We drove up from Baytown to Lake Livingston whose southern end is near Livingston, TX. We are staying at the North Shore RV Resort near Onalaska, TX about 10 miles north of Livingston.
It is a nice place, right on the lake with a swimming beach, a swimming pool, a boat launch, a fishing dock and play areas for the kids. The lady in the office is friendly. Most of the folks here right now are here for a while. On the weekends more show up for just a couple days.
Here we are for about three weeks.
This is in front of the coach looking over the lake in the evening. Very nice. There is a nice big grassy area for kids to play.
One of the planned for events here is to remove our slow leaking steering box and get it rebuilt and reinstalled. It has been leaking very slowly ever since we got the coach in California. I have added a quart or two of oil to the hydraulic reservoir over six years so it is not a big leak but a bit messy and still a leak. If the timing works out right I want to send it to RedHead in Washington for the rebuild and they send it back. 10-14 days total time.
This is the 120 lb steering box after it came back from a shop in Houston. The timing did not work out to send it to RedHead but I think this will be fine. All of the internal parts are new including all of the seals. They had it done in a day and our friend Rudy transported it both ways. He happened to have an AquaHot service job in the same park we are in, the folks next to us actually, so he was here anyway. And their AH required a return visit to replace some electronics part so he had to come back. Pretty fortunate for us. Thanks, Rudy!
To get the steering box out and back in we called on Beau Reece. He is a mobile service guy in this area that comes very highly recommended. The generator has to slide out forward, the generator radiator has to come out and the electric fan for the generator radiator has to come out. Then the arm on the box that moves the parts that make the wheels turn has to come off. This is the hard part that requires special tools. Then you have to have a floor jack to hold the box up while you pull the bolts and then wrestle with a big heavy thing. I am glad I didn’t tackle this myself. If I had this post would have been coming from a hospital room.
Beau got everything out by himself. When he came back he had a helper, first day on the job. Rachael did a fine job, learning on the fly and got pretty dirty too.
That’s her arm. I hope she sticks with it, she will see and learn a lot with Beau.
Bike Riding at the State Park.
At the southern end of the lake one finds Lake Livingston State Park. Is it a big park with four different camping areas, about 160 camp sites. It was a 20 minute drive to get to nice roads and trails to ride on, picnic areas and a camp store where there was ice cream.
There are swimming areas, docks, boat launches, kayak rentals and lots of people trying their luck at fishing.
The campsites just across this small bay were very nice, full hookups, spread out and many were lakefront. This is a place we would stay at as well as the North Shore RV Resort.
One loop around through the campgrounds and park roads was about 5.3 miles. We started out with one loop, worked up to a loop and a half and finished doing two loops. Six visits so far, more than 40 miles so far.
We had one mishap, a blowout. Susan’s front tire had a significant tear in it and the tube blew out. We had a spare tube, fixed that temporarily. Ordered two new tires and two more tubes from Amazon. We replaced the front tire on Susan’s bike with the one from Roger’s bike, put two new slightly more aggressive tread tires on Roger’s bike and now have a spare tire and tubes.
One day we stopped at a Whataburger (not in Minnesota) for a Mushroom Swiss burger. We split it. Plenty and good.
Another visit to NAC.
One day Rudy called me up and says a fellow and his wife he knows from Louisiana, Forest and Cindy, are coming to NAC to look at Foretravels. So Rudy drives to Livingston, jumps in our car and I drive to NAC. These folks also know Chappell and Mary Jordan so that is where we met them.
This time I managed to get a couple pictures at Chappell and Mary’s home.
Their home is like a museum. But very comfortable and welcoming. It was very nice to see them again.
We looked at a 2005 36′ U270 with a slide, a 2001 36′ U295 with a slide and a 1997 40′ U320 with no slide. By far the best of the bunch for condition, equipment and price was the ’97.
It is always a learning experience to look at as many coaches as you can and in NAC there are many to look at. Not just Foretravels but many brands. Forest and Cindy have had Newell coaches before and were looking for something smaller. They were thinking a 36′ no slide Foretravel would be a good fit.
There were significant interior differences between the 2001 and the 2005 coaches. The slides mechanisms were different and used much more interior space in the 2005. It had a dinette booth rather than a J shaped dinette. Much less leg room in the dinette booth. A lot more flexibility with the J dinette. Kitchen storage in the 2005 was much different, much less than the 2001. Much less kitchen drawer space and the kitchen layout itself was different. Basement space in the 2005 was also less. These are things you don’t easily recognize from pictures or floor plan drawings. You have to see them.
The 1997 40′ U320 no slide had all of the up scale advantages of the U320. AquaHot, the more powerful M11 engine and the more robust 4000 series transmission are the big things. It was good for them to see a non-slide coach to see how the floor plan changes the way space gets used without a slide. The 40′ adds 2 ft in the front split between the kitchen and the living room and 2 ft to the bathroom. These four feet may not seem like much but they change the bathroom layout to be more roomy and add a third closet space. The kitchen gets dramatically more storage space and has a table and chairs. And there is more room in the living room between the kitchen and the front passenger’s seat. The big thing for Forest and Cindy to see was how the floor plan used space in a different way in a non-slide coach. The extra space in a 40′ coach goes away in a 36′ but the floorplan makes the space useful.
There was coffee and cookies back at Chappell and Mary’s. Chappell had a pork shoulder on the smoker when we got there in the morning. He brought it in and it smelled wonderful. But Rudy and I had a drive ahead of us and Susan wanted me home by dark so we said our good byes, Mary sent us packing with bags of fresh baked cookies and off we went.
When we got back to Onalaska Rudy asked me to help him put in new LED headlight bulbs in his Prius. One side was easy, one side required some disassembly of things in the way but we got them in and tried them out. White and bright! Rudy reports that they were wonderful on the way home.
St Patricks Day
Spring break, a nice weekend and St Patricks day all coincided while we were here.
The beach was full of Mom’s and kids. Boats were being launched. Lots of fishing. Lots of floating things. The pool was packed. Kids were playing volleyball. There were kids and dogs on stand up paddle boards. Lots of activity. Lots of sun. A nice end to spring break week.
Lots of folks are leaving today on Sunday. We leave tomorrow for Jim Hogg COE park on Lake Georgetown
Roger and Susan