A Lot of Little Projects

At this point, I think I’m pretty much done with the large van-build projects I plan to tackle here and now. More will follow later, like actual cabinets and a diesel heater, but not here in Florida, where temperatures now vary between the warm end of reasonable and a sauna. So here’s a picture of Lister enjoying his new cat bed that Yellow Wolf sent. I didn’t think he’d use it at all, but last night, he curled up in it for a little while, so maybe he’ll use it after all.

My missing power inverter finally arrived. It was quite easy to install. I’m wondering why I didn’t do this before! My microwave works perfectly, and the inverter doesn’t have to work hard at all to run it. I celebrated by making myself a bag of microwave popcorn, something I’ve missed in my travels. When I posted about this on Facebook, friends gave me several more cost-effective ways to make quick, easy popcorn. I appreciate the advice and will take it, but where were you the past two years that I’ve gone without?

I also installed my flux capacitor for time travel purposes. When this baby hits 88 mph, you’re going to see some serious… okay, not really. I found this in a box while looking for something else. I didn’t even know I still had it. But it amused me, so I plugged it into one of the 12-volt outlets on my dashboard for now. It’s not like I’m going to be doing 88 mph anyway.

On a more serious note, I bought and installed a combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarm. The one and only working smoke alarm in the entire apartment building I lived in saved my life, so I will always have one in my living spaces, including my home on wheels.

I’d intended to follow Yellow Wolf’s suggestion to use an L-bracket to secure my faucet and keep it from flopping over. The Walmart I was at didn’t have any, so instead I got an eye bolt and secured it to that. It’s the same end result and works great.

I picked up another table to put behind the driver’s seat and protect my electrical system, at least until I build a cabinet around it. I also plan to put my refrigerator on top of it, in a similar location as my previous van. A pair of 12-volt outlets here will power both the fridge and my laptop when I use it in the passenger swivel seat.

Oh yes, I ordered a swivel base for the passenger seat, which should be here in about a week or so. While the bed is a good width for sleeping, it’s too wide to sit on comfortably as a couch. So I’ll use the passenger seat on a swivel as a nice comfortable recliner, just like in my old van.

I still haven’t figured out how I’m going to use Starlink in the new van yet. The roof is too tall for me to climb up and plunk it on top like I used to. I can put the dish on the ground for now if I need to, but not at my family’s place because there is no clear view of the north sky.

I did move the equipment over to the new van, though. The router sits next to the power strip, powering on automatically when I turn on the inverter. I ran the antenna cable down the channel along the side specifically for that. The dish itself fits perfectly on the part of the shelf behind the rear-most support. It’s like I planned it that way, even though I didn’t. The remainder of the excessive length of cable fits perfectly in a space between the van wall and the coroplast I put up to contain the wool insulation. It also looks like it was made for it.

Yet another small task I accomplished was moving my Nature’s Head toilet to the new van. I cut a plywood scrap to the perfect size and shape to fit in the space, then screwed the brackets down to it. Since I’m not using it for composting, I haven’t installed the exterior vent or wiring for the fan. It’s pretty much the world’s most expensive poo bucket and pee bottle for emergencies. But I own it, and I’m not going to throw it away if it still works. Even better, when I’m sitting on the throne, the shelf is high enough that I don’t hit my head on it.

It’s a little detail, but I’m particularly proud of my toilet paper holder under the shelf. It’s just a small bungee cord strung between two of the bolts. I added extra nuts to keep the hooks attached, and it’s done. Even better, the tension of the bungee against the roll keeps it tight against the bottom of the shelf, preventing it from unrolling while I drive — or if Lister decides he wants to play with it.

I didn’t get a picture, but I brought Lister’s new litter box out and confirmed that it will fit perfectly under the bed. Just like the previous van, having bathroom facilities for both of us directly under the roof vent makes it easy to deal with noxious fumes.

I still take regular breaks inside the air-conditioned house to cool off and have a drink. Sometimes this guy visits and demands attention. His name is Moose, and he seems about as large as one.

Finally, I’ve started to actually move into the new van. I moved most of my kitchen over yesterday except for the stove and the refrigerator (I’m waiting on outlets before I put the fridge in). Today I moved most of my clean clothes over. It won’t be much longer until I can spend my first night in the new van, I think. I’m not ready to hit the road yet, but it’ll be good to spend a few days living in it before traveling so I can make any necessary adjustments to my setup before I go.

I ran out of trash bags while cleaning out the old van, so I hopped on my motorcycle to go get some. I hadn’t ridden in a while, and trash bags are small enough to carry on a bike. It was then that I realized I never got around to doing the oil change I bought stuff to do a month ago. I’ve been so busy with van stuff and not riding that it completely slipped my mind. So I did that when I got back.

Note to self: Remove the bash plate under the engine before changing the oil in the future. Not only will access be much easier, but it’ll also be WAY less messy when the oil doesn’t go everywhere! Fortunately, I’d parked on top of one of the large cardboard boxes my solar panels came in, which completely contained the oil that didn’t make it into the drain pan. At least I didn’t turn my uncle and aunt’s yard into a Superfund site.

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