Sunday, October 31, 2010


After almost a year, we are back at Cal Expo RV Park (click here to read our review from a past visit) in our ex-hometown, Sacramento, California.  Visiting family and friends tops our agenda, with medical appointments, mechanical repairs, and catching up on deferred projects filling out our time here.

Odel's sauceIt’s been over seven years since we left Sacramento, yet we still know our way around this town better than any other, and we stay put longer here than anywhere else (a month at a time!).  Because of that, there are things we need, or need to do, that we put off until we arrive back here – mostly time-consuming stuff.  Researching big purchases.  Car repairs that we’ve deferred.  Reorganizing and purging our “stuff”.  I renew my cold weather wardrobe here, revisiting favorite small clothing stores (the stores are small, not my clothing – unfortunately).  There is always plenty to keep us busy!

This month, we have another big project to plan: renovations to our motorhome.  Although the engine and chassis of a diesel motorhome may well last as long as we want to travel, the interior furnishing don’t!  Our carpeting is dingy with the effects of 8 years of constant wear, and our window shades are tired and faded.  The loud CLUNK our washing machine makes at the end of each cycle would wake the dead.  Our huge windshield bulges a bit on the upper left corner; in the worst parking situations, we slap a piece of duct tape on the corner in case it rains.  And we’d really like to replace the big, old, heavy, analog TV that hangs over the dashboard with a new, lightweight, flat screen digital model.

For a (short) while, we toyed with the idea of upgrading to a newer (not NEW, just newer), larger motorhome; four slides look mighty appealing.  We’ve been very comfortable in Scoopy, though, and don’t want to take on the kind of debt a newer rig would require, so we’ve settled on renovating.  Now we’re trying to put a budget together, and have a couple questions for our readers:

If you have switched from carpet to hard flooring in your motorhome (ours is 38 feet), what type of flooring did you choose, and why?  Are you happy with it?  What did it cost you to make the switch (we’re looking for a ballpark number to plug into the budget)?

If you have changed from the original shades (we have the two-part day/night shades made of accordion-folded fabric), what did you get?  Are you happy?  We are considering blinds (possibly wood slats).  We’ve heard good things about MCD shades (with a solar daylight shade screen and a light-blocking night shade), but they seem quite costly.  Any good/bad experiences with either, or suggestions for other alternatives?

If you have any advice for us, we’d love to get your comments, or you can email us directly at LBandOK (at) (in standard format).

Baggies of sauceAs I write, Odel is cooking his special pasta sauce, filling Scoopy with the most enticing smell!  He agreed to share his recipe with you, so I’ve added it to the recipe archive. 

This is the best red pasta sauce I’ve every tasted.  When I first met Odel, he made it with beef and mushrooms.  Since I don’t like mushrooms, he switched to olives (much better), then experimented with Italian sausage instead of beef (even BETTER).  This is the perfected recipe that he has made for the last several years.  We like it best on short, sturdy pasta (shells, tubes or bowties) that can easily be forked up with sausage and olives.  The recipe makes eight servings; we eat two servings the day he makes the sauce, then divide the rest into 3 zip lock baggies and pop them in the freezer for an easy dinner later.  Enjoy!


  1. Your plans for renovations sound exciting. We have a 2006 DP with those 4 slides and wouldn't trade them for less so understand the appeal for you. We have the 2 system day/night shades like you have. They are pretty cheap ones in the HR. We had a Fleetwood TT before that had better ones. My only concern with any type of blinds would be noise. We also have the big box TV above the dashboard that is growing old with us so will be anxious to see what you come up with there. AND where you find to do all these things for you!!! We are having an awful time getting our workerbee's to get even an estimate to us for 3 slide awnings and a new windshield and some body damage our agent threw in on the claim. It's been over a month now....... =/ Hubster says this week is their last week to come with it cuz someone else might like the work. I don't think my email shows and I can't get it to so: if desired

    Have fun!!! Sauce looks awesome, but hubster would frown upon the olives; farm boy.

  2. Hi Laurie: Isn't it great to be "home"? We had installed Pergo flooring in our home in Michigan. We liked it better than real wood because it doesn't show a traffic pattern of wear as I would imagine would happen in a motor home. Light weight and so easy to care for. When we purchased the "short bus" it had navy blue carpeting which wasn't going to work with an orange cat! We decided to install the vinyl version or Pergo. Can't remember the name but we got it at Home Depot (Mannington) I think. It comes in 6"X4' very thick planks and has adheasive on two sides so it "floats" like Pergo. The best part was we could do the work ourselves as all you need are a straight edge, box knife, kitchen shears, and good knees. It turned our very well and we love it. Friends in Florida installed it in their large motor home and they've been very happy too. Comes in many shades. Hope this helps. Thanks for the sauce recipe. We'll be trying it out soon.

  3. We just had the Roll Ease shades installed at the Tiffin factory. Love 'em! We had so many problems with the day/night shades breaking repeatedly, I was very happy to bid them goodbye.

    I'll take a look at that pasta sauce recipe. It looks yummy!

  4. Yes, MCD shades are expensive. You can, however, order the shades and install them yourselves to help reduce the cost. And you will love how dark they'll make your bedroom. Check out ours at

    Linda Sand

  5. We LOVE LOVE LOVE our MCD blinds! We will never ever ever go back! We had the typical pleated day/night shade and they were a pain in the butt! You had to get on the couch, steady yourself, and pull down the shade with both hands at the same time or else they would get uneven and stuck. They were constantly moving to the right or left and getting stuck. Once we went to the MCD blinds, I can lower or raise them with one hand, well...two fingers really, and with a flick of the wrist they are up. They make life sooooo much easier and simpler. Yes, they are more costly. I feel they are worth every penny of our sanity. We ordered ours direct and installed them ourselves. They secure with just a typical clip from a regular roller shade. So screw the clip in place and push the shade onto the clip until it clicks and then it's secure. Easy as that. The hardest part depends on how much room you have in your valence. Like our kitchen window valence was behind the cabinets, so David had to contort his body so he could see under the kitchen cabinet, up into the valence. Then he could screw the clips in place. Also, keep in mind that depending on how small (deep) or large your valences are, you may see the roller part of the shades hanging down a little. Ours are not bad, but some windows I do see more of the shade than others. I don't mind though, after a while you really don't notice. And the ease of the shades make up it. Plus, they have different styles and colors to order from. I really can't say enough about these shades. I love them so much.

    You can read about the MCD shades and see pictures on our blog from the June 26, 2010 post at:

    As far as the pasta sauce goes...YUM! I'll be making some of that this week, minus the olives though. The sausage sounds like a good idea and I may add some green peppers and or onions. I have some in the fridge I have to use up soon.

    Good luck with your repairs and such. I know someone who has ripped out there carpet and installed the laminate wood flooring and they just love it. They say it's so much less mess and so easy to clean up. Good luck!

  6. We took one weekend to take out our carpet and put in the laminate wood floor. We have a 37' Class A. We bought our stuff at Costco. Ron did all the work himself. He thinks it was about $300 ~ we also bought the kit with the tools, also at Costco. We really like it though in winter we do put down a throw rug in the living room and one in the hallway by the bedroom and bathroom.

    I grew up in Rancho Cordova. My sister lived in Sacramento till she passed two years ago. We love the area and always stop when we are on our way to Napa/Middletown to see my aunt & uncle.

    Enjoy your break from traveling. Give a holler if you have any questions about the flooring.

  7. We have replaced our broken Day/night shades with honeycomb cell shades by Levalor. Got them at Lowes-cut to fit, easy to install. We did not want to spend the money to replace the day/night.

    Our carpet is worn as well. We will likely replace with laminate tile. We have it in the sticks and bricks and love it. Looks like tile, not cold, not heavy and easy to install.

  8. Tell Odel thanks for the recipe! Can't wait to try it. Good luck with the renovations.

  9. I cannot say enough good things about mcd. We have the electric day n night shades for the front window. When we are driving into the sun we lower the night shade you can instantly feel the difference
    well worth the investment. I would like to put them throughout. We tried the wooden shades they were to heavy had to send them back. Good luck with the renovations.

  10. If cost is the big factor check out Custom blinds there are less than off the shelf at Lowes.

  11. My in-laws have the laminated floor and if water really sits on it at all, it starts to bubble. It is easier to maintain, though. What was tough is the off-gassing of it for the first few months. It really fills the indoor air with toxic gasses that induce headaches and other problems. Carpet, though, can do the same thing. We are pulling the carpet out of our Airstream and are exploring other flooring. Bamboo is too soft(and easy to damage) for our dogs and child. We don't want carpeting because it is a pain to clean. We like the throw rugs that we can wash every now and then. I look forward to reading what other people suggest and contemplating it for our rig.

    Eva in Eugene, OR

  12. We remodeled our 99 40 foot American coach a year ago. We replaced all flooring(ceramic and carpet) with DuraCeramic. One year of FT and 2 cross country trips. We still love this product. We had it installed at Precision Paint in Indiana. If you go to our blog... you can read about our rennovation starting with Sept. 9 2009


  13. Well You've inspired me. Family is going to have a large spaghetti feed on Saturday after Thanksgiving, and I'm bringing the pasta sauce with olives.... I had to threaten Jim with mayhem if he ate the olives before I started cooking...

  14. We started our floor remodeling yesterday. We went with laminate wood flooring as it is easier to work it and considerably cheaper than real hardwood. We are still in the 'ripping up & cleaning up phase'. Our floor arrives in about two days. By then we should have everything prepped so that we can start laying the floor down.

    We have a 38 foot diesel pusher with two slides.

    Wish you well on your remodeling.