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!  




  1. Hi Marilyn. You really have a lot of patience. I would have given up but you kept going and finally found something to work. Yay!!! I cannot wait to see this finished and all done up with bedding. This is so great it will allow you to stay overnight places. Have a wonderful evening. xoxo

    1. Yes Kris... I'm pretty excited! We can never afford a motel so just don't go many places at all. This will hopefully give us a little more freedom and opportunity to go when we want to! I worked all day today and got the bed totally done and made up and it looks so nice and inviting! I'll be showing it in the next few days. My hubby is house sitting for my sister for the next 10 days, so unfortunately we can't just up and go yet! Darn..... have a good week.. Marilyn

  2. Marilyn, I loved this post and wish you the best of luck going camping. The air quality is so bad that you need to be very careful where you go. Our daughter and her girls had to evacuate their home for two nights and when they returned saw many burned homes, their's was untouched by the fires and she is now back to work.
    I had planned on mowing the yard and washing the car today, but instead I'm staying in out of the smoke. I cannot even see the farm on the other side of our neighbor's hay field and we are a good 100 miles from any forests.
    You are fixing your van exactly the way I have been dreaming of doing, when and if I get a van, LOL. Waiting to see what next year brings. I would only do a twin bed so I might be able to get a smaller van or have more room in one like yours. I do love, love, love the fact that you have those nice windows and already equipped with blinds. You are going to enjoy that.
    Looking forward to seeing your finish and hopefully some camping photos. The best to you both . . . here's to a better year ahead :)
    God bless you both,
    Connie :)

    1. Connie... yes it is so so smokey here we would not and could not go anywhere yet, unless it was EAST maybe but I think the smoke is all being blown east! Rigth now, all of Oregon and Washington I think are covered with smoke. It's so so sad. As far as the Van, it IS a smaller van, not extra long or anything. I could use another couple of feet to have a little more room, but that's OK. For one person, with a twin bed, it would be PERFECT! Would be plenty of room up front especially if the bed could go crosswise and if the person were shorter. Crosswise, it's about 65" so a 5 ft 3" person could fit OK crosswise.. then way more room would be up front. We can't go camping now anyway as hubby is house sitting for my sister who is gone for 2 weeks! Then when she gets back, we have a few days when we may be able to go for one night, then hubby is going camping (in the Van) for a week. So at least it's all fixed up for him! More to come on my next post! Stay inside, stay safe, don't go out and mow! Hugs.. Marilyn

  3. Marilyn, with determination like that, I have no doubt that you will be going camping before the end of summer! What a job, but I have had experience with making things do and it is not fun! But, you will enjoy the labor soon. I accidently deleted your e-mail but not before I read the whole thing on my Ipad last night but couldn't remember everything you said. I just know you are safe and the fires are not close to you. We are both so lucky in that matter. Hope we have blue skies and fresh air soon. but the evacuation box is such a good idea.. Stay well..xxoJudy

    1. Judy... yes sometimes we have to make do, when not enough money to have someone else do it! Add to the mix that I can get lazy when it comes to work like that, sometimes it takes awhile to get things done... plus hubby is the same way. Neither of us are really very handy when it comes to handyman stuff, building or fixing, etc. I really have to push myself as I'd rather be in the house crafting! But I do hope we get at least one trip in before the snows come. I'm thankful that so far we only have to content with smoke here.. and of course, I'm ending up with way MORE than ONE evacuation box! Oh boy...... Marilyn


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