Kimbopolo Was Here!

Kim and her Roadtrek

Kim and her Roadtrek

To my absolute delight, Kim stopped by to visit on her way home from her Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Mountains/DC trip today!

Kim

Kim

After a Casita tour, we escaped into her van for a wonderful girl-talk session, leaving Ron to babysit the dogs.

Kim had owned a 16 foot Casita before and loved it.  We decided that Casitas are better for camping for several days at a time, whereas vans are ideal for seeing the sights, or for impromptu solo trips to enjoy a little personal space for a while.

And we decided that I must have a van someday!  🙂

Her van is beautiful.  It’s cozy, like the Casita.  And like the Casita it has lots of windows so you don’t feel closed in.  Her passenger seat swivels, and she can set up a large or a small table by it.  And, unlike

Inside Kim's van.  I was really impressed that she has comfortable seating, since I don't in the Casita!

Inside Kim’s van. I was really impressed that she has comfortable seating, since I don’t in the Casita!

the Casita, her electric sofa seat reclines, so she also has comfortable seating in the rear.  I was impressed!  And only a tiny bit jealous!  😀

After visiting inside her van, we moved outside to a vacant campsite overlooking the lake.  But the temperature started dropping and the wind picked up, making it too chilly to enjoy long.

Kim had hoped to be able to dump her tanks here for a small donation, but the gate people refused.  So she left to find another dump station before heading home.

Looking toward the front of Kim's van

Looking toward the front of Kim’s van

I was really surprised they refused her.  Ron said he bet if someone else were at the gate house, they would have allowed it.

Kim, Peggy and I are planning to get together in Florida in January at Stephen Foster State Park.  That is something to look forward to!

The temperature is dropping rapidly now.  I turned on the furnace a little while ago since the little electric heater wasn’t doing the job.  So glad we got the furnace fixed before we left on this trip.

Our chilly lake view

Our chilly lake view

Since it’s going to be cold tomorrow, I was ready to head home.  But Ron wants to stay until Thursday.  So I’ll probably spend tomorrow inside surfing, reading, doing crosswords, drinking tea, and enjoying the lake view outside my window one more time.

Another of my tentative van plans.  This one has a real refrigerator in it.

Another of my tentative van plans. This one has a real refrigerator in it.

Gail’s at it again!

Gail’s campsite

My sister Gail is solo camping again this weekend.  I am so jealous!  🙂

Homeless Women and Camper Vans

Touches of home in a van.

When my brother-in-law’s job moved him to Texas, my sister Gail became interested in getting an RV, primarily to use to visit family back home.  She didn’t like the idea of having to stay in dirty motel rooms, possibly being exposed to bedbugs and foot fungi and who-knows-what-else that might encountered in a bedroom and bathroom used by the public.

Also, they would be traveling when Mike was on vacation, so she knew they would be putting in long hours at the wheel.  And since they would be on a strict travel budget, they didn’t want to have to pay high campground fees just to park overnight.  And they didn’t want to have to eat all their meals on the road — another expensive proposition.  And finally, when they got to family’s homes, they didn’t want to have to move in on them, disrupting their household and sleeping arrangements.

So looking for an affordable RV became their priority.  They considered a travel trailer (as used ones can be bought cheaply), but then they would have to buy a pickup truck, and they didn’t need a truck for anything except towing.  It made more sense to buy an inexpensive used cargo van and convert it to their needs.

Exterior of their van

While Gail was researching ways to convert a cargo van to a camper van, she was stunned to discover that there are countless women all over the country who, through loss of their jobs or relationship breakups, were now homeless.  With no place to live, many of them were fixing up old vans to live in.

She found many websites showing how to cheaply convert a van into a mini home on wheels.  But most of them were depressingly ugly, consisting of bed frames made of 2 x 4 lumber with a mattress, and plastic drawers for storage.  So not only were these women homeless, there was no beauty — nothing girly — left in their lives.

Even worse, many of the vans had no toilet or shower facilities, making the women completely dependent on public facilities.

Attractive and supremely functional

She determined to convert her van into a pretty little space with all the comforts, like shower, toilet and kitchen.  And then she would share what she learned with anyone who was interested — whether they are building their first camper or just downsizing from a larger RV.  And maybe her ideas could be an inspiration to a homeless person somewhere, to help add a little beauty or functionality to their van.

To that end, I am working on building a page on this blog that will be permanently linked at the top, to serve as Gail’s guidelines for anyone who is interested in building an attractive, liveable, small RV in a cargo van.  I’m hoping to have the article finished in a day or two.

[On edit – the article From Cargo to Camper Van has now been published.]

A Chicken & Dumplings Day

The kitchen in Gail's van

Gail and Mike in their van, and we in our Casita, have our own little Gypsy camp on Mom’s property.  It is so much fun to be temporary next door neighbors with Mom, Hope and each other.  Gail and I marvel at the miracle of our little houses on wheels and all the possibilities they open up to us.

Today Hope, Gail and I went shopping — first at the Boy’s Ranch Thrift Shop looking for a 25 cup coffee maker for Gail to use as a water heater in the van.  Then the guys met us at Dairy Queen for ice cream, then we girls split again from the guys for more shopping.

When we got back to Mom’s, I cooked a big pot of chicken and dumplings outside on the picnic table, then made garlic bread to go with it in Mom’s broiler.  I think I probably enjoyed the chicken and dumplings more than anyone else.  Oh well, every

Gail loves the shelves that keep everything organized and easy to reach.

meal can’t be a masterpiece.  🙂

Gail and Mike are going to Jacksonville tomorrow to visit friends and to put flowers on some of Mike’s family’s graves. We’ll visit with Mom and Hope tomorrow while they are gone.

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