Tag Archives: vandwelling

Upgrading Solar on the Vome

So the time has come to show some more of the VOME build out.  SO, here’s another “how did” video and a little introduction.

I wanted to increase the ability to charge my house batteries in lower light levels, without unpacking the folding  panel and just the overall redundancy the extra panel would provide.  Spending time in all kind of places presents challenges for using solar.  Out west in the desert areas it’s a sure thing you can find the sunshine you need.  The shade of a forest is a different story, no different book.

I mounted the panel from my old van on top of the VOME near the rear since the rooftop real estate was a bit crowded.  My plan was to leave room for expansion, and now we expand.  Let’s look at what I did and “how did” when it came to mounting these on a fiberglass roof.  But first consider the roof is actually two “skins” an outer one and an inner one.  The problem this presents is I can’t get to the outer skin from inside to install a backing plate.  That’s why I’ll be using a fastener called a well nut.IMG_20160813_100404.jpgHere’s a video that explains how these fasteners work… Kayak Fishing – Hardware Installation Options, Rivets and Well Nuts.  Now that you’ve seen how they work let me also point out they work to provide a certain amount on isolation from vibration.  IMG_20160813_100415.jpgThe one I’m using here is for a 1/4″-20 bolt and required a hole that was 1/2″ in diameter to allow it to be inserted.IMG_20160813_100512.jpgUsing stainless steel bolts and washers to anchor the brackets on the panel to the roof.IMG_20160813_113348.jpgNotice how as you tighten the bolt it not only expands in the hole to grip it also seals against the roof.  Because there is only rubber in contact with the fiberglass it will not try to wear it’s way out.IMG_20160813_113457.jpgThe outcome???

Well I’m satisfied.  The electrical outcome???

Well turning on everything I could and with the sun playing hide and seek behind clouds the buss voltage bounced happily between 13.1 and 14.2 volts.

This allows us to be more independent in our travels and adventures.

“Get out, Be safe, Go adventure.”

 

Living in a really small space

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The ultimate fuel-efficient traveling home.


Would you think it possible to live in a space as small as this?

This week I met someone who is not only living but having a great time doing it. Below is a video where he explained the features and reasoning  of the engineering he put into this wonderful ride. The Prius is an interesting vehicle in it’s own rights.  Follow this link to go to the Toyota site.

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This is a very clean installation on the drivers side that gives Brent accurate monitoring of what’s going on with his house battery.

But the ideas and engineering that Brent has put in is pretty sharp.  Like the house battery installed behind this panel that also holds a voltage display, 12 volt power outlet and USB charging port.  He runs an inverter and charger off of the vehicle’s main battery which the Prius is monitors and starts the engine to recharge automatically.  In fact he can set the thermostat in the Prius to start and maintain the temperature where he is sleeping.

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What a great idea, a table with no legs! And at not even 2″ thick it slides into a very small storage space.

Brent’s engineering background was evident in excellent utilization of nearly every inch of space.  He designed this table to use the door’s tension to hold it in place against the little white wedge block.  AND,  it works on either side of the car.  He explained this is something that anybody can design for their vehicle using cardboard templates to trace the shape of the door and the fender well.

Another really neat feature was his water supply. How about built-in under the storage compartment he designed behind the passenger front seat.
Another really neat feature was his water supply. How about built-in under the storage compartment he designed behind the passenger front seat.

His use of space was not only designed in square inches, he considered cubic inches.  Here’s an example, under his bed is a well laid out storage area divided into compartments and beneath that is his water storage.  So his design has used every cubic inch behind the front passenger seat to the fullest.  Very impressive!

I had a great time interviewing Brent and learning how to make a very small space work as an efficient roving home.  Below is a link to the video posted on YouTube where he goes into detail all of the features.

Until next…

Get out, Be safe and Go adventure.

 

A Weekend At Tumbling Creek

In a post earlier I showed the way into Tumbling Creek, I hope you enjoyed the ride. Now that we’re here I’ll catch you up on a peaceful damp weekend. Dyck had a nice camp setup to survive the storms that came through this area almost every day.

Gee Cuz, shur is a swankie place ya got here.
Gee Cuz, shur is a swankie place ya got here.

We had just the three of us here, JR, Cuz Dyck, and myself with Julie on her way on Sunday.
Oh and of course the girls Lacy and Layla.

BFF
BFF

JR (Jimmy Ridley) and I took a couple mile long hikes with these two in between the watering sessions.  Which by the way the rain falling on the roof of the van was a wonderful symphony at night.  A welcome sound when we turned in…

The new vome beginning to feel like home.
The new vome beginning to feel like home.

Sunday morning Master Chef Ridley prepared some hashbrowns, cheesy eggs, and bacon for breakfast.

Master Chef Ridley working the magic
Master Chef Ridley working the magic

Assisted by none other than Sous Chef Dyck Tracey.

Sous Chef Tracey
Sous Chef Tracey

A great weekend in the forest, and very relaxing.  More relaxing for some of us than others…

Layla decided it was a good place for a nap.
Layla decided it was a good place for a nap.
Sorry I disturbed you Layla
Sorry I disturbed you Layla

Gee your highness I didn’t mean to wake you.

It’s a shame but I’ll have to end this relaxing time tomorrow by having to pull out.

So, once again..

Get out, Be safe, Go adventure.

Detour off the Bourbon Trail

I admit it I’m easily distracted and require very little excuse to hit the road and explore.  I had set a goal of following the Kentucky Bourbon Trail every weekend until finished.  Well, I failed.  Seems some old school chums wanted to get together and that was all the excuse I needed to flee to Florida. Especially to escape the snow.  2076

So is it no wonder that the mere suggestions of getting together caused me to flee?

On the journey to Florida Layla and I stayed one night at the welcome station just inside the north Tennessee border. When we woke up that morning it was -11 degrees!!

No pets snowNot much danger of us violating that rule!

So on the road to a better place to camp… Ocean PondOceanpond stoveLayla Oceanpond

Now that’s more like how I like to wake up and get the coffee on.

Ocean Pond is a camp within the Osceola National Forest that is quite close to the Olustee  Civil War Battlefield. This site holds special memories for me because my Dad used to bring me here to watch the reenactments of the historic battle. They are still recreating the battle each year at this site, here’s the link again to follow, Olustee Battlefield

What about the gathering?  Well here’s some shots from the fun time we had…

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It’s great to see none of use have changed over the last ?4 years!!!DSCN2889

This was a gathering of the LANDON LIONS, or at least those of us that were in the 9th grade in ’71.  Wow, can somebody check and make sure I got that right???    It really can’t can’t be that long ago!!

 

The entertainment for the evening was provided by Mike Shackelford.

Mike’s a singer and songwriter that has been performing around the Jacksonville Beach area for many years.  I really enjoyed the way he covered some of the songs of “the day” this group was reveling in.  Click on this link to check out what  a great job he did with one of my favorites.  “You can’t always get what you want.”  I especially like the bluesy harmonica ending.    Thanks Mike for being there and being part of a good time.

 

 

 

It was a great time visiting with folks that some have not seen since graduating high school.  While I’m not really the type to go to all the organized reunions (read that as none), I do suggest that you get together at least once.

 

The things I think I regret the most are not the things I did in life, but rather the things i didn’t take time to do.  Chances to spend time with old friends, acquaintances, and family are fleeting moments that may not come back around.

After the party was over Layla and I went to visit my cousin and adventure buddy who lives in Sawgrass there in Ponte Verda Beach.sawgrass signIt’s a sight to see those flowers by the sign since I couldn’t even see the ground where we came from.

Tomorrow, I think I’ll take Layla  to the beach like I promised and go investigate the Matanzas National Monument.  I can’t pass up a chance to add another stamp to my passport.

Check back soon!

In the meantime,  Get out, Be safe, and Go adventure.

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Cooking and driving,

As with all trips…  Where do we eat, What do we eat, When do we eat, and in some cases can we AFFORD to eat are questions that always come up.

I decided to post the answer to these questions today because of hearing some of these questions at the RTR in Quartzite.

The easy answer…  Cook your own food as you drive.

My donation to the chili supper was 2lbs of chili meat that was cooked across New Mexico and Arizona.   I did this so that it was ready to go in the pot as soon as I arrived.  Thanks to Peter and others the dinner was a huge hit for more than 75 people attending. DSCN2708

This kicked off the RTR for me personally and the next day when Randy gave such an entertaining and thoughtful invocation quoting Whitman, Thoreau, and of course himself to open one of the morning sessions.

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But what about the cooking?     One of the gadgets I use is the Roadpro 12volt slow cooker.Crock pot roast

This is a SantaFe seasoned roast I picked up at Walmart for about $8.  Well it’s half of one, we had already started eating before I grabbed a picture.  This gave me three meals worth of meat. And it was done when I stopped for the night.spaghetti pot

And another easy meal, cook the spaghetti for about 30-45 minutes and then throw in the Sandwich Makers meatballs and sauce.  Since neither of these require refrigeration this is one of the staple foods that stay in my van.IMAG0904

How about some burritos?IMAG0902 Some tortilla wraps, Sandwhich Makers pulled pork, garlic and herb seasoned butter and some shredded cheese make tasty wraps.  Put these in the lunch-box oven and rotate them turn a side down to be browned.  Here’s a link to the oven… Roadpro Lunch Box Oven

 

Well now you know some of my tricks for meal prep while traveling so as always…

Get out, Be Safe and go adventure.

Until next time, which will be my visit to Montezuma’s Castle, be safe.