This post will cover a bunch of different odds and ends that don’t justify a whole post but that people are curious about.
When I bought Bombadil the spare tire was mounted underneath the van, this mounting arrangement is quite common in vehicles of all kinds from the 2000’s on. It was obviously designed by someone who has never actually HAD a flat tire, which rarely happens on dry perfectly level areas, which is the only way that arrangement is even vaguely practical. I understand it is to increase the interior space somewhat, but I HATE it. I purchased this spare tire mount instead. With some modification (drilling) this worked fine on my 2002 Ford Econoline E350. I would recommend it if you have the tools to do some drilling into the mount.
Because Bombadil was a cargo van, he only came with 2 seats, driver and front passenger. I did consider taking out the passenger seat, especially since I travel alone and don’t expect that to change. It takes up valuable floor space. After a great deal of thought I decided to keep it but put it on a swivel mount so it can be turned to face the back. Swivels for my make/model/year proved to be VERY pricey…upwards of $250.00 plus shipping. I chose to get a “generic” one and drill two new holes in the floor. This is the one I bought. I used two original holes and drilled two new holes and sealed the two original holes that didn’t line up with this base. These seats are not made to swivel and so you actually have to open the passenger door to get the seat 180 degrees. This hasn’t proven to be a problem since it has remained facing the back since I installed it. I have the seat slid all the way forward (since it is now facing the back of the van) so that I can still see my passenger side mirror. I still have the option of removing the passenger seat at some point if I need/want to.
Window coverings for privacy (and to help with temperature moderations as well) are a must for me. I made mine from Reflectix and scrap felt from a fabric store, Super 90’d together (any word may be verbed). Since the first 5 months I lived in Bombadil in Asheville, NC this came in and out of the windows literally every day, sometimes more than once. These are holding up nicely to heavy use! I put the Reflectix out in the summer to help keep the heat out, and in the winter I put them in with the felt out to keep the heat in.
I feel that I need to have a ladder available because of the solar and fan on the roof, my middle brother and sister-in-law donated a collapsible ladder which I have mounted to the inside of the back driver door with these mounts. I don’t think they would hold up to daily use, but they are fine for once or twice a month pulling the ladder out and putting it back in.
Ok this is a big one for plenty of people. I decided that I did want one in the van. There are cheaper ones, there are more expensive ones. This one works for me with a minimum of fuss and no smell except while you are using it. I have the “Basic” model, in white, installed in the van. I use pine or aspen shavings meant for pet bedding as my “medium” for solid waste. Cheap and easy to find at most Walmarts and any pet store. I am very pleased with it, it is well worth the money for me.
I did not want to try and deal with keeping a supply of ice for a cooler. I did not want to go without any refrigeration. My solar system was sized so that I can run a 12v refrigerator 24/7 (among other things). So I decided on this Dometic fridge (technically I could use it as a freezer, it does allow me to set the temperature that low/cold). When I bought it it was cheaper than they are now, I paid $746.54. It has performed flawlessly and while I can hear it, it has become background noise and doesn’t bother me at all. I did order an extra 12v cord so that I could cut off the cheap 12v connector (meant to plug in to cigarette lighter type ports) and hard wire the fridge (with an appropriate fuse) directly into the solar system. It would void the warranty if I did it to the original cord.
So that’s how I have managed some of the daily life things that people have a hard time imagining while living in a van. I have been living in Bombadil for 9 months now, no regrets!