Archive for 2014

My Heart is a Big Red Dot

February 24th, 2014

We have met a lot of colorful people and characters since we’ve been on the road. Often, I remember them much more vividly than the places. During a conversation about quilting tonight, I was brought back to one of our early adventures in the camper. It was the one where we tried our hand at “stealth boondocking” for the first time. I think it was this day.

Being in central FL, we decided to head to the beach and stay the night in a nearby neighborhood. We drove around for a couple of hours and never found a place we felt comfortable staying overnight. Finally, and way late a night, we just pulled into a Lowes parking lot. I heard every car that drove by that night. We expected to be rousted at any minute. Thankfully, it never happened.

All that is still in my mind somewhere, but what really stuck out the most was our first real interaction with another traveler. While having the hardest time trying to maneuver the camper in the extremely full, tiny beach parking lot, we saw a woman with a trailer so small it was hard to believe she could lay down in it. On it’s side, in plastic roadside marquee letters, it read “My Heart is a Big Red Dot”.

The woman, who was a bit forward for this conservative southern girl, beckoned us and told us of her travels. She said that, as she goes from place to place, she helps people deal with the grief of a passed loved one by helping them make a quilt from said loved one’s clothing. I must admit, I found it odd.

Her camper was dubbed “The Mantra Trailer”. She asked us what our mantras were. She told us that she had a recording studio inside of the trailer where she records people speaking their mantras. She invited us in. We declined. Apparently we weren’t the only ones. Later I found her blog and, it seems that she hadn’t had much luck with getting Floridians to open up and come inside.

I think back to that day and who I was. The road has really changed my perception of things and people.

mantratrailer


This image is from her blog. You can see the cab over of our camper behind her trailer. Her trailer had a recent someone’s mantra on it.

Van Rebuilding

January 23rd, 2014

Thanks to the forethought of family, we are able to rebuild the van while still on the east coast. And it is none too soon. The body was starting to show some rust from the months we spent camping on the Texas coast. And, after living with our previous design for just over a year, we are ready for improvements.

On the inside, we pulled out all of our furniture, ripped out the plastic, took up the rubber, and removed floor padding to expose all of the metal. All surfaces received a good cleaning. Then, all flecks of rust and bad paint were removed. A good spray of primer was followed by glossy white rustolium. The inside of the van was a beautiful white palette.

It was time to consider the insulation. For the floor, we tossed the old compressed, and probably original carpet padding that was under the rubber mat and replaced it with a layer of 6# carpet padding. We tripled it up in the “living area” for extra comfort. The rubber mat was in good condition, paid for and easy to clean, so it was a keeper. We layed it right back down where we found it.

The roof is done. We are still working on our walls. At this point we feel a little envy for those folks who have cargo vans with out windows. They can just slap whole sheets of insulation and wall cover up. We’ve had to think of ways to deal with the wings and the parts that make them work. We’re still trying to figure it out. We are trying to use a lot less wood this time around and that makes fabricating a lot harder. When we pulled everything out of the van, I swear the body gained three inches of clearance. A decent amount of the weight was wood furniture.

Time to cut the insulation

Right now, we have placed a layer of reflectix. We followed it up with Polystyrene. We threw canned foam into the frame holes and any gaps around the styrofoam. Lastly, we are covering that up with insulation board. All together, it was the best weight, R-value, price ratio we could find on the spot.

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