2017 – Project: Replacement Propane Alarm

20170323_134619.jpg About 5:00 AM today we woke up to our propane alarm going off. It seems that propane, carbon monoxide, and smoke detectors are all programmed to die or at least run out of battery somewhere between 2:00 and 5:00 AM – at least that’s been our experience!

Seriously, we change out the batteries on schedule and seldom have that happen. However, the propane detector is wired into the RV batteries so it is generally out of sight and out of mind. That’s my motivation for writing about this now: since the propane detector is wired in it doesn’t start chirping due to batteries dieing it’s easily taken for granted.

Here’s the thing – these vital safety devices have a limited lifespan. Depending on who you ask they are intended to last 3-7 years. Ours was about 10 years old and it still tested okay when we thought to check it or set it off accidentally when cleaning next to it. That is until around 5:00 this morning.

I got up, pulled the ground wire off of it so it would be quiet and closed the propane tank valves just to be safe. Today we headed out to the RV supply store and bought the replacement. They aren’t cheap by any means and if yours is nearing the end of life you might want to shop online and save some money.

In our case, it seemed wise to spend the extra money, support the local supplier, and get the replacement. Swapping the units out took all of 3 minutes. If you haven’t checked your safety devices in a while this might be a good day to do it…and don’t forget the easily forgotten hard-wired propane detection alarm.

2017 – Battleship Alabama – Mobile, AL

20170320_112140.jpg Spending a few months each year volunteering at Battleship Texas as we do, we couldn’t resist visiting the USS Alabama in Mobile, AL. What an amazing Battleship! We spent several hours looking around and enjoying this WWII ship.

In the main exhibit area you learn about the history of the ship. We especially enjoyed watching the free 15 minute video of the ship. The officer’s living spaces, main guns, anti-aircraft guns, ships bridge, flag plot room, and fire control tower are located on main deck and above. We climbed nearly as high as was open to tourists.

IMG_5205.JPG There was an amazing amount of fire power on this ship. We looked inside one of the 16″ turrets, and checked out several of the other guns. Below deck forward was Warrant officer’s living spaces, Marine Corps living spaces, post office, sick bay, engine room and radio room. Below deck aft is the crew’s living spaces, crew’s galley, bakery, brig, barbershop, and laundry.

We enjoyed our visit to the Alabama very much. On the same property is the submarine USS Drum as well as several WWII aircraft, tanks, etc. We were pretty tired from our exploration of the big ship and decided visiting these other exhibits would have to be done on a future visit!

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2017 – Naval Aviation Museum – Pensacola, FL

LogoLicious_20170314_180530.jpg This is our third visit to this great museum.  We blogged our last visit, which can be seen here.  We enjoyed this visit as much as we did before.  As we entered we were greeted by friendly personnel and volunteers ready to get us started on our tour. We joined a free tour and stated by learning about aircraft carriers with a scale model of the George H. W. Bush Nimitz Class carrier.  We then saw planes from early days of aviation including a Sopwith Camel similar to the one used on the Battleship Texas in the early days of aviation. It was interesting learning about that early flight from a different perspective.  I also, liked seeing the dioramas from the early days including pigeons in a coop awaiting their time to carry messages where needed. We then moved on to the World War Two planes. A model of the flight deck of the U.S.S. Cabot is set up so we could see what flight deck would look like. We also saw a model of the atomic bomb used in Japan to end the war.

There was a room set up to look like it was underwater and we could “see” what some of the planes still under Lake Michigan look  like as they were left there after the war.

LogoLicious_20170314_190613.png Our guide walked us over to another building called Hanger Bay One where we saw modern day aircraft including a Marine One Presidential Helicopter, and also airplanes used in Korea, Vietnam, and Dessert  Storm.  The Coast Guard Aviation Exhibit was interesting with an HH-52 Seaguard and photos of early coastguard aviators.

The most striking exhibit for me was the Blue Angels and the American Flag. For families with small children there is a play area where they can run free and not hurt themselves.

Again, this was our third visit to this great museum and there’s a good chance that we will return on future visits to this area.

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2017 – Clothes Line Drying Rack

20170313_170808.jpg I hesitate to write about this because there are so many posts on the internet describing varying versions of this, but here’s our new PVC clothes line drying rack. Our Spendide washer/dryer combo handles only small loads and drying time, being limited to 110 volts, is rather slow. We’ve gotten in the habit of washing the clothes and then hanging them out to dry. On a warm, sunny day they dry about as quickly hanging out as they would in the dryer.

IMG_0028.JPG The PVC is 3/4″ and the cost of the whole project including the glue was less than $9. I cut the PVC to size, used the elbows to form the box, drilled holes, and ran the nylon rope. The “base” which is against the ladder is held in place by a bungee cord. The same nylon rope is used for the “top” of the rack. I looped it up over the ladder and then down to tie it off at an easy to reach level. The whole thing can be put up or taken down in a minute or two. This is an easy project and it will work for people like us who are actually hanging laundry but also for those who just want to hang out swim suits to dry.

2017 – Shortstop: Davis Bayou Campground at Gulf Islands National Seashore

File Mar 01, 6 11 08 PM.jpg If you’re looking for a stop along the short Mississippi portion of I10 you might want to check out Davis Bayou Campground in the Gulf Islands National Seashore. It’s a 15 minute or so drive south of the interstate at Ocean Springs, MS. The sites in the campground are water/electric only with good roads and paved sites. We received a friendly welcome and, when we needed to change sites, the ranger helped us out, putting us in a more suitable site. You may want to know, though, or reason for moving: several of the sites on the parameter (but not all) on the main loop have a considerable slope front to rear. It was highly unlikely that we would have gotten the 5th wheel level in our original site, even with the landing gear as short as possible. I doubt that even a small motorhome in that site would have any chance of getting level front to back. Of course, small campers (popups, Casitas, etc.) would have done fine there. We were allowed to move to one of the two “emergency sites” that are kept vacant for use when necessary. The campground, itself, is clean and pretty and the park beyond the campground boasts a beautiful Welcome Center and lots of nicely developed hiking trails. We had some issues with biting gnats (no-see-ums) which are a bit of a nuisance. The price for this campground is excellent, especially with our senior America the Beautiful Pass: we paid just $11 a night. All in all, we think this is a good stop along I10 especially if you are good with water/electric only and can avoid the problem sites.

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