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The Big Trip: Preparation

I suppose one could have just jumped in the boat with whatever food and water was required and done a 3 day cruise down a river without any problems, but I decided to improve and add on to the Macgregor.

The buyer of possibly the most loaded adventuring touring bike out there.

The buyer of possibly the most loaded adventuring touring bike out there.

In the week or so leading up to the trip, I ended up selling my motorcycle. On the downside, this bike had about 32,000 great miles on it, including trips to Mexico and desert camping trips. Many great memories. But priorities change and I hardly ride it anymore. So I sold it and used some of the money on the boat.  I have to admit, there was a moment where I almost wanted to call off the sale and tell the guy to go home. But he did ride off with one of the coolest adventure tourers out there. (I am somewhat biased)

And here he rides off on my bike.

And here he rides off on my bike.

For this round of modifications I worked on the trailer as I felt that it needed more lights. I think legally it required clearance lights and what not as it was over 80 inches wide, but I just felt that common sense  dictated I would need more lights. Admittedly, this did add to the cost of the “mod package”, as overall trailer lights don’t actually make much difference when you are floating down a river but actually I did think it was a good idea to replace the old and cracked trailer wiring. So I did up the trailer with nearly all the lights required to make it legal.

The trailer now sports new lights and all new wiring.

The trailer now sports new lights and all new wiring.

Then I enlarged the storage hatches on the boat. This project also added a lot of time and like many projects I seem to do, I wish I knew what I knew at the end, at the beginning. But whatever, thankfully any rough edges are covered by the cushions. Overall, this mod package was super rushed, so while I wanted hinges on all of the new panels, only one of the panels got one. That’s really all I had time for. The v beth hatch is now huge, which opens up tons of storage space. I can probably store 4-5 of the Reliance 7 gallon water jugs, judging by how easily I could fit 3 of them in there, plus a tool box. I opened up the starboard settee  and was able to put two, 10 gallon rubbermaid tote boxes in there. For the port settee, I tossed out the factory supplied drop in, and put 2 more rubbermaid totes in there as well. I could probably add yet another 3 or 5 gallon under the port settee in the forward hatch, but I didn’t do that at this time.

The starboard settee's massive new hatch opening.

The starboard settee’s massive new hatch opening.

Then there was the issue of interior lighting. On the one hand, I could just keep on using the battery powered camping lanterns, but I really wanted interior lights, and I encountered some LED strip lights at Academy sports that were on sale, so I bought 4 of them. I then went to Radio Shack and Autozone to get switches and wire. My goal is always to hide any wiring as much as possible, so it the project took a long time to run all the wiring behind the hull liner. Overall I did a fairly good job. I used small switches so that one could control either the V berth or main cabin lights. These strip lights were super bright, and I’m very pleased. I also installed a nice LED switch panel. Currently I can turn on the NAV lights, the cabin lights, and the depth finder by a flick of the switch. I installed the switch panel in one of the plastic access panels covering up the flotation foam areas. Well, I made a wooden replacement for the panel, and put the switch panel in that. Now, I thought about using the car jump pack again, but ultimately got a Walmart deep cycle battery.  I installed a 12 volt power outlet to run a power inverter, but was unable to wire this to the switch panel due to the time crunch.   The limiting factor here is that I currently have no way to charge the battery except by hooking it up to a 110 volt power source and charger. In the future, I might add either solar, an engine charging system, or both.

The V Berth also has a huge hatch now.

The V Berth also has a huge hatch now.

And here are the pieces that were cut out to make the bigger hatches.

And here are the pieces that were cut out to make the bigger hatches.

Another area I needed to address was water. The sink pump didn’t work, so I went on Amazon and got a similar replacement and some tubing. I ended up getting 4 Reliance water jugs for a total of 28 gallons of water. Probably overkill, but I think the boat could easily handle 35-40+ gallons of fresh water. But I later found out that fresh water capacity was not the limiting factor for range on this boat anyway. . . I considered getting a foot pump but ruled it out as I didn’t want to cut more holes in the boat for the foot pedal and also ruled out an electrical pump due to the cost and  power consumption.

Tools are coming out and other stuff was being put in. It is a small miracle that nothing important was left behind.

Tools are coming out and other stuff was being put in. It is a small miracle that nothing important was left behind.

Finally, on the day we were to leave I still had to clean the boat, which was a horrible mess, and load it up with the food, water, gasoline and all other supplies we needed or thought we would need. Coming up next, the first day on the trip. . .

Katherine contemplates the  upcoming trip.

Katherine contemplates the upcoming trip.

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