“We’re not RV people—not yet anyway. At the current moment we are happy camper-van people, and over the past 4 months we’ve spent time in each of the lower 48 states. Even during the random van breakdowns, we remained comfortable, thanks to the power inverter we purchased before our adventure.”
It started when my girlfriend and I had a crazy idea. It ended with us having the adventure we’d remember for the rest of our lives.
See, last year both of us reached the end of our work contracts with two different sailing companies. My girlfriend was a cook on the boat and I led SCUBA-diving lessons for passengers. Trips lasted anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks as the 16-person sailboat would travel around the western coast of Mexico. Having spent the last nearly 2 years of our lives working on boats for the two sailing companies, we decided we could sure go for an extended stay on dry land. Because of our current lifestyle, we didn’t have much to begin with in terms of stuff. We packed well and survived without many material amenities. So, after weeks of semi-joking about it, we decided we were actually going to buy a vehicle and travel the United States, stopping to see friends and family along the way.
We purchased a Ford E150 Campervan. We didn’t want to look too much like the stereotypical “hippy” road warrior, so we avoided the VW Westfalia (plus, we couldn’t find one in good shape in our price range). Other than some bedding, some cookery and a few small devices, we were set. We started our adventure and made it a mere 2 weeks before we realized something had to change: we needed power.
Camping “dry” was fine, but we wanted to go for longer periods without having to succumb to a hotel to enjoy the comforts of electricity. After some Googling on our smart phones on a drive between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, we found our answer: a power inverter from Inverters R Us. We bought a relatively compact 1500 watt power inverter (we decided a less expensive, modified sine wave version would fit our needs) and had it shipped to a hotel that we planned on staying at.
With our setup, we soon bought electronic gadgets that would make life on the road more comfortable. We exchanged our propane stove with an electric hotplate, bought a coffee pot and found a small TV with DVD player at a pawnshop. Then, later on, we started getting a bit chilly through the Rockies, so we caved and bought a small portable space heater.
Having the power inverter made all of the difference. After 2 weeks, we didn’t know how much longer we were going to make it. Then, after the addition of the power inverter, we made things easy on ourselves and started enjoying the adventure we were having. Sure, we could have rigged the setup to work with the battery in our camping van, but this was all new to us and I didn’t want to be the one to fry the battery or something and be stranded. We were completely happy with our simple setup and it didn’t fail us once … even the time outside of Lancaster, Pennsylvania when we were stuck “with only our butter” while we waited for our broken down van to be repaired (it’s an inside joke).