RV Museum..

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My uRV
My uRV.. I’m kind of proud of how it turned out.

On my most recent uRV trip I visited the RV Museum in Elkhart Indiana.  Being that I have spent the last three years converting my twenty-five year old pickup truck with a six foot cap into a rat-rod micro-RV I wanted to learn a little more about the beginnings of that idea.

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Mine is kind of similar…

John Steinbeck, who as one of my favorite authors when I was growing, up wrote a book entitled “Travels with Charley” about when he custom built a pickup truck into an RV he named Rocinante (Don Quixote’s horse) and traveled around the country with it. I have read that book at least a dozen times now and it was the inspiration for me making my own version of vehicle and doing the same thing, sort of…

Anyway, the RV Museum was an interesting visit. There were many historic vehicles on display. Most seemed to be from California. I don’t really know why northwest Indiana became the RV-manufacturing capital, that is a story I will have to study up on that.

Here are some pictures from that visit.

As usual click on any pic to see a larger slideshow view 

uRV And Lake Patoka…

I have talked several times about my micro-RV (uRV) that I spent three years fabricating.  This post will be the first pictures of it. These were taken on the third shakedown trip to Lake Patoka in southern Indiana.  The cap on the back was purchased when I had my custom furniture making business. It was used to deliver my creations throughout the Midwest. It sat on a concrete pad for five years after the business was closed and then resurrected to give me something to do during my boredom times.

I was inspired to make uRV by the John Steinbeck book Travels with Charley: In Search of America . Steinbeck is one of my favorite authors and in the early 1960s he took a similar vehicle called Rocinante on a road trip around the U.S.  I have always dreamed of doing that in at least a limited way.

The inside (pictures of that later) is a cozy 35 square foot floor and has a 67 inch height which is just right for my now shrunken frame. I was once 5’10” but compression fractures and osteoporosis lessened that height considerably. But that is a story for another time. The night was chilly (lower 40s) but the small portable heater was more than enough to keep the inside comfy.

Below are some outside pictures of uRV showing all the stickers I have collected to date.  The back is my “attitude” wall where I give opinions about life.  The sides are about  inspiring saying and places I have visited over the years (but not necessarily in uRV).

Lake Patoka is primarily a fishing lake that looks kind of like a spider with many legs. It has a huge campground that is mostly empty this time of year.  RV camping is a new thing for me but even after my third time I am getting hooked on it. My three trips to date have  been overnighters but hopefully next Spring I will be spending a few multi-day trips in Indiana and surrounding States. My wife is not a camper so I do this by myself; it is the “alone” time that all of us need once in a while.

Here are the pictures. Click on any one of them to see the larger gallery:

 

Snowbound…

uRV Stranded

The pic above is of Merv (uRV). He is my truck of almost 25 years that I have been repurposing into a micro-RV for travels around the Midwest in the coming years in my own version of “Travels with Charley”.  I have spent two years turning what was once a delivery truck for my past furniture business into a quite comfortable 5×8 foot living quarters. This spring I will start with the exterior design which will include advertising this blog and the travelogue over at InSearchOfAmerica.

In the mean time here sits uRV up to his wheels in the most recent snow storm. I know I shouldn’t complain as this is actually the first major snowfall to hit us this year. Last year at this time we had already had about 60 inches of snow. And then of course are my eastern neighbors.  If uRV were in Boston you wouldn’t see anything but a mound of snow.

Hopefully uRV will soon escape his snowbound condition and be ready to jump into action.

Clear Your Head Periods Of Time….

uRV 16554-EditThat is what you do when you are not doing your grown-up things. They allow you to at least for a while forget about the world around you.

I don’t have a direct source for this quote but it was from the NYPD Blue TV episode where Bobby Simone was dying. It was about his pigeon coops he maintained on the roof of his building in NYC.

I admit that now that I have access to streaming video I am sometimes a binge TV watcher.  I think I watched the entire nine seasons of NYPD Blue in a little over two month’s time last winter.  Got to do something to pass away all those wintry days. 🙂  While I am watching I keep my trusty iPad handy to write down quotes that get me to thinking about deeper things and this is one of those quotes.

We all need “clearing your head periods of time” where we shut out the outside world especially those grown-up things. For the last few years it has been making a micro-RV out of my old 1992 Chevy pickup.  The interior is just about completed now so next year it will be on to decorating the outside of my uRV. I will spend the upcoming winter months doing computer mock-ups of it.

This project is kind of like the “boat in the basement” on the TV show NCIS. Jethro spent hours working on the boat but never actually used it. My wife is just not a camper type person so if I use my uRV it will likely be in a Walden Pond type mode, that is by myself. But that is not a bad thing. We all need our alone time even away from our spouses.

We all need things that take us out of the world around us don’t we…

The Idea Of…. RVing

RV

I seem to be fixated on a phrase “The idea of” lately. That is people liking the idea of something without really understanding the details involved. This phenomenon spans across a wide sector of our world. I have several ideas for post on this topic.  The one I want to talk about this time is RVing.

Rving, that is buying a recreational vehicle and setting off on the road for daily adventures. I must admit that this one has had me in its clutches for some time now. One of the first books I read as a young man was Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck. It was about how the author had a custom-made cabin made for the back of his large pickup truck (RVs were not nearly as available in his days). In his book Mr. Steinbeck tells the story of how he spent months designing the interior and filling it with everything he thought he would need for an extended trip. The stories and adventures on the road he told in the book fascinated me then and continue to fascinate me today. I have read this book perhaps a dozen time, the last time while we were vacationing in Mesa Verde National park. No, it wasn’t in an RV but in one of the very comfortable lodge rooms there.  That is another trip I will never forget but that is for another post.

I just love the idea of taking off and spending endless weeks discovering America!  The problem with this is that my wife adamantly refuses to leave her home nest for anything longer than a week or so and the idea of living in a “box with wheels” totally turns her off. So, I guess I will have to do a Walter Middy and only dream about it.

I’m sure there are countless people who plunk down $70,000 or more for a new RV only to take it on the road once. They loved the idea of RVing but not so much the idea of flushing out and connecting up the sewer lines and the other chores required to set up camp so to speak.  When the reality of the details meet with the dream some realize they made a mistake. That is good new and bad news.  It is good news for the next round of people looking for an RV because they can get one at a big discount that has hardly been used.

But then there are folks like RVSue and her crew who are full-time at it and loving it. She keeps the dream alive for me.

I have not totally given up on my dream of RVing. As a matter of fact I have spent quite a bit of time taking my old 20+ year old truck and putting a “Steinbeck” cabin on top of it.  I tell myself that this project is mainly for the sake of the project (I love tinkering and getting my hands dirty) and not so much about the end result.  But it will be kind of fun to at least get away for a solo weekend now and then for a mini-version of RVing.

I like the idea of RVing….

Still on my mind….

 


To my wife’s dismay I still have RVs on my mind. In fact I have purchased a few books about the topic. After spending a month on the road in our latest vacation I realized there is still so much of this country that we haven’t yet seen and enjoyed. Jumping from hotel to hotel was probably one of the least enjoyable parts of the trip. Not to mention the costs of staying in them. Taking a nomad home with us on future trips still sounds very enticing.

For those who know me know that I am a planner; in fact, to me the planning on something is almost as enjoyable as actually doing it. I will probably spend the next few months studying this topic some more and then maybe take some action. Of course the first would be to try to infect my wife with the “bug” that has taken hold of me.

I know the picture to the right is a little foggy but that is appropriate since my view of this topic is foggy too 🙂