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Published: June 26th 2017
Geo: 39.5245, -119.812
I have been without permanent residence since May 1. For the first month, I just bummed from couch to couch, mostly in Denver and Boulder. I didn't truly hit the road until June 1, and have probably spent about half the nights since then sleeping in the bed of my truck (other nights were various couches, beds, futons, or whatever dark alley I happened to finally stumble through and collapse in).
I had a decent amount of padding - a piece of egg-carton-like foam folded a few layers thick, and a good foam pad that I picked up from Sports Authority. I actually got it for free - had a $20 off card and the pad was $19.99. Now that's a good deal! Even though I had plenty of padding, everything else was just kind of tossed around and mostly unorganized in the bed of my truck with me. A couple big tupperware containers with clothes, couple pairs of boots and shoes, camp stove, dry bag, backpack... I had enough room to lay down, but that's about it. Plus, like I said, things were just unorganized, and mostly not capable of being organized. I had decided even before I left
Denver that once I got to Reno (see previous entry), I was going to use dad's tools and junk piles to build myself a home.
And what a home I ended up with! I started by using plywood to make a ~9" tall storage area in the entire area of the truck bed, separated into four sections. I designed it so that the long, running pieces sit in the grooves in the bed liner to help keep the whole thing sturdy and in place. The two sections toward the tailgate would be for my two tupperware containers, each internally organized - one containing pants, shorts, socks, and undergarments, the other, slightly smaller containing shirts. Previously, they had to be stacked on top of each other in the bed, infringing on my sleeping room, and just looking and being messy. Now, I just lift the window, drop the tailgate, and slide out whichever I need. SOO nice! And having a good method of organization helps me to stay organized and clean, as well. There are also a couple small areas on the outside, against the tailgate, where I keep my water jug and boots - Oboz hiking boots and Tony Lama shitkickers.
two sections toward the truck cab are accessible through trap doors, with nice round-cut corners and bored-out holes to allow easy lifting. As can be seen in the pictures, I picked up a 5x7 area rug from Home Depot, trimmed and cut as needed, to carpet the entire surface, including the trap doors. I left a little extra along the edges to help prevent stuff from rolling over and getting lost in the recesses of the truck bed. The tailgate-end of the carpet was trimmed up, wrapped around, and secured to give it a nice, clean look. I've gotta say - it looks pretty sleek and I am really happy with how that turned out!
I created a simple bookshelf out of 1x6 lumber to keep my books, candles (I have been "acquiring" candles as I travel), and whatever else. I've got a mesh bag over the front to help keep stuff from falling out. That needs a little work - it's a little too stretchy. When I was camping outside Mono Lake, I found a great little medicine cabinet sitting in front of the campground dumpster. I grabbed it, cleaned it up and picked out the spider egg sacks, put
in a new shelf so I could install it horizontally, screwed in a simple clip to help keep it closed, and covered the mirror with a pillowcase to make sure the sun doesn't hit it and burn my home down.
My dad had an old piece of 3" thick foam that he had used in his 72 Chevy years ago. I trimmed it to size and my mom used a couple old bedsheets to make a giant pillowcase for it. Now, instead of being constricted in a sleeping bag on a pile of random foam, I actually have a slightly-more-than-twin-sized sleeping area with real sheets and blankets!
For privacy and security, curtain rods were installed on all three windows and mom stitched up some quick curtains using old flat sheets. They don't look like much, but they are functional, and they are perfect. A push-button LED light was installed overhead for nighttime reading, along with a little plaque my parents got me that says Bless This Home.
Even before all of this, I kind of liked sleeping in my truck. It was cozy. But now - I love it! FOr me, at least, it's comfy, it's welcoming, it has everything I need.
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