Day 015 USA Road Trip Problems to Solve as of May 25, 2012

Day 015 -- USA Road Trip -- Here is my list of problems I am working on, maybe you have solutions or ideas.

Generally, living in the van is great, it feels good to be complete mobile.

List of "Drive the USA" problems, that still need solutions.
I have already solved the majority.

1. Where to find shade to park my van between 12:00 noon and 4:00 pm? I want to punch into my GPS a search, and then find it in any city, I need shade to keep the inside temperature of van comfortable for an afternoon nap.

2. I need a cheap shelf system in van for two computers.

3. How to open the windows on van, yet not allow criminals, insects, or rain to enter.

4. --- Hehehe, how to pay for gas, this is amazing, to keep at a 10 dollar per day gas budget is truly a challenge.

Thanks Andy Lee Graham, in Fort Wayne, Indiana today.


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1. Shady places to park: Local, City, State Parks, (not camping areas). Of course avoiding ones that have entrance fees. Most municipal and state parks are public and free. Public Library parking lots maybe, Colleges, museums any public place with lots of trees.

2. Cheap shelf: Try craigs list, post a wanted ad for a free cheap plastic or light weight shelf, might provide a chance to meet someone new and they might possibly even let you park in there driveway or such overnight. Possibly a thrift Store, a yard sale or such, another chance to meet people. ~ no idea on that one they are either open or closed.

4. $10 a day gas ~ that is the truly tough one, again, no helpful solutions. Other than maybe looking on craigs list and offer ride shares for gas money. Find a travel partner willing to split the expense.

good luck

There will come a time when there is no shade and you will wish you had an 8' x 16' blue tarp to stretch between posts on top of the van to keep the sun off.... mostly you can find shade where Snooky says.

I like to lay flat in bed when I am on line, I hang by computer with an 1/8 nylon cord through its hinge from the cabinets over head. you would have to jam a 4 x 2 up there or find some way to secure to the cord to the roof of the van.

for passive ventilation to work you need 1" styrofoam on the roof. and modify one side window to open completely wide open.. then fit a screen over the opening with duct tape and open it from the outside so you don't have to disturb the screen...that would be ideal but not easy to fit the outside window latch... or some such approach. It will get real hot all over this summer.

Matinee movies, malls and coffee shops in the hot hours solve much of that problem.

Criminals are not normally a problem after they hear you rack a round into your 12 gauge... the know or at least think most of us motor home/van types are well armed.

If the heat gets bad I buy 10 lbs of ice and put it in my ice chest, spray cold water on myself and use a fan to cool off. tap water and a fan works well also.. the movies and malls work the best. Highway 1 up the west coast is nice pretty much all the time 75-80 day time, 60F at night. Inland 90-105 is common.. over 100 however less than 20 days a year in most of the northern half of the US, cross the southern half of the US in late october- april as you already know I'm sure.

Just drive out to Seattle and you can sleep all day because it will never get hot enough to worry about. Or usually if you can find a parking garage usually located in a mall, or hospital, or airport, or university visitor's parking garage are usually good but they will run you a few dollars per hour.

Hi Andy, this is how I solved the summerheat problem in my Van. I purchased 3 secondhand roof bars and U-bolted 2 lenghts slotted 2" Angle Iron lengthwise on each side. Next I screwed down a sheet of 8'x4'Plywood (I used 5/8" Ply as normaly used in the building Industry for "concreting formboard" . It is waterproofed, and lasts for years without painting. This is an extremly good sunshade. Of course you should cover your windscreen as well with those foldable insulated Sunshades. As for Ventilation I have a wind-up Vent with flysceen installed in the roof of the van.(as used in caravans) It is safe to leave open even when you are not "home" day and night time. During daytime (when parked and I am present) I attach flyscreen material over both front doors with windows wound down, (just open the door, lay the screen over and shut door again) no need to use tape. on rear windows I attach my flyscreens with flexible magnetic strips. Make sure the material is about 12" larger than the window.
On the "Gas expences" you can only safe a fair bit on useage by keeping your speed down to about 50 mph. It will pay off over time, saving you at least one gallon or more over 100 miles. About shelving: the easiest and cheapest is a timber board wide enough for your PC fixed into location using angle brackets and selftaping srews. Make sure your items on the shelf are strapped up while driving. An alternative for the Roof-Rack is to find a secondhand one at the wrecking yard, new ones are likely too expensive. Happy travelling Andy

I have been thinking about making a tent over the top of the van. My Astro has a rack on top, I could put the plywood on top, but seems like it would be heavy and cause my gas mileage to go down. I will go find some magnetic strips to hold the mosquito net again the side of the van. I have thought about using some PVC plastic to extend a piece of tarp out about 3 feet around the van, then hooking it on, like a tent. Then I could park anywhere in a large parking lot. Thanks for the ideas. Andy

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