Sunday, September 30, 2012

Crafty Problem Solving

I'm not much good at solving big problems, but when it comes to small "space usage" problems I'm in my element.  Craig has often said that I was an engineer in an artist's body.  Around the RV I let him take care of the mechanical questions and I love to find, fit, or create the storage containers. 

There is a space next to the passenger side chair that begged for improvement. Built into the wall there are cup holders, a flexible map light, and a compartment that is just right to hold the looseleaf binder I use to keep our travel plans and reservations together. 

Between this wall and the chair is a space that is about seven inches wide (more if you count the space under the chair skirt).  Anchored on the chair-side floor of this space is a small fire extinguisher. I wanted to be very careful about putting anything there because I did not want to block or compromise access to the fire extinguisher!

Although we use the navigator program on the Android cell phone, I also like to have a hard copy map available.  On our recent trip, I used my large Motor Carriers Road Atlas to plan our routes. Sometimes the navigator will tell us to take a different route from what I planned. It doesn't know we are a motor home.  I like to have the Atlas out on my lap so I can override the navigator, but I don't want to be holding it for the entire drive.  

The Atlas is rather large, 12" x 15" and I did not have a "good" place to put it when we are driving.  It is too large to fit into the compartment where I keep my looseleaf binder. (The binder is 10 1/2" x 11 1/2"). Putting it in the pocket behind the seat worked, but it was awkward to get to it when I needed it.

 The space next to the chair was ideal, but I needed to be sure that putting the Atlas there would not compromised getting at the fire extinguisher.

I make custom boxes to ship my animal heads all of the time. I make large boxes smaller, and combine small boxes to make larger boxes.  I understand space.

So for this problem I made a custom box using foam core board (light, strong, available at any craft or office supply store) to hold the Atlas.  To make it blend in I covered it with wood grain Contact paper. To keep it in place and be sure it would not be in the way in an emergency, I attached it to the wall with  a couple of spots of self stick velcro. 

From the back
From the front

The Alfa is a diesel pusher, so the entry door and steps are in front of and to the side of the passenger seat. It seems the steps really accumulate sand and dirt quite quickly.  The small yellow handled brush is kept here so I can sweep them off frequently without having to go back and get the broom. 

It was my first purchase at the camp store in the Pinnacles National Monument last year.  We  broke a bottle of wine when it fell out of the refrigerator and shattered on the ceramic tile floor.  Glass everywhere! I had a broom, but not a dust pan.  This little set was called a "tent brush."  

So this little brush is a reminder of one of our first RV lessons.  "Be very careful when opening the cabinet and refrigerator doors for the first time after travel."  Things do shift.

Have you ever had things fall out on arrival?
Do you use both a navigator and a map?  


  1. Good idea! We are not taking any 'physical' maps. We have the Rand McNally truckers GPS to guide us along, and I'm using Good Sam's routing program to get us there. I'm taking my smaller netbook in the truck in case I need to pull up Google maps to clarify.
    After today's maiden voyage, I'll let you know how all this works for us!

  2. Funny that you would post about this now. We actually just last night ordered that exact same atlas that you have. :) I also use several various routing programs, but sometimes I don't like some of the roads they try to bring us on.

  3. We use both the GPS and I have my atlas available at all times. I also keep my Mountain West Directory at hand (tells me what all the grades are and how long the climb or downhill is). Things are always falling out especially if the road has been extra bumpy. My worst experience was with peanut brittle that shattered and was everywhere. Skittlez was overjoyed and helped me clean it up as fast as she could. But it got under the slides and took us months to finally get all of it.

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  5. What a good idea. It turned out great. Maybe you could start selling them online!

  6. Great use of a small space. We use a trucker's atlas, our GPS, and Microsoft Streets and Trips. Don't want to be getting into a sticky situation. We've had stuff fall out of cabinets while traveling. A Corelle dish shattered into a million pieces and a game with many small pieces was all over the floor. Luckily, we haven't had any liquids spill. A friend of ours had an entire gallon of milk spill out of the fridge. What a mess!

  7. Yep and yep! Stuff falls out of the fridge every dang time we stop and open up the doors. Usually, it's beer cans, lol. We open the doors one at a time and VERY slowly. Can't use the refrigerator bars that Camping World sells, ours is a residential fridge, too big for the bars. Maybe I should get an expandable curtain rod or something. We use both maps and GPS, Eldy often doesn't like the GPS route chosen for us!

  8. you bet..dishes!...and a tv that fell off the shelf.
    we use a gps..I have an atlas that we leave at home..maybe it should come along too..along with the paper maps?

  9. What a nifty idea! We have a similar yet different spot that I've been wrestling with. I need a place to park the stuff I travel with. I've looked at baskets, but can't find the right size. Never thought about foam core. Thanks!!

    We travel with gps and smartphones, but they don't know how big we are, and they're always looking for the fastest route. (And we almost never are!) We have three atlases (a trucker's, a current year road atlas, and an old favorite with campgrounds, walmarts and flying j's) that we use for planning. I create a route that works for us on google maps and email it to myself so I can refer to it on my phone along the way.

  10. Well executed! It gave me an idea for the truck - there's no really good place to stick maps etc there. We always travel with paper maps as well, sometimes you just get a better perspective when looking at the large picture and not just a small screen.

    Stuff falling out... corelle dishes burst into a gazillion pieces... we now bungie that cupboard shut. Now if only I could remember to do so every time! I've started putting the bungie on the camper keys as soon as I think of it on travel days - that has helped so far.


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