If you’ve been following our blogs, you’ll know that we’ve been planning Blue’s inaugural camping trip (or will it be ‘glamping’?) since we arrived in Vegas in January. There’s been lots to do while we’ve been at the Vegas house including building a new backyard deck that we put off since we moved in and of course, and most important to this trip, working on Blue’s upfit. We’re scheduled to leave on May 1st … yikes … that’s tomorrow. Will we be ready?
The original plan included working non-stop on Blue as soon as the deck was finished and having him pretty much completed by this time. But, like any boat project … I mean house project … I mean van project … projects always take longer to do than planned and they always cost more. How odd? Sound familiar?
When we knew Blue wouldn’t be ‘completed’ by May 1st, we modified our expectations. I was content with a bed and place to pee. David wanted the bed (not necessarily a Murphy at this point), a composting toilet and all the electrics in place and operational … a mighty goal. We could forego the finished carpentry and cupboards, the floor, the paneled walls and the galley. It was more important to us to get on the road.
When it came to the electrics and electronics, however, he wasn’t just talking about adding a couple lights or using the inverter that came with Blue. No, he had loftier sights in mind. Let’s see … there are two new inverters with controllers, two panel meters for amps and volts, a selector switch for shore or inverter power, a breaker for shore power, six AC breakers and 5 DC breakers, a battery monitor and a solar charge monitor plus USB and 12-volt outlets and various LED lights throughout and the wiring to make it all operational. Plus there are three new house batteries. I’m sure there’s more, but he’ll update you soon with more details. He housed all of the monitors and electronics in a neat overhead cabinet which is clearly reminiscent of Nine of Cups’ breaker panel and nav station.
Paul, in the meantime, built the bed frame with neat cross lap joints to allow flex while the van is moving. Eventually, this will become a Murphy bed, but for now, this is a solid solution and the frame can still be used when the conversion to the Murphy is made. We purchased a Leesa memory foam mattress a couple of months ago and have been sleeping on it very comfortably ever since, so we know the bed’s going to be ‘like home’. ‘Night stands’ were fashioned to fit neatly on either side of the bed. I lined them with non-skid to keep stuff in place while we’re on the move.
Paul has also cobbled together some handy shelf units with retaining bars … five altogether … that have been placed strategically in Blue so that we can safely store frequently used items within hand’s reach.
Paul also enclosed the composting toilet in a cabinet and painted the cabinet to match with the rest of the interior so it only appears as a seat when it’s not in use. The front opens for removal of the solids tank. The toilet has been installed in the cabinet in the van and anchored down, however the venting hose and fan still need to be installed. It’s a minor job and will be handled en route. We can still use it to pee ... just not poo.
And what have I been doing other than blogs, photos and napping? Well, I’ve been the go-fer on occasion with many, many trips to nearby Lowes, Home Depot and WalMart stores. I’ve also planned out our travels (my favorite part). I’ve designated nine plastic tubs that will comfortably store beneath our bed on Blue. They’ve all be labeled, filled up with gear and I had them all staged and ready to be loaded into Blue as soon as the guys were through. I’ve done some preliminary provisioning of basics, but have to keep reminding myself that unlike an ocean passage, there WILL be grocery stores and WalMarts along the way. Once the guys were pretty much finished, I was the clean-up lady, washing down walls and floors and detailing Blue’s interior.
They moved the bed frame into place and anchored it down, then came the plywood base and the Leesa mattress. I made up the bed with new linens and tried it out. Great … except … no headboard, so we couldn’t read in bed each night which is our norm. David had intended a headboard for the Murphy, but it hadn’t been included in the plans for the temporary bed. Hmm … back to the drawing board and the workshop. Within an hour or two, they created a headboard that would work well for bedtime reading, but could be easily removed so as not to occlude the backup mirror view and still facilitate easy bed-making.
The plastic bins were moved into place and the last of the gear that didn’t fit into bins (like the screen house, Coleman stove, chairs, etc) was loaded. Miraculously, it all fit.
Nearly all the ‘to-do’ items have been ticked off the list. Later today we’ll stock the fridge and the wine cellar, complete a quick vehicle check and think about last minute personal stuff we want to have aboard with us for the next couple of months. David still hasn't packed, but that's no surprise.
So … will Blue be ready bright and early tomorrow morning to head out? Damned straight he will! Our next blog post will be from somewhere in Arizona!! Stay tuned!