FifVANella Waylaid

Being waylaid has had some advantages.

I've spent more time in the van and figured out what works and what doesn't work. Then I've tried to make it all work.


Big problem. Not really any flow of fresh air in and stale air out currently. I've come to the conclusion that, at the very least, I need to cut out the current roof fan and replace it with a stronger roof fan. It's also become apparent that the addition of computer fans in the back door to assist the small hidden vents behind the license plate do little to help the airflow along. "A" for effort, though. Which leads me to the next conclusion that I will also need to cut at least one hole in the backdoors to install the horse push-vents in order to truly open up airflow. I've also been contemplating a floor vent.

*** One last ditch effort: replace the current impeller, which moves little to no air, with a new and improved impeller. Hope that works!


I prioritized the fridge/freezer initially, because my meds need to stay cold and my dog's food comes in big frozen packs. When the size/model of fridge/freezer I wanted wasn't available and backordered for months, I decided to buy the next size up, which was readily available.. It's overkill. Truly way too much space to keep things cold. So much of that space could be devoted to storing tools and clothes and cleaning supplies, if it wasn't being hogged by a monstrous fridge/freezer. The next iteration of this build will switch it out for a smaller one.

In 2.0, I think an L-Track or some more permanent way to attach soft-sided storage needs to replace the cobbled-together steel strips + magnets solution that holds it all together now.

The Bed:

I love the bed. Jeff engineered it ingeniously and executed it gorgeously. It is a marvel to behold and comfortable, too! It is also too big and takes up so much of the space that it's nearly impossible for me to get in and out of it. Aside from the fact that I'm too heavy for the drawer slides to hold my weight, thus needing an extra support leg once folded out, it's completely impractical for a nighttime pee-er like me to use. Also, in the "sitting/up" position, it blocks the cold air outlet from the AC, thus blocking the vitally important action of calling down the living things in the van. It also blocks two of the three driver side cabinets from use while the bed is in the "sitting/up" position. Worse, it's very hard to reach the inverter switch in back and the AC switch mid-cabin and under the cabinetry while "up."

As currently configured, if I want to sleep:

I need to flip down the manual lock, pull out the bed and flatten it down, then retrieve the support leg and slide it into position. Then I need to add a pillow and blanket, then lift my dog onto it, then shimmy myself up onto it. Then sleep.

Now, if I need to pee in the middle of the night, which I do every night, this all needs to happen in reverse, then re-happen in forward.

Wake up, shimmy off the bed in the very narrow space left, lift the dog off the bed, remove the pillow and blanket, push the bed back into sitting position, and engage the manual lock. Then I need to pull out the Pottoman, take off the lid, do my business, replace the lid and push back the Pottoman. THEN I need to flip down the manual lock again, pull out the bed and flatten it down again, then retrieve the support leg and slide it into position again. Then I need to add a pillow and blanket again, then lift my dog onto it again, then shimmy myself up onto it again. Then go back to sleep.

I am 5'6" -> 66" tall. From side-to-side the van measures 73". There is room for me to sleep horizontally (with feet crunched under the driver side cabinets), instead of the long way down the middle of the van. Those cabinets need to be shortened to make room for my outstretched feet. All that requires disassembling the brilliant and beautiful folding/sliding bed that Jeff made. This breaks my heart. Of course he built it to be able to be disassembled, too, for easier maintenance. He's a genius that way. So, I _can_ disassemble it, then lay down slats and a mattress on top of the existing cabinetry. I just breaks my heart to take apart what took so much thought, time, effort, skill and love to assemble.

As sad as this makes me, I know that I have to make the van work for me in the most practical way. The point is to make the journey as safe and easy as possible. So, for the sake of AC airflow, cabinet access and the ease of nighttime peeing, Jeff's Purpleheart wood bed of our dreams needs to be retired in order for me to have sweet dreams on the journey.