RV & Truck Mods
By early July we finished up the initial mods to our new RV and truck. To the truck, Jason added a DiamondBack SE bedcover. Like all things, Jason did a lot of research before pulling the trigger. His primary goal was to find a solid cover that was heavy-duty, secure, and water tight. Most of the products he researched received negative reviews for their ability to keep out water in heavy rains, but not so with the DiamondBack with its EPDM perimeter gaskets and gutter-protected hinges. The bifold aluminum diamond plate panels support 400 lbs. and the 4 tie-down cleats offer endless configurations for securing gear to the top of the truck bed. Closing it all up, the SE offers a deadbolt-style lock for each panel which pairs nicely with our locking tailgate. These covers are built in the U.S.A. and come with a lifetime warranty and 10% discount for veterans. We found the “45 minute installation time” to be pretty laughable, but otherwise we have been 100% satisfied with our purchase.
Inside the RV, we removed the factory loveseat and added Indy’s cat tower and a recliner chair in its place. We went with the RecPro Nash 28″ RV Euro Chair Recliner. While it isn’t as comfortable as our recliner chairs in our sticks in bricks, it is certainly more than adequate for the amount of time we spend inside the RV. And the price and dimensions worked well for our budget and space. (Just yesterday we ordered a second chair. After our September trip, we found that Indy is preferring the view out the big dinette window for his bird watching activities and spends minimal time on the tower. Now mom will have a chair of her own!)
To the hitch on the RV’s back bumper, Jason added a Swagman E-Spec Black bike rack. The rack can be used on a 2″ hitch receiver and is rated to carrying two bikes up to 70lbs per bike. Locking ratchet hooks and hitch pin keep items safe. Jason considered less expensive models, but the weight rating of this unit will allow us to upgrade to heavier e-bikes in the future.
By far the most impressive RV modification was Jason’s massive power system upgrade. He installed two lithium batteries, battery monitor, whole house inverter, solar charger, and three roof-top solar panels. Jason’s knowledge of power systems really shows with this system which was carefully designed to efficiently power us during our extended off-grid adventures. The inverter allows me to power everything except the RV’s air conditioner, which we rarely need. I can plug in my laptop, use the hair dryer, and even run luxuries like a coffee bean grinder, Instant Pot, and microwave. Meanwhile, the sun replenishes all that used power while we are going about our daily activities. Having spent years RVing with standard lead acid batteries, the concept of unlimited power is still amazing to me. For those who spend just a few days at a time in their RV, this system would be overkill (and very expensive). But for anyone with aspirations of extended off-grid travels, a system like this is a must.
South Fork of Asotin Creek Trail
South Fork of Asotin Creek is a local trail that had been on my radar for years. The small stream originates in the Blue Mountains of SE Washington and eventually flows into the waters of the mighty Snake River. As a child, my grandma would tell of her adventures growing up on a sheep ranch along its banks during The Depression. We attempted this hike years ago on a cold winter’s morning and turned back at the first icy crossing. Returning in early July of this year, we learned that the first mile isn’t for those who want dry feet or smooth trail – there are eight stream crossings with very rocky trail in between each. Trail conditions improve after that first mile and we enjoyed a lovely stroll along the stream with abundant trees for shade and lush green grasses. The trail runs for many miles up canyon into the mountains, but we satisfied ourselves with a six mile roundtrip hike.
First Trip in Our Outdoors RV Timber Ridge!
With the RV’s improved electrical system up and running, it was finally time to get the ORV out on its maiden voyage. With temperatures soaring into the triple digits at home, we headed for a favorite Forest Service campground in the Clearwater River Drainage of Northcentral Idaho. The notoriously washboard access road jiggled a couple items loose on the ORV, but that is to be expected with any new RV. Overall we were very pleased with the performance and comfort of our new home away from home. We enjoyed time with friends and fishing in the crystal clear streams. After almost six months of life back in our sticks and bricks home, Indy did great on his first trip back out. He adjusted very well to riding in the new truck and settled into his new surroundings quickly.
The Adventure Continues
Our upcoming August blog post will showcase the spectacular Eagle Cap Wilderness of NE Oregon. And don’t forget to check out our Amazon RV and adventure gear recommendations accessed via links at the top of our home page. We only post products that we use and that meet the Evans Outdoor Adventures seal of approval. By accessing Amazon through our links and making any purchase, you get Amazon’s every day low pricing and they share a little with us. This helps us maintain Evans Outdoor Adventures and is much appreciated!