To Simplify... the pursuit of happiness through simple living on the open road

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chinook Conclave & A New Desk


Clearly, fame hasn't changed my co-pilot in the slightest. In the interest of proving that I too am still the same old dude despite all the recent exposure, here is a post that has absolutely nothing to do with The Arti-- well, you know.

First off, an update on where things stand location-wise. I'm still hanging out in lovely Annandale, NJ with my brother and his family, enjoying perhaps the baddest driveway-turned-front-yard in the land, not to mention plenty of quality time with three groovy nieces. I'm also still focused on wrapping up a few upgrades to the Chinook before leaving here (more on that below), while staying rather busy with a steady flow of arranging and orchestrating work.

I took a break from all of that yesterday, however, to meet up with longtime blog reader and new Chinook owner Michael:


Apparently, I qualify as some sort of authority on Chinooks, so Michael made the trip up here from southeastern PA to have me explain the various inner workings of his new house on wheels. Little did he know that his was only the second Chinook I had ever stepped inside (including my own), but I played it cool and all went pretty well. I am, however, more than a little miffed that his Chinook's rear suspension, despite being four years older and around 50,000 miles more experienced than mine, feels noticeably better. The nerve.

Moving on...with the floors finished a week ago, I have since turned my attention to finally giving myself a good permanent workspace in this rolling home of mine. After many days of measuring, cutting, staining, polyurethaning, putting the whole together, taking it apart to fix a boneheaded mistake or two, and then finally putting it back together again, my bro and I wrapped it up earlier this evening, and I couldn't be happier with the results:


The genius of this design lies in how the keyboard rests on a sliding drawer, so when I'm not in music guy mode, it simply pushes in and locks into place, thereby becoming an all-purpose desk/table, like so:


The whole thing feels very sturdy and ergonomically set up, and perhaps best of all, the cost of the whole project came in comfortably under $100 (not counting the keyboard and bench). Of course, the real test won't come until I can put this baby through its paces over a couple of days, and as luck would have it, a pretty big pile of orchestrating work started to arrive today. The next project on the agenda is a modest solar upgrade, but with rain in the forecast over the next two days, I'll very likely just stay "home" and see how this desk design holds up under the gun.

31 comments:

  1. Nice work! the finish is nice too. I especially like the rounded of edges. now if I could get the nerve to put myself in farther debt, I would get a van like your falcon. I'm realizing I would like something like yours. The Chinook must have cost a few years of rent. the best part of your rig is the space inside. I'll have to thank God I haven't had a large glass of Mountain Dew. I would wake up the next morning in happy road trails.

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  2. I love it!! and the cat? does she go with you too?

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  3. You're right, I made the crazy assumption that you had actually seen and toured a Chinook in person before making the move. Like we talked, I researched many options, toured various rigs, got expert opinions but there's a lot of wisdom in how you decide, which seems like a gut feeling after weighing the options without over thinking. All part of the "To Simplify" concept I guess. Two books I read describe the success of your thinking approach; "How We Decide", by Jonah Leher and Malcolm Gladwell's book "Blink".

    As for the suspension, my best guess is mine had some work to something called "More/Ryde Rear Rubber Suspension". I'll send you the info.

    I missed the opportunity to get permission to mention my blog's so here goes:
    www.motionista.com
    www.motionista.blogspot.com

    Thanks so much for your time and help.

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  4. The workstation looks great, Glenn!

    Now, if I could just adapt your idea to work with a drum kit...

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  5. The keyboard/desk looks FABULOUS!

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  6. Laura -- It's really more like I go with the cat.

    Michael -- It was my pleasure. And by all means, pump the blogs!

    Jeff -- I'll bet it could be done, and you'd probably be the first.

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  7. OK,I'll say it before someone else does...every computer needs a keyboard!!! (hehehe). But seriously folks, it looks beautifully done and if ever the music business thins out, you and your bro could have another profession!! The idea is clever and nicely executed. Also thanks for info on the Chinook....I am starting my looks around. ...Sara

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  8. Lookin' good there. And I, for one, am sure glad to see that fame hasn't gone to the Co-pilot's head.

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  9. Ah a Chinook convention... wonder what they were saying about you guys?

    Table looks awesome and the slide out shelf is so handy!

    And yeah, Miss Em. sure takes stardom all in stride.

    Maria

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  10. I now notice when I see a Chinook rolling down the highway.Enjoy your journey.

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  11. Sweet setup! I love it. Jerry Bergonzi would be impressed (well... maybe if you sat down there and showed him your complete and utter mastery of his Thesaurus of Intervallic Melodies or something...).

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  12. Hi Glen!,

    I wrote yesterday! Yep, a Chinook (or something equivalent somewhat) is on the back of my mind. Such a cool idea! Anyway, the photos are pretty slim pickins' as far as how the inside of the Chinook looks. By design? Is the bed a fold out from the couch or situated above the cab? (Hope the questions are not intrusive.) As stated, I am thinking of RV'ing it and just getting ideas....Keep up the lIFE!

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  13. A totally unrelated comment. although the mistress Emily continues to look fantastic.
    "sun rise over grasslands" somehow reminded me of "Bridges of Madison County". It brought to mind the two characters finally coming together for the first time: timid and unsure; however, they soon found their rhythm and pace. comfort. Beautiful. thanks for sharing.
    W

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  14. My apologies: I misquoted (?) the title to your composition, "sunrise across the grasslands". W

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  15. W -- As we like to say in the business, close enough for jazz. Glad you're digging the tunes.

    Chris -- There are a number interior shots of the Chinook elsewhere on the blog, but it'll take a little hunting, I'm afraid.

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  16. To all the new readers out there. Here is a family of seven doing the same thing.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cKDe90p6oE

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  17. 1st travel blog of length I've read. I'm inspired as I plan my next trip. My home town needs one more win for the world series win. I don't like pro sports, but exciting nonetheless.
    I
    When I started reading the count was like: 577000. or so, now it's nearing 7 figures.

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  18. Arlang -- I'm honored to be the first. Here's hoping it's not all downhill from here! And yeah, go Texas!

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  19. Wow! That music-workstation-table turned out great. It not only looks very nice it also appears sturdy. And you still have an easy chair and the sofa. I'm sure this will turn out to be one of your favorite mods.

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  20. Glenn, Love the new table and especially the choice of stain colour !

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  21. VERY nice work station, Glenn! BRAVO!! And I'm happy to see you're taking your newfound fame in stride!! XOXO -M

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  22. Hi Glen,

    Thanks for the info! I'll have a look around for those pics! Thanks.

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  23. Sassy -- Thanks! Spoken like a true Canadian (i.e. "colour").

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  24. OK Glenn, I think it's obvious that your 1st book will be titled, "The Cat, the Van, the Article, and Me". LOL
    I'm thinking your 2nd book could be "Spacing Saving Ideas for RV Owners".

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  25. So clever!!!
    Kathy and the Shih Tzus

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  26. Glenn, I'm not crying foul, but perhaps a better article title might be - How to live on $1000 a month?

    I've been simplifying for the last 6 years, slowly selling stuff on eBay and CL.
    I used to have a house in the LA area, and now currently live in a small apartment in Boulder, CO. I have read other stories like yours, and am considering the same life style, put the main stumbling block seems to be where to keep the RV. RV parks are as expensive as rent in many places, "boondocking" in parking lots has it's own set of problems, and I don't want to be worried about being rousted by the police. Please excuse me if you already covered this topic, but I am curious(especially as it seems you travel a lot) if you have suggestions on where to stay/park the RV around the country for little or no cost.
    Thanks much, Eric

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  27. Eric -- This is covered elsewhere on the blog, and also in the forthcoming FAQ, so stay tuned (or you can use the search function in the meantime).

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  28. Looks great! Now frickin' compose something, slacker!

    Mops

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  29. after reading the "how to keep the keyboard on the shelf" I was wondering about Velcro. There is a line of velcor that is Peel and Stick...you peel and stick one side to the bottom of the keyboard and the other side to the shelf...and it will keep the keyboard from sliding around.
    Great idea by the way!!! Good Luck with it.

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  30. Velcro could work but in my experience, the peel and stick fails after a while in a vehicle. In my van, I had to put a small screw thru all the adhesive velcro (even the industrial strength type) to make it secure.

    Nice desk. Looks like you removed the 2nd chair and the table thing that came with.

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  31. I hope you have secured the keyboard to the drawer somehow. Otherwise, the drawer may not come out, but the keyboard could certainly jiggle out while going down the road! Other than that, I think your idea is GREAT!

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