Meet Lizzie 2! She's 10 years younger and has 200,000 fewer miles, but otherwise she looks pretty much the same. Same brand (Toyota), same color (this is my 4th silver car in a row!) but when I got her home, I discovered a few differences.
Some of the storage areas are gone (and I REALLY miss them) like the ones in the front seat armrests. The space between the two front seats is now a console, rather than a table with space underneath. That's where I kept 15 bottles of water -- the console only holds 8. Yes, there are some positives, like a better glove box and more drink holders in the front.
In Lizzie 1 I had a curtain rod that went between the two sides of the van and hooked into holes that were already there in the car. A tension rod with the ends stuck the holes was an excellent solution. Lizzie 2 doesn't have those holes. This was a real challenge; I tried a number of different things but nothing was working. So one afternoon I went to Lowes and just started walking down the aisles for inspiration. I found it in the curtain rod section! The brackets that I have installed on I don't know how many windows were the perfect solution. I had to do a little adjusting, but these brackets hold the rod firmly (there is a screw that attaches the rod to the bracket that you can't see).
There is one huge difference between 1 and 2 that if I had known about it before I bought her, it would have been a deal breaker. When you remove the second row seats, there are "trolleys" left on the floor, and in order to get them out, you have to go underneath and dismantle the fuel tank to get at the bolts that hold them in place. That's not something I can do, and since I occasionally need to reinstall the second row seats, it wouldn't be practical anyway. I don't know what Toyota was thinking when they designed the seats that way, but I think a lot less of Toyota these days.
But she is mine, for better or worse, so I had to find a way to deal with the problem. I consulted some van-dwelling friends, some camping friends, and some guys in the choir at church and there were lots of ideas. I played around with some of them, and finally decided that the best solution was to build a small platform to cover the trolleys. After trying it out with just some cardboard and zip ties to see what it might be like, I decided that would be the solution. l
My brother-in-law and nephew are very good at building things, so I prevailed upon their skills to help me get it built. That entailed a weekend visit to Colorado where they live but it also meant I got to spend a weekend with my sister!! They agreed that a platform was probably the best way to go (after confirming that, yes, you really did have to dismantle the fuel tank to remove the trolleys).
After a trip to Lowe's, and some careful measuring, they were off and sawing. When it became evident that raising the bed so that it would sit on the platform was impractical (I wouldn't be able to sit on the bed if that happened!) they just drilled holes so that the legs fit through the platform and sit on the floor. It didn't take them very long to finish the project, and Mike even painted it for me.
|Mike and Eric assembling the platform|
The bins that I normally use to store stuff under the bed still fit (barely), and with some rearranging, I have plenty of space for everything. I only forgot one thing. My gas grill is like an old-fashioned lunch box and it has a handle on the top. It used to go under the bed but now it doesn't fit. The handle makes it too high. My idea is that the next time I go to Colorado, I'll take the grill and have Eric (my nephew) take off the handle and weld it to one end of the lid and weld another kind of handle to the other end. He is a hobbyist welder. (How I love having relatives with these kinds of skills!) Then most everything will be back to normal.
The biggest change will be a minor one; in order to get in and out of the van I will now have to use a step stool -- that additional 3" platform makes it impossible for me to climb in and out unaided. I already have to step stool, and it has a permanent place in the camper, so that shouldn't be much of a problem.
The only thing left to decide is where the first trip will take me!