Quirks and Features

Not every day is an adventure here in Los Angeles. Living outside of my van for the moment is an excellent opportunity to tackle some projects inside the van, not having to worry about putting everything back together enough to move again in an hour or two.

While the build has held up extremely well over the past several thousand miles, the trip across the country did cause a couple of things to come loose. It happens. The pantry flippy shelf is attached to a piece of plywood (replacing a nicer piece of wood that broke in Indiana) that bolts to the metal frame of the pantry. At least, it used to. The nuts fell off at some point, leaving the whole thing held in with nothing but friction. It was a good deal of friction, but now that I’m paused in my travels, it was a good time to bolt it back together. All the hardware I needed was stashed in a bag under the bed, so it was easy. Trisha built this, but it’s not her fault it came loose. It just happens.

The outlet for the refrigerator/freezer developed a loose connection — again. To finish Route 66, I simply plugged it into another outlet. But I designed my electrical system to run the fridge on its own dedicated circuit and wanted to get it back there. It turns out the original outlet I installed physically broke, perhaps the result of some weight being placed on it inside or outside the cabinet.

I had two spare outlets. I installed one of them, only to find that the plug for the fridge was too big to fit inside the one I installed. You know how 12-volt outlets are supposed to be one standard size? They’re not. So I had to remove the first outlet and install the other one, checking first to make sure the fridge would actually plug into it. Rather than an outlet on the side of the pantry, I mounted it completely inside this time. The hole that used to hold the outlet is now a pass-thru for the plug to run inside to the outlet, mounted vertically inside one of the supports. This is much more out of the way now and should prevent whatever problems caused the first one to break.

I moved my Olympian Wave 3 heater to a much higher mounting location on the side of the pantry. You haven’t seen much of it because it was sandwiched between the pantry and the fridge, a completely useless place for it. The heater got installed during part of the mad dash after the fire and I wasn’t there to supervise, or come up with a different idea when it didn’t work the way I thought it would. It was also spring, and not an issue at that point. Now that it’s cooling off, there have been nights I would’ve liked to use the heater, but couldn’t. That’s no longer an issue.

Like my original design down below, the heater is on a hinged panel that rotates away from the pantry. While the hose inlet won’t allow it to point toward the bed, I can at least point it into empty space, then use a fan to blow the warm air toward the bed or wherever I happen to be. In her infinite wisdom (I mean that sincerely), Trisha kept a few wood scraps that were perfect to screw the hinges into inside the pantry for a solid fit.

I lose my peg hook storage I used to use on this wall, but that’s okay. It’s November, and heat is more important than a little more storage. When I tested it, I wasn’t able to get the heater to fire. I don’t think my propane tank is empty, but it’s possible. I need to check on that and get it refilled before heading to the Arizona desert.

Since Carolyn has an air compressor, I topped off the tire pressures for both the van and the bike, as well as hit the bike with a little touch-up paint. It needs a new chain, which has been quite an adventure trying to find, order, and have shipped to me in a reasonable period of time. It’s now a week since I ordered it from the first place, which ghosted me. I resorted to Amazon, and even there it got delayed in shipping. The sprockets and chain tool have already arrived.

Finally, I called a local shop Carolyn recommended to see when they could check out my vacuum leak issues for me. They said bring it right over! I’m used to shops being booked a week or three out. I loaded the bike on the back, brought them the van, and rode the bike back to Carolyn’s. Now is the perfect time to bite the bullet and get this fixed properly, since I’ve already moved out of the van anyway.

The only work I still need to do inside is clean or replace the dirty faucet tubing, and reorganize the pantry the way I want it, not the way Trisha had it. Naturally, the new bike chain arrived just after I dropped off the van at the shop. I’ll wait to do that job until I have the van back. I don’t like being stuck without a functioning vehicle.

There’s a lot going on besides fun and games. Now is the right time and place to get all this done, thanks to Carolyn’s hospitality. I might as well have everything all ship shape before heading back to the middle of nowhere Arizona, while I have all the resources I need.

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