Thursday, September 6, 2012


I’ve been outfitting the Good Deal Bus in fits and starts.  The weather is uncooperative; with humidity in the 70 – 80% range, it’s hard to be outside for more than 10 minutes.  I could plug into shore power for the AC but the nearest outlet requires an extension cord heavier and bulkier than I want to own.  I could crank up the generator but I’m trying to be considerate of the neighbors.

So you run inside, gasp for air, towel off and promise yourself you won't do that anymore.

OK .... does this count as a mod? 
A hippy-dippy sunshade!
I opted for the shoe hanger to store clothes etc … rather than the bulkier plastic storage drawers. We’ll see how well it works.  My need for drawers may supersede this simpler solution.

The bus is certainly a minimalist’s dream machine.  Like a backpack-on-wheels.  But again, that’s part of the fun! 

 I got a nice Coleman sleeping bag which I will fully unzip and use as a bed sheet/bedspread.  It has a nice soft lining.  I can get a micro fleece throw later to use for colder temps.  A towel and 2 pillowcases round out the linen collection.  I’ll use one pillowcase as a laundry hamper.

The mixing bowl will do double-duty - it has a cup-measure on the inside.  It fits perfectly in the microwave and the non-skid bottom should keep it from rattling around.

The galley is now stocked with only the most necessary kitchen items.  I’ll probably use the top shelf for food.  (It should hold all my Cheetos, gummy bears, and pecan logs).  

The 2 plates are separated by a piece of nubby shelf lining to prevent sliding.  That piece of lining can also serve as a placemat.  

Next week we’ll make the 2-hour drive to Camping World.  Where do you stand on the issue of surge protectors, voltage meters, and polarity testers?  Gary, who conducted our the walk-through, talked me out of all that.  I also need 2 backup #1 amp fuses - can't find any around town.   
After that, maybe the weather will allow a shake-down cruise and some quality hiking!



  1. How exciting the first Roadtrek adventure.The shakedown trip will help in deciding what is needed.
    I would recommend a Sears digital volt meter to check house battery. There is a plug in 12 volt meter for battery tester found at Walmart. The fuses can be bought at Radio shack or Walmart. I suggest to buy a Kill a Watt meter so you know Amps draw for appliances. A coffee pot or toaster will kill a battery quickly. The polarity tester is only a few dollars and can prevent expensive damage to rv wiring.
    Being able to calculate Amp hours will let you know how long you can use house battery without shore power.
    I am a recent new owner of 190 Pop RT and enjoyed the simplicity of driving & parking..
    Dr. Bill

  2. If you're planning to plug in, you may sleep better plugged in with a surge protector.

  3. A surge protector is a MUST!! It can really protect your RV's electrical system. Mine has saved my a/c on a few ocassions, so it's really necessary to have one. Get a good one that covers both high & low power. A voltmeter, another must. I have a small plug in one that I keep plugged in all the time. The power where I am is not good, so I have to keep an eye on things. Especially when I need to run things inside the RV, I have to make sure that I'm not going to overload. The polarity tester. I have one, but haven't used it in a long time. My surge protector tells me if the power is good or not before I plug the RV into it. I'd go ahead & get that heavy duty extension cord too. You NEVER know when you will be needing one! I've even had to bring mine out to use it at state campgrounds where the power pole was too far away. And it sure came in handy when I was in the shop for repairs & needed the extra length to plug in to keep the a/c running for the dogs. It was over 100 outside, so needed the power to keep the dogs & myself safe. You can get them for a good price at walmart though. A 30amp cord there is somewhere around $40-$50.

    Run that generator at least once a month on a full load. During the day, I doubt that the neighbors would care if you ran it for an hour or two.

    I think your closet idea is a good one. Oh I'll bet you can't wait for your first trip!! When do you plan on taking it out for the maiden voyage? OH, like the sunscreen too! :-)
    This is fun!

  4. I wouldn't chance traveling without a surge guard. It only takes one bad connection to ruin a lot of stuff. Like TexCyn, mine has saved my bacon more than once! Considering what can happen, it's cheap insurance. :)

  5. Ditto on all of the surge guard advice! This is a fun time for you. You won't really know what you need until you are on a trip. Looks like you are sticking to the minimum. That's good. Stores are all around you on the road!

    Craig gets almost everything he needs on the internet. He bought his surge guard that way. I'm sure you could buy the fuses and anything else online as well.

    One of my favorite Camping World purchases was a cutting board with a no slip backing. It sits on top of the stove burners so it doesn't take up storage space. It also keeps the burners from rattling when we are driving.

    So where is the first trip going to be to? Will your husband come along?

  6. I purchased a similar shade for the windshield but I also went to Lowe's and purchased a roll of Reflectix(around $25 - foil bubble wrap insulation) and cut out custom size pieces for the driver and passenger windows and the bathroom window in my RV, there is enough left over to do the 2 side windows, too.

  7. Really enjoying reading how you are getting things set up.

    I also have one of those shoe hanger things in my closet. LOVE your new windshield screen.

    I don't have one of those surge protectors 'cause I always boondock.

    Do you have one of those thingies that checks the water levels in your house battery ?

  8. I always enjoy a shakedown ride. You will find you do not need what you brought, but need those things you left behind. I use a small spiral note book and PENCIL to take notes of what is good and bad. Then when back home or in a friendly city, I can take care of them.
    The sleeping bag is great. We have used them for years. They keep heat in way better than a blanket or comforter.
    I have never used a surge protector or polarity checker, but I guess my RV goes both ways.
    A volt meter for your coach battery is a must. I have a cheap, plug in a lighter socket type. It is not accurate, but I just learned how to use it and I like it a lot. Never run battery's too low. It is not good for them and your equipment too. I stop at 11.2V
    I get a bad feeling about the bowl traveling in the microwave, but perhaps you drive better than I do. I would at least wrap a towel around it.
    Happy travels

  9. Your sunscreen is pure fun! Should also provide privacy.

    It looks like you are becoming an ace at minimalist packing. Everything you need, and nothing you don't!

  10. I also wouldn't go without the surge protector and volt meter and polarity tester. Power is highly variable in different places and your rig has a lot of expensive and sensitive things in it. Cheap insurance. Also, it is much cheaper to plug in than it is run the genny when you have that available.

    Get the power cords you need. The heavier the cord the better. I have 2 30' 10ga(30amp) cords and still need a 25' 12 ga cord from time to time to plug into a regular outlet with an adapter. I wouldn't bother with a 14 ga cord at all - too light. These are things you will use all the time.

    One of the best things you can do is camp in the rig in your driveway for a few days doing everything in there. That way, you not only will learn how to do everything but you will easily learn what you need and don't need and can just run to the house to adjust.

    I made the mistake of buying a bunch of stuff at Camping World only to find most it was cheaper elsewhere, even with the so-called discount. Also, a lot stuff works better in its regular kitchen version than some camping version and is usually cheaper. Everything does not need to be plastic. I use tempered glass and Corian ware and have yet to break anything. Do some practice with your regular kitchen ware to see how it works.

    This is the fun part. I found it really instructive to see how little stuff I really use and need.

    My bedding is regular sheets and blankets with a light quilt for a bedspread. I have a very warm down comforter that goes under the bed in summer and keeps me toasty no matter how cold the van gets in the morning. Until you actually sleep on the bed, you won't know how comfortable it is. My first night sent me in to get memory foam pads.

  11. love your sun shield, where did you buy it? I need one for my RT I just purchased:) Your rug is awesome too!!

  12. love your sun shield, where did you buy it? I need one for my RT I just purchased:) Your rug is awesome too!!

  13. Hi Gretchen!

    Got the shield at Advance Auto Parts. The "Jumbo" fits just right.

  14. Looks as if you're getting it all together. Ditto on the surge protector and cheap vom. Be very careful at camping world. Easy to impulse buy a lot of STUFF you dont need. And that's experience speaking. Hope you get off on your shakedown cruise very soon.

  15. I love your Roadtrek. I am hoping to have one someday. At this time I just use a tent, and dream of the day I can have an RV

    I know that you can find inserts that will make a drawer in the shoe/clothes hangers. I use them in my bedroom closet. It's nice having the option of both the open shelf, and having the drawer for smaller things. I know Ikea sells them pretty cheap.

  16. The shoe hanger works really well. I find I can stuff a lot of clothes into it. The technique is to roll the clothes to save space. The only downside is wrinkles with fancy materials. Cotton t-shirts do fine being rolled up.

    Good luck with the modifications.

  17. Just a quick observation on the generator. I try to remember to use the RT to go to the store from time to time. The worst thing for any car or RV is to let it go unused for long periods. It's good just to get all of the RT's juices flowing. During those casual trips I turn on the generator and the AC. In Florida it's hot a good part of the year so you feel like you have an added bonus by being able to return to a cool van.

    This may have been covered in another post, but I would recommend that you put together a small tool kit. Small hammer, pliers, multi purpose screw driver. I assume RT's still use those funny screws if so I assume you already have the little screw drivers that fit those screws. I agree with the recommendation on the various test meters and surge protectors.

    Happy travels,

    1. Fred,

      Thanks for the suggestions. So that's what that funny little screw driver is! I had no idea. I'll put it in my tool box now.

      I got the test meters and learned how to use them in preparation for my next trip. The surge protector was pricey but seemed to work great on my first outing.

      I have it on my calendar to exercise the generator the first of every month.

      Sure appreciate the information!


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