Good day all! Here we are again. I can’t wait to tell you just what we have been up to. Let’s jump right in…..
The trailer we are going to use as a car hauler is well under way to being converted. It is still in the “OMG! What have we gotten ourselves into?!” stage, but well under way. The teardown actually proffered some valuable parts that we can use as well. It was well worth the effort of tearing her apart.
I know I didn’t mention before, but the actual frame itself is from an old pull behind RV. The roof had been severely damaged so there was a large hole dead center. That caused the A/C to fall through and left the entire interior exposed to the elements. In Louisiana you might guess that means a ton of rain. You would be correct. Thus, the deconstruction was inevitable.
We have plans to convert this trailer to a car hauler with a small utility room on the front, as I shared previously. Before we could do that we had to strip her down to the actual frame. We will have to sand blast and repaint the rusty areas before rebuilding but look at what we found. We were able to salvage all but 2 of the original windows, the door and the screen, and most of the hatch covers. We also saved the refrigerator, A/C, shower stall, fresh water tank with pump intact, microwave, and stove. Not too mention all of the trailer lights and small whatchado’s attached here and there.
So, the plans go as follows;
- Attach a steel deck to the frame once it has been sandblasted, primed, and painted
- Frame out a small utility room on the front 8-12′ of the trailer. (We have to determine what is left after we measure out for the car and a winch.)
- Enclose the utility room with aluminum siding and roofing. The roofing will have a slight curve to match the Bluebird.)
- Insulate the entire room, wire for electrical, and plumb (this is where it is getting my heart pumping.)
- Set out floor plan for interior and get started installing.
So what are we using the utility shed for? I will tell you. We are moving our solar array to the sides and top of the room. I found these fabulous flexible solar panels through Amazon and they will fit the curve of the roof. If we place them with a slight gap so air is allowed to pass through we will be able to triple our solar array. We are also going to use the two 100w panels we currently have to the side and mount them on a platform that can be angled out for optimum southern exposure. Not only will this give us more control over the amount of energy they generate, it will also allow us to use them as an awning of sorts to prevent the sun from hitting the shed area full force. The platform will also fold flat against the side of the room for traveling. I am sure everyone understand how much of a difference have 600w vs. 200w will make. I think this is my favorite opportunity yet!
The inside will be amazing as well because it will allow us to have some amenities that we just do not have the ability to add to the skoolie. Not only are we placing our solar array out back, but we are moving our batteries, charge controller, and inverter out there as well. The convenience of having all of these components in one location will be an immense improvement as the batteries are currently stored under our bed and the inverter takes up an entire kitchen cabinet. No more additional heat coming up through the platform of our bed! Plus one additional kitchen cabinet for storage!! Amazing.
This also allows us the opportunity to add more batteries. The batteries we currently use are the largest deep cycle marine batteries that were available to us as non-commercial purchases. We bought them through NAPA and they have 440 Ah of storage each. We purchased these particular batteries because we originally used them in a wet area in both our off-grid cabin and our houseboat. Because we would like to use some appliances off of our grid, we would like to have more storage available. We would prefer to use the free electricity over burning any fossil fuels. Plus, the ecological footprint we leave will be far less intrusive when we boondock in natural forests, beside lakes, etc. I am sure you are seeing the bigger picture.
Jim is looking forward to his favorite addition out back as well. He is stoked that we will be able to install a shower with running hot water inside. He really prefers that option to the outside solar shower we currently have. Building this shower ourselves allows us to make it a bit more on the generous size than a typical RV shower. It also gives us the chance to place a tub as the base, not just a shower pan. I am a soaker so that is right up my favorites pole. Instead of a high pressure shower head, we are planning to use a custom (made ourselves) shower head. With a little bit of copper tubing we can create our own rain pattern shower head that will be low pressure, relaxing, and soothing. We are going to use an on-demand water heater for this and. after a ton of research, it will be propane. We did this same heater on our houseboat and I will never use another form of heating water again.
The third item we can place in this storage room will be an additional refrigerator/freezer unit. I shop for the main grocery stock only once a month and I really want to be able to continue to do that on the road. Our current refrigerator is around 7 cf. That has been serving us rather well for shopping a couple of times a month with the exception of meat. The freezer is tiny and I really need a bit more storage in that area. With this extra space I can actually get that. By freeing up an additional kitchen cabinet by moving the inverter, I can move the items currently stored in the small cabinet over the refrigerator. Once that has been done we will be able to remove that cabinet and place a larger 9.2 cf refrigerator in that space. Then the current refrigerator can actually be moved to the new space on the trailer. I will more than double both refrigerator and freezer space, allowing me to stock enough groceries for the month. Yep! My second favorite upgrade.
Now there is another improvement that will make Treasure, our grey tabby, very happy. Our current “closet” is adequate for our needs but it is a bit short when it comes to the hanging wardrobe area. All of our shirts, dresses, and slacks come out of the closet a bit wrinkled and I definitely hate ironing. Our intention is to move that portion of our wardrobe to a taller closet in the storage area. As we will be showering out there, it makes sense to have the bulk of our wardrobe there as well. That gives us the opportunity to convert that current cubby into two spaces. The first will be a deep shelf where things like books, our printer, and office type supplies can be housed. The second, a nice little nook for Treasures bed, litter box, and food can be stored. Two of the most unsightly areas of any full time RV home on the road can now be hidden away. Much easier for the neat and tidy atmosphere needed to successfully live in a tiny space.
Believe it or not, this still allows for some additional storage spaces both in the bus and on the car hauler. We have to wait until we have it all laid out with the list above before we can determine what will be going where. We were able to purge a great deal before moving into the Bluebird so we have already maximized the current space. We want to keep everything to a minimum now, so it may be that most of the extra space stays just that, extra space. It will be interesting to see where we go with that. Hang around and help us figure this out! We always love the input from those of you with a bit more experience than we have.
By the way, don’t forget to check out our Patreon page. Once we determine if we will use 8′ or 12′ I will post a floor plan of the space there. Plus, you can always connect with us on our other forms of social media. We are MyBlueJeanLife on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Until then, we look forward to seeing you out there, on the byways.
Jim and Kam