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The race is on!

Travel with our family

Join us as we explore the world in our carbon-neutral, 4x4 expedition vehicle called The EcoRoamer. We are happy to share our travel adventures, family memories and homeschooling experiences as we journey down the road less traveled.

The race is on!

Kurt had no school last week, so he and I went out to Michigan again to work on the truck and help push things along. We made a lot of progress despite United Airlines doing everything in their power to try and stop us from getting there/home.

(PS – I used to fly a million miles a year, but I will never fly United Airlines again: 4 mechanical failures, 4 flights in a row, I guess the recession is really leading to cut-backs, scary!)

The EcoRoamer is looking very good, and it’s really coming together. I’ve posted a bunch of pictures up on the www.EcoRoamer.com website, but here are some highlights:

The rear departure angle pieces have been attached, with the cargo bays within them. These will eventually hold the water filtration system from WWW.

Viewed from the rear:

The rear ‘ramp door’ is due to be completed this week, so we should have it finished and mounted next week. I can’t wait! I’ll post pics as soon as I have them.

In the mean time… Work has started on the cargo bays for the generator and the batteries:

Generator side:

Under the truck you can see the new nose cone waiting to be put on the pop-top. It was supposed to be rolled, but came back stamped, so it doesn’t look fantastic. We’re going to try to fix it a little, but I suspect the first forest branches will take care of it.

Batteries side:

Those are Lifeline 8D batteries. There will be two shelves of four batteries each. Each battery will be paired to create the 24v x 4 pairs. If you’re interested you can read the specs here. (my back can testify to the fact that they really are 162lbs each!)

On the interior of the truck, I had some great meetings with Bill and Matt over at Michiana Laminated Products. It is almost therapeutic meeting with those guys. Shifting gears mentally from: designing big metal frameworks to support 1,000lbs of battery… to discussing tightening the 1/8″ gap for hinges, or picking latch countersinks is incredible. These guys operate on such level of minutia, but as a result there stuff is amazingly rugged (i.e. – no jiggles going down the road) and just beautiful to look at.

This truck is going to be tough and capable, but it is also going to be stunning to live in. I’m so amazed and delighted at how nice you can make everything while using 100% recycled and sustainable materials. Everyone should do this in their homes.

The key materials that Michiana are going to be using are:
PlyBoo – Bamboo based boards for cabinetry
Richlite – Recycled Paper based countertops
Medex – 100% Recycled, Formaldehyde-free MDF boards for sub-floors

We also ordered the fabric for the cushions, which is being sewn at a nice Amish farm down the road from us in Indiana.

Lastly, I met with Bret Reinhardt who is the founder of Sun Power Technologies. They’ve developed a DC based air-conditioning system that will run on our 24v and has a MUCH lower power draw than what we were previously looking at. Best of all it has no start-up surge, which can kill your battery bank very quickly. We’re having one installed in time for the Overland Expo event in Arizona, and we’ll see how it does. If you see us panting and sweating, then you’ll know that we need a second unit.

If all goes well, then we may get away with not having to run our generator which was the whole idea in the first place.

That’s all the news for now. There is a ton of work going on in the next few weeks as we get ready for the trip to Arizona. Stay tuned for updates!

jayshapiro

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