Sunday, July 22, 2007

Our First Outing - Guntersville Lake State Park - July 20 - 22, 2007

We just got back this afternoon from our first T@B outing. It was OUTSTANDING!!! The MOUSE-KE-T@B worked flawlessly. We had an excellent site, and excellent weather. We gave 10 tours of our T@B and some friends from home even popped in on Saturday night and we visited with them.

We did learn a couple of things that we need to do to the T@B yet. On the ClamShell with the Coby TV/DVD unit, there is no way to turn off the outside speakers. With the CoolCat on, we have to turn the TV up a bit, and then the outside speakers get a bit loud, so we're going to add a switch to the speakers so that we can control which pair is on or off. We also need an inside darkening cover for the Northern Breeze fan. We also learned that the toaster oven needs to be pulled away from it's "attached" spot when on. We anchored it to the kitchen wall for travel, but it needs to be released and moved away from the wall when it is in bake mode.

Our first night sleeping in the T@B was OK, but a bit restless. Different bed, getting used to the CoolCat noise and all that. The second night I tried switching ends where my head was at Rick's feet and we both slept much better the second night.

My tow vehicle (2002 Explorer Sport Trac) got a test with the tow over Monte Sano Mountain, then up a mountain and a windy two-lane road to the campsite, but also did great!!
We snagged a partial hookup (electric & water) site right next to the comfort station with a great view of the lake. Georgous sunsets!!!

The comfort stations are the best I've seen so far in a State Park. They have tile flooring and private showers with a locking door. Inside each shower is a separate dressing area. The showers had great water pressure and plenty of hot water. They are cleaned thoroughly each morning, and trash is emptied and they are swept each evening. Outside each shower house is a very nice grey water disposal station. Great for emptying out those dishpans, and emptying the grey water container.

Now on to the pictures!!

Here is our T@B following us along on the highway on the way to the Campground.

We arrived about 3pm on Friday. Here is the sign to the entrance. There is a great little camp store where you check in.

Here is the view from our campsite.

Rick decided to try some fishing right away.

Here is a unique home-built camper a short distance from where we were parked.

Some geese wandering around the campground.

Here is our T@B all set up with the comfort station in the background.

Here is the kitchen area with the screen room.

Our roll-up metal table from Sam's Club.

Our portable grill on the camp picnic table and our dish basins and cooler.

Collapsible garbage can.

Mickey Mouse String Lights

Carol posing with the camper

Rick posing with the camper

The sunset on Friday night.

We cooked pork chops on the grill and made baked potatos in the toaster oven. Yummy dinner!! We called it a night and went to bed listening to Old Time Radio on our XM.

The boats starting up early Saturday morning. Rick slept in.

Rick cooking breakfast. Yummy omelets!!

Rick out fishing on the pier

A beautiful sailboat on the lake.
Carol drowning a worm.

Carol caught a bigger piece of seaweed than Rick did!!
We went back to the camper, watched Mary Poppins on the DVD, took a nap, and then had steak and potatos for dinner.
Then we went out to the pier again and tried a little more fishing since there were fewer boats on the water, but didn't have much luck.

Another beautiful sunset over the water on Saturday night.

We got back to the camper and some neighbors of ours from home pulled in right behind us. We sat up with them, showed them our setup and grilled some hotdogs as a late night snack.
We got up at 6am and tried our hand with the fish again before the boats got back out, but still nothing.
There was a goose on the water.

A crane on the shore wall
We came back to the camper and had breakfast, then decided since it was still early, and we had discovered a laundry room at a comfort station in another section, we would go ahead and wash everything up there so we could use multiple washers. So I stripped the beds and sent Rick off to the laundry. I then cleaned up the camper, swept and wiped everything down. It really saved time at home, as all we had to do was take out the food, dry out the fridge, and vacuum the camper, and it was ready for storage. We also went ahead and removed the "T" Fireball graphic on both sides as just about everybody asked if we were Tennesee Titans fans. We don't have anything against the Titans, but our camper is not a testament to that particular football team.
All packed up ready for storage.

Ready to hook it up.
The check list all checked, left the campsite cleaner than we found it. Home we go.
Exiting the campground.
Well, my next update should be the stereo speaker switch install, then the next outing is the KOA in Cleveland, TN in late August. I'm going whitewater rafting with Scouts. I'll have to look around to see if there are any activities for Rick while I'm on the river. If there is nothing that interests him, I'll be solo for the next one.
(150 Miles RT)
Thanks for reading!!
Rick & Carol

Thursday, July 19, 2007

XM Radio and Cable Splitter Install

Today I finally got my XM radio hooked up to my T@B. Originally, I had purchased an XM Car Kit with an FM Modulator. Well, since I have the Coby TV unit, what I really needed was the home kit. So I went back on eBay, resold the Car Kit and Modulator, and purchased a home kit. The home kit arrived last night. While I had everything torn apart, I decided to also install a cable splitter/switch, so that if we ever do stay at a campsite with cable, it will be easy to hook in.

Here are the parts for the XM Home Kit.

The first thing I needed to do since the home kit runs on AC vs. 12 volt, I had to get power over to the closet area. So I drilled some holes in the cabinet and ran a heavy duty extension cord and some power strips.
Cord from the battery compartment into the under bench storage.
Cord coming out of the under bench storage with the cord plugs that I ordered.
Cord secured to the floor with Command Adhesive tie downs and plugged into a power strip into the outlet under the bed. The power strip is attached with heavy duty velcro.
The next thing I did was take down the top shelf in the closet to get to the wires.
Then I took out the screws holding the TV unit to the cabinet. I had to use a couple of pickle buckets to set it on as there is one wire that is hardwired to the unit.
I plugged the AV Cable that came with the XM Kit into the auxiliary ports in the back of the TV. I disconnected the existing cable from the TV and connected a 6 foot coax cable. I ran the 6 foot coax through the existing wire conduit into the cabinet. I pulled the original coax through the hole so it was in the cabinet.
I then ran a second 6 foot coax through the conduit and ran it along the top of the window shade. I then attached an extender to the coax so that we can attach a long flat coax and run it out the window to the campsite cable connection.
I then drilled two holes from the closet into the upper cabinet above the TV and ran the power cord and the other end of the AV cord into the upper cabinet.
I then drilled a hole in the bottom of the upper cabinet with a 3/8" spade bit, but actually welled it out a bit to make the hole slightly larger. The Antenna lead will come through this hole and connect to the back of the base. I wanted the hole a bit bigger as we will disconnect the antenna and place it in a drawer for travel.
Here is a test fit of the base and my Radio.
Here is the power strip that the radio will plug into in the closet. We can also charge our cell phones in there. Those are soap dishes that our cell phones fit in very nicely.
I replaced the top shelf of the closet and then secured the splitter/switch for cable with the screws provided.

Here is everything all hooked back up with the antenna going out the window.
Here is the antenna sitting on top of the T@B
I eventually hope to find/have made some type of plate that I can attach on the outside of the T@B using the hole where the AM/FM/TV antenna already comes out and attach an exterior cable connection, the AM/FM/TV antenna and the XM antenna.
I'm in no hurry for that, but I will find what I'm looking for eventually.
Thanks for looking!!
Rick & Carol
Coming next, loading up the T@B and taking her out for the first time!!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Battery Disconnect Install

Today I installed a battery disconnect switch for the MOUSE-KE-T@B.

The disconnect switch came from Wal-Mart. I drilled a hole from the battery compartment in the clam shell to the small storage area next to the port a potty with a 1" spade bit, then two smaller holes for the mounting screws. I used some screws and washers I had around the house to secure the switch to the wall.

Here is what it looks like near the battery. I slid the plastic protectors down so you could see the crimping I did. That is the wire to the negative post on the battery.

Here is the other side where the key goes

Here are the connectors I used. They are "Pulse FX Audio-Crimp Ring 8 GA. 3/8"

That is some hefty wire they use for the battery lead and ground. It is 6 gauge. Very stiff and hard to work with in the cramped space in the clamshell. The disconnect is a must for the clamshell as the battery is inside a vented box under the closet and very hard to get to.

Thanks for looking.

Rick & Carol

Next, XM radio cradle install.