Sunday, February 7, 2021

Darkness, Darkness

 We have been pretty much "home bodies" this Winter so have had plenty of time for little projects. We love performing small upgrades on our Camper Van.

Recently, I updated all the old light fixtures to LED lights. The old filament lights got very HOT and they draw much more energy.

The rear door access was poor, so I priced a rear receiver hitch step at a local RV Store...$49.00? way. I had a number of unused receiver hitches, some heavy aluminum plate, rubber matting, so I fabricated my own. Cost me $2.00 for a large black anodized nut/bolt/washers.

I noticed that light was detectable through our accordion shades at night. I decided to do a little test, and turned on the TV one night. Went outside and peered through the shades, to my dismay, I could see right through them and into our sleeping area. With that in mind we decided to make up additional privacy curtains to be used with the stock shades. Chose these "common sense" (didn't know they were called that) twist lock fasteners, as they won't stress the fabric like snaps would.

Darian recently purchased a new sewing machine so she was ready to go!

Left rear shade installed:

     Fastener locations:

We ended up making numerous covers...a rear door cover that stays in place when door is opened. 

A side door cover.

Rear "Cubby hole" covers.
The rear cover is attached to interior panels, rather than the door. This way privacy is maintained when door is opened.

Roof Vent Covers.
Used snaps on the rear cover:

I had to get creative on the front roof vent cover as we had only a tiny bit of material leftover, plus the crank extends down.

When we were done, I went out to van in pitch darkness...turned on 6 different lights, and the TV inside...could not see any detectable light through the two layers of curtains from outside.
We don't always need to be completely "stealthy" when out camping, but the thought of the possibility of someone peering into van in the middle of the night kind of bothered us.
We are firm "2nd. Ammendment" believers, and always travel with self defense "options". These days a bit of paranoia is not a bad thing! Lol

Our rig has a large table, but when bed is made up it is unusable.
I made up a smaller table which has multiple uses:

We used a small aluminum folding table a couple times but it was awkward. This small wood panel stores right next to the larger dinette table.

2020...A season of Change

 "Out with the old, in with the new"

Our biggest news of 2020 was the purchase of a new property in AZ. We've been spending our Winters at the same property since the mid 90's and were ready for a change. The old neighborhood was getting somewhat depressing. Some of the area lots were becoming somewhat derelict, and a new home was built directly to our us a wonderful view of the side of a house. 

We'd targeted a specific neighborhood higher up on a hill, but properties there seldom came up for sale. Finally the planets aligned and we found / purchased a new lot. The process was a bit painful, due to Covid insanity and the seller being in Oklahoma, but we got it done!

Stormy Day View to our East:

Window view from my favorite chair:

The new property needed a lot of upgrades to suit us. We had recently laid down additional brick pavers at our old property so we uprooted many of them (still leaving 3 large patio areas paved) and transplanted them to our new place.

Last Summer we obtained a fairly large gazebo and portable hot tub, so setting that up was a priority.
Hot Tub view:

Land Rover hauling brick 

We added some side boards and converted our motorcycle trailer into a temporary  utility trailer. Hauled a few loads of pavers and a few loads to the dump. 

The new property was pretty stagnant aesthetically so we immediately set out to make it "home". Darian transplanted/moved numerous scattered cacti to a single area and installed borders. She planted numerous elysium flowers in a new patio border area. We added a little "Zen" garden in the rear, and planting area up front and then a lovely little "gnome garden"...complete with pathways, little homes, castles, colored stones, grass areas, trees, and more detail than I can describe.
Darian repainted our two large sliding entrance gates and we have another small brick pathway yet to complete.
The lot has a fairly large shed, so we set it up to our liking...replacing an old dated washing machine with a new one. I also emptied our old property shed, and moved my workbench, peg boards, shelving, 8 small fastener storage bins and lots of motorcycle parts to the new shed.

All in all this past year has been interesting.
We haven't done a lot of motorcycle traveling, instead favoring our camper van. Our "mode" has been traveling we move our camper van to Montana, then fly to AZ to retrieve our motorhome and back to MT. This way we make a couple roadtrip vacations each Spring / Fall.
We traveled the entire west coast in July in our camper....from Mexico to the northern cascades of Washington...visiting friends and family along the way. With the "Covid situation" in mind, we avoided large cities and crowds. 
We did attend a Salton Sea Airhead campout in November...taking our camper. Was a nice gathering with 75 or so other folks. No Covid issues whatsoever.
Planning a camper roadtrip next week up the Colorado River and possibly, eventually, over to Death Valley and the Airheads Death Valley gathering. 
More to come...

Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.