2 On The Road Blog

After 12 years of full-time rving, we've sold our truck and trailer but we're still traveling. Email us at wowpegasus@hotmail.com if you would like to contact us.




Tuesday, April 05, 2022

We never used the dishwasher in our park model so I decided to take it out and put a trash cabinet in its place.  Upon starting the project, I figured out the cabinets had been refaced with solid wood panels right over the stock park model quality cabinets.  This makes them much more durable and prettier than the ones that came with the unit.  Before starting the project we searched home salvage yards and online for a door to match the ones we had.  I finally had to order one special made.  I also had trouble finding a cabinet pull.  Didn't find one to match exactly but found one close that had the same shape as the rest of the cabinets.  I used it to replace one that no one other than the owners would see so I could use the matching one for this project.

After pulling the dishwasher out we found several problems.  First the shut off valve wouldn't shut the water off all the way so we needed to replace the valve.  We did this so that any future owners could still have a dishwasher here if they desired. Secondly, the outside opening for the water heater opened up into this space also.  The water heater is behind the panel to the right.

Got the valve replaced but we still wanted to put a cap on it.  That and all the other materials - stain, varnish, brushes, sanding pads, etc, took several trips to the home improvement store.  In this picture you can see two other problems but you might have to look closely for them.  The first is at the top right under the cabinet.  Yes there's a hole where the dishwasher drain line ran through the cabinets over to the sink drain.  The second is harder to notice and I didn't find it until I went to put the cabinet base in.  The right panel slants inward 1/2" between the front and the back.  So the hole isn't square.

I knew I needed to make a base but didn't have the materials for it.  We were at a home salvage place looking for a cabinet door and we found this free cabinet.  Free - that's just the price I wanted to pay!  I took it home and dismantled it.  Since the base top was too wide and too deep, I had to have the park's shop personnel slice off some of it.  It was when I tried sticking it in the hole that I found out that the cabinet opening narrowed as it got to the wall.  I had to take the vertical support off of one side and reattach it further inward.  Of course I had to clean it up and paint it also.

Since the dishwasher went all the way up to the bottom of the counter and a cabinet wouldn't, I had to create a back board that could support the stained and varnished finish panel.  This actually took two different strips of wood before I could put on the pretty face panel.

Here I have the base installed, the toe kick refacing panels removed and the refacing panel on the right of the hole removed.  Above you can see I have installed backing boards for the facing I created for the top of the cabinet.  I had a whole sanding, staining and varnishing process going on in the shed at this time as I prepped the parts that would show.  I special ordered the door and had to stain it to match.  I'm not saying it matches perfectly, but since I had no idea what I was doing, it's not bad.   

Finally found the correct cap.  We bought one and it was too big, so I bought a couple other ones.  They were too small so I bought the original size again.  It was too big.  This was ridiculous!  I measured the cap and it was a 5/8" instead of a 3/8"!  The package has previously been opened.  Took that one back and bought a 3/8" that had never been opened.  Bingo!! Exactly the right size.

Finally things were far enough along that I could install the trash mechanism.  These are our little trash cans not the larger ones that came with the mechanism.  You can see here that I removed more of the toe kick panels.  I had to make a pretty one to cover all this up. 

Here is the finished product.  The light really makes it look darker than the other cabinets.  It really isn't much different.  Anyway, most people wouldn't notice. Go back to the first photo and you can see the original panels to the right and left of the dishwasher look darker because of the way the shadows fall.

Here's how it operates. Just pull on the door handle.

 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Secret Woods Nature Center

 



 Secret Woods is a city park consisting of a cypress strand and tropical hammock edged by mangroves along the river floodplain.






Blue land crab hole.



We headed to the Pollinator Pathway. 


But like most places I've been, you look around the sign and can't identify what plant they are referring to.  So I found the following photo. 

Wild lime is an evergreen shrub to small tree that occurs naturally in hammocks throughout Central and South Florida. It blooms year-round, with peak flowering in winter and spring. Its dense foliage provides cover, and its fruit provides food for birds and small wildlife. The plant is a larval host for several butterflies, including the Giant swallowtail and Schaus’ swallowtail butterflies





Hamelia patens is a large perennial shrub or small tree in the family Rubiaceae, that is native to the American subtropics and tropics. Its range extends from Florida in the southern United States to as far south as Argentina. Common names include firebush, hummingbird bush, scarlet bush, and redhead. In Belize, this plant's Mayan name is Ix Canaan and is also known as "Guardian of the Forest".



 Bald Cypress is a deciduous conifer in the family Cupressaceae. It is native to the southeastern United States. Hardy and tough, this tree adapts to a wide range of soil types, whether wet, salty, dry, or swampy. It is noted for the russet-red fall color of its lacy needles.



Cypress knees


This cypress knee is a little easier to see. 


Since the plant wasn't in bloom when we were there, I found this photo.  


Florida native ironweed (Vernonia gigantea) is a long-lived perennial that reaches 3 to 10 feet tall. This member of the Asteraceae (sunflower) family is found in the eastern United States and in Puerto Rico.
In the wild, ironweed flourishes in moist areas and can be found growing on prairies, grasslands, in old fields, along roadsides, in savannas and woodlands, and along the banks and exposed sand bars of streams. From July to October dark purple flowers can be seen flowering in large masses. Flowers bloom at the tops of the plants, so if you encounter a 6 foot tall ironweed plant, be prepared to look up for blossoms.   Ironweed is a great pollinator plant and nectar source and will attract hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. It grows though most of the state—zones 8b to 10b—and can be planted in areas with full sun to partial shade.






Coontie is an evergreen, palm-like plant known as a cycad. Cycads are a general group of plants that produce cones instead of flowers, and the Coontie happens to be Florida’s only native cycad. Unlike Sago cycads, Coontie may resemble a fern having both a soft appearance and a soft touch. Over time, the plant produces suckers to form a mounding shrub. The rusty brown cones provide winter interest, while the bright red-orange seeds produced on female cones further add to this plant’s attractiveness.



Laurel Oak is a tall, broad tree that grows to a height of 60 or more feet with a fairly symmetrical oval canopy spread of 40 to 60 feet. The fast growth rate results in relatively weak wood that is prone to break and decay. Laurel Oaks have a lifespan of 50 to 70 years when grown in ideal conditions. These trees are moderately drought tolerant and have a low salt tolerance.

Then we switched to a boardwalk.

The boardwalk ended after a short distance at a small amphitheater where they probably did demonstrations. 








In the middle of Secret Woods is the Nature Center so we went in to see what we could learn. 




Red Mangrove Propagule

Click on the photo to enlarge it so you can read about the snake skin and skeleton. 








These bugs were huge!!!  The smallest was over an inch long.



If you look closely, you can see the name Fred under Sarah.  So I'm wondering if Fred was replaced or if Sarah was initially identified as male.  Hmmmm.




Now don't mix up Sarah the box turtle and Pebble the cooter. 

Pebble looks a little unhappy but I would be too if I was stuck in a cage. 

Back outside we continued to explore. 



This evergreen shrub is a dense, vertical growing shrub that can reach a height of 15 to 20 feet. Older plants become spreading and woody with numerous trunks. The attractive leaves of this plant are oval in shape and a medium to dark green color. Young, vigorous plants in the nursery have well-spaced leaves along the green twigs, but those on older shrubs tend to cluster toward the ends of the stem. Small inconspicuous greenish-yellow flowers occur in clusters that are found along the branches. Flowers are succeeded by decorative, shiny, black berries; plants of both sexes must be grown close by to obtain fruiting.

The Laural Oak Trail had a natural surface. 

Another Strangler Fig doing what comes naturally. 






Don't know what to call this but it was plant, not animal.



Small Fiddler Crab holes. 

And I happened to catch a photo of one diving into his hole!

Pretty fungi.  

Found this racoon wandering around in the daytime.  It's by the base of the tree. 







Swamp Fern 





The Royal Palm Tree, scientific name Roystonea oleracea, is native to Cuba and North America. Royal Palm Trees are popular in many warm, coastal landscapes, particularly in southern Florida and parts of California.



Now we are off on the New River Trail.  Some of it was closed but we were hoping to get one more look at the river before we left Fort Lauderdale. 

Oh, this was a dreary place 

Mangroves loved it. 

What we can see with black mangrove trees though, is something called
“pneumatophores ”. Pneumatophores (also called “knees” or “peg roots”) are specialized root structures designed for gas exchange. These dark, finger-like projections stick out of the ground, often clustered in high densities around the parent plant.  We never found the river so our Fort Lauderdale explorations ended here.