17 July, 2017

Watch out! He's got a torch!!!

Okay so it's just a joke; although, I do have a torch and I use it in this video.

There are several thing that I have never done and while doing this project have had to learn how to do them. Several meaning lots. For instance. I had to remove a rear heating and a/c unit from the van, I had to insulate it, put paneling up, drill holes through my precious (the van), and by no means the last of the challenges....making battery cables.
Now, having never done this before I did what any sensible person would do....I went to Youtube. After watching a few 'blowhards' I decided I can do it to.  Heck if they can do it so can I.
Spoiler alert Spoiler Alert!
I did do it, and everything is fine, but just like a Greek or Roman tragedy that you already know the ending to. It's the telling of the tale that matters.
Pull up your chairs, refresh your coffee and hit play.
Don't forget....he's got a Torch!!!!

Keep the shiny side up.

10 July, 2017

The Bed aka Hubba Hubba

Okay all kidding aside, here is the video of the bed.
We were going to buy an 8-12 inch foam mattress and if/when we go full time we probably will just before we do that. For now though they are to expensive to warrant purchasing for part time folks.

What we got is a queen size mattress and we only got it because they didn't have any full sized ones in our price range. There was one that inflated itself, monitored it's air pressure and kept itself at the right spot for just over a hundred bucks but we didn't want to spend all of that. It also sort of creeped us out. I mean would you want an 'intelligent' mattress?
When I built the van bed I sort of went off of the one in our bedroom, and morphed it to fit the van. The van bed is sort of a mish mash of a full sized futon bed and whatever fit.
We got the twenty dollar queen size then followed with the clearance Star Wars sheets.
I know your jealous. It's okay they are that cool.

We test drove them that night as well. The lights worked in the van, the bed worked in the van. I got super excited and couldn't sleep well. The thing that I'd wanted to make was made and it worked.
    "IT'S ALIVE! IT'S ALIVE!!" so were the mosquito's. I will definitely be make some screens for the windows.
Since we were in our own backyard for the test drive I brought my laptop out and connected to our wifi and we watched some Netflix from the van before bed.
It was a great way to spend a Saturday evening.
Here's that video.

Remember Keep the shiny side up.
Trevor Marty

03 July, 2017

Electrical Test Run

Electrical Test Run.

It’s just like it sounds. Elissa and I go for a test ride of the electricity.
I set it up so that the control panel is in the front of the bed and we have easy access to it. The battery however is going to be mounted in the rear of the vehicle. A wire will bring the current up to the control panel. This is just a test run to see if I wired, soldered, and fused everything properly. It turns out I did. Hip Hip Hurray. This has been quite a steep learning curve. There was one minor-ish issue. I had hoped to have wired an on/off switch to the charging station. The reason for this is because I choose (accidentally I might add) a back-lit kind and the light is always on. There is no way to turn it off, so I thought if I put an on/off switch before the current it would turn the thing on and off. I did it wrong and it was always on.
****Author Shrugs his shoulders****
You'll see what I mean in the video and I’ll keep at it and get it figured out at some point.  
Well, thanks for stopping by, and be sure to keep coming back for updates on the van and other miscellany.

Have a great day gang and keep the shiny side up.
Trevor Marty

PS Next week we unfurl the bed and take it for a test run. Watch out for the mosquito's.

19 June, 2017

Van Build Electrical System

Components that I will be using for my van build electrical system.

     Today we're going to go through the parts which I will be using for the electrical system on my camper van. Now, this isn't a 'how to' blog. Nope, it's only a small outline of what I will be using for my own build.

     We’re going to start with the way I will be charging my battery, because that’s the front of the van and it seems like a terrific place to begin. I have decided to charge my battery bank (all one battery of it) two ways. One is through the alternator and the other is via solar power. Now as of the writing of this blog post I don’t have any solar so we will just be doing the alternator for the time being. The alternator charges the starting battery, the one which starts your vehicle. It is possible to split that charge and allow it (the alternator) to charge a second battery. This is what we will be doing. There are many ways to do this, but I am choosing to use a constant duty solenoid. IMG_8225
It is an electromagnetic switch which is turned on via a ‘keyed fuse thing’. Essentially you connect it to the starting battery and the house battery then connect it to the main fuse box. Making sure that the fuse you’re using only turns on when the key turns the car on. That way the two batteries are not connected when the car is off. They are only connected when the car is on.
The wire you use to connect the two batteries is huge. Mine is 2 gauge wire as you see in the photo.  IMG_8224These are the connectors which will be squished onto the ends of the wire.  
You’re also going to need a really big fuse for that part. This fuse will go under the hood, but as of the this moment I’m not entirely sure where. I think it goes after the solenoid and before the house battery. .
I’m choose to put a nice giant red on/off switch to the whole system. Here is my switch. It sure is a fancy red color isn’t it? IMG_8232 Now we will put another one of those giant fuses. See previous photo somewhere back there. That leads to a 500 watt inverter. 
Now many boondockers will be using way way bigger ones, but we are not full time and will not be bringing fridges and things. It’s going to be there as sort of a just in case. I mean the minute you don’t think you need something is the minute you need it, so here it is. .
Here is the little dc fuse box, and fuses I will be using for the LED lights and the charging stations. IMG_8226
Here are the charging stations and a switch for the smaller of the two. IMG_8237 IMG_8236
I’m going to wire the switch in because I noticed when I tried it before that the little blue light stays on all the time. I don’t like that. I want to be able to switch it off when it's not in use. IMG_8228
That’s it really. We have a small system because we don’t have many needs really. We are not full timers. We will be doing this part time till we retire and then we’ll see what happens. For the moment this will do.
Oh and here is the last piece to our electric puzzle although it’s not really electric. It’s just fun. IMG_8239
Yup, because well….why not.

Have a great day gang and keep the shiny side up.

30 May, 2017

A Realistic Bed Build

     Well, I guess I’m a day late and a dollar short, but here it is anyway...Monday’s blog on Tuesday.
You see I wanted to include the bed build into Mondays blog because it’s finished.
Well sort of.  The ‘sort of’ only means there is always something more you can do to it.
I’m sure if we wanted we could have sanded the boards, stained them, or both. We could have measured better, and probably not scuffed the walls up while we installed the silly things.
However, we didn’t do those things what we did do though was this.
Build the legs and support parts, then measured a few times, scratched our heads, made more coffee, and finally cut the one piece of ¾ inch plywood we had. I have actually had that piece around for probably close to 10 years. It’s held a motorcycle, leaned against the door, been set between two saw horses with a sheet for a table cloth and a bunch of good food on it for my wedding rehearsal dinner, and probably more that I can’t remember. Now it’s going to be a bed for my wife and I as we begin another chapter in our lives and travel the country.
      It took quite a while to settle on the design we did because there are just so many good ones out there. Just when we thought we had decided we’d be astounded by someone elses design. What finally made us decide what we wanted was a realistic look at my own abilities. Don’t get me wrong I’m not downing myself at all, but a construction guy I am not. It’s only recently that I’ve been able to tell the difference between my thumb and the head of a nail. 
     I think to set oneself up for success you have to have a realistic view of your starting point or you’re just going to get disappointed. Doing this project has helped me to actually get some ‘street cred’ and walk into Menards or Home Depot head held high shouting to the world “I know what a hammer is.” as I strut down the long aisles.    
     The hinges in the middle of the bed were given to me by an 95 year old WWII veteran who lives two houses down from us. His gutters needed cleaning and he couldn’t get up that high on the ladder, so I did that and he gave me four hinges and an on/off switch which will also be used in this build.  I’ve tried to include photo’s in the blog because I know not everyone has the data plan to watch the video, however there is also a video.

Thanks for tuning in and having a look here.
Next week we’re going to have a look at the components I’m going to use on the electrical install.
Until then see ya
    Trevor Marty
PS The video is under the photo's.
This is how the legs look.

Under the bed.
I just used what screws I had around.

It's true. You are cool. Thanks for reading this.

My baldness laying in the bed.

Two different colored socks and a bird feeder.

Great Storage!

22 May, 2017

I'm a Shavee

    For the past three years I have participated in an event designed to help gather funds for researching cures to childhood cancers. I am a ‘Shavee’. I can hear you saying, “Well that’s all fine and dandy but what the heck is that?” I’m so glad you asked.
First of all let’s start with what St Baldricks is. Here's a LINK.

    St Baldricks has been around for seventeen years and has become the largest private funder for researching cures to kids cancer in the nation. It's also the organization I shave my head for.
Here’s how it works, and I encourage you to visit their website. It has a lot of great information on it, so don’t just take my work for it.  In the last seventeen years four hundred thousand volunteers have done this and the results are very real. Real change happens as a result of these acts. The St Baldricks organization has given two hundred million dollars to cancer research. 

     In case you’re wondering what the number one killer of children in the U.S. is it’s cancer. According to their press release 1 out of 5 children with cancer won’t survive and a good number of the ones who do have major after effects for the rest of their lives.

They have many different grant types and grants going on at any given moment. Scientists looking for treatments as unique as the person receiving the treatment.

Here’s a photo of us bald and beautiful and here’s a link to my page which you can still donate too.

After St Baldricks 2017

I don’t get any of the money. They don’t give me anything but a bald head and a smile.
If you’re curious about where all the money that gets donated goes to here’s what I found on their press release
71% goes to funding
26% goes to the events
3% is administration.

Here is a link to my own page there. I just want to say again that I’m not seeing any of this money. It’s going straight to the St. Baldricks organization.

Thanks again for considering, and if you feel moved why not sign up for an event or start one.

See you next week when we chat about the bed in the van.

08 May, 2017

Beans & Rice Humble, Modest, and Good.

The best thing in the world to eat

     My ultra-favorite things to eat are always easy, simple, and humble. Now you ask what food is humble McDonald's? Nope, I never go there. In my mind a humble food is something that isn’t to big for it’s britches. Now I’ve nothing against highfalutin foods I even like some of them. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for instance. Okay so I’m joking about those. I just really enjoy simpler things. I feel more grounded when I eat that way. For instance beans and rice, in my opinion, are the best thing in the world to eat.

How about we make some today?
The cheapest cooker I could find.
     As you can see from the photo’s I love using a rice cooker. I can’t really say which one is the better one. In my research I found the cheapest one and got it.
I use a ½ cup quinoa and a ½ cup jasmine brown rice, then I put two cups of water in (with a little more just for fun).
The beans are simple too. These are red beans from Trader Joe's drained, rinsed, and tossed in the same pot.
 Pretty sweet huh?
All the stuff you need.
     Hey before I forget if you have chicken broth, or veggie broth toss it in. Also garlic is good with everything. Except ice cream. Do that at your own risk.
Then we push the little button down and wait for it to be finished.

     Let's talk about veggies now.
I’m using some frozen veggies which I nuked and then tossed into the mess.

While it’s waiting let's listen to the Grateful Dead 5/8/77. It’s considered among the best bootleg shows of all time. Don’t forget to ‘Smile, Smile, Smile’.

In conclusion we have quinoa (a super grain which has been around for forever), rice, and lovely red beans perfect with frozen veggies and/or fresh ones.

Hey thanks for popping by it’s great to see you. 

That little circle thing is the quinoa.

Oh much better now!
Thanks and I’ll see you next week when we chat about putting the ceiling in the van.

All my best