only cooling 30 degrees below ambient temperature.

I need to take it in and have the refrigerator properly serviced, but the budget is REALLY tight lately, so I am going to try to make it through this trip without it.

I’ll probably take it in to the shop before we head to Mississippi in June.

I love our little Casita so much.  I would so desperately love to fulltime, but it’s not in the cards.  So I escape out there and just soak in the peace and beauty of my own private little retreat at least once a day.

It’s the most perfect little camper in the world!  🙂

Poliglow is Finished — and Dog Digging Foil

The trailer is so shiny that you can't really tell where the grass reflection ends and the trailer begins!

I got the PoliGlow right on the bottom of the trailer.  No bubbles, just tough. clear shine!  The reason it worked better on the bottom than on the top is that I did away with the applicator that came with the PoliGlow.  Instead I used a synthetic chamois.  It held the perfect amount of water and I  could maneuver it exactly where I wanted it.

What a difference in ease of use and quality of application.  I was so pleased that I may strip the the top next fall and redo it like I did the bottom!

No dig dog pen!

Sheba has become a digger extraordinaire when I put her outside in her playpen.  I had almost given up on my plan to take the playpen to help contain the dogs when we are camping.  It would be a pain to have to keep them on leash with us all the time.  But today I had a brainstorm.  I found some hardware cloth in the shed.  I put it down, then anchored the pen over it.  It works!

They were outside with me the whole time I was working on the trailer today, safely contained and able to enjoy the goings on!

That roll of hardware cloth will ride in the truck along with the pen whenever we go camping now.  What a lifesaver!

The streaks are gone!

I went out this morning to see how the PoliGlow looks this morning.  The streaks are GONE!

There are still some imperfections, but I can live with them until I decide to redo it.

I’m expecting the bottom half of the trailer to go a lot more smoothly since I have learned the things NOT to do!  🙂

Poliglow

The top half of the Casita is poliglowed

Yesterday and today I got the top half of the Casita stripped and treated with PoliGlow.

I made mistakes.  When I sprayed the applicator with PoliGlow, wind drift deposited bumps of it back onto the trailer.  And I have some bubbles from pushing on the applicator too hard.  And there are some streaks I can’t get rid of.

But at least I know that the fiberglass won’t continue to oxidize and get dull.

I’ll work on the bottom half next week.  It is not severely oxidized — is only beginning to show a little.  And maybe I’ll do a neater job on the bottom half!

Sheba is a digger.  She dug out of her playpen and Sunny followed right behind her through the hole.  I filled in the hole and put both dogs  back into the pen with orders not to dig.  Didn’t work.  🙂   So I’m not sure how I’ll reconcile this with camping next month.

She is makng very little progress with potty training.  Basically if I take her out when I think she needs to go, she cooperates.  But when I figure she will be okay in the house for a half hour or so, she never fails to do something on the floor even if she did both jobs outside 30 minutes earlier.

I’m tired this evening.  Too much climbing up and down ladders and trying to fix streaks and bubbles.  Maybe I should have just waxed the Casita really well!  🙂

 

 

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