If I take increasingly long trips, as I'd darn well better given the money I'm putting into this, I'd like to be as comfortable as I can on a daily basis. So I sat down and thought about what that entails:
- A comfortable place to sit and read.
- Well-lit work surfaces.
- A comfortable, accessible place to sleep.
- An outdoor surface for cooking and various projects.
- Ways to stay warm and cool and bug-resistant.
- Music and internet access.
You've seen some outcomes from this thinking: The Verizon hot spot. The LED lights. The small brown armchair moved from the the house. That chair actually represented a (ta-dah!) conceptual breakthrough. There's no reason to automatically acquire stuff from RV sources like Camping World and Amazon when I already own more stuff than I need. Example: I've been converting the "dinette" into a sleeping space on the last few trips, and it's surprisingly comfortable. But it's a nuisance. The only reason not to use the sleeping area over the cab is that getting up and down has been something of an adventure: my little step stool isn't high enough and I wind up teetering with one foot on the back of the couch as I clamber up (and down!) First thought: A ladder would make that a lot easier. Second thought: there are lots of "RV bunk bed ladders" for sale on Amazon. Third thought: I already own a small, light, aluminum stepladder, and there's no reason not to take it along. Bingo! Bonus: it has nice wide steps which my arthritic feet (yes, there too!) like a lot.
Table: again, there are nifty little folding tables on Amazon. But I already own a light, very sturdy, folding work table from Home Depot. Why not take it along for the ride?
A side table for drinks? That little step stool I already have serves beautifully.
And where do things like this go when I travel? Here's conceptual breakthrough #2: I can lash a small ladder to the back of the rig. Maybe the worktable, too. And maybe the water hose, which currently takes up most of a precious locked storage compartment under the floor. While this doesn't quite match the sleek and prosperous look of the RV publications -- it's actually closer to the look of Steinbeck's Joad family headed west -- it can clearly work. I've already been using the bathtub as a traveling home for bulky things like my tripod and the folding chair I use outside when camped.
I'm liking this approach: re-purposing what I've already got rather than buying new. In addition to all the Green vibes, it saves me money, which feels real good when I'm paying for fixing axles and the like.
It looks like most if not all of the small stuff I may need/want for the rig and media work can be had from Amazon. A while back, when I bought the solar panel there, I opened an Amazon VISA card. They were offering a $70 "bonus" for new accounts, and that took some of the sting out of the purchase. The continuing incentive to using that card is that all purchases through it earn bonus points at varying rates. So I'm slowly moving all of my regular household expenses from my current cash card over to the Chase/Amazon card. When that's done, it gives me a nice little fund at Amazon which I can use for small purchases to feed my gear-freak habit.
There'll be another post on some site-scouting I did on a recent car trip to Flagstaff. Maybe this morning. Right now Emma is reminding me it's breakfast time.