I got a later start than usual today because I decided to stay up until 5am upgrading my MacBook (I didn’t start until midnight and felt it necessary to stay up and wait for the hard drive clone to complete). It’s five years old and although it runs fine, I decided it was time to max out the memory at 8GB and upgrade to a 1TB hard drive (it had a 250GB in it). I have external hard drives, but I honestly don’t want to lug that stuff around in the van if I don’t have to, so the built-in 1TB drive should give me plenty of room to take lots and lots of pictures during my travels.
Anywho, last night I found a paper towel holder thingy (I speak fancy) that I liked so it was the first thing I installed this morning. It’s weird how the little things like this make me feel like I’m making a lot of progress. The holder itself is pretty neat; it has springy things that hold the paper towel roll in place (so it doesn’t fly off while driving) and it “clicks” as you pull a paper towel, which keeps it from just unrolling on its own. And it’s brushed metal; perfect!
Next up was finally installing my soap dispenser. My sink is pretty tiny, so I had to squeeze it in on the left side. Of course, there wasn’t a hole already there for it, so I had to buy a 1 1/4″ metal hole saw bit and drill a hole. I prefer the soap dispenser built in like this because I don’t have to worry about soap sliding around while driving or constantly having to put it away, take it back out, etc. I like simple. I like easy.
Next up was installing the sink drain pipe. I drilled a 2″ hole behind my fridge for the drain pipe to go through the bottom of the van. There is a large void underneath the van in this area and that is where I’ll be putting a small gray water tank. Right now, the pipe is just coming out of the floor. After I drilled the hole, I got the drain pipe assembled and cemented together. Unlike some people’s van conversions, I actually have a trap in my sink drain. The biggest reason for having a trap in the drain is that it makes it so there’s always water in the pipe and the water prevents (blocks) gases from the gray water tank from coming back up into the van. I also added some blocking against the wall, wrapped part of the pipe in Reflectix (as a cushion), and then strapped the pipe down. The strap should hold the pipe in place and the Reflectix should keep it from rattling.
After everything was in place, I got a pitcher of water and dumped it down the drain to test for leaks. I am very pleased to say it is leak free.
Next I routed the wire for my water pump switch up to the top of the cabinet. I wanted the switch to be located in a place clearly visible from the couch/bed area and I purposely bought a switch that has an LED indicator light on it so you can see when the switch is “ON”. Even though my pump is supposed to shut off when water isn’t being used, I’m not gonna rely on that and want to be able to manually shut off the pump when I leave the van (there might be times I’ll be gone for days hiking).
With the drain installed and the pump wires in place, I was able to add the paneling to the side of the sink cabinet. Like the water heater cabinet, I cut this out of one piece and had to make some weird angle cuts to match the wall profile and then I sanded it until it fit snug. You can see the pump switch in the upper, left corner. It’s pretty bright when it’s “ON”. It’s like the eye of the Terminator or something.
I randomly added more hardware after finishing the cabinet. I decided I needed a bottle opener and a couple coat hooks. Little details like this make me feel like I’m closer to being done.
Instead of building a cover for the stove, I decided to end the day by installing the flooring in the “living room”. The first thing down is a sheet of plastic to act as a moisture barrier, followed by some foam underlayment, and then the laminate flooring on top. There’s a little cubby hole in the bottom, left of the floor which will sit directly underneath my toilet area. I’m gonna carpet the inside of it and use this space to store the toilet deodorizer tablets and maybe some other stuff. I bought enough tablets to use one per week for an entire year. Granted, the toilet is more for emergencies or bouts of extreme laziness, as I plan to stay around areas that will have some sort of publicly accessible bathroom. I ran out of Liquid Nails, so I wasn’t able to carpet it today.
I’m curious as to how much of the second seating area I’ll get built tomorrow. It needs to be wide enough to act as a stand-alone sleeping area, but not too wide as to make the walkway between the two seating areas feel cramped. I think that area is 39″ wide and if I wanna keep an 18″ walkway, it means I’ll only have 21″ to use as a bed. It sounds tiny, but I think my other seating area is similar in size and it’s pretty comfortable. I might be able to go down to a 16″ walkway, too. We’ll see.