San Diego: Plenty of Storage

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Plastic Storage boxes!

boxesI think the people at Walmart are getting tired of seeing me. I filled the storage area under the bed frame with five plastic bins today. They sit comfortably side by side and all of them have lids, one of them (the storage for the car fluids) with a locking top to stop any noxious fumes from escaping into the cabin.

Two of the five are both deep and long. And while the other two are half as deep but, also long they stack neatly together, filling the space nicely. All of them are almost the entire width of the bed but, in the space behind them and against the driver’s side wall, I’ve stored my four person tent in its bag. It’s sort of a jigsaw puzzle down there.


I attached a fire extinguisher o2sensor fire-extinguishernear the slider door just behind the passenger seat (I made sure the seat was all the way back and could recline in that position without knocking it off the support.

Also attached the carbon monoxide sensor—just above the ashtray—that sits near the sliding door! How funny is that? Testing, one, two.


It’s been over 24 hours since the mattress expanded from it’s flat shipping state into, well, a mattress. So, I tried it out today. Nice! It’s exactly what all of the reviews said it was: supportive and comfy soft.

Now, the 18″ height of the bed combined with the eight inch thick mattress doesn’t allow me to sit straight up without knocking my head of the headliner but, I suppose that is the reason someone, somewhere invented the chair

Speaking of sitting while it’s rains…

I went to a Harbor Freight Tools store today. It’s a dangerous place! Good thing I have limited space in the Sienna ’cause my impulse was to buy one of everything, even though I don’t weld, nor do I own an air compressor!

I did find a 10′ x 10′ canopy for $70 but, I didn’t buy it. Don’t think I can fit it inside the Sienna so, I might just have to get a little wet or come up with a solution to having the side or back door open during some weather.

I think I wouldn’t be remaining true to the whole “minivan” idea if I mounted a Thule carrier on the roof to pack some stuff so, any “tailgating” I would be doing is going to have to be commando style (no accessories).

This is a stick up!

I believe there will be a delivery tomorrow of the custom-made, die cut decals I ordered with the  logo. When they get here, the Sienna will be branded with its true purpose: to explore! It’s also possible the business cards I printed will arrive—I can hand them out instead of having to write the URL for the site on the back of a napkin when someone wants to know how to get here.

Until the next update, TGIF, drive safe and take care.

San Diego: Getting Converted…

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First step: clean!

Cleaned up (as best I can) and emptied out, ready to be stuffed! Yes, that looks like a paint spill over there on the right (just a foot away from an oil stain)!

Before (from the back)…


Before (from the side)…


He’s wearing a rug, man!


The bed frame was next!


Five minutes! And only one (my favorite) tool!


In it goes!


And the mattress too!


It’s looking pretty cozy but, that’s okay (it’s a mini van!). Storage containers under the bed are next!

Drive safe and take care.


San Diego: Coming along nicely

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The preparation continues.

The twin mattress I ordered a couple days ago will arrive tomorrow. And the steel frame arrives on Thursday. I’ll be cleaning the inside of the Sienna before the frame arrives—and putting down a rug I bought yesterday that will cover almost the entire space.

If something is spilled or gets burned, I can easily replace a $16 rug. Not so much the minivan carpeting! A rug is also softer on the bare feet. This cheap rug has a spongy feel and a non-slip backing to stay in place. It’s dark brown and will be forgiving of dirt and stains.

That reminds me: maybe I should get a fire extinguisher to carry along. 

TV or not TV?

flatpanelI purchased a 450 watt voltage converter today for about $50 (it plugs into the 12V D/C power outlet in the back and delivers 110 Volts A/C). It wouldn’t power a microwave (at least 700 watts) or a coffee pot (yikes, 1500 watts!) but, it will charge all of my devices and allow a small flat screen television (a 24″ panel only uses 30 watts!)—if I can figure out where to put one!

I’m thinking a TV can be attached to the not-too-deep shelving unit I intend to get at Home Depot—when I see how much room I’ve actually got after the bed is in place (I’m hoping for a clearance of 12-15 inches). This way, an antenna wire would have a path, through a side window, to the roof (haven’t shopped for an antenna yet). If I get really brave, I might snag a marine TV antenna and drill that hole through the roof that I’ve been trying to avoid (think Seattle rain)!


There have been more than a few people wondering what the hell I’m up to. My shopping cart must give away my crazy intentions, attracting interest and questions from total strangers!

I take the time, albeit not very much, to explain what I’m doing to my old minivan. Invariably, once they learn I’m blogging all of the details of my travels, they ask me for the website name.

bizcardbackSince I’ve written it down over a dozen times now, I decided I needed—gasp!—a business card to hand out. I’m sure I’ll be meeting many more people on the road so, I clicked over to and ordered up 500 cards for a little over $10. Pick a card, any card!

Give me a sign.

I had already thought about some “signage” to raise a little interest in the website while I’m driving. I found a company online ( that makes custom, die-cut transfer decals and will look nice while making a statement and promoting the trip. I uploaded the website logo, tmedotcomnoah, and $25 later, they’re making a decal for me that I plan to slap on the rear door window.

route66stickerTo make the matte gray Sienna a little more visible—especially at night or in rainy weather—I’ll also be adding a bright blue reflective strip across the back door and vertically on the inside door jam of the sliding door to warn other drivers when the minivan is stopped with the sliding door open (being hit by a car exiting the minivan would be a real buzzkill!).

So far, the vehicle has been devoid of stickers, save one: a Route 66 sticker I added during my trek west to California. There is one more sticker I plan to display but, I’m keeping that one a secret for now (it will be revealed soon enough!). My brother tells me to collect stickers along the way and put ’em on the side windows but, I dunno ’bout that!

My next blog entry should be in a couple days, when the bed is installed. Until then, drive safe and take care! 

San Diego: Preparing The Minivan

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A Two Week Countdown.

It’s taken a couple weeks to get everything organized to get on the road. I figure, once I’m driving away from the home base, I had better have everything I need with me and not sitting in storage in a garage in San Diego!

thisisitI plan to do a “dry run” while the minivan is sitting in my side yard for about a week, just to see what I forgot during the planning stages. I will only go into the house to use the bathroom—and I’ll have wifi available (the router is near the outside wall where the minivan is parked).

New sidebar items!

I’ve created a pre-trip expense list on the right sidebar. And I’ve added an earthquake monitor—because, in California, we’re going to do some shaking during this little excursion (I just hope I’m not on a bridge—or under one—when the big one hits!).

I’m getting excited.

The reason why I’m getting excited is because I found an incredible bedding solution last night. Instead of a half-assed setup, I decided to go for the gold and use a real platform bed. Yes, sleep quality is important—especially when you’re driving and need to be well rested.

zinus18inchplatformThe Zinus Quick Snap 18″ Platform Bed Frame ($110) is made of steel and has wood slats no more than three inches apart for supporting a mattress nicely. Underneath, there is a clearance of sixteen inches for all kinds of storage space!

It’s a twin-sized answer to to all kinds of minivan problems. It will take up 36″ of width in the back but, leaves some room for things like the folded table and a little free-standing shelving for everyday items. I’ll have some plastic bins to organize the storage below.

linenspa8inchmemfoamhybridI was going to go, originally, with some kind of four inch plain foam mattress but, with an actual twin bed frame, I decided to buy a hybrid coil and memory foam mattress that reviews say is firm and cushion-y.

And so, the LinenSpa 8″ Memory Foam and Innerspring Hybrid Mattress ($100) was my choice. Sitting on the wood slats of the frame, the combined 18 inches and 8 inches make for a pretty high place to sit while I’m not horizontal. For a couple hundred bucks, I feel the choice of this bedding solution is well made.

I’m heading to the local Walmart to pick some plastic boxes with lids for my under bed storage. Yes, lids will keep the contents clean and humidity-free (remember, a minivan is basically outside in the elements).

Thanks for clicking in! I’m browsing for a better voltage converter to be wired directly into the electrical system so I can have more power! I’m also going to replace the interior lighting with LEDs—also available at any Walmart—so I can use the dome and side lights for hours and not kill the battery with the engine off. I’ll keep you updated with what I find.

Drive safe and take care!