|Ethel M's Chocolate Factory & Cactus Garden|
with Joan, Ginny, myself & Don
Hello everyone and Happy New Year! Joan and I have had a great start to the new year; enjoying time with friends and family; completing some mods and repairs on the RV; and planning for 2016.
One of the things we like to do each Christmas season is visit the Botanical Cactus Gardens in Henderson. Ethel M's is the largest in Nevada and one of the largest collections of its kind in the world; it covers 4 acres and contains over 300 varieties of cacti and succulents from around the world. If you want to see the cactus, you need to visit during daylight hours. But if you're interested in Christmas lights, it's best to visit at night. For the last 22 years, workers have decorated the cactus garden with over half a million Christmas lights. I'm not sure how much the decorators get paid, but it's not a job I would want as the lights are placed directly on the cactus. I hope they're wearing some sort of chain mesh gloves because there are lots of spikes and thorns.
We had a visit from Jim & Barb of JimandBarbsRVAdventure. They were exiting cold weather in Salt Lake headed for Quartzite. They had never visited The Strip so we took them down to Freemont St. What a hoot! It was only Wednesday, but many of the characters were out in full form.
Joan's long time girlfriend from Seattle, Terry came into town over Christmas and stayed a few night with us. I'm telling you she's a bad influence on Joan! The first night in town she and Joan cruised Las Vegas Blvd and the Strip until 3am! And then Terry introduced Joan to Pai Gow poker. Joan's been suggesting we stop in one of the casinos and play almost every other day! And this from my wife who had bragged that we did not drop a quarter into a slot the first 2 years we were in Vegas.
The weekend after Christmas Joan & Terry drove north into Utah to visit Zion and Bryce National Parks. The temps got as low as -9 overnight while they were there. BBBRRRRRRR!
While they were gone off to play, it was all work for me. Our MH came equipped with both a gas oven and convection/microwave oven. After several attempts to use the gas oven, neither of us was impressed as it was awkward to light and poor to cook with. In fact we stopped using it altogether in favor of the convection oven. For the last 3 years it was a storage bin for a couple of frying pans. After looking at how the gas oven and gas burners were designed, I was fairly confident I could remove the oven and keep the stove top burners. So I turned off the gas into the MH before completely removing the oven and attached stove top.
stove top remounted
I separated the stove top burners from the oven, then built a platform to support the burners in their original position. I remounted the stove top burners, sealed off the oven pilot light, gas and thermo-coupling lines before reconnecting the gas line to the burners. I tested the burners and everything worked as it should.
|Sliding racks installed|
This left us with a 2' wide x 20" tall opening in our kitchen cabinets. A quick visit to Lowes and we picked up a 2-tier sliding drawer rack that would fit into the opening.
Joan was thrilled with the additional storage space and I was happy with the finished look and cost savings. When we originally considered this change, we had an estimate done to remove the oven and replace the cabinet. That estimate came in at $1700.00. I managed to do this work for less than $125.00, sliding rack included. And I did it with an electric drill, jig saw and hand tools. I don't consider this a difficult mod to do. Even if I couldn't have reused the original burners, a new stove top can be purchased for less than $200. We're working on another major mod in the MH and I hope to be able and share that one with you in the next blog update.
Shout Out to Jim & Deb back in Florida. Both of them have retired and moved into their MH full-time. Their plan is to be on the road by the end of January and joining us for the summer. Wahoo!
Well, that's it for now. Stay Tuned. More to Come.