Built To Go! A #Vanlife Podcast

Built To Go! A #Vanlife Podcast header image 1

058 Electric Vans, Musical Roads, Geyser Shower System, Screens, Sudden Acceleration, Car Talk

The electric vans are coming! Will they be good for #vanlife? We'll also travel down a musical road, catch up with the Tappet Brothers, nearly kill a coworker, review the Geyser Shower System and find ways to keep bugs out. 

Note: we've enabled third party advertising. Your feedback is welcome! If you hear anything you don't like, please let us know at jeff@builttogo.com

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Some links are affiliate links, and the podcast host will receive a payment if you order from them. Anything provided by a manufacturer for review will be fully disclosed. All reviews are the opinion of the podcast host.

057 Sick on the Road, Deer Whistles, Online Community, A Fine Book, UrbEx in Ohio

I'm back after a week of quarantine, and have some thoughts about being sick in a van (which I wasn't). Also, we'll explore deer whistles, finding community online, report on a great #vanlife book, and do a little urban exploration in Ohio with a friend. 

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  • TALES FROM THE ROAD - WE WANT YOURS!
    • Send us your Tales From the Road and if we use the on the air, you'll receive a College of Curiosity SWAG bag, including some things appropriate for #vanlife. We'd prefer audio, but text could work and we'll help get it done for you. Send it to: jeff@builttogo.com. Thanks!

       

  • Product Review - Deer Whistles
      • They don't work, so I'm not linking them

  • Resource Recommendation - How to Live in a Van and Travel by Mike Hudson
Some links are affiliate links, and the podcast host will receive a payment if you order from them. Anything provided by a manufacturer for review will be fully disclosed. All reviews are the opinion of the podcast host.

056 - Catching COVID-19, Minivan Considerations, Alaska and the Mayans, Oddments

Folks, I contracted COVID-19 at the end of 2020 - a final parting gift. As such, I was unable to produce a normal episode as I can speak for a long time, can’t think much at all, and only have my iPad with me which isn’t set up for the podcast. The rather crappy sound is from recording in a very empty hotel room (where I’m quarantining) and the small iPad microphones. 

I’m very grateful to Liz and Hal Bidlack for contributing the bulk of this episode, and to round things out, I’ve added a copy of my first solo podcast: Oddments. 

I hope to back to normal by next week. Thanks very much for listening and I hope you enjoy this unusual episode. 

PS - I have a very mild case, but you really don’t want to get this. I urge you to follow guidelines to keep yourself and others safe. 

055 Guns, Ausable Chasm, Refilling Propane Tanks, Winter Solar, Shop4Seats, Mythbusters

Should you have a gun in your van? We present the pros and cons, and reveal our bias. We'll also visit Ausable Chasm, talk about refilling disposable propane tanks, maximize solar power in winter, take a look at shop4seatscom and have a tale with the Mythbusters. 

=== As self harm is mentioned in this episode, it's important to point out that help is always available. I used to be a listener with this group, and they're the real deal. Don't make a permanent mistake for a temporary problem. Click for anonymous, confidential help. ===

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Some links are affiliate links, and the podcast host will receive a payment if you order from them. Anything provided by a manufacturer for review will be fully disclosed. All reviews are the opinion of the podcast host.

054 Safety Tips, Door Steps, Atlas Obscura, 12v Kettles, Rodents

This week, we're focussing on safety tips that DON'T involve someone messing with you and your van. You know, the ones that are much more likely to kill you. We'll also try to keep mouse rats out of our rigs, visit Atlas Obscura, take a look at door steps for roof access, discuss 12v kettles and hear some more on how the penis-free can urinate in comfort. 

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Is your load secure? (Photo by Ildar Sagdejev)

  • AD: Team Rubicon

    • I've been a volunteer with Team Rubicon for years now. If you're looking for a way to travel and do REAL good for communities around the world, this organization can help you get there. 

    • Right now, there is a real need for food supportive services. If you have a day, a week, or a month to give to help get food to people, Team Rubicon is one of many organizations that can help you get the job done. 
    • Though the organization is closely allied with veterans, you do not need to have been in the military to participate. 
  • TALES FROM THE ROAD - WE WANT YOURS!
    • Send us your Tales From the Road and if we use the on the air, you'll receive a College of Curiosity SWAG bag, including some things appropriate for #vanlife. We'd prefer audio, but text could work and we'll help get it done for you. Send it to: jeff@builttogo.com. Thanks!

  • Female Urination Devices
  • Resource Recommendation - Atlas Obscura
    • A comprehensive guide to the world's most interesting places

  • Product Review - Door Steps
    • A quick and easy way to gain access to your roof for solar panel cleaning, packing, or whatever.
    • https://amzn.to/2KNX7U4
  • Q&A - 12v Kettles
    • Before you buy a kettle, figure out how you're going to power it and how you're going to recharge your battery.
    • I use mine only when I'm driving.
    • Look for one that has a light, is completely enclosed, and doesn't have a removable base.
    • https://amzn.to/3hf7U5H
Some links are affiliate links, and the podcast host will receive a payment if you order from them. Anything provided by a manufacturer for review will be fully disclosed. All reviews are the opinion of the podcast host.

053 Cube Vans, Dismals Canyon, Crank Radios, Alternator Upgrade, Sizing Bolts, Salem Monster

Moving in to the new place has taught me some realities of vanlife, especially regarding cube vans. We'll visit some amazing biology, review hand crank radios, talk about upgrading alternators, a tool for figuring out bolt sizes, and a monster in Salem Woods.

  • AD: Robinhood

     

    • I’ve found an app that makes it dead simple to buy and sell stocks, even if you don’t know what you’re doing. And that app, is Robinhood.

      I’ve used it for years without a hitch. No contracts, no hidden fees, no gotchas.

      When you open your account, they’ll give you a free stock. That’s right, one share of a publicly traded company will be yours. It could be a big name like Apple or Google, but more likely it will be a smaller stock, like Zynga or Sirius.

      You will have to enter your bank’s information. But if you’re willing to do that, there’s literally a free stock waiting for you. And for me - and that helps keep the show going.

      Give it a try is join.robinhood.com/jeffw118 If you decide it’s not for you, sell the stock, keep the money and close your account. Easy peasy.

      I promise to only promote products that I use and trust, and Robinhood is one. If you have a different experience, please let me know. And thanks for giving it a look.

  • TALES FROM THE ROAD - WE WANT YOURS!
    • Send us your Tales From the Road and if we use the on the air, you'll receive a College of Curiosity SWAG bag, including some things appropriate for #vanlife. We'd prefer audio, but text could work and we'll help get it done for you. Send it to: jeff@builttogo.com. Thanks!

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  • A Place to Visit: Dismals Canyon
    • Home to the only Dismalites in North America
    • Bioluminescent "glow worms" make the area look like a galaxy at night. 
    • https://www.dismalscanyon.com/
  • Product Review - Hand Crank Radios
    • A must-have for anyone spending time in areas subject to severe weather.
    • Look for:
      • Lithium Battery
      • Flexible Light
      • Weather alerts (not just radio)
      • Ability to charge cell phones
    • Many good options: https://amzn.to/3oYMBYQ
Some links are affiliate links, and the podcast host will receive a payment if you order from them. Anything provided by a manufacturer for review will be fully disclosed. All reviews are the opinion of the podcast host.

052 INSULATION!, Chain of Rocks Bridge, 2nd Monitors, Far Out Ride, Fuse Blocks, Check that E-Brake

Yep, it's time to talk about Insulation. Flames accepted. We'll also discuss tapping into fuse blocks, review a USB monitor, visit a famous movie site, plug FarOutRide.com and hear a "hot" tale. 

  • AD: Robinhood

    • I’ve found an app that makes it dead simple to buy and sell stocks, even if you don’t know what you’re doing. And that app, is Robinhood.

      I’ve used it for years without a hitch. No contracts, no hidden fees, no gotchas.

      When you open your account, they’ll give you a free stock. That’s right, one share of a publicly traded company will be yours. It could be a big name like Apple or Google, but more likely it will be a smaller stock, like Zynga or Sirius.

      You will have to enter your bank’s information. But if you’re willing to do that, there’s literally a free stock waiting for you. And for me - and that helps keep the show going.

      Give it a try is join.robinhood.com/jeffw118 If you decide it’s not for you, sell the stock, keep the money and close your account. Easy peasy.

      I promise to only promote products that I use and trust, and Robinhood is one. If you have a different experience, please let me know. And thanks for giving it a look.

  • TALES FROM THE ROAD - WE WANT YOURS!
    • Send us your Tales From the Road and if we use the on the air, you'll receive a College of Curiosity SWAG bag, including some things appropriate for #vanlife. We'd prefer audio, but text could work and we'll help get it done for you. Send it to: jeff@builttogo.com. Thanks!

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  • A Place to Visit: Chain of Rocks Bridge
  • Product Review
  • Resource Recommendation
 
Some links are affiliate links, and the podcast host will receive a payment if you order from them. Anything provided by a manufacturer for review will be fully disclosed. All reviews are the opinion of the podcast host.

051 How to build your van, Saguaro National Park, UCO Candles, Charging Laptops, Octane

You've got your empty van. Now what? We're here to help - here's a method for getting things going and staying the course. We'll also visit Saguaro National Park, check out UCO Candles, learn how to charge laptop computers, figure out which octane to use, and hear a scary story. 

 

  • AD: Robinhood

    • I’ve found an app that makes it dead simple to buy and sell stocks, even if you don’t know what you’re doing. And that app, is Robinhood.

      I’ve used it for years without a hitch. No contracts, no hidden fees, no gotchas.

      When you open your account, they’ll give you a free stock. That’s right, one share of a publicly traded company will be yours. It could be a big name like Apple or Google, but more likely it will be a smaller stock, like Zynga or Sirius.

      You will have to enter your bank’s information. But if you’re willing to do that, there’s literally a free stock waiting for you. And for me - and that helps keep the show going.

      Give it a try is join.robinhood.com/jeffw118 If you decide it’s not for you, sell the stock, keep the money and close your account. Easy peasy.

      I promise to only promote products that I use and trust, and Robinhood is one. If you have a different experience, please let me know. And thanks for giving it a look.

  • TALES FROM THE ROAD - WE WANT YOURS!
    • Send us your Tales From the Road and if we use the on the air, you'll receive a College of Curiosity SWAG bag, including some things appropriate for #vanlife. We'd prefer audio, but text could work and we'll help get it done for you. Send it to: jeff@builttogo.com. Thanks!
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  • A Place to Visit: Saguaro National Park
  • Product Review
    • UCO Candle Lanterns
    • Probably the best candle for #vanlife, but not really a heating solution
    • https://amzn.to/3moCP1n
 
Some links are affiliate links, and the podcast host will receive a payment if you order from them. Anything provided by a manufacturer for review will be fully disclosed. All reviews are the opinion of the podcast host.

050 Fifty #VANLIFE Tips/Tricks/Hacks/Dupes and a bit of news.

Thanks for helping us get to 50 episodes! This time, we're taking a break from our normal format and presenting you with 50 #vanlife tips, and some news. Thanks for listening, and here's to another 50! 

 

  • TALES FROM THE ROAD - WE WANT YOURS!
    • Send us your Tales From the Road and if we use the on the air, you'll receive a College of Curiosity SWAG bag, including some things appropriate for #vanlife. We'd prefer audio, but text could work and we'll help get it done for you. Send it to: jeff@builttogo.com. Thanks!

 

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Some links (Amazon) are affiliate links, and the podcast will receive a small payment if you order from them. Anything provided by a manufacturer for review will be fully disclosed. All reviews are the opinion of the Podcast Host. 

049 Full Size Vans Compared, 4-Way Stretch Fabric, Starter vs. Leisure Batteries, Coral Castle, HMDB.org, Possum 2

Which full-size van should you choose? Let's take a look... We'll also review 4-way stretch fabric, ride on the Possum 2, visit Coral Castle, explore HMDB.org, and invite folks to send their own Tales From the Road. And we'll explain the difference between starter batteries and leisure batteries.

 

  • TALES FROM THE ROAD - WE WANT YOURS!
    • Send us your Tales From the Road and if we use the on the air, you'll receive a College of Curiosity SWAG bag, including some things appropriate for #vanlife. We'd prefer audio, but text could work and we'll help get it done for you. Send it to: jeff@builttogo.com. Thanks!
  • Resource Recommendation
    • Historical Marker Database
      • A crowd-sourced list of historic markers across the country. There is a corresponding app as well.
      • http://hmdb.org
  • A Place to Visit

    • Coral Castle

      • Just south of Miami in Homestead, this historic structure was constructed out of enormous coral blocks that were carved and placed by one small man. 
      • http://coralcastle.com (Check for COVID times.)

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Some links (Amazon) are affiliate links, and the podcast will receive a small payment if you order from them. Anything provided by a manufacturer for review will be fully disclosed. All reviews are the opinion of the Podcast Host. 

048 Skoolies, Ambulances, Etc., Velcro Fix, Magnet Phone Holder, ZimZam, How Much Solar?

Why not get a School Bus? Or an Ambulance? Step Van? RV???!!! We take a look at the pros and cons. Also, a fix for melting Velcro, magnetic phone holders, adventures in ZimZam, and how much solar should you have?

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  • Q&A: How Much Solar?
    • Solar charges your batteries
    • Size your batteries to your needs
    • Solar wattage should equal battery amp hour capacity
      • 100 watts of solar for 100ah of AGM battery.
      • Lithium can use about twice as much solar per ah.
  • Tech Talk: Shoe Goo Velcro Fix
 
Some links (Amazon) are affiliate links, and the podcast will receive a small payment if you order from them. Anything provided by a manufacturer for review will be fully disclosed. All reviews are the opinion of the Podcast Host. 

047 Are you Ready? Frisbees, FastCap, Oriental Institute, Air Bag Issues

We have 5 ways to check to see if you're ready for vanlife. We also explore alternate uses for Frisbees, talk about FastCaps, visit the Oriental Institute and talk about air bag issues.

  • 5 things to check to know you're ready for #vanlife.
     
    • Like camping?
    • Like problem solving?
    • Have enough money?
    • Figured out relationships?
    • Have a mission?
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  • A Place to Visit
    • Oriental Institute
    • When someone mailed to package to "Indiana Jones," it was delivered here. This is the closest you're going to find to "Junior's" home base.
 
  • Resource Recommendation
  • Product Review:
    • Frisbees! 
    • Nice, heavy glow-in-the-dark model
    • They can be used as:
      • Cutting boards
      • Bowls
      • Fire fans
      • Screw holders (for repairs)
      • Way to knock something out of a tree
      • Wind block for stove
      • Attention getter
 
  • Q&A: Airbags?
    • If you remove seats, you may have issues with airbags. There ARE solutions involving resistors, but you'll need to do research for your particular situation.
 
Some links (Amazon) are affiliate links, and the podcast will receive a small payment if you order from them. Anything provided by a manufacturer for review will be fully disclosed. All reviews are the opinion of the Podcast Host. 

 

 

046 Crashing Your Rig, Command Hooks, No Heat Winter, Drive Ins, Tire Warning Light, Finding Junk Yards

You hope it will never happen, but what if it does? You have to plan for a crash, and maybe having knives on a magnetic strip isn't a great idea. Also, we'll visit the Drive-In, talk about Command Strips, stay warm without heat, and catch up some news as well. 

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Not my actual rig, but pretty close

  • Q&A:

    • How can you stay warm in winter without heat?
    • Best thing: a good sleeping bag
      • Remember that the rating isn't for comfort, it's for survivability. 
    • Good info on sleeping bags from Section Hiker
    • A good selection: https://amzn.to/35FBiwS

Some links (Amazon) are affiliate links, and the podcast will receive a small payment if you order from them. Anything provided by a manufacturer for review will be fully disclosed. All reviews are the opinion of the Podcast Host. 

 
 

045 Reasons NOT to do #Vanlife, Arco Idaho, Idling for Power, Wikipedia for Research, Condiments, Electric Vans, Gift Ideas

An article claims there are 20 Reasons to NOT do Van Life, but are there really? Let's take a look. We'll also explore some new electric vans, talk about condiment packets, visit Arco, Idaho, and use Wikipedia to learn about our vans. And some gift ideas!

Some links (Amazon) are affiliate links, and the podcast will receive a small payment if you order from them. Anything provided by a manufacturer for review will be fully disclosed. All reviews are the opinion of the Podcast Host. 

044 Electric Cooking, LLBean, KBB, Tow Truck Chase, Van Weight, Sea Eagle 370

Yes, you can cook with household electric appliances if you're careful! Some are better than others. We'll visit LL Bean, talk about Kelly Blue Book, get chased by a Tow Truck, discuss van weight, and review the Sea Eagle 370. 

Some links (Amazon) are affiliate links, and the podcast will receive a small payment if you order from them. Anything provided by a manufacturer for review will be fully disclosed. All reviews are the opinion of the Podcast Host. 

043 Toll Problems, Rain-X, Video Game Tour, Don’t Cover These!, Clem and the Police, Internet Savings

A letter from Kansas prompted me to rant a bit about toll problems in the US. We also discuss RainX, doing a Video Game Tour, point out things in your van that you shouldn't cover up, tell a tale of  Clem and the police,  and show how to avoid using up all your "hot spot" data. 

 

  • A Place to Visit

    • Consider a tour of places from a video game, TV show of movie! We did a Fallout New Vegas tour and had an great time finding all the hidden things.

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The Real Place

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From the game, Fallout: New Vegas

 

  • Resource Recommendation

          • Turnpikeinfo.com - good resource of all toll information
          • TollGuru.com - great tool for calculating expenses
          • Peasy - an app that pays toll with your plates (but not everywhere).
          • RV Toll Pass - the "one transponder to rule them all" but watch out for fees.
          • UNI - the best pass for folks traveling in the East. Covers 18 states. 
  • Product Review:
    • Rain-X

      • It works. The best product is probably the original, but for the other require much less effort.
      • Link to products: https://amzn.to/2SzgBMP

Some links (Amazon) are affiliate links, and the podcast will receive a small payment if you order from them. Anything provided by a manufacturer for review will be fully disclosed. All reviews are the opinion of the Podcast Host. 

042 Reconsidering Stealth, Smooth 4, Purgatory Chasm, New ProMaster Features, Removing Spray Foam

Is Stealth a myth? No, but it's not what people think. We'll also visit a natural wonder in Massachusetts, talk about the Smooth 4 Gimbal, commiserate about needing to remove spray foam, and point out a solution for morning condensation. 

Some links (Amazon) are affiliate links, and the podcast will receive a small payment if you order from them. Anything provided by a manufacturer for review will be fully disclosed. All reviews are the opinion of the Podcast Host. 

041 Winterizing, Garden of the Gods, Solar Bag Shower, OBDII Scanners

Winter is coming, but that's no reason to stop #vanlife. We'll visit some of the gods living in Illinois, talk about solar shower bags, OBDII port scanners, and listen to an odd tale of physics. 

 

In this episode, we ask some hard questions about the ethics of #vanlife, explore Bishop Castle in Colorado, explain why you put in the floor first, recommend Fakestop and discuss electric heat in a van. 

 

Some links (Amazon) are affiliate links, and the podcast will receive a small payment if you order from them. Anything provided by a manufacturer for review will be fully disclosed. All reviews are the opinion of the Podcast Host. 

040 Vanlife Ethics, Bishop Castle, Floor First, Fakespot, Electric Heat?

Choose the adventure! Tell me where to go and what to do, and I'll comply. 

New Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/339664633746373/

 

In this episode, we ask some hard questions about the ethics of #vanlife, explore Bishop Castle in Colorado, explain why you put in the floor first, recommend Fakestop and discuss electric heat in a van. 

 

  • A Place to Visit

  • Resource Recommendation
  • Electric Heat?
    • Just as with AC, it draws so much power that it's usually impractical for battery living.
    • It can be very handy if you have a plugin.
    • What I have: https://amzn.to/2ZCceEK

 

039 A Shower for ANY Van, Rhode Island, FarOutRide.com, Sea Eagle 370, Air Compressors

Choose the adventure! Tell me where to go: https://linkto.run/p/BLTP1S9A Poll closing soon!

New Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/339664633746373/

I *think* we've come up with a way for you to have a HOT shower in ANY van. Also, we'll visit Rhode Island, review the Sea Eagle 370, discuss Air Compressors and recommend FarOutRide.com. 

HOT shower:
Heat water on your stove, add it to a bucket with cold water to make it the right temperature, and then use a folding dog pool as the shower enclosure and use a portable batttery-powered pump and shower head combination. Optional hula hoop and shower curtain if you have a van you can stand in. 

BONUS: The Music of Built to GO! with Simon Wagg

This bonus content, we explore the music of the episodes and interview Simon Wagg, the composer.  This episode contains no #vanlife content.

To reach Simon Wagg, you can email him at: SimonWaggMakesStuff@gmail.com

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Simon about the time he wrote this music. 

 

038 10 Obscure #vanlife Tips, Pyramid near St. Louis, a trip down a Burning Highway, Step Bit, Hammocks.

Some tips don't fit in any category, so we're lumping them together in our 10 Obscure #vanlife tips. We'll also travel down a burning highway, visit the largest pyramid north of Mexico, explain how step bits can make your build easier, and ask you to consider a hammock. 

037 Vanlife with NO VAN, Harbor Freight, No Build Beds, Ice Fishing, Cheap Wheel Covers

Van's are getting pricey and hard to find. But you can do #vanlife without one! We also take a look at cheap tool superstore Harbor Freight, consider no-build beds, dream about ice fishing, and decide that cheap wheel covers are a good thing. 

  • No Van #Vanlife

    • "Vanlife" isn't about vans. It's about life. Virtually any vehicle can get you going.

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  • Product Review
    • Cheap Wheel Covers (Hub Caps!)

  • A Place to Visit
    • I'd like to go ice fishing in my van. I've never done it, but maybe you have? 

  • Resource Recommendation
    • Harbor Freight
    • Cheap tools that aren't great, but can be all you need to get the job done. 
    • Nation-wide network is good to be aware of for on the road repairs. 

036 Emergency Kit, Sink Theory 101, Camp Soap, RV Hall of Fame, Outdoorsy

What's in your emergency kit? Here are some things you may not have thought of. We'll also delve into Sink Theory 101, extol the virtues of Camp Soap, visit the RV Hall of Fame, and talk about how Outdoorsy can save you money. 

035 2WD Off-Roading, Installing Windows, GoPro Hero 8, Dogtown, Foresty Forest, Drunk Sleeping?

2WD Off-Roading is possible! But know what you're in for. Installing windows is pretty easy and we'll tell you how, the GoPro Hero 8 is reviewed, visiting Dogtown, checking out Foresty Forest, and is drunk sleeping illegal?

 

034 VENTILATE OR DIE! Backup Cameras, News?, GasOne Stove, Salem Trip, Avenza Maps, Leveling

VENTILATE OR DIE! Yes, ventilation is very important. Also, all about Backup Cameras, should we have News?, A review of the GasOne Stove, a trip to Salem MA, the Avenza Maps App,  and Leveling for sleeping. 

033 Top10 Money-Saving Tips, Dead People in the NV Desert, Left Arm Saver, Dog Bowl Review, Cumberland Fog Mystery

Top 10 ways to save money in your van! Plus, a visit to the NV desert, a review of dog bowl sinks, a GREAT idea for saving your left arm, and a mystery tale in Cumberland, Maryland.

032 Alternative Air Conditioning, Black Water, Currant, NV, Coughlan’s Toaster, Alien Cemetery, Informed Delivery

Ok, you've given up on household air conditioning, what about those "AS SEEN ON TV" solutions? We discuss. We'll also visit an alien's grave, a ghost town, talk about black water, review a toaster, and tell you about Informed Delivery.

031 BIG SOLAR EPISODE, Fort Ransom, Will Prowse, Writing Rock, AC in a Van?

Lots of questions about solar power, so this episode breaks format a bit and focuses on how solar works, what you need, and whether you really need it. Also, a visit to Fort Ransom, ND, an unsatisfying tale about Writing Rock, an introduction to Solar Expert Will Prowse, and AC in a Van?

  • Resource Recommendation: Will Prowse, DIY Solar

    • Will is THE expert on solar setups. Watch a few of his videos and you'll know a lot.

    • YouTube 
       

  • BONUS: AC in a Van?

030 Contest Winner, Troubleshooting with Occam, Encounter at Standing Rock, Brown Signs.

We announce the winner of our contest, troubleshoot with Lord Occam, have an encounter at Standing Rock and point out the importance of brown signs.

COVID-19 is growing stronger, but we can still travel! We just need to do a few things different. We'll also discuss the important of ground wires, review a Dometic toilet, joyously recommend commercialtrucktrader.com, visit the Timberline Lodge and tell a boat ramp story. 

COVID-19: This the BEST resource https://vanlifers.co/pages/coronavirus 

 

  • CONTEST WINNER: Brian from North Carolina! Congratulations!
    • We'll have other contests in the future.

  • Tales From the Road
    • A trip to Standing Rock turns into an encounter with the locals. 
      standingrock.jpg
       
  • Resource Recommendation
    • Brown Signs

      • Take the time to stop and see things that "Historic Markers" or "Scenic View" signs are pointing to. It's a great way to learn about a place and take a moment to appreciate where you are. 
  • Tech Talk: Lord Occam's Method 

    • Lord Occam said "The simplest solution is likely correct." But every new piece of evidence requires you to apply it again. 
       
  • Product Review: Flottebo Ikea Table
    • The brackets are an odd shape, but if you're looking for a $30 solution to having a swing away table in your van, this might be the ticket.
    • Ikea Flottebo Side Table

029 Travel During COVID, Ground Wires, Dometic Toilet, Commercial Truck Trader, Timberline Lodge, Boat Ramp Story

COVID-19 is growing stronger, but we can still travel! We just need to do a few things different. We'll also discuss the important of ground wires, review a Dometic toilet, joyously recommend commercialtrucktrader.com, visit the Timberline Lodge and tell a boat ramp story. 

COVID-19: This the BEST resource https://vanlifers.co/pages/coronavirus 

CONTEST!!!! If you live in the US and e-mail me before July 7th, 2020 with a story or other item of interest that I can put in the podcast, you'll be entered to win a brand new PWM Solar Charge controller. Every entry will receive a Hook Waka Bang sticker. Your privacy will be respected - nothing shared, stored, folded, spindled or mutilated.

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  • Travel during COVID-19?

    • You can do it, but set your expectations and be a lot more self-contained. 

  • Tales From the Road
    • Playing stupid games on abandoned coast guard bases isn't the smartest thing to do. 
       
  • Resource Recommendation
  • Tech Talk: Ground Wires

    • Ground wires are just as important as the power wires. Take care of them. 

  • Product Review: Dometic 970 Camping Toilet
  • dometic.png

028 High or Low Top? Gillette Castle, Oregon Coast, Curtain Divider, Ikea Eket, American Van

High top or low top? That IS the question this week, and while high tops have a lot of appeal, low tops have a place as well. We'll also visit Gillette Castle, the Oregon Coast, and review Ikea Eket and suggest American Van.

How can you secure your van? Not personal security, but keeping people out of your van! The Amazon Fire HD 8 has a cool secret, and Salvage One is an interesting place to visit in Chicago. Would like a free water pump? We tell you how. And FINALLY, and explanation for all the Aurora references. And we try Rock Auto and report back. COVID-19: This the BEST resource https://vanlifers.co/pages/coronavirus 

CONTEST!!!! If you live in the US and e-mail me before July 7th, 2020 with a story or other item of interest that I can put in the podcast, you'll be entered to win a brand new PWM Solar Charge controller. Every entry will receive a Hook Waka Bang sticker. Your privacy will be respected - nothing shared, stored, folded, spindled or mutilated.

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  • High-top or Low-top?

    • It boils down to this: do you want to optimize living or driving/parking? 

  • Tales From the Road
    • A trip to the Oregon Coast! Sort of. Florence to Astoria has some of the most picturesque driving the US. If you can see it.
       
  • Resource Recommendation
    • American Van:  A catalog of commercial vans that might have something just for you. 
  • Tech Talk: Curtain Dividers 

    • The secret to hanging a curtain between the front and the back is a shower curtain tension rod. 

  • Product Review: Ikea Eket
    • Eket is a different type of Ikea product, not made of MDF and it doesn't need hex wrenches! What's best is that it comes in different depths.  

  • A Place to Visit: Gillette Castle
    • One of my favorite spots in New England, this castle was the home of William Gillette, creator of "Sherlock Holmes" as we know him. It's full of surprises. 
    • Gillette Castle State Park

027 Van Security, Amazon Fire HD 8, Salvage One, “Free” Water Pump, Auroras, Rock Auto

How can you secure your van? Not personal security, but keeping people out of your van! The Amazon Fire HD 8 has a cool secret, and Salvage One is an interesting place to visit in Chicago. Would like a free water pump? We tell you how. And FINALLY, and explanation for all the Aurora references. And we try Rock Auto and report back. 

  • COVID-19: This the BEST resource https://vanlifers.co/pages/coronavirus 
     
  • Van Security
      • Keep your stuff out of site, hide small things, and learn a couple of tricks like kill switches, locking swivel seats, and chained steering wheels.

  • Tales From the Road
    • The Auroras explained, finally. What does it mean? You'll have to listen to find out.  

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  • Resource Recommendation
    • Rock Auto - more than just an annoying commercial. It's actually pretty great! 
  • Tech Talk: Free Water Pump!

    • Ok, we'll spill the secret - your free water pump is... gravity. But it can be all you need. 

  • Product Review: Amazon Fire HD 8

    • Not really a review, but rather an interesting way to use it as an Alexa hub. 
    • Amazon Fire HD tablets. https://amzn.to/3ftHSts

026 Pre-Built Vans, Stanley Cook Kit, Proper Screwing, Post-COVID Highways

What if you'd rather just buy a van? We talk about the realities, some of them harsh. We'll also review the Stanley Cook Kit (it's great!), talk about how to screw properly (really) and I'll tell the tale of what it's like on our Interstates now that COVID-19 is firmly with us.   

  • COVID-19: This the BEST resource https://vanlifers.co/pages/coronavirus 
     
  • Pre-Built Vans
    • They're expensive.

      • RV Trader is a great place to start, to get an idea of prices, etc.  

      • Conversion Trader is focussed specifically on self-built vans. 

      • Sportsmobile has the best full-sized, custom conversions.
  • Tales From the Road

    • Things are weird an eerie on the nation's interstates. Bring snacks. 

  • Q&A - Window Tint

    • Is it legal to tint your windows? Maybe? Sometimes. Could be. We discuss.

  • Resource Recommendation

  • Tech Talk: Screw With Care!
    • Don't just screw willy nilly into your van. Every hole is a potential problem, and it's a good idea to know how your drill works as well.  

  • Product Review: Stanley Adventure Prep + Cook Set - 1.58 Quart, Stainless Steel

025 Top 10 Vanlife Tips, House on the Rock, Van Kits, Choose My Adventure

Another Top 10? Who knows—but here are some tips about #vanlife that might help you make decisons. A House on the Rock (and so much more), Pre-made Camper Kits, a Choose My Own Adventure Idea, Free Templates, and a Velcro Wall.  

  • COVID-19: This the BEST resource https://vanlifers.co/pages/coronavirus 
     
  • Top 10 Tips
    • #vanlife can be easier if you know a few things. Here some of them are.

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  • Tales From the Road
    • What if someone else told you where to go? In a nice way? 
  • Q&A -Premade Kits? 

    • Is a premade kit your ticket to #vanlife? Maybe.
    • Wayfarer Vans is the most well known.

       

  • Resource Recommendation
    • Free van build tool? Yes! But the templates are the real value.
    • Thank you, SportsMobile
  • A Place to Visit: House on the Rock
    • One of the three "most curious" spots in the US.
    • You can't prepare for this - just go.
    • House on the Rock

024 Top Vanlife Myths, SS Badger, Laundry, Solar Controllers, A Storm, Travels with Charley

Top 10? Who knows - but here are some myths about #vanlife that need to go away. A moving highway? Yes, it exists and it's called the "Badger." How do the pros do laundry? Infrequently. And we'll explain the difference between solar charge controllers, tell a story of a storm and recommend Travels with Charley.  

  • COVID-19: This the BEST resource https://vanlifers.co/pages/coronavirus 
     
  • Top 10 Myths
    • #vanlife is gaining popularity and so are the stereotypes. Don't buy them.

  • Tales From the Road
    • What can a storm teach us about perspective?

023 Working From the Road, Moon Oklahoma, Insurance Matters

Can you work while living and traveling in a van? Of course you can! And there are more opportunities than you might imagine. I tell tales from the light and dark sides of Moon, Oklahoma, and spend a lot of time talking about insurance matters you need to consider. 

  • Q&A - How Do I Get Insurance?

      • VIN determines if your vehicle is commercial or not
      • Concentrate on liability insurance
      • State Farm often comes up as the best 

022 Minimalism, Van Kittens, Curtis Tow Hitches, Starry Meadows, FWD-AWD-4WD, Texas Death March

Minimalism? Yes, but what kind? An exploration... also, we review Curtis Tow Hitches, take a look at drive options for different vans, take a death march through Texas, and invite you to visit Starry Meadows, and maybe see Charon. 

  • COVID-19: This the BEST resource https://vanlifers.co/pages/coronavirus 
     
  • Video Games in Your Van
  • TECH TALK: FWD vs. RWD vs. 4WD
    • There are pros and cons to each of these setups. What will you use your van for? What's your budget? That can help you choose the best option for you. 
  • A PLACE TO VISIT: Starry Meadows 

    • Like astronomy? Visit Colorado (or what to)? Check out the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society and their amazing site, Starry Meadows. 
    • https://csastro.org/
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  • PRODUCT REVIEW: Curtis Tow Hitches

    • Not planning on towing anything? You might still want a tow hitch for bikes, storage, etc.
    • You can install it yourself.
    • Curtis makes a decent product. https://amzn.to/3c6un1L 

  • Q&A - Kittens in a Van while at work?
      • It's fraught to attempt to have a pet in a vehicle while you're away, but if you have no other choice, here are tips for making the best of an imperfect situation. 

021 Video Games in Your Van, Winter Island, Easy Shower, Roadside America, Electric Dry Box

Video games in your van? YES! Here's how. Also, an electric dry box, an easy shower solution, Winter Island: the place to stay for a visit to Salem, MA and Roadside America, the only tourist guide you need.

  • COVID-19: This the BEST resource https://vanlifers.co/pages/coronavirus 
     
  • Video Games in Your Van
    • It's all about power and what you want to do. Clear winners: PC laptops and Nintendo Switch. But want to play the latests games on your favorite console? Doable. 

  • TECH TALK: Electric Dry Box
    • Fight humidity with an enclosed space and a old-fashioned light bulb. 

       

  • A PLACE TO VISIT: Winter Island, Salem Massachusetts

    • This historic 17th century fort will welcome you and your rig for a visit to the Witch City. 
    • Winter Island Info
  • PRODUCT REVIEW: SmarterFresh Quick Connect Sink Faucet Sprayer Set

    •  This thing is great - it turns almost any sink into a shower you can use indoors or out

    • https://amzn.to/2ShvGmv
  • Q&A - Essential Tools?
      • Which tools should you bring? Quick answer: pick how much space you want to devote to tools, and then take a subset of all the tools you used to build your van.  
  • Resource Recommendation: Roadside America

020 The Goldfish Metaphor, Getting Rid of Single-use Plastic, a Nice Drain, Mitchell Indian Village, Fear of Wires, a Van with no Driver

How a goldfish teaches us what's important about the #vanlife community, can you have a plastic-free van?, review of the Camco Flexible Camper Drain, getting over the fear of wires, a visit to a cool archaeological site, and a story of a van with no driver. 

  • COVID-19: This the BEST resource https://vanlifers.co/pages/coronavirus 
     
  • The Goldfish Metaphor
    • Someone wants advice on how to have a pet goldfish in their van. What's your response? It can teach us a lot about #vanlife and ourselves.

       

  • TECH TALK: Fear of Wires
    • I talk though an experiment in wiring designed to get you beyond you fear of electricity and cutting wires. 
    • A PLACE TO VISIT: Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village

    • PRODUCT REVIEW: Camco Flexible Camper Drain 37420
    • Q&A - Single Use Plastics?
      • Seanna wants to live without single use plastic. Can this be done in a van?

    • Tales From the Road: What happens when you're in a van going down the highway and no one's driving?

019 What COVID Teaches Us About VanLife, Bulkheads/Partitions, Switch Solution, Tiny Inverters, Craters of the Moon

Sick of hearing about COVID-19? We get it, but it does give us a chance to take a look at ourselves and evaluate our assumptions. We'll talk about bulkheads/partitions, explore one switching solution, and talk about the bizarre Craters of the Moon. Oh, and the joy of tiny inverters!

  • COVID-19: This the BEST resource https://vanlifers.co/pages/coronavirus 
     
  • What can COVID-19 teach us?
    • Why do we choose #vanlife? A disruption can show us many things about ourselves that we didn't know, and reinforce the things we did know. 

  • TECH TALK: Bulkheads
    • Yes, you should strongly consider having a partition between the front and back of your van. 
    • American Van, probably the premiere source for bulkheads. 

018 Strange Ways to Cook, Iowa 80, No Slip Gel Mat, Water Filter Alternative, Lost In a Swamp

Why not cook weird? We explore ways to cook without the normal things, including some without heat! We'll also talk about the two-container system for filter-free fresh water, a review of the Tree Frog Gel Mat no slip surface, invite you visit Iowa 80, and relay a story of getting lost in the Everglades. 

    • A PLACE TO VISIT: Iowa 80

    • TALES FROM THE ROAD: Can I sell you some swamp land in Florida? I now know where they store it.
    • PRODUCT REVIEW: Leap Frog No Slip Gel Pad
      • This large sheet of no slip gel will keep your things secure as you drive around. But be careful what it comes in contact with!
      • From Iowa 80

    • Q&A - Will This Vehicle Work??

017 Mistakes I’ve Made, Propane Matters, B52 Crash Site, Determination, Window Socks

Mistakes, I've made a few, but then again, not too few to mention. Learn from this! Also, a discussion of propane considerations, a review of Window Socks, a B52 Crash Site, and talk of determination. 

    • TECH TALK: Do you want propane in your van? Here are some things you might not have considiered.

      • Refillable 1lb bottle: https://amzn.to/39pjh5F
         
    • A PLACE TO VISIT: Elephant Mountain B-52 Crash Site
    • TALES FROM THE ROAD: There's no room at the Inn or in the van. What to do? We figure it out.
    • PRODUCT REVIEW: Window Socks
      • These are flexible mess fabric socks that fit over your windows and act as sunshades and insect screens.
      • https://amzn.to/2WQ0wpp
    • Q&A - Will This Vehicle Work??

016 SEX!, COVID-19 Resources, Windows (or not), Diamond Mind, One Strange Trip

Yes, it's the SEX IN A VAN episode you've all been waiting for. Haven't you? Also, some very important COVID-19 resources, a diamond mine you can visit, whether you should install windows or not, and a really strange story. 

 

015 Air Conditioning, LED lights, Standing Mats, Lincoln Highway, Finding Tires

Want AC in your van? Don't we all. We discuss why most people just choose to drive north and turn on a fan. We also explain LED lights, extol the virtues of standing mats, explore the Lincoln Highway and find weird tires. 

  • AIR CONDITIONING: There are three things in the way of you having AC in yoru van. We talk about them, and the best possible solutions. Let us know if you have something better!
  • TECH TALK: LED lights are GREAT for vans. Low power, low heat - but they need to be hooked up right, especially if you want to dim them.
     
  • PRODUCT REVIEW: Standing mats? Exciting? No, useful YES! Get one. 
  • A PLACE TO VISIT: The Lincoln Highway
  • TALES FROM THE ROAD: What to do (?) if your friend needs a shoulder
  •  RESOURCE RECOMMENDATION: Simple Tire for hard to find tires

014 COVID-19 and Vanlife, Smugglers Notch, Nice Table, Heater Woes, Wire Guage

Welcome! In this episode, we pre-empt our scheduled topic and talk about the current COVID-19 scare. (Wash your hands!) We'll also discuss wire gauges, a cool table, heater woes and the idyllic Smugglers Notch.

  • COVID-19: While the virus is headed our way, there are some interesting issues for those living vanlife. We take a look.
  • TECH TALK: What thickness of wire should you use? A brief overview of why bigger is better, and how not to make the same mistake I did.
     
  • PRODUCT REVIEW: A nice, versatile table (that went way up in price for some reason.)
  • A PLACE TO VISIT: Smugglers Notch, Vermont
  • Thermostat Anticipators: A solution to rapidly cycling heaters?

 

013 Surviving the Freeze, Diesel Parking Heaters, Hot Hands, Enjoying the Winter

Welcome! In this episode, we talk about surviving the Wisconsin winter, van style. We'll discuss diesel parking heaters, and how Hot Hands can be a good friend on a cold night. Also, we encounter a night-time parking hazard we didn't anticipate. 

  • TALES FROM THE ROAD: This whole episode is one big tale from the road.  
  • TECH TALK: Diesel Parking Heaters

    •  For the price, these are the best way to heat your van. They do require some serious installation chops, but once there, you'll have dry heat whenever you need it. 

    • Hide anywhere model: https://amzn.to/3cbLwri

    • All in one, easy install model: https://amzn.to/32wOUZq
       
  • PRODUCT REVIEW: Hot Hands!
      • Not just for hands anymore, toss these guys in your sleeping bag for a toasty night. 
      • Box of 40: https://amzn.to/2TdE71S

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012 Parking Spot Apps, CarPlay, 12v Microwave, Enchanted Highway, YMCA of the Rockies

In this episode, we explain how to find places to park, talk about a 12v microwave oven, review Apple CarPlay, take a trip down the Enchanted Highway and invite you to visit YMCA of the Rockies

  • Parking Apps and Ideas

    • Park n Ride - found in many towns
    • Free Campsites - some towns have free camping to attract tourists
    • BLM - Bureau of Land Management has land you can camp on
    • Walmart - Legendary parking spot, but there are cautions
    • Cracker Barrel - Have some food, stay the night
    • Cabellas - Dump stations with purchase, and parking
    • Camping World - some even provide free power
    • Casinos - all different, but they want you
    • Military sites -  if you're military, you have a lot of options
    • APPsymcarockies.jpg
      • AllStays
        • Highly rated
        • Nice maps, hybrid, satellite
        • Each aspect costs more money
        • Dump Stations
        • Military
        • Rest Stops
        • Walmart
      • iOverlander
      • Some great spots
      • Out of date app
      • Missing some obvious places
    • Park4Night
      • Very nice app
      • Very little content for US - much better in UK
      • No app needed
      • Requires internet
      • Missing some places
    • Campendium
      • Professional app
      • Many different sites of interest
      • Annoying log in requirement, not free
    • RV Parky
      • Good quantity of reviews
      • Nice interface
      • Does trip planning
    • Wikicamps
      • $1.99
      • Different app for different countries (Australia, New Zealand)
      • Download maps to work offline
      • Doesn’t include Walmart, Cracker Barrel, Rest Areas
 

011 Stealth Vans, Ventilations, Ace of Clubs House, ScanGauge II, ReStore

February 5, 2020

Welcome! In this episode, we discuss realties and myths of "Stealth Vans," the ins and outs of ventilation, a crazy place to visit in Texarkana, a really useful dashboard device, and a great place to find used furniture. 

  • TALES FROM THE ROAD: Can you find the ark inside Texarkana? I did, and I'll share the secret with you:

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010 Security, SHURflo Electric Faucet, Multitools, Being Stupid, Racetrack Playa

Welcome! In this episode, we discuss security in your rig, why you should have a multitool, the ShurFlo electric faucet, how to be stupid in the desert, and Racetrack Playa

  • TALES FROM THE ROAD: Don't do this - a solo trip on rough desert "roads."

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Photo by Gregory "Slobirdr" Smith

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