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Old 12-31-2011, 01:13 AM   #1
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Default Full-timing in the van - Meg

Quote:
Originally Posted by MegA
Update: I have acquired a bed.

After I got back from the thrift shop I was taking some stuff outside and found 2 twin-size frames, mattresses, and box springs in the "donation" area. They had belonged to one of my neighbors, Ruth, who is also moving. One of her helpers carried the frame to the van for me and after moving it around a bit I discovered it would just fit between the driver's seat and the wheel well. It's low but still high enough to fit over the heater thingies on that side.

I really don't like used mattresses, you never know what you're getting, but I know Ruth and knew it would have been well cared-for and bug-free (which she verified when I ran into her later). So I moved first the box spring and then the mattress into the van. The box spring went in fine but the mattress is a bit off; I don't know if it's just a bit too big or if it's the curve of the driver's seat or something else, but I had to shift it back a bit so it's not sitting exactly on top of the box spring. It doesn't feel quite stable that way so I'm thinking of removing it tomorrow and replacing it with either the futon mattress or the memory-foam mattress topper.

But it's nice to have a sleeping area off the floor, and what's more, there's a lot more available room in the rest of van this way. So far - it looks good.

One other thing, that doesn't really have anything to do with the bed but is still cool - As of this morning I still hadn't gotten an ice chest (aka refrigerator). When I was at the thrift shop I looked for one but couldn't find any; camping supplies are few and far between this time of year. But as I was walking out of that area a man passed me carrying one that looked like just the size I wanted. I wasn't sure if he was a customer or an employee but I thought he had come from the back area so I kind of followed him to see what he was going to do with it. I lost sight of him in the crowded aisle but then I found the ice chest just sitting on a shelf so I grabbed it. It needs to be cleaned but for $12 it was a good deal, and one less thing to have to buy.

I'm moving out of this apartment and into the van tomorrow so I'm not sure how much online time I'll have for a while. But I'll post updates when I can.

Meg
Take care, be safe. Keep us posted when you get organized. Happy New Year!
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Old 01-01-2012, 08:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: How to raise futon frame

Update: I am posting this from the van (on battery power) sitting in a park across the street from where I used to live. Last night was a very late night because of apartment cleaning - didn't get to bed until sometime after 3. The low yesterday was supposed to be around 22 so I prepared with lots of layers and hoped that since the sun would be up in about 4 hours it wouldn't be so bad. It was.

I could get warm under all the covers but they didn't stay put because of the way the bed was set up, and I don't think there's anything different I could have done there. And the air was really cold. *Really* cold. It was the most miserable night I can remember spending in a long time - possibly ever.

I should mention that I bought a catalytic heater, but because it was used and it was dark and I was *really* tired I didn't want to mess with it last night. But this van is so full of stuff that I'm not sure I would have had a safe place to put it anyway.

After the sun came up and I walked to a nearby coffee shop just to warm up (and spend $5) I decided I didn't want to spend another night in the van. I had some clothes to donate to a local homeless shelter so I asked them and got 3 possibilities. But these shelters all have rules; some have mandatory classes, some can't handle special diets (like mine with no meat and only whole grains; I have sugar issues), and most importantly, there's the safety issue with this van full of stuff parked in a not-very-safe neighborhood.

I'm hoping to be able to reach one friend who might be willing to let me stay with her for a while but if that doesn't come through I see 2 options:
1) shelter
2) Wal-Mart parking lot in the hope someone can "babysit" me with the heater operation (which is still an expensive thing if you use it every day but at least would get me through for a while)

And meanwhile the van has started leaking antifreeze... Wonderful. At this point I am seriously thinking of putting everything in storage, getting the first job I can find, and getting rid of this van as soon as I can.

So right now I am feeling really pretty stupid, mostly for waiting so long to do this; if I hadn't been so indecisive I could have been able to afford something better (like an actual RV) and more reliable. But I wanted to mention it here in case anyone is (or might be) in a similar situation. Maybe someone can benefit from my experience. I said to one of my neighbors last night, "Some day I'll look back on this and laugh." But not just yet.

It's just past 2 here; 2 hours until the sun goes down, and I don't look forward to the darkness.

Meg

P.S. I'm not sure how much online time I'll have for a while so I've changed my email here to my cell phone #. PMs of support (or even just "yes, you're stupid, get over it" ) would be appreciated. I feel rather isolated right now.
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Old 01-01-2012, 11:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: How to raise futon frame

Meg,
Don't give it up!. Put the key in the ignition and drive somewhere warm!!!
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Old 01-01-2012, 11:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: How to raise futon frame

Hmmmm, not so good, so far? That seems normal when you're making such a big lifestyle change in such
a short span of time. I could say "hang in, it will get better" but I could be mistaken.
Seems there are choices available to you, and getting rid of the van might seem like the easy way to go,
but it might be jumping the gun a bit.
You need to figure out two things as quickly as possible. How to safely use the catalytic heater, and get
the antifreeze leak resolved. That will allow you to 1) head towards warmer climes and 2)keep warm at your
stops along the way.
There's no point in giving up just yet, but that has to be your choice. If you could get to someplace where
basic living isn't interrupted by trying to warm up, or cool down, it will give you more time to do the jewelery
thing, which was the original reason for moving into your van in the first place, wasn't it?
So, get the heater working (safely) and then figure where you're headed. I'd assume south? I-25 will get you
to Santa Fe, then Albuquerque, then hopefully to some place (Quartzsite, AZ maybe?) where you can reorganize
and do something with your intended business project. btw, Quartzsite is currently 75F and clear. it is also a
place that has some jewelery conventions at various times during the year. And there are some LTVA long term
visitor areas that have relatively inexpensive camping. Might be worth a drive? You could also do I-70 to I-15
south to US95 south straight into Quartzsite. The grades are steeper on that route, than on I-25 south to I-40
west, so it might depend on what shape your van is in when you decide where you're going.
I-25 to I-40 is probably easier on engines and drivetrains.
Use Starbucks for wifi and coffee. One is free, one isn't.
McDonalds has free wifi too. Panera Bread too I believe. Some libraries might have wifi, but that one isn't for sure,
and some rest areas along the interstates sometimes have it too, but make sure your AV and firewall are solid.

Don't know if this is helping or not, but I hope it does.
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Old 01-02-2012, 01:02 AM   #5
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Default Re: How to raise futon frame

Update from Meg:

Quote:
Update: I'm at Wal-Mart, full-time RVer here got heater working So I got brave & used camp stove for dinner! Things are looking up.
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Old 01-02-2012, 02:29 AM   #6
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Default Re: How to raise futon frame

So she's managed to complete the first part of my diabolical plan?
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Old 01-02-2012, 12:06 PM   #7
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Default Re: How to raise futon frame

Not sure Mike. Last message from Meg noted:
Quote:
Laptop battery is dead
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Old 01-02-2012, 12:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: How to raise futon frame

I suggested she get the heater working, fix the antifreeze leak, and head south.
Phase one complete.
I've sort of lost track of where she is with electricity. Did she get a coach battery and inverter
figured out yet?
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Old 01-02-2012, 01:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: How to raise futon frame

No inverter yet.
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Old 01-02-2012, 01:47 PM   #10
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Default Re: How to raise futon frame

In that case, I would suggest she find a Starbucks, and get the laptop plugged in to recharge it.
Next she'll need to get a reloadable loyalty card. Load it with $10, and register it at Starbucks.com.
That way, she can "dawdle" in Starbucks long enough to recharge her laptop, until she can get a coach
battery/inverter combo. If she buys a coffee using a registered card, the refills are (usually) free for
that visit, no matter how long she wants to sit there and charge. It's a simple, inexpensive, way to
recharge her laptop, short term. You buy a coffee, the wifi and 110V AC is included.
I would recommend a GR27 AGM, and the Peak 1200W inverter. Pricey (probably around $300 if both
are on sale), but should do the trick short term. It might be worth a trip to an RV place and bite the
bullet and get the battery install done professionally. The Peak inverter is intuitive, for the most part
and since here battery will be inside the van, connecting it with the included cables should be relatively
easy, even for someone with limited electrical knowledge (like me).
If those things aren't doable, then I'm not sure what to suggest, or where to go from there.
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