First meet-up

Thanks to one of our Facebook Group members Paul Klotz.  We had our first Sprinter Van meet up.  (Halloween 2020).

With the threat of Covid and trying to social distance to be safe, this was a perfect location.  For the most part we kept our distance from each other in an outdoor environment.

The event took place in an “off grid” Ghost Town location in the state of Nevada, USA.   About a 3 hour drive north of Las Vegas.  This Ghost Town is generally located near Death Valley California, just across the state border in Nevada.  Enough of an “out of the way” place, that cell phones were useless trying to text or access the internet.

We enjoyed the Halloween weekend in an appropriate place.  Complete with a beautiful full moon.

At an elevation of around 5000 ft, the time of year we went, and being a desert climate.  That meant pleasant days, but cold nights.  The day time temperatures were pushing 80°F.  The low night dipped to 28°F.  It was cold enough to freeze water left in things like dishpans.

During the day we found ourselves moving our camp chairs to any piece of shade we could find along side one of our vehicles or tents.   Once the sun set we moved those chairs as close to a campfire as possible.

Walt, (one of the few locals) opened up the saloon for us.   Though with the threat of Covid and attempting to social distance the best that we could,  that experience was short lived.  But nice to say hi to Walt since most of us hadn’t seen him in about 4 years.

Some of us biked around the old town.  There are endless things to look at.  Old buildings, old machinery, mine head frames, old vehicles, and parts of old iron scattered everywhere.  Photographers will probably run out of time and memory cards trying to capture this place.

For the more adventurous there is another Ghost Town over the hill, about 6 miles away.  Stateline Ghost Town.   There is only 1 remaining cabin at that location.  Some of the stamping mill foundation and mine shaft head frame remain.  But you better have the vehicle to attempt this adventure.  The road there is rough gravel, and at times disappears under sand in the bottom of several dry wash stream beds.

When the sun set on our four day camp out.  We were reluctant to head back home to the routine of the “now normal” life we all have dealing with Covid.

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Typically you will be installing some type of sub floor (van).  Cargo vans have uneven floors.  A series of peaks and valley’s in its metal sheeting.

Finished Passenger vans often have a more finished level floor.  But they may come with bench seats you now have seat lock down tracks to contend with.

I have a passenger van.  I am pulling most of the bench seats.  In my build (with the thought of being able to return it to its factory state if need be), I am covering the existing factory finished floor.  Covering everything such as seat lock down tracks, and D Ring tie down points.

I am using 3/4 inch plywood with strategically placing 1/4 plywood on the underside facing the van floor.   To shim it higher than any protrusions.  This is to miss the track and D Ring hardware that is slightly higher than the factory floor.

This new base covering will flatten everything out.  I used existing track bolt locations since there were factory welded nuts that made ideal anchor points.  It required removing the existing bolts and replacing them with longer bolts.

Don’t cut the sub floor plywood too tight on the edges or you will create squeak points when driving down the road.  It is better to have a 1/4 to 1/2 inch edge gap.  If you want to fill the void, use some type of caulk that remains flexible.

You can counter sink your anchor bolt heads or use “Cup Washers” to get a relatively flush mount.  I intend to have a finished covering of spun rubber commercial interlocking carpet squares. over this plywood sub floor.  That type of carpet can be installed over “Cup Washer” installation and never be noticed.  If need be, the bottom side of the carpet could be routered out a bit, just above any “Cup Washer” location.

Another method, which we are incorporating is to use the existing seat track, and fabricate adapters to create floor and wall partition anchor points.

If you intend to install some type of vinyl finished flooring, you may want to counter sink any bolt heads.   Or use Elevator bolts through new holes drilled in the van floor, with washers and nuts under the external floor of the van.

Plan before you drill any new holes through the floor.  You want to miss the frame and any other critical things like fuel lines, electrical, brake lines, etc.

For thin vinyl flooring you may want to fill any counter sunk bolt head voids, flush.

I personally don’t believe counter sinking would provide adequate anchor strength.  It would be my third choice, after a Elevator bolt.  Counter sinking, and even using a washer, would remove at least half the depth of the wood.  You have to think of the weight of other items that will attach to the sub floor.  Then the stress and strength to remain attached even in a moderate vehicle accident.  If you are OK with that method, then it is an alternative.

Once your sub floor is installed and secured, you can proceed with your layout and build.  This will provide an excellent foundation to draw your layout on, secure partitions, cabinets, or attach hold down brackets for things like water tanks and batteries.

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We wanted to installed swivel adapters on the two front factory stock seats of our Sprinter Van.

Doing some on-line research there appeared to be at least 4 top choices that were rated.  We eliminated any that appeared wiring cutting and splicing would be required.  In fact should the unit we purchased require that, we will most likely return it.  Not that we are not capable.  We don’t want to hack into the seat/seat belt wiring and start voiding factory warranties.

Please follow our Link to Seat Swivels – SCOPEMA for upates, photos, installation and our evaluation.



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TENT & AWNING STAKES Industrial Strength

We love these DIY Tent Stakes so well, we decided to share the info.  We think any half handy person could fabricate these from common materials.  Four of them for about $25.  A simple DIY project.

These stakes are great for EZ-ups.  For sandy area’s.  For conditions that subject you to windy conditions.

Click this link for Info for Fabricating your own Heavy Duty Stakes

Note about the image:  This is a 10×10 Commercial Grade EZ-up style straight leg awning.  With an attached “Standing Room” brand tent.  The tent is fully enclosed.  4 Flap zippered walls and screens, and full floor and overhead top.  No Bugs!

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We attended the annual Arizona Roundup Vintage Trailer Rally this past weekend (December 6,7,8, 2019).   The rally was at Buckskin Mountain SP, near Parker, Arizona.  About a 45 minute drive from the more recognized, or more famous snowbird community of Quartzite, Arizona.

This annual weekend camp out is attended mostly by an established group membership.  Years ago we got an invitation and decided to try it.  We have been going ever since.

A group of us from Las Vegas, not original members, attend as an annual get together.  We also share some friendships with people from California, Arizona, Utah, and more distant places.  A time to catch up, outdoor cook with each other, and share a campfire each night.

The original group is mostly teardrop trailers and vintage trailers, as well as vintage tow vehicles.  Though the group seems to welcome anyone that loves camping.

Some years the campground is sold out for this event a year in advance.  December of 2019 was the first time I saw an abundance of open campsites and an apparent decline of regulars attending.  I personally reserve for the next year while I attend the event.

<center>©Rick Beach -Buckskin Mountain SP, Arizona</center>
©Rick Beach -Buckskin Mountain SP, Arizona

Saturday midday was the communal potluck at the picnic pavilion that overlooks a beautiful section of the Colorado River.   A time to swap stories with anyone that attends.  The food is always good!

This year was relatively cool weather, and some rain.  Not overly cold though.  I must admit one day we had to duck under awnings most of the day to stay dry.

The rain managed to hold off so we had a campfire each night.  During the day most of us did some hiking, photography, sat around and relaxed, or did some Dutch Oven Cooking.

If you are interested in this event find the “Arizona Round-Up” group on Facebook.  They always meet at Buckskin the first Saturday weekend in December.  There are often vintage trailers or tow vehicles for sale.  I leave my wallet at home.  LOL!

If you want notices of articles such as this in your email inbox, be sure to click here and subscribe to our email list.


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Lets hear about your camping!

Cargo Conversion Trailer (CTC) in camping mode

In our neck of the woods….a.k.a the desert southwest.  Our season for camping anywhere close to home, all but shuts down June through August.  Its just too dang hot not only during the day, but also at night.

Us desert dwellers often hole up for the summer and become armchair campers.  Or we try to find something suitable at an elevation over 8000ft to get out of the heat

We are 180 degrees out of phase with much of the rest of the country who often times embrace camping the summer months.  Most campers find the 3 summer months the prime season.  Kids are out of school, all parks are open….. prime vacation time.

As for us, our first official scheduled event after our summer lull, comes up the middle of September.  An annual camp-out that includes a Nevada State Park Sponsored Dutch Oven Cooking competition.  It attracts about 50 cooks and 250 food samplers.  It fills the campground….and many bellies!

Send us some of your summer photos camping with your DIY project.  Also include a small write up of where, and the details.  We would enjoy sharing your experiences with our readers and subscribers.

See our Contact Us page for email info.

Cathedral Gorge State Park, Nevada
Cathedral Gorge State Park, Nevada –  Annual Dutch Oven Cook-off

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SOLAR Info to Digest

We are excited to inform you we just transferred one of our articles on Solar.  We are in the process of transferring old web pages off a site we are going to eventually delete.

If you are considering solar on your trailer or RV.  Or just curious.  This is a lengthy somewhat technical end of things.   From a build it from scratch mentality.

It includes charts to aid you in understanding some of the concepts, and steps in approaching your design.  Or even capacity estimations if you intend to purchase a plug and play type configuration.

Click here to open the full length article  SOLAR Design Info & DIY Panel Roof Rack construction.

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Nissan has been working on a solution (ROAM) to recycle used electric vehicle (EV) batteries. Batteries that are cycled beyond their usable life span for vehicles.

Nissan has developed a device called a “Roam”. A cube made up of lithium-ion battery cells. Cells that have been pulled from Nissan electric vehicles.

A “Roam” can store up to 700Wh of energy, offering 1kW worth of output.

When the “Roam” is combined with a 400W Solar panel it can provide ample power to most RV type trailers. Enough to provide enough power for a week without being recharged.

The “Roam” could be charged in approximately one hour when plugged into a suitable power outlet.

While this is still a concept, not in production, it shows possibilities for recycling EV batteries that may not still be suitable to power a vehicle. But still usable for other purposes. Thus extending their usable life.

For more information, do a internet search on Nissan Roam, or Nissan x OPUS.

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If you have camped in Trailers or RV’s long enough you have returned to your rig to the telltale beeping sound.

Or worse, had the beeping wake you up in the middle of the night. Tough to close your eyes to sleep after that.

Click this link for More Info and Testing your voltage

Have you ever been camped next to someone that left their campsite for the day and their detector keeps going off on periodic intervals? The audible alarm is hard to ignore. Sometimes this is a Carbon Monoxide problem. Other times it may be low voltage.

If it is your rig, attend to it immediately. If it is a fellow campers rig make sure they aren’t in it unconscious, and/or notify a ranger or camp host immediately.

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