The RV Road Trip Part-Timer's Blog for September 2015

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1
2015
We decided against installing laminate flooring in the van... for 2 reasons: 1) We would have had to buy the tools necessary to cut it, and 2) we didn't think we had the skills necessary to install it and have it end up looking decent. We made a trip to Home Depot and purchased a section of Armstrong brand vinyl flooring. It comes in a 12' wide roll, so we bought 6.5 linear feet. This was our cheapest option and even with my 10% veteran's discount, it was still $74.00.

Installation was very easy, we just laid it in the van and unrolled it. We lined up one side and used a box cutter to trim around the wheel well. We then went to the other side and trimmed the entire edge to fit. The last part was trimming the length at the back doors. We smoothed it out nicely and installed several of the tie downs that came with the van. This will hold the vinyl in place and also serve as a way to secure things while the van is in motion (like the wheelchair).

It looks pretty good although the pattern runs side to side instead of front to back, but we really don't care about that. The vast majority of the floor will be covered when it is all said and done. The next step is to build Jerry's side of the van, can't do Cynthia's side until the lift is in. [48]


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5
2015
[49]


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10
2015
Today, we migrated our websites to a new server. We moved from a west coast data center to an east cost data center in hopes of improving response times across all of our sites. Our host is Web Hosting Hub and we have been with them for years, but recently service went to crap. I think the server we were hosted on got some massive traffic and couldn't handle it all, so a move was our only option. We are still with Web Hosting Hub until March 2016 when it will be time to renew. If service has not improved by then, we will switch providers.

Work on the van is chugging along slowly. We're just trying to make darn sure we don't have to redo anything because of poor design or stupid mistakes. We've already made a few minor mistakes that cost us about $100 in wasted materials, but this is learning process for us. We don't really mind, we are really enjoying building the campervan ourselves.

The next step is to purchase the A/C unit and the batteries. That will be a good chunk of change, about $500. They will be placed under the bed on the driver's side and that is what we are building out now. It is still not cool enough to camp without A/C, so that is a priority. The weather man says temps will be in the 70s next week so we will be able to work longer in the mornings. Our goal is to have enough done to camp in the van by mid to late October. [50]
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15
2015
The UPS man brought the A/C unit for the van today. We took it out of the box and plugged it in to make sure it worked... and it does. We can't install it until the exhaust vent arrives from Europe. Bummer. The converter should arrive this week, along with the battery boxes. We'll be able to hook that up once it arrives, enabling us to plug the van into shore power and have it distributed throughout the van.

We're at a loss on how to cover the ceiling. Lauan, hardboard, ABS plastic, tongue and groove boards... ARGH! We did decide on a wood grain paneling for the upper side walls, we'll see how that decision holds up in the long run. We keep having trouble finding the right size and color fasteners to hang this stuff with. It is always "the size is right but not the right color" or vice versa. Anyway, enough about that. Below is a picture of Jerry's bed frame being constructed. It will have a hinge point so we can have access to the batteries and whatever else will be under there. It will be covered in a light gray carpet material when done. We should at least get his side done this week. [51]


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16
2015
Well, well, well... the battery boxes and the converter arrived today. One came by FedEx and the other from the mail lady. We cut the holes in the bed frame where the A/C will stick through as well as where the converter will be mounted. The A/C didn't come with a drain hole because the unit is supposed to not need one... yeah, right! We cut a drain hole in and also a hole in the floor, now we need to find some tubing the right size to use as a drain tube. That shouldn't be too hard to find. We drilled the drain hole in the floor about 4 inches from the back of the A/C in case we get a bigger unit one day. The one we have is 6000 BTU which really should be more than enough, but you never know.

We have 2 batteries right now but will leave space for 2 more in case we need them. They really do take up a lot of space once you put them in the van. Wiring up this converter/charger is going to be a challenge, but it will nice once it is done. The weather is getting hot again so we had to quit for today. I sure hope we get this all done before the 3rd weekend in October for a Fall Colors trip! [52]
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19
2015
You know, our government could make budget cuts in a lot of places... but guess where they hit first? The veterans! The VA says they won't pay to put in an occupied wheelchair lift so I guess we'll have to pay for it ourselves. We got 2 estimates and the cheapest was $6,100.00. Yeeeouch. I reckon we'll keep an eye on Craigslist and eBay for used lifts. Thanks, Obama. [53]
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21
2015
Yay! We got to add South Carolina to our map of states visited together. We took the van up to Winston-Salem, NC today and drove through part of South Carolina along the way. We left early this morning and will spend the night tonight in Winston-Salem before picking up a wheelchair lift in the morning. As soon as we get it loaded, we will make the drive back home. We wish this could be more of a pleasure trip, but it isn't. Oh well, perhaps another day. [54]
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27
2015
Last night we went to the Deontay Wilder VS Johann Duhaupas fight in Birmingham, AL. Our son-in-law in Deontay's trainer so we got passes... but Cynthia had to work for them! Deontay got a TKO victory in the 11th round even though both of them were pretty banged up. It was a good fight, I suppose. We're just not boxing fans, really. One bonus was Jerry got to pose with some extremely skinny girls who were advertising Corona beer. Below is a shot of that. He kept saying, "Those girls need some biscuits and gravy so they can put on a little weight." [55]


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29
2015
Well, the wheelchair lift is now completely installed and wired. It is fully operational, yay! We went with the relay / isolator setup and wired the wheelchair lift to the vehicle battery. The lift will not operate without the ignition on (we will always start the van) and this is how we wanted it to be. These lifts are notorious for draining batteries if the van isn't driven daily, even when not in use, so this setup will keep that from happening. Plus, the wire run was significantly shorter.

The on/off toggle for the lift is in a bad position if you want to reach it from inside the van, so we will mount a new switch up on the van wall. This way it can easily be turned on and off from inside or out. This switch turns on the lift lights and applies power to the handheld controller.

Next up:
  • Fabricate the A/C exhaust duct and cut a 11"x11" hole into the side wall of the van, and a 4"x10.5" hole into the floor as a fresh air intake.
  • Install the male 15A power inlets at the back of the van and hook up the converter/charger.
  • Finish sealing the battery box and run the vent. [56]

 
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