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Well, if you’ve been around this website a while, you probably know that we are scheduled to go on a shakedown cruise in our new RV on July 14th.  That’s less than a month away now.  So if you think we should have started on construction – you’d be right.  Here he is:

Holes Cut
So, the holes are cut (well, most of them anyway), and at least one of the windows is in for this picture.  More on windows shortly.

They’ve also been busy fabricating the cabinets that will go into our new RV.  Here’s the rear cabinet (the one that will hold up the bed), in a staging area waiting for its new yellow home:

New Rear Cabinet

I kinda like the his & hers wardrobes. I may actually get some wardrobe space this time around!

I’ll also reveal some more details about our new yellow Travato 59GX.  But remember, the “GX” is my own, made-up model name for our new RV – it’s not an official Winnebago designation.  So please don’t ask your dealer for this floor plan or set of options.  This is an experimental vehicle – both for us and Winnebago.


Let there be light!

Back to the windows…  Other than being excited about the large refrigerator, Stef has been pretty quiet about new RV requirements.  She did ask for one change, and it’s happening.  Winnebago is adding an additional non-opening window above the galley.  You can see the location we’re talking about in this still from our video review of the Travato 59G.   It’s in that panel over the galley.

Galley Window Location
Looking at the picture, you can see that area could use some brightening up, so Stef gets her way on this one.  It’s a “non-opening” window because an opening window might interfere with the sliding door on that side of the vehicle.  Normally, a window in the galley requires metal (non-flammable) mini blinds – which I don’t like.  We’re working out something different in this case, and I asked Winnebago not to install the blinds.  We will need SOMETHING there to get us through our first couple weeks however, so we’ll see what Winnebago comes up with.  TBD on that one.

And while we’re on windows, we’re getting another window up high.  Check out this mockup of the raised bed location.  (Not our vehicle in this one, just a mockup to give you an idea of how the space will work out.)

Bed Mockup 2

You can see that the bed is pretty high up.  I’m calling that area “the penthouse”.  But when you add the Froli Sleep System, and then a mattress on top of that, it might feel a little tight up there.  So Winnebago is installing a small, awning style window above that upper rail.

But these aren’t just any windows, these are European acrylic windows.  (Seitz)  They’re supposed to be quiet, insulating, and just plain cool.  They’re also supposed to be installed in vehicles with much thicker walls than the sheet metal of the ProMaster, which presents some problems.  They’re hard at work templating out the windows so they can build up something to mount the window properly.

Small Travato Window

We had originally thought we might be able to use those windows in all parts of the van.  But the installation requirements were a bit tricky to work out, so we’re happy with just the one penthouse window.


What About TV?

Winegard RayzarTV isn’t super critical for Stef and me, but we still want one that works.  If you notice in that first picture, we asked to have the King Jack antenna deleted – and you won’t see a hole for it.  We did this so we can get more solar capacity on the roof.

So, to make the TV functional again, Winnebago is just installing a jack for us, and providing a Winegard Rayzar antenna that we can hook up when we need it and hang in a window.  It’ll look something like what you see here.


More on the Composting Toilet

We’re going with an Airhead composting toilet, as I’ve mentioned before.  It’s going to be installed in the standard Travato wet bath, on the platform where the regular toilet sits.  But the Airhead toilet is quite a bit taller than the standard one, so that presents a problem.

If you’ve seen others who have retrofitted a composting toilet onto a platform, they usually have a stool in front of it to keep their legs from dangling in the air while they use it.  We could have gone that route, but Winnebago offered to go one better.  They’re working on a small teak (water friendly) platform that can sit in the as-is shower.  It should provide a place to put your legs, and shouldn’t require removal for showering. Plus it’s going to look pretty cool. I built a similar one for Das Bus and we love it.

The final design may vary somewhat, but conceptually, it looks like this:

Shower Platform

I actually think that little ledge might come in handy when showering, so this is a good way to go.

Pimp My Ride

I don’t have photos of the next couple of changes yet, so you’ll have to use your imagination.

Winnebago is going to be doing some different things with the stereo system in the RV.  They’ll be installing an upgraded JBL speaker system with a subwoofer.  Heck yeah!  And I think Stef is a little excited about this one too, because the Jensen head unit is Bluetooth compatible.  This means we won’t have to bring along one of those portable speakers any longer.  (Remember, the 59G has outdoor speakers already.)

And they’ll also be installing tubular running boards with accent lighting!  There are some photos on the internet of a Travato they had at Dealer Days in Las Vegas.  That Travato had the running boards and lighting, so if you can find that photo – imagine that setup on a yellow RV.  I wasn’t crazy about the electric step anyway, so… Coolness.


The Bike Rack

You’ve seen the bed is raised for bike storage underneath.  But believe it or not, there are times when we DON’T travel with bikes.  (Perish the thought!)  And sometimes, we might be traveling with mountain bikes or something we wouldn’t mind keeping on the outdoor bike rack (which Winnebago is also installing).  For those occasions, we thought it would be best to have that huge under-bed space available for gear storage.  This means, we don’t want a bike rack permanently mounted to the floor.  So we settled on this bike rack from Saris, which will be present, but not permanently affixed to the floor in the back:

Saris Traps Triple TrackIt may need to be trimmed a little to fit the width of the space we have between the cabinets and the bathroom, but this is how we intend to carry the bikes. It’ll be there when we need it, and completely out of the way when we don’t.  Perfect.


There are still a few more minor modifications I haven’t covered, but this and the last post should give you a pretty good idea what to expect when we unveil our new Travato.  We’re pretty excited about it.  I’m actually checking my inbox about fifteen times a day for any new updates or pictures from Winnebago.  (Russ, if you’re reading, send more when you can.)

If you’d like to see it in person, you can meet us and our new RV on the Driftless Adventure (all smaller RVs welcome), and at the Grand National Rally (only if you have a Winnebago).  Stef will be leading workouts and she tells me I’ll be co-hosting events at the rally, which will be interesting.  I’ve never hosted anything before.

Anyway, that’s all for now.  More to come as construction progresses.