AuthorTopic: RE Gets a Stealth Van!  (Read 58203 times)

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 42025
    • View Profile
Stealth Van: The Maiden Voyage
« Reply #30 on: June 15, 2017, 08:18:13 AM »

OK!  :icon_sunny:

The Adventure BEGINS!  :icon_sunny:

I have the SV mostly loaded for her Maiden Voyage.  We are navigating North to Talkeetna to check out the gas mileage and look at a piece of property around there  for the first SUN☼stead.  Gas tank is topped off.

I am not doing the Full Load of Preps for this voyage, because it will only be 2 days tops.  I might even be back in the digs tonight.  For instance, not coming along on this voyage is the deep cycle marine battery and the big ass 1000W Inverter.  Just bringing the 200W inverter along to plug into the 12DC Ciggy lighter outlet to keep the laptop charged up.  Also a DC charger for the portable electrics, namely the cell phone and cameras.

Other main items for this trip are a cooler between the two front seat Captains Chairs which also serves as a table, a shit bucket and a piss bottle.  Not bringing any cooking gear, I will eat out at one of the Lodges along the way or a restaurant in Talkeetna.  Also will bring a Subway along in the cooler, I always had one of those in the trucking years.  They last 3 days in the cooler and are good for emergencies when you get stuck by your dispatcher in some receiver with no truckstops nearby to go to and buy food after you unload and are still waiting for the next dispatch.  Bedding materials also now in the back, and I checked out the accomodations, I fit PERFECT!  If I sleep slightly diagonal on the bed I can fully stretch out.  I think you need to be around 5'8" or under for this, otherwise you will need to pull your knees up some.

The only thing not yet loaded is the Ewz, which I will do right before we take off later this morning.  I want to take a nap before leaving since I have been awake since the wee hours.  This is the hardest part for me because the Ewz is rather heavy for me at around 90 lbs and as of yet I have no ramp or lifting system to help get it up the 2 feet or so into the van.  I can manage it though, I have gotten it into both my other vehicles and out again, although it is a struggle for me.

It looks like a beautiful day weather wise, nice sunny skies this morning.  Should be good for shooting some pics along the way.

I'll post up with updates whenever I stop if there is internet coverage.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/GONmFCkCGCc" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/GONmFCkCGCc</a>

RE
Save As Many As You Can

Offline Eddie

  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 19749
    • View Profile
Re: RE Gets a Stealth Van!
« Reply #31 on: June 15, 2017, 08:38:08 AM »
Have fun and take some pics.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 42025
    • View Profile
Re: RE Gets a Stealth Van!
« Reply #32 on: June 15, 2017, 10:50:06 AM »
OK!  :icon_sunny:

The Ewz is now IN the Stealth Van!

It actually was much easier than either of the other two polluter vehicles I drive, because I don't have to fold down down the steering column on the way in, because the side door is so big.  :icon_sunny:  This allows me to use the motor a little to help and to steer it into the van.   Then I just have to hoist up the back end, then I fold the steering column down.  I got it done in about 5 minutes.  8)

Also got my full portable Diner Control Center packed in a briefcase, so we are ready to roll!

Now for nap time before we get on the road.  Maybe there will be some Swedish Girl hitchiker/climbers I can give a ride to on their way to Denali?  :icon_mrgreen:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/uIgW-4EnxO4" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/uIgW-4EnxO4</a>

RE
Save As Many As You Can

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 42025
    • View Profile
RE Gets a Stealth Van!: Maiden Voyage of SaVannah
« Reply #33 on: June 16, 2017, 07:16:24 AM »

OK!  Maiden Voyage of the Stealth Van complete!  I have decided to name her SaVannah:icon_sunny:

I may add some to this to flesh it out more for a complete blog about the trip after next week's Sunday Brunch Part 2 for Part 3, but I figured I would give regular Diners a preview.

Overall SaVannah performed pretty well, although she downshifts pretty hard on the grades and the handling is typically coarse as with most of these light trucks.  I will bring her in to have the tranny looked at before taking it across the Al-Can, for sure.  I will be very depressed if I have to drop in a new tranny for  $3000.  :(  I haven't done a fillup yet to get a precise gas mileage figure, I'm going to wait until after next week's trip down to Anchorage for the appointment with the Neurosurgeon Pro from Dover.  However, according to the gas tank meter we used 1/4 of a tank and the odometer reading was 150 miles.  That would indicate a 600 mile range on a single tank, which is astounding for a passenger vehicle.  It must have a whopping big gas tank.  I'm going to guess 40 gallons.

I hung out around Talkeetna until around 8PM, but since it's still light out until after 1AM at this time of year I drove back to the digs to finish the day.  I'm already paying for that.  Actually, it never gets truly dark around the Solstice here, you get a kind of twilight between the hours of around 1AM and 5AM.  Here is a picture from my back porch at 2AM as I write this article.

I elected to drive back home to the digs rather than sleep in the van. It's only around a 90 minute drive. The other option was to stay in one of the rental cabin places, but my cheapskate side didn't want to spend the money.  I did take a nap in the van however after lunch for about an hour.

I finally got on the road close to noon, because my final packing job of last minute items took longer than expected.  I kept thinking of additional items I wanted to have along for the ride, and I move so slow it took forever to load them.  Then getting on the Parks highway and leaving Wasilla there was construction being done where they are adding a second set of lanes and extending the divided highway.  Finally passing that though, it was open road and clear sailing the rest of the way.  It was a mostly sunny warm day with temps in the 70s F, although there were a few brief SUN☼ showers while I was driving up there.  None once I got to Talkeetna though.

I took a break for lunch at the Sheep Inn, the first building I ran into on the drive that had that nice big log cabin look to it of traditional Mountain Lodges. Very Picturesque. It was quite empty however, although large with many tables both inside and outside.  No free wi-fi.  The beer list looked pretty good, I picked an IPA from a local brewery that was very good.  Looking at the menu though, it was singularly unimpressive.  A more stock list of Bar Food you couldn't imagine, about 4 different hamburger types, about 6 sandwiches, 12" Pizzas which were no doubt stock frozen ones, 1 soup of the day of Chicken Noodle.  I ordered a hamburger off the Kid's Menu which came out not even on a Bun, but on two slices of toast.  It was the cheapest thing on the menu at $7, and the meat patty was thin, dry and overcooked.  For $7, I can buy 3 Roast Beef & Cheese Sliders at Arby's each of which has more meat on it than this burger did and way tastier too.  No wonder there was nobody at the tables!

Now, WTF spends $Millions$ on a building like this, then serves up this type of crap food?  Put a decent Chef (like ME!  ;D ) in that building, and you could have a world-renowned restaurant.  It's in the middle of nowhere, halfway between Wasilla and Talkeetna so no real local traffic, but in terms of touristas coming up for some summer fishing fun or to go hiking around Denali, it's at about the perfect spot where somebody arriving at Ted Stevens International Airport and renting a car to drive will hit around lunchtime, and then on the way home you could time it to stop for dinner.  Needless to say though, I took 3 bites of the hamburger consuming less than half of it and I will not be stopping at this joint again for anything other than a beer.

After this huge, delicious and filling meal  ::) I was feeling kind of pooped and decided I would take my first nap in SaVannah's cabin.  Here I ran into my first major problem.  I couldn't make the step up at the side door to get in the cabin and onto the bed for my nap!  I couldn't find a place to purchase my (weak) arms to help my legs in making the step up.  Unlike the Driver's entrance, there is no halfway step installed there.  After returning home, I ordered a lightweight aluminum folding step-stool to resolve this problem in the future.  The shipping on it cost more than the stool.  $27 for the stool, $32 for the shipping.

I did finally make it into the bunk though.  I considered going in through the Driver's door and climbing to the back from there, except the Ewz blocked that path and there was no way to get any footing, really even if you were healthy with the current Ad Hoc system of packing SaVannah.  To be really efficient as a Stealth Van, the current interior will have to be removed and a custom interior put in.  If I do that, I will go to an Amish Cabinet Maker and have a custom job done to my design.  I have seen some Stealth Vans done this way and it can be positively beautiful if you find the right cabinet maker.  Same guys will also do custom boat interiors.

I was considering buying a camper-trailer for it that would be my actual living space, but on researching this the folks who sell these trailers on Craig's List think much too highly of them.  You can't find a decent used one for under around $6000 or so, and that's more than SaVannah cost and no engine in it either!  Any of them in REALLY good shape you are talking $10K.  That Dog won't Hunt.  Mainly I need the trailer to store all my STUFF, the Van itself is quite sufficient for me as a living space if it is not cluttered up with everything.  Good Cargo Trailers can be had for $2000.  I bought one for LD for his Landscaping Bizness while down in SC for the 2016 Convocation for $2000.

Anyhow, the way I finally did get into the bunk was through the rear doors, because there I was able to use the Bumper as an intermediary step, although even here was difficult because I still had nothing to really grab hold of to use my (weak) arms as helpers in getting my sorry, crippled ass into the the bunk.  With some snake belly crawling though, I managed it.  ::)

Once in the bunk and ready to grab my Power Nap, I realized how uncomfortably WARM it was inside SaVannah.  This with the exterior temperature only maybe 72F and partly cloudy.  Down in the lower 48 on an 80F sunny day, FUHGETTABOUDIT, without A/C SaVannah would be an OVEN unless at least well shaded and with all the doors wide open and a fan to blow air over your mostly naked body.  But of course, you can't do Stealth living if you have your doors wide open, you need to be closed up and locked down to look like the Van is unoccupied and just parked.  So I am looking into small, portable A/C powered air conditioners to cool the interior down to a tolerable temperature for sleeping, which for me is around 65F or below.  Problem here of course is that I will need a source of A/C to plug into, which limits the nightly parking during the warm weather months to legitimate for-pay campsites that have at least an electric plugin.  However, this would only be for half the year and is within my budget.

In this case, I resolved the problem by opening the front windows about 3", then opening all the sliding panels on the rear windows, and there was enough of a Breeze going that the air blew over me while I napped.  I took off my shirt so the moving air would evaporate any sweat straight off my skin and cool me.  I got about an hour's worth of nap time this way, which is typical now with the Itch From Hell  :evil4: anyhow.

After leaving the Sheep Dip Lodge, I headed on north to scope out the potential SUN☼ Property I found on the net which seemed like a good possibility at the right price.  I will skip over this part for the complete article, because it's a Spoiler for Part II of the Alaska Sustainability series, coming up for this Sunday Brunch.

After finishing the Land Scoping portion of the trip, I headed for Downtown Talkeetna to grab some Pics and give the readers a better idea of what this town is like as the closest town to the potential SUNstead.  Here I ran into my next two great challenges, first off getting the Ewz out of SaVannah, then the Call of Nature, basically simultaneously.

I knew where I would park in Talkeetna, at the very end of the Talkeetna Spur off the Parks Highway Right on the Susitna River is a Day Park (no camping allowed) with Picnic tables and Fire Rings, and you can set up your own BBQ as well.  I brought the gymmies up there a couple of times after State Championships for our Celebration BBQ for the season.

So I get out of the Driver's Seat and proceed to begin the next aspect of the Trucker's Life, the Unload.  Normally in my Trucking Years I paid Lumpers to do this for me rather than do it myself, but in the park at this time there were no lumpers, only a couple of old ladies playing Gin Rummy at one of the Picnic Tables.  About halfway through getting the Ewz out of SaVannah, I get the URGE!  I gotta POOP!  Now, the Public Toilet is about 100 yards from where I am parked.  I can either try to shuffle my way over there before I have an "accident", I can go inside the van and use my Shit Bucket, or I can try and finish getting the Ewz out of SaVannah, then jump on her bones to traverse the 100 yards in a few seconds.  I elect to go for Door #3 on this Let's Make a Deal.

I managed to succeed and did not shit my pants, thank God since that would have made the drive home quite uncomfortable, not to mention gross.  Once relieved of this problem, I took a short tour around Talkeetna to get some Flavor pics of the town, which is a "Historic" town now transformed into an Artsy Tourist Trap during the summer months.  Thing you have to remember is this town basically shuts down out of the tourist season, and in terms of full time residents up there, the census lists less than 1000.  They are also pretty spread out and there is nothing to buy or do for the whole winter, so most folks are just holed up if they live there year round.  Many do have winter hobbies such as Cross Country Skiing or Dogsledding of course, and there are Churches where I imagine the faithful gather together every Sunday, but overall there isn't too much to do with yourself there over the Winter.  More than anything else, this I think is what turns of Industrialized people to making an Off-Grid move to a place like this.  It's not even that far out really, it's not the Alaska Bush.  It's only 115 miles from downtown Anchorage, paved highway all the way.

This wouldn't bother me at all though, because I basically spend all winter holed up in my digs anyhow, even though there are movie theatres and places to shop open all winter here in Palmer.  The only main difference for me is I would have to stock up more on preps, and instead of just having preps enough so I don't have to go out and do weekly shopping, I would need enough to carry me through a whole winter from the freeze and first snows until the spring melt.  Also necessary of course to keep my mind active and keep Cabin Fever from setting in would be an Internet Connection, and that would at the moment have to be done by 4G, although Satellite is a possibility.  Some of the biznesses did have free wi-fi, but password protected.

I was going to include in this article the scoping out of the potential SUN☼stead Property, however this article turned out long enough just on the travel aspects AND if I wrote about it now it would be a spoler for Sunday's brunch article.  So you will just need to wait on that information, and this will be a 4 Part series, not 3 part.  I'll also edit up more of the pics for the blog article as well, not just a header pic.

RE
« Last Edit: June 16, 2017, 08:54:53 AM by RE »
Save As Many As You Can

Offline Eddie

  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 19749
    • View Profile
Re: RE Gets a Stealth Van!
« Reply #34 on: June 16, 2017, 02:18:39 PM »
Too bad on the roadhouse food. I agree that it's hard to understand why people spend big bucks building an attractive restaurant and then think they can make money selling poor quality eats. Of course, the clientele might not want to spend money, and demand shitty bar food. You have to cater to your customers.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 42025
    • View Profile
Re: RE Gets a Stealth Van!
« Reply #35 on: June 16, 2017, 03:32:51 PM »
Too bad on the roadhouse food. I agree that it's hard to understand why people spend big bucks building an attractive restaurant and then think they can make money selling poor quality eats. Of course, the clientele might not want to spend money, and demand shitty bar food. You have to cater to your customers.

The problem I think is you just can't FIND a decent chef who would move to and live in this location, even for just the Tourista season.  It's got even less going on than Talkeetna itself, there is nothing around it to either side for 30 miles.  It doesn't have the rest of a Lodge type resort surrounding it, with Cabins for vacationers etc.  It's right near a Lake (lots of them sprinkled around along this route), so the resort could offer Lake fishing as a primary driver and they could cut trails for hiking and running.  The Rainbow Trout in the lakes around here grow really big and smoked they are delicious. My guess is whoever built the place envisioned something like this, but ran out of money after getting the first building up.  Then he got foreclosed on, somebody bought the place for pennies on the dollar and now just runs it as a bar-restaurant.

I do wonder what will happen to it after SHTF day and the tourista traffic stops on the Parks Highway?  :icon_scratch:  It's a REALLY solidly built structure and will last a very long time if the roof is maintained.  Will it be abandoned, or will it be squatted by Heliopaths?  Taking out the tables and chairs, you could easily house a dozen families inside this structure.  Then you have all the 100s of acres surrounding it with NOBODY living there and Moose wandering around all over the place.  Then a nice lake for fishing too.

I wish I had just a paltry $5M.  I could set up the palace of SUN☼steads in this place, and also run a nice restaurant until SHTF day.  Sigh.  :(  It sucks to have great ideas and no money.

RE
Save As Many As You Can

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 42025
    • View Profile
RE Gets a Stealth Van!: Ramping Up SaVannah
« Reply #36 on: June 16, 2017, 08:14:18 PM »
I got the folding step stool ordered up so I can haul my crippled ass in and out of the side and rear doors of SaVannah, but I still need a better way to get the Ewz in and out of her without relying on my (weak) muscle power to do it.  At the current rate of decline, I suspect it won't be more than a few months before I can't manage this task, though it is easier than with the Ford or the Mazda.

So today I went Googling to find a Cripple Equipment Loading System (CELS) for SaVannah.  These things come in a great variety, from High Tech and EXPENSIVE, to low tech and reasonably cheap.

I'm not going for the high tech ones for a variety of reasons.  First off I am too much of a cheapskate for that.  Second, most of them either in some way block the door unless deployed and also if installed on the interior take up a decent amount of your limited living space.  If they are installed outside, then they ruin the Stealth Van profile of the vehicle.  There are some SUPER expensive hydraulic units that install beneath the vehicle and are lifts rather than ramps, but no way am I going for one of those.  I don't need that, the fucking Ewz only weighs 90 lbs!  Besides that, it can power itself up a ramp.

So I just looked for an El Cheapo Aluminum ramp to use for this purpose, and found an ideal one from Discount Ramps for $110.


Unfortunately, DR would not ship it to me in Alaska because it has size limitations that prevent air freight.  So I tried Walmart and Amazon, and same problem.  I tried some other ramps not as nice or low priced but got the same shipping problem everywhere.

So now I think about it, and really I don't need a cripple wheelchair ramp, an ATV or snow machine ramp everyone here has does the same job, and they are cheaper too and hold more weight!  I figure one of the Polaris dealers here must carry them so I Google them and go to their websites, but neither one has ramps listed in their accessories.  I'm sure they have them or can order them without shipping issues, but nothing listed on the website.

Finally, I Google some more and locate a ramp IN STOCK at Lowes for store pickup.  It's 6' long and way more than I need, but it was still only $135 so I bought it.  I'll go pick it up tomorrow.

I should be able to store it by  sliding it in from the back of SaVannah under the seats, so it shouldn't clutter up the interior too much.  However, to use it I will have to yank it out from the back, carry it around to the side and then hook it on by some method.   Probably I'll drill a couple of holes and drop bolts through step to hold it in place.

Ideally though, I'll go over to the RV place or to a local welder and have them mount a carrier for it under the van I can just slide it out from like a drawer.  That would make it convenient and pretty close to perfect.  After that, to get really complete and not have to use any muscle power at all, I'll see about having a small electric winch installed inside the van which will pull anything at all up the ramp and into SaVannah.  :icon_sunny:

RE
Save As Many As You Can

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 42025
    • View Profile
Re: RE Gets a Stealth Van!
« Reply #37 on: June 17, 2017, 02:42:37 PM »
I picked up the ramps at Lowes and tested them out.  I only need one of them for the Ewz.  The other one is a spare.

It worked pretty much as expected, although there is still a decent amount of work involved to control the Ewz both on the way down and on the way up.  It's also more time consuming than just muscling it in there, because you have set up time for the ramp.  I'll need to be at least 15 minutes earlier on any appointments if I am going to use it.

While picking it up at Lowes, I also bought a cheap plastic step stool, which was all I really needed.  So the fancy aluminum 2 stepper with the expensive shipping was a waste of money.  I couldn't have tested out the ramp without the stool though.  You need it to step up while you hold the handlebars and turn the throttle to power it up the ramp.  You have to be very gentle on the throttle too.  Overall though, it works and the combination of Van & Ewz will make the Ewz much more useful.  I will bring it down to the Nurosurgeon Pro From Dover next week, then the July 4th Parade in Wasilla and then down to Kenai for the dip netting.

RE
Save As Many As You Can

Offline Surly1

  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 18654
    • View Profile
    • Doomstead Diner
Re: RE Gets a Stealth Van!: Maiden Voyage of SaVannah
« Reply #38 on: June 17, 2017, 03:12:12 PM »

OK!  Maiden Voyage of the Stealth Van complete!  I have decided to name her SaVannah:icon_sunny:

I thought for sure you could have found yourself behind the wheel of one of these:



$67,000+ new down here. As if.

 :icon_mrgreen:
"...reprehensible lying communist..."

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 42025
    • View Profile
Re: RE Gets a Stealth Van!: Maiden Voyage of SaVannah
« Reply #39 on: June 17, 2017, 03:23:48 PM »

OK!  Maiden Voyage of the Stealth Van complete!  I have decided to name her SaVannah:icon_sunny:

I thought for sure you could have found yourself behind the wheel of one of these:



$67,000+ new down here. As if.

 :icon_mrgreen:

Not tall enough for Stealth Van living, plus of course the price.  Picked up SaVannah for $5K.  I also don't need the leg room you do.  I am pretty sure you would have full leg room in SaVannah though.  Just no cool backing camera.  I may add one.  That's one electronic toy I DON'T have, and always wanted for the Big Rig.

The only thing the Suburban has that I would like on SaVannah is 4WD.  You don't find too many of these conversion vans in 4WD though.

RE
Save As Many As You Can

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 42025
    • View Profile
RE Gets a Stealth Van!: Cooling Savannah
« Reply #40 on: June 17, 2017, 07:38:02 PM »
I mentioned in my post about the first Nap taken in SaVannah which was a tad warm even though the exterior temperature was only 72 and it was partly cloudy.  In order to make this reasonably comfortable, I don't need the portable air conditioner, just a good means to exhaust the hot air that accumulates insides the van due to the greenhouse effect of the vast expanse of windows this van has.  I like all the windows because when parked in some National Park with beautiful Scenic Vistas, I'll have a 360 view while I keyboard out Doom on the Diner.  :icon_sunny:  Much better than a dark and dismal work van.  Van Dweller also told me that vans with windows are actually safer from theft because the thieves can see inside and don't suspect something real valuable is in there to break in to steal, plus locals tend to be friendlier to you also if your van has windows.  You don't seem so threatening and secretive.

So on the way back from Lowes I stopped off at Wally World and picked up a couple of 7" air circulating fans for $16 each.  They are 120V A/C but they will run off a REALLY low powered inverter.  At top speed, they only draw 0.6A.  So you are talking max of 144W here if you ran both at full speed, which probably isn't necessary in most circumstances.  I also have 250W of Solar PV panels I want to install on the roof of the van which would pretty much cover the energy cost during the sunny part of the day, although you probably would be better off parking in the shade if you are actually in the van.  This portion of the day though is best spent in a nice air conditioned library, internet cafe or bar where there is free wi-fi, and just let the sun do it's work on the van and PV panels and top off your deep cycle marine battery for the night.

So your next question should be, "That's a great plan RE, but how will you use them as exhaust fans without cutting new holes in the exterior of the van to fit them?".  Well, I could do that (or have the RV place do it) and it would be a nice permanent customization, but it's not essential.  I will use the two front windows to position the fans blowing OUT from the interior of the van.  I already tested this aspect, you simply roll down the window, put the fan in the gap and then roll the winodw back up until it is firmly in place.  To cover the remaining opening, I will cut out a surround out of cardboard to prevent air from coming back in this way.  So now you have pretty substantial negative pressure inside the van, and fresh air has to come in somewhere to replace it.  Where does the air come in?

Mainly for this you open the two sliding windows at the bottom of the big side windows that are right where the bunk is, so that fresh and cool night air will flow nicely over your body while you nap.  Also air will enter from all the holes cut in the bottom of the van for the pedals and wiring, and that is completely shaded wherever you are parked.  If you are parked over grass, you will be getting REALLY cool air coming in due to evaporation of water off the grass blades.

The advantage of this system is you do NOT need to be parked in an official campsite with an A/C power hookup, you can do it all with your on-board 12V DC power system.  This means you only have to take a for-pay campsite on the very hottest and muggiest days in the hot neighborhoods of the south.  In fact, if I was down in the south at this time of year and it was really cooking out, I would just take a nice air conditioned Bates Motel room for the night.  However, I wouldn't even usually be in such a neighborhood at this time of year anyhow, in mid-summer I would spend my time in the mountains around Maine or in Idaho.  As long as there is gas at the pump that my money will buy, I am free to go anywhere in any season.  In the winter, I drive down to the Florida Keys in Margaritaville  :icon_sunny:, reducing my heating bill, which will be marginal anyhow with such a small space to heat.

Of course this is not true Stealth as in being able to park on some Big Shity street, because your fans buzzing all night in the windows are going to attract the attention of the Gestapo.  As long as you are out in a more rural area or at a Rest Area on the interstate or in a Truckstop, no issues though.  Since I already know all the truckstops and rest areas, this would in fact be where I was spending most of my parked time.  The only time I would venture into a Big Shity would be if I had an engagement to speak at some venue, like say Madison Square Garden. lol.  Otherwise, I will avoid these Death Traps like the plague.

On the other end of the temperature regime, I also am going to test using a 1500W Electric Space Heater in SaVannah over the winter, and see how warm that keeps the interior cabin at sub-zero temps (assuming we get some sub-zero F days this winter).  I suspect it will do pretty good because the size of the box is so small.  I have outdoor electric under my carport, so this is EZ to test out.  Tis saves you money on buying kerosene, and it is of course much more convenient and worry free.  No paranoia about dying from carbon monoxide poisoning.

For cooling, I am also not saying I won't buy a portable air conditioner either.  If I actually go out on the road to live this way, I most likely will. About $250 for an 8000 BTU unit, which has a reasonably small footprint and won't take up too much valuable floor space inside SaVannah.  Besides, living this way I most certainly would be pulling a trailer for all the preps and equipment, and the portable A/C would spend most of its time there anyhow.  Up here in Alaska though, such a device won't be necessary anytime in my lifetime, night time temps here never even hit 70F.

The other thing you might glean from this post is there is NO FUCKING WAY I will leave SaVannah lonesome and parked by herself down in the Lower 48 this winter!  I LOVE this vehicle too much already to abandon her that way for so long.  If I do use a land vehicle for this year's trip to the Lower 48 either via the Al-Can or the Ferry, it will be the 2002 Ford Explorer.  That I could dispense with and leave down there as transportation instead of renting cars, which gets expensive.  I can use my 1989 Mazda MPV 4WD  for car transportation up here over the winter, so the Ford is extraneous anyhow.  The only major risk here is that over the winter due to freeze & thaw cycles the brand new pristine Windshield will develop cracks like all the rest of the cars around here have. I'll risk that though, and buy another new windshield when I head down to the Lower 48 for the final chapter of Brother RE's Travelling Salvation Show.

SaVannah however will not leave my side or my sight for more than a few hours at a time for the rest of my life.  We are now married. lol.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/Vzk01O_tBAI" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/Vzk01O_tBAI</a>

RE
Save As Many As You Can

Offline Nearingsfault

  • Sous Chef
  • ****
  • Posts: 1505
    • View Profile
Re: RE Gets a Stealth Van!
« Reply #41 on: June 17, 2017, 08:06:28 PM »
When I had the small camper on my ford ranger I used a pair of these: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00W8AG2MU/ref=mp_s_a_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1497754651&sr=8-8&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&keywords=12+volt+ventilation+fan&dpPl=1&dpID=41ONxD1S8nL&ref=plSrch
One in one out both with 3 inch vent holes drilled on opposite sides.  Tubed in and mounted in an insulated box for silent running.  They were quite stealthy.  I still miss that camper.
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 42025
    • View Profile
Re: RE Gets a Stealth Van!
« Reply #42 on: June 17, 2017, 08:52:06 PM »
When I had the small camper on my ford ranger I used a pair of these: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00W8AG2MU/ref=mp_s_a_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1497754651&sr=8-8&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&keywords=12+volt+ventilation+fan&dpPl=1&dpID=41ONxD1S8nL&ref=plSrch
One in one out both with 3 inch vent holes drilled on opposite sides.  Tubed in and mounted in an insulated box for silent running.  They were quite stealthy.  I still miss that camper.

That does look even better.  If I was going the whole 9 yards, I would have the holes cut in the floor in the cabin for them.  I'll see how this jury rig system works before I go for a permanent installation and customization.  That will cost quite a bit.   At 2.5A also, they draw a lot more juice.  Also not as far as I can see speed variable.  The ones I bought are 3 speed. Do you know how many cubic feet/sec of air they push?  The specs for them aren't on the Amazon site.

RE
Save As Many As You Can

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 42025
    • View Profile
RE Gets a Stealth Van!: Seeking a Trailer for SaVannah
« Reply #43 on: June 18, 2017, 02:07:59 AM »
I'm going on a Trailer Hunt! :icon_mrgreen:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/Y-KAAAaw8dw" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/Y-KAAAaw8dw</a>

Note: Karen Kamon was BUILT.  That woman did gymnastics from the time she was a little girl.  Nobody gets a body like that without working it for a good 10 years.

I have located two possibilities to check out next week on my trip down to Anchorage to see the Neurosurgeon Pro from Dover on Tuesday.  I found two possibles, one in Eagle River (halfway to Anchorage) and the other in Anchorage itself.

The Eagle River Trailer is the cheaper one at list price on CL, it's old (1980) and a converted Horse Trailer.


Asking price: $2500

The Anchorage Trailer is an enclosed 14' Cargo Trailer similar to the one I bought for LD but a bit longer and in Black.


Asking price: $5900

Things I like about the the ER Horse Trailer:

1- It's CHEAP.  With the money I save on the purchase price I can have it refurbished and a custom paint job done to match SaVannah.  New tires too.

2- It already has windows installed.  That's a pretty expensive job to do on a cargo trailer.

3- It has Character and is cute.  It would pretty much fulfill my needs although a tad narrow.

Things I like about the Anchorage trailer

1- It's practically new.  The guy who bought it bought it straight off the lot to drive shit up here and has no room for it.  What's not to like about new?

2- It's HUGE.  I could pack my whole supply of preps into this trailer.  You could run any number of commercial biznesses with it too.

In both cases, I think I can Jew them down some.  In the case of the ER trailer, I am sure I can get it down to $2000, and maybe even $1500.  In the case of the Anchorage trailer, $5000.  That's more than I want to spend for a trailer and it's more than I really need, but that is a real good price for a practically brand new trailer of this type.

Anchorage already got back to me, so far nothing from Eagle River.

If I buy either one, the main issue over the next winter will be where to store it.  I may have to buy another parking spot at the storage facility, that would cost $40/mo and has to be figured in.  It might be better just to be patient and wait until spring.  There are always trailers for sale up here.

On the other hand, I want a Trailer NOW! lol.  I wanna get it all set up and ready for the Final Bugout and Brother RE's Travelling Salvation Show!  That will keep me bizzy all winter.

I will update after I look at the trailers.

RE
Save As Many As You Can

Offline Nearingsfault

  • Sous Chef
  • ****
  • Posts: 1505
    • View Profile
Re: RE Gets a Stealth Van!
« Reply #44 on: June 18, 2017, 04:20:10 AM »
RE those horse trailers tend to be very heavy for their cargo room as you would expect for something that pulls half a tonne of prized pet.  The cargo trailers have similar tow capability but only the trailer is built heavy the box is fairly light.  As to the bilge blowers that is 2.5 amps at 12 volts not the 120 ac of the other ones.
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
3 Replies
5488 Views
Last post December 21, 2016, 06:12:48 AM
by g
16 Replies
2817 Views
Last post January 20, 2016, 06:31:05 PM
by RE
0 Replies
267 Views
Last post October 06, 2020, 02:55:40 PM
by Eddie