Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Ups and Downs: Windows and Jacks

Thursday February 18 & Friday February 19, 2016                                     Most Recent Posts:
Darren Glass Company, Sebring, Florida                                                      Plans Go Awry
Koreshan State Historic Site, Estero, Florida                                    Poisonous Bean Creates Quite a Stir


There are two big questions in today’s post. 
The first has nothing to do with the post and everything to do with my attempt to make plans for this summer.  If you can recommend things we should not miss on our way from Virginia through Pennsylvania to Niagara Falls, over to the Finger Lakes and into Vermont, please comment and let me know.  The jello plan isn’t made in stone so suggest away even if it requires a reroute.  I trust your recommendations.
The other question is about rig washing and is in the post. 
Thanks in advance for your help.



Today before we leave Highlands Hammock, I take a picture of each of the back bedroom crank out windows to show how seriously fogged they are. I love crank out windows since you can have them open even when it rains but I haven’t been able to see through the bottom panes for far too long.





They look even worse close up.





Since we don’t have the jacks down or the slides out (see yesterday’s post), we pull out in the morning to make a stop at the dump station and arrive at Darren Thomas Glass by 9:00am.

We are having these back windows replaced with their Never Fog Windows. Rather than take our double pane windows out, clean the moisture, reseal and reinstall them as other places do, Darren Thomas replaces our glass with two panes of glass which have a solid polymer bond polished so you cannot see it. There is no air space or gap. The glass is flat dried and polished. The color is the same as our former windows with the same insulating value.

The deal cincher is the life time warranty. Something goes wrong, they fix it, no question. Darren’s a fairly young man so I don’t think Winnona will outlive him.



Darren Thomas Glass has been a family owned and run business for the past 35 years. Darren was replacing auto windshields by the time he was 16 and says he has the back problems years of such heavy lifting will cause.

They are ready for us when we arrive. Darren’s wife Meri greets us and gives us the gate code, the wifi code and a map with local restaurants and attractions on it.

Meri is leaving to represent the company at an RV Rally in Sarasota so she introduces me to Miss Grace, as Darren calls her, at the front desk who will take care of us while Meri is gone.

We move Winnona to their RV hook up section across from the Bays where they do the work. The RV sites have 30/50 amp power and water. I think there are 7 or 8 sites. There was only one other rig there when we arrived but there are two in the shop. All their bays are large enough for RVs.








Soon enough it is Winnona’s turn to move inside.





They take the old windows out. Luckily they do not have to remove the frames.




Cut the new ones to the exact shape of the old and reinstall them.










By 6:00, everyone is gone and we have the entire place to ourselves with a beautiful sunset. We spend the night in our site waiting for the adhesive to set and cure so they will be fixed in place before we leave. Boy do they look nice. Too dark for pictures but I’ll get some tomorrow.






In the morning, they check things out, open and close the windows and all is ready to roll except that there is a blemish on the finish below one of the windows that came about when they were removing the original window pane.  They say it is from the original sealant that held the pane in place and somehow it came in contact with the side of the coach.  The staff tries their best to get it out but it doesn’t come out completely.  Darren takes over.  He is determined to remove it. He’s planned to join his wife at the Rally but he takes his time working on this.





He’s successful.  No sign of the spot.  Once he’s gotten the spot out, the process he has used has made a beautiful white area under the window. So he goes above and beyond to take the time and trouble to clean around the entire area and blend it in.  If only the entire coach looked as good as this.




What we learn here is that Darren Thomas cares a great deal about the quality of his work and about his customers’ satisfaction. We also learn that the products he has used will deal superbly with the fiberglass oxidation we have. Those little gray spots and spider webs that we have not been able to get out drive me crazy. I am elated!  We actually can bring Winnona back to pretty much original condition. 

This is a HUGE piece of knowledge for us. We’ll pass this information along as well as soon as we put it to the test ourselves. And to top it all off Darren gives David permission to wash a seriously dirty Winnona in their the lot.




We could not be happier in dealing with this excellent family business. Darren Thomas is a businessman in the old fashioned sense of the word. He is honest, cheerful, thorough and reasonably priced. He cares about his customers. There is no better recommendation than that. We expect no problems at all with these windows but should we have any, we know he and his staff will take care of us.  These are guaranteed to never ever fog again.






Winnona has not had a bath since we returned to Florida. We were in the Keys on the water for two months which means lots of salt. We have been anxious to clean her up but in our style of full timing, we are seldom in a private RV park where they might let you wash your rig. We spend all our time in state and national parks where washing rigs is not allowed. Bringing in a private contractor to wash it for you, even if they bring their own water, is also not permitted. We have looked and looked for a self wash with a bay big enough for an RV and have come up empty handed except for one in Flagler Beach on the East Coast of Florida. I sure would like to put together a list of self wash stations with RV Bays so if you know of one please comment with its name and location.

Thanks to Darren’s water generosity, today is the day. Darren cleaned the back end of the left side and it looks fantastic so David goes to work on the back. He’s done half of it here. Look at the difference.





All finished and boy does she shine! I know she’s a really happy camper now. Thanks Darren and Meri and your crew. It’s been a great experience working with you. Seriously a big UP! Almost makes us forget that we can’t put our jacks down.




We move on to Koreshan State Historic Site where we settle in with a bottle jack we just happen to carry with us, until we can figure out how to get this Downer repaired.




Here’s the jack at work on the Downer.  Thank goodness we will be here for two weeks.  Fingers crossed we can get it fixed in that time and retire this bottle jack again.




But this is the UP, our new windows. I haven’t been able to see out of these lower panes for 3 years. Compare these pictures to the first two pictures in this post.  LOVE IT!!






Sure hope the jack problem is as easy to take care of as the window problem turned out to be.
Everybody has their ups and downs whether you are a full timer or not.


  1. The window repair is a definite winner. . .looks great!

    Once we discovered microfiber towels, we rarely ever drag out the hose and brushes to wash the coach anymore. . .(maybe once a year) usually a good wipe down with a damp microfiber, and a polish with a dry one is all it needs. . .and maybe a going over every third time or so with Maguires Instant Shine Wax or whatever it's called. . .(spray on/wipe off wax) - we discovered this method from being in RV Parks where washing is not allowed. . .gotta do what'cha gotta do. . .

  2. Your new windows look great! We have three that are fogged but don't trust anyone to remove them and get them sealed up so there are no leaks. The factory charges over $1,000 per window to replace them, so we are just doing nothing for now. Maybe we need to make a trip to Florida!
    We use Wash Wax All, a waterless all-in-one wash and polish. Also bought their brush with microfiber pads. It does an excellent job and is so much easier than washing and waxing.

  3. Looks like a wonderful job and Winona looks great. I sent you an email about some of our experiences in the area where you are going.

  4. Montezuma NWR at the top of the Finger Lakes.

  5. Wow the windows looked so nice. With your great review and satisfaction of Darrens job, he will be on our list of possible place to have our fogged windows done. We almost had it done in Tucson but we ran out of time. This could be a good reason to go back to Florida!

  6. Nice job -- I've bookmarked the website for the company in case we decide to replace the windows there at some point ... we have some fogging problems, but nothing too serious yet.

  7. Quite a great business!

    If you're into history, stop in Gettysburg.

  8. You had some seriously foggy windows and they look wonderful now! How great to find such a wonderful company that cares about their customer service. Our windows are fine but I will definitely remember this place when we need our dual pane windows done.

    There is a Blue Beacon near us. We've never been there but have heard it's a good place to wash the RV. You might find one of these down the road sometime. http://www.bluebeacon.com/LocationInformation/LocationList/

  9. What top quality service...! That's great to hear and those windows look great! So does Winnona herself all clean :)

  10. Always nice to get good honest service. Windows look great. I wish the 5er had insulated windows.

  11. Winnona looks beautiful! I know that you are so happy to get that done. Enjoy!

  12. What a difference in the windows, and I hope you can get the jacks fixed soon.

  13. Thanks for the good recommendation for a glass shop. I'm keeping this one on file, RV windows never seem to last. I know I'll need to use this shop one of these days.

    I'm impressed with the shop and the extra mile they went to ensure your total satisfaction, and permission to wash Winnona. You left there with a smile for more than just a new window! :c)

  14. Wow, what an impressive place! Free wifi and a list of restaurants in the area even. Customer service is job one, and can make a huge difference.
    You'll love the Finger Lakes. Lots of hiking, wineries, and Corning Glass is not to be missed. It is in Corning, not far away. Be sure to see Wellesboro, PA, and the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.

  15. I love it when we find service that is so good and can be trusted, to do the things I can't. Highest marks go to Darren Thomas for this job! As a bonus, Darren taught me a lot about fiberglass finishes and demonstrated how we could restore or finish without having to go to a full body paint job. The cleanup won't be easy, but it can definitely be done, and that we did not know. Thanks Darren!

  16. Wow, the windows look great! And what wonderful service you had from that terrific family business. We've not made the trek north, so we'll be looking to you for ideas. :-)

  17. NE travel tips: Last fall we took Amtrak to Albany and rode our fully packed bicycles to Montreal and back along the Hudson River, Lake Champlain then along the Richelieu River to the St. Lawrence seaway to Montreal (850 miles round trip). Of all our bike trips this was the most commercial and crowded so I do not have great memories, especially of private campgrounds (expensive, crowded and old). We rode some awesome bike paths and very much enjoyed the history of the NE. NOW there were a few exceptions: Vermont State Campgrounds were very good, spacious, natural and well maintained (Grand Isle State Park held us during massive rains for a few days and even with the horrible weather I have fond memories). St. Jean sur Richelieu is just across the border (Quebec Province offers wonderful French food and culture) and there is a great bike path (part of the famous Route Verte) along the Richelieu River that contains many locks for pleasure boats. You'll also see lovely neighborhoods, parks, small towns (Chambly), parks. In St. Jean there's a B&B, Auberge Harris, that is awesome, they specialize in hosting cyclists and provide maps for all the great cycling in the area. One attraction in NY to avoid is Ausable Chasm - tourist trap extradinaire!

  18. Hi- If you have not already been recommend Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes I am strongly suggesting! It is beautiful! And do not forget the wine trail. Hollar if you are near Syracuse NY!!! I would love to come by and say hello!!!

  19. Nice windows. Nothing like clear, clean windows. One big vehicle to wash WOW. But it looks good.

  20. Nice windows, great to be able to see out of them again. We haven't been but have heard great things about Watkins Glen SP in NY. VT State parks have no hookups at all but there are many beautiful ones, when we used to tent camp we loved Little River State Park. If you are going to be in the Stowe area and looking at commercial campgrounds let me know...we've been to most of them or driven through them.

  21. Wow! What a difference for you to be able to see out of your windows:) We need to have every window in our MH done. Every single window is fogged. Not to the extent of yours and the fogging only comes out when the sunshines on that side of the MH. We are going to go with the other place mainly because of the weight of the windows. We like what your fellow did but John said to have every window done with that glass would add a lot of weight to the coach. What a pain! Winnona looks so happy all shiny:)

  22. SO sorry about the frustrations of broken jack and broken phone. It makes the service by the window people seem all the more fantastic. People who actually care about the quality of work they produce, and about their customers -- more and more rare! I bet your windows are now a real joy-- it's amazing how sparkling they are!

  23. Wow! What a totally opposite experience from the phone people! You are right in that we are amazed when we get service like that because it rarely ever happens. And he even cared enough to go out of his way to fix a spot on Winnona AND let you wash her! I remember (this was when I was a kid) when repair people used to come to your house (when they said they'd come rather than some time between 8AM and 5PM) and fix stuff and be pleasant and you knew them by name. So glad you have a shiny happy window! xxxooo

  24. What a breath of fresh air to get such wonderful customer service. And Winona's windows are so purty now! Will definitely keep this place in mind.


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