First RV Mod

I belong to an RV owners group called LOA or Lance Owners of America.  Once of the points of pride in ownership for Lance owners is the modifications or “mods” they have done to their RV.  I’ve completed my first mod.  The trailer comes with a large closet in the back with a single shelf near the top.  We plan to use the closet as a pantry and storage area.  To that end I installed two more shelves in the closet.  I also added a couple of Command brand broom hangers.  There was one little “oops” but I was able to conceal it fairly well.  Cristy is pleased with the result so I’m not going to point it out! 🙂

Normally they would be mounted so that the lip would be pointing down so that you can hang clothes from them.  I mounted them with the lip facing up to keep items from falling off the shelves during transit.  Here are a few photos of this first mod.

I’ve got a pretty good sized list of mods I want to make to the trailer but some of them are pricey so they will have to happen over time.  Here is a list of the mods I want to make:

  • Front Window Cover – To protect the front window from road debris
  • Oxygenics Shower Head – To replace the factory shower head which has very low water flow.
  • Upgraded bed lift struts – The bed lifts up to reveal more storage.  The factory struts are not strong enough to hold the bed up when opened.
  • Bedside closet organizers – The closets on each side of the bed can actually hold more if shelving is used rather than the hanger rod that is in the closet by default.
  • Receiver Hitch – To be installed on the back of the trailer.  This will allow for the mounting of accessories such as a bike rack.

Here is a list of the mods I have already done.  I’ll have to get some pictures of these and write more about them in a future post.

  • TPMS System – Tire Pressure Monitoring System.  Allows me to monitor trailer tire pressure and temperature.
  • Bug screens – Screens over heater and refrigerator exhaust openings prevent insects from entering these openings when not in use.

That’s it for now.  We are really enjoying this little trailer.

The RV Journey Begins

After 4 years of research and one year of actual shopping we have finally purchased our first RV; a Lance 1995 Travel Trailer.  We picked the trailer up on Saturday from Meeks RV in Acampo, California.  They gave us a walk through and demonstrated how everything works which took about an hour and a half.  We signed the paperwork and pulled out onto the highway for the first time.

I had to do some work at my job at 2am so we booked a spot at an RV park about 10 minutes away from where I work.  I got everything set up just in time for the rain to start.  I started going through some of the inspection items that I wasn’t able to complete at the dealer.  There were only two things that I could pick on.  I’ll start a list for when I visit the dealer again to have them take care of the repairs.

The RV park itself was pretty nice.  I’ve driven past it for years but this is the first time I’ve been to it.  I was assigned a pull thru site which made set up really easy.  It was really quiet which made resting before my late night work easy.  They gave me a key to the gate for a $10 refundable deposit so I could get in the gate after my work was done.

I rolled back into the RV park after doing my work at about 3:30am.  I turned the heater on and listened to the storm raging outside my warm little camper.  I actually had to turn the heat down at one point because it was too warm.  I slept in and completed a few more inspection items before joining my wife and son for some lunch.

My wife then rode back with me to spend the night in our new RV.  We had a really enjoyable time in the quiet RV park.  It rained and stormed most of the time we were there but there were but we still really enjoyed ourselves.  If our first shakedown cruise of the RV was this good then we have many more adventures to look forward to.   We plan to use this time to learn the ropes of living in an RV.  We’ll spend as much time in it as we can over the next 7 years and make sure that full time RV living is something we really want.  We can’t wait!

Finally Back At New Jerusalem

Had a fantastic afternoon today.  The winds were calm and there was a high overcast layer meaning there would be no thermal activity today.  Temperature was about 60 degrees.  It was perfect flying weather.IMG_20190126_153750

My wife wanted to get out of the house so she tagged along.  She packed some water and some snacks and her book and she just chilled in the truck while I flew around.  At one point she came out and took some pictures of me while I was flying around.  I flew in circles around her a few times and then flew out to look for coyotes and jackrabbits.


“Cristy, you look like an ant from up here!”


Finally here is some video I shot during the flight.  Enjoy!


Flying At Oakdale Again

This past Saturday I towed my powered parachute out to Oakdale Municipal Airport for our EAA Chapter 90 meeting.  The plan was merely to give the trailer an extensive road test.  However, once I arrived at Oakdale the conditions were perfect for a PPC flight.  As I had not flown for over 3 months I jumped at the chance to give it a go.

After warming up I taxied down to the blastway on the runway 10 end of the field.  This would be the extreme west end.  I laid out my chute and strapped in.  Moments later as I advanced the throttle and lurched forward I noticed that a small crowd had gathered to watch me fly.   I’ve flown out of that field probably more times in 26 years than most of the other club members.  Now that I fly out of New Jerusalem so much it’s kind of a rare event to see me flying there.  There were plenty of cameras to gather documentary evidence.  My friend Les Homan was kind enough to supply the following pictures and video.


First the takeoff…


And the landing…


It felt very good to fly the pattern at Oakdale again.  As well as catch up with old friends.

Speaking of Trailers

So recently I sold the cargo trailer that I used to haul my powered parachute around.  It was nice in that it had lots of storage and was convenient to sleep in when I went to fly-ins but it was a bear to tow.   Because of its high profile it was very susceptible to wind and the faster I drove, the worse my gas mileage got due to the wind resistence of the trailer.

To remedy this I purchased and built up a Harbor Freight trailer.  I built it pretty much standard as it comes out of the box.  I put a 3/4 inch plywood deck on the top of it and then got it registered and licensed.  As a side note there was a problem registering Harbor Freight trailers for a short while but that issue has been straightened out.  Registration was pretty easy though a little time consuming.  The process is basically:

  1. Complete an Application for Title of Registration (Form REG 343).  This is available for download from the California DMV website.
  2. Bring the form along with the trailer’s title California DMV office.  Harbor Freight will give you a title when they sell the trailer kit to you.
  3. Bring documentation of sale price of the trailer (the receipt from Harbor Freight)

I suggest making a reservation at the DMV office rather than just showing up.  You’ll still have to wait but it won’t be as long a wait. Once it was my turn, they checked out the trailer (mostly just making sure the VIN number matched what was on the paperwork) and then handed me the license plates before I even left the office.  The official registration was mailed to me later.


Since the trailer is too narrow for the wheelbase of the PPC, I added some outriggers on the rear of the trailer and cut a section from a loading ramp and bolted it across the outriggers.  This became the platform for the rear wheels.  I mounted it upside down to keep the wheels from sliding off the edges.  I also placed a heavy duty floor mat on this platform to keep the metal from cutting into the PPC’s tires.  The remainder of the cut up loading ramps were used as… you guessed it… loading ramps.  They will be finished off with ATV straps (not shown in these photos) that will hold the tires down on the platforms.

My PPC isn’t all that heavy but pulling it up the ramps has to be done slowly and carefully so that the wheels don’t fall off the sides of the ramps.  To make that a more precise operation I mounted a winch in the front of the trailer.  It is remotely operated so I can stand in front of the PPC and guide it carefully onto the trailer while the winch does the pulling.  I also added a battery to operate the winch rather than run it off my truck power.  I’ll just put the battery on a charger every month or so and it should be fine.


Now I just have to wait for the weather to clear up so I can give the trailer a test and drive it out to New Jerusalem and do some flying!

Here’s a bonus video of me describing the trailer.

New Year, New News

Nothing big or earth shattering has happened since I  last updated this blog.  Thanksgiving and Christmas came and went rapidly.  We spent both here at home with our kids.   Our extended family is becoming dispersed and it’s no longer possible for us all to spend time together at the holidays.  I go to work.  I come home.  I plan for the future.  I watch the nervous-nellies in the stock market wreak havoc with my 401K.

The one bit of interesting news we have is that we have just ordered our Lance travel trailer.  It’s scheduled to be built and arrive in 4 to 6 weeks.  It’s going to be a bit of a financial strain until we get both cars paid off but we’ll swing it.  We bought a Lance model 1995.

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The hunt for the right travel trailer has now turn into the hunt for insurance, storage, accessories, etc.  It should keep me off the streets and out of trouble for the foreseeable future.  It’s a new chapter of life that Cristy and I can’t wait to start enjoying.  We’re going to take some small camping trips locally to learn the ropes or RV’ing.  But later this year we’re going to take a road trip to Missouri to visit my mother’s grave.  That will be the true test.


We’ve had a little bit of life happen since my camping trip.  Nothing major.  We travelled to Austin, TX so my wife could attend a medical seminar.  I just went for some R&R.  I spent the long weekend strolling about the grounds of the resort we stayed at, and reading pulp detective novels from the ’60s.  Good stuff.  Like  fried Twinkies for the brain.

We spent one afternoon in downtown Austin strolling South Congress Ave.  We sampled some of the restaurants there but everything was full on an early Sunday afternoon.  We ended up eating at a chain taco place called Torchie’s.  Pretty good tacos.  We had dinner at True Food Kitchen to satisfy Cristy’s gluten free needs.

I’m still trying to sell my trailer and buy something smaller and cheaper.  There’s lots of “interest” out there but not a whole lot of people willing to actually spend money.  Other than the folks that are offering less than half of what I’m asking.  Don’t even bother to return their calls.  One guy was going to buy it but then he kept changing the terms of when and where we’d meet.  Then demanded to come to my house when I wasn’t even home and just pay my wife.  Not happening.  He told me if I wasn’t willing to do that then I could just forget about him buy my trailer.

And after this paragraph… forgotten.

We are looking to buy our Lance 1995 trailer in the spring.  Probably the worst time to buy a trailer because that’s when everyone is buying trailers.  But I have to wait for a tax refund to come in before I can buy it.  That will allow me to pay off my truck and then start with the trailer payments. 🙂