road trip to the russian wilderness

for the last five days, my partner and i spent our time in northern california in the russian wilderness. it’s a picturesque and not very crowded part of california. the company was great, the views were spectacular, the food was delicious and the air was intoxicating. we could have spent a month out there (and i plan to in the future) but we had to come back two days short of a week. we saw some beautiful wildflowers, skinny dipped in lakes at 8000′, and hiked along some of the rugged pacific crest trail.

i’ve spent the last six plus years working for different plant nurseries and just recently took a break. i find it ironic that during our busiest time of the year, the wildflowers were always in full bloom. we weren’t allowed to take vacation during this season. i always had some resentment about that. i would remember how much fun i would have taking native plant trips with my professor stew winchester. we would explore the corners of california and study every plant we came across. i felt so much joy getting connected with plants outside of the plastic containers at the nursery. sure, i’ve been creating my own gardens and landscaping yards but it’s not the same as getting out into the wild and creating an intimate relationship with them on their terms, being free from customers and having no containers to water. this trip was nothing short of incredible and it mind sound cliche, but it refreshed my whole mind, body and spirit. these are the trips i will remember for a lifetime and it’s part of why i’m enjoying living as a gypsy.

life is good…

here are some pictures from the trip…

coffee shops, a gypsy’s best friend

espresso coffee shops amongst other things are a great place to sit down, relax, catch up on emails and complete work while on the road. of course, there are places like starbucks but i prefer the hole in the wall shops. the places that have only one location where the owner isn’t far from the espresso machine. think about it, wifi nowadays can cost you around $80 a month. let’s not include a cell phone plan but you could use google voice and cut out your cell phone bill as well. so,  let’s say you were to get coffee every day and your drink cost $3 (i’m not one for fancy drinks, i’m usually getting espresso or coffee with the occasional latte). you go every day for a month. 30×3=$90. only ten bucks more and you’ve got coffee and high speed interenet. and you probably won’t be buying coffee everyday either. sometimes i’ll  go to a location and get the wifi password and then the next time park, make my own coffee in the camper and use the interenet. so here’s to all those coffee shops around the world provided caffeine for the masses along with a chill workplace and an awesome place to people watch and see the locals.

converting my truck into the ultimate camper (cont.)

This post is a continuation of converting my truck into the ultimate camper.

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To not adjust your original plan when building a camper or in life is foolish. Life takes unexpected turns for better or for worse. The only constant is change and if you’re not adjusting, well, you may be falling behind or not living to your full potential. The same can be said when building a liveaboard space. It takes fine-tuning to make the most efficient camper for your lifestyle. It’s not just a one time build, it requires modifications to best suit your current needs. Over the past two months since the start of converting the back of my truck into the ultimate camper, I’ve added and made modifications to the original design.  I will go over what modifications I have done to the original design, give you reasons as to why I made those decisions and explain some of the trouble shooting I went through for each step.

 

Additions and modifications to the original design:

  • Solar panel
  • Deep cycle battery storage
  • 300W Inverter
  • 12v Led light
  • Rubber maid containers for under the lower section
  • Three tiered container on the side of the bed
  • Made the bed wider
  • Cut the bottom rail off from the lower section (as shown in picture below)

 

Solar Panel

  • Take pressure off the car battery.
  • Use less gas to run the engine while charging items.
  • Power when there is no access to electricity.
  • Being off the grid is bad ass.

I attached this by drilling into the aluminum frame and using u-bolts that directly attached to the roof rack.  It’s pretty secure and I used rubber washers to allow for some flex. I drilled holes directly into the cab just big enough to allow the wires to slide through. I plan to silicone the holes but it’s dry season here and I see no immediate need.

Deep cycle battery storage (100AH)

  • To store the electricity from the solar panel for later use.

In between the solar panel and the battery is a charge controller that makes sure the battery is not overcharge. The battery is positioned near the front of the bed. My reasoning being that I didn’t need constant access and anything that heavy, I try to position towards the front for better driving control.

300W Inverter

  • To run AC items that isn’t on DC current.
  • This inverter is enough to power small appliances like laptop, camera, cell phone charger and juicer.

The 300w inverter I wired directly to the battery.

 

12v Led light

  • Uses very little electricity. It’s installed at the end of the bed to light up the tailgate for cooking duties and other miscellaneous activities.

This was installed using 12g size wire directly to the battery. It’s positioned towards the back. It’s 12v so it can be directly wired to the battery.

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Rubber maid containers for under the lower section

  •  Mainly for food storage (nuts, dried fruit, coffee)

Food is going to be difficult, it gets hot in the back so having it in a place that stays cool is key.

Three tiered container on the side of the bed

  • Items that I use frequently (Some clothes, bathroom stuff, some electronics)

This is great because it allows me easy access to clothes I use frequently and it also doubles as a nightstand.

 

Made the bed wider

  • Now can sleep two.

I added an extension to the original bed that can be taken out with two screws.

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Cut the bottom rail off from the lower section

  • Didn’t sacrifice structure and allowed for bigger containers and items to slide in.