Tag Archives: vanlife

First “Vlog”

John and I went on our first RV road trip this past weekend and we attempted to vlog it.

We drove up to Santa Rosa, California to visit John’s uncle and aunt. It was our first time taking the RV out on a trip like this and staying in it. We parked in John’s uncle’s driveway and slept in the RV.

It was fun! The driving is probably the least exciting part. We passed the hours by listening to the HarmonTown podcast. My favorite part of those podcasts is the D&D section. That’s pretty much the only reason I listen to the podcast. Although, I am a fan of Dan Harmon’s other work: Community and Rick and Morty. In fact during SXSW 2015 we went to the Community Season 6 party and got to see the cast of Community and Dan Harmon in person. That was pretty cool.

danharmon

I was so drunk at this event.

I tried to sneak into the upstairs party where the cast was hanging out but I failed miserably. I was super drunk and also I’m terrible at acting like I belong where I don’t belong. Oh well!

Unfortunately, at this years SXSW I missed the opportunity to go to HarmonQuest because I had no clue what it was and I didn’t even bother looking it up. Little did I know, that later, when I would watch the HarmonQuest show, I’d end up loving it and regretting not going. Sigh.

Back to the road trip… We went hiking on the first day up Taylor Mountain. It ended up being a much more grueling hike than we were expecting. We weren’t prepared at all. No water, no hats, and we didn’t have on proper shoes. We made it though. We also went and emptied the RV tanks for the first time but I didn’t include that in the video because I didn’t really film us doing it.

I liked Santa Rosa. John’s aunt and uncle are SUPER nice people. Piet, our dog, loved them right away. I hope we get to go back soon.

How We Mounted Solar Panels Onto Our 1988 Toyota Sunrader

Last weekend we mounted the second set of our six solar panels to the roof of our RV. So, now our home reminds me of that car in the movie Honey, I Blew Up the Kid:

honeyishrunk

Dude was ahead of his time.

Not that that’s a bad thing. It feels good to get our electricity from the sun. Like we are really reducing our carbon footprint.

We decided to make a video out of the process in case anyone out there might find it useful. A video like this certainly would have been useful for us and would have saved us a lot of time! After a failed attempt at mounting the solar panels using long pieces of wood (not sure what we were thinking), my husband, John, did some reading online and found a much better way to do it. In the video we demonstrate this method.

Keep in mind, our solar panels do not tilt… yet. When we figure that out, we will definitely update. We needed to have solar panels STAT though, because we were running out of time before move in day into the RV. So, for now, they are just up there laying flat.

We are pretty frugal people, my husband more than I am, and cost was definitely something that my husband took into consideration when he purchased all the materials and especially in choosing solar panels. Our solar panels, like many of the things that we own, are second hand and we bought them on Craigslist for  $100 total. We have 6 used Acro 55w panels (~7v~8a). Total power when bought new would have been about 330 watts, but these are about a decade old, so we expect it to be less than that. Maybe 260 watts or so. The fact that they aren’t tilted, and we don’t live at the equator also limits power. But they work, and we can charge and use all of our devices in here (not including things like blender, flat irons, and such), so it’s good for now.

Here is a list of the materials we used:

All images taken from the Home Depot website or amazon.

  1. Two 1-1/2 in. x 14 gauge x 48 in. Zinc-Plated Slotted Angles

slotted-angle

2. 1/4 inch hex bolts 

hexbolts.jpg

 

3- 1/4 inch lock nuts

locknut

4- 1/4 inch zinc plated washers

washer.jpg

5- 1/4 inch neoprene washers

neoprene

6- VHB tape

7-T hinges

thinge

 

And the video describing the process is below:

If you are new to solar panels, it’s a good idea to do some reading about them. I am linking a pretty good post below that talks about voltage, watts, and amperes. You can find a bunch of videos on Youtube that talk more about connecting solar panels in series and in parallel and what that means. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask! Any pointers are welcome too. Thanks for reading!

About watts, amps, and volts.

 

 

Full Time Living in the RV Week 1 Recap

It’s officially one week since we started living in our RV and so far things are going much better than expected. We started out the week with waking up super early at 6:30 AM so that we could get all of our morning stuff done before too many people were out and about. This included walking the dog, working out at the gym, showering at the gym, and preparing and eating breakfast. As the week progressed, however, we kept waking up later and later despite going to sleep at the same time every day: between 9:00 and 9:30 PM.

Today we woke up at 7:30 AM and still managed to get everything done as stealthily as possible before my husband had to go to work. I still prefer waking up a little earlier than that though and I’m going to start setting an alarm.

Parking has been going well too. We park in areas where we are allowed to park and move every 72 hours. This hasn’t been an issue so far. It helps that our RV fits into a standard parking space.

I have always had problems with certain noises when I am going to sleep, especially if it is repetitive. Typing, snoring, water dripping… these are all noises that I absolutely can not stand if I am trying to go to sleep. I think I might have a mild case of misophonia. I’ve been dealing with this by wearing ear plugs. Sometimes if I can still hear the noise through my ear plugs I get really angry and it prevents me from sleeping. Now that we live in the RV, sometimes the perfect parking spot will also be right next to something that makes a repetitive sound. I wear ear plugs but I can usually still hear things with them on. I’ve just had to deal with this. I’ve had to just force myself to deal with it. I think to myself, ‘I have no choice right now’ and I start counting in my mind. So far it has worked. I still have to wear the ear plugs though. I also NEVER take naps during the day or else I definitely won’t fall asleep.

The dog and I haven’t had problems with being too hot in the RV so far either. Summer is pretty much over though, so this isn’t really something we have to think about until next year. I’ve even been able to leave the dog in the RV by himself a few times for short periods of time. He has food , water, and his bed, and I always leave the RV vent fan on and crack open one of the smaller higher windows that he can’t reach.

Other than that, the dog and I have been getting WAY more exercise. I take him with me jogging in the mornings, and we go for an hour long walk in the evenings, exploring the surrounding areas. This is really good because my dog has gained 1 lb since we moved here and has gotten really lazy!

This weekend we are going on our first road trip in the RV. We’re driving 2 hours north to visit my husband’s uncle. I’m really excited for this trip and I’m thinking about vlogging about it. We’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, so far it has been a positive experience. It helps a lot that my husband and I are fine living in a small space and that we are both short enough to fully stand upright in the RV. I could see this being a lot more annoying if you were really tall. It kind of sucks that there isn’t much space in here to work on crafts, specifically sewing, and we don’t have the electrical power needed to use an iron. Instead, I work on things that I can do in here: learning to program, blogging, and editing videos. Sometimes, you just have to make compromises.

I’ve also noticed that I’ve become a lot more mindful about the amount of water I use for things like washing my hands and brushing my teeth, as well as the amount of trash I produce because it’s annoying to have to take out the trash all the time.  We’ve also actually never emptied the tanks in the RV before, so that’s going to be a project for this weekend.

In summary, things are going well. No catastrophes yet!

First Youtube Video and MyFitnessPal

I decided I wanted to start a Youtube channel with my husband and I finally posted our first video yesterday.

I’ll be posting weekly videos, mostly about the RV and what we want to do with it. At least for now. I will probably expand it to include other topics as I go along. I’m excited to learn more about video editing.

In other news, I finally went ahead and downloaded the My Fitness Pal app and I’ve been using it for the past four days and it has been an eye opener! I’m happy with it and definitely recommend it. Seven weeks to lose 10 lbs! Let’s go!