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Old 10-15-2011, 08:57 PM   #1
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Introduction; New Build

Hi there,

We're writing to finally introduce ourselves and our build.

A big thank you to all who have shared knowledge along the way -- especially BadgerTrek, Jage, Angel, CoyoteArms, TwoGone, BillWilson, MacMcIntire, GreginAustin, Aldercrest, and BroncoHauler. SMB Forum and Expedition Portal helped us turn a crazy idea into reality.

We've quietly participated in the forum for the last year, awaiting the day when we could unveil our plans. Now, we've given notice at work, are walking out of the cubicles, and the day has come.

So, we're very excited to join the SMB family. Thank you.

About our build:

SMB build: 2011 EB Ford van chassis, Cruiser top, SMB 4WD with lockers and full floating axle.
Aluminess: Roof rack, front and rear bumpers with deluxe box and bike rack
RVI San Diego: Interior build. Walk through layout with loft bed and rear adventure gear storage.
Core systems: 700 W solar electrical, composting toilet, in-floor shower, winterized plumbing, propane heat.

About our journey:

2 adults + 1 lab retriever. We plan to live, work, and travel full time for 2 years. After the build completes, our first destination is the Rocky Mountains for ski season, followed by the Pacific Northwest for white water kayaking and kiteboarding seasons.

We'll post a few photos of the nascent build here. If you'd like to see more as the trip develops, please join us at http://www.advanturetrek.com.

Cheers.

Peter and Katherine

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Old 10-15-2011, 09:34 PM   #2
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Re: Introduction; New Build

Have a great time in your travels. I look forward to reading your reports and seeing your pictures. Travel safe!
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Old 10-15-2011, 10:23 PM   #3
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Re: Introduction; New Build

Welcome! Sounds like you have a wonderful 2-year trek ahead. Way to go!

I also look forward to the trip reports, and any photos.

One thing that's interesting to hear: a composting toilet. As an architect, I'm familiar with the technology and size of a composting toilet for something like a cabin (like an Envirolet). Is there an RV-sized toilet/system?
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Old 10-16-2011, 09:31 AM   #4
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Re: Introduction; New Build

I'm installing a Nature's Head Composting Toilet (http://www.natureshead.net/). This unit is water-less, drain-less, and draws about 5-10W at 12VDC for an air circulation fan. The toilet is designed for marine applications, which gives me confidence that it will hold up to off-road use and keep contents inside when not level. I've seen the Nature's Head, and I liked the quality and design enough to buy one. The Nature's Head company has also been helpful with my questions. I'll report back when I have first-hand experience.

There's a good thread on Expedition Portal at http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/57461.

See also: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5808&hilit=composting+toilet

I haven't seen the Envirolet units, but the Nature's Head seems to compare to the waterless Envirolet DC12. However, the Envirolet needs a drain and is fairly heavy.
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Old 12-28-2011, 03:51 PM   #5
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Re: Introduction; New Build

Update on our build:


At the end of October, we drove cross-country from Oklahoma to California to pickup up the van from SMB West.

Got an EB Ford van with Cruiser top and Sportsmobile 4WD. Wow, it's a big rig! Had to side track through Vegas to take out of state delivery. Then headed south to deliver the van to Aluminess and RVI. Aluminess installed bumpers and a roof rack. We customized the roof rack to fit 600 watts of solar without shading the panels. Photos here:
http://www.advanturetrek.com/2011/12/ro ... installed/

Hit an unexpected delay with RVI that pushed back the start of the interior build by 8 weeks. Brent Haywood wisely recommended that we hunker down and drink a few "Hurry Up and Wait" beers while we both waited for our builds to start.

Have spent the last several weeks ordering parts and planning the design. Choosing all the parts has been a big project, but we're glad to be able to customize the rig.

Just got our South Dakota license plates.
Cheers to Mac McIntire, the original "AdVANturer", for inspiration and for permission to use a similar name.

Dropped off our van at RVI this week. Spent about 4 hours with Jeff reviewing the build plans. He had a lot of great ideas for customizing the build. It's nice to work with a contractor who understands how we're using the gear, and is able to design around that.

Some of the custom projects that Jeff is building include:
Cutting fewer holes in the van: a raised floor under the bath area rather than dropping shower pan through the van floor, mounting propane tank without the large hole in the side of the van (cheers to Brent Haywood for sharing this design), routing the antenna wires through the rocker panel
Saving resources and tank space: greywater bypass so that shower water can drain to either a camper drain or grey water while sink water always goes to the grey water tank, waterflow cut-off on shower head, possibly a custom water tank, 600 W of solar and 8 4-D batteries.
Durability/safety: aluminum frame for the upstairs bed, reinforce attachment points for roof rack
Winterization: plumbing insulated and lifted up off the floor to prevent freezing
Convenience: folding workstations, a 3-way switch for the exterior lights so that we access lights from both the driver seat and the living space, built-in ski rack.

A few things we've learned along the way:
Drawing out electrical diagrams and floor plans was very helpful in communicating with our contractor. For the workstation, making a scale model out of styrofoam helped us to get the measurements just right. Solar system design is complicated!

The electrical, flooring, and furring installation starts at the end of the week. It feels like sending a kid off to boarding school just at the start of puberty. Next time that we see our van, she'll be a changed woman. We'll post pictures after the next visit to RVI.
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Old 12-28-2011, 06:29 PM   #6
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Re: Introduction; New Build

The van is looking good. But those license plates even look better. Now, don't get any speeding tickets or they may come after me by mistake.



Have fun in your rig!

Mac
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4x2, Action Van Ultimate Suspension System, 4 1/2" lift
Dana Spicer Gear, ARB Full Air Locking Differential
285/70R17 Big Foot A/T tires
Aluminess Bumpers F/R, Bushwhacker fender flares
Smittybilt XRC 12 Winch
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:54 PM   #7
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Re: Introduction; New Build

I'm looking forward to those beers and watching your build!

And thanks to you guys for your help and info. Still doing a little more research. May wait on the final design on some of the things till you guys are close to the end of yours….
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:08 PM   #8
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Re: Introduction; New Build

Mac, that's a good looking license plate!

Brent, I imagine that we'll both tinker with designs a lot as we go through this process. You're welcome to visit our van at Jeff's anytime if you want to see the build in progress.
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:23 PM   #9
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Re: Introduction; New Build

I may just camp in mine next to yours and watch your build realtime....
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Old 12-29-2011, 05:31 PM   #10
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Re: Introduction; New Build


Gosh, with your photography skills, there's a SMB construction documentary in the making.
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