Hard to believe that Millie and I have now been full-time RVers for 1 whole week! I’m still at the lovely county park campground on the outskirts of Chicago enjoying a large campsite overlooking an oak savannah prairie, and soaking up some great sunrises and sunsets.
While I’ve been spending most days working away at the remaining 20 boxes to be eBay’d, Craigslisted, scanned, or garaged sale’d from the storage garage, Millie has continued to be absolutely no help at all -- She spends her days lounging in the cool grass, or when the sun’s too hot, she crawls under the motorhome to a favorite shady spot.
On the rolling home front, I’ve been enjoying some new home improvements for TV watching, photo editing, vacuuming, storage, and lighting.
Perhaps the biggest improvement is the new ultra-lightweight, ultra-energy-efficient 27” Dell U2713HM Monitor. A few months ago, I posted about my new “Apple Smart TV” solution. Now that I’m full-time in the RV, I’m using my Mac Mini as my main TV DVR (with the excellent Elgato EyeTV 3 software), as well as my main photo editing workstation. As much as I loved my old NEC 26’' LCD Monitor, it just was not going to work well for RV use—it weighed nearly 30 lbs, and consumed 100 watts of power!
So, after some research, I discovered the Dell monitor. It’s an IPS monitor that had perfectly calibrated color right out of the box. But best of all, it weighs less than 13 lbs, and consumes less than 1/3rd of the power that the NEC did. With this Dell and my Mac Mini running, it consumes only about 36 watts of power—that’s even less than the 24” Jensen over-the-door TV that came with the rig (which I have since removed)! So, I’m really loving this setup so far, and love being able to use the tiny Apple Remote to control EyeTV and change channels, volume, etc. from the reclining front seats.
Right now, to hide cord clutter (and elevate the Mac Mini high enough to use the remote with it), I’ve got the Mini and external Samsung DVD player sitting on 3 plastic woven baskets (bought from Office Max). Inside these baskets, I store my printer, scanner, external hard drives, and Mac Mini product box while also hiding the power strip everything plugs into.
When packing up for travel, I flip the baskets over, stow all the items in them, and put them under the dinette bench. There’s even an Ergotron quick release bracket on the HP/Ergotron monitor arm so the Dell monitor can be removed and stowed under the dinette bench too!
I’m still trying to figure out how to better manage dust with this setup. So far, it’s not a problem here in the Midwest, but once I get to the desert later this year, it likely will be. If anyone has ideas for a clear cover/case for the Mac Mini— let me know!
And still loving my “office chair” that makes the dinette bench actually tolerable to sit on—the Backjoy Relief seat.
One handy new addition to my desktop computing setup is this Anker USB 3.0 Hub. I can connect my external hard drives without having to fiddle around with the back of the Mac Mini, and there’s also enough ports to charge my phone and cellular modem too.
Now for the non-tech home improvements—this little Ivation dimmable LED rechargeable lantern (that Technomadia posted about a few months ago) has been a fantastic addition! No more hot, power-sucking halogen reading lights to fool with over the bed. This light gives nice, even soft lighting that can be reflected off the ceiling, or hung upside down for direct lighting.
I found some stainless steel over-the-door hooks when cleaning out my house closets, and these have been working great to solve a few problems (such as how to hang the lantern over the bed above), and how to hang bananas in the very small kitchen!
The double hook also makes a great holder for Millie’s retractable dog leash, so I can keep it easily accessible and yet out of the way over the door.
Now that we’re in the RV 24/7, it’s critical to keep Millie’s dog hair under control. I had been using a Bissell corded hand vac that was strong, but really didn’t keep the carpet “fluffed” enough as it lacked a roller attachment. It also required bending over a lot or kneeling to reach all the spots of the RV. So, I decided to splurge on a refurbished cordless Dyson DC35 and have been thrilled with how functional it is and how small it can break down for stowing in the RV.
I stow the vac and all its attachments in my 5 gallon wash bucket in the shower.
I can leave the vac plugged in all the time thanks again to that handy AC outlet next to the toilet (that I never thought I’d ever have a need for and now it does this as well as runs my spin dryer!).
I brought the included long Dyson pole along, but have yet to need it. The roller attached directly to the vacuum head gives me enough height to do the small bit of carpet.
My unit also came with the add-on Flexi Crevice Tool attachment which has been my favorite tool of all! When extended, I can vac without bending over and it easily reaches all the far corners of the Winnie. With the little brush added, it even dusts the window shades and dashboard. Finally a tool to rival Millie’s millions of hairs!!!
My final improvement was to make the overhead dinette pantry cabinets more organized and functional. I was using plastic tubs before, but radically over filling them making it hard to find anything, and also making a “contents may have shifted during flight” all but all but certain whenever I first opened the cabinets after traveling.
But the addition of 2 Seville Classics expandable shelves have made all the difference. Contents now stay put and everything is “find-able!”
So, all in all, we’re off to a great start in our very comfortable full-time rolling home!