This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Friday, 8 October 2021

Meet Albatross

In my recent blog posting I wrote that Benno flew out to see a powerboat in Prince Edward Island. It turned out that the boat was not what he was expecting and so that trip was for nothing.


However, the persistent hubby of mine kept searching for a trawler type boat that would fit all his criteria. Having built our 37ft sailboat “Najade” and our 41ft long-range trawler “Diesel Duck” he has so much knowledge and experience of what it takes to outfit a seaworthy vessel. It is not his intention to build another boat and we are not planning another cruise on the water, but the potential should be there. 


Jim from "Jim and Barbs RV Adventures" made a comment “Benno’s dream boat is out there somewhere!” he was right. Yeah the dream materialized and is now parked next to the house, Hurrah!


In the Kitchener, Ontario area there was a “Jolly Roger” design boat for sale. She is a pocket trawler of 33 feet in length. She was lovingly built by her owner over a time span of 7 years and used afterwards at Georgian Bay of Lake Huron’s Ontario cottage country where he also has a cottage. She is named “Albatross.” The trawler sits on a new custom built three-axle trailer to transport her and to keep her on for storage.


John, her previous owner, who professionally built this boat, is saying goodby to his baby!

She sat outside of the shed where she was being built

Benno envisioned that this little trawler has lots of potential, if it is brought into modern-day standards, and it would be a great project for him as a hobby. 

She is hooked up ready to roll

On her way to our house

Last Tuesday we got up at 4 a.m. to drive to the trawler’s location near Kitchener to be on location for the transport of the boat and to follow the truck home. We had her transported by Rob from Bentall Boat Hauling to our house here in Leamington. The trawler’s weight is a lot more than our Ram 1500 pickup truck can haul and the 11 ft. width for transporting the boat on the highway is 3 ft more than the standard 8 feet, so it is considered a wide load. Transporting her was not really a problem and Rob professionally transports boats daily and said it towed beautifully.


On the road

Backing up into our street

Now she sits in our yard next to the fence and close to Benno’s shop. Because the ground is very soft, the first thing on the agenda was to place planks under her tires so she will not sink any further into our lawn. For that job Benno used the three 12 ton hydraulic jacks we still have from the renovation days of our house and a past tire problem on the RV. 


Rob backed her in with no problem

Next will be the installation of a shore power outlet to Albatross so we don’t have to hang an extension cable through the door or window. Stay tuned for that and many upgrades and improvements if you are interested in this project.


Let the work begin!

In the meantime I will post also other subjects as well and of course if we do happen to travel south for the winter that would be captured too.

Also in loving memory of my brother-in-law, Benno’s brother, Wolfgang, who passed away last Tuesday. He would have been 75 this Thanksgiving. 


Wolfgang Klopfer

Thanks for dropping by again and see you in a few days...

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Natural Disasters

For the past weeks I have been quiet with my postings. That doesn’t mean nothing happened around here. Perhaps I start with the storm that went though here on Tuesday night. It was severe and accompanied with a tornado warning, which I believe has never happened here before. I cannot say for sure a little twister was involved in the driving rain and hail which was larger than a quarter coin that pounded our windows so much that we thought they might break, but there is lots of evidence by the many downed trees, broken off branches and some roof shingles coming loose in the neighborhood. The city’s woodchopper has been busy removing the huge piles of tree branches that are piled up along the roads. Damage wise we only lost some panels off our gazebo that now has to come down to be replaced and a healthy Azalea shrub was ripped off its roots in my garden. 

However, there stood a very tall tree on the vacant lot next to our property. It was slightly bent to the east and with the northwest storm it got pushed over so much that its massive trunk split at the bottom. A tree removal crew is there now with a bucket and a boom truck to cut down this majestic tree. 

We live on the outskirts of Leamington with the neighboring town of Wheatley only a short distance away. On August 26, an explosion at the main intersection in Wheatley leveled one building, destroyed part of another, and damaged most of the other buildings on the block. About 20 people were injured including municipal staff members who were actively evacuating residents at the time of the explosion. Investigators confirmed hydrogen sulphide gas (toxic and flammable) is to blame for the blast. Officials stated that there is no guarantee that they can find the leak and will not commit to any timelines for when the residents might be able to go back home. So far 94 households had been displaced and all the businesses in the area are closed. There are numerous abandoned capped gas wells in the vicinity that stem back to nearly a century ago when at the same place a gas explosion leveled the fire department 1934 and another explosion 1937 leveled the city hall and royal post office. It is time to get down to the source of this problem. We feel very sorry for the people affected. 


On other news, Benno stumbled on an ad for a boat that he fell in love with by its photos. However, it was located in Prince Edward Island. He decided it was worthwhile to fly to Charlottetown to have a closer look. Because of the restrictions imposed to travellers outside the Maritimes caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, he had to apply for a visitor’s permit and provide immunization documents and such. Permission was granted and in short order he flew out to visit the boat. It turned out that it was not going to be his dreamboat after all and he was lucky to escape PEI from the approaching hurricane Ida with only drenched clothing and getting soaked wet right down to the skin as the boarding of the plane was from the tarmac without shelter for the passengers during the torrential rain.


A while back Benno said that he would love to have a tablecloth on the table in the camper to protect the wood. So while he was away on his trip I bought a tablecloth I liked and cut and sewed it to fit the table in the camper. There is leftover fabric that might get sewed into protective cushions for the chairs.

Hopefully on my next post I have more positive things to talk about. Thanks for dropping by again.

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Hot days and a new Rearview Camera

On previous journeys there were times we wished we had a rearview camera on our travel trailers and we said we should get one. Last week we did and of course Benno was enthusiastic to install it on our Grand Design, Imagine travel trailer. While he did that we experienced probably the hottest days here in Ontario this summer. Thank goodness for air-conditioning!

Our trailer came “preprep” for a Furrion rearview camera with a bracket mounted outside on the top rear wall just below a marker light. We had decided to purchase a Haloview MC7108 7” 720P HD Digital Wireless Backup Camera System, with a 7” LCD Reversing Monitor and a IP69K waterproof rearview camera built in DVR kit instead of the Furrion Camera System. The Haloview Camera was a pile of money less. From reviews on YouTube we learned the Haloview has a SD card (SD stands for Secure Digital) for movie storage and playback. Like the Furrion Camera it came with a 7inch monitor of extreme quality. On the dollar and cents subject the 7-inch Furrion is here in Canadian $967 incl. taxes and the equivalent Haloview system comes to $377 CDN incl. taxes at Amazon Canada. Quite a stiff difference of 500 dollars, hard to swallow.


To make the installation of a rearview camera simple, the manufacturer decided to preprep the Furrion camera power supply into the exterior light system, meaning that in order for the camera to operate we would have to turn on the headlights in our truck because the camera power supply wire is wired to the trailer marker lights (isn’t that stupid). If we were traveling at night (which we try to avoid) it would make sense. However having the headlights on while pulling the travel trailer during the daylight didn’t appeal to us, so Benno rewired the travel trailer’s rearview camera so that the camera gets its power supply from the trailer’s 12V battery bank. The battery is being charged anyway while we are driving by the tow vehicle.


There is not much room between the headliner and the roof to fish or pull new cables. By opening up the ceiling liner in the bathroom with a 2½-inch hole saw very close to the outside position of the camera, Benno managed to have access to the cables. Into the cover plate of the hole he decided to install a neat little switch with a LED light to be able to switch the camera on and off. The LED light indicates when the camera would be on. It is easy to notice so we won’t forget to turn the camera off when we are parked.


When it came to the installation of the camera on the outside of the top rear wall, we discovered that the pre installed Furrion mounting bracket already had cracked screw holes. I guess the guys at the factory working with power drivers don’t always know when to stop or set the torque right. Anyway, we didn’t need that bracket as it turned out. Also Benno moved the middle one of the three marker lights a little further down so the camera sits above it and its antenna sticks above the roofline for a better signal transmission rather than underneath it. Actually the marker light housing lucky wise covered the mounting and wire holes of the old camera position nicely.


The 7” monitor comes with two different brackets for mounting in the truck. We used the circular one as it afforded us to angle it for optimal viewing. The 12V power supply for the monitor comes from the plug in the Cigarette lighter outlet.

I like to point out YouTube has a fair amount of rear camera installation movies on hand, which can be a fantastic help to any one who is planning to install a Furrion or Haloview rear camera system on his Travel Trailer, Fifth Wheel or motorhome.


What did I do in the meantime? Looking after the lawn in the blazing heat ;-)


Thanks for dropping by again and I hope everyone was able to stay cool and enjoyed our Canadian summer.


Saturday, 21 August 2021

Nasty Door Stopper needed a Fix

So we are banned again from traveling across the border into the USA for another month. That makes us wondering if and when we are allowed to make our own decisions of where to spend the next winter season with our travel trailer away from the cold and snow. Meanwhile as I am looking at our travel trailer, I noticed a couple of wasps disappearing around the awning motor housing. 


Of course the inside of the motor housing for the awning presents a perfect spot to build a nest or two. Even a spider had found this a suitable cubbyhole to lay a bunch of eggs. Well, we opened the housing up and they were all evicted in short order.


Our travel trailer has two sliding doors. The one separating the bedroom to the main cabin we leave pretty well open all the time and it is being secured with a strap. The other one at the bathroom is being closed when in use. It happened that we either forgot to attach the strap, which fastens to a button on the door or we didn’t push the straps button perfectly, so that it popped open during our travel. This happened already when we picked the trailer up from the dealer in October last year, that the bedroom door got loose and hung in a terrible position when we arrived at home. The issue was and is that with the momentum of movement the unsecured door slammed shut with so much force that the stopper on the top sheared right off. You see that the boys at Grand Design just put a simple long wood screw into the sliding channel to stop the door. Well it snapped and didn’t stop our door and apparently neither of the other doors of the “Imagine Grand Design” owners as per the Forum on the Internet. They wrote: “With no restraint at the bottom of the sliding doors they break the holding strap loose and slide back and forth during travel.” This can’t be good, as it becomes a loose cannon.


The question posed was what to do about that? Benno’s immediate remedy was to use a ¼” aluminum rod cut to size, that he pushed into two predrilled holes across through the channel and the face board prevented them from falling out. He did this to both doors. That turned out to be a great fix. The next problem was how to tackle the door from any sliding during travel in the first place. He came up with his own solution of securing the door on the bottom to the wall during travel with a brass rod and wing nut as shown with the following photos of his invention. We will remove these rods when we are parked at the RV Park. The material to fabricate the discs, brass rod, screws, washers and wing nuts he already had on hand. My talented husband had fun making these and I think those will work fine.


I noticed while driving by the harbor here in our neighborhood that the recently finished Coast Guard vessel bound for Shediac Bay in New Brunswick is about ready to depart for her home port shortly and another sister vessel is already in the process of being readied for painting at the Hike Metal Products Ltd. Company.

And across the road from us a lone Cormorant is looking for dinner. 

I hope everyone is staying cool these days as we are in the middle of a heat wave down here in Ontario. Thanks for dropping by and look for my next update of the installation of the rearview camera for the travel trailer.


Sunday, 15 August 2021

A little improvement we think

Have you ever wondered where the birds disappear to when it rains? I know. They are hiding under our gazebo, that’s where. 

Our vacation trip was wonderful. We are really happy with this travel trailer and towing it felt also much better (or really we didn’t feel it at all) than our previous campers. Benno actually let me behind the wheel and I am looking forward to relieving him on future travels as well. There was one thing though that we both thought was in need of improvement. It was that tiny sink in the bathroom. 


While actually living in the camper we got to experience every aspect of the trailer. It turned out that when washing up at the sink in the bathroom especially in the morning trying to splash some cold water in your face to wake up, we pretty much put the whole vanity top under water as the little sink bowl didn’t cut it. So the first thing Benno did when we got back and had unpacked the trailer was to dismantle the sink and to have a look what we could do.


To cover the hole that was left in the vanity top after removing the s/s sink
Benno plugged it with a perfect cut piece of plywood

Before you knew it, we were at the local Rona store (owned by Lowes) shopping for a sink and new faucet to fit the new configuration. I believe what we found was a washbowl style vessel, a real looker that works out beautifully for us, now we are both happy about the change. I can’t wait to take off again and to see how it works out. And oh, I forgot, we purchased a cloth-drying collapsible stand that fits beautifully into the shower compartment. There we could hang rain soaked items or other laundry if needed.


While towing the new 26ft Grand Design trailer it came to our mind that it would be nice to have a rear camera on the back of the trailer to see what is behind us in the blind spot. The trailer came with a prewired mount for a rear camera, we are now debating the purchase of a camera or not. Will it be the Furrion camera, because the prewired mount for that product is fitted at the Grand Design factory, or do we purchase the Haloview MC 7108, which has better reviews and cost less money?  


Thanks for dropping in again and stay tuned to find out.