to simplify 2.0    notes from a life on the open road

Friday, February 5, 2016


Yeah, the solar setup is looking all neat and tidy up top, but inside is a very different story right now. I've been engaging in a fair amount of destruction over the past few days, so if you're one of those orthodox Vanagon types who cringes at anything that isn't stock, look away now.

While staring long and hard at the interior over a couple of days, I wrestled with the ugly fact that building my forward and rear upstairs platforms on top of the original curved roof sections would result in a few precious inches of wasted vertical space. So I took a deep breath, fired up the cutting wheel, and spent a couple more days painstakingly removing all that remained of the van's original roof. Yes, this would've been considerably easier to do before installing the hightop, but that's just not how we do things around here.

Needless to say, it's wide freaking open inside the van now, but it's also getting to be a real mess. When all is said and done, aside from there being nothing left to say or do, my greatest accomplishment of all may be that I somehow managed to continue living in this van throughout the entire renovation.

Next up, the whole point of this terrifying detour – I'll install some blissfully flat crossbeams to support the new rear and forward platforms.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Solar Story

Several days later, the new flexible solar setup is totally finished. At last.

Astute readers will notice that my snappy DIY solar combiner is missing in the above shot, and the astutest of the astute will notice that the two panels towards the front of the van are no longer the same size. What happened, you ask?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Solar Progress

The new super-streamlined flexible solar array is now in:

The view from the ground is what really does it for me though:

Lean and mean.