Tag Archive: Getting Ready For a Long RV Trip

Revving up to GO

It’s early May and the LT Daisy is getting a fiberglass waxing. My neighbors don’t see me out front that often, especially not sitting on the ground, on the curb laboring.  The house I live in has an unusable driveway, so my camper is parked on the street.  It’s not so comfortable and with too fast drivers not my favorite place to spend an afternoon but other than residual fatigue from short-sleep nights am relatively content.

More Room For the Dogs! Seen from the outside door, looking in towards the back of the van.

Seen from the inside, looking at the back. plenty of room for the dogs to sleep under the bed instead of in the walkway where there’s a constant scramble for space.

I hope to do that video walk-though I never accomplished the last time I mentioned it. Everything in my RV has a place. Am trying a few things different having decided to eliminate crates and exercise pen which were stored under the bed/couch and instead make that area available for my dogs. It’s an experiment. All the little things that start to encode on my patience as I travel I’m attempting to change. Like the frigid air purring past the door seals; sometime soon will replace them, for now I bought a can of slide seal and applied the lubricant to every door and window, something I should have done sooner as they all have tiny cracks. Then I applied sound proofing closed cell foam tape weather stripping wherever I could.

Covering the dash has been an issue as Mason as well as Jeana insist on climbing up there when I’m away from the van. I tried using Clawguard  Protection Tape – Ultimate Pet Shield but found it did not work. The material is difficult to apply and once applied is highly reflective, not so great when one is driving, and it’s slippery, not so great for the safely of my dogs. (For a different application likely useful.) Instead I taped a piece of thick cardboard to the dash panel where they climb up, it’s taped into the glove box…  you just have to image the layout, but it works; have covered this with decorative paper so it looks a bit less bohemian, this provides a nice protection from thick canine nails. I really don’t mind if they want to be up there, esp Mason cannot see where it is I’ve gone. They are less likely to bark or to be stressed if they can stare out in the direction I’ve disappeared. It comforts them and I’m a softy, what makes my dogs happy, makes me happy as long as they are safe and well-behaved. Looks so funny to see 2 of my dogs squished up there flat as they can get…  oh, I see them scrambling down as quick as they can when they see me approaching! Silly dogs. Somewhere I have a camera that links to my cell phone, need find that and see if I can set it up in the camper.

For the first time I have a kitchen trash bag that does not need to sit on the rather limited counter: Attach-A-Trash The Hanging Trash Bag Holder. A simple idea, it holds the trash bag to the counter. Who knows if it will work and I see there are cheaper ones. I think it will be great, I don’t generate a lot of trash so I splurged and bought compostable trash bags, ( Unni ASTM6400 Certified 100 Percent Compostable Bags.)  I don’t want plastic everything. I’m tired of plastic even if my grandfather found his fortunes in plastic. Plastic in the ocean, in the stomachs of creatures that starve with full bellies, haven’t you noticed how much comes wrapped in plastic! Stores no longer give these out for free so purchasing some makes sense, about $9 for 100 bags.  I’d like to banish throw away plastic from my life but it’s not easy unless I request never wrapped packages and bulk products in biodegradable boxes.

No one but me or another RVer would get excited about this next item: Camco RhinoFLEX 5 ft RV Sewer Hose Extension Kit with Swivel Fitting and 2 end caps! This little hose will save me having to drag out the big guy and wrestle with it, and like a slinky toy it collapses with fun crinkly noise into a much smaller length for storage.  Am very happy I now have this.

My van will be stocked with my travel watercolor painting system. I’ll talk about that later and how it works out.

I’ve cleaned and uncluttered the van, the serpentine belt has been replaced along with a motor mount, oil changed, lubed, brakes checked, air-conditioning checked, tires rotated, propane tank filled; I applied some chalkboard like contact paper to the refrigerator so I can make notes or draw pictures on it. I have not fixed the generator problem nor the power to the refrigerator problem which means I’ll still be running the propane 24/7 except on a Ferry, to keep food cold. My mechanic, Bruce and his son Bruce of Bruce’s Auto in Goleta, (who gets to write Bruce three times!) checked and the frig is getting current but nothing is happening so likely I can replace the board, but hasn’t happened (yet.)

I’ve used Velcro to repair the broken hinge to the freezer compartment and will add some duct tape to get a good seal so I can carry ice cream! There are scores of little things, upkeep things I’ve done the best I can with while limiting expenses. I found I had 2, yep 2! super large umbrellas, so extra stuff like that has been bunted out to find itself a place somewhere in the house or one of the storage sheds.

Have trimmed Lagotti coats short, given pedicures to all 4 dogs and we all know how much dogs love having their nails done…  (baths to come) paid upcoming bills, told my bank I would be traveling, registered for summer classes, renewed credit cards, applied for Amazon 5% discount card, renewed camping memberships, picked up paper maps, signed up for medicare and supplemental insurance, made arrangements with my volunteer jobs and Board responsibilities, puppy people, made arrangements to start re- teaching Nose Work when I return, working on organizing a committee for the Lagotto Club, taught my dogs something about real truffles, fought viciously with a little laptop that would not comply…  am now back to my old one which badly needs to be updated but it works!  Still struggling to update my very annoying Garmin GPS. . . Jeana managed to come into Heat and that came with its own long list. Had my teeth cleaned, hair trimmed, still need to pick up a pair of jeans, vet visit coming up, eye exam will have to wait until my return,but dogs need theirs so I can fulfill new breeder requirements, cleaned the house, the yard, replanted anything I don’t think will make it until summer without help…  you get the idea, the list gets e n o r m o u s l y long somehow.  Will see what day I actually leave… towards the end of this coming week??? Am short on sleep, did I mention that already! The power was off yesterday again but it’s all good!

What’s so great about the Great Lakes? 

Getting Ready for Alaska

I’ve decided to take the LT to Alaska. Later I will replace her for that updated bathroom and improved insulation I so want, am keeping that a secret from her ears while we get ready for a long journey. There are so many things I adore about my LT. She’s so very comfy with the roomy isles, plush seats and my bed looking out the back doors which I can often position to face nature’s big smile. It’ doesn’t hurt either that at 19.5 feet we fit in many parking spots.

The LT is scheduled for a trip check next week. Meanwhile I have my list of to do’s:

  1. Sketeer’s Beaters  for the front windows; I purchased the gray Yellowstone’s… they will need a little adjusting but are the right size for the LT, I called before I ordered. I suspect it will be hot at least at times, I heard it was 100 degs in Anchorage last summer, so these will allow open windows sans bugs!!!
  2. Mosquito netting to handcraft bug screens for the side and rear doors: I bought 5 yards of white no-see-ems mosquito netting from amazon… Undecided if the netting will require hems. The Sketeer Beaters have hems. The yardage I bought is exactly the measured size of the rear door so I will turn it the other way if I do need hems. I bought some extra magnets on the recommendation of staff at Sketeer Beater to close the flaps on the “curtain-doors.” My best idea is to duct tape the netting/door to the door jamb and roll it back into tie strips when not in use. …  I considered installing curtain rods but given the shape and placement of the doors it seemed too complicated. I found a very helpful company in Australia that is willing to handcraft a solution for the rear   I’d definitely recommend them, they answer quickly and seem very helpful and another company that will cut to order a door for the side opening, this is the kind of door it would be  (just click on the link)  …  if you search around the Internet you’ll find a company that will make them to fit. That said after a lot of thought I’ve decided to go with a homemade job.
  3. I bought a Valterra fan for the ‘frig.  Should have done this long ago but I did not understand that in order to cool an RV frig faster and more efficiently esp in higher digit heat this extra circulation is needed. I’ll try to find the explanation and post it.  The product had some bad reviews about how the batteries fit but am hoping for the best.
  4. I lost one of my 30 amp to 15 amp adaptors so I bought a Pigtail Adapter type as a replacement.
  5. Ned to repair some loose screws inside that are holding curtains; not sure if the screws will need to be remounted as they simply do not hold. This could be a little tricky so I don’t wind up with extra holes in the vinyl interior covering.
  6. Another loose item is the passenger side mirror. It will not stay in place, will be asking the mechanic to take a look at this.
  7. The rear side window again has a broken gear… I bought a new gear…  will take to the mechanic.
  8. My most challenging interior item is to fashion a second bed. Yes, you heard me right…. For the first time I’m taking a human passenger along on a trip!!!! I have an offer of borrowing 2 tents. Those will be perfect for nights at campgrounds but boondocking will likely require sleeping inside. It was suggested to me that I try a hammock!  I love this idea. I love hammocks anyway so I started researching and found an incredible array of hammocks. Some feel sleeping in a hammock full time is much better for your back and for a good night’s sleep. This does require a bit of learning and studying as there is a right way and a wrong way to sleep in hammock. Likewise there are hammocks for interior use and others for outside. I may buy one of the outside hammocks with complete bug netting just for the fun of it…  oh, silly me I wish somehow the hammock could suspend itself without the need of trees or carting along some sort of stand that wouldn’t fit in my little RV anyway. Yep, if somebody could invent that…  a self suspended hammock LOL. I called several hammock stores and got the bad news which I’ll explain: I’d decided to hang the hammock from the passenger door to the side entry door. That a little over 6.5 feet. Turns out that’s not enough space. For a hammock to have a flat space for a body to lie and not budge down like a chair swing there needs to be closer to 9 feet, perhaps one could do 7 or 8 feet in a pinch…  more in this case is better. Of course not being the believing type I’d want to try it out for myself with the extra part of the hammock twirled and locked outside the van. Outside Momma show how to hang a hammock inside a van should you want to try it.  My passenger has offered to sleep on the floor, this may be the only option however it’s not optimal. The floor on the LT is in several levels, necessarily lugging filler material to create a flat sleeping surface…  and the obvious is that the aisle will be filled blocking the bathroom, stove, frig, any late night craving will be off-limits.  So I went back to plan numero uno…  trying to make the front seats into a bed.  Oh how I wish that pesky passenger seat was hinged to lay flat!!!  I’ve tried off and on to create an angled platform …  angling from the drivers side to the side doors but my mechanical aptitude is low. I have a condition called too many aptitudes which makes such a person a drifter with accomplished projects and a lifetime of just getting by…  I only score low on 2 aptitudes….  why oh why is something so useful as mechanical ability one of them! Then  I found this idea:  the carbunck which is designed for kids but I think can be adapted for an adult. I wrote emailed the company but have not received a reply.  I discovered 2 online building plans for a bunk over the front seats… here’s my favorite:  (remember click the links if you have an interest.) I prefer this canvas and pipe idea to plywood which presents a storage problem  and the canvas just looks more sleep worthy and will provide more room overhead. With luck I can build one, hoping my housemate will help along with an open minded seamstress.  The length from window to window is 6 feet, the distance shrinks to 5 feet by the time one reaches seat level. Well, it’s an idea, once it’s done I’ll see how long it turns out to be.
  9. Other items: clothes… since it’s been at least 4 or 5 years since Jolyon took me to go shopping and given my weight gain….  Yes, I ate my way through loss and mourning most of my clothes either don’t fit or have significant holes.
  10. Will like need to do some work on the blackout / reflective window covers.
  11. A nice new isle rug is in order with a subtle color charge.

 Another Song:    I‘ll See You Again