I like taking a problem and coming up with a solution so extreme that I end up happy I had the problem in the first place. Taking showers in the RV is acceptable at best, and on cool winter days is a bit of a chore. I solved that problem by joining a spa in San Francisco, where every day I now take a shower, sit in the steam room while eating an apple, sit in the hot pool, and then take another shower. I may actually be one of the cleanest people in San Francisco.
Another problem I had was that my RV was hard to clean. The whole thing was carpeted, including the kitchen area, which added an element of danger to cooking. One slip up and my rug catches a permanent splotch of goulash.
I thought about putting down linoleum floors, but I wasn't crazy about the idea of my home on wheels looking like a middle school cafeteria. I whipped out my tape measure and measured the actual exposed floor space. Thirty-two square feet. That's so little that I may as well get any flooring I like.
My father, always willing to help with my crazy projects, and certainly a lot more qualified to do them than I am, offered to help me renovate the RV over Thanksgiving break. We chose hand scraped maple wood for the floors and a two-color marble mosaic for the entryway. We also took the microwave out, refinished the refrigerator area, and made a few other upgrades.
The hardest part was removing the old floor. Once we took a knife to the carpet we'd crossed the point of no return, but I soon had my doubts. The carpet was glued to the foam sub-layer and the foam was glued to the metal and wood floor. It was so hard to cut that we eventually used a grinding tool to cut it into strips, and then I'd rip it up with all of my strength. It took hours to do.
Things moved quickly after the several hour demolition process. Here are some photos of the finished work:
(Front of the RV with Aeron chair, wood floors, and wool rug)
(Marble foyer area. It's very easy to clean and can get wet, which makes it perfect for rainy days)
(Newly mounted fridge. The brass thing is a quick disconnect for the propane powered heater/fireplace I have)
(This is the removable panel that can be removed to reveal the infrequently used shower. Notice the perfect seam between the panel and the front area.)
(A view from outside. You can see the microwave-free kitchen and teacups that hang from hooks. Just to be hilarious I want to cover the translucent plastic dome with real gold leaf. Does anyone know how to apply it to plastic?)
(Close up of where the microwave was. The magnet is strong enough to hold my knives, spatula, and lighter even on tough bumps. You can also see the stainless steel which covers up the wiring that was behind the microwave. We moved the light up there to make it easier to cook.)
(One last picture from the front, showing where I sit and write a lot of these posts.)
The whole cost of the project was just a few hundred dollars, plus four days of my time and most of my dad's time. A small price to pay to transform my RV into a veritable rolling palace.
You'll have to excuse the terrible picture, but I also put a new solar panel on a couple weeks ago. I bought it an hour outside of San Francisco and put it next to my bed in the RV. It was so big that I was annoyed at the prospect of it sitting in the RV for a week or two, so I stopped at a Home Depot and put it on in the parking lot. I got some weird looks, but now I have 360 watts of power generation.
I love doing weird projects that push the envelope a bit. There's something fun about doing things that no one else has done-- and that no reasonable person would likely do.
For good measure, here's a picture of my dad and me:
i love ur rv, may i ask if u wore selling it what is the price of a rv like ur? with all the upgrades and stuff! or how much dose a rv like ur cost and then how much would we have to pay to make it good like urs?
and then per day/month how much do u have to pay to keep ur rv running. ie water fee? parking if any and other stuff
Tynan, as near as I can tell the problem with the shower is two-fold:
1) Setting it at the faucet, then having it run constantly until you turn it off, then having to adjust the water temp again before you can rinse, wastes a lot of water. I'm planning on putting a trigger based sprayer that won't need the faucet shut down in between sprays, I'll probably do it simple (replace the existing faucet with something that has the sprayer attached directly to the outlet, or has a "sticky" valve switch that doesn't pop back out.
2) The shower dumps to the black tank, not the gray like most RV showers. I'm going to either re-route it, or have my welder put together a 20 gallon tank to replace both the black and gray tanks (only the kitchen sink dumps to the gray tank as it stands). Between them you could take showers for a week. Nowhere near as luxurious as your spa, but usable on the road. Truck stops and campgrounds aren't anywhere near as luxurious.
I like the hardwood floors, I think I'm going to have to do something like that. You're right, with so little actual floor, it wouldn't cost much to use really premium material.
@Michael I never thought about that. Yikes.
@Gruntie I just don't like microwaved food (no disrespect intended). I'm not totally comfortable with my food being heated up by radiation. Also, microwaves draw a lot of power.
I personally love Do-it-yourself projects like this, and the hardwood floors look great in the RV you have, and the marble by the door is a great idea. Best of luck with the new power source.
I'm shopping for an rv that looks like the Rialta,but is a Little larger and doesn't have the issues the Rialta has had in the past. I just retired from teaching and sold my house. Now I want to by an rv large enough to take along a mom or friend, but don't want to pay over $20.00. Any suggestion.
do you know how heavy the roof top air conditioner is. I'm thinking of removing it to save weight and I likely won't use it. Is it in any way connected to the cab AC.
Love your posts
When my daughter was little (1, 2, and 3) we lived in a 20-ft travel trailer. My husband was in mining and we had to move a lot. Did I mention the two dogs and a cat, and the step-son in summer? It was a fun time. I really like the floor you put in, has the marble cracked at all?
LOL, I totally need to add this to my bucket list and travel europe for a year with my GF.
This can save lots of bucks because you don't pay for hotels every night...
Also you can park along the beaches or lakes and wake up in the morning feeling like a billionaire, without having billions, LOL
Great idea !
A short while I ago, as an aside, I mentioned that I might be buying an RV to live in. It seemed like a good idea, so every day I checked ebay to see what sorts of deals were to be had. I wasn't ready to buy, but I figured it would be good to know what's available for when the condo sold.
I sat in my living room chatting with some friends on AIM when one of them brought up the RV idea. While I explained it to them I opened up ebay. By default it shows the most recently listed RVs on top. The very top one was an R-Vision Trail Lite, one of the few models I'd really liked. I glanced over at the price and it was $14,000, less than half of what they usually go for. There must be something wrong with it.
I opened the listing and read through the description. The front "shotgun" seat was missing. No big deal. They'd backed into something and the fiberglass around the tail light was cracked. No big deal. The couch wasn't the one specifically made for the RV. No big deal.
I walked into the airport in Seattle, ready to fly to San Francisco. I was checking in, and the kiosk I was using gave me the option to change my seat. I mostly fly on the East Coast, and really only on Airtran Airways, and on Airtran it costs money to change your seat. This time however, it was free, so I decided “What the hell” and hit the button. I immediately noticed I was in the back row, all the way on the left. There wasn't even a window, it was almost as if it used to be additional storage, but decided to put half a seat there to make an extra couple of dollars. There were two other seats open, one center seat about 3 rows from the back, and one in center of the very first row of coach. “Hot damn,” I thought, and I grabbed the seat at the front of coach.
I got onto my plane, and noticed there was no where in front of me to put my bag, and the flight attendant made me put it in overhead storage (which I hate using). The plane was about half filled when another guy who looked about my age (19) sat down in the window seat next to me. He had kind of scraggly, unkempt hair, and an earring that looked like (and probably was) just a woodchip through his left ear. He sat down next to me, and the flight attendant immediately yelled at him to put his bags up above. We exchanged grumblings about having to put our stuff up, and then we started talking.
“It's weird being in an airplane again,” Marty commented, looking around uncomfortably. “In fact it's kind of weird to be surrounded by people.” I asked if it was his first time flying, and he responded “No, I've just been... out of touch with the world for a while.” He then went on to tell me about how he had just spent the past four months by himself in a log cabin in the woods of Northern Minnesota, fifty miles from the nearest road. He told me about how he was in the backwater bar in Minnesota, talking to some loggers. This one logger was telling Marty about his grandfather had built a log cabin up north a long time ago, but no one had had time to go there in fifteen years. Marty thought about it for a second, and then asked the logger “How much?” The logger was a bit taken back, and replied cautiously “Nine hundred dollars?” Marty wrote him a check on the spot, and then met back up with the logger the next day for a topographical map. “It's the only way you can find it,” the logger said. Since it's so far from any roads, you have to find the right hills, follow streams and rivers, and take the correct forks. Marty got some equipment, and then headed off.
He arrived in the closest town (50 miles from the cabin) and proceeded to make three trips to the cabin. He was hiking the whole time, so he could only carry so much. He arrived towards the end of winter, and had some trouble the first month. He shot three bucks, but didn't preserve the meat of the first two correctly and the bodies were covered in flies and maggots within 45 minutes. The third one he did right, but had to dry the meat in a corner of his cabin for a month. He said “it smelled like a dead animal.” He paused, and then laughed and added “Well I guess it was a dead animal.” The cabin had a wood stove, a wooden desk, some candles, and not much else.
He spent a lot of time cleaning up the cabin and the surrounding area (no one had been there for 15 years), and spent the rest of his days hunting small game (rabbit, squirrel), fishing (in lakes so clear you could see 30 feet below the surface), and exploring. He told me about how he used a series of pink bandannas to tie around trees, so he could find his way home. When exploring, he'd tie them around trees as he was about to get out of sight of the previous one. On the way back home, he'd untie and collect them, leaving no trace he was ever there. When he arrived back home, he would sit at his desk and read books, write, and draw.