I absolutely loved being in Illinois along the Mississippi, near the little town of Fulton where my Abbott ancestors lived. In fact, it was probably my favorite place to date. In my previous post about Illinois, I included a picture of a gorgeous sunset across the river – I saw many of those. Here are daytime pics in both directions from my campsite at Thomson Causeway:
Toward the end of my stay there, I connected with the very friendly and helpful folks at the Fulton Historical Society, who put me in touch with present-day Abbotts in the area. I promised to provide the Society with my research on the Abbott family, which I first need to write up properly so others can benefit from it.
I spent a delightful afternoon with 91 year old Bill Abbott at a local nursing home. It turned out that he is from a different Abbott line, but I greatly enjoyed hearing his first-hand account of the history of the area. The next day, I had a great chat over coffee with a distant cousin, a descendant of my pioneer ancestor Clark Abbott. Unfortunately, no one had any information on Clark’s parents, which has been a long-standing brick wall for me.
Amazingly, I also discovered some collateral Goodenough relatives who lived in Morrison, the Whiteside County seat. My branch of Abbotts left Illinois in the late 19th century, while the Goodenoughs didn’t arrive until the early 20th century, so the common location was purely coincidental. It was certainly thrilling to see my maiden name on all sorts of dairy farm memorabilia in the Morrison Historical Society’s Heritage Museum!
On the “RV Living” side of things, my microwave got fried. I had decided to steam a bunch of vegetables in advance, so I wouldn’t have to do it in single servings every night. After almost an hour of using the microwave, the breaker blew, and the skin inside the microwave was peeling off.
It was quite distressing because I use the microwave all the time. I cook in batches, freeze serving sized portions, and then use the microwave to warm up a meal. In addition to steaming vegetables, since I don’t have an oven, I often cook a baked potato in the microwave. So it was basically a microwave emergency.
You would think that replacing a microwave is pretty straight forward – you just buy a new one and plug it in, right? Not so. The microwave in my RV is built in to a cabinet, so I knew there would be issues with venting, and with keeping it securely positioned.
I thought about having someone install a new one for me, because I didn’t really want to mess with anything involving the electrical system. I could contact a mobile RV technician who would come out to the campground, but it usually costs somewhere around $100 for the house call, and then the hourly rate for the work can be $125 or more. And my experience with taking it in to a shop, like Camping World, is that they are booked out weeks in advance. So, besides the timing of getting it installed, I didn’t really want to spend the money.
After much angst, I decided to try to replace it myself. How hard could it be? If I failed, I figured I could get help any time in the process.
My first step was to remove it from the cabinet so I could see what I was working with:
It looked do-able, with a simple outlet in the back for the plug. After hours of research online, and of course consultation with my RV expert, ex-husband Eric, I figured out what I needed, and then found one specifically for RV’s that was the correct size for the opening, the correct wattage, the proper venting, and with its own trim kit. So I had it shipped to my next stop – my cousin’s house in Marshfield, Missouri.
I’m skipping a lot of steps, but the short story is that I did it. Here is the final product:
This may not seem like a big deal to you, but for me it was a tremendous challenge. I was SO GLAD not to have to spend the money on professional services, and it felt GREAT to complete a successful DIY project!