First Official Trip in the Planning Stages

We have a destination!  Easter weekend in Orono with Caroline, Ellie and Gwen.  Tim will be on a business trip so they need the  Easter Bunny to pay a visit.  With luck the nighttime temperatures will be reasonable and we can camp out in the parking lot.  Not exactly the wilderness but ya gotta start somewhere. 🙂

We wanted to spend the day in the van pretending we were camping but it’s about 25 degrees out and snowing so we are pretending we are camping in the house with our nice warm woodstove.  We worked on a setup and breakdown routine.  Like what order do you flip the power on and start the furnace and what state should the refrigerator be in when driving or when parked.  Probably within a year all of this will come automatically but we are really newbys who have to think it all out in advance.  Also learned more about solar energy sources and LED light bulbs.

The dreaming is as much fun as the doing!


Good Report Card

The van passed inspection and review with flying colors!  Although we were pretty sure everything was in good order mechanically, if feels good to have our own mechanic give the thumbs up.

I’m checking out flexible solar panels for an energy boost.  It would be nice to have an alternative for recharging the batteries besides the engine or an outside electrical source.  And I love the “free” sunshine energy for lighting up the night and keeping the electronics aglow.

I was going to write more but I got caught up in reading reviews on solar panels…which led to reviews on solar hot water showers in the camping stores sites…which led to a couple of sites by people who live full-time in their vans.  Gotta love the internet!

Do Not Park the Van on the Grass in the Spring in Maine

Roadtreks are not meant for Maine in the Spring.  Yesterday I moved the van in the morning from the end of the driveway, where we had to use mudders to get to it, to what I thought was firmer ground.  I mean, we always park the cars there even when the rest of the yard is soggy.  Guess what!  When we tried to move it again it dug itself nicely into the sod.  Had to call Billy and his front-end loader to come and pull it out.  And now the tires are dirty!

On a happier note, we made the bed.  And it’s very comfy…can’t wait to sleep in it.  For future reference, I will be customizing the bed pad since it’s not quite wide enough and we used queen size sheets which don’t give much tucking room so we will eventually go with king size.  I am seeing all the little areas that need a good cleaning.  The detail people did well but another cleaning won’t hurt before we pack stuff.

Even though the weather is agreeable, we won’t be sleeping in it tonight since it has an appointment with the mechanic tomorrow morning.

Reality Strikes Again

Day 3 – I love making lists and our new van calls for many new lists, an Excel spreadsheet with lots of tabs filled with lists.  Kitchen stuff, linens, computer equipment, things to do, and on and on.  Finally, after several hours of daydreaming and planning, we actually got in the van and started playing.  I set up the bed and took measurements, 72 X 70.  We can get by with queen size bedding but we need to be creative with the memory foam pad.  If I purchase a full size pad and a twin size pad, we can cut them to fit with some left over for seat cushions.  I checked out all the cabinets and found screens for the driver’s window and the passenger’s window that attach to the outside of the van with magnetic tape.  How cool is that?  And there is a Velcro-edged screen for the side doors with all the Velcro already stuck in place.  We will have lots of fresh air on warm nights.

Day 4 – What an absolute downer!  I woke up this morning and discovered it was Monday and I had to go to work!  This is definitely not in my treking fantasy.  We have at least four weeks before we can go for overnight.  But we can always camp out in the driveway.

After work I took the last of the paperwork to the post office and the bank.  Then off to Wal-Mart to purchase memory foam.  The full size pad fits perfectly and we will cut the twin size pad to fit.  We also rummaged through piles of sheets and bed pads upstairs and found enough stuff to get started.  The washing machine is running and we should be able to sleep in the van tomorrow night if we want.  Charlie made an appointment for Wednesday to have the van inspected.

Here We Go…

Day 1 – Just picked up our new camper van on Friday and the biggest step toward treking out has been taken.  The van is a 2002 Roadtrek 190 Popular with our own bed and a little kitchen and bath.  We were pretty wound up, especially since we had to get it out of southern Massachusetts during heavy traffic hours, but we made it to New Hampshire without a hitch and spent the night in a motel.  That’s probably sacrilegious since we have a camper van but it is only mid-March in New England and we are definitely newbys in the RV world.  Like, where do you park and not have cops knocking on your door at 3:00 AM?  I know…WalMart but I’m not quite ready for that yet.

Here's the van before it was ours.

A little history…we have been dreaming about camper vans for years but could hardly justify the expense since we generally go camping once a year for about four days.  Now, we are almost retired and we have visions of wandering the country, visiting family and old friends, and especially getting the hell out of Northern Maine in February and March.  (Bold formatting means we are dealing with an obsession here.)

Day 2 – The big drive home.  Since I’m a chicken, Charlie drove out of Massachusetts and most of the way home.  I finally got brave on the last 100 miles and took the wheel.  Hey!  This is fun!  The captain’s seat is comfortable and high up off the road so the view is great.  This is always an issue with us short people…anything to see better. It’s not much different that driving our old mini-van.  Good mirrors make backing up pretty easy.  Just need to be cautious about tight places since the turning radius is not so great.  Made it home safe and sound for a good night’s sleep in our own bed.  I can’t wait to make our van bed just as cozy.