Remodeling the RV with Cooties

We made our annual visit to Manassas, Virginia, after we left the Reading, Pennsylvania, area. While there we did some remodeling in the RV, and we caught COVID-19 from Jason’s visit to the FCC in Washington DC.

Remodeling the RV

Our motorhome is officially a 2008 model, but because of how well Newmar makes motorhomes, especially back then, it has held up extremely well. We have had this RV for four years now and we plan to have it at least that long yet. So we decided that it was time to make some changes so that it would be more functional for our needs. A key understanding is that a class A motorhome is made up of parts you can get from any Lowe’s, and in this case now Ikea, and remodeling is not any different. Weight distribution needs to be kept in mind, something you don’t in a sticks and bricks house.

The built-in layout was working very well for Jason, but it was not working for Barb’s budding crafting needs. Her need for flat working space and storage of materials has been growing rapidly as she has been making 40 – 50 birthday cards every month to send to alumni “Wish Kids” of Give Kids the World Village. We volunteer each winter when we are in the Orlando area and make cards year-round to send to them for their birthdays.

We also purchased a new theater seat side-by-side recliner for the opposite side of the RV. This also has the capability of being a full couch, which a little granddaughter will be able to sleep on when visiting. We also returned the two additional passenger seat belts back into service.

For the last four years, this has been Jason’s office area. We replaced the factory recliner, on the left, with this one four years ago when we bought the RV. The dropdown desk and the cabinetry all came out very easily with about four dozen screws to the floor and walls.
There is not much to RV furniture, as a way to keep the weight down. Once we got the pieces out we started replacing lights, and light switches, and then off to Ikea we went.
Barb used to craft on a 12″ x 36″ piece of shelving on top of a collapsible piano stand. All of her materials started in one backpack, then two, then three. She is in love with her new space. Her new Brother Scan N’ Cut machine is the centerpiece of making cards for Give Kids the World Village children.
Here you see it in travel mode. Jason’s desk is on the right and Barb’s on the left. Each are bamboo Ikea table tops with several Ikea cabinets to store the materials. The table and cabinets are screwed into the floor and the wall with brackets for travel stability. We use ratchet straps to tie down rings screwed to the tables and the floors to keep everything in place. The 1″ x 6″ boards are held in place with steel dowels to keep anything from sliding off the tables. The cats have a permanent location for their litter box and it is out of our way now.

Washington DC Visits

We visited the National Zoo to see the pandas before they were sent back to China, due to the agreement not being renewed to retain them in the United States. We stopped by the National Air and Space Museum by Dulles.  Then later, Jason also had an opportunity to attend a work function at the FCC building in downtown DC. Unfortunately, he brought home an unwanted souvenir.

The last time we visited the Zoo, this was the little guy that was new out on the exhibit. It is like he paused and posed for us to get one last picture before he heads off to China permanently.
Since the last time we were at the Zoo, a new revitalized aviary enclosure has opened. We had to pause and get a selfie with some flamingos for a local friend who loves these birds. Most were taking a one-legged nap, sort of funny to watch one of them try to walk through them without knocking someone over and causing a tiff!
The Enola Gay is preserved and is a big feature of the Udvar-Hazy.
The Udvar-Hazy parking lot is an excellent location for plane spotting. You do have to pay for parking if you park for more than 30 minutes and it is before 4 PM. The museum closes at 5:30 PM, so you can get at least 90 minutes of free viewing! You can also have a special view from the observation tower associated with the museum, which is free admission.
It was a great opportunity for Jason to attend a national hearing on cybersecurity while in the Washington DC area. Jason took the train from Manassas to downtown and attended it in person at the FCC building. Unfortunately, he probably also brought home some CoVID cooties from there.
Some “antique” phones are in the lobby of the FCC building in Washington DC. Unfortunately, those old CellularOne phones are the ones we used at work in the late 1990s before flip phones.

Traveling with COVID

This was our first time dealing with COVID-19 since the pandemic. It was disappointing to have to isolate ourselves and not give hugs and goodbyes to our Manassas families.

Fortunately, the campground we were at in Virginia was accommodating to extend our stay and the campground we were going to in Tennessee was accommodating to adjust our arrival dates without penalties. It all worked out.  Even more of a coincidence was trying to coordinate furniture delivery for our RV remodel in Tennessee, that company was also amazing.  No one wants COVID so they all seem to be very willing to work with you to keep you away!

Since we travel mostly with no contact anyway, we did finally make the transition from Virginia to Tennessee after a few day’s delay to feel better.

On November 2, just a couple of days after the FCC hearing in DC, Jason tested positive first. He went downhill really fast from feeling blah at waking up to being “on death’s door” by about 10 AM when he tested. Two expired antigen tests confirmed that he had COVID, the first since the pandemic. Barb follow the same way just a couple of days later.