I went to Volker’s Body By Crome shop yesterday to help get the top cabinet in the back up and do a few little things that I wanted to accomplish. And he’s still working hard to get the reassembly done this week. I’m confident he will.
While I hadn’t intended to write another blog post there are some photos he passed along from the past two days that I was thrilled to see so I’ll go ahead and share them. A few have made their way onto Facebook but in general I prefer to keep the real gallery here.
Early into this I planned to replace the original Domentic fridge with an updated Truck fridge. The Domentic was still working. It even made ice cubes in the little tray that another vanagonaut gave me. I wrote about that ice cube tray years back and I still smile when I think about it. And Dake… the fridge has been replaced but I still have the ice cube tray!
I sorted out the details of getting the fridge plus getting the cabinetry, hardware & fittings via Karl at Westy Ventures before a trip to Vermont for the Rasputitsa bike race that Andrea & Kate were doing back in April. I had all of it shipped to our friends Guy & Joan’s place to bring back and avoid paying all the duty. That worked out well and Babe now gets the new fittings and we’ll get to enjoy the new gear!
I said the fridge worked and it still does. I’m sure it will continue to work for years if someone needs to replace theirs and wants to keep it original. They are only capable of cooling things so much though and we’ve found that camping in places like Moab and Fruita exceed those limits. That was a big part of the motivation.
Added bonus: many people use the door from the old fridge to create a new cabinet door to the bigger back storage area and Volker took care of that. Win Win.
The Westfalia company did a great job of maximizing space utilization. So I’m surprised to come across unused or under used spaces. The gap between the water tank and the small lower cabinet is one. That’s kind of understandable. The one above the back cabinet took me by surprise though. Volker opened that up for me and we’ll see if it’s actually a useful space.
Power Power Everywhere
I’ve mentioned that adding in the Truck fridge also got me to look at and upgrade the house power setup. Earlier posts have included photos of the dual AGM batteries, GoWesty isolator kit and the new solar port outside. Of course the fridge will take advantage of this and so will all the other gadgets Andrea and I travel with.
First up are three new 12V ports. These are in addition to the two in the dash of which one is powered from the house batteries. One new port got added down where the 120V outlets are. The other two are up where I’ve seen other people install them and I like the effect. Volker did a great job putting those two in so they don’t obstruct the vent and there are no dangling wires.
Then there’s the inverter (a 1000W Pure Sine) and the solar power controller. I’ve read about the Victron MPPT 100/15 in a number of places and everything I’ve read has been positive. In addition there’s the bluetooth dongle that Abel installed and I was sold on the idea when I read his review. Abel uses a well designed 100W Renogy folding kit for his solar panels. I bought one but later worked out a deal for some very compact 75W panels that use fabric frames rather than aluminum. The price per watt is higher but I fell in love with the size and portability of the new panels. So with 100 Ah storage and 150W solar input I think I’m good to go!
Things are going very well as Volker does the finishing steps of reassembly. His last major task is putting the doors back together. Not a trivial last step, that’s for sure. It looks like I may have made a mistake though… I’ll have to figure out how to sort that out.
You see Babe had some purple highlights. I never got a good explanation from the previous owner of how that came about but I gather it was his wife’s touch. I didn’t ask Andrea about those pieces and gave Volker a green light to paint them to match the rest of the trim. Personal touches…
The birthday present Fiamma rack Andrea gave Babe is back on after a very brief and perhaps similar conversation. It’s part of her character so forget all that practical stuff. It’s how it should be. Babe has a trailer hitch now so there are other ways to carry bikes. But that rack… well it was gifted to this camper and has special significance. So it’s back on with some protection added over the paint. And that will be one of the many fingerprints of Andrea.
As for the purple bits… if Andrea wants them back I’m sure Babe would agree! Or orange accents? 😉
If you look back through this blog entry you’ll see a lot of people getting mentioned. While Volker is the main protagonist in this tale it couldn’t have happened without the help of a lot of people. I’ve added to the list with this entry because I think the community aspect is important. People from around the world have contributed to aspects of the design. Parts have come from close to a dozen sources. Encouragement… well that’s come from everywhere!
Can I say thanks enough? People who’ve been following this blog know I appreciate all the support and help. For anyone thinking of taking on a labour of love like this… let me tell you…
If your partner is the least bit hesitant. If the person doing the work doesn’t show you the utmost confidence. If you have any doubts. Don’t do it! It’s a big commitment from all involved.
But… if you see smiles?