(Formally "Plan V: A Van Dwelling Blog", when I lived in a 1978 Dodge Xplorer 228 Class B motorhome van)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Need more storage!

I have come to the realization that I am going to have to try to make use of every inch of space in this van. That means doing some unusual things... like using a cheap plastic shelf unit in the bed area to store stuff on. I looked around the house and found what works perfect. very light weight, easy to move to change the sheets, stays in place well and isn't very deep, so it doesn't interfere with me sleeping next to it.

It stays in place nicely while sleeping thanks to the shoestring tethers and can easily be removed and set aside for changing the bed's bottom sheet. I never tuck in the top bedding.

It's simple, cheap but very effective. I can store my duffel bags of clean clothes and linens on the shelves. There is ample space to the sides of it for stashing extra blankets when not in use.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Laptop hanger over bed

I fought with the idea of getting a TV or tablet since mounts are easier to come by than laptop ones, which can get pricey and might not suit my needs.

It finally occurred to me to just build a wooden holder for my laptop and hang it from the cabinet. It doesn't provide a perfect straight-on view but it's certainly better than nothing. I toss, turn and kick too much to have it down any lower than this. Plus it allows me to fully lay down when going to sleep and have something to watch. Or if I end up sick in bed, I will have it within reach by just sitting up.

I used some scrap wood I had left over. I spent about $3.75 on the eye bolts and the regular bolts. I had the wing nuts, plumbers tape (metal scrapping) and washers. I think it came out pretty good. It just hangs there by two S hooks (one end closed to keep them from coming off of the eye bolts). It's very strong and secure in place. It can be taken down, the laptop removed and put away, and the cabinets closed before driving.

Yep... thats MST3k playing in the photos below!

Monday, April 8, 2013

New holding tank ordered

I finally took the plunge and ordered the new replacement grey water holding tank I need.

The Tank Depot had the best deal on the Ronco R-28H tank with freight with full online ordering. The total was $249 and some change.

Plastic-Mart was going to be $269.58 and lacks online ordering for the tanks since it doesn't calculate freight costs.

The Tank Source was actually a bit cheaper than Tank Depot but completely lacks online ordering and tracking. Their listed price is $165.25. I had to email them for a freight quote. They responded the next day stating $68.68. The total would have been $233.93, but I would have had to a phone order which I dislike.

It's probably going to be two weeks before it arrives since the tanks are manufactured at the time of ordering. Processing is about a week, plus freight time of another week. I'm in no big hurry in terms of needing it right now though, so I'll just have to be patient.

Monday, April 1, 2013

My (positive) take on Virgin Mobile & Boost

It seems to me, Sprint is offering better deals on their prepaid service if you want a hotspot feature an an Android or iPhone. I have the Vigin Mobile ("VM") HTC Evo V and I like it well. It's the cheapest device on VM to do hotspot.

Boost is actually better deal if you want unlimited everything and hotspot. It starts out $5 cheaper and goes down $5 more every 3 months for the next 18 months for a total discount of $20/mo over VM.

VM's rate is $55 unlimited + $15 hotspot = $70. You start out on Boost paying $55 unlimited + $10 hotspot = $65. Then it begins going down by $5 every 6 months for a total of discount of $15, bringing the total cost for unlimited everything + hotspot for only $50/mo. After 18 months it ends up costing the same as VM's 300 min/text/data + hotspot.

For me personally, I don't do a great deal of voice usage. VM will run me $50/mo for 300 minutes, unlimited texts and data. In the long term, I would be better off with Boost since I wouldn't have to watch my minutes. Odds are I will be happy with 300 minutes though.

VM sucked me in with their better up front rate of $35+$15 hotspot so I'm going to go with that to start. I will change to Boost if I find that I want or need unlimited calling and sell the Evo V on ebay.

Unlimited data with throttling is acceptable for me considering the cost compared to the $30/mo capped hotspot feature on Sprint postpaid.

People get confused by the wording that VM/Boost use and get made when they find out there's throttling. It doesn't help that they bold face lie in large lettering "Unlimited - Available in 3G and 4G speeds". Then in small 'lawyer sized' print, they point out you get throttled after 2.5GB. It seems to me, 2.5GB of 3G/4G then unlimited throttled speed still beats very restrictive caps that *ALL* carriers seem to have on hotspot plans.

It seems that recently VM has changed their lawyer print some. A few months back, it said that you got 2.5GB full speed normally, or 3.5GB full speed if you had a hotspot plan. They have scaled it back to 2.5GB even with hotspot, BUT now it just says you'll be limited to 3G / 256Kbps (..or below) speeds after 2.5GB. Boost has the same updated policy on their hotspot info page.

256Kbps unlimited hotspot for someone on the road is top notch for the price, even if the coverage area isn't.

Sprint coverage is close to the worst outside of larger cities throughout most of the US (especially the western half) but the customer service is
very good (or was a few years ago anyway when I had Sprint postpaid) . I intend to mostly stick close to major cities when traveling so I should be fine.

I have a lifeline AT&T SIM Tracfone talk/text only phone with 250/mins a month. For times I need to call outside of Sprint areas, I will have it. With Google's SMS search, I can use it to find services nearby if I get desperate through it since it lacks a browser and any sort of data services. WIFI is so common now, even in small towns you can usually find it at a McDonald's or public library.