Where do we start?

Published by gawatt in the blog gawatt's blog. Views: 151

It's a day after taking delivery of the Galaxy and we're getting used to the idea of this new presence on the drive being part of our lives.

Every few hours I find myself stepping into the van just to sit down and get a feel for the space. Today I've brought my iPad and a keyboard to see how it feels to work in here (as you can imagine, my day job has taken a slight job in efficiency while the van's been on my mind!), and I've immediately discovered that the dinette table is higher than my desk in the house. I can feel my arms are at a less-than-perfect height for typing, and probably therefor eating. I'll measure it later and see if it might be lowered.

After the warm few weeks we had in March, the winter has returned with a vengeance over the first few days of April. Today there are little flurries of snow falling all around, and would likely settle on top of the van if the torrential rain hadn't moistened everything first. It's a good test of the van's insulation and heating. The interior seems to stay pleasantly warm and I can imagine taking it out during the cooler months and being quite cosy inside.

We've gone over everything inside, looking for little bits that need fixing or replacing. I've changed some of the halogen lamps out for LED versions and ordered some more to do the rest this week. I've opted for warm white rather than the colder LED's you used to be able to get. I find them rather cold. The colour of the warm variety is identical to Halogen - brightness too, but there's no heat from the lamps at all. With the halogen ones, you can feel the heat from the bulb straight away, and while the LED does get warm after an hour or so, you could still pick up or touch the LED itself. Battery-wise it's a no-brainer. The halogen's draw 2amps and the LED's .2. We should get more out of the leisure battery if we're without mains hookup for any length of time.

There are a few fixes to do too. There's a screen which stretches over the window when you lift the bed down from over the cab area. It probably hasn't ever been cleaned in the van's life (13ish years!) I can't blame the previous keepers, the cotton screen is screwed to the ceiling and walls and will be a bit of a drag to take down and put up again. It's looking a bit worn though and we'll look at replacing it with something else when we can figure it out. In the meantime, it'll get boil-washed.

The curtains are clean and will be fine and the upholstery is immaculate throughout. I'm sure we'll have it all refurbished in a few years time, but it's actually quite nice... in a pub-carpet Axminster kind of way.*

The van was originally carpeted and at some point it has been removed. There are thin vestigial strips which they couldn't cut out so we know that there was a brown textured carpet at one point. I'm not sure why they took it up, but we'll replace it with something.*

I visited my first caravan supplies shop yesterday afternoon. From the MotorhomeFun forums I know what dangerous places they can be. I spent a good half an hour just wandering round. I wanted EVERYTHING. There were gadgets for just about every task I could imagine, and I'm sure if I bought all the stuff I desperately needed, I'd have a van festooned with aerials, cables, pipes, brackets, pullouts.... all the beautiful gadgets!

I settled on a 25m bright orange hookup cable, and an adapter to connect it to my new outside mains box. At least the van has power on the drive. I picked up a blue 2m water hose too. They'll both live in the motorhome from now. I suppose I'll fill up the fresh water with the garden hose. I should probably taste the water from it first, but I'm not sure if I'm supposed to have a special drinking-water hose for the van.

I also picked up a brochure for a Gaslow system, and I've been introduced to the concept of adapting some of the systems that I've always considered to be untouchable. I had no idea that you could install these clever tanks. They're a bit more expensive to install, but there would be savings in about a year if we used the van every month (which we intend to do!).*

What about solar? I wouldn't need to plug into the mains to keep the leisure batteries topped up... or more interesting still - we could perhaps live without hookup - and save a bit more money...

This all needs a bit more investigation!
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