Tag Archive | car camping

Circus Trip 2018: Westward

I was with family in Michigan for over a week, but it was time to get back on the road and start making my way westward.  As I said before, I did travel east more slowly than I was expecting, and with the hurricane’s aftermath in the Carolinas, I have made some changes to my path.

From Michigan I will drop south into Missouri, and start making my way west, loosely following Interstate 70.  I still have so many things along the way that I want to see, and I am sure that more will continue popping up on my radar.  That’s the problem with any trip; there are so many places to see and so little time, realistically.  There is so much that I have to skip.  Unless someone wants to volunteer to be my benefactor, so I can just stay out on the road! Just sayin’…

I’ve gone a bit soft, having spent close to two weeks in real beds, in real houses (and one night in a hotel).  I have been spoiled by my parents, aunts and uncles, and have loved seeing them and many of my cousins.  It is interesting to be back in the car and alone again!

Yesterday I did some organizing; pulling things out of the car and rearranging to make better use of my available space. I had pulled my sheets out to wash them, and yesterday I pulled my mattress out to rebind it, then put it back in and made the bed.  It felt good to get things neat and organized again – it is hard to stay on top of it in such a tiny space!

Today I visited Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and enjoyed the crashing of the waves on the beautiful sand beach. I hope you are all happy and well!


The Build

I have never really been a hippie, or free spirit, so the idea of road-tripping by myself around the U.S. for three months takes me far out of my comfort zone.  But here I am, giving it a try…

My original plan was to fold up the seats, put a bed in the back end, and get a Thule roof box for the top of the car.  But the departure date moved up by about 6 weeks after I first got the bee in my bonnet, so to speak, so I wasn’t sure I would be able to get a Thule roof box without buying it new.  And lo and behold, those are expensive!

Around the same time, a friend sent me a YouTube video, where a guy built a raised platform bed in the back of his CR-V, and I thought, BINGO!  My dad is a hobby woodworker, and that thing didn’t look like it would be too tough to rig up – and much cheaper than the close to $1000 price tag to buy a roof box, buy roof racks, and have them installed.

Dad and I spent parts of four weekend days putting this baby together.  It is level and sits up off the floor of the back end of the CR-V, stretching from just behind the front seats all the way to the back of the hatch space.  It gives about a foot of clearance in back and about 18 inches in front.  It sits up on the wheel wells for support, and I can partially sit up, but obviously, it is primarily for sleeping.



We built two pull-out tables into the back of it, in case I’m somewhere with no picnic table; they have support posts extending down to the bumper so that the table doesn’t collapse when you put weight on it.  The legs holding up the bed are on hinges to make it easier to get things underneath.  The whole contraption is in two pieces, so I can remove it if needed to get to the under floor storage, where the spare tire, jumper cables and other car paraphernalia are.

I went down to the Storables store one day to get totes of various sizes to fit underneath and make the best use of the nooks and crannies.  There is still plenty of other unaccounted for space.  These areas hold my camp chair, Coleman stove, tent and tools.

My mom made curtains I can string up around the space for privacy – luckily she is a genius seamstress.  I fitted out my home on the road with a 4” thick memory foam mattress topper. It was a little too long and I didn’t really want to cut it, so I folded it under and my mom made a band to secure it.  I decorated my car-home with some girl power inspiration, and a few mementoes from past travels and friends.

Although it isn’t luxury, I hope it will be comfortable, and I don’t have to worry about setting up a tent every night as I move around the country.  I can just park and crawl in back. I’m secure with locked doors and am out of the rain.  And, for better or worse, it will be home…

The total price was about $60 for fabric, S hooks, and carabiners for the curtain rigging, and about $120 for storage containers to puzzle piece under the bed.  The entire bed itself was free for me, made with scrap wood and leftover hinges that my dad already had hanging around in his shop.  All in all a very reasonable investment!

Tonight will be my first night trying it out!