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Old 07-22-2008, 05:16 PM   #1
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Our SMB Adventures finally begin!

Well, she’s finally here. We picked up “Minerva”, our new SMB, last Thursday in Huntington. I have a handful of pictures here though I’m realizing now they are almost all of the exterior. Will have to take some interior pictures to show later…

The pick-up process went very smoothly. They took more than enough time to show me all the systems. My partner video’d the whole process while I paid attention. Then we headed off to a late lunch while they did some final adjustments.

One unique solution they had to show me at the last minute was what to do when the hoop step wouldn’t fit on the driver’s side due to the Danhard a/c’s condenser location under the van. They shortened a black running board to fit on that side instead. I was fine with it. In fact, it’s easier to use than the hoop step. (though I still like the look of the hoop steps on the passenger side.)



The key project they had to wait until that day to complete was finding a means of installing our dog car seats on the rear mattress so that they wouldn’t take up ‘human’ space on the sofa. This was a big deal to us since we love traveling with our dogs but need the 4 of them contained and out of our way when driving.

The dogs are also why we requested 2 oscillating fans instead of just one. Plus, they made it essential to get the Danhard a/c. Gotta say, the a/c worked REALLY well. Was surprised how well it cooled in the campgrounds in Indiana…


… and Cook Forest, PA as we made our way back to New York. (We even got cold in the middle of the night.)

Also, FWIW, the dash a/c worked great as well. We never felt the need to turn the Danhard on while driving.

If you look under the mattress here you can see the propane furnace vents near the door and the danhard intake vents further in partially obscured to the left. Doesn't leave a ton of room for storage but we're intending to get a stowaway II wheeless trailer.

I had expected the Quigley 4x4 to be a bit shorter than the SMB 4x4 we’d looked at when ‘shopping around.’ But, it is still quite tall. We ended up buying a step stool the second day just to try to avoid ‘face planting’ on our way out of the new van.

One great moment occurred when we were finally done and they were closing shop. Jim had taken our picture in front of the van. Then I asked my partner to close the door to the pantry cabinet that hangs on the side door. CRASH…no more pantry door. (that’s why we don’t force things.) Jim just said to come back by the next morning and they’d fix it up. Which they did in very short order and we were on our way.

My only complaint – the trip was WAY too short. I am looking longingly at my rig every day when I drive off to work this week. I’d much rather be in there than commuting into Manhattan. (but, gotta earn my monthly payments)
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:29 PM   #2
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Welcome to the family. Of course it's a needy family, it offers unsolicited advice, and makes you spend money, but welcome to the family anyway.


Herb
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:42 PM   #3
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I second that Mike. Congratulations!

Your dogs are ridin' in style. I bet they love having the SMB customized for them and having you as their chauffeur!

Now its time to get out of Manhattan and start enjoying the new ride.

steve
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:59 PM   #4
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Congrats! That's one nice looking Quigly 4X4 SMB!
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:16 PM   #5
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Congratulations on your new van Mike! It looks great and I appreciated the reading your post. So, I'm guessing those dogs aren't getting in and out of the van themselves . I hope enjoy it as much as we have our's.
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Old 07-23-2008, 06:49 AM   #6
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Thanks guys. Yeah, the dogs are going to need lifting in and out. But they needed that out of our Tahoe as well. In fact, they need it out of our Subaru. When your dog is 7 pounds soaking wet and only a foot tall you get used to things like that. On the upside, when it's time to "clean up" after them I find myself happy that I don't have Great Danes.

One hiccup in registering when I got back to NY. The DMV in Manhattan was beyond perplexed on how to register this thing. Finally they ended up giving me Commercial plates. I complained but they said in Manhattan they don't even carry RV plates. So I just took them and plan to go to a local DMV near my home where they hopefully can straighten this out. I don't want to be banned from parkway driving, etc.
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:01 AM   #7
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Congratulations Mike! We will be picking up "Big Bert" today as well in SMB West. Hope your enjoying every minute of it!
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Old 08-24-2008, 11:54 AM   #8
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new van pu

Mike,

Congratulations! Your van looks awesome. I enjoyed your post as I've stayed in those same campgrounds on my way out on RI. I just missed you in IN as I was there on the Monday after you left. When I was talking to them they told me they almost never do 4x4 so they definitely will remember your van!

Perhaps we'll be able to have a New England meet & greet as there seem to be quite a few of us on this forum.

Enjoy yourself!
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Old 08-24-2008, 04:12 PM   #9
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Thanks Al. I was very pleased with the work Huntington did on my build and the service. Here's hoping it holds up well through many adventures. So far, so good. Went camping in the Catskills last weekend with 2 of my dogs and tried out all the systems I'd had yet to try. Today I had all 4 dogs in the SMB while out running errands and it was great to be able to use the Danhard a/c to keep 'em cool off battery power while I was shopping. (Getting temperature alarm system installed as soon as the parts come in to a nearby stereo shop.)

And the idea of a New England/NY area meet up sounds great. We may not rival the turn out of a Southern Cal meet but would be good to try it some time. Maybe Vermont would be a good middle ground for folks to get to if we decide to pursue this.
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