Project – Pantry Closet

First off – this is what we in the Lazy Daze community call an “Andy Baird Pantry”.  Praise and kudos go to Andy Baird for building one in his Lazy Daze motorhome ‘Gertie’, then doing another in his current ‘Skylark’.  He wrote it up completely with great info and pictures, and drew up design plans that make it very easy to follow and duplicate. (Also, there is a LOT of other great info on his “Eureka!” website.)

Before

The ‘before’ picture.  This space is calling out for a floor to ceiling pantry closet.

Anyway, I’d always wanted an Andy Baird pantry.  Both on my prior rig, which was the same floorplan as Gertie, and my new RV, which is the same plan as Skylark.  While parked at my folks place (with the awesome wood shop) I asked my dad if I would be able to build one. Turns out I never would have been able to do it myself, but together we did get it done.  We studied Andy’s plans and one day headed in to Home Depot and Lowe’s in Marble Falls to get the supplies.  Dad thought we would need three pieces of oak 8-foot 1×4 boards to make the two 6′ tall sides, plus top/bottom/center pieces and the moveable shelves.  Instead of using the full 1″ thick shelf pieces he would run them through a saw and make 2 shelf pieces out of each shelf board.  I wasn’t sure they would look good or work well being sawed in half and 3/8″ thick.  However, I was wrong.  After running through the sander they looked perfectly fine.  And oak is very strong, even at half thickness.

The other big piece was the door, which was to be an 18″x72″ piece of 3/8″ oak veneer plywood.  Turns out that piece is hard to find.  Home Depot and Lowe’s had 1/2″ oak veneer plywood, or 3/8″ of poplar or other lesser woods.  We figured we would have to find it at a specialty wood shop in south Austin, although I couldn’t find any online.  But, at one point we were driving through Burnet, passing by a cabinet maker he knew who was retiring and closing down his business.  We popped in and he had a piece that I could buy back at the shop at his house.  Score!  We felt really lucky that dad noticed the guy cleaning out his building as we passed by and that he had the piece available. We were able to get the other parts: hinges, L-brackets, magnetic catches, pull handles, etc. at Home Depot and at a True Value hardware store.

First thing to do was to make holes in the sides.  I didn’t really think I needed holes spaced an inch or two the whole way down.  We did holes at 4″ intervals, then the next day I asked to add a couple of spots with 2″ intervals.  That should allow enough flexibility for shelf placement.  Having a wood shop with a drill press is handy!

Preparing the sides

Preparing the sides

Sides with holes and the top/bottom/center pieces and 8 more shelves.

Sides with holes, and the 3 top/bottom/center pieces with 8 more shelves. (Before adding the additional holes.)

The cabinet was built at neighbor Don’s “Garage Majal”.  My dad and his buds Alan and Don love working on whatever project anyone comes up with.

Building the cabinet

Building the cabinet with Alan

Adding the door hinges

Adding the door hinges with Don

Once the cabinet was built I got busy sanding and staining.  My dad had a power sander, so that made short work of prepping the pantry.  I already had some stain that was a close match to my rig’s interior from making the solar monitor mounting plate.  It really worked well on the red oak.  After sanding I let it dry then sanded it with steel wool.  Then applied a lacquer finish, and went over it with steel wool again.

Sanding and staining

Sanding and staining

Andy wrote about stain-able oak veneer iron-on edging for the edge of the door.  The side of plywood is not pretty.  I picked up some “Band-It” at Lowe’s and it took the stain really well.  It ironed on well, too.  It’s wider than the 3/8″ plywood, so we trimmed the excess with a box cutter knife.

Iron-on Trim

Staining the iron-on trim

Then, we got the door put back on and attached it to the wall with the L-brackets.  We really wanted to attach to something besides just the wood paneling on the back of the shower wall. There aren’t vertical studs in the wall there, but we did find a couple of horizontal pieces with the stud finder, so screwed into those.

Here it is, finished and mounted.  I was even able to find the decorative medallion handle piece that Andy used.  I really liked the idea of having a pull knob that doesn’t stick out.

New Pantry

New Pantry

And, we were able to keep the accordian door that lives on the side there.  Andy had removed his to move the pantry further back, as he didn’t use that door much.  I use that door A LOT, probably a few times a week.  I didn’t want to lose it to gain the pantry.  I want it all, of course!

The little hook and eye piece was the hardest to find.  Generally those type pieces found at hardware stores are crude, barn door type fixtures.  Finally, I found this little guy below, at Home Depot in Austin.

View of side of door showing iron-on trim and door hardware

View of side of door showing iron-on trim and door hardware

The door is held closed with the 3 magnetic catches.  The hook/hasp is extra security when traveling.

Interior View

Interior View

One problem we had was the spot was right in front of the duplex outlet for the back of the coach.  We had to cut out a hole in the back for the outlet, then cut a hole in the side so I can run a cord through the side.  I have a power strip plugged in there now, so I can just plug into that as needed.  One major item we did differently than Andy’s plans was to put a backing board (1/4″ thick) on the pantry.  It made it easier to get the thing square, and didn’t add much weight-wise.  But, then we had to deal with the plug.  Easy fix, though

Cutouts for electrical outlet

Cutouts for electrical outlet

All loaded up:

Pantry in use

Pantry in use

I found a package of 10 hangers at the dollar store one day.  These are good heavy wire.  I cut the tops off with snips, then bent for shelf guards, like Andy shows on his site.

Making wire shelf guards

Making wire shelf guards

I’ve only added 2 so far.  I bungled up those shelves making the holes with my Dremel tool.  I packed my good Dewalt cordless drill this trip, so will get that out one of these days and make proper holes in the other shelves for the wire hanger guards to sit in.  Surprisingly the stuff doesn’t move around much in travel.  I have not opened the pantry and had anything fall out yet.  Yet.  So, I really should get the rest of the wire guards up.  🙂

Altogether, the materials cost $182.  Plus, the invaluable time and efforts of my dad (and Don and Alan).  I think it’s a great addition to my home!

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Back to the Mountains

After Denver we went west on I-70 to pick up Hwy 40 past Idaho Springs and head north.  It’s a pretty steady climb to Idaho Springs, and then Hwy 40 zig-zags up to Berthoud Pass at 11,307 ft. elevation.  That’s a tough climb.  We were heading to Hot Sulphur Springs where we would meet Chris at the city’s Pioneer Park.  They have campsites in the park, right on the Colorado River.  We spent 2 days there and Chris had a good time fly-fishing right near our site.  It was a great spot, except for the train tracks next door.  Lots of trains, lots of train horns, including overnight.  Other than that it was a nice little spot.  Tiny little town, nice to walk around it in the evening.

Colorado River at Hot Sulphur Springs

Colorado River next to our campground at Hot Sulphur Springs

Next we were going to a spot that Chris had heard of called Rabbit Ears Pass.  It’s on Hwy 40 on the way to Steamboat Springs.  I checked the Escapees Days End directory and saw a few listings for the pass area.  Looking at Google Maps, there seemed to be  a couple of good boondocking spots right at the top of the pass.  We pulled in and really liked the site.  We were back in the forest, yay!  It’s at about 9,700 feet elevation, so the weather was very nice and cool.

Rabbit Ears Site

Rabbit Ears Site, Routt National Forest

By the way, while in Golden we were packed in like Sardines at the Golden Terrace RV “Resort”.  But, my neighbors were all just great, and the other residents I met at the dog run were really nice.  Again, glad to have a site for a month for $500, no complaints, but it was good to be back in the forest with no one around.

Golden Terrace RV "Resort"

Neighbors (L-R) Jerry, Jay, Jim and Carol were all super nice.

There was a trail-head just across the highway from our site and it took us to the Rabbit Ears Trail, which we hiked part way.  Then, on another day, we drove to the trail-head and hiked the full trail.  It gets pretty steep near the top.  The views up there were great!

Rabbit Ears

Rabbit Ears

Rabbit Ears View South

Rabbit Ears View South

Rabbit Ears View East

Rabbit Ears View East

One of the rabbit 'ears' up close.

One of the rabbit ‘ears’ up close.

    - "Riley, you stand by Chris for a picture."     - "No, I want to stand over there by you."

“Riley, you stand by Chris for a picture.”
 “No, I want to stand over there by you.”

While we were at Rabbit Ears the USA Pro Challenge cycling race came through.  Rabbit Ears Pass was a ‘King of the Mountain’ site for the riders to earn points.  We could see it from our site, but we took our chairs out by the road and sat with another couple that had parked there to watch the race.

Rabbit Ears King of the Mountain site

Rabbit Ears King of the Mountain stage from our spot

It was a great viewing site as the riders came over the hill and started the descent into Steamboat Springs.  Jens Voigt had built up a major lead up the mountain and he was first past us.  He would later lose the lead as the Peleton caught up to him within a mile or 2 of the end of the stage.

Here comes the leader, Jens Voigt.  And the camera person, and lots of support vehicles.

Here comes the leader, Jens Voigt.  Plus the camera person, and lots of support vehicles.

The Peleton goes whizzing by.

Later the Peleton went whizzing by.

It was really cool to be so close to the action of the race.  I had never seen a bike race in person.  The number of support vehicles that precede and follow the race was phenomenal.  The couple we watched with (they were from Florida) followed cycling and were able to tell us who was who and what was what during the race.  It was nice sitting with folks who could answer our newbie questions.

One day we had a visit from our friends John and Linda.  We had met them at the Lazy Daze gathering in Quartzsite in January.  They were on their way back to Colorado Springs from a trip to Grand Tetons National Park.  Their route back home took them pretty close to us so they swung by and spent a night at our spot.  It was so good to visit with them again.  The day they came I was working on changing out my house batteries, which were about 6 years old and not really holding a charge anymore.  So, Chris and John took them out and I drove Chris’ truck to the Napa in Steamboat Springs for a couple of new 6 volt golf cart batteries.  Then the guys hooked them up. Linda took a picture in the middle of it and she posted it on her blog, Adventures with Sadie. Our visiting got cut short by rain in the evening, and the next morning it was very foggy when they were about to leave.  But, I still got a pic before they took off.  Looking forward to visiting with them again in Abiquiu, NM later this month, and at the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque in October.

Chris, John, Linda

Chris, John, Linda

View from my site with low clouds

View from my site with low clouds

The next morning was Saturday, so we went in to Steamboat Springs to go to the Farmer’s Market and stroll the town.

Steamboat Springs Farmer's Market, next to the courthouse lawn

Steamboat Springs Farmer’s Market

It’s a really pretty town.  They must have strict ordinances about buildings, even the McDonald’s looked like a ski chalet.  There were some very nice statues around town.  I liked the ones of Abe Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain. at the benches on one corner.

Bench Statues

Bench Statues

Mark Twain

Mark Twain, with Tom Sawyer and Rebecca

View down the main street, toward the ski mountain.

Lincoln Street and ski runs shown on the mountain

Lincoln Avenue and ski runs shown on the mountain

While camped at Hot Sulphur Springs and Rabbit Ears Pass I/we did some work on the rig.  We (97% Chris) changed my water pump, which was starting to fail.  I hung an IKEA LED light above my back window like I did in my prior RV, and another of the same light above my dinette (I love that light fixture.)  I put in a gooseneck faucet in the kitchen, same fixture as my dad and I put in the last rig.  Mostly I was able to do it myself with Chris supervising and checking my work.

Next we wanted to go to Leadville.  I had found a couple of possible forest sites west and southwest of town and, at 10,000 feet elevation, should be cool enough.  On the way we stopped at Wolford Campground near Kremmling.  I needed to get a full charge on my new batteries (my 85 watt solar panel wasn’t cutting it) and needed a plug in site.  The Wolford site was better than a cramped RV park.  Chris did a little fishing in the lake, but he prefers fly fishing in rivers.

Wolford Reservoir

Wolford Reservoir.  Chris is there – a dot along the shore towards the right side.

Will write about our visit to Leadville next.

Is this a perfect site or what?

Is this a perfect site or what?