Everyone knows when you build a home, you need to put insulation in your walls and ceiling to make your house more energy efficient…warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
We learned that lesson as well in our home on wheels. Our first van “Tootsie” came with a factory-installed wall covering that doubled as a layer of insulation. The problem was there wasn’t anything in between the metal walls and the wall covering and it left the ceiling completely bare. The result was a very cold van in the winter and a van that heated up very quickly in the summer. We ultimately had to get a rather expensive Espar heater installed to make it through the cold weather. And we had to carry a portable air conditioner for the warm months.
So when we had to let go of Tootsie and picked up our new gas van “Tiberius” in August of 2019, we decided to go a slightly different route and get the walls and ceiling insulated. An acquaintance of ours who did the floor and e-track work and took my idea for a bed platform and ran with it in Tootsie, said it would be no problem putting in some insulation and walls in the new van. We brought him the van and the bed platform we stripped out of Tootsie over Labor Day weekend in 2019 and he went to work.
The new plywood floor and e-track went down and the insulation and walls went in. The bed platform followed as well as our Rubbermaid Fast Track for hanging stuff up as well as our overhead storage hammock for storing lightweight blankets and pillows.
After a year of use, we can say the insulation has paid for itself several times over. It kept the van much warmer and has allowed us to avoid an expensive Espar heater. The trade-off being that we now run just a small space heater with our portable generator to provide the heat. We still carry our portable AC and generator for the summer, but it now is able to keep up even on very warm days. In Tootsie, we usually didn’t make it much past 9am before the AC couldn’t keep up. In Tiberius, there have been hot days where we’ve been able to stay in the van all day without overheating. Insulation is the bomb!
Just in case you were wondering about our sleeping arrangements in the van, you can see the metal and wood platform folded up against either wall in the photos above. When we unstrap them and lower them over the wheel wells, four support legs fall to hold the platform up in the middle. The extra width then gives us room to inflate a queen-size air mattress so we sleep in comfort. It takes the two of us about 15 minutes to fully set up or take down the system, but we feel the extra comfort is worth the effort. It all results in what you see below.
Growing up in northeast Wisconsin, every kid my age knew about AWA Wrestling. We stayed up late on Saturday nights (before VCRs and DVRs) to watch legends like “Mad Dog” Vachon, Da Crusher, Baron Von Rasche, Nick Bockwinkel (who I once met at a WWF show in Madison, nice guy), Greg Game and many others.
Between the matches, the glue holding the show together was an interviewer named Gene Okerlund. Okerlund’s style and ability to sell the product was legendary. He later moved on to the WWF/WWE with the nickname “Mean” Gene Okerlund given to him by legendary wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura though he reportedly was one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet.
Okerlund finished out his career and lived a semi-retired life doing occasional spots for the WWE and also independent wrestling promotions. It was his work for Imperial Wrestling in October 2017 that led us to cross paths.
We had delivered some freight to a small town in rural Oklahoma on a Saturday afternoon then headed to nearby Ardmore, Ok to grab a hotel room for the night.
The next morning, as we were walking into the breakfast room at the hotel, we noticed a small group of people gathered around a table listening to an old man tell stories. It suddenly occurred to me the old man was none other than Mean Gene sitting next to wrestling legend Tatanka!
The breakfast room was full so Michelle and I took our breakfast out to the lobby where I had her lie in wait with camera at the ready. Okerlund soon appeared and I pounced like the fanboy I was, asking for a quick photo and gushing about watching him while growing up in Wisconsin. He took it in stride posing for the photos and mentioning his wife was also from Wisconsin. He then excused himself saying they were in a hurry to get to a wrestling show in Dallas that afternoon.
Sadly, Mean Gene passed away just over a year later but I’ll always have fond memories and my pictures.
One of the places in the US that we’ve wanted to visit ever since we started this adventure has always been out of reach for us until recently. We don’t generally spend a lot of time in northern Wyoming so getting to Devil’s Tower National Monument seemed out-of-touch and we weren’t expecting to get there without taking time off.
But a recent load from Washington state to Iowa changed all of that. As we were planning out our route, I noticed we would be passing within a stone’s throw of the Tower. We did some quick calculations and found we could take the detour and still deliver our load on time so off we went.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get there until late afternoon and the visitor center was closed due to Covid-19 so we didn’t think it would be worth it to pay the admission. But the great thing about Devil’s Tower is even if you can’t get close up, you can still get some great pictures.
Guess we’ll just have to go back for the close-ups. 😁
A recent run out west found us heading into the Seattle area on a Saturday. We had a little time to kill so we stopped in to see Snoqualmie Falls. Gorgeous!
We had a busy year in our first year in our new van who we named “Tiberius”. From August 22, 2019 to August 22, 2020 we put on about 161,000 miles!
Most have been issue free but we did have to replace a radiator, a throttle body, both 12-volt power points and two rims. Of course we did have to put on a new set of tires and other routine maintenance but amazingly, the original brakes are still going…lots of highway miles. (For safety reasons we did end up changing out the rear brakes at about 168,000. Still very good though.). Just in case you were wondering, it breaks down to about an oil change every 2-3 weeks. We spend a lot of time sitting in Ford dealerships.
Let’s keep it going!
Took a load down to a paper mill in Florida. Pretty impressive how they can use the overhead crane to unload an entire truckload of logs at one time.
Took a load from Georgia to Maine last week. Got there a day early so we were able to take in some of the local goodness.
Special of the day was twin 1 1/4 pound lobsters for just $22. Well that was too good to pass up. Michelle opted for the lobster pie…chunks of lobster covered in lobster bisque and baked with a breadcrumb topping. Delicious all the way around. Great food and a beautiful view as well.