Off of the Grid


Steady Progress

We have been busy. After the wonderful wind experience, we moved our construction site into a pole building. A wonderful family is letting us rent space in their building so that we can build the walls inside. Literally saving us! I can’t remember what I have written but suffice it to say I could not find a single garage, storage unit, warehouse, RV shop, or building that would let us rent space. I recently met this nice lady and noticed she had a large pole building on her property. It was incredibly presumptuous of me to ask, but I did and she and her family said yes. Everyday after Daniel is done with work, we head over and get work done. We finish around 8pm for the day and come home whipped.

Here are the construction updates. We cut off that side aluminum. There was no way to incorporate that into the walls with the walls being constructed off the rig. We cut it off. Now the aluminum is flush. We have the rig tarped to protect the new floor from the rains we have been experiencing. So far – so good.

The aluminum frame had to be disassembled a bit to get it to the pole building. The cab-over wouldn’t fit on the bed. So we had to undo what a lot of time was spent during the previous week doing. We got it on the bed though and drove it over in sunny weather. Daniel and Greg worked on the frame – putting it back together, and shoring it up over this past weekend. The cab-over seems a bit flimsy. We keep trying to shore it up but with a half wall, there isn’t much you can do. When it gets attached to the cab, that will stabilize it but for now, it’s a problem spot.

Monday night we got the wood measured, seamed and layed out. Tonight we glued the aluminum frame to the interior luan and laid out the initial 1/2″ Styrofoam insulation. Once that has all been measured and placed, we will glue that down. Additional Styrofoam will go on-top of that, and then the luan and filon. We hope to get all the insulation glued tomorrow.

We looked at cabinets today at Lowes. Getting some ideas and a rough idea of cost. We will check out some other places as well. I will be ordering our new RV door this Friday and our stove.

We spoke to a tile expert yesterday for the bathroom and possibly the back-splash for the kitchen. In 2011, I had been collecting really neat glass tile to do some mosaic work on a piece of furniture I found on the side of the road in Ballard, WA. I left it with my friends when we completed construction the first time we were here. I thought it had been gifted to someone so never thought I would ever see it again. I have it all! So exciting! Now, we are looking for ways we can use it. I may even use it around the sides of our walk-in shower. Not sure but looking forward to figuring it out! We are looking at some ceramic tiles to be the shower floor.

We looked at solid wood possibilities for our floor. We don’t want to do the laminate again. For us, with the dogs and the kid and the love of sand and dirt, the laminate just gets scratched. We have decided to go with a wood floor and we are just going to poly the heck out of it. We are looking at cabinet planks. They are long, and have a nice grade but aren’t too thick. We can glue those down, and then seal them. The price is a heck of a lot better than the hardwood floor planks!

Here are some current pics of our work from tonight…


And the steps before …


Sanity Break and Research

We have had to take a few days off as a sanity break. We are keeping our senses of humor during this remodel but sometimes the sheer scope of what we are doing can be intimidating. I tend to cope with this by focusing on the small details. I look at one section and the specifics of what need to be done. Daniel just tends to think of all the work he has to do and stresses out. Understandably. I can help, but he needs to tell me what to do. By mapping out this project in far greater detail than we ever have before, I am hoping this will take some of the pressure of him. I can prep, gather materials, and take care of the tasks I know need to be done so Daniel is free to tackle the big stuff. I am learning a lot about construction right now – obviously RV construction, but I know it will prove incredibly useful in the future as both of us will have bolt-by-bolt knowledge of exactly how our home is put together.

I am busy visiting RV repair shops and talking, asking tons of questions and listening. Lots and lots of listening. I have learned to ask questions I never thought to ask and found answers to things I didn’t think to look for. For anyone contemplating a similar remodel, that would be my best advice. Talk to people! Shop people, sales people, mechanics, fellow RVers – the guy standing next to you in the shopping line. You never know who is going to have a tidbit of knowledge that you need.

I will end for now. I wanted to touch bases and let you know what was going on. We really need to get that roof off so we can start cleaning up the frame and need to take off at least the back half of the sub-sub floor to replace the rot we are seeing. Keep in touch and let us know your thoughts!

Final Stages…

Our last week in our house in Colorado was insane. Our belongings seemed to be reproducing sponaneously overnight. I didn’t think we would EVER be done packing. Fortunately, we have incredible friends. A friend made us an amazing lego bag holder/mat and a bunch of other bags to help us pack toys. Pringles came over and had little guys room clear in an hour. I don’t know how she did it, but I am forever grateful! The cleaning ladies got there about 7pm (I am so thankful they were able to come late! We were SOOO not ready for them to come any earlier.) We got everything done at the 9th hour. At 12:10am, I was locking the door for the final time.

Winnie was packed to such a degree there was not an inch of walking space. Towards the end, we had literally been piling stuff in. My friend Morning’s partner generously donated free hotel points so we could stay in a hotel that night.

We didn’t have to have Winnie road-ready when we left the house. Another friend invited us to stay at their house for a week so we could get things put away, and straightened out. It was very needed! Plus, getting that extra week to spend time with them, and other friends was so special.

Like I said, we have awesome friends! Before we piled a bunch of stuff in Winnie, she was feeling and looking pretty cozy. We got the sofa in, and the bookshelves turned out great!


The last week, we were sleeping in the RV to make packing easier. I will get a more current pic for you when I have vacuumed :-).

I have mixed feelings about leaving Colorado. It is not the place where my spirit is happy, but we created a home there. It was really nice having my sister relatively close and getting to see her and her amazing family whenever we could. Our community of friends and fellow homeschoolers in Colorado are wonderful, inspiring, amazing people! I am going to have to get used to my ‘home’ being migratory again. It’s both exciting and sad at the same time. I am sure once we get Winnie fully together I won’t feel quite so displaced but right now I have to admit to feeling uneasy.

That’s all for now! Next I will be sharing our adventures in NE. All I can say about that is, only us. LOL!

Beginning Again …

It’s been a few years since we wrote about our wonderful Winnie, but we are gearing up remodel her yet again. This time with some pretty amazing changes! We hope to move in full-time again before the end of 2017.

Our changes include completely changing the way the kitchen is oriented. We are making a galley kitchen instead with a swing-up table for eating and seating. This instead of the up-all-the-time table one usually sees in the rig. We will build in a variety of seating options which will support more people should we need to; carcasson game playing or crafting. Our focus this time is all about creating open space that will adjust to our needs vrs having things up all the time.

We will be moving our hallway from the middle to the right side of the rv and creating a full bathroom.  YAY! No more little WC! And we can add a tub! We aren’t going to focus on any slide-outs but will instead add a slide-back! This will give us an entirely new room on the back of our rig which will be great to have. Custom bookshelves, raised roof, moving the windows – these are just some of the ideas we will be putting in place on our newly redesigned home.

Daniel and I are working on the plans now so be looking for updates soon!

A New High! Berthoud Pass 11, 307′

We’ve been on the road!  For those trying to plan their own route this summer, let me list out the route we took from AZ to CO:

  • I-10 to I-17
  • I-17 to US Hwy89
  • US Hwy 89 to US Hwy 160
  • US Hwy 160 to US Hwy 163
  • US Hwy 163 to US Hwy 191
  • US Hwy 191 to Utah Hwy 128
  • Utah Hwy 128 to I-70
  • I-70 to US Hwy 40
  • US Hwy 40 to US Hwy 34

Quite a route!  Some great advice by the nice folks at RVForum.Net made sure we were well aware of potential issues with our trip.  Ironically, the switchbacks heading to and from the Berthoud Pass made the ascent and decent fairly easy.  I wouldn’t want to do it in the snow but we had more trouble with the Vail Pass at 10,666′ than we had with the higher Berthoud Pass.  We took everything very slowly and I’m sure drove the people behind us batty.  But on the plus side, we never overheated, brakes never smoked and Winnie came through like a champ!  More posts to follow on the individual segments; Monument Valley, the Colorado River, Mexican Hat etc…

Curves and Support

We have been preparing the new roof and walls to accomodate the new Fylon skin, but the weather has not been cooperative. For example:

  • While dry-fitting a 4X8 sheet of luan, a wind came along and tore it off the subframe
  • Wind knocked over cabinets, making spot repairs necessary (these cabinets are part of the rear wall structural integrity solution)
  • Rain forced us to move the rig to a nose-down slope to prevent water damage
  • A new piece of luan (and 1X4 subframe) was flapping like a bird’s wing in the wind until we tacked it down

Putting the skin back on

We used contact cement to attach the Fylon skin to the luan and also put the window back in place. Next up, we build a new back wall.