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Thursday, September 24, 2020

She's ready for a road trip

Hello all on this beautiful Fall day!

Well, it would be a beautiful day if it weren't for the smoke in the air, but it's better than it was last week, so one must be grateful right?

I promised some photos of our (somewhat) finished Van project - the bed anyway - and I'm happy to say it's done and ready to go!

Here's the "before" the bed went in............

And here's the "after"!!!!!!

All I can say is HURRAY... and I'm so happy and relieved it's done......

The mattresses fit side by side perfectly and are very comfy and firm the way we like it....

We used two twin sized foldable memory foam mattresses that I bought on Amazon - very good reviews on them.
We used two foldable memory foam mattress pads that I purchased from Amazon - they had very good reviews.
A queen sheet fits (almost).  The two mattresses make this about 5" larger than a queen bed! I'm so happy! We're used to a king bed.
Rudy likes it!

The bed is made up with nice soft sheets - this lady does NOT like sleeping in sleeping bags! I want my bed to feel like home. I mean, we will take one in case we need it for extra warmth on top of us, but I wanted our bed to not feel so much like we are camping. 

I sanded all the plywood and drilled holes in the end to hold it on the frames, so it won't slide around. The plywood on the frames is also in 3 pieces, so that we can, if we need to, remove one of the mattresses, and fold over the blankets and slide the middle piece to one side, so that we have an "aisle" down the middle to walk, or sit on the beds. 

I bought a large flannel sheet and a quilt from the thrift store, to put under the mattresses. The quilt was too narrow, and had scalloped edges, so I cut some quilt batting (4 layers) to fit along the side, so it would all be level. No lumps for me!

And voila.. it's ready!

Our heads will be at the end by the back doors, and there's just enough room at the foot of our bed (up front behind the seats) for stowing a few things, like our ice chest, water jug and porta potty (yes... we HAVE to have a porta potty!)  Doesn't give us much room, but it works.

We both use CPAP machines, and those will have to sit under the bed at our heads.. and the cords will run up front to where the two batteries and inverters are. We've had two extra heavy duty batteries installed, that are hooked up to the Van battery, and they will charge every time the Van is running. That way, we can be "off grid" if we want to or need to be. I'm anxious to try them out. 

They take up alot of room, but I think it'll be worth it. This way, hubby can take the Van hunting and park and sleep out overnight where there is no power. 

So........she's ready to go. There are nice blinds on the side windows and I have made curtains (temporary ones) for the back and side door windows. They are only temporary.. I made them last summer on the fly using some fleece blankets I bought, so that we'd have curtains when we (attempted) went camping in the Fall. 

My next project is to (somehow, not sure how to) put hooks in the Van to hang things on. I'm afraid to start drilling into the frame, but hooks are a great plus in such a small space........ I also need to buy some little baskets or tubs that will fit under the bed frames, to hold our things like food, clothing, toiletries, tools, etc. There's lots of room under the bed frames.  I actually have some Dollar Tree baskets that fit perfectly!

See the  foot stool? Of course we have to have a stool to get up into the Van.. and down again!

So she's ready to go... just not sure when WE will be. There's still alot of smoke here from the fire west of us.. and I think all of Oregon is under smoke, as hundreds of thousands of acres of forest land are still burning. It's so sad to hear about all of the beautiful forests that have burned up, towns gone, land burned, houses leveled, businesses gone, and people have died in the fires. 

Our moods right now aren't the greatest for wanting to take a trip, but I do hope we can find it in ourselves to at least try her out for one night, before the snows hit. It would be nice to find somewhere without smoke hanging over everything, but right now, I think that might be impossible. There's still lots of do to winterize our house which takes first priority.

But now I can at least mark one more thing off my "to do" list - "get Van bed done"!! (it only took me a year.........)

I'll let you know if/when we hit the road.........


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Is it too Late???

Hi friends!

I mean...................... is it too late to go camping this year???

Here it is September 9th already and we're finally just winding down from all of our yard work that started last April! We're finally having some time to do a little work on our Van that we purchased a little over a year ago!  And I SO want to go on a little road trip, or camping, just once before the snows fly.

We did manage one camping trip last summer, and it's ironic, that 3 day campout was over the 2019 Labor Day weekend, just a year ago! It was so much fun, and so great to get to the mountains, BUT..........and a big "but"........... we tried sleeping on the bench seat in the Van, that we laid down for a bed (I was so sure it would work!)........but it DIDN'T work at all.

It was a beautiful and nice weekend, but not getting much sleep really put a damper on it. I was determined then to redo the bed somehow. (and somehow it has taken a year..........)

That bench seat was just too short and too narrow. We are used to a KING bed, and when laid down, it wasn't even as wide as a double bed and was way too short. (We even tried laying head to feet, but nope... didn't work).  Needless to say, we didn't sleep at all the first night. The second night, my sister and brother-in-law were fortunately camping with us, so hubby slept in their RV second queen bed, and I slept in the Van. Was much better for me, as I slept cross-ways, but still not real comfortable.

So since last September, my search has been "on" to find a way to have a better, wider and longer bed in our Van!

First, that bench seat HAD to come out!  (It's still sitting in our garage and we're not quite sure what to do with it! Do we keep it "just in case" we sell the Van? or just get rid of it?).

We also had to deal with that big pile of tire jack stuff, bolted right in the middle of the floor! It had to go. Don't worry, we still have it in the Van, just in a different area.

Seat out - not an easy task at all.

Seat hauled up the driveway to garage - not an easy task either.

I thought we would have to build some sort of wood frame, to hold plywood to lay a mattress on. After much YouTube searching, it seemed to me that we could get the widest and longest bed by laying the length of the Van, rather than side to side. It would (hopefully) result in a bed that is 5" wider than a Queen (ya hoo!) and almost as long (about 73"). I had the wood frame plans all drawn out last Spring, but we/I never got to it, due to all of the gravel hauling and yard work we got involved in.

I also did research on Amazon (alot!) on metal bed frames that would fit in our Van. That was a bust. It seemed like they were either too big or too small, too narrow or too wide, or had bad reviews!

Then..... this last Spring, I was at a friend's house and saw some metal folded up bed frames sitting in her dining area.

I asked if those were indeed bed frames, and she said yes! I asked her if she was going to use them or would she sell them? And she said she didn't need them and did I want them? So I of course said yes! Free is a good price, and they looked like a size that might fit our Van. When I got home and tried them in the Van, I was sad to see that the middle legs were too close together to span the wheel well, and that we/I would have to cut off one leg and part of the bar on each frame - so it would fit over the wheel well.

Again... with yard work and "life", I/we just haven't taken the time to cut off those legs. And we needed a special tool for it which we didn't have. And cutting those legs off has been on my "to do" list since last Spring! 

I REALLY wanted to go camping THIS summer!

Fast forward to July 5th when my son came for a visit. The plan was for HIM to bring a tool and cut off those legs. We did manage to find time to fiddle around with the frames and what needed to be done, but he talked me into just pushing the frame legs down over the wheel wells and moving the beds forward. It was a tight squeeze but "would" (maybe?) work, so he didn't cut off those legs. Back to square one.........

Fast forward to August when I looked at the frames again (by then buried under "stuff" in the garage), and decided that forcing those frame legs on each side of the wheel well would make for tippy beds. And I didn't like them pushed so far forward that we'd have no room for an ice chest or our porta potty! (now there HAS to be room for a porta potty, right?). So... needless to say, we didn't buy the plywood or the mattresses, as we still needed to cut off those (blasted) legs!

...........if I can ever get there.............

Fast forward to last week........... I finally got the motivation/energy got off my lazy rear to get the frame legs marked where they should be cut off...... we tried 2 different tools, a dremel tool for which we'd bought a special (supposed to) cut metal blade (which didn't), and a hack saw. I had gone to two different stores trying to find a metal cutting dremel blade!  Neither worked......... then hubby had a brain storm, and tried using a plain old jig saw, and it worked! So we got the legs and bar cut off. I tell you, getting these frames altered to fit in our Van has been my "summer stressor"!!!  So finally, the frames are in place. (What an ordeal).

And we finally went to Lowe's and bought the plywood. I had measured for the sizes we needed, and they made the cuts for us.  And we came home and put the pieces in, and (phew!) they fit just right! Excitement times two!  We will sleep lengthwise, with our heads to the back (so the porta potty can be up front by our feet). The bed will be 65" x 73". It's bigger than a Queen! I am a happy girl.

Now can we take that road trip? Can we go camping?  No..........  had to get some mattresses... and another battery for my CPAP machine, and another inverter to run it. We had already purchased a battery and inverter for my husband's CPAP last summer but needed a set to run MY CPAP. (yes, I have to use one of those crappy/necessary things). Of course, if we camp where there is power, we won't need the batteries. 

We paid to have the two batteries wired into the Van battery, so that running the Van will recharge the big marine batteries. It's also set up so that the two big batteries won't drain the Van battery! Pretty awesome right? (Except those two batteries now sit where we did have our porta potty). But I think there's still barely room for the potty. 

Our two big marine batteries - we can go anywhere now!

Behind the driver's seats, we'll just have room for an ice chest, water jug and our porta potty! We'll use small plastic tubs that slide under the bed for our other items, like clothes, toiletries, food and miscellaneous. And I want to have some hooks put up to hang things on (another "to do").

You wouldn't think getting a nice bed set up in a Van would take so much time, be so stressful and take so long! I guess I/we are just slow workers... and it also takes some "know  how" and money! We didn't  have much of either really. It's been a slow process.

Can we go yet?????

We just got our memory foam mattresses. We bought two twin sizes, and they fold up and can be put in a carry bag for easy removal from the Van. And of course, who found them for her afternoon nap?

Today I'm working on sanding the plywood pieces, and then I'll get the mattresses put down and the bed made up. I needed some old sheets or old blankets to put down on top of the plywood, so went to the thrift store that had just opened up last week. I found just the perfect things.

Next post, I will hopefully show the finished bed project!

Can we maybe then, go camping? or a little road trip? or something.......... before the snows start???

Bye for now!