Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How to Enjoy (RV) Home Improvement

Farmington, NM. My goodness, how long has it been since I had a paintbrush in my hand? Seventeen years, perhaps? But there I was in Home Depot, actually looking at color charts. I smiled, reminiscing about seeing women looking at these charts. They were transfixed -- it was some kind of religious experience for them.

You know what? It was kind of fun. The color shade of "Navajo Sand" caught my eye. But say, which earth-tone color should a traveler be loyal to? Think of the reddish tones tones of Utah sandstone, the pallid calcareous tones of West Texas and New Mexico, and all the colors in the geology of our travels. Which one was best?

Who thinks up all these names that are used in the color charts? What was their college major? You'd think they would run out of words. I'm not sure the words are even that accurate. 

Now then, what color is best for the floor of my new cargo trailer? Forget 'pretty'! Some sort of buff color, resembling dirt and sand, is best.

You know, it was actually fun to paint the plywood floor. The truth is that I always liked to paint when I had a fixer-upper house. It was the thankless drudgery of surface preparation that got tiresome. There are several techniques that make the difference between loving home improvement and hating it. 

I sometimes wonder if seasonal house renovation wouldn't be a good sideline for an independent person who retired early, but not if it crowded everything else out, and that is exactly what it tends to do.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Update on RV Boondocking Rig -- Sold!

Apparently my boondocking travel trailer has been sold. Tomorrow I drive up to Utah to pick up my new trailer, a rather standard cargo trailer. 

Those who do something like this might be wise to order a trailer in the slow season, that is, any time but spring. Of course your winter location might be a long ways from your state of residence, where you will need to drive to, in order to register the trailer. 

Because spring is the busy season, I would have had to wait ten weeks if I'd ordered a trailer just like I wanted. That pushes the conversion into the Dry Heat of June, quickly followed by the monsoons in July. Thus I bought one off the lot.

Doing a conversion needs more than just good hardware stores and lumber yards. It should benefit from a commercial infrastructure of  "hard hat" and truck industries. There are remarkably few practical cities in the Four Corners area. Farmington NM is such a place, probably because of its oil and gas drilling economy.

Better yet, I found an RV park owner who was flexible, low budget, and full of common sense. I thought that such behavior was at least rare, and probably illegal, in this country. I need to park the old trailer (where I will live) next to the new trailer (being converted) for a month or so. Most RV parks would frown on that or charge you for two full hook-up sites. This fellow allowed me to move both into his small storage area for half of what a full hookup site would cost. (Remember, I have three vehicles there.)

What a great guy! Everything I need is one or two miles away. This has to be the best chance for an anti-RV-park person to put their aversion aside, temporarily. It is the sum of camping fees and transportation costs that need to be minimized. Obsessive free-camper-types can easily forget that. And yes, after a hard day of converting, I will take a non-navy shower in the campground's bathhouse.

Although the conversion will be my first and likely to be challenging, we should remember that there are many things worth doing that are not worth writing or reading about. My challenge will be to be helpful to readers, but to avoid drowning them in picayune details that won't carry over to their circumstances.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

How to Start RV Boondocking Camping Easily, Cheaply, and Quickly

I have a bumper-pull travel trailer for sale: 1997 AeroLite, 7 X 21 foot (nominal), weighing 4000 pounds loaded. (I am the original owner.) It would work best for a single person. The inside standing height is 6' 3.5". 

At its weight you can pull it with any half-ton pickup truck (e.g., Ford F150), Tacoma or Frontier, or truck-based SUV, Chevy Astro, or full size van (e.g., Econoline). You wouldn't want to use a crossover utility vehicle (CUV) or a 4 cylinder truck.

This travel trailer would be a clever way to slip into boondocking if you are uncertain whether you will really like the lifestyle, and you don't want to spend a lot to give it a try. It would be a fair test; otherwise you might use a rig that just isn't meant for dry camping, with the result proving nothing. 

This travel trailer would also be ideal for someone who doubts their skill or interest in volts, amps, sabre saws, and electric drills. All of that has been done a long time ago. You can start boondocking the first day you own it.

This travel trailer would also be excellent in non-travel mode: as a portable, ready-to-live-in cabin for an acreage or a driveway.