Battle diary 4/7 – 4/19

The battle with mother nature continues, but we're gaining ground!

A continuation of Battle diary 3/25 – 4/6.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Construction of the Operation Bugout Phase 2 sliding door defense system commenced, just in time, too, as the bugs are gaining strength with the warmer weather. Plans are also drawn up for Phase 3, a screen between Mark’s living area and the cab (with cat access) to keep out the bugs invading through the open cab windows.

With the help of an ally, my brother-in-law, an attempt was made to deploy Operation Waterfire Phase 1 and erect the sliding door awning. Mark’s defensive position next to the garage proved to be vital in the battle against the burning ball of fire in the sky, and the strategic location made it convenient for working on other defense projects. However, the limited space between Mark and the garage foiled the awning deployment.

Reconnaissance for a new position began with the goal to secure a new location before the forecasted heavy rains on Sunday. Intel shows no signs of rain until then.

Morning PT with my sister resulted in itching injuries despite my efforts to combat the enemy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Operation Bugout Phase 2 has ramped up to complete the sliding door screen before the prospective move to take advantage of Mark’s current proximity to the sewing station. However, sneak rain attacks not predicted by intel have kept me on my toes protecting Mark.

With all that is going on, I gave myself permission for some much needed R&R. I took liberty for the evening and relaxed with a book in a hammock by the water. It’s hard to believe violence could ever occur at such a beautiful place.

Oreo assumed a day patrol shift while I relaxed.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

A night of R&R and blue skies in the morning caused me to let my guard down. A sneak rain attack came while PT-ing in the fortress with my sister. Mark sustained some damage, but for once the burning ball of fire in the sky proved to be an ally and dried him out quickly. I sent out a requisition for supplies to construct a back door awning for Phase 2 of Operation Waterfire, reprimanding myself for not doing so sooner.

Progress on the sliding door screen has been swift, and I estimate its completion tomorrow. Before hitting the rack, I checked the intel, and with no signs of a rain attack, I will leave the back doors open tonight.

Friday, April 10, 2020

A sneak rain attack at sunrise woke me from my slumber. I raced outside to secure Mark’s back doors. Checking the intel, the predicted temperatures should not warrant leaving the back doors open for the next couple of nights.

Recon for a new location facilitating the deployment of the sliding door awning has proved futile. All prospective locations have been ruled out due to exposing Mark to other potential vulnerabilities. The current sliding door awning is ideal for non-driveway locations and should not be abandoned, but a driveway-compatible awning may need to be constructed.

Phase 2 of Operation Bugout, the sliding door screen, is complete and the defense is in place.

diy sprinter van sliding door bug screen
Bugout Phase 2 in place and fully operational.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Operation Waterfire Phase 1 has been revised with the help of my brother-in-law to accommodate Mark’s current position. Two supply runs to the Depot were required to attain the necessary supplies to implement the revision. I constructed a wooden frame to place on top of the van, and the awning tarp is folded in half and stretched across the structure. Intel reports indicate a rain attack tomorrow with supposed heavy fire. This will be a great opportunity to test the integrity of the Phase 1 defense.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

I have been on the battlefield too long; nightmares plagued me last night with visions of the tarp destroyed by a noncombatant turned enemy – the wind. The wind’s fierce rage pulled the grommets from the tarp, rendering our new defense useless. Thankfully, the morning light revealed this only to be a dream.

The wind gained force and viciously attacked the awning, giving me flashbacks from my dreams. I could see the wooden frame torqueing with each blow, so to prevent the wind from rendering this defense useless, I disabled it by removing the tarp. The cat door is also disabled, and we have taken cover in Mark for the rest of the day until the enemy ceases fire and retreats.

diy sprinter van awning
Waterfire Phase 1 in place and operational in low wind conditions.

Monday, April 13, 2020

The rain waited until this morning to join forces with the wind and attacked with ferocity at dawn. The thunder woke me from my slumber and sent Oreo hiding in an empty closet cubby. By afternoon the enemies retreated. I am taking the rest of the day to regroup, and tomorrow I will continue to fight the good fight.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

I fashioned a simple theft deterrence system for the garage, should we sleep with back doors open. The sound of Velcro being removed will serve as an intruder warning system. The wind and rain retreated, and the awning tarp is now in place.

Garage door, in place

April 15, 2020

Sliding door awning performed well in today’s rain. The shelf for Oreo’s cat door did get a little wet though. Additional material needs to be added to prevent this. We have the material on hand but lack the clamps necessary to put it in place. I will have to make a supply run soon.

April 17, 2020

The supply today was successful. I acquired clamps, as well as provisions for the family. The additional fabric to protect the cat door is in place, secured with clamps and paracord. The setup is rudimentary but functional.

April 19, 2020

Work on Phase 2 of Operation Waterfire commenced this morning. The awning tarp is complete, but the rain attacked before the rest of the setup could be completed. Intel reports the rain will continue through tomorrow. The additional rain defense for the cat door does not provide 100% protection, but performance is satisfactory.

Additional rain defense in place.

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I served 11 years in the Navy, and in 2014 I thru hiked the Appalachian Trail. These experiences helped prepare me for vanlife. My husband and I now live in our self-converted van, Mark.

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About Us

We left “normal” life behind and now live in our self-converted van, Mark. Our time in the military and backpacking adventures made vanlife an easy choice. The leap into vanlife and a self-conversion can be exciting yet daunting. We want to share our experiences and provide resources to give you vanlife your way, and the highway.

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