** UPDATED ** Adding Some New Stuff to the Van

Someone I can identify with…
Good morning… I’ve been meaning to post something but ran into a couple of delays… Okay, the fish were biting, too.   🙂
There are a couple new changes coming to the van.
1)  The other night a new 2 quart crock pot was purchased at Target for $11.00 (plus or minus a few pennies).  It’s a little larger than the last one (which was one quart) but still small enough to be very efficient on the LOW setting.  Last night I cooked roasted pork with veggies.   The night before it was beef and veggies stew.  Yum!  There’s nothing like waking up to the smell of cooking food!  For one or two people, it’s a perfect size.  My beloved tomcat, Mister Jesse, gave his approval to the pork and beef dishes of the last two days.

Though small in size, this slow cooker has a high and low setting as well as a removable crock insert, making it extra easy to clean at the campground.  Add some crock pot liner bags and it would be perfect – no cleaning needed!  It will definitely get used for fishing trips and other outings.  As much as I love cooking in a dutch oven, charcoal is getting expensive and the crock pot offers almost “free cooking”. 

2)  Last week I ordered a Haier Black and Decker portable air conditioner (10,000 BTUs)  to place in the bulkhead doorway.  It’s going to be installed this weekend or early next week depending on when it arrives.  The Amazon-endorsed vendor didn’t send tracking information so every day I stalk the UPS guy… Pictures of the installation will be coming soon…  The A/C offers real air conditioning (freon, not just a fan and ice) and some space savings for seasonal use.  More details to come.

3)  There is now a bookcase headboard in the van.  The pillow had fallen between the bed and back door one too many times so I made a redneck bookcase headboard.  Envision a wooden box fastened to the edge of the bed.  The rear bottom is held up with shelf brackets and the darn thing is actually quite sturdy.  The new headboard adds a LOT of space and there’s still room under it to slip in an propane tank (for heating) if I wish…   The bottom is a 1×8 while the top is actually a 1×10… I added the little “overbite” style top in order to keep the boombox up there.  Another idea was adding a little 1×2 board for a lip to keep stuff smaller stuff from sliding out when driving…  The color is kind of off-white but I’m thinking about painting it darker.  Any suggestions?

Other progress is being made.  The exercise has been increased to at least an hour each day and varies between walking, weightlifting, and biking.  A “rest day” still has a thirty minute walk.  Though the scale is lagging behind the progress being made, the clothes are falling off.  I had to order two new pairs of slacks the other day – 4 inches had melted off the waist since Christmas.
My sister’s challenge (ten dollars per pound lost) is still in force and it’s going to pay for the air conditioner AND much of the solar system.  It’s should be a fun spring and summer with lots of progress made on all fronts.
Have a good weekend and thanks for visiting!

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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

4 Responses to ** UPDATED ** Adding Some New Stuff to the Van

  1. Wanderoke says:

    The bookcase is a great idea to restrain those errant pillows that are born to run!

    I also admire your workout routine. a four inch drop in waist size is substantial. With all this exercise, the fish won’t have a chance as you hike along the riverbank.

  2. Anonymous says:

    did you hear that a/c running anywhere before you bought one? i have been thinking about one but thought it might be too loud for a space as small as a van. will be looking forward to your veiws on this. – laurie

  3. Brad says:

    Thanks for the comments.

    Wanderoke – the bookcase headboard has come in handy for a number of things in addition to the pillow problem: pill bottles, the cell phone, keys, rings, USB cables, etc. It’s been a helpful way to organize stuff that was falling behind the bed, ending up under a fat roll, or in worse places than that, etc. 🙂

    Thanks for the kind words about the weight loss. It’s hard to imagine that 40 lbs is the same weight as 160 sticks of butter. People I know are saying they have noticed changes – that’s a “warm fuzzy”…


    Laurie, I haven’t heard the a/c running yet. The jury is out – some reviewers say it’s not too loud; others say it’s very noisy. I can usually get to sleep okay even with racket, particularly if the temperature/humidity are comfortable. The A/C will be roughly eight feet from my head – I’ve slept closer than that to window models. Hopefully it’s not as loud as the engine on an a McDonnel Douglas MD 80 jet plane. Please check back in a few days to see how it goes. Thanks!

  4. Brad says:

    The A/C is certainly not too quiet but it’s doable. I don’t mind the noise leve. It works great – nice and cold – and the noise level is quite tolerable.