Changing of the Guard

Perhaps I should say Changing of the VanGuard? They usually lead the way.  Yup! I Bet you guessed it! I have a new vehicle! 

I went around that proverbial mulberrybush a few times, as far as vehicles go. As most of you know, I am Allergic to the 21st Century and have to be careful to stay away from just about every man-made chemical. That means, I have to have a vehicle that’s a 1994 or older because ever since 1995, by law, they have had to spray all of the materials inside of every vehicle with fire retardant, and I react very badly to that nasty stuff! Since fire retardant doesn’t seem to dissipate enough for me to tolerate it for long, I had my son, Charles, looking at old vehicles of every kind.  Even Volkswagens. That’s right, even paid to get one Bug inspected. It sounded great, and it still does, the thought of having all of those engine smells behind me.  Instead, in most vehicles, they’re curling up from under the dash, as I’m going down the highway! All that gas and oil being heated so the fumes are really strong. You’d think they were specifically designed to work on adding to my toxic load. Well, maybe not specifically. ūüėČ  But, Volkswagens have become collector’s items. Oh my, the price tags on some of those! If you want to have sticker shock, look up a few of those old Bugs, or worse yet, a few VW busses!  I  thought of Pickup’s, but trying to get into the back would be tough for me.  I even thought of tiny pick-ups, but I’m not too sure I would fit in the front! Besides, anything too different, and I’d have to make some radical changes in my solar rack design, and go even more minimalist with how much stuff I can carry. Even changing to a Dodge or a Chevy van would mean revisions, but we looked for those too. What would be best was another old Ford van, but we just hadn’t found anything even remotely usable. 

But guess what happened? 

I’m glad you asked!

I am so grateful that we found this new van!

Ain’t she purdy!

Okay, can you hear me chuckling? How about a Little newer van. She’s a 1983 Ford E150. Yes, she’s been around for awhile, 183,00 miles around, and she’s only a half ton, but believe it or not, she’s in far better shape than my old 1977 Ford E250, Jehosheba, with well over 270,000 miles to her credit. 

A face lift in progress! Okay, maybe not a facelift, but new kingpins, tierods, a tranny flush and an oil change should give her quite a boostI. I found a great shop in Sierra Vista. Arizona Auto & Radiator Repair. If you’re in need, and any where close, I would highly recommend them and so would a lot of other people. Check out their Google reviews! Five stars!

 When you consider that her tires looked like this, 

She has been riding on the very outside of both front tires for awhile.

before we put the new ones on, that show how bad the tread was on the old ones.  Of course, it really shows that the front end is in bad condition!

 Now she looks like this! Standing tall and proud, with her wheels standing up straight. 

 Now that the work is done, I think you could call it a face lift!  

This van still needs a lot of work, but I’m hoping and praying she will last for a long time to come.  Some of her issues are pretty expensive, (understatement of the decade!) but there is so much, that is so right, about this van for me, that I’m hoping she is worth the investment. Thank the good Lord, I have amazing and, obviously, crazy friends, who helped me with loans and gifts, for both the purchase and the repairs! Well, most of the repairs. Alright, maybe some of the repairs, would be more accurate. I will be working on her, as I can, over the years to come, but at least the most vital needs are being taken care of today!  

Fortunately, the hitch transferred with no trouble, and because it was a U-Haul installation, they did that for free! I did have to buy an extension, so I could keep Little Gypsy’s mighty prow from being crushed by the spare tire hanging off the back door.  Unfortunately, as I’ve been writing, the shop has already found some new issues. I knew we had some kind of major leak, because we went from a full tank to a half tank in just 20 miles!  Boy, did she stink on the way into the shop! I was praying we didn’t have the kind of problems with her, that we have with Jehosheba.  Thank goodness, it was just some fuel lines leaking.  Some just needed the clamps tightened, some the hoses replaced.  The rear brakes are fine, but unfortunately, the brake shoes in the front were down to the metal. Those are being handled today. The emergency brake assembly will have to wait til next month.   

However. 

Right now, I’m  taking a big breath and offering a fervent prayer. If you are a praying person, I would ask for yours as well!

There is one very serious issue, about which, I can only pray it will take a while, before it has to be addressed. Does the word “Transmission”, when uttered by a mechanic, send a chill up your wallets spine?  Yes, they found bits of metal in the tranny pan, when they pulled it to do the transmission flush. That made me shudder and made me review. She was hesitant, going up those steep little hills, while she was hauling the trailer out to my new camp site out in the forest, a few days ago. But she was low on tranny fluid, and it was dark. Being so old, I’m sure it wasn’t much help. Hopefully, the flush, new fluid, and sealed leaks, will keep her going for awhile.  A long while!

The important thing is, she’s shifting fine, and she is relatively safe for me, chemically.  Certainly much better than Jehosheba! What is causing my old beauty to smell so badly of gasoline, is that her carburetor needs to be rebuilt, and that’s what has been making me so ill lately. My old Jehosheba will end up retired, parked at a friend’s place, and be a parts van when she can.  With an engine that’s slowly going out, doors that won’t close, a gear shift that is welded to the steering column, and a host of other issues, continued repairs on my old van would be unwise, but she could still be useful in the years to come.  

My newer van will be even safer to drive, after the front end is repaired today. In fact, with what she’s had done today, she will be worth the continued investment, by default, if for no other reason. But I’m so grateful that I can open and close the doors so easily. The doors even lock. All of them! First time in over three years that I could say that. The fact that she’s lower and has those wonderful side steps, has also made it much easier for this ole gal to get in and out, it doesn’t hurt, and that’s a huge relief!  Although, they do limit where I can take her. Those two aspects will definitely cut down on some of my “Adventures”! Do ask my son how he feels about that! You will, no doubt, get a sly, but relieved, grin.  ūüėČ You can just see him, starting to give me a little wave, driving Jehosheba, as we leave the shop. I was so relieved that Charles was able, and willing, to come help me when I was so ill.  I’m also grateful that he can stay to help me get everything transferred from my old van to the new one. I have an amazing son, but don’t tell him I told you!

It has been strange to see someone else, even Charles, driving my beautiful Jehosheba.

I’m going to start a new savings account, just for repairs. I’ll only be able to add a little at a time, and I’m going to have to leave it in the good Lord’s hands, as to just when those additional repairs will need to be done. Hopefully, not for a few years, when my wallet can stand it, or at least, after I have the current big loan paid off! Please Lord! 

The visit to the shop was Friday and I’m finally getting a chance to finish this post. She is steering so much better! No more jerking back and forth. I certainly feel more confident about driving her around. The emergency brake assembly, and a full tune up, are next on the list of repairs. Ouch, and, Oh Dear! Unless, disaster strikes, then it will get downright interesting!

But as the shop owner said, these old Ford E series vans are built like Sherman tanks, so for now, let’s talk of the Naming! 

Yes, every vehicle I have ever owned, gets a name. Sometimes, I know right away. Usually, as in this case, I have to get to know the vehicle a little bit first.

Here you can see her getting some last minute advice from Jehosheba, as she is hooked up to the trailer for the first time.

She looks so little compared to Jehosheba. Perhaps it’s the smaller tires? The color? Maybe it’s the step rails? It could be because of all the gear my old van is carrying, that Jehosheba just looks a lot bigger? Perhaps it the combination of all the differences? Whatever the reason, I thought she seemed like a cute little filly, when compared to my old gray mare. ūüôā  I thought of naming her Little Filly to go with my trailer Little Gypsy, but even a Filly needs a name. While she may be cute and seem little, or even delicate, when compared to my old van, she still looks like she has a bit of an attitude.  When I mentioned that to a new friend of mine, she agreed and said she looked a little sassy. I laughed and said I thought that fit her just right.  So that’s what I’ve named her.  

Sassy!

He Makes Me…

I think I’m in terrible trouble!¬† I’ve just realized! The good Lord is using my penny pinching ways against me! Lol.

It has been, kind of, a challenging few days.¬† After three visits to the repair shop, in one day! Yes. I’m afraid my poor old van is fading on me. I’m looking for a 1991 or older Ford E250 or E350, because it will make the change over so much easier.¬† As you can see, my beautiful Jehosheba has new, to me, solar panels and a new solar rack,¬† designed by yours truly, and built with the help of a neighbor.¬†

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But more on that later.  Continue reading

George “Mick” Leon Smith ~ Arlington National Cemetery

I didn’t take a single picture.¬† I brought my camera.¬† I even brought extra batteries.¬† I just could not take a single picture.¬† I am still not entirely sure why.¬†A friend suggested that it could be because this trip was so grim.¬† I’ve thought about that.¬† Yes, my son and I were going to bury my husband and his father. But Grim? I don’t know that I looked at it that way.¬† My son and I were going to pay our final respects to Mick, in the best way we could. ¬† Perhaps I knew instinctively that no photograph would ever be able to capture this journey.¬† I am not sure.¬† What I do know, is that this trip was as much for me, as it was for my husband.¬† I needed to know that I had done my best for him.¬† From things he has said and done, since Mick passed away, I believe my son felt the same way.¬† I did not even have a desire to write about this.¬† It seemed too personal.¬† Too hard to express in mere words.¬† Something that had to be experienced to be able to truly understand. But something happened that changed that.

I had been trying, all year, to find some one.¬† Anyone, who could come to the funeral to be there for my son and I.¬† We were traveling from Arizona and no one was going to be able to come to Washington D.C. with us.¬† I had called the Marine Corps, The Mickey Finn Group, even local Veteran centers to see if anyone could attend.¬† Everyone said they wished they could attend.¬† That they hoped it would go well.¬† That they were sorry for our loss. But no one was able to come. As it turns out, it was good no one could be there.¬† I realize now, it would have seemed like an intrusion. The people who were supposed to be there were able to come.¬† Pastor Walt and his friend, whose dad is buried at Arlington.¬† Mick’s daughter and her husband, who I am delighted to claim as family, and of course, Charles and I.

One of the Marines that had been trying so hard to find veterans who would be available to be there for my son and I, sent me an email a few hours after the funeral.  He had wanted to be there to support my son and I, since he too was a retired Marine who had been in Vietnam, but he was also unable to attend.  I received his email just after we got on the train to go home.

He said he hoped that it all went the way I wished it would.¬† He also mentioned that he had had a word with the Honor Guard that was going to be handling my husbands funeral.¬† Letting them know that my son and I were going to be there alone, and he wanted them to give us their very best.¬† He was writing me to make sure that they did okay. I remember thinking in disbelief, “Okay?” They were so far beyond ‘okay’. Below is what I wrote back to him. I wanted others to see this, out of gratitude.

Dear Mac,

They were the finest Honor Guard escort that I have ever seen. By far.

The burial detail. They were so precise, so measured, so careful. Each motion in its time and place, each performed with accuracy and grace. There was exquisite beauty in the exacting nature of their stately movements. The flag folded, with such attention to detail. Each fold and step given such care. I held it for hours after we left and it has not left my side yet. A case and a place of honor will be made for it at home.

The rifle detail. Standing, at attention, waiting, quietly waiting, to honor a fallen Marine. Fallen, but not forgotten.  It did not matter that he had not fallen in battle. Nor did it matter that he had retired from the Corps. What mattered is that he had served his country and served her well.
Semper Fidelis.

For the salute, they used the older rifles, that have that loud crack when they fire. The ones I hoped they would use. Again, precise, exact, together. In perfect timing. There was a comfort in that jolt, when they fired. Almost as though it was easing, or pulling out, the pain of our loss. Waiting as each volley rang out over the resting places of other military men and women. Then again, that crack, fired as one shot. You can hear it for miles.  That final volley. Twenty-one. The twenty-one gun salute of honor.

Taps. The bugler was excellent. Each note in perfect pitch. Full and rich in sound. Played slowly, solemn, as befitting the occasion but also with a feeling of pride. That last note held so long until it faded away. It reminded me of the words to that song. The sun fading from the sky, and yet, God is nigh.

The young marine in charge of the Honor Guard. The one who handed me the flag, was so touching in what he said, but moved me even more by the sincerity in his eyes when he thanked me for my husbands service. Then he surprised me with the shell casings. I had forgotten they were part of the ceremony.¬† I have given one to our son and one to Mick’s daughter, who I would gladly claim as my own. Something for them to hold onto, something to help them remember.

Pastor Walt.  He never ceases to amaze me.  He can capture exactly what needs to be said, but of course he is so in tune with the good Lord. I know that He was speaking through Pastor Walt today. The things that he said, the passage he read, they were exactly what I needed to hear. That while Mick did his best to be a good provider and protector, it is the Good Lord who does it right, every single time.

I will hold that service for my husband in a special place in my mind and my heart. I will remember and use it as a calming balm, when the pain of loss and regret tries, once again, to capture me.

I wish I could write or find some way to thank them all. To let them each know that the beauty touched my soul. That their care in doing it right, their dedication to duty, eased my pain. Perhaps I can send this to our cemetery representative. So that he can share it with each of them. Perhaps I can post it where others can read and appreciate the care and dedication we received.

I will not forget our cemetery representative.  Gracious, gentle, attentive. So focused, yet understanding and kind. Quiet, gentlemanly and knew just what to say. Walking us through each step of the way. Turning what seemed like a hard and unwanted fall, into a gentle journey of acceptance.

It was done right, Mac, it was done right. Dress right, dress.

Thank you.

A Marine’s wife,

Day is done,
Gone the sun,
From the land,
From the sea,
From the sky.
All is well,
Rest in peace,
God is nigh.

Rest in peace Mick. I’ll see you by and by.

A Rainbow!

A Rainbow!

I have been wanting to post. There are so many drafts, sitting, waiting to be finished and I have just not had the time or the wherewithal to make it happen. Mostly, because I have so much I want to say! I was praying about it today, because posting about the beauty that I see around me is very important to me.

Then I turned around and there was this incredible double rainbow. It stayed in the sky for 20 minutes or more and was so incredibly brilliant in color! I took some pictures so that I could share them with you. I know these pictures aren’t great in quality but they certainly do show the glory of the heavens!

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It is hard to tell in these pictures but that second rainbow was all the way across the sky as well.

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You can see more of that double rainbow here.  At one point, it was almost as brilliant as the first rainbow!  image

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This rainbow was almost over top of me so I could not capture the whole thing and then I remembered that my little phone has a fancy setting so I made a few attempts with that function. The last one is the best one, I think.

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The Lord’s promise to us, to never again destroy the earth by flood, is, to me, one of the most beautiful sights displayed in the heavens!

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I love sunrises and sunsets, and we do get some spectacular ones out here in Arizona.  I love to be out Boondocking in the dark, far from the lights of a city, on a clear night and watch the stars go by. Then have the moon come up so bright, rich and full. But a rainbow is an incredible moment of promise directly from the Lord! When it fills the sky, the way this one did, it makes me cry.  Its not just the sheer brilliance of the glorious colors of the rainbow. For me, it is a reminder that true beauty is in the promise of His love.

Beautiful!

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The Empire Ranch – A Quiet Journey

180 square miles.
That’s over 115,000 acres.

That’s how large the Empire Ranch used to be when it was at its greatest. ¬†It has been a working cattle ranch for over a hundred thirty-five years and is now under the aegis of the Bureau of Land Management or BLM.¬† The BLM is working to ensure the preservation of the Empire Ranch and all of its buildings and history.

That’s where I am today, the Empire Ranch, near Sonoita Arizona. Although it has lost some of its size, at over 45,000 acres, it is still a giant.

For more information about the Empire Ranch, the different rides and events that happen at the ranch each year, and of course, more about its history,  here is a link to their website.

The Empire Ranch

You can also look up information on the BLM site.

BLM on The Empire Ranch

The last time I was here I went for a guided tour of the ranch. I got to walk through most of the buildings and they explained what happened when, who owned it and who helped to create this incredible empire.  This is a place that is full of history and you can feel that as you walk through the different buildings and as you look at the land and see these incredible vistas.  They not only seem to go on for miles but at over 45,000 acres, they actually do go on for miles.

ere I am standing on the porch of the main ranch house

Here I am standing on the porch of the main ranch house

I even got my picture taken at the same spot that John Wayne stood, when he was leaning up against the rail in one of his many westerns.

Imagine it.  Me. Standing in the same place John Wayne stood.

Imagine it. Me. Standing in the same place John Wayne stood.

There is so much to be explored in this incredible place and¬† that’s wonderful and there’s all kinds of information online for you to look at to find out more about the history of the Empire Ranch.

But today…..

Today…

Today, I want to take you on a quiet journey. I want to share with you some of the incredible beauty of this place and perhaps to express the warm, gentle, feeling of peace that I get when I’m here.

It’s been raining. It started last night and sounded so wonderful on the roof of my little trailer. It has been raining most of the day and its just now starting to slow down.¬† It is still very cloudy though.¬† But not that sullen sky, with cold grey clouds, that one so often associates with a rainy day.¬† Here, there’s a brilliance, a brightness to the sky and the land is so vast and huge that it’s still retains its beauty, even on a rainy day like today. Almost as though the heavens themselves are celebrating the wonder and beauty seen below.

It was still raining at this point but the sky was so bright.

 

There are clouds drifting over the mountains in the distance. Some are even being carved by the tops of the mountains, just as the mountains have carved their outline into the horizon.0412151706a

You can actually see where there’s been a little snow fall on the very tip of the mountains that pierce the skyline directly behind my camp.

Closer at hand, just beyond the pond, you can see the line of magnificent cottonwood trees that have probably been here for centuries.

You can see the tops just beyond the pond.  There is a row of these incredible Cottonwood trees that must stretch for a mile or more.

Last year, I took some pictures from under the great cottonwood trees.

Their tops are green, growing, and grand,

There is a trail you can walk underneath of these green giants.

their trunks are vast, gnarled and ancient.

Magnificent!

When you stand underneath one, you feel so small.

Their branches seem to be reaching and stretching for just a taste of the sky.

Incredible.

But for today

Today…

The sun is still hidden in the clouds.¬† I’ve only seen it take one tiny little peek out at noon. Just barely enough to let you see its outline, then it slipped away behind the silver grey curtain.

Noon Sun

That is the only time I’ve seen the sun so far today.

But even so, there is such incredible beauty to be shared.

There are smaller trees dotting the landscape. Their branches seem bare and stark, adding to the sense that this is a desolate place, yet even in their winter garb, they add to the beauty of the plains.

These trees seem stark.

On closer inspection you can see a bit of green, a bud here and there,

Some branches are just budding

even a branch that is starting to leaf,

While others on the same tree are in full leaf

reminding you that spring is happening in its quiet, gentle way.

There is a stillness here, a silence, a sense of calm. There is no rush.  No desire to be some place else. No need to change its look or feel, to be something different.   There is simply the knowing, the being, the accepting, that this is the way here and has been, since time began.

There’s just a bit of a breeze now, its rustling through the grass that runs across these plains. Drawing a whisper from the reeds that were dry, awaiting this spring rain. The sound it makes as the breeze goes through is so calming, so quiet. Underneath those dry brown reeds of former years, burnt to the color of sand by last summers sun, you can see the new green that is only now starting to show.

The sound it makes as the breeze goes through is so calming

As I read through this quiet journey again, to be sure that I’ve captured this moment in time, when I get to this part, to this place, I stop and close my eyes. I can feel that soft breeze, hear it gently singing through the grass. ¬†I take a deep breath and slowly release it. I can feel my body relax and my heart is eased.¬† This is a place where my mind, my body, even my soul, is at rest.

Then…

The sun shone through again. A little stronger this time.

The Sun conquered by the clouds of silver gray

It tried to part that silver grey curtain, to cast its light on the land. Even though it was brief, you could feel the trees reaching for the warmth,

You truly could get that sense that they were leaning into the sun.  reaching for its life giving light.

needing that light which feeds their leaves, their branches, their roots.

Then all was quiet, as the sun dropped beneath the horizon. A final gleam of light, a promise for tomorrow.

This picture surprises me every time I look at it.  I do not know how, but my little camera captured the beauty of the closing of the day in this one photo

The light is fading now, as night embraces the land. No fanfare, no trumpets, no amazed surprise, only accepting, that this is the way here and has been, since time began.

The Little Gypsy

Home Sweet Home!

Home Sweet Home!

She has not changed much on the outside.  Although thoughts of her name painted somewhere comes to mind.  Plus I do have an idea for all of that white space that will have to wait til next winter.  But for now, lets take a look at the changes I did make!

From Lots of Storage

From Lots of Storage

To Lots of Storage?  Well More than enough for me.  My Guitar, Mandolin, Dulcimer are all underneath the bed.  Along with a bucket for me soups and a tub for my summer clothes.  The van is now my primary storage place.

To Lots of Storage?

Well More than enough for me. My Guitar, Mandolin, and Dulcimer are all underneath the bed. Along with a bucket for my soups, though that may go back into the van.  I even have a tub for my summer clothes. The van is now my primary storage place.

I have taken out the old bed entirely.  The board was made of Plywood and Particle board.  Both are items I should not be around for any length of time because of the glue that they use.  I made the new bed 16 inches narrower and just over a foot lower.  It is made out of 1 by 4 pine boards.  It has made a huge difference for me as far as livability goes.  The builder had it designed that way for specific uses, like weekend camping trips.  For me this is going to work much better, since I will be living in it!  I could not get to most of the storage space the way it was, but now I am utilizing most of what I have.  The bed was so high it was hard for this ole gal to get into, so lowering it also improved the trailer by leaps and bounds.

Here is the tub with my clothes in and a place for my shoes on top!  :)

Here is the tub with my clothes in and a place for my shoes on top!

Taking out the old bed took a couple of days of hard work! ¬†It was in there to stay. ¬†Until I came along. ¬†Fortunately, I was able to reuse many of the 2 by 2’s and especially the ones with the special holes the builder had for screwing them into the floor. ¬†Here are some pics of the old bed coming out.

That front slot is where the slide out table used to be.  Going to use a different approach. More on that later.

That front slot is where the slide out table used to be. Going to use a different approach. More on that later.

This is where I had one of those two drawers I made.  They make work out under the bed at a later date.But for now they are stored away, because this is coming out.

This is where I had one of those two drawers I made. They make work out under the bed at a later date. But for now they are stored away, because this is coming out.

He used a lot of wood to make that slide out table happen.  Clever design, and I thought about that approach...

He used a lot of wood!  That was a solid bed.

Here you can see the side where the wiring came in.  That only had to be moved down a little for it to fit in my new design.

Here you can see the side where the wiring came in. That only had to be moved down a little for it to fit in my new design.

Outside my place was , shall we say, busy?  LOL  It was a mess!  But it was only for a couple weeks.

Outside my place was , shall we say, busy? LOL It was a mess! But it was only for a couple weeks.

Here is where I started to work on the new bed.  It was looking really big once I took out the old bed!

Visualizing the bed.  Those 2 x 2's are just sitting on the framework around the edges of the trailer.

Space!  Lots of Space!

Visualizing the bed. Those 2 x 2’s are just sitting on the framework around the edges of the trailer.

Getting the frame set.  I have the legs setting on the floor where the beams run under the trailer.

Getting the frame set.

I have the legs setting on the floor where the beams run under the trailer. The builder said to use them or lay some 2 by 4’s if I was going to have the legs go any where else. ¬†Help to distribute the weight.

That door toth front storage will not be used again!  Ah Well.  I could not get to it anyway.  There is a door from the outside.

That door to the front storage will not be used again! Ah Well. I could not get to it anyway and there is a door from the outside.

Then Poof!  The Bed appears

Then Poof! The Bed appears

What do you think? Not too Shabby for an ole gal?

What do you think? Not too shabby for an ole gal?

I am sure you know it was not quite that easy.  But it was getting dark and I so wanted to lie down on my new bed I just did not stop to take pictures!  Shame on me!

That night we threw the blankets and the little feather mattress we had on that big beautiful bed and slept the sleep of the victorious!

It was dark when I was setting the last boards in place.  I don't think I even had them screwed down.  Macha and I did not care!

It was dark when I was setting the last boards in place. I don’t think I even had them screwed down. Macha and I did not care!

After sleeping on a board 18 inches wide… Wait. ¬†Didn’t I tell you about that part? ¬†No? ¬†Oh Boy what a story that is! ¬†We had already moved into the trailer the way it was, thinking we could make it work. ¬†We couldn’t. ¬†The bed was too high and it was just too much to bear having all of that space under the bed going to waste. ¬†I could not reach anything under it without laying down on the floor and scooching (is that a word) my way back under neath it. ¬†Not the best way to utilize that space trust me! Plus I had already given my cot to my son for his truck. ¬†So there was no bed in the van. ¬†But I did have this board that was 6 feet long and 18 inches wide that had come out of the trailer. ¬†I had the old milk crates that I had taken off of the roof of the van. I put them inside the van and laid that board on top of them.

18' wide by 6' long.  It was downright interesting!

18′ wide by 6′ long. It was downright interesting!

I think it was four or five nights total that we laid on that skinny little bed.  Oh My!  It felt like a very long time!  Sure did make us appreciate that nice 3 foot wide bed when we finally got to lay down in it!

Next I cut down the mattresses. ¬†Yup there are two. ¬†The top one is a little softer for comfort and the bottom one is a heavy foam so you don’t reach through to the wood. I do like the way they builder had this little trailer set up in so many ways. ¬†Just had to make some adjustments!

Getting close.  Have to cut off another inch or so of the width to get a good fit.

Getting close. Have to cut off another inch or so of the width to get a good fit.

Foam is done!  Yippee!

Foam is done! Yippee!

So. Can I brag just a little? I had to show you this since no one will see it once the shelves go in.

Okay!  So!  Bragging a little?  I had to show you this since no one will see it once the shelves go in.  Pretty nice fit when you consider I had a hand saw and sandpaper to work with.

Pretty nice fit when you consider I only had a hand saw and sandpaper to work with.

Cut down the mattress and wrap it in a sheet? Voila!

Cut down the mattress and wrap it in a sheet?  voila!  BED!  I cannot begin to tell you how happy I was about this!

BED!

I cannot begin to tell you how happy I was about this!

BUT!  The Acid test is about to happen.  Will SHE approve?

Sniffed it over once and laid down!  Macha is as grateful as I am to NOT be on that 18" wide board in the van.  That was interesting.

Yes! The Macha Stamp of Approval!

She sniffed it all over once and laid down! Macha is as grateful as I am to NOT be on that 18″ wide board in the van. It certainly made us happy to be sleeping here instead!

Did I mention how happy I was to be in our new bed?  So happy that every night as I lay down I am still thanking the good Lord all over again for such a lovely bed!

Now! We have a place to sleep, so, what about a shelf or two?

All that lovely space!  A shelf will do two thing!  Give me more falt space to fill up and protect all of my electrical wiring.  You can see my positive and negative strips up against the wall and I have moved my two DC Outlets and the 110 outlet so they will be under the shelf as well.  That will keep me from accidentally pulling any wires loose.  Ahem, Any MORE wireds loose.  That has happened too many times!

All that lovely space!

A shelf will do two things. Give me more flat space to fill up and protect all of my electrical wiring. You can see my positive and negative strips up against the wall and I have moved my two DC Outlets and the 110 outlet so they will be under the shelf as well. That will keep me from accidentally pulling any wires loose. Okay, Okay, Fine. It will keep me from pulling any MORE wires loose. That has happened too many times!

Take the mattress out because it is now time to add a shelf.  Lots of lovely space just waiting!In this photo you can see I already have some of the boards in place.  The cool thing is none of th boards are screwed in place.  They are just sitting there on the 2 x 2's that I made into a little tray. That way I can easily get to the the DC strips that are underneath this shelf and add wiring for my lights later.

Lots of lovely space just waiting!

In this photo you can see I already have some of the boards in place. The cool thing is none of these boards are screwed in place. They are just sitting there on the 1 x 2’s that I made into a little tray. That way I can easily get to the the DC strips that are underneath this shelf and add wiring for my lights later.

One Shelf Done!

One Shelf Done!

It sure didn’t take me long to put something on it! ¬†No flat place is safe in any home I live in! ¬†LOL

Here you can see the trays I made to let the boards have someplace to sit.  On this side they may end up screwed in place since I want to add a special shelf on top of this one.  But that is down the road.

Shelf number two!

Here you can see the trays I made to let the boards have someplace to sit. On this side they may end up screwed in place since I want to add a special shelf on top of this one. But that is down the road.

A lot more sawing.  Well it is a lot when you are doing it with a hand saw!  Shelf number two is done!

A lot more sawing.

Well it is a lot when you are doing it with a hand saw! Shelf number two is done! Thank goodness I had a borrowed screw gun. ¬†I don’t know what I would have done without that!

One more shelf?  Yes!  This one will just sit on top of that first shelf.  Make it so much easier to view movies and still have a place to sit my water glass!  This is important stuff you know!  LOL

One more shelf?

This one is not quite as finished as I would like but it will work until I can do the finishing pieces on it. ¬†It won’t look quite so rough then.

Ah Yes!  Nice fit.  It will just sit on top of the shelf.  But I will be adding barrel bolts to keep it from wandering.

Ah Yes! Nice fit.

It will just sit on top of the shelf. But I will be adding barrel bolts to keep it from wandering. I got some fancy flattened ones.  You can see one of them here.

This is the one in teh front I have one in the back as well so she wont come off when we are going down the road.

This is the one in the front.

I have one in the back as well so it wont come off when we are going down the road.

In a pinch it could be used to have a place to work on my computer.  It does work.  Tried it out.  But I came up with a better notion for the short term.  Show ya later.

In a pinch it could be used to have a place to work on my computer.

The back barrel bolt fits into the front slot when it is in this position to give it a little stability.  With the bed as a seat it does work. Tried it out. But I came up with a better notion for the short term. Show ya later. Have I said that before? Well!  Later has finally arrived!

Here I am sitting on the bed and my computer is sitting on a board that is fastened to the shelf with a C Clamp.

Can you see the C Clamp off to the right?

Here my computer is sitting on a board that is fastened to the shelf with a C Clamp.

I can slide the computer out to sit in front of me and as long as the C Clamp is not too tight I can swing the board in and out as I need too!  Pretty slick trick!

Pretty slick trick!

I can slide the computer out to sit in front of me when I am sitting on the bed and as long as the C Clamp is not too tight I can swing the board in and out as I need too! That shelf is heavy enough that it holds my computer in place. ¬†I don’t want to lean on the board though.

Eventually, I plan on setting up a rectangular Lazy Susan on the other side.  Using this same concept.  Except the board will fold out and I will be able to use it from the bed or from my seat.

Here you can see the seat.

Here you can see the seat.

I have added another cushion to the seat.  I had them still, so why not use them! The other one has been cut down a bit and is under my guitar to cushion it as we travel.  By the way, if you are thinking that shelf looks crowded you are right!  I have already put some of it back in the van.  Trying to organize the van has been challenging.  But it is coming along. Things have been going back and forth, but I am getting a handle on it.  I think!

It is the original seat and still hides my privy.

Peek a Doo… Umm, do I mean Boo?

This is the original seat and still hides my privy. I am hoping to come up with a creative way to hinge these doors or at least the top one. ¬†So I don’t have to take it apart and put it back together every time. ¬†Still thinking on that one.

 

So that is it for now! My beautiful trailer is so usable now!

Sitting on the bed and looking to the right.

Sitting on the bed and looking to the right. My painting is sure looking good in my new home!

Looking in from the door.

Looking in from the door and to the left.

From the door and in to the right

From the door and in and down to the right

Straight in from the door.

Straight in and down from the door.

From the bed and looking left.

From the bed and looking left.

I have a beautiful home!  With my van as a great storage place it is all working well together.  My kitchen is still outside.  With most of my food and kitchen accessories in the van.

I am so blessed!