Living in a house after three months of living in an RV makes everything seem gigantic and not just because everything is bigger in Texas.
As usual there was little downtime as we tackled house, car, and RV projects the entire month and a half we were stationary. It wasn’t all hard work though because we got to meet up with a couple friends from LA, NY, and TX, spend time with both of our families, and explore a bit more of Austin (yet – we still have SO much more to see).
Continuing our DIY fashion we managed to replace Smarties front brake pads and rotors ourselves. It turned out to be a very reasonable project and all went well.
We also found a DIY shop to put Smartie on a lift and replace the motor mount. It was questionable whether it really needed to be replaced but at least we didn’t pay someone else $120 in labor for removing and reinstalling two bolts!
In Merlin we finally tackled the composting toilet project! We had purchased a Nature’s Head unit before leaving but after installing the base plate on Smartie for the tow kit, etc. we were at our end for projects before hitting the road. With a perfectly functioning toilet already in Merlin – we have had the Nature’s Head toilet riding shotgun for the first part of the trip. We decided that the hope of longer off grid times was worth the effort to tackle this project. Not knowing what to expect we dove into the project by ripping out the old toilet and the small platform under it. We came up with a nice neat box to re route the wiring and hoses that had been under the old toilet. After about three days of work we were proud of our install. We will be sure to let you know our thoughts as we get accustomed to the new bathroom situation.
While my parents were in town visiting us for the holidays my dad helped us install some switches to kill a couple of vampire drains on the batteries (Big thanks Brian! And thanks Terry for distracting us with a Ross shopping binge!). We also got two new deep cycle group 27 batteries. These were a size up from our group 24s. They still fit nicely in the battery compartment and have more than twice the advertised reserve capacities. We will also fill you in on how those work out.
All in all we had a productive, happy, and healthy holiday season. Happy New Year to you all from the Merlin crew!
A final note: Bryan, Jaimi, Merlin, & Smarty are all OFFICIALLY Texans now (and Gemma & Schnabbies, unofficially) – yeeee-haaaaaa!