Erin Lawrence and Her Custom #vanlife Build – HGG412

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Erin Lawrence is back with us this week as we talk about her new van! She took a 2006 Sprinter Van and built it out as a camper van. Complete with power, USB outlets, ventilation, lights, water, refrigeration and some sweet living space, you will hear what she learned during the process. We also open the show with an update on Jim’s Govee Hygrometer and how it is working out in the new Humidor. We come back to that discussion at the end of the program.  I think you will enjoy the show.


Join Jim Collison / @jcollison and Mike Wieger / @WiegerTech for show #412 of Home Gadget Geeks brought to you by the Average Guy Network.

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Join us for the show live each Thursday at 8pmC/9E/1UTC at http://theAverageGuy.tv/live

Full show notes and video at http://theAverageGuy.tv/hgg412

Podcast, Home Gadget Geeks, van, #vanlife, camping, solar power, power inverters, antenna

 

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New post on Astrophotography

https://theaverageguy.tv/2019/08/08/9-tips-to-improve-your-astrophotography-images/

 

Erin’s Van update on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVH8h_4t5es

Site Post with all the details and links – http://erinlyyc.com/2019/08/07/vanlife-update-tech-filled-camper-van-build-is-nearly-complete/#comment-6478

 

Mike’s Call Sign  – KE0WKP

 

Jim Collison  [0:00] 
This is The Average Guy Network and you found on gadget geeks show number 412. recorded on August 8 2019. Home Gadget Geeks we cover all the favorite news reviews, product updates and conversation after the average tech guy. I’m your host, Jim Collison broadcasting live from the TV studios in a beautiful Mike. We keep saying this, but if summer’s over I’m okay. Like it’s beautiful, right? And I looked at the weather it’s not showing any signs of letting up so pretty nice right?

Mike Wieger  [0:44] 
It’s been it’s that constant temperature that we don’t get often in Nebraska usually we’re up and then we’re down you get you in can’t really plan for but you’re right. It’s just constant, mid 80s maybe a little higher than that and just clear skies. It’s been absolutely perfect. Some rain just to cool things down a little bit. It’s been perfect.

Jim Collison  [1:00] 
Unbelievable. Aaron, you’re a little farther north weather okay for you guys. We It was really hot for a while but okay for you guys.

Erin Lawrence  [1:08] 
It was all right for a while. It’s been kind of crazy this week. But things are looking up today. I can’t complain.

Jim Collison  [1:14] 
Well, weather matters. We’re going to spend some time talking to you tonight about this new van that you have. And of course going out and camping. So hold tight. I’ll come a little bit later in the show. But still remind everyone world class show notes available including complete transcripts now available in the show notes head out to the average guy.tv forward slash HGG or one two will get you there and you can get all the links including the link and it’s going to be some required reading. So you want to head out to Aaron site, the link where she kind of documents everything she’s done in the van as well as a YouTube video that she just produced today that you’re going to want to take a look at so make sure you head out to the show notes. They’ll be in the upper part of that and so you can get that done. Don’t forget you can also join us live on our mobile app Home Gadget Geeks. com We’ll get you their Android iPhone totally free best way to listen on the road or whenever you need it streaming that’s kind of the best way to do it. I know most of you have podcast player that you listen to it on or however you do that. But if you’re on the road or streaming try our mobile app completely free Home Gadget Geeks com we want to thank our Patreon subscribers for helping us get that done and then a little more chatter in our discord group this week or appreciate it Mike started a ham channel after the big ham Episode Mike I got a lot of good comments anybody contact you? Yeah,

Mike Wieger  [2:30] 
yep. Chad contacted me and he said that he grabbed a radio and he was just getting ready to program it so I was excited I said well let me know it’s it’s a kind of a steep learning curve for the first bit but then it gets really fun.

Jim Collison  [2:42] 
Super cool. Erin any thoughts of we know there’s not a ham radio in there now any thoughts of putting the ham radio in your in your van?

Erin Lawrence  [2:48] 
I would totally consider that I know absolutely nothing about ham radios and we got

Jim Collison  [2:53] 
to get a license

Erin Lawrence  [2:54] 
schooledand would need a license

Jim Collison  [2:56] 
Yeah.

Erin Lawrence  [2:58] 
But no I’m open to all that stuff mean communication is huge and be nice to be able to stay in touch.

Jim Collison  [3:03] 
Mike you’ve seen that with the van looks like again we’ll talk about it more here in just a second be a nice little ham station right so i mean Oh perfect lots of places.

Mike Wieger  [3:11] 
Yeah mobile unit one magnet antenna right on the top and they even have them with GPS so that when you’re out of cell phone service range you can send messages and people can track your your trip they can log into a website and track everything so might be a cool addition you know something in the future to think about

Jim Collison  [3:26] 
you never

know you never know. We last week we talked about besides ham radio we talked a lot about the the Gobi Bluetooth thermometer and micrometer that I’ve gotten for the cigars. Got a bunch more cigars and by the way, well we’ll talk about those in episodes here in the future but that high grommets has really worked out well Mike I put the I attached it to let me go big screen on this. So folks can maybe this will help with it. So I attached it here to my fire. I think this is a fire seven. I don’t know if you can see the temps Yeah, it’s hard to see okay it is well it’s six 1970 which is just perfect right you want cigars at 70 degrees and 70% humidity and it’s really cool because I just put this on my desk I put the little hack on this thing so the screen never goes off. If you didn’t know you could do that on your on your Android devices. There’s a little developer hack that you can do that will keep them constantly on and I’ve just set it up right on my desk here. And it’s just a reminder how beautiful it is when your cigars are both 70 degrees and 70% humidity. It took me a while to get get all figured out and balanced. That was a lot of fun. Much like your your ham radio gig from last week I was moving around Bova packs and I’ve got some I’ve got some gel packs that you put you know you put distilled water in all these things. And it’s just a challenge right to try and get the perfect temperature and the perfect humidity in there. And I think I’ve achieved it on both sides. And now both both human doors are full and I went out bought he bought a plastic flat plastic tub for one of them can deliver one was not holding it the basically the results of the high ground or test from last week would not hold the humidity highest I could get it was maybe 63% can. And that’s just not going to work. So I went down to Walmart for $11 I bought a plastic tub that seals on both sides. Through those in there, set it up, locked it down the $11 humidor that’s plastic and you can see through works great. So you don’t have to buy a big expensive is Aaron we’re probably going to talk about with the van you don’t always have to buy the most expensive options, right? To get some things done and show that micrometer is working out really, really well. And kind of wish it was Wi Fi in the sense that I could see it from work, but that’s a bad obsession. So maybe it’s good.

Mike Wieger  [5:46] 
I’m glad it works. Because the one thing I thought about after this show I didn’t really think of during the show is that you know you’ve got that in a very small place that’s at 70% humidity I didn’t know if that humidity might affect it at all like you know kind of that high moisture content my get in there. So it’s great that it stays sealed and it’s working for you and and that the Bluetooth you know I think you’re right. I think Bluetooth is probably what you want and it’s right behind you. So it’s perfect for your setup right there

Jim Collison  [6:09] 
now works out well it goes on the fire. So a great a great setup. And it’s something I’d recommend links for all that are in last week’s show notes. So the average guy.tv slash HGG 411 if you want to do it well, we’ve talked to already. Aaron Lawrence is back and of course Aaron is one of our favorite guests on Home Gadget Geeks. Aaron Welcome back.

Erin Lawrence  [6:29] 
Hello, guys. Thanks for having me back.

Jim Collison  [6:31] 
Super good to have you. You teased us at the end of the last time we had you on you’re like, Hey, I’m thinking about making this. You know this van, the in. I call it an RV but what would you call it?

Erin Lawrence  [6:44] 
I call it a van. And it’s legitimately a van. It’s it’s a large van, but it’s just a van. It’s not an RV. It’s not fancy. It doesn’t have bump outs or bunks or anything like that. It is really just we’d like to call it this stealth fan. Because if I didn’t have a box on top for gear, I mean it would look like some carpet layers fan or some tradesmen fan. Well, it was right. You bought it?

Jim Collison  [7:13] 
Yeah, it was it was carpet it was it was that right?

Erin Lawrence  [7:16] 
It’s exactly. It’s a carpet layers van. It’s a 2007 dodge sprinter. And I’ve learned since that, because there’s dodge sprinter and Mercedes Sprinter. And I was like oh, too bad. We didn’t get the Mercedes. But I guess dodge actually took over selling the Mercedes Sprinter vans in North America and branded them as dodge up until I think it’s 2008 when Mercedes kind of came back into the North American market was like, we’ll take our branding back. Thanks very much. So our van has a Mercedes engine in it. It’s built by Mercedes, it’s all Mercedes except for the emblem on the front and the emblem on the steering wheel and the emblem on the back. But so when I go to get an oil change, I pay Mercedes prices.

Mike Wieger  [8:01] 
Oh, ouch.

Jim Collison  [8:02] 
Yeah, we will throw that up on the screen here. And it really it kind of is you know it, you’re right. It’s stealth in nature, you wouldn’t kind of know that it’s a camper, Van or RV, whatever, whatever you want to call that it’s both fit that, you know, fit fitted and built out on the inside. We’ll talk some more about that coming up. Yes. Have you been camping before? I mean, what, why all of a sudden, and why not just buy one?

Erin Lawrence  [8:27] 
Great question. So why not buy one was that a newer, already built out camper van can run, you know, for the same size, same type of van that we have that dodge sprinter or the Mercedes Sprinter, the can run at Grand and up. And that’s like Canadian or American, it’s still a lot of money. So we looked at it and priced it out and realized that it was just out of reach for what we wanted to do. So what we did was we used an RV rental website, kind of in our RV sharing websites. There’s a site called outdoor ZI think that serves the US outdoors, he also serves Canada and then there’s another version called RVZRV. Ease Ed why I think calm. And it basically lets people whose are V’s are sitting in their driveways, they’re not using them, you know, they take their RV or their camper van or whatever out two or three times a year. And the rest of the time it sits around. It’s it’s basically Airbnb for RV. So we tried this site last summer, and I had an opportunity to rent a camper van. And we chose a camper van because I didn’t want to have to worry about driving some massive rig and learning how to do cornering and you know, changing the way I’m doing braking and everything like that. So we just wanted something kind of small and compact that was going to be comfortable. And we rented a Mercedes Sprinter and had it for the weekend. And just really fell in love with the experience. We were diehard tenders before. never had any interest in our being, you know, always packed all our gear into a car, a small SUV, and we were perfectly happy with that. And then we took this camper van out for exactly one weekend. And then it was like, This is fantastic. We should do this. But because the pre built RV is or camper bands were very expensive. We started thinking okay, well what can we do? And then I started researching fan life, which for anyone out there who has had any curiosity will know if you go search van life on Instagram, on Twitter, on YouTube anywhere. It’s crazy. Have either of you guys done this? No, no,

Mike Wieger  [10:40] 
it’s like a whole community of people doing exactly what you’re doing.

Erin Lawrence  [10:43] 
Exactly. It’s it’s a community. It’s a movement. It’s a phenomenon. And it ties into that whole, you know, tiny houses and small thing and downsizing. It’s all under the same umbrella. So I think we kind of you for us, it wasn’t the reason behind it. But it’s sort of tied into that. So I mean, there’s a wealth of information out there that if you’re thinking about building your own van, there’s so much out there in terms of resources and advice and information and videos and tutorials. So we started getting into this after we took this fan out for the weekend. And we’re like, this doesn’t seem that difficult. My husband is extremely handy. I I’m a good labor, and an excellent designer. He’s like the engineering brains, though, I have to admit. So we just started talking about what’s it going to look like and what do we want to put in it? How would we design it? What features Do we want it to have? And just sort of kept our eyes open for event and ended up finding a used one on Kijiji? And, you know, within the space of like 24 hours had bought this fan.

Jim Collison  [11:50] 
Wow. Did you did you find? Did you have? like we mentioned this kind of a stealth van? Did you have something else in mind? And when this came along, had to kind of change your mind a little bit? Or was this what you were kind of what you were looking for.

Erin Lawrence  [12:05] 
My mind was totally influenced by Instagram, I’ve seen all these beautiful Instagram photos where you know the back doors are open or your you see the photos out through the windows in this van with the beautiful curtains and they’re at the beach or the mountains and just all the lights pouring and flooding in. So I really wanted a van with lots of windows. And our van had zero windows except for the drivers windows, the cab windows. And I thought okay, well good. The first thing we should do is add some windows here because that’ll really make it nice. And that was not meant to be in so many ways we couldn’t find aftermarket windows. When we did find aftermarket windows getting them shipped to Canada was an absolute nightmare. Most places wouldn’t ship and or they have distributors in Canada who of course mark up the windows to an exorbitant price. So price this out of it. And then you know just when we found people who we thought, Okay, well, if we can get some from a junkyard or whatever, can we get somebody to install them. It’s kind of I hate to say this was kind of a flaky industry. And we just couldn’t, we couldn’t put the windows together with the installation that we needed and, and really be assured that we were going to have the structural integrity still of the van. So I probably spent like almost two months off and on just looking and Kijiji and calling junkyards and reaching out to manufacturers and stuff. And it just I finally just went, this is not meant to be it’s not going to happen. And we’ll just have to adapt. So we started adapting

Jim Collison  [13:45] 
after the build. And I’ll show a picture of that here. And this may be a good one to come back to YouTube for to watch. Do you think if you put windows in now? I mean, would you want to after the build? type? You kind of built it on around? no windows? Yeah, you be fine without him now and just kind of be like, Well, okay, maybe the next one? Or what, if you came to the US, you’d said in your blog post, you know, maybe if you came to the US you do it, would you still do it,

Erin Lawrence  [14:12] 
I don’t think I’d put them in this van. If I did, I would put one in the sliding door. But you’re right, we built the interior of the van around not having windows. So there’s a really nice, it’s technically a FIFO Spanish tile backsplash in the kitchen. And there’s a sink cabinet along the other wall. And that sort of backs on to the large side sliding door. So if I was going to put in a window, I would put it on that side. And in theory, it would be fairly easy to just put it in that door because we haven’t really done any construction with that door. So I could do that. I wouldn’t want to ruin my my backsplash and the overhead building cabinet that we put in in the kitchen by trying to wedge a window in there. The other option we could do easily again, if we were you know, down in the states and, and the stars aligned, we could put two windows in the very back doors, which again might be an option. So but we’ve been out with it a bunch of times. And you know, when you’re parked when you’re camping, when you’re at a campground or with some friends, you’ve got all the doors thrown open anyway, so you’re getting the light, you’re getting the breeze, it’s just, you know, it would be nice to have a little more open area at night time, because we usually will close the doors up and lock it up just for safety depending on where we are. But we put in a max fan to compensate for that. So we’ve still got that airflow in the fan and some of the breeze moving.

Jim Collison  [15:42] 
Talk a little bit about that max fans. So sit at the top of the vehicle, right? And then what kind of technology do you have for that? As far as what can it do?

Erin Lawrence  [15:50] 
Yeah, so it’s kind of we did some research into this. And it’s sort of the gold standard of the gold standard of ventilation for

Jim Collison  [15:58] 
camper vans and our fees, when it’s important, you gotta have it, right.

Erin Lawrence  [16:02] 
They they came highly recommended, again, from the research that we did, that was the one everybody said work the best easy to install. And I mean, when you’re cutting a hole in the roof of your vehicle, you know, with a metal saw, it’s kind of intimidating, you want to have a good product, you want to get it right, you want to be sure you know what you’re doing so. So the van be, or the fan basically has two settings, you can have it so that it’ll blow air out of the van. If you’re cooking inside or sleeping inside, it’s nice to have it sort of venting the air out of the van to prevent condensation. If it gets warm in there, kind of when you got the doors closed in your sleeping, it’s nice to have the air blowing in because it cools off the area and just keeps things circulating as well. So it’ll do both of those things. It comes with a remote control. And we haven’t had good luck getting the remote control working. And initially, we were thinking that it was broken. And we’re like, Well, how do you parrot What? How do you get it connected? So I called max fan and had to ask them like our remotes not working? What are we supposed to do with this. And I guess, the infrared sensor that’s built in to the fan. It’s not uncommon, I guess for it only to be able to be accessed from certain angles, which tends to as we’ve now found out, be basically straight underneath it. So I can now make the remote work. But I have to be standing directly under the fan, which seems kind of counterintuitive to a remote control. But it does, let me set the speed and the temperature. And it’ll give you a little bit of feedback. There’s sort of some digital information on the remote that’s not on the controls on the fan. So we’re still learning our way through that.

Mike Wieger  [17:47] 
Maybe an IR blaster in your future that you could use from the bed, right? Stick that IR blaster right up on that sensor.

Erin Lawrence  [17:54] 
It’s a good idea. Actually a little amplification of signal might be helpful.

Jim Collison  [17:57] 
Just to get it get it down. Right, you know, yeah, yeah.

Mike Wieger  [18:00] 
So Jim showing the picture. I think you talked about this a little bit in your blog post. But so you’re showing that fan? And then obviously the walls we talked about? How do you go about putting kind of the the walls and the ceiling into a van? Because I’m thinking of like a house for you to screw the studs. I don’t think there’s studs if maybe there are and then you don’t want to go like obviously punch out through the outside of the van on accident. So how does that process all work?

Erin Lawrence  [18:22] 
So that’s a great question. Because I was mystified by this myself initially. And these type of bands, when you buy sort of these work vans or panel vans, they have metal ribs on the inside. So they’re kind of like the structural two by fours and a house or in you know, a building, but they’re made of metal, they’re sort of pre drilled with holes. So we put basically wood along those metal ribs. And that that gave us a surface to drill into into work into. So we use think it was bolts. This is a little engineering question that my husband on that again, I was I was screwing things in. But I’m not the engineer. But we put up these ribs. And then that sort of gave us that surface to attach things to so we attach the bed frame, and could that indefinitely with bolts. And then it also gave us a surface to screw the wood paneling and that we used to just do the sidewalls.

Mike Wieger  [19:23] 
That’s really cool. And then everything. So you didn’t have any mounting issues when it came to like wait on those they hold up pretty well, when you’re when you’re going right to those kind of metal studs will call them.

Erin Lawrence  [19:33] 
They do it’s actually pretty durable. Um, we did have some concerns. And again, something we learned about is we opted to spray foam the van before we put the walls up. So we put up those wooden ribs, and then we took it to a place that will basically just spray foam the whole inside. And a lot of people on these van forums will tell you, hey, just get a bunch of cans of Spray Foam Insulation you can do it yourself. Problem is, if you do this wrong, it will actually warp the outside of your van because of the heat generated by that foam expanding and filling all those cracks and stuff. It actually warps the metal on the outside of the van. So you can search for this on Google and see all these people who basically bought you know, two dozen cans of spray foam and try to do it themselves. And the outside of their van looks like popcorn.

Jim Collison  [20:22] 
Oh, so

Erin Lawrence  [20:23] 
having read that, I just thought you know if that’s a terrible idea. And by the time you buy all that spray foam anyway, I might as well pay someone I think it was about five or 600 bucks to spray foam the whole inside? And then I know it’s done right? And if it’s not, quite frankly, it’s on them. So, but we found someone who does spray foam vehicles for a living like that’s their business here. So we had an expert do it. And I would definitely do that. Again. That was a wise decision. In my opinion.

Jim Collison  [20:51] 
We we hear the two dogs that you have in the back? Oh, no, no, you’re fine. You’re fine. But you built one of the things is you acquired one of them right during this business. So kind of started with one doggie door, as we see in the picture you have kind of two was that when you think about the design process? How much do you think you changed from the initial design? Once you started getting kind of into this and like oh, that actually doesn’t work or that’s not practical, or we need to change it. I know that kind of changed the configuration of your seating a little bit when you put that to that that second doggie door and how much considerations you have to put into that and the engineering and the design,

Erin Lawrence  [21:27] 
we thought we were kind of debating whether we should put in a candle underneath the bed in the cabin area. And we thought you know what, let’s not let’s just put in storage and we’ll kind of leave it and then when we travel will travel with the dog kennel. We did that once we took one road trip with the dog kennel just kind of in the cabin area. But you can’t get around like we had to move. It’s basically where you see that little stump stool in between the two cabinets, which is sort of the main walkway of the van, the dog kennel took up that entire space. So anytime we wanted to actually use the bandwidth to take the candle out, put it in the back, you know live in the main area and then put the candle back in when we had to move the dog. So in hindsight, we probably should have just put in a kennel in the first place. Then when we got the second dog, we realized we’re definitely not traveling with two dog kennels. So let’s do this, right. So we had built in these beautiful built ins underneath the bed and there was all these sort of little square cubbies for different baskets and different shelves and things like that. And you know, after we got the second dog, we realized that was a bad idea. So ripped all that out, ripped out basically the whole bed structure, which is sort of the back half of the van and rebuilt it essentially. So we built a large double doors, dog kennel which latches closed fits both dogs, they’ve got plenty of room to sit, stand, lay down, move around both of them. And it keeps them safe as well as we’ve got a nice dog bed, and there’s some padding, really safe for them. And then it also gave us the opportunity to sort of reconfigure the seating area. So what we did is we put in a basically a pullout table underneath the bed. So there’s a little flip up door right underneath the bed. And there’s a butcher block table that will just sort of pull out and then their seating on either side of the table. So one of them is sort of a built in bench seat. The other is this wooden foam stool we have that actually looks like a slice of tree basically like a giant log.

Mike Wieger  [23:37] 
I thought that’s what it was actually what I was looking at it. So yeah, that’s foam.

Erin Lawrence  [23:41] 
It’s foam. It’s basically 100% foam, I found it on sale at a retailer in in Canada called Simon’s Canadians will be familiar with it. But you know, got it for like 40 bucks or something stupid like that. And just thought like, I should have bought three or four of them. Because it’s your seat it we’ve used it as a table like the between the two main captain’s chairs, we’ve pulled them out and use them around the campsite. And they were nothing. So if if anything ever did happen in the van, if there was ever an accident or a sudden break,

you know, those stools flying around are going to hurt anybody so completely foam. Totally, and you can lift them with two fingers, they’re still late.

Jim Collison  [24:21] 
Yeah. In your post, you talked a little bit about the furniture, I’m a little more interested in the electricity setup that you have a little more on the tech. So talk a little bit about and this is kind of something you’re continuing to add on to as well. So maybe talk about where you started with power, maybe some of the why the outlets you put in. And some you you alluded to that a little bit earlier, but talk a little bit about the power. So

Erin Lawrence  [24:43] 
we knew we didn’t want shore power, we didn’t want to have to rely on plugging in when we went camping, we wanted sort of our own power. So we installed just basically a simple auxiliary battery. And it’s connected to the main battery in the van. And when we drive both three hours at a stretch that fully charges the auxiliary battery, that auxiliary battery can give us depending on how much we’re drawing, I’d say somewhere between like 16, maybe 12 to 16 hours of power. And that’s us running the max fan. The fridge which we also put in we put in a large truck fridge, the marine pump, which powers the sink and the water flow. And the lights that we put it We also put in some color changing LED light strips with of course, you know a remote control where I can play around with the lights. And they’re assigned to different zones. So we can have different lights in different zones, we can have some on some off, all remote controllable. So everything’s powered by that battery, the thing we have started to realize is that, especially if we’re charging our phones, charging laptops, which we’re often doing when we’re on the road, it’s not quite enough power for us. So we’re in the process of adding solar. So we’ve got a solar converter, I guess, trying to think of that’s not the right word for it, solar controller. So we’re going to put two solar panels on the roof. And we got those from a company called energy. And again, doing the research that we did, Reggie was kind of one of the companies that came up as being the one you want the one you want to work with, they’ve got really good quality stuff. So we got two panels that are just hopefully this weekend is going to go up on the roof of the van. Those will then power the battery, in addition to it being powered by the driving of the van, the running of the van. So we’ve kind of got redundancy in there, in that if we’re not driving, it’ll get powered by the sun. If it’s cloudy, we can drive the van and still have enough power. The other thing we might do is add a second battery. And that’s probably going to be pretty realistic, because when we go camping, we tend to sit and park for you know, most of the weekend, two or three days. So it’s nice to not have to, you know, pack everything up, strap everything down, we got to go out and drive for two hours to power up the batteries. So that would be nice to have a little more reliable power.

Mike Wieger  [27:28] 
It looks like you’ve got a power almost a place to plug in a bunch of stuff. Or maybe it’s switches, it’s right on the side of the sink, what kind of unit is that. And with that running.

Erin Lawrence  [27:37] 
So there’s us, our switch panel is on the side of the sync cabinet. And what there’s a couple things in there. So those are the main shut off switches, I guess, for all of the lights in there. We’ve got a couple of extra switches on there for other things that we’re hoping to add later. But the other thing we have plugged in there, right now, there’s a nine volt basically a car charger, cigarette later adapter plug in there, and it’s plugged into our cell phone booster. So this was the other thing that we wanted to add was because again, we tend to either have to or want to work while we’re on the road, or at least stay connected. And you know, when you’re out and remote Canada, cell phone signals aren’t the best. So I did a bunch of research on cell phone boosting technology. And there’s all kinds of options out there. So I opted to try out a couple of devices from sure call. And they have two devices that I’ve tried out. One is the I’m going to get the name room here. So let me just double check it. And one of them is basically a built in device. So the antenna gets attached to the roof, it’s permanently attached the power, you can either wire it into your battery, or plug it in using that nine volt. And there’s sort of a, I guess, an interior antenna that lives inside the van and you can stick it somewhere permanently. And what that allows you to do is basically the closer you get to that interior antenna, it boosts your cell phone signal. So the last time we tried it out, we were in a remote area out and BC, I was getting maybe one bar of service if I was lucky. So we powered up this built in booster antenna, and ended up getting three or four bars as soon as I got close to the antenna. So it really helps especially you know, if we’re working like we’re hot spotting off our phones, we need that additional, you know, upload and download power. So that was really handy. The built in devices called the fusion to go three. We also tried another device, which is called the end range. And it’s a portable cell phone booster. So anybody could put this in their car, it’s basically a magnetic antenna that just goes on the roof. There’s another entity carrier antenna that just sits on your dash, you can clip it to the vent, and you just put your phone near it or attach the phone to it, it can also act as a little vent clip or event mount. And again, it’ll boost the cell phone signal for you. So I found that was really helpful not just if I need to keep in touch with calls or texts, but when we’re trying to work using our laptops or hot spotting as well.

Mike Wieger  [30:26] 
So how big is that antenna than the one that you have currently installed? It’s kind of more permanent?

Erin Lawrence  [30:30] 
Yeah, the bigger one I would say is about it’s probably close to 12 inches tall. not okay. I’m making signs on the camera, but not the most people can see that spout.

Jim Collison  [30:41] 
You can use centimeters to if you want. That’s okay. No.

Erin Lawrence  [30:43] 
Canadians don’t actually.

Jim Collison  [30:46] 
Okay. Oh, that’s all? That’s good to hear. Yeah.

Erin Lawrence  [30:51] 
Yeah, there you go. You’ve heard it here first. So yeah, that one’s a bit bigger. The portable and range version is more of like a shark fin and I’d say it’s probably only five or six inches tall. And you can you know, magnet it to the top, take it on, take it off, whatever you need to do with it, move it around from vehicle to vehicle, it’s, it’s pretty convenient. And helpful.

Jim Collison  [31:12] 
Those are. Both of those are in the video, by the way. So if you go out to the show notes, watch the video, you can see pictures of both of those. I was looking for a few of those on your post, I couldn’t find them. So Mike, sorry to interrupt there. Go ahead.

Mike Wieger  [31:26] 
No, I was gonna say So does it cover does it provide pretty good coverage for pretty much inside the van. So anyway, you’re sitting in the van, or what’s the range on the inside

Erin Lawrence  [31:34] 
radio. So the more portable booster, which is called the end range is really just meant for one cell phone at a time. So you want to be using one phone kind of in contact with that antenna to get the best signal. In my testing, you know, if you’re if you’re in in front of it, basically, if you’re sitting kind of back in your seat, you’re still getting decent boosting out of it. The fusion to go three, which is the largest more built in option, you can basically be anywhere inside the van and get a good signal. I again, I found that the closer you are to the antenna, which makes sense, the better signal you get. But it’s designed to boost multiple phones inside a larger vehicle.

Mike Wieger  [32:18] 
And are they carrier specific? Like you have to get the right one for whichever carrier you have.

Erin Lawrence  [32:22] 
Great question. Carrier agnostic is what they call that. Okay, so it will work with any carrier in Canada, the US and Mexico? I think it is. And just whatever you’re using, it’s just going to amplify that. And the other thing that I really wanted to be clear on when I was doing this, this research is, you know, is it going to get me a signal anywhere? And the answer is no, you you have to have some kind of signal to start with. And it will boost what’s there. If you’re in an area that is completely dead, and not at all covered by you know, cell towers, and you’re not getting any signal at all, it’s not going to create a signal where there was none. But if you’ve got a little bit of signal, it helps you boost it. So it does give you a bit more coverage in sort of those thinner coverage areas.

Jim Collison  [33:12] 
Joe kind of alludes to that in the chat room, he says there’s someone who lives in the sticks, I did a bunch of research on options for this area. And it’s entirely subjective to what bands your provider using and what your device supports. And and like you said, Aaron, you can’t make something out of nothing. So it does it is going to require at least some kind of signal in the area. Right? Exactly. Yeah. Did you? You mentioned the solar panels? And are you going to permanently mount those to the roof in? And I would have thought or two things. One, I would have thought it may be easier in each setup to just pull them out, set them up, get them in the optimal spot to make sure they’re getting sun. And to even though it maybe you can answer this question a little bit later. Did you retro it at all for plugging? I mean, there may be some times when you go to a site and there’s a plug in. And it’s just easier to just plug in. So Can Can you do that as well. So those two questions,

Erin Lawrence  [34:08] 
I think if we were going to do a second van, which is becoming highly likely

that addictive,

Mike Wieger  [34:16] 
I was gonna say when you get in apparently you go you go deeper. is a great go side by side.

Erin Lawrence  [34:23] 
Um, I would I would probably put into our power again, just for that reason that either, you know, if it’s parked in the driveway, for example, and you just want to keep the batteries topped up in the fridge running because you might be using it every weekend. You don’t have to take your food or your beer out. You know, that would be a good idea. And like you say, Jim, if you if you roll up on some location, and there happens to be a plug in why wouldn’t use it? So I would do that, again. To answer your question about making the solar panels movable, is something we looked at. But just I think for the applications we’re going to we’re using it in and where we’re going to be using it. And we almost just don’t want to have to fuss with it, and figure out how to store them because I understand that solar panels can be a little bit

delicate, I guess.

I’m not sure if the panels we got would be conducive to them kind of coming in coming out getting put up on a stand moving and moving out. With that said, I mean, they’re strapped to the roof of a moving vehicle. So they must be pretty durable. But yeah, we’re going to permanently mountain them onto the roof, we put in a roof rack early in our Renault with the intention that we would possibly put solar up one day. So in hindsight, great, great decision, we don’t have to go back and retrofit that. So yeah, permanently installed, we realized it’s probably not going to be ideal for everything. If we end up in a really shady camp site. You know, we might either have to re park or pull out into some sun over a period of time or just hope the battery carries through. But it’s a bit of an experiment and we’re looking forward to seeing how it goes.

Jim Collison  [36:03] 
This is kind of your the under the bed death storage slash What do they call this in houses the crawl space? Well, no, there’s a space of the certain kind of room I’ll remember here in a second. But all your electronics are kind of down here, right batteries are stored down here, fuel would be stored here some of those other things you’d mentioned. also thinking about a generator. So have you kind of been toying with the idea of strapping one of those on the back or on the top or somewhere to be like, if worse comes to worse, just fire up the generator.

Erin Lawrence  [36:37] 
Yeah, so we got when we got the solar panels, we got a little gadget from the same company from raw energy, and it’s called a phoenix not well, the youtubers will be able to see this, but it’s basically a pop can sized power bank, I guess that you can use to charge whoops, it’s got an AC plug in it, it’s got USB, need better lighting in here. And so it can run it can charge your laptop a couple times it can charge your smartphones a bunch of times. So we thought that might be a good extra option to just have so that we don’t necessarily have to be charging our smartphones in our laptops off the van. So this other thing from Rana G is basically an AC generator. And it’s a lot larger than the Phoenix. So it’s more what, from what it looks like online, I haven’t seen it in person, it looks like it’s more generator sized. If if that makes sense to some of you, but it plugs in. So I mean, you can plug it in, charge it up fully, and then it’s got a ton more power. So we could run a kettle off it, we could run a coffee maker off it, we could, you know, use it for all kinds of other things I could I could run my TV lights off at if I wanted to bring bring my YouTube studio out on the go. So that’s something else we’re looking at. And I’m really curious about how it works and how it could offset some of our power needs in the van. So it’s it’s a bit of a work in progress, because we think you think you know what you’re going to be using in the van and you sort of go, Oh, well, I might charge my phone. And, you know, we might want to turn these lights on. And then you forget that you might want to boil water using a kettle. And that, you know, with certain kettles, you’re drawing way too much wattage, so it’s gonna, you know, it’s basically going to short out your system. So we’re, we’re learning a lot about the electrical process right now on this fan. And we’re we are definitely doing some trial and error.

Mike Wieger  [38:37] 
Does anyone use gas for that kind of stuff on the inside as well? Like, does anyone I mean, I did I imagine it would be dangerous. But does anyone run like a gas to do a kettle, things like that? You just screw on a little propane tank? And you’d be fine.

Erin Lawrence  [38:48] 
Yep, we actually looked at propane. And much like the windows, it was such a difficult process. And just it seems like Not a lot of people are set up for adding aftermarket propane. We would have loved to have added a propane stove and a propane heater. Yeah, you know, and that could have heated water and everything else. But we just couldn’t find a reliable installer, at least in our city here in Canada that could have done it. And then of course, you know, there’s all the blogs and the YouTube channels that will say, well, you can do it yourself. And I just thought you know,

blowtorch, propane tank, do it yourself.

Jim Collison  [39:30] 
I don’t do my own brakes. There’s a reason I don’t do my own brakes. I know. It’s Yeah, so you’re sure

Erin Lawrence  [39:37] 
there are plenty events that have propane power and a lot of RV is to be quite frank. But you know, those those come with generally speaking, or or they’ve been added properly by the proper people, and it just wasn’t something we could we could line up for ourselves again, you know, in Van number two, if I bought a van and it had been propane, I would love it, that would be amazing. If we were in a different city where we could more reliably, you know, have it installed correctly, I would totally take a look at that. Because I think having a propane stove in there would be brilliant.

Mike Wieger  [40:15] 
Because what do you use now for for any sort of cooking,

Erin Lawrence  [40:18] 
we have a camp stove. So we will do most of our cooking, outside picnic table kind of stuff. We do have because we put in an AC inverter, which is connected to the battery. So the AC inverter is essentially meant to allow you to run AC appliances and other things inside the van. It converts the battery power the DC power to AC power. And I think I’m getting my electrical one on one, right? Yep, thank you. Um, but what happened is when we started plugging stuff into it, so we basically connected an AC power bar to the inverter and then tried plugging stuff into it, and it doesn’t quite work so well yet. So we plugged in a cattle when we were out with it the last time and the cattle basically would turn on and then immediately shut off. And some kind of weird alarm would sound from the inverter. And because because we bought the inverter online and pretty sure we got it off Amazon. It doesn’t come with a manual. You literally get the inverter and you’re supposed to know what to do with it, which is, you know, there are great things you can get off Amazon from overseas. But a lot of them don’t come with instructions and the LED lights were that way to sort of showed up with all that LED light strips, and they all needed to be hard wired in and soldered together. And there’s no instructions. So you’re you’re kind of left to figure some of this stuff out on your own. Oh, yeah,

Mike Wieger  [41:49] 
that’s the fundamental right? It was probably half the fun. Did you guys have fun with the entire process of kind of going through all this? You know, testing something? Okay, that didn’t work like the dog kennel. And things like that. Was it? Was it an enjoyable process to kind of go through that?

Erin Lawrence  [42:03] 
I think so I really liked it. And the whole reason we bought an older van in the first place was so that if we screwed something up badly, we weren’t ruining a $60,000 fan, which is honestly how much a brand new 2018 2019 Sprinter van costs. So I just thought if we’re going to learn this process, let’s learn it on something that’s a bit older, that we can learn from our mistakes, but still have you know, a van that’s you know, that we’re not going to completely ruin or at least be disappointed if we you know, punch the side out

Jim Collison  [42:39] 
doing something, I think you’re finding the value. It’s like your first child, right? You make all your mistakes, like on your first child. And then the second one comes along and benefits from it all and I think you’re going to find you’re going to find that as well. We have some questions from the chat room, I’m gonna get to them in just a second. Aaron, I want to ask you about the, the in dash navigation slash or whatever you put in there, talk a little bit about what you I’m assuming this was aftermarket and aftermarket product as well.

Erin Lawrence  [43:05] 
Definitely. So we came with a basic am FM radio. And we just thought, you know, for the type of road tripping we do, which is, you know, we usually cap it at about five hours of driving a day a day if we’re going on a road trip. But we thought you know, we’re in remote locations, we want a little bit more entertainment options, we put in a JVC head unit, which is actually tied to an aftermarket backup camera JTC Kenwood backup camera that we also put in so the camera feed will show up in this multimedia had unit screen. But it’s also got, you know, ways it’s also got optional Sirius XM Satellite Radio, which we I didn’t realize that you need to purchase an antenna for that separately. So we bought the head unit and got it on stones, like where’s the satellite radio doesn’t work. So added the antenna for that, which is great. So now we have satellite radio, but it’s also got you know, Apple Car Play, which you can just connect your phone to the dash and it essentially mirrors the screen so it makes it so much easier. So we’ve got radio, we’ve got multimedia, we can play our podcasts, we can listen to satellite, and you know, it’s got the backup camera feed which is great. If I have a complaint about this unit. It’s almost that it does too much. And when you’re trying to drive down the highway or frankly even when you’re parked there are so many things this head unit can do that it’s almost overwhelming there’s so many buttons there’s so many tabs there’s so many things and you know almost all the options are available simultaneously that it can be it can be a little overwhelming so but this this is my my problem my first world problem with my band

Jim Collison  [44:50] 
had you know we when we got my wife 2016 Subaru Outback it’s got a big Navy unit in it every time I’m in the car, okay, got to think through what are the steps so if I want to connect my phone source, okay, my phone can’t find my phone in the list. Do I connected as a phone? Or do I connected as a music device? In that you know, they’re your options very and so you connected Okay, I gotta go back over turn up. I’m is great, all the things you can do. But it can become a little kind of overwhelming at times. Ne Ne NAF features in there. So are you getting any kind of you said ways? So I’m assuming? Is that coming off your phone? Is it getting the GPS that way? Or how’s that working,

Erin Lawrence  [45:28] 
I’ve been using all the nav off my phone, just because I haven’t had time to sort of go in and see how the other NAB options work. It’s my assumption that either we need, like the cellular the data, signal and the extras to make that stuff work. And I just thought 90% of the time when we’re in Canada or the US, I can get all that stuff on my phone anyway. So why would I pay extra for nav on the van screen when I don’t need it, and I can I can mirror my phone to it anyway, so I haven’t explored that option because it just feels a bit redundant.

Mike Wieger  [46:03] 
That car play has to be really nice especially for like what you just said with a radio that maybe it’s built in UI isn’t the best then you have car player Android whatever they call Android Car Play and just gives you a nice clean interface that you could still run ways off or anything like that. Do you does that have to run via cord or does it go over Bluetooth when you’re doing car play

Erin Lawrence  [46:23] 
our version is courted so it’s got just like a USB cable out that we have a charging cable attached to and I just find a game when we’re in the van I think leave this stuff plugged in when you can because there’s going to be plenty of time for you to be off off power. So I will use that most often just one is plugged in and you know then you’re not wasting the battery.

Jim Collison  [46:47] 
We have a couple questions in the chat room Joe asks maybe you can find a camper that scrap and part it out Have you thought about kind of tearing out a camper that’s got the that stuff in it and maybe consuming some of it in

Erin Lawrence  [46:59] 
hundred percent and this is something else I’ve learned about sprinter vans in particular is that they are coveted they’re hard to get they are hard to find used and even at a junkyard if you can find them they’ve been stripped they because they’re so hard to get there workhorse vans that people tend to hang on to for life and yeah it’s just I didn’t mean to choose a van that was going to be so difficult to you know to work with or find parts for but this this is the van I ended up with I’m we might actually go with I think it’s a Ford Transit if we do van number two or what’s the other one I think there’s a Dodge version and you know we love the sprinter it drives great i mean this one has like 250 or 300,000 kilometers on it so it’s pretty durable it’s pretty long lasting but yeah there hard they’re hard to find used we kind of lucked into the one we ended up buying I didn’t realize it at the time I do realize it now they’re they’re pretty coveted.

Mike Wieger  [48:11] 
So because of that though Do you find a lot of information online like tutorials how to help things like are they coveted by people like you who are converting them into camping vans are they coveted? Because they make great work bands as well.

Erin Lawrence  [48:24] 
I’d say it’s probably more than work than option. Okay, I think I think people will hang on to these vans for so long that you know, like the carpet layer that we bought ours off of. He hung on to it for as long as he wanted to before he was ready to trade up for something else and like he listed it and it was sold, you know in basically 24 hours. So

it’s tough. Yeah.

Jim Collison  [48:49] 
Well I think to Joe’s question about parting out it wasn’t thinking about trying to find another transit part out but have you thought about finding a traditional camp RV you know one of those toe behinds, oftentimes those have you know those have cabinets or cookware or things you could you know, kind of cut out of there and install scrap the thing and just keep the best parts out of it. Just think about that.

Erin Lawrence  [49:16] 
Well funny you mention it, because I’ve been surfing Kijiji secretly slash not secretly for van number two, I found a 1979 GMC I don’t know what they’re causing its class C but it’s it’s one of the the smallest RV that you can get. That’s still a drive, driving one drive in one. The guy wants 1500 dollars for it. And it looks like it’s in decent shape. And I’m like, Oh my God, we could get this fan we could tidy it up. It must be it must run like and I’m just like my husband is just like you are crazy. Like you need to call down.

Mike Wieger  [50:00] 
You gotta be careful. HGTV is gonna contact you you’re going to be like the new fixer upper. You’re going to like start this new thing where you just go in and fix people’s bands up and you know it’s going to be the Aaron Lauren style of vans. That’s great.

Erin Lawrence  [50:13] 
I found that I found another one and 1989 again more of a van van like that they call those like the van again or the like it’s a it’s a GMC van. Everybody

Jim Collison  [50:27] 
so like a conversion like it attritional conversion but yeah,

Erin Lawrence  [50:29] 
it’s kind of like the older like 80s 90s like rounded MC vans, but I think it’s got a bit of a pop roof on it. Anyway same thing again like they’ve got it all tricked out with propane and stuff. So I’m like and I think they only want 10 grand for it. So I’m like again, I’m like honey, honey, can we can we and he’s like no stop. And then he’s like well How much did they offer? Here?

Jim Collison  [50:58] 
We had an 80 six Ford conversion van that had a seat it would you know the back would lay down into a bed and then a two captains chairs and a table in the center. No no cooking equipment in there but it did a TV console. And then and so with five kids a conversion van like that was super helpful and we traveled right? We did we did that. That’s kind of the way we did it. We got it done. Andrew it asked about it your camp stove propane, butane or something else. What are you using on camp stuff?

Erin Lawrence  [51:32] 
It is a white gas, I guess is what it is. So it’s an older Coleman stove. And it’s got a little tank that sort of just lives on the front of it and hooks into the stove mechanism. We just fill it up with we call it white gas up here. I’m not sure where it can’t fuel i think is what?

Jim Collison  [51:53] 
butane that’s probably butane, I think so if it’s camping, if it’s the camping is that the butane is what we put lighters too, right? My team like here, at least when you’re buying you can buy portable propane tanks or the butane almost look like spray paint hands at least Yeah, here the portable ones. You take off the top and slide it right into that Coleman and screw it in. I have small little ones that have just a little tiny tip on the end and you turn them upside down to fill up the lighters like if you’re, you know, if you got like a cigarette lighter, those go in there and do that. Andrew also asks Aaron, have you looked at the 12 volt kettles, he says those used to be a thing.

Erin Lawrence  [52:32] 
Oh, I have not, we’ve been trying to find kettles that are under 200 watts, because apparently that’s the maximum that our inverter can handle at one time. And that the kettle that we’ve been trying to set with is exactly 200 watts, which apparently is not going well. So I will check that out if if such a thing exists. And I would, I would totally get one of those.

Jim Collison  [52:55] 
Yeah, I want to see a hot water storage tank. So I want to also not only solar panels, but I want to see thermal panels up there as well that’s heating your water installed in a hot water tank, get a little room in the back, we we were looking at the we were looking at the back of your van, let me see if I can bring that back up again and find the picture. I think,

Erin Lawrence  [53:15] 
oh, there’s totally room and we’ve got this portable shower solution, we opted not to put a bathroom in the van. Because, again, from the research that I did, everybody said, You always think you want a bathroom in there. And then you get one in there. And then nobody wants to clean it out. So it’s like all that, yeah, there’s a bathroom in there, but don’t use it. And if you do use it don’t use number two, you know, exactly. And so nobody ends up using their bathroom for that reason, right. So and I just thought that makes so much sense. Like I don’t want to have to deal with that and pumping out the tanks and you know the smell and stuff. And I just thought we’re off. And usually somewhere where there is a bathroom. So let’s not bother with that. But we got this. It’s basically a black rubber tank that’s got a hose attachment to it, almost like the sprayer hose and your kitchen sink. And you leave this you fill it with water, leave it out in the sun, and the sun heats up the black rubber and heats the water inside, I mean it’s not hot, but it’s nice, it’s warm. And then you just use the hose attachment to give yourself a shower. So if we do need one, it fits easily in the back, it stores back there, it’s great solution, it also compacts down to like next to nothing. And so that’s that’s our portable shower. So that’d be another

Jim Collison  [54:31] 
another nice Roof Mounted where the tube is flat, or maybe it’s just a series of black tubes where the water sitting up there all day heating up, then it’s already then it’s gravity fed for you at that point. So you just kind of plug into it. And you know,

Erin Lawrence  [54:47] 
a lot of people who do, it’s basically a PVC pipe hack that they will put on the top of the roof rack. And you know, I don’t know what the diameter of the PVC pipe would be, but larger, and then you attach like a hose or a tap attachment to it. And because it’s a black PVC pipe sitting on the roof of your vehicle all day, it keeps it warm. And then when you’re ready for a shower, you just turn it on and the water’s hot or warm.

Jim Collison  [55:12] 
Yeah, we had when we had a pool, we had gotten a there’s a specially made kind of thermal, you know, very flat and you would put it out in the sun and then it had little tiny tubes, right and it would run through it. Start at one end and whatever comes out of your host temperature and then by the time it made it to the other end, it’d be pretty hot and pretty thin and in lights pretty long. So a little longer than your band that that may not be practical. But there are those there are those hacks. I think somebody had said I think let me find it here. I think Tony had said 5.6 million plus posts on Instagram for hashtag van life. So it is do you do you feel you get jealous as you look at some of those pictures? And you’re like, Oh, great. If it was that way? Are you pretty concerned with what you have?

Erin Lawrence  [56:07] 
I’m pretty happy with how this turned out, especially for our first go. We opted to keep things really simple. We opted for you know, straight up white paneling, white cabinets, kept everything really simple and clean, put a little splash in there with those fo Spanish tiles. And we did vinyl, just vinyl roll flooring in there again for durability and simplicity. And I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. I don’t think I would do in terms of like style. And looks I wouldn’t do too much differently next time. Because I think you can add that stuff in with you know, your bedding and throw pillows and seat covers and all that kind of fun stuff. So, but no, we’re pretty happy with it. And the response we’ve been getting, I put it up on Twitter and Instagram today and getting a lot of really flattering comments and compliments and stuff about it. So as a first time, I’m van builder, and I’m really pleased and it’s you know, it’s not just me, that’s like I think I did a good job. But other people seem to be responding to it as well. So I’m pretty, pretty pumped about that.

Mike Wieger  [57:10] 
I texted my wife the link to your article, right as I was sitting here, as we started the show, she responded back and she’s like, Whoa, you know, she’s like, super excited. So my goal when I go up there, I’m sure seems like that is like one of the coolest things ever. Oh, boy.

Erin Lawrence  [57:23] 
I can do it. Anyone can do it.

Mike Wieger  [57:26] 
You have a handy time. Hannah doesn’t have that handy. Have a husband? Yeah. I’m decent. I’m getting better. But no, I’m not the engineer. That’s for sure.

Erin Lawrence  [57:35] 
Yeah. And it does take time. This is the other question everybody asks, and and we thought, you know, we’ll have this done in a couple months, no problem. And it’s been over a year. And that’s mainly because, you know, we’re working on it on the weekends, maybe in the evenings. And then you know, you don’t know what you’re doing. So it’s like you start out, it’s like, oh, yeah, we’ll put the will put the ribs in. It’s like we have the wrong size bolts, or we need these screws instead. Or we need some other kind of tool that we don’t have like just all the tools that we ended up having to buy for this build. And you don’t know until you’re kind of in it. So it’s like Order, order a riveting tool off Amazon and wait two days for it to get there and then realize that it didn’t come with the right size, you know, riveting bit. So now we got to order an extra bit. So it took Yeah, it’s taken over a year. And we’re just, we just basically need to put some of the trim pieces on and some of the finishing work on it. But it’s it’s basically done. But it was it’s a long time, a long time in the making.

Mike Wieger  [58:39] 
Super cool.

Jim Collison  [58:40] 
Ya know that that is really interesting. You also when we think about all the tech, one more thing on the lights you had mentioned, we alluded to this earlier, but the color changing of the lights isn’t necessarily just for mood, right? I mean, what else are you are you finding when you’re out and you got doors open and you’re out be open? Is there some advantage to having the ability to change the light color?

Erin Lawrence  [59:04] 
Yeah, so two things. One is that putting on say like a red or an orange light, it doesn’t tend to draw the bugs as much. Whereas if you have bright white light, the bugs are flying into the van all the time. The other thing I find about color changing lights and I think we might have talked about this before is that if it’s hot, we don’t have air conditioning in this fan. We don’t have heating either. But when it’s hot, I turn the lights blue or green or turquoise or something like that. And it does help me feel like the environment is cooler. I realized it’s probably you know, it’s probably just me and it’s probably just the feeling it’s not it’s not the real deal. But you know, I find that at home when it’s cold and wintry outside if I turn on my smart lights, you know, orange or yellow or red or pink that I feel warmer and cozier. So I find that that in the van really helps the interior climate feel a little more comfortable.

Jim Collison  [1:00:03] 
I do appreciate the bug thing that’s I hate going hike anywhere. You know, I was in the military and I spent a lot of time camping air quotes Yeah. And and I just in and I just kind of learned to really hate that stuff it’s in so when I go camping, if I can do anything to avoid bugs, I’m all for it. I just there’s nothing worse than that. Have you found so you’ve been you’ve camped in it a couple times you’ve got out sleeping in it. It’s the most important let’s let’s be honest, I mean food you can always go to McDonald’s in order something or find it or steal some from the neighbors. You can’t fake sleep right either it’s working for you or it’s not. And so how’s the sleep test?

Erin Lawrence  [1:00:47] 
Yeah, it’s super comfortable. We put in a futon mattress. We There used to be a place here in Calgary where we are that had beautiful futon mattresses. Very affordable price. So that’s what we got and they went out of business like months after we bought the the mattress we ended up buying a double and again because part of our plan was to have just a double size mattress and then we’re going to put a bit of a built in along one of the walls kind of beside the bed. In doing all of our reconfigurations we realized we’re not going to put a built in there a we don’t need it be too much more work. Let’s just not bother. So we thought okay, well let’s upgrade to a queen size mattress will have a little more room is of course there’s two dogs as well that like to get up on the bed. And so we went back to try and get this other futon mattress and found out these guys and closed down. So total sidebar but the futon is supremely comfortable. The other option that we’ve sort of looked at for a mattress is you know one of those mattress online mattress retailers so they’ll deliver it you know rolled up in a box right to your door. Yeah, so I tried I tried one of those must be almost two years ago ago now from a company called Lisa. Hello the Lisa

Mike Wieger  [1:02:03] 
Yeah.

And like that one.

Erin Lawrence  [1:02:07] 
I really did actually and we still have it it’s still our main mattress for in our master bed. And very comfortable so far really durable. So I would look at getting something like that again if we do up to put in a queen size now and make the bed a bit bigger. But it’s it’s so comfortable to sleep in and if we you know have the fan running and the doors a bit cracked or even if we’re just you know laying down having an afternoon nap or something you know I’ve got lots of nice bedding and fluffy pillows and you know they cover and stuff so I’ve really tried to make it a little bit homey

Mike Wieger  [1:02:46] 
yeah we’ve tried to have those companies we have a Casper is one brand and then tufted needle is the other one. We love our Casper but so we had to Casper first in the apartment that we were going to move into this house we got a king size bed with tough needle tough Neil doesn’t have as much support doesn’t work as well for us. But I’d be interested the lease I’ve heard really good things. But everyone I’ve heard who has a Lisa say they’re they’re pretty comfortable. But yeah, so a futon mattress probably works well a little more pliable for that area, if you need to kind of lift it up or do anything probably not as rigid as one of those foam one is going to be.

Erin Lawrence  [1:03:20] 
Yeah, actually, that’s a good point. We didn’t think of that when we put it in. But there have been times where we’ve had to kind of lift it up and move it around. And you’re probably right there with something more like even Elisa mattress for example. Or Casper? Yeah, trying to actually yeah, trying to wedge it into the van like even trying to get it in there. And yeah, I

Jim Collison  [1:03:40] 
gotta kind of taco it right, you gotta

Mike Wieger  [1:03:44] 
eat smaller after you take them out of the packaging. Maybe actually just take the packaging in there and then open it in the van. And that’s right have to do it. You have to

Erin Lawrence  [1:03:53] 
you ever get

Jim Collison  [1:03:55] 
to Tony says, Zionist, I think that’s how you pronounce it. Memory Foam, single peace matters so affordable and very comfortable on Amazon, Tony stuff. So that that might be one you might want to give it a look. I think the fun part about this, Aaron is that you get to kind of experiment, you’re in the price point where, like you said, you’re in the price point where you kind of get to experiment with things and any big blow out is not that big of a deal. Right? You kind of like okay, well we can try this out. Do you? Have you found Have you had any? Well, you just released we’re hot off the press right? that blog post came out today in the video as well. But do you expect maybe to get a few vendors to say Oh, hey, this Canadian blogger lady is now doing you know, camping van stuff. And with his hottest that is on and on on Instagram, you think you might pick up a few offers to try out equipment that way,

Erin Lawrence  [1:04:53] 
I would love to do that. And if we were looking at van number two, I think that would be it would be really fun, we would totally be open to that. And we’ve just had so much fun doing it. Like, you know, we’ve we’ve sort of made choices around the economics of what we’ve been putting in. But it would be really nice to be able to put in, you know, amazing stuff that I wouldn’t have considered otherwise, in Van number two, because I’ve got a little a little more flexibility with the budget. We I think we paid about $9,000 Canadian for the van, which is like $2,000. us. And I guess we put in just right around $10,000 into it. So we are still well well, well under what it would have cost us to buy a brand new, like even a 2017 Sprinter van, we would have been into that for 35 or $45,000. And then had to put in, you know, the money to do the build on top of that. So I feel really good about it. And the other thing we’re starting to do is we’ve had people wanting to you know, to rent the van from us so nice.

Like, hey, why wouldn’t great?

Jim Collison  [1:06:06] 
Yeah, yeah.

Mike Wieger  [1:06:08] 
Is that something you guys would do? trust someone to take that van out?

Erin Lawrence  [1:06:12] 
Yes, we did. We did that last week, okay, we were like,

Mike Wieger  [1:06:17] 
your baby, you put so much time and effort into that thing. That’s that’s especially because you guys built it on your own, you didn’t just buy it right? If you just bought it, you might feel differently. But you mean, the blood, sweat, and tears all went into it?

Erin Lawrence  [1:06:28] 
You hit the nail on the head that I didn’t I couldn’t even articulate but that was it as I saw driving off, and I was just like, take care of our baby. And then I’m like, Oh, this is still a rational. It’s just,

Jim Collison  [1:06:39] 
it’s your first child is your first child, let’s just, I mean, a significant amount of time in construction. And you know, you get into these projects. And you always think, well, in a month or two, I’ll have this thing up and running. And it’s nine months a year. We’ve been talking about this for a while. And I pinged you in the spring Hey house, how’s van coming? You know, we’d like to, we’d like to do a kind of a walkthrough with you. And they always take a longer, right, they always take longer than you think and more than you expect. And so you do you put a lot of time into that. And you’re thinking and you probably even have some systems that are a little Genki, right? They don’t quite work exactly like they’re supposed to, and you read them when you get there. And you know, when this goes out, you got to kind of dance over here and tap against the side of the wall. And you know, and then it comes on, and letting someone especially when they’re paying for it letting someone rent that you’re kind of afraid they’re going to get out there and like, oh, the lights went off, and we can’t get them back on. Yeah, deal.

Erin Lawrence  [1:07:41] 
Yep. And that was Yeah, we spent a little time with them saying like, you know, here’s, here’s how you finish this, and this switches connected to this. And then you know, we’re realizing that we should probably have stuff laid out in there. And, you know, because we’re, it’s one thing for us to know that it’s switch two and four, not switch three and five to get the lights on or whatever. Right. But did your renters have dogs? So is that advantageous for them? Are those that space? They did, actually, and they were, they were pretty pumped about it? Because they said a lot of people don’t want dogs and in RV and camper vans. And we just thought well, you know if if our dogs can can go in here. Yeah. Why? Why wouldn’t we let some

Jim Collison  [1:08:20] 
it’s gonna build some kind of built for him. Right? Yeah. So Aaron, super cool. We’ve had you long enough. But thanks for jumping in here and sharing this. We I’ve been excited. This has been one of those long stories that I’ve been watching you on YouTube. And you haven’t been talking a lot about it on your regular YouTube channel. But we’ve been going kind of back and forth. How are things going? Mike and I have been super pumped when I when I mentioned that you contacted me and you’re like, Okay, it’s time. Yes. So thanks for doing that. As we think about your future the some of the stuff besides the van that you’re working on that you’re doing. You’ve done some pretty great gadget reviews, as of late you do the echo show five, then I stopped right. And I picked up one of those two. Super cool, sorry. I rushed your review on that. But what are you hoping to do? What’s the future look like for you just as folks and you’ve got your YouTube channel has grown even since the last time we saw you. So I What would people look forward to on YouTube if they followed you.

Erin Lawrence  [1:09:17] 
I would say one of the big reviews I have coming probably in the next two weeks or so is one of Samsung’s new 8k TVs. So in the last couple of years, we’ve heard a lot about 4k TV technology, which is four times better than HD. And you know, sharper resolution, much better quality. And you know, we’ve had 4k TVs for basically two or three years. And now we’re already we’ve already doubled the technology. And we’re now at eight K. So Samsung’s just put out their eight K TVs a couple other companies, I want to say Sony’s one of them will be coming out if they don’t already have one. So I was fortunate enough to be able to borrow one of the 8k TVs from Samsung, along with the sound system as well. So that is set up down in my media room. So I’ve been trying that out. And so far, it’s pretty impressive. It’s interesting, though, because we barely have 4k content. And finding AK content is even harder. So all

Jim Collison  [1:10:22] 
the details, exactly. All the reviewers are here, like it’s a struggle to find AK content, but it looks cool.

Erin Lawrence  [1:10:31] 
Well, and you need you know, much like you do with 4k, you need to have the 4k streaming device, the 4k content, the 4k TV, you know, everything has to be 4k for you to get the 4k image at the end of it. And with AK you know, if you can find AK content, there’s no 8k streamers. So you’ve got to kind of make sure you can get the right content through the pipe. And it’s a bit of a challenge. But all that will hopefully be in the review in the next couple weeks. And I’m also reviewing another 4k TV too, which is my house is full of TVs, which is a kind of a weird problem to have

Jim Collison  [1:11:07] 
not a bad thing. Not a bad thing. If folks wanted to follow you on YouTube, how would they find you?

Erin Lawrence  [1:11:11] 
They can find me@youtube.com slash Aaron Lawrence TV and I would love it if they would subscribe because I am very close to hitting a milestone of 20,000 subscribers, which I’m pretty excited about. So come on over to the channel and subscribe

Jim Collison  [1:11:28] 
YouTube subscription has gotten so much better in being able to subscribe and get notified and and I you know I’ve got some folks including you that I follow and it’s nice to come in the evenings I come home and check my subscription. Okay, who’s posted a new video, and I have just enough subscribers that I’ve kind of something to watch every night or a couple videos to watch every night. So thanks for doing that. How do they follow you on Twitter?

Erin Lawrence  [1:11:50] 
I am at TV chick 1313 is one of my handles the one I use for more of my tech stuff is at Aaron LY yc and it’s also at Aaron LYYC on Instagram

Jim Collison  [1:12:02] 
and we’ll track all those down and put them in the show notes make them available to you as well. I think you were Jones in for 10,000 the last time you were on the show and we I think we we didn’t get you there that night but I think within a day or two you are you cross does that is that right?

Erin Lawrence  [1:12:19] 
I think you’re right actually I because I hit 10,000 last November

Jim Collison  [1:12:25] 
Yeah, I think we had john last fall

Erin Lawrence  [1:12:26] 
I think it was last fall Yeah,

Jim Collison  [1:12:28] 
I’m gonna bring on the spring but we wanted to see the van and you’re not ready yet. not ready yet.

Erin Lawrence  [1:12:33] 
So yeah, so I’m pretty I’m pretty pumped I’m gonna it took me about three years to get 10,000 and I’ll hopefully be hitting 20,000 about 10 months later so good. I’m pretty pretty happy with the growth and just just really I just feel really good that people are enjoying the stuff that I’m putting out there and they’re finding it helpful and and that’s the stuff that means the most to me when someone writes a comment on one of the videos that says this actually helped me make my decision or you know, I really like what you’re doing and I’m impressed by the quality whatever it’s it makes it worthwhile

Jim Collison  [1:13:06] 
you know you do a really good job I love watching your videos and look forward to seeing them come out and you know appreciate the the kind of the work that you do. I want to ask you in advance we’re going to put together a Christmas gadget we do it every year around Christmas time if I asked you to come back and we did all the gifts you need to buy around we usually do it late late November just as Black Friday is coming up and some of those things would you join us for our okay all right we’ll get you get you booked on the calendar and in love to hear those things. Aaron a great having you on we will let you drop and then we’ll we’ll finish things always great to have you thanks again appreciate you coming on the show.

Erin Lawrence  [1:13:42] 
Thanks again you too It’s nice chatting with you

Jim Collison  [1:13:44] 
You bet likewise, take care Mike you’re gonna you’re gonna you’re gonna buy one of these bands yeah you know i

Mike Wieger  [1:13:50] 
i was like then if I’m looking over to the left I’ve been doing like sprinter vans everything just been looking all into it product going to buy one but it’s extremely interesting. And then also you know, she mentioned hashtag van life on Instagram. And I went into there and started looking and there is she’s right i mean there is an entire just I think someone mentioned the chat 5.8 million toes. Yeah, it’s just super cool what they’re doing with this stuff.

Jim Collison  [1:14:17] 
Yeah, I could I can totally see you doing this just a little afraid when I saw this I was like oh this sounds This smells like a Wieger

Mike Wieger  [1:14:27] 
walk is it totally coincide it’s just so funny that last week we literally went and got we set it all up we got a system now for the back of our car for all of our camping stuff and now we have it where I take two bins down here it’s everything it’s good to go because we’re we’re going to take the boys camping so I don’t know

Jim Collison  [1:14:44] 
if you like it if you like it was never a big camper

Mike Wieger  [1:14:46] 
so yeah we are we’re big campers we love it we have we just haven’t been able to for the last two years because the boys ages so definitely something we want to get back into. Yeah

Jim Collison  [1:14:55] 
so Aaron pipes and he says so much fun as a whole as a great question. Thanks again for having me on Aaron RUR Welcome she’s she’s a great guest always great to have the ladies on here as well. We don’t have to tell her in the pre show we don’t have women still doing kind of this stuff in tech and so great to have her on I always want to encourage that because we need it we kind of need to see more of that you know to to while you’re young but to white guys we could we could use some ladies on here definitely I could work on some diversity as well I need to find some some guests to make that happen as well. Mike some cigars came in this week as well and we kind of picked the drama in the show but that whole the whole thing was to get ready for you know I had 25 new cigars come in as well. Mostly room yeah I did and and I was super worried about that the wood humidor not being able to keep up with the right and it wasn’t it just wasn’t which is great. I’m gonna hold on to it well you can’t see it here will pop out this screen over here. It’s become the storage box for lighters matches any plastic bags carriers any of that kind of stuff where humidity doesn’t matter of fact you want your matches to be a little drier and and so those are all going in there and then I bought this plastic Let me grab this really quick Coleman really is kind of one of those things where I just went to Walmart and picked up a you know, pick this up off the shelf and I was kind of like there you know you don’t have to get an expensive human orbit. It’s just Oh, I love those are we use those as for Tupperware Yeah, you set to those and they work great. I can I bet I don’t even think about that. That’ll be perfect. You’ll around the top. Yep, yummy government on the top a latch, nice. two handles to seal you can actually push the air out so you put the lid on. And then when you latch it, it closes up that and creates that airtight seal. guaranteed not to leak. So you’re like okay, if they’re not leaking. There. I probably really good maybe not perfect airtight. You can see the Bova packs on the back I put those on the bottom, you can actually see then on this side, you can actually see the high grommets that I have that Gobi high grommet are in the corner and and then the cigars are stacked around it. So couple Java lattes and just Java regulars that are in there. I picked up a few more dark topics that are on the bottom. Rough Riders are in there and I got a new one for us to try it a little knob, you know, little four inch knobs and they are the brand on those. I know some of you who do this are like you get too many flavored stuff. And I’m like well I don’t really care. Olivia nub, a nonce, nuance knots. That’s in their little four inch so maybe a 45 minutes ago or half an hour cigar instead of a you know a full hour and a half on some of these. So and we got Ed’s cigars to smoke. Yeah, you and I need to

Mike Wieger  [1:17:58] 
get together here to drink. Do you only have 100 hundred you get to I can’t remember Diego and also in the

Jim Collison  [1:18:03] 
US. I got the white one is the right there. That’s the one I just got. I had ordered and we talked about the show a couple shows. I don’t know. Maybe a couple months back I gotten a another kind of right drama. That’s right. I thought it didn’t. But when I move some things around, and I got it, I’ve now got it at 69 which is okay. It’s what these Bova packs are supposed to keep the perfect humidity in there. So if it’s too wet, it brings it down. If it’s not, if it’s not moist enough and puts it puts it in the atmosphere, it’s kind of supposed to equalize the humidity in there. So yeah, and then in the acrylic box, and let me grab that one really fast. Not great to have all that dead air, but maybe I’ll cut it out in post production. And the acrylic box then right this is that one here.

Mike Wieger  [1:18:59] 
Yeah, that’s the one right. Maybe you had the other one. Okay, well

Jim Collison  [1:19:01] 
over the packs in the back. And then that’s the high gramma right, you can see it right there. And so if the the display is there, I also had it flipped over in the sensor, you know, the area that’s open for the sensor was at the bottom and kind of pushed into a hole. And I thought, okay, maybe it wasn’t getting an accurate humidity reading. So I flipped it over added to the gel packs to it. And as I’m looking at it right now, it’s 68% humidity. So there’s like, Yeah, no, super cool. This is like one of those things like burst where we got I got the technology working. So now it’s perfect. And I’m like,

Mike Wieger  [1:19:38] 
yeah, keep messing with it.

Jim Collison  [1:19:39] 
What do I do now? Yeah, like he’s actually he’s actually kind of work. So pretty cool. And I’m the both are loaded at this point. So I’m kind of, I think I’m good for the next six months or so. And it’s been fun to kind of figure out how to get how to get that all done. So I think you and I are going to try and get all this stuff up to you this weekend, you have to kind of drop a care box care package, so to speak, of all those things, and pretty cool. You got your ham license this week, I did get the ham license. And it’s been way more fun than I thought, you know, Jim, I was actually really worried that I was going to, I was doing all the setup, getting all the radios up and going and I was gonna get my ham license, I go well, now the setup is done. And

Mike Wieger  [1:20:24] 
I’m not really wanting to talk, but it’s been a total blast, I sent you a picture actually, to begin the show on Facebook have, I already upgraded the internal setup down here at the desk. So now I have those two, bouncing up five hours, I’ve got those as mobile, just take them out, you can take it really easy not set up here at the desk. And then I took the mobile unit I had in my car, brought it inside. Now that’s a base unit. And I got Yeah, so there it is. So the interesting part about this is all these radios run on DC power. So that’s why you need this power inverter. Same thing that actually Aaron was talking, I have to take that DC sorry, take our AC from the house and turn it actually into DC power. So this is a 30 amp windows I went and big on this with the intent of I can always upgrade the future. And this could actually run two or three radios of this size or a bigger one. So that is now that’s still plugged into the intended to my attic though. So that’s actually right here to my right. And it works fantastic. This is actually 25 watts. So the hand the handheld that I was using was five watts, this is 25 watts. And then I got another new radio for the car, a mobile rig, and that one’s 50 watts. And that one in the car is awesome. It’s got a prs, which is essentially g prs or sorry, GPS, GPS, in built into the radio does all that sort of tracking, it’s got some digital modes. So that’s my first radio that has digital, so you can do digital and analog. And so playing around with all that kind of functionality has been a total blast, I kind of went a little wild with it. But now I’m set up got my radios until I want to start getting into hf, I think will be set. But the first conversation I did post down on Discord. But if you’re not out there, if you go to W zero, Eg er calm, I posted a video of my first conversation The first time I ever got to transit on the radio. It was actually a cool conversation. I got a guy learned after the fact I actually looked him up on QR said he’s actually blind. So he’s a blind user who does a lot of radio stuff. So it was it was a lot of fun.

Jim Collison  [1:22:30] 
Yeah. And then last super cool. There is I mentioned the beginning the show, we’ve got that ham channel now. And then if you want to get out there and get that done as well. The website is in last week’s show notes. So if you go to the average guy.tv slash HGG for one on one, you can you can see Mike if you want head out there and follow him on his on his newly freshly pressed WordPress instance and blog. So yeah, I’ve seen by the time I posted it on Saturday, you’d already made a bunch of updates and change just do it. So had I Yeah, yep.

Mike Wieger  [1:23:02] 
And you know, it’s one of those. Yeah, the first thing didn’t work out too well. But and then if any of you guys are hams, W zero Eg er is the vanity I applied for it’s not active yet. So if you’re trying to find me, my current one is KE zero WKP. So that’s actually my, what I was assigned. So KZOWKP if you’re looking me up on QRZ, that or anything like that,

Jim Collison  [1:23:25] 
give me that shoot that over to me somehow, maybe I’m Facebook or something. So yeah, put that now, I can put that in the show notes. So a couple reminders for folks don’t forget, we’ve, we appreciate our Patreon subscribers, and it’s the beginning of the month. And I always appreciate that when you guys support the show and do that. That means I can do certain things. here when we need upgrade equipment or do whatever we need to do get something nice spill wine into a into a mixer or something like that. I always appreciate you guys helping me out. So if you want to do that, the average guy.tv slash Patreon get you there, the average guy.tv slash disc cord get you to the group, the average guy.tv slash Facebook, it’s a Facebook group. If you still want to do that you can send me an email, Jim at the average guy.tv. I always love to hear from you. I should mention we’ve had a couple new posts out there. I mentioned two of them last week, but I’m having some really good luck with some interesting guests. renderer. So they always want to pay they’re like, I’m like I’m not interested in a paid post. Just write something interesting. And so I just posted a brand new brand new post out there. And nine tips for Astro photography images. It’s really Yeah, super cool. So nine tips plus a link. It’s really important. This guy spent a bunch of time creating this really in depth Astro photography post. And he was like, Hey, would you replace one of your you know, one of your links? I found this you know they do this sometimes. But you replace this like I saw this. It’s outdated. We got a new one. I’m I know. But if you wrote like 600 words of original content gave me something interesting. And embedded that link in there. I would absolutely put it on the site. And his Hey, this is kind of a basic nine tips. And then there’s a link in there to go kind of deep in some of his in some of the stuff he’s done. I check that out. Pretty great stuff. And so Guest writer I don’t know, I don’t know him very well, but they’re willing to write for us. And there’s some interesting content. I thought my graphic was pretty cool, too. So head out to the average guy. I’m making my own Canvas graphics Mike, which is super scary.

Mike Wieger  [1:25:23] 
Okay, but Canada makes it pretty easy, doesn’t it? They do.

Jim Collison  [1:25:26] 
Yeah, I’m pretty proud of I just just I need some I need some affirmation from you right now. So go out to the average guy.tv right now, Mike, can you do that? Right? Yeah, bring that up in a web browser. It’s the very first post out there the new the new theme really allows for nice graphics and for them to be laid out in a way that mix nicely with the podcast. So got to the average guy TV. Oh, look at

Mike Wieger  [1:25:47] 
that. Yeah,

Jim Collison  [1:25:48] 
I like it. Not Not Not too bad, right. Not too shabby. Not too bad. So we’ve had a couple of those I mentioned that like I said, I mentioned him last week but to how to manage kids screen time is out there in the five best home. Automation gadget’s under $100 And so again, guest writers if you want to write for me if you want to put something on the post got something to say don’t start a whole WordPress instance like Mike did to get it done. If you do by the way, just go to Maple Grove partners calm and and get a site from Christian he’ll have you set up running a no time. Of course, he supports the average guy TV network with what he does. And Christian, we appreciate that. But if you don’t want to do that, you just want to write something. Ron, maybe you could write something on 3d printer, send it over to me. And we can talk about or whatever you’re interested in. As long as that’s kind of gadget related. We’d love to have that Jim, send it over to me, Jim at the average guy TV and we will get that posted as well. Super easy to do and super easy to get done. Don’t forget you can download the app Home Gadget geeks.com My daughter is going back to college next week, we’ve downgraded to the two, three Hello, fresh meals for two people. And I got to start cooking again. So here we go. We’ll see how this goes. couple more weeks left, but Mike, I’m just telling you, man, it’s how we’ve had some great meals. So the other day, real quick, toasted couscous like I never would have thought to take. So you take get a pan hot, put some butter in it. tablespoon or a teaspoon or tablespoon tablespoon or two. let that melt. Throw the couscous in and then toast it for about three minutes. So just get it so the couscous is brown, then put the water in, then boil it for a minute, then let it simmer for six minutes. It makes some amazing couscous like it’s incredible. You can doctor it as well. But pretty great.

Mike Wieger  [1:27:35] 
Yeah, I know you I think you’ve got Hannah and I on the verge of trying it just because, you know, we’re kind of you know, revamping the food stuff again, especially just for her and I The boys are getting to an age where we’ve started just cooking, you know, different stuff for them, right doing the easy stuff for them that they that they’re gonna like the chicken stuff, and they’re like, well, we can do different stuff for us. So I think we might give that a shot.

Jim Collison  [1:27:55] 
I think it’s a great way to introduce your kids to some real food too. I mean, makin cheese and hot dogs can only go so far. Yeah. Right. Kind of like hey, you know we had this with this last night we had chicken I made this kind of this sauce with mustard and chicken broth and a little bit of water and we put some cornstarch and just kind of pick it up a little bit and some chives, some cut chives and salt and pepper and a little bit of seasoning and that one on top of the chicken. And then we had Oh, we had jasmine rice that we had put laminate oh by the way I spared by mistake. I overs poured my beer a little bit into the jasmine rice. I’m just oops, you put beer and Jasmine rice IDY spilled it I was

Mike Wieger  [1:28:39] 
Oh, you’re actually saying it was an accident. I thought you were saying you did. Well, okay. Whatever happened,

Jim Collison  [1:28:46] 
showed up in there. I’m pouring overflow. I’m like, Oh, just put it over the rice. Right. And so I was like, I don’t know how that’s gonna taste delicious. Really? I suck. It didn’t suck. Sarah was like, how was that a Mike. So that was that was a pretty good, good little fine. In fact, I think the next time I make Jasmine, I’m going to make it in beer and let the beer you know, like a summer Shandy like a lemon summer Shan because we put lemon zest in it, you know, but at the end, so we cooked it and put lemon zest in the end. I think if you cooked it with a woman Shandy. Um, I think that could be pretty tasty. So we’re going to give that a try. The alcohol will burn off so it’s good drunk on the on the wine. Or on the

Mike Wieger  [1:29:29] 
that wouldn’t be a problem either, you know? No, but

Jim Collison  [1:29:31] 
I just I don’t know. I am just enjoying that kind of stuff more than I ever have. Like, right? Trying out these new recipes, learning things like toasted couscous. You know, when we do these kinds of things, and I wonder eaten dinner, I’m asking like, hey, how did you make this? You know, and the kids if I didn’t make it, if maybe Sammy made it was Sarah or whatever. And it’s just kind of changed things a little bit. So I think anybody could benefit even if you got small kids. You eat the good stuff. You can still make mac and cheese for right. Yeah, it’s another opportunity for you guys to get some some good pointers. And you know, when we started Hello, fresh year and some change ago, they had like seven recipe options. And now there’s like 14 so you really get a pretty wide variety of options there. So I just got some brand new coupons from them that were literally

Mike Wieger  [1:30:19] 
me. Yeah, literally get you a whole week for free. So I’m gonna do it. I’m just gonna try and tell her Don’t worry about Oren go don’t go to the store this weekend. We’ll try this next week.

Jim Collison  [1:30:28] 
Yeah, cuz how fast how far ahead you need to put your order in. Oh, well, if you order it this weekend, it’ll probably be middle of next week. Okay,

Mike Wieger  [1:30:36] 
when you get it like that. And you get the whole weeks at once right?

Jim Collison  [1:30:39] 
Yeah, you get a whole box. That’s the way that’s the best part of this coupon. I think it’s a $70 credit and that will get you a lot of food at Hello Fresh so you can give that a try anybody or do it. They’re just just a couple no kids and I’m like dude, you got it. You definitely got to try this thing out. And he ordered it. And so if you need I’ve got a couple coupons that I think have three right now and they always give me new ones. So if you want to get free let me know Jim at the average guy TV in the show notes as a link to get 40 bucks off so you don’t want to bother me with that or I think I make 30 off that or whatever. If you want to do that as well. You can link is in the show notes. We are live every Thursday except next Thursday, no show next week. YM in Orlando at podcast movement getting super smart around all things podcasting, if you’re going to be in the Orlando area, or you’re in the Orlando area. I’m going to be podcast movement love to hear from you and I need to put that out on social places so people know that but if you want to connect love to connect with you are we the hotel and in love to connect with you as well. So but most of the time we’re live 8pm Central, nine Eastern. So I’ll be back in two weeks with that.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

 


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