Friday, June 21, 2019

Leaving the Forest

  The van build is finished and it turned out great! All of the applications will be evaluated and, hopefully by the end of July, a  minivan home owner chosen.

   Over the last week, new shocks were installed, a few mechanical problems were fixed, the mattress was cut down and the cover refitted, and all of the donated items were loaded into the van. A video of the completed van should be appearing on the CheapRVliving YouTube channel soon.
   I’ve been working on documentation of the build which will be provided to teams who want to build a minivan conversion for HOWA. If all goes according to plan there will be groups across the country building minivan homes.  Applications can be found Here.

   We’ve said goodbye to all of our friends and fellow volunteers and left our pretty camp spot in the forest. On the road again!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

We Have Light!

   All of the solar supplies arrived and the volunteers assembling the solar system have been hard at work.
   We also received more generously donated items. Thank you to all who donated!
    Applications for this little rolling home are available: Here.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Waiting for Parts

  The interior of the build is finished except for a few minor details so now we’re just waiting for all of the solar components to be delivered.

   A lot of wish list items have been generously donated.
   A little free time means other activities are being enjoyed.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Minivan Build Progress

  This is the beautiful forest setting where we’re helping build the minivan conversion along with a great group people who possess a multitude of skills in carpentry, solar installation, technical writing, and all around handiness.
   After the seats were pulled out it was easy to see that the limited space had to used wisely.

   A few days of work yielded a flat floor with easy to clean vinyl sheeting, a bed platform, a shelving unit that can be used in the interior and the exterior, and storage shelves across from the bed.
   Next on the list are new shock absorbers and the installation of a complete solar system.

   And we’re even official! ;-)

Monday, May 27, 2019

Minvan Conversion

   Bob Wells started a blog around 2008 explaining how to live cheaply in an RV, van, or car. So many people had lost everything in the stock market crash and were looking for answers so it didn’t take long for him to gather a following. The CRVL forum gave everyone a place to exchange information and offer encouragement. The establishment of the forum was followed quickly by the RTR gatherings in the desert near Quartzsite Arizona.
   From the very beginning it was apparent that many people needed help – sometimes financial, sometimes educational, and sometimes emotional. The educational help is fairly easy, the emotional help is a bit tougher and the financial help is complicated. Gofundme or personal donations can only go so far. This led to the founding of HOWA or Homes on Wheels Alliance  which was established in August 2018. HOWA will supply vehicles, training, and support to people in need. There will be a fairly rigorous application process to determine whether the program is suitable for the applicant because helping them make a successful transition into vandwelling is a top priority.

    After nine months of hard work by Bob, Suanne Carlson, and their team, HOWA is ready to start their first van build! Tony and I are camped in the Oregon forest with a group of volunteers who will be brainstorming and building a minivan into a comfortable home on wheels. We don’t know what that will involve but I think the aim is to design a very simple build with a cot and plastic bins and then design and build a more sophisticated model. Videos and documentation will allow van builders across the country build similar minivan homes.

   Making a minivan into a comfortable home sounds almost impossible but many people have done it. My favorite is this guy -  Eric Enjoys Earth
  I’ll be posting updates as the van build progresses. We may be here for month or more.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Science Works Hands-On Museum

  The largest section of the museum explores sound and music with many hands-on  exhibits. Other exhibits feature optical illusions, giant soap bubble tables, and puzzles to solve. There’s a big play area for kids five and under. A climbing wall and more exhibits are located outside.
   The exhibits are interesting enough to entertain older kids and adult. We happened to visit on a day when there weren’t any school groups and had the museum almost entirely to ourselves for a couple of hours. :)
    Most of the exhibits can be experienced from a wheelchair.

    RVs can be parked through two spaces or along the edge in the bus spaces. Museum  42.19298, -122.68992

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Schneider Museum of Art

  Three galleries plus the lobby feature changing exhibits of contemporary art. It doesn’t take long to see the museum so visit the student art exhibits in the Art Building next door too.
   The buildings are accessible.

   There are a few visitor parking spaces behind the museum that are not long enough for RVs. A large parking lot where RVs will fit is located on the east side of Indiana Street. Payment is by phone, coins, or credit card – $1.00 an hour – and is good for any lot or space marked green, yellow, or white. To avoid a downhill and uphill trek follow the path near the handicapped spaces. There’s a short hill to the museum entrance. The sidewalks and curb cuts are in good condition.  Museum  42.18447, -122.69127

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Orland Buttes Campground

  There are two campgrounds at Black Butte Lake- Orland Buttes and Buckhorn. Orland Buttes seemed like the lower usage one so we went there. None of the sites are designated as accessible plus the campground is hilly and many of the sites are not level. Since we had our choice of sites we picked #18 which has a wonderful view. The parking pad is narrow and isn’t flush with the ground but the site itself which is level and hard packed is pretty accessible. The sites are close together with no privacy.
   Before we left the park we drove to Buckhorn Campground to check it out. Buckhorn sits at lake level on flatter ground so even though it doesn't have any designated accessible sites many of them are usable. Most of the sites are nice but 66 – 92 are awful –  side by side spaces in an asphalt lot without picnic tables or trees for shade.

   The park has five hiking trails. The Paul Thomas Trail is the only one that can be accessed from Orlando Bluffs. The trail is about a mile out and back and goes to an overlook of the lake. It’s hilly and rough on spots so it’s not accessible. Campgrounds  39.77325, -122.35532