Roadtrek

Roadtrek

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Living in the Roadtrek - The Kitchen


The Roadtrek 190 Popular, along with all of the other Roadtrek models, has a kitchen. The kitchen in the 190 Popular consists of a stove, a sink, a microwave oven, and a refrigerator. It is possible to cook a full meal or make a fast snack in your Roadtrek.


The sink in the Roadtrek is a single handle control sink with hot and cold running water. The fresh water in the sink is supplied through either the fresh water storage tanks - in the 190 Popular there are two fresh water tanks. One of the tanks is located in the interior of the van to help keep it from freezing in the winter while traveling. The other tank is below the van and is subject to all climate changes. There is an insert for the sink that is stored when not in use in the cabinet below to put into the sink to convert it to a bathroom sink. That sink has a downspout that mates with the sink drain so that water flowing through the insert will not touch the inside of the kitchen sink. There is also a top that goes over the sink to make it part of the granite counter top to increase cooking preparation space. In this picture, you also see the glass lid that covers the stove when not in use which also increases counter space. The sink drains into the "grey" water tank which is under the van.

The stove in the Roadtrek is a two burner propane stove. To turn the stove on, the propane must be turned on. The propane valve is located outside the van in a compartment located above the rear license plate. The pilot light on the stove must be lit by hand. It does not have an auto lighter. Both burner's pilot lights must be lit separately if you wish to use both burners. To light the burner you use a long reach butane lighter or a match. Simply turn on the knob for the burner while pushing it in and put the flame to the pilot light hole. If the propane has not been on previous to lighting the stove, it may take a few seconds for the gas to reach the pilot light and ignite it. When you turn off the burner, you put out the pilot light. There is a small burner and a larger burner. Pots must be selected based on the area you have on the stove. When you are using the stove, allow a few minutes for the burners to cool down BEFORE closing the glass lid. There is a cabinet below to store pots and cooking utensils. Keep in mind that storage is limited.

The microwave oven in the Roadtrek 190 Popular is a 700 w, 20 L/ 0.7 cuft. microwave. It is bolted to the opening that it sits in and cannot fall out while traveling. Larger Roadtrek models include larger microwaves that have a convection oven feature. The 190 Popular DOES NOT have a convection oven feature. The microwave runs off of 120 volts and requires that you be hooked up to a campground power outlet (referred to as "shore power") or that you are running the generator. When running on the generator, you should not turn on the microwave at the same time the air conditioner is running. If you do you will trip the circuit breaker. There is no problem running both at the same time when on shore power. The microwave is made by the Dometic company which makes a variety of appliances for RVs. As you can see in the photo, the microwave is just like one that you would have in your home. There are one touch controls, timer controls, and power controls. Like all microwaves, inside there is a glass plate that turns on a rack to cook your food evenly.

The refrigerator in our Roadtrek is not the refrigerator that you will get in your Roadtrek. We had the refrigerator switched before we took delivery. I thought that I had written about this before but I am not seeing an article about it. Perhaps, I mentioned it in the body of another article. If so, then forgive the repeat of this story. In the middle of our shopping for the Roadtrek, I learned that my Type 2 Diabetes was not in control and that I would need to start taking insulin once a day. The insulin that I take does not need to be refrigerated all of the time. Regular insulin that is taken with meals does need to be. It does need to be refrigerated if it has not been started. As it would be necessary to travel with spare insulin - just in case - we would need to keep it in the refrigerator. So, this caused some concern.

A standard refrigerator in most RVs is not like the fridge that you have at home. At home your fridge has a condenser to create the cold inside the refrigerator. An RV fridge is much like the early invented refrigerators and cools with heat. Don't ask me how this works. The standard RV fridge has three power sources to create that heat - gas (propane), battery power (DC), or 110 volt AC current. Each of these is used - one at a time - to heat what needs to be heated inside the mechanism that cools the inside of the box. This is called a three way refrigerator - Propane/DC/AC. Because of the way this works, the refrigerator must be kept level at all times while it is running. As a result, RVers are using a variety of methods to level the RV when parked. It is not just for comfort. Newer 3-way fridges are more tolerant of being off level and many RVers say that if the interior of your RV is leveled to a point of comfort for you, it is fine for the fridge. The refrigerator that Roadtrek installs is a Dometic 12V/110V/propane 3.0 cu. ft. with auto source selection which means that if the propane is on it will run on propane, if only battery power is available it will switch automatically to DC, and if 110 volt power is present it will switch automatically to 110 volts. I do not have this refrigerator.

I could foresee two problems with this refrigerator. One is that it would need to be running all of the time while we were traveling. This would mean that when we were parked while on a trip and away from the Roadtrek, the propane would be on and the pilot light and gas for the fridge would be running. This does not bother most RVers who have been around these units. It bothered me. I do not like the idea of leaving the Roadtrek unattended with the propane on. This may be just me. There may be no need for concern at all, but I know that I would not be comfortable traveling and doing this. And since we are out for a good time, there is no need to have concerns. The other problem that I could foresee is that we park in some places that we travel to regularly that are in no way near level and to have to park in a field for a festival amongst all of the other vehicles trying to get in, and then starting to level the Roadtrek with blocks that must be put under the wheels on a trial and repeat basis, just was not going to work. We needed a solution to keeping the insulin cold. I looked at small auto battery powered ice chests, but these cool only to a certain amount below the outside temperature. You cannot set one to 36 degrees and expect it to get there if the temperature inside the van is 90 degrees (or above). Then I found out that there are compressor refrigerators made for boats and RVs. After a lot of questions on an RV forum I learned about the Nova Kool R4500.

The Nova Kool R4500 is a compressor fridge that runs on battery or 110 volts. No propane. The fridge does not have to be kept level. The batteries in the Roadtrek will run the fridge for several days - and this is not an issue as we plug in every night and the batteries recharge in addition to recharging while driving. This refrigerator is 4.5 cu. ft. - a cubic foot and a half larger than the stock fridge in the Roadtrek. The best thing was that it is exactly the same size with the exception of a small fraction of an inch in a direction that would not matter and would fit right into the opening.

Roadtrek would not install this refrigerator for us in place of their standard fridge. When we started on this idea and talked to the dealers, the dealers said that we would have to purchase the fridge ourselves, and they would install it. The stock fridge would be traded to them or we could keep it. (What would we do with it?) This was what we wanted and we were making sure that whoever we purchased our Roadtrek from would install this fridge.

Our dealer told me that he could not make the purchase of the Nova Kool as the company did not have an account with Nova Kool. After some searching and finding few convenient places to purchase this fridge, I contacted Nova Kool directly. This company has been nothing but nice all along the process. They told me that they would sell the fridge to our dealer and gave me the details to give him to order it. The dealer told me that he would do that and he would install it. The price would be added to the Roadtrek, but he was able to get Roadtrek to agree to deliver a 190 Popular with no refrigerator but with all of the fittings for the standard fridge including the propane connections (in case down the line if we ever sold it, the fridge could be replaced with the more common 3-way unit. The price of the Roadtrek was adjusted for all of this and I did not pay anymore than getting the Roadtrek with the standard fridge. The dealer did a perfect job of installing it. We took delivery of our Roadtrek with a Nova Kool R4500 compressor refridgerator installed and we love it.

This refrigerator switches automatically between 12 volt power and 110 volt power. The only control is the on/temperature control inside. A compressor fridge cools down faster than the 3-way. When we are leaving on a trip, I turn on the battery switch for the Roadtrek, turn the temperature knob up and in a few hours the inside of the fridge is cold. Too cold or too warm inside and you can adjust the knob. We have a indoor/outdoor thermometer that has a transmitter unit that goes inside the fridge and we can see the temperature outside the fridge. We leave the fridge on the whole trip until we get home again. The freezer is like any non-frost free freezer. It has kept ice cream semi-hard for a few hours. Of course, in a freezer this small, we are talking about individually sized ice cream cups. It does make ice cubes.

Above the kitchen counter there is a window and the walls are covered in a stainless steel back splash. We keep the curtains on the window closed all of the time but you can easily open them. There is also a screen on this window. There is a 110 volt outlet next to the light under the cabinet over the sink. That light has a full on setting and a nightlight setting. There is no exhaust fan just for the kitchen but the Roadtrek has an exhaust fan in the ceiling right above.

It is possible to plug electric kitchen appliances into the outlet next to the light. When we first got the Roadtrek we bought a two slice toaster. The first night we tried making toast for a snack, it set the smoke alarm off. I decided that toast was not that important, and we returned the toaster. But I know of Roadtrek owners who have electric frying pans, coffee makers (we do not have the optional built in coffee maker), toaster ovens, and other small kitchen appliances.

Storage for food is above the microwave. There are two long cabinets there. There is also the cabinet under the sink as I have mentioned. Many find the microwave as a useful bread box. Since you are outdoors in your Roadtrek, keep all food in air-tight plastic containers to not encourage little critters to come for an uninvited meal.

Of course, there are two tables to eat on. One in the front that swings out of its own cabinet and locks in place without the need for a leg. You turn the driver and passenger seats around to sit at the table. The other is in the rear of the Roadtrek between the two sides. You put the table top on a post and the post goes into the floor. You sit on the rear seat/bed cushions. We have used the front table and since then I have modified it. I will do an article about that modification. We have never set up the rear table as we travel with the bed made up.

So there you have it. Plan and cook a banquet or make a late night snack.

19 comments:

  1. Hi fellow 'Trekker! Just wanted to say Hi and Thanks for the tips on Android apps on RV.net. I found the Antenna Helper - I actually need to position our 190P since it has the built-in antenna vs a batwing, so that will be a help! And you are right - that 1Weather site seems very good - even real-time radar! I tried to PM you with no luck - you can PM me there if you like. Thanks again - safe travels! ST (Loggenrock)

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    1. You are very welcome! I was thinking today about doing an article on Android apps but I decided to wait until I take my Android on its first trip and test out the apps on the road and away from home to see that they all work just as well as they do here.

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  2. I read the information on the Nova Kool R4500 fridge with interest. I have the 3-way and have had no problem with it so far. I don't personally have any concerns with leaving the propane tank turn on ... in fact it had been on for 5 months. I haven't used 120 V too often during my brief travels so I rely on the 12V while driving and the propane when parked. I also have it set to AUTO, so it will select the best means of power. And of course the propane for the furnace.

    I think I read somewhere that you have a generator ... mine runs off the propane. I have only used it once ... to get the air running on one of the hotter days we had a couple of weeks ago when I parked for lunch. It got very warm in the RV. I exercise it once a month as you mentioned ... and so far that is it. I do find it extremely noisy ... almost to the point of getting a headache. I will have to get it checked to make sure all is in order before the warmer weather hits.

    I see that you have mentioned apps. I have the iPhone 4s and have some pretty neat apps for travelling, including several different weather apps. They seem to work great and use my location to give me accurate and up to date weather info. There are others ... Gas Buddy, that I find incredibly good. And of course any true Canadian wouldn't be without the TimmyMe app to find the closet Tim Hortons. It works well in both in the US and Canada.

    I had to laugh when you were talking about parking and manoeuvring your Roadtrek ... I thought to myself ... I can even drive mine through most of the Tim Hortons drive thru ... always being aware however of any high restrictions that might be there.

    Just in case I don't have time to go back right now and find your post on height restrictions ... remember that the overpasses and bridges in Canada are marked in metric now. For example my unit is 10 feet (9' 11') or 120 inches. That is 3.048 metres. You won't see me driving under a bridge/underpass that is less than 3.3 metres (a hair less than 11 feet. I have notes marked near my dash with the height in inches/feet and metres ... just in case.

    Last December I was wandering around the back roads of PA and OH and came across an old stone tunnel with a curved top. It was marked at 10' 9". I chickened out and drove around. One of these days I have to get out and actually measure my unit's height. I'm assuming that the height includes the A/C unit??? But I'm not 100% sure.

    Regards

    Kasten (Karsty)

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    1. Check with Winnebago about the height. I can tell you that with Roadtrek, the quoted height includes everything on top - but that may just be Roadtrek. I would never attempt any underpass that does not have at least a full foot (maybe more) than my 8'9".

      You probably also have an Onan generator as the Roadtreks and most Class B's put in. Yes, the Onan is noisy. Onan does sell a muffler resonator that is supposed to quiet it a little - though some report that it more changes the tone of the sound than lessen the decibels. At some point I will write about the Genturi that we have that slightly quiets the generator but more importantly takes the generator exhaust up to the roof and away from the van for safety.

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  3. Hi,
    I have a 2006 Roadtrek 190 Versatile, which, above the stove has a fan. I was thinking maybe you could put the toaster on top of the stove and turn on the fan to exhaust the smoke.
    We haven't gone out RVing yet as we have just bought the model in late September last year.

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    1. The only fan that is in our Roadtrek is the Fantastic Fan in the ceiling in the middle of the Roadtrek. I is only exhaust but without a window open to draw air in, it does not work too well - so to use it it means opening the side window. It certainly would have worked with the toaster, but with such limited space to store the toaster and realizing that it was not so important to make toast, we returned the toaster and I just eat the bread just as it is. :)

      We are just coming into RV traveling season, and I bet you can't wait to get out in your new to you Roadtrek - enjoy!

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  4. Hi,
    I enjoy reading your posts. Am planning to get a Roadtrek in a few years, closer to retirement.

    By the way...I lived on a sailboat for 7 years, always "on the hook" - meaning no access to shore power. Our inverter was sized for electronics, not heat loads. You can make great toast in a dry frying pan. Heat to crispness you like on one side, then flip over and repeat.

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  5. Hello - just wanted to share something about the toaster.......I always use mine when I want toast; I just disable the smoke alarm first. Then put the battery back in after putting the toaster away. Toast is REALLY good!!!

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  6. I don't have an RV but just starting to get interested and stumbled across your fantastic website. You have answered so many questions about things I really would never have even thought of. Anyway, with respect to the kitchen, I do t know of I am missing something but is there no oven?

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    1. Hi there fellow road trekker. My wife and I just purchased a 07 210v and are loving it. We live on the east coast of Canada and are planning a trip to Alberta in August. Just wanted to thank you for your very interesting and informative articles. They have helped us greatly in preparing for our first of many we hope long journeys. PS.I was just thinking that maybe a disposable plastic shower cap with an elastic like the kind they give you in hotels/motels or something similar would work placed temporarily over the smoke detector to solve your toast making dilemma.

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  7. Hi fellow Roadtreker's,
    I love love love this site with its wonderful ideas, helpful hints and how to's that I read and re-read and pass to the man of the house to enjoy.
    I'd love to offer some kitchen ideas that we have incorporated into our SS Ideal Roadtrek 2010. Our kitchen is like everyone else's and I love making dinners, lunches and breakfasts in it. My quirkiness won't let me eat off of paperplates so the first thing I did was buy a set of china for it which presented it's own set of problems. You don't want to get to your destination with broken plates. My remedy was to sandwich each with a paper one, cups with the cut off tops of old holy socks, bowls with paper coffee filters.
    Which brings me to the coffee maker, oh my. This thing has presented me with more cleanups than I'd like to think about. The first time the thing went off kilter was because the hole in the drip part didn't quite line up with the coffee pot. I was walking the dogs at the time and when I arrived back at the RV I had a flooded breakfast area to deal with. The second time the coffee maker went wacko was because the filter in the drip part folded over and the grounds ended up going into the little hole in the pot and wa-la we had the coffee running over the top into the closets and down the side. We encourage everyone reading this to please make sure the pot is locked into the space and that it clicks and next make sure your filters are stored so they are not folded or in any shape other than the correct shape for the drip area or you too might have the pleasure of coffee running all over and a cleanup job for the morning instead of your usual cup of Joe

    The stove was a little tricky for me at first. We bought a used RV so all the little neuances that come in the manual, were missing. I found that to light the burners on the stove there was a little trick. You have to turn the knobs all the way to the right while holding them in and flick your flame while holding it in for about 15 seconds...otherwise the stove will not stay lit. A little tricky but not bad. My one burner will accommodate a two/four quart pot while the other burner will usually let a small sauce pan be placed next to it. It's plenty of room for the two.

    To counter the rattling of the pots and pans, I put that rubberized, non-skid, shelving material between them. I found also that pamper chef makes a good microwave pot that is plastic has a draining top which comes in handy. This also helps with the rattle of the metal pots.

    My oven is a 2-way which does convection and microwave. I haven't used it as much as I probably should have to show any expertize here. I burnt popcorn in it once. Whew it stunk for two days. I did note that the directions on the foods to not necessarily match what the cooking times are for this microwave/oven. I haven't baked anything in it yet so the jury is still out on that one.

    I love my kitchen in the RV. It is compact and easy to use. Oh also the rattle in the sink with the top in place i took care of with a little dab of Silicone around the bottom side of the rim. Hope to run into everyone who reads this blog someday on our ventures. My name is Penny. I'm not shy so introduce yourself next time we're camping.

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  8. My sink has a leak right by the drain, any tips on repairing this, roadtrek 190, chevy 2002. Be happy for any help I can get

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    1. Sink plumbing in an RV and the RT is pretty much the same as in a house. Can you isolate where the leak is coming from? Dry everything under the sink. Run the faucet and look right away with a flashlight to see where the drip is originating. Hard to say what to do until you know where exactly it is coming from. If it is from the edge where the drain meets the sink, you can try tightening the large nut that holds the drain to the sink - or silicone caulk around it where the water is coming from. That drain connects to a large pipe going down to the grey tank with a J shaped trap in the middle. All pretty standard sized plumbing. Is the drip coming from where the pipe connects to the drain? Or where the trap is in the pipe? The fresh water connections to the faucet are standard also - all parts should be found at Home Depot or Lowes. I have never had to touch the Roadtrek sink plumbing but dealt with leaks in the house. I actually hate plumbing because no matter how good everything seems to go together, things may drip... Hand tighten pvc pipe connections - never use a wrench or you it can break the connections. But first you have to find the source of the leak.

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    2. Also - since you can see the leak it is not down below the cabinet into the tank connection so you should be able to see the leak and not worry about the tank connection to the drain pipe. If that drain pipe needed to be replaced down to the tank I would not attempt this myself and go to an RV service center. And if it is a water leak coming from a water connection that is going into the faucet you would hear the water pump coming on and going off as the pump is sensing the leak and feeding it more water.

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  9. Roadtrek 190 with Domestic 3way refig.
    Gas works fine.
    Not getting a/C power to refrig,also receptacles at floor to right of refrig and next to microwave not working.
    Any suggestions?

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    1. Two possibilities - Circuit breaker in the circuit breaker/fuse panel is tripped OR GFCI outlet is tripped.

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  10. Hi Mike. Is it possible to remove the microwave oven in my roadtrek 190 popular and find a convection oven that will fit into the space? Is venting and heat a problem? If so I could still keep the convection oven in the space and just take it down when we need to use it.

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    1. First, this is NOT Mike! This is NOT Mike's site! I do not speak for the company, I speak for owners like me. I can tell you about replacing the microwave. The microwave that is made by the same company with a convection oven feature will not fit into the space that the present microwave is in the 190. You would have to find a microwave/convection combo that will fit - and that will not be easy for the size of the space. If you can find one, you then have to see what the requirements are for that specific micro/convec combo as to what space it needs around it for venting. Convection ovens use a fan to move hot air around inside the oven and it would need to both draw and expel air through the front unobstructed. When I looked into replacing the one in my 190 I could not find one. It will also need to be able to be secured to the base of the shelf it sits on in the opening the same was the current one does.

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