Preparing for Summer

Since we won’t be spending the summer in Canada, we’ve been looking at how to keep the RV cool when the temperatures start hitting 100°. Last Summer we were in Dallas when the temperatures went over 110° and the temperatures inside the RV got over 90°.

The steps we took to try to keep cool this were:

  1. Get as much shade as possible
  2. Install fans
  3. Optimize the A/C flow to the areas needed

Getting As Much Shade As Possible

So we started out by finding an RV site that had at least some shade. We searched around the RV parks in Liberty Hill, and was blessed to find one fairly close at Rio Bonito II. It isn’t full shade, but has a lot of afternoon shade.

The next step was to install our ShadeRV roof shade. We had purchased this while we were in Dallas. To be honest, I’m not sure how much good this does. It definitely keeps most of the roof out of the sun.

Installing it isn’t very tough. It just rolls out from one end to the other.

Installing Fans

The next step was to install fans in the living room and office.

Optimize A/C Flow

The final, and perhaps most important step was to make sure that the air conditioning was functioning efficiently and delivering the air to where we need it.

Our RV has 3 air conditioners, one each in the

  • Bedroom
  • Living Room
  • Office (garage)

The air conditioning ducts on most big RVs is configured in a big loop, referred to as a “race track”. Each A/C unit outputs its air into the same loop. So the trick we discovered to getting the most cooling where we want it is to

  • Close off any vents in areas that we don’t want or need cooling
  • Set the thermostats so that all 3 A/Cs run when needed.

The living room is the largest room in our RV, and it’s also where we spend most of our time. It also has been the warmest room, and is difficult to keep cool in high temperatures.

The bedroom is the smallest room, and is usually too cold when the A/Cs are running. So we modified the vents in the bedroom to allow reducing or blocking the airflow to the bedroom. This involved the simple application of some white duct tape.

When the airflow is blocked from the bedroom vents, the A/C’s output gets routed to the next vents down the line which is the living room, right where we want it.

So today got up to 98°, and the RV remained quite cool. I guess we’ll see how it does when the temps go over 100°, but I’m feeling pretty optimistic.

We’re Retired!

We had been planning to hold off retiring until my birthday next year, but changes in circumstances have prompted us to go ahead and retire this year. So as of February 23, 2024 Ron is officially retired.

Ron’s teammates at HEB held a retirement celebration for him a couple days before then, and Shelley was able to attend also. Even better, Ron’s boss Pat surprised him with an HEB Swoon award. His coworkers had a lot of nice things to say about him. It was really nice, and a great send off.

Ron’s retirement celebration and award presentation

So What’s Up Now?

First Ron is going to need to wrap his head around the fact the he doesn’t have to work anymore. He’s started working on establishing healthy routines: daily walking, exercise, Spanish lessons, and practicing piano. He’s also enjoying getting around to doing some RV projects that he never seemed to have time to do before.


It feels weird, but we have decided that we’re tired of hauling the RV all over the country. We’ve been very blessed to be able to do a lot of that over the past 13 years, but we think we’re going to do more flying. We love living in the RV, so we’re not planning on getting a house or apartment or anything like that. And we still love to travel, but Shelley’s health currently limits how long we can be away. She gets an infusion every 3 weeks, so we’ll be doing shorter trips, and probably flying.

Living in Liberty Hill, TX

At the end of 2023 we moved further out into the country to Liberty Hill. It is still a fairly small town with that great small town feel, but it’s growing quickly so we don’t know how long that will last. We had initially moved to the LHTX Rv Resort, planning on spending summers in Windsor, Ontario. But that won’t really work with the new treatment schedule. That means that we’re going to be spending summers in Texas, so we had to find some shade to park the RV under. Luckily, there was a shady spot available at the Rio Bonito RV resort nearby, so we booked it and moved in within a month. We’re planning on staying here for a while.

Since we’re not going to be towing the RV all over the country, we don’t really need the expensive monster truck anymore. So we’ve decided to sell the truck once we’ve gotten all our stuff moved to where we need it. If we want to move to another RV park we can hire someone to do that for us. We’ll still want a 2nd vehicle as a backup, so we (er, Ron) decided to get something fun like a Miata.

We’ve also found a new church home: The Grove here in Liberty Hill. Ron has joined the Men’s bible study group, and he is looking for other ways to get plugged in. We don’t know if he’ll be joining the worship team or whether God has something new and different for him. Shelley is still building up her strength after some health setbacks, but the outlook is very good and the progress so far has been amazing. Thank you everyone that has been praying for her, it’s working. It shouldn’t be long before she becomes more active also.

God is being very good to us. What a blessed life we have!

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Dallas

Luckily we had planned on traveling to Dallas a week early for Shelley’s Proton Therapy. Since we’d booked a nice RV spot on the lake at Hidden Cove RV Resort in Frisco, we decided to go early on Saturday 7/8 and spend a week enjoying the park before Shelley started her treatments on 7/19. Shelley followed me in her car so we would have it for driving back and forth to her treatments daily instead of driving the behemoth truck in Dallas traffic.

About an hour out of Austin she phoned me to tell me that there was smoke coming out from under the RV. I immediately pulled over, and saw that something was wrong with the way the triple axle wheels were aligned. So we let things cool down a bit, then limped along slowly until we reached a Love’s truck stop a short ways up I35. We pulled in and talked with the truck repair shop in the back, but they told us that they didn’t work on RVs so we’d need to call a mobile RV trailer repair service. So that night checked into a cheap motel next door while we looked up and called a mobile repair service and parked the RV on the street in front of it. We contacted a 24/7 mobile repair service, and the guy said he’d be out first thing in the morning.

The next morning we moved the RV from the street to the Love’s parking lot. There was a lot of truck parking in the rear, and we were able to back the rig into the space furthest back. We checked with the Love’s store and they were ok with us parking in the back so long as we weren’t block traffic.

Parked in the back of Love’s

The repair guy didn’t show up until after noon the next day. He pulled the wheels, and determined that we must have hit a curb which bent the axle hangers of the rear 2 axles. Huh? I hadn’t felt a thing. Anyways, he told us that he would get some welding tools and parts and come back out first thing the next morning and repair the hangers.

So we stayed in the RV that night which didn’t work out very well. It was very hot, so we needed to run the generator and A/C around the clock. That meant that I also had to refill the generator fuel tank regularly using a 5 gallon container which required multiple runs up to the gas pumps.

So Monday the repair guy didn’t show up until the afternoon, and spent the rest of the afternoon banging on the hangers and cutting and welding things. We checked into the motel right behind Love’s which worked out pretty well. Well the work went on through the next two days, each day the guy not showing up until afternoon some time, with no real end in sight.

Axle Hangers Being Repaired?

Finally on Wednesday I contacted another mobile RV mechanic, and he came out and took a look at the work that the first was doing. He was very polite, but tactfully stated that he didn’t think the first guy was doing things correctly. If I wanted, he knew a good welder that he could get to help him do the work, but that I would need to contact the trailer manufacturer to order some needed parts. I’m thinking to myself, why hasn’t the first guy contacted them for parts? So I called the the RV tech support, and they referred me to Lippert, trailer manufacturer. The Lippert parts folks were able to explain to me, and send me parts diagrams showing how the parts were supposed to be assembled. I was certain then that the first guy was actually making things worse. So I fired him, ordered the parts, and got Nelson’s Roadside 24/7 mechanic back on the job. They had me order the parts and have them delivered directly to them, and they would come out and do the work as soon as the parts arrived.

Waiting for the Parts

The parts arrived on Friday morning, and by early Friday afternoon we were back on the road and checked into Hidden Cove RV park in Frisco.

Hot Summer 2023 Plans

We had planned on spending the entire summer at Wildwood RV and Golf Resort in Windsor, Ontario to escape the Texas heat, but we had to cancel those plans when Shelley’s health situation changed. A couple lymph notes had become active, and her doctors recommended 6 weeks of proton therapy in Irving near Dallas.

One of the lymph nodes sits right in front of a bundle of nerves in her throat, so other cancer treatment options such as surgery or more common types of radiation would be risky. But proton therapy is very good at exactly this type of situation. It is able to irradiate the lymph node at a specific depth (called the Bragg peak) without causing much damage behind it .

Proton Therapy Chamber

So we spent part of July through the beginning of September in the Dallas area. Shelley was able to find a nice RV park right on a lake in nearby Frisco for the 2 months we’d need to be there. She booked us a campsite with a lot of shade.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get a good internet connection. Since I was working remotely, that was a big problem. We have a Starlink system as backup for when this happens, but there was no way to position the antenna with the necessary view of the sky. So we had to switch sites to one with no afternoon shade.

Our 2nd Hidden Cove site

Temperatures got over 110° while we were there, and the RV got very hot. We learned that RV air conditioners are designed to cool air only 16° to 20°, so my office got up to the mid 90’s in the afternoons.

As you can see in this picture, we tried shading the RV the a ShadeRV on the roof, and shade cloth covering the sunny side, but I don’t know how much good that did. We were still very hot in the afternoons.

Trying to keep cool in 110° weather

So the lesson we learned is that we absolutely must have an RV spot with afternoon shade if we are going to spend the summer in Texas.

Back Underway

The plan to deal with the broken slide-out appears to be working so far. We got up on Thursday morning and inspected the malfunctioning RV slide cables. Sure enough, the top forward “in” cable was frayed. So I disassembled the pulley that was bound up, freeing the cable causing the problem, and then we were able to get the slide in, and get back on the road.

The ride from Springfield, MO through Oklahoma was beautiful in the morning, turning to lots of rain in the afternoon. God was looking out for us though, and the ran stopped each time we needed to stop. There was quite a bit of construction and traffic going through Tulsa and OK City, which made for a pretty long day.

RV Mechanical Trouble

Well, we got about half way home and ran into a problem with the RV. We pulled into the Springfield Mo. KOA and started setting everything up. We started pulling the bedroom slide out and heard a terrible grinding sound. We’ve had trouble with this slide before, so knew to stop immediately, even though the slide was only half way out. Well, it appears that one of the 4 cables that pull the slide in/out broke.

Slide 1/2 Out

Broken Slide Cable

So our plan for tomorrow is to try to get the slide back in for traveling, and sleep in the recliners or the bunk bed in the office tomorrow, our last night. We can’t get into the bedroom or main bathroom with the slide in. I’ll worry about fixing the slide after we get home.

So in spite of the mechanical problems we’re still having fun. We stopped by on the way to the Uranus Fudge Factory. Sounds pretty gross, right?

Heading Back to Austin

Sunday afternoon we packed up the RV and got things ready to head down the road again. This included putting away anything that was left out, closing up the ramp and stowing the outdoor furniture, and securing things like my monitor and piano. We also showered and ran the dish washer in the afternoon so that I could pack up the water and sewer hoses the night before instead of having to do that in the morning.

Office tied down for the road

In the morning, we hooked up the truck, unplugged the electrical cable, and were on our way by 7:00 am.

An Interesting Thing Happened at the Border

Crossing the bridge and getting through border station took us about over an hour. For several block before the bridge, there was some construction, and the 3 lanes closed down to two. So that took longer than usual.

Then when we got to the long lines at the check station, a guy in a neon yellow and orange vest directed us to go down a lane that had a big “closed” sign over it. We asked him “are you sure” and he assured us “Yes, that is the lane for RVs”. We’ll we pulled up to the station with an orange cone and a solid barrier blocking it, and waiting awhile longer until the an officer approached us and asked us what we were doing there. There was clearly a “Can’t you Texans read?” look on his face. So I explained to him that we’d been directed to that lane. He then explained that the lane was marked closed because it was broken, and that we’d need to backup a hundred yards or so then drive across all the other lines of cars in order to get into the route that the trucks went.

So picture looking into your side mirrors and seeing hundreds of cars waiting in a half dozen lines, with a guy in an orange vest walking you and your 44′ trailer backwards for the length of a football field back through all that. Ah, that’s the stuff that memories are made of.

Back in the USA

We had lots of rain driving through Michigan. At some points it rained so hard that traffic slowed on the freeways to under 40 mph (yes, we’re back on miles instead of kilometers now).

TODO: I’ll post some pictures later.

The campground we stayed at was nice. We needed help backing into a space. Keith helped us with that. Then we tried to hook up our electric cable, and it wouldn’t reach. So Keith came back and helped us move the trailer back as far as it would go, and voila! the cable reached.

TODO: I’ll post a couple campground pictures also.

Last Day in Windsor ’22

On our last day in Windsor we went to church with the Canadian family. It was a nice service. We took the opportunity to get a couple more pictures afterwards.

Left to right: Roni, Haley, Jukie, Steve, Shelley, Vickie, Mimi, Ron, Ron, Sandy, Jerry
Sisters: Jukie, Shelley, Vickie

After church we went to a nice restaurant right on the Detroit river. Afterwards we said our tearful good-byes, or actually our “see you next year”s.

Second Two Weeks in Windsor

This has been a terrific month here in Windsor, Ontario. We’ve been able to spend a lot of time with our Canadian family and enjoy the cooler weather and spending time outdoors.

We’re even contemplating becoming summer Canadians. Site fees here in Canada appear are less than half what they are in Austin, TX. So we’re thinking of trying to get a seasonal site here at Wildwood Golf and RV Resort as well as keeping our great site at Oak Forest in Austin, TX. Canadian Visa regulations allow Americans to stay up to six months without a visa. We still need to get permission from my work, and we need to work out all of Shelley’s health issues, but we’re hopeful.

Three Sisters and a Cousin
Birthday Party at the Hetzel’s

We had a combined birthday and going away party at the Hetzel’s home. We managed to visit with all of the Fausts and Hetzels, including all their children, plus Steve’s parents and our dear Mimi.

AJ and Shelley
The Last Cookies!
What is he saying?
The younger crowd hanging out downstairs

First Two Weeks in Windsor

So we’ve been in Windsor for almost two weeks now. On a couple days the weather was quite warm, reaching into the low nineties, and a few days have been overcast with light rain, but most days have been very nice.

Shelley by the RV in Windsor, Ontario
Looking across the deck towards the farm
A Rainy Day at the RV Park

The rain was actually refreshing, since we have haven’t seen much in Austin lately.

We’ve managed to spend a lot of time with family living here. Vickie and Ron live about 30 minutes from the RV park, and have had us over to their house several times so far.

Jerry and Ron chatting on the back patio
Sandy, Shelley, and Vickie chatting by the pool
Hetzel’s Pool
The Hetzel’s at Night

And we had them over to the RV for lunch one day.

Ron and Vickie join us for lunch at the RV

We’re thinking that spending in time in Windsor is going to become a regular thing for us. So we checked out Rochester Place, another RV park in Windsor that is located much closer to Vickie and Ron’s. They have a lot of trees and are located on a canal leading to Lake St. Clair. There is also a very nice golf course right next door.

We were actually pretty disappointed. They don’t have very many sites that we’d be able to get our big RV into, and we really didn’t like those sites very much. The really nice sites that are located along the golf course already have tiny homes on them, so aren’t available for use with our RV.

We got a chance to visit with Jukie on the second day that we were in Windsor. She helped us get a Telus phone SIM to get our internet working. We then all went over to the Hetzel’s house for a nice meal and visit. Unfortunately, Jukie had vacation plans starting the following day, so haven’t seen her since then. She’s back in town now, so we’re looking forward to spending more time with her and Steve after they get settled back in.