Here’s our week in review.
Monday, Â April 7th
We’re still in Texas. Today, we traveled from Santo, TX, site of the 2014 Spring North Texas Heartland Owners Rally, to Durant, OK, site of the 2014 Spring Oklahoma Heartland Owners Rally. Pretty uneventful trip. We took about 5 hours to travel about 200 miles, stopping for lunch and a couple of breaks.
Tuesday, Â April 8th
First day of our Pre-Rally time here in Durant, OK. We’re staying at a beautiful campground at the Choctaw Casino. The campground is KOA branded. I believe the casino owns the campground and it’s managed by KOA. Regardless, this is a real nice place. Long concrete pull-throughs, covered picnic tables and grills. And the club house and bathrooms are amazing. The campground is a short walk to the casino.
After we got all setup, we went out for dinner with Terry and Carol H. We went to downtown Durant to Roma Italian Restaurant. Pretty good Italian food. Even better were their cannolis 🙂 Wow, one of the best I’ve ever had.
Wednesday, Â April 9th
Today was ‘smoke some ribs” day. Dan H and I made plans a while back to each smoke some spareribs when we got to Durant. And while I minded the smoker for about 5 hours, I decided to do a few RV repairs and mods. Here’s what I tackled:
- Replaced screws that fell out of the ceiling fan blade brackets at the motor. Used Loctite Threadlocker Red 271 on all screws
- Installed license plate onto bracket using nylon bolts/nuts. I had it tie-wrapped to the RV ladder for the last 7+ months
- Replaced 2 broken plastic RV ladder rung end-caps, then walked around the campground to find anyone else with broken caps and gave a few out
- Mounted First Alert Smoke/CO Detector in storage bay. This unit sounds locally and is connected to my Smartthings hub so I’ll get push notifications too
- Lubricated the hinge areas of the entry steps so they open and close easier
- Added Vent Screening to each of our 4 furnace floor vents. This helps keep debris from falling down the vent hose. With a vacuum with enough suction, we can clean the screens without removing the vents
- Repaired an expensive plastic box Nancy uses to store Mary Kay samples. I used 4 nylon hobby hinges.
And here’s some pictures of ribfest:
Thursday, Â April 10th
This morning was the start of what I thought would be a “Man Day”. A Man Day is where myself and another man or more go to Man Stores and see Man Stuff and such 🙂 Dan M, Terry H and myself comprised the men today. My plan was to go to Fry’s Electronics and Sam’s Club in nearby Denison and Sherman, TX. On the way, we found a West Marine. Had to stop there 🙂
Well, we got foiled on Fry’s. Must have at one time, been a small mom and pop shop. But for sure, never a real Fry’s Electronic chain store. So we made it over to Sam’s Club and headed home. We still had fun 🙂
For dinner tonight, Nancy and I went out with Terry and Carol H to Roadhouse Bar and Grill. Nancy and I shared two dinners – small ribeye steak and colossal fried shrimp. Both meals were great. We split a slice of carrot cake – some of the best I’ve ever had 🙂
Friday, Â April 11th
Most of this morning and a bit this afternoon was spent helping another Heartlander out with a couple issues on their coach. Jay and Stella C had a water leak on their Landmark and Jay thought it might be the ice maker line. Myself, Dan H, Dan M and Paul L tore into it. While the ice maker line was rather nasty looking (green inside), it turns out that water was dripping from the top connection (hot output) to the water heater. The drip was either from the plastic check valve or the water connector.
Assuming the worst, we pulled the water heater out. What a little chore that was. Much of the trouble was the flare fitting on the gas line we disconnected. It was getting hung up on the foam insulation of the water heater and we were fighting it, not really knowing what the real hangup was. But we got it out!
We tried to back out the plastic check valve but it snapped off – as we figured it would. Dan H chipped away at the plastic but in the end, he resorted to using a 1/2″ pipe thread tap to chase the threads. He spent 90 minutes going all over town (Durant, OK) looking for the tap before finally finding it. Using it, Dan got the threads cleaned out and got the new check valve installed. While the two Dans, Paul L and others were working on that, I tackled replacing the ice maker line. Jay got a heavy duty residential line with pre-installed fittings. This required a new larger hole be placed in the slide room floor behind the refer. Dan M helped me on this and we got’r done.
Jay was flitting all over the RV helping in anyway he could, fetching tools and supplies. At one time, I think we had a lot of supervisors looking over our shoulders 🙂 It’s all good though – we’re all great friends. Jay and Stella got free coach repairs and several of us learned a lot by helping. I think 3 of us left a little blood here and there too 🙂
Late this afternoon, I cleaned the smoker and grill as they were both in need of it. When I don’t plan to use these items really soon again, I don’t like storing them with grease and food drippings in them. I also rearranged the storage bay to better store these items. I also relocated where I store my large plastic folding table for easier access.
This evening, we had our rally potluck dinner in the rally hall. After dinner, we had a guest speaker – Colonel James Wilhite (RET). Col. Wilhite is out promoting a book about his experience in Afghanistan. His time with us was very insightful. Here’s some info from his website (link): We Answered the Call tells an untold story of success and hope from Operation Enduring Freedom. Wilhite recounts his amazing story, from the shock of an unexpected deployment to the tribulations of life in a war zone. Despite the chaos, Wilhite and his dedicated team of Afghan, American, and NATO colleagues used their diversity, their savy, and their drive to overcome all obstacles and build a symbol of hope for the people of Afghanistan.
Saturday, Â April 12th
We attended the rally breakfast at the rally hall. After breakfast, Bob C took a group picture, then Larry and Donna K gave out a lot of door prizes. We won a double camping chair.
Right after lunch, I had a 2014 Central Regional Rally planning meeting with Jay/Stella C, Dan/Karen H and David L by phone. Great meeting. This rally is really shaping up.
Late this afternoon, rally attendees caravanned to Kingsport, OK to BH Catch for their seafood buffet. Pretty good stuff. We sat between John/Becci Z and Larry/Donna K. During dinner. Becci and Donna became my latest Facebook friends.
Sunday, April 13th
Nancy and I took the shuttle over to the casino late this morning and had brunch at one of the restaurants there. Pretty good. Nancy had a little luck on her favorite Gold Bars slot machine. Enough so that it paid for our morning 🙂
We both worked indoors today – Nancy on PDUs for her PMP recertification and me on expense reports. Dan M called us to see if we wanted to join a growing list of rally holdovers heading into town for dinner at Roma’s Italian Restaurant. We’re in!
Late in the afternoon, I popped across the highway and fueled up the truck for travel Monday. Then around 5pm, we headed to downtown Durant for dinner. I believe there were 23 or more of us there. We had a nice time visiting with our Heartland friends one last time before most of us head out on Monday.
During dinner, many of us were tracking a storm heading our way. We were already under a severe thunderstorm watch and tornado watch. By the time we arrived back at the RV, it was looking pretty bad out. A check of the detailed forecast showed we had about a half hour until rain and the severe thunderstorm watch had changed to a warning. I went ahead and drained and flushed our tanks and put everything away outside. When the rain and winds began, we brought the satellite dish down, brought in the slides and watched some TV that we had recorded earlier. About a half hour later, the storm had passed and up went the dish and out went the slides. Take a look at the radar image below. That small gap in the long storm line went right through Durant, sparing us from any damaging winds and hail.
Late addition to this blog post is a rally group picture taken by Bob C