the camping thing – progress 5/6/23

Every day I try to do at least one thing to make continual progress getting The Camping Thing ready for the season. Some days it doesn’t seem like much, but on a day like today when I can see what the end product is going to look like, the feeling of satisfaction is pretty great.

Today I hung the overhead storage lockers — I’m not sure what else to call them. They’re the open-faced wooden boxes on either side of the van near the ceiling. I stuff clothes and towels and a few books in them, and they’re handy for keeping odds & ends like flashlights handy when I need them for something I’m working on.

They used to stand on poles that were attached to the bed but that’s not practical now, so after lots of head-scratching I figured out how to hang them from the grab handles built into the van. I’m not sure how much weight the grab handles will bear but I’m not all that worried. All I ever put in them is clothing and towels, so they don’t have to bear much weight.

I still have to connect the wiring that you can see dangling from the bottoms for the lights and charging ports but that should be fairly easy. And someday soon I want to add doors. The open front doesn’t work for me as well as I thought it would.

Yesterday I brushed a coat of poly on the plywood sheets that will bridge the gap between the boxes up front, and the day before that I installed two gooseneck lamps up front — you can see them just inside the archway — and wired them. If the gooseneck lamps seem like overkill, that’s what I thought, too. I wasn’t going to install any lights at all. I figured I could use flashlights for the few times I might need a light in the van at night, but I added the two gooseneck lamps at the rear because I was copying a design I saw on YouTube and it turned out that was the best feature I could’ve copied. I use those lamps all the time: not just when I’m reading after dark, but when I’m rummaging around in the fridge or searching in the storage boxes for a knife.

Two or three days ago, I’m not sure which now, I installed the battery and wired up the circuitry that connects the battery to the charging box and to the bus bar that distributes power to the various accessories in the van. Moment of panic, there, when I connected the battery and got a warning light on the charger. I don’t know what that was from, because it went away after I started the van to see if it charged the battery. Everything worked fine, and the error light went away. Anxiety averted.

I also made the electrical connection to the arch, so all the lights up there work, and today I connected the circuit to the fridge, so in theory I could jump in the van today and drive away for a weekend, but I won’t be doing that this weekend. In reality, there are still quite a few things I want to do to finish getting the van ready, so I won’t be going anywhere for a few weeks yet.

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