This page is in chronological order with the oldest entry first…….
In addition to the reason for the road trip itself, missions are going to be “operational testing”. To explain some of the missions, take a look here:
This fun hobby has us traveling all over the North East to visit events and in addition to the transportation of people and goods, TFD is to provide accommodations along the way on shorter trips. As far as the build, those road trips that provide memorable testing will be documented here. Longer missions will be in the Dragonship, our class A motorhome.
April 3rd, 2017
Buffalo here we come! Well, me and my lovely bride were both going to go to this one together, “The Passing of the Ice Dragon” which is a one day event on Saturday, and we were going to take the Dragonship. But, she needs to be somewhere else so for efficiency and economy this will be a mission for TFD! And, I will be living in it. Problem is, I haven’t done ANYTHING to the back yet, and this is what I am looking at:
Today is Monday, and I am on the road for work. I will be home Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday morning and Friday afternoon. I am going to attempt to get a workable situation going in that time. Yes, I could go to a hotel, and I may still do that, but this is an interesting challenge! Besides I spend way too many nights in hotels for work, and one of the reasons to bring my own bed is to get away from them. Here’s the trip itself:
Right now my plan is to get the passenger seat swivel in and the floor. I’ll bring the Honda 2000eu, a space heater, a kot, mattress and sleeping bag and maybe a porta pot. I also plan on installing the front wheel well liners before I hit the first nasty weather. This will be interesting.
April 5th, 2017
Well the swivel seat is installed. I also made a Lowe’s and Tractor Supply run and got the stuff for the floor. I THINK I can finish it (to the “sub floor done” stage) Friday afternoon. I’ve ordered a kot. Between it and the insulation on the floor it should be survivable.
April 8th, 2017
Made it to Buffalo. The new floor is amazing! Much more quiet and not a squeak or rattle. The swivel seat is also awesome, an absolute MUST. Put in a folding kot, a small mattress I had laying around and off I went. Took a 4 hour nap in a Walmart parking lot, in 34º weather. Ok, it was cold when I woke up. But then I utilized yet another feature of the remote start. I had left the heat on max and when I woke up I started the engine. Gave it a few minutes and felt enough warm air to get out of bed…… 🙂
Still getting about 14mpg at 65-70mph. It should improve a little when everything loosens up a little.
And, still contemplating layout…….
One of the missions for the Flying Dutchman is towing. I have a variety of trailers, but the most challenging currently in the stable is a flatbed with, once a year, a tiny house on it for a 700 mile round trip to a Medieval event we attend.
The house weighs just under 5000#, the trailer is about 1200# so the 6200# total is well under the max allowable. I had some stuff in the van itself, but not a whole lot so GCVWR was also within limits.
How did it tow? VERY WELL! Plenty of power. Accelerating on to highways was no problem. In fact I have to pay attention to not going too fast, it’s easy to do. The trailer tires/hubs get pretty toasty and even though I have the best grease in them money can buy, I don’t want to run the risk of things overheating and failing. Been there, done that. No fun.
Stability was excellent. I did install a load distributing hitch. The trailer is a bit hobby horsey in the vertical plane at low speeds on rough roads, but once on a flat road it’s plenty stable in all planes. Would not want to tow it without the hitch though, did that on wife’s Suburban and the ride was not pretty.
The ONLY beef I have was with the fuel consumption…. Holy Cow! 6-7mpg running 62-65 mph. Now, the thing has the aerodynamics of a house… (ha ha) but still. I’ve pulled it with a one ton diesel dually and that went from 19mpg to 16….. no big deal. 6-7 is a little rich. Fortunately gas is not too expensive right now…..
But, getting there comfortably and safely is most important so, just pull out the wallet a few extra times and smile…..
Sooooo, at the medieval summer event son will be living in the van for two weeks. It’s relatively insulated at this point. The floor is in, there’s temporary carpeting on there. The upper walls are insulated and sheathed. The roof has insulation and is halfway finished. The passenger’s seat swivels. We purchased a futon which he will later use in his basement cave, but the one thing we did need to add was AC. (There will be power where we camp). Eventually I will build a free standing unit in to the cabinets, and it will vent through the floor. But as I didn’t know where this would be yet exactly I couldn’t cut the hole. So we needed a temporary location….. tada: (Note the hose vented out the driver’s side window….)
Well, that was a marginal success. The 8000 BTU single hose AC was not up to the task. Granted, the insulation is not done and especially the cockpit picks up a LOT of heat. So reflective blinds will be required, as well as finishing the interior and providing more AC capacity. How and when to be determined….
Meanwhile I went on a Mass. mission with 12…. yes TWELVE degree temps overnight. Enough layers had me warm enough and once again I took the remote start to bed and left the heater on max…… It worked. Not ideal, and not sure that my bride would sign up for it but it did work. More work to be done.
February 2018 Well, I will see your twelve and raise (or better said lower) you -1, yes MINUS ONE Fahrenheit. Of course at this point the upper interior walls are in and the bed with it’s bulkheads are in. With the Honda running and the space heater on 1/2 power (800W) I managed to keep it above freezing. With the heater in full blast during the day we’re talking high 50’s with the temps outside in the 20’s. So a “Delta T” in the mid 30’s I am sure this will improve with the lower wall insulation in, and thermal blinds in the cockpit as well as a curtain between the cockpit and the house. I am sure MOST of the thermal exchange with the outside world is in the cockpit.