Monday, November 29, 2010

Camping Trip #2 - Pedernales State Park

In the interest of testing out the Tiger as much as possible before we go on the "big trip", we went camping again!  This time we went to Pedernales State Park a couple of days before Thanksgiving. 

We were hoping it would be cold enough to try out the furnace and the 20 degree rated sleeping bag, but it was HOT!  Typical Texas winter......85 during the day and 65 at night.  Tank tops and shorts weather.  Fortunately, the water was COLD and refreshing, just the way Kipper likes it.

We were there for two nights, and were able to really make ourselves at home. 

So we didn't get to try out out furnace or cold-weather sleeping bag, but we did try out the new bed and layout.  The new layout makes for much more room inside the Tiger.  I'm a big fan of that!  The bed is comfy, but it's still a bed inside of a van and neither of us slept very well either night.  We were SO tired when we got back to Austin.  I took two naps and still went to bed at 9pm!  Kipper was worn out too.  He was out of sorts and kinda disobedient the last day at camp and then slept for about 17 hours when we got back to the house.  The sleeping arrangement will eventually work, but it'll take some time to get used to.  When we go on our real trip, we're going to be sleep deprived and grumpy for the first couple of weeks.  But we'll get over that hump....fingers crossed....

We weren't too tired to enjoy the views!  We used to camp at Pedernales all the time when I was a kid, and one of my favorite spots was the falls.  I remember them being so pretty.  They still are, although apparently deadly......

These two pictures were taken FIVE minutes apart!!!

And these trees are a few miles downstreem.  That current must've been strong!!

Fortunately, we weren't swept away in a flash flood and were able to enjoy the beauty of the river.

The obligatory self portrait

We rode our bikes from the camp site to the falls.  Nice 2-mile ride.  Very easy, until our way back.....

He finally just grabbed on to my shorts and Kipper & I pedalled Greg and his bike back to camp.  And we added "bike repair kit" to our growing list of stuff we need to remember to take with us!

(We were VERY ill-prepared.   I mean, really, who forgets leveling jacks??  And CHAIRS??  Or bug spray?)

After our ride, we hiked a 4-mile trail across the river.  I hate to diss nature, but it was BORING.  It all looked like this:

 Seriously, EVERY step looked exactly the same!  *yawn*

But, one of the park hosts told us about another trail.  So the next morning we hiked that one.  And by "hike", I mean "leisurely walked" because it was only a quarter of a mile and took all of 30 minutes roundtrip.  But it was very beautiful!

Cool branch.

Of course, signs don't apply to us!


All in all, I'd say the 2nd Tiger trip was a success.  We layed on a blanket (because we forgot our camp chairs) and watched the stars.  We got lots of exercise (bike ride with broken chain, super boring 4-mile hike, short pretty walk).  We played cards (gin rummy, baby!).  We made a campfire (even though we didn't have anything to cook on it).  I learned that you can save the coals and restart your fire in the morning - very cool.  We figured out that the box works very well and provides lots of extra room inside. 

Btw, here's how you break down the Tiger.....from home to van in 45 seconds!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Let the Purge Begin

 We've accumulated a TON of stuff in the last 15 years, so going from 1500 square feet to about 60 will require some purging.  This past Saturday, Greg and I had a garage sale to begin the purge process.  

It was VERY early..........

Getting rid of stuff you don't need or haven't used in a while can be liberating...

but sometimes it's difficult and painful, like tearing out a piece of your soul.
Good-bye, my loves

And sometimes, it's just fun to sell stuff.  Especially stuff that Greg MADE!!
He sold the cute statue in the middle.  It's a robot.....'s a closer look.
After the garage sale, we went to a puppy party. 
They're just so cuuuuute! 

But no way can we adopt another dog.
We already have one too many four-legged friends around here.
We're actually trying to find a good home for Slinky, our cuddly little kitty.  
She thinks she's going on the trip.....

She REALLY likes the Tiger. 

 She's a super cool cat.  I wish she could go with us!!  

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Coffin Gets a Mattress!

Two updates on the same day!  I know!
It's been a real challenge to find a mattress for LeTigre's overhead bunk (the coffin) that won't interfere with the closing of the pop-top.  There's only 4" between the top and the bed platform when the top is closed!  Not only that the front is rounded at the corners (for aerodynamics...) and there's a little cabinet in the way on one side and the entry door on the other (see photos from previous update).  We improvised something for the first camping trip with a yoga mat, a camping pad, and a thin mattress pad.  I dubbed it "the Spartan special".
Angie had bruised hips after the second night.
No bueno.
So I've been looking for awhile for something that I could modify to fit and didn't want to sacrifice something new ($$$) just to find out it wouldn't work.  Well, trolling craigslist yesterday and there it was, a near new king size memory foam mattress topper 4" thick and only a mile from the house!.  The seller (thanks Brad!) was nice enough to take $50 when I told him what I was doing with it and it already had a little buggered edge which didn't matter because I was going to cut it all up.  Now we have the perfect size bed.  Once again, craigslist to the rescue.  Peruse the photos to see how to ruin (er, customize) a perfectly good memory foam mattress topper!

After rinsing and drying the garage floor I layed out my prize and started measuring.

Like butta'
No turning back now.

In and out of the van a few times, a cut here, a trim there...

And it's done!  It's so comfy, like floating on a cloud of marshmallows.
Mmmmmm marshmallows...

Interior Redeux

We've been busy on LeTigre's interior this week.  Several things to report such as removing part of the dinette to make more interior space, expanding the bed platform, carpet, and a custom knob for the faucet.  Take a look inside!

LeTigre's dinette arrangement created a bottleneck in the center of the space and made it difficult to load the camper for trips, so out with the front bench.

Fake Tigre had an L shaped arrangement so we imitated that with a simple plywood box, borrowed some of the cushions and added a few throw pillows.
Angie be loungin'!

Angie then cut some new carpet and layed it loosely, for now, until we make a final decision on the furniture layout and flooring.

View of the bunk bed.
Vampires are all the rage so we call this "the coffin".

It was only 48" wide so I added an extension to make a true full.  Finding the right mattress has been a challenge, more on that soon.  We'll see how it goes on the next camping excursion in a couple of weeks since we're used to a king...
Is that my elbow?

Custom "shift knob" added to the faucet hand pump.
10 ball matches LeTigre's paint colors and it's 2010, if you need reasons.
I just think it's cool.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Junk in the Trunk

So one of the things we realized on the Lake Somerville trip is Le Tigre is tiny and lacking in storage.  This wasn't a revelation or anything.  We were already aware of it just not sure where or how to improve on the storage situation.  What we did discover is there's a bunch of stuff that doesn't need to be inside the camper at all, such as our camp grill, cooler, chairs, Kipper stuff, etc.  And then Craigslist said "let there be junk in the trunk".  Yes thru the magic of craigslist (once again) I picked up a used truck tool box and one of those receiver hitch tray things.  Of course, there was a minor snag when the tool box wouldn't fit the tray but it all worked out in the end.  I'll let the photos do the talking.

Right after the Lake Somerville trip I welded on a receiver hitch.

Been looking for these items and they both turned up on Craigslist yesterday!
Love Craigslist!

Bummer, they don't fit together.  Do I even need the tray part?

Nope!  Took the frame part off the tray, drilled holes in the toolbox, and voila!
Cleared the spare and the tailights but will need to move the license plate.
Kipper approves.

Shazam!  LeTigre's got junk in her trunk!