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Mud Be Gone
Posted on 05/09/09
Finally, we can unload the car without standing in the mud between the concrete driveway tracks. Not much more to say. It went pretty well, I'm happy with it. I still need to figure out something for the areas just outside of the concrete tracks, on the lower end of the slope. You can see that we drive over the gras turning in and out of the driveway. I'm thinking I may just pick up some random stone the next time I'm up at the PA house.

At some point I'll pick up another 500 bricks and take it all the way back to the fence, and fill in the space between the driveway and the house as well. I found few people on Craigslist selling used bricks for about a dime each, so that's definitely a possibility, maybe in the Fall. I definitely need to put some kind of stabilized surface beneath the Westy before next winter, even if it's just gravel, since it just sinks into the grass right now.
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Dark Roof, Light Roof
Posted on 05/01/09
I'm glad I took this picture when the roof was only half cleaned, so you could see how dirty it was. This is what happens when the thing sits in the woods in Pennsylvania for a few years (at my old place). A nice white roof should keep the interior a degree or two cooler in the sun, right?
Looks like I may have to clean out those cargo box drains pretty soon. Gotta get this thing all cleaned up for the Maine trip this summer.
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Happy Earth Day!
Posted on 04/22/08
In the last two visits to PA, I haven't really done anything which was both photo-worthy and conveniently photographed. That is to say, the things I've done have been either too boring to take a picture of, or too inconvenient.

The fact is, in the last few weeks I've really only done a bunch of coordination (and some little things to make the place ready for the contractors). Horrel-Neiderhiser completed the installation of the new high efficiency furnace and all of the ductwork, and will be testing that on thursday. Amerigas came and moved the propane tank from the front of the house to the south side where it won't be so prominent. And I found and hired a local contractor to install the last few pieces of sheetrock I hadn't gotten around to finishing, and then tape and mud the entire house. He tells me he'll be done by the end of next week or so.

When I haven't been answering questions or talking to contractors, I've been busy cleaning up with the leaf blower, cutting down rotted t
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i've been remiss...
Posted on 09/15/06
Sorry, I've been slacking since I got back from Burning Man. I'll try to relate some stories when i get the chance, but in the meantime, all I can say is wow. It was an amazing experience. Some people get a big spirtiual high from it, make life long connections and whatnot... but for me, it was just being there, enjoying the art, seeing the people. Simply amazing and I can only tell you that you need to go, at least once in your life.

How did everything work? Well, the shower enclosure worked okay, but not great. Any little wind would blow the (cold, wet) curtains against you, which was uncomfortable. Also, the first time i took a shower we hadn't pinned the two curtains together, so it was a bit of a free show for nearby camps. Then again, it was Burning Man, and a lot of camps set their showers up in full display of the road, with no curtains at all, so my modesty was more of the exception than the rule. The frame itself seemed to work, although if i keep it I might drill the connections for
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Shower Enclosure
Posted on 08/13/06
Nothing refreshes like a nice shower, and even though I'll be in the desert for a week, I plan to enjoy daily showers at Burning Man. Because I'm not the most exhibitionist person on the planet, I wanted a little privacy for my showers. After thinking though a whole raft of freestanding designs, I finally came up with this design which mounts just below the westy's rear hatch. A pair of padded clamps grab the hatch struts, and the outer end is hooked to the hatch with some lengths of electrical wire. The frame itself is made of 1/2" CPVC plumbing pipe and fittings. The fittings and the pipe fit well enough together that no glue is needed.

I bought two cloth shower curtains which will easily wrap around the three exposed sides of the enclosure. I need to pick up some very cheap, very lightweight curatin hooks if I can, although the removable wire ties i'm using below will probably work too. If I have time between now and
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Candy Canes
Posted on 08/08/06
I read somewhere that regular tent stakes are useless at Burning Man. The wind will just lift up your tent and blow it away. Well, between the shower enclosure and the Kelty shelter, I'll need a few stakes. Using some instructions I found online, I made these. They're two-foot lengths of 3/8" rebar, with hooks heated and bent into the end. I made twelve and probably didn't get into a groove until the fifth one. Heat, bend a ninety degree hook, then move the heat to a spot about an inch up the hook from your first spot. Once that's good and red, complete the bend. Gives a nice hook. the first ones I did were to sharp since I made the entire bend in the same spot. They'll work though.
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Solar Charge Controller
Posted on 08/01/06
The solar charge controller showed up today. Unfortunately the panel hasn't shown up. I have some time though. Based on the size of this, I think what I might do is to attach it to a piece of plywood with a handle, and attach the panel to the other side. Then I'll run a wire from the output of the charge controller to a male lighter plug. I'll run some wires from the battery to the back of the westy, and install a lighter socket back there. I can use that socket to draw power form the battery, OR to charge the battery. N'est ce pas? I think it'll work.
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Finishing the Insulation
Posted on 07/31/06
I finished up the insulating panels for the Westy on Sunday. I had grandiose plans of sewing some kind of screened thing for the front windows which would allow me to keep them open while providing shade. I did something like that last year for the BMW. Alas, I just don't have the time. Instead i just cut out some more panels. I also cut a second set of each to go with the ones KB cut last weekend for the Westy she and her sister are renting.

I designed these so that I could sleep in the car with the windows open, the screens keep the bugs out and the awnings keep the rain out. The top and sides are held on with elastic, and a strip of magnet holds the bottom edge of the screen. It worked, but obviously, it's still not the same as having a Westy, is it? No. Anyway, I gave these to Mike when he bought the car. I can't see him actually camping in the car, but you never know. Oh, I took these photos prior to installing a piece of wire which stretched the awning open and away fr
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Solar for the Westy
Posted on 07/20/06
I need to keep the deep cycle charged for a week at Burning Man, and I really don't want to buy a generator. Solar or wind is the way to go. Since I don't have time to build a wind turbine, or even bolt some kind of mounting tower for an AirX to the side of the Westy, I ordered a 50 Watt GE solar panel and a Sunguard 4 charge controller from a place called the Sun Cowboy. I'm still not sure if I'm going to mount the panel to the Westy, or just build a small rack that will hold it next to the van. Ideally it'll be on the roof, but that space is reserved for a roof rack, and since the panel would need to mount to the rack, and the rack isn't there yet... well, you get the idea. Stay tuned.
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Insulating the Westy
Posted on 07/10/06
With all that glass, the Syncro is essentially a big solar oven out in the desert. To avoid slowly roasting myself at Burning Man this summer, I needed to make some insulating panels to keep the Westy cool during the day. The insulation is like bubble wrap made of reflective mylar and I bought a few rolls of it from Lowes.
All I had to do was make some templates out of newspaper and cut out the pieces. Since they ended up just slightly too big, they pop into the windows, fit tightly, and hold themselves there without any kind of clips.

I did all of the non-functional windows this weekend. Rear, rear sides and windshield. I still want to put some thought into the sliding windows and the front doors. I also made insulating panels for the pop-up roof and the skylight.

All this work made me start really thinking
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