Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My Roadtrek Takes a Ride Part 1

I knew about this trip when I wrote last week's article, but did not want to jinx, by talking about it, going on this particular trip. We have cancelled this trip over and over again since October. This was a trip to our dealer service center in Pennsylvania for work on our Roadtrek. We had two appointments in October - both cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy - one that hit the day of the first appointment and the second that next day - made in hope of - ha, ha - not so bad a storm. After that we rescheduled for the end of November - as part of a trip down to Virginia with an overnight in Pennsylvania to get this done. That did not happen as I got sick. After that I was hoping that when we could see good weather coming and just call to come down with just a few days notice.  That was not possible - they were that busy. What they did do was make us a two day "floating" appointment - come either day in mid-January, with the idea that if one day was bad, we could go the next day. It snowed both days. Both of those appointments were cancelled. At that point we gave up to wait until there was more likelihood of good weather. We would wait until March.

The work that was needed was only crucial by time. The main reason for going was because of a problem with our coach air conditioner/heat pump unit. When it would run there was a flapping noise inside. This noise actually started way back in June - but would come and go. It got steadier over the summer and then during our August trip there was no ignoring it any longer - but getting to Pennsylvania to have it looked at had to wait for October. There is a two year warranty on the air conditioner and that runs out at the end of this coming April. I had to get this taken care under warranty and not knowing what could be making this noise, I foresaw a need to remove the unit completely from the Roadtrek and the service center having to send it out or wait for parts for repair.

I looked at the unit as much as I could from the outside. I inspected the back of the unit through the vents in the rear of the roof. There was nothing there that was making any noise and the inside of the space behind the vent was relatively clean of any debris.I also recorded the sound so that if we did go for service - and it got quiet when we got there - I could let them hear what it had been doing.

 I looked at what was involved in taking the cover off and was uncertain of what I was not seeing under the cushioned wall covering that is around the front cover. The two screws are obvious - but were there others that I did not see - and the cushions did not push away from the edge. I asked Roadtrek what to do and the instructions were easy - just remove the screws and pull up and out. I did that and one side came up and out - but the other side was not budging - and it seemed that if I flexed the cover any further to free that other bottom corner I would break it. I stopped - with the urging of Meryl not to break anything - and got the cover back into place and screwed it back in. This was a job for the service center. Plus - once I got the cover off what was I going to see - the noise was coming from inside the unit in the vicinity of the rotary cage fan. There is a vent hole there to the front,  but it is not that large an opening. I would be feeling blind inside, if I could get my hand inside - which I would have tried if I could have gotten the cover off. One of our very friendly readers who had contacted me by email about his Roadtrek told me that he had gotten the cover off and explained how it is done, which did involve flexing the cover with assurances that it would not break. Meryl's suggestion - "let the dealer service do it!" As I have mentioned many times before - Meryl is always right. We would wait. The sound after that though did change. Now it was most evident only when the speed was on high. It still was there no matter if it was on cool or heat or just fan. Since the sound had been changing over time, I was not sure if my partially moving the cover was the reason for the newest change.

At the end of February with anticipation of warmer, nice March weather, we made another "floating" appointment with service. We had an appointment for each of two days, back to back in early mid-March. I watched the weather reports for a week before we were to go. I went back and forth from to National Weather Service - sometimes they were the same and, as usual, other times they varied for the forecasts for these two days. We started with sun, then went to clouds, then went to rain, and then back to clouds again. There was NO mention of snow. I had decided that rain, as long as there would be no ice, would be OK and we would make the trip. We would be traveling about 150 miles each way. As the days got close enough for the forecasts to be hopefully more accurate, the first day was to be cloudy and in the upper 40s and the second day had more chance of sun but in the mid-30s. Clouds and warmer temperatures sounded best to me - and I was eager to get this trip finally over with. The night before we were to leave the forecast started to include "scattered showers". Still OK - we were going. That day we had prepared the Roadtrek for travel.

We had not traveled in the Roadtrek since September and we had only driven it to a gas station for gas once since then to replace the gasoline used running the generator when we were in the Roadtrek during the blackout following the hurricane. While we were only planning on a one day trip down and back the same day, we decided that just in case we had to stay overnight, the Roadtrek should be prepared for that. Meryl moved the bedding back in. We secured down things that had been moved around while we have been in and out of it during the winter. We put back in a few things that we had taken out for the winter, non-use months. We are still winterized so there would be no water or toilet use, if needed, so we had the filtered water dispenser that we use for winter trips and the catch box for water to put in the sink if we needed to wash. A change of clothes for each of us also went inside. Meryl had to go to work in Manhattan in two days so if we did stay over it could not be for more than one night.

We got up to a cloudy morning - but no rain.  We watched the traffic report and maps on the local cable news channel and while the northern route was heavy with traffic, there was no mention of problems on the southern route. We got in and headed off. Since the cabinets were not as full as they usually are when we travel on a "real" trip, things rattled more than usual. Overall, this was a very noisy trip inside because of that. We made our way to the highway that would take us to the first of two bridges that would get us out of New York State. That road was full of new potholes - some having been attempted to be repaired, but many not. I watched the road surface ahead very carefully so as to not drive in to one and do damage to the Roadtrek. It was like driving an obstacle course. We finally made it to the highway, and shortly thereafter came to a standstill in traffic.

We drove at less than five miles an hour when we were not completely stopped for about three miles. We finally came to the problem. Two roadwork trucks with lights moving traffic from three lanes to one lane - with no one in sight doing any work - or any appearance that work had been being done. The road opened completely right after that for about ten miles until we stopped in traffic again. This time we were rolling but no more than five miles an hour with less frequent stops. When we came finally to this problem we found two more roadwork trucks with arrows moving traffic from two lanes to one lane but this time the trucks themselves were moving - and again, no sign of roadwork anywhere. The trip out of New York has been getting longer and longer over the years. It used to take 45 minutes to an hour to get to the New Jersey border. Now it can take an hour and a half to two hours. We crossed the first bridge to find Staten Island's expressway is under construction. There were no traffic stops but lanes were narrowed. The trucks could make it through, and so could the Roadtrek. Another bridge and finally we were into New Jersey. According to the GPS, two and a half more hours to go. The good part was that it was cloudy but other than that the weather was fine. The most recent reports had the showers starting in the afternoon both at home and in Pennsylvania where the Roadtrek dealer is.

The New Jersey Turnpike has been under construction for some several years now. They are expanding the car only lanes (which by the way you can drive on in your Roadtrek). The separate car and truck lanes when they are finished - if they ever do finish - will be the length of the turnpike. This involves knocking down current overpasses and roads and expanding their length to cover new lanes in both directions on the Turnpike. We have been able to get through without much, if any, delay. It was the same now. We made it through New Jersey and off onto a new exit ramp that leads eventually across another bridge and onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike. There is an alternate route to the dealer through New Jersey and Pennsylvania but it is longer and involves streets and a lot of traffic lights. There is actually another way to go that avoids a lot of the streets but it is a lot longer. With no real problems anticipated on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Pennsylvania Turnpike we have found that this - despite the high tolls - is the easiest way to go - and the approach to all routes from home still involve the same problem roads in New York.

When got onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike it was after 12 Noon. We had told the service center to expect us around Noon or as close as we could be to it. They have been great about making us late in the day appointments. The traffic in New York really threw us off. We called and let them know we were on our way and gave them the ETA as shown on the GPS at this point. Nice clear roads got us there just about that time.

I have to tell you about the people at the Roadtrek dealer/service center. The people at the service center are wonderfully nice. The woman who makes the appointments and checks you in when you arrive - Rachel - knows us well by now and it is always a pleasure to talk with her. She was just so nice about the delay and all of the cancelled appointments. In fact, Meryl commented this to her and she said she always tries to be flexible. Meryl said that back home, for cancelling any appointment as many times as we cancelled and rescheduled this one, we would not have gotten such great understanding.

While we were making the long trip for the air conditioner, we had made the appointment to also include changing the oil in the generator for its annual oil change and for them to show me how to remove the outside hatch cover that is over where the refrigerator sits.  That hatch was another one of those things that when I tried to take it off (with a full explanation of how it comes off), it was not budging - and I was not taking any chances of breaking it. I don't really need to access that area for any reason other than making sure it is clean and that no bugs had built any nests in there as I don't have a propane refrigerator. Normally, this is the access to the propane connection for the fridge. I just wanted to know how to get it open to keep the inside behind the fridge clean. We left the Roadtrek in good hands and they would check out the air conditioner noise and change the oil. After that they would show me how to open the hatch.

END OF PART I (This was just too long to keep as one article.)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Long, Hard, Non-RVing Season...

When you own a Roadtrek or any RV you start thinking in terms of the "RVing Season" and the "Non-RVing Season". That is the time of year that you are able to get in and go in your RV and the time of year that you are not traveling because of the weather - freezing temperatures, snow, and more snow. There are some that don't even think about this - they follow the good weather and RV full time, heading to where it is warm and if that changes, move on to where it is warmer. Some of us can't do that - yet.

This year - Fall 2012 into the winter of 2013 - has been a particularly long non-RVing season for the two of us. Trips planned in October and December were cancelled. There was "historic" weather to contend with and then illness. For many years we have traveled for each of our birthdays. Meryl's birthday trip was to be at the end of October. We were set to go to Pennsylvania. The day we were set to leave it was raining - well, more than just raining. Hurricane Sandy hit us hard. Luckily we had no real loss due to the storm. No trip though and even thinking about leaving once the storm passed, we did not want to leave the house without electricity and routes away from here involved areas that were hit hard and some of which were still under water. We were not aware of it at that point but that was the start of our non-rving season.

At that point, I started looking forward to our next trip - a winter trip down to Colonial Williamsburg for Grand Illumination, as we had taken the year before. We would be leaving at the end of November for almost a week. Reservations had been made way back for the trip and it would highlight the holiday season for us. We had winterized the Roadtrek in mid-November and we would travel without water as we had the year before in December. We were all prepared and a few days before we started getting the Roadtrek ready for the trip and packing in things we would take with us. The day before we got all of the clothes that we would need on the trip out of the closet and filled the shelves and cabinets in the Roadtrek - the temperatures in this part of Virginia at this time of the year can vary from freezing to over 70 and we were preparing for both in what we were bringing with us. The night before we leaving my throat started to feel scratchy and I started coughing - for no real reason. The next morning I woke up in anticipation of getting on the road and I felt terrible. The thermometer went into my mouth (one that we had not packed into the Roadtrek) and read 100 degrees F. I was sick. At this point I did not know that these were the symptoms of this year's variety of Flu. We postponed the trip for a day - maybe tomorrow I would feel better and have a normal temperature. I didn't and the trip ended before the Roadtrek left the driveway. This actually lasted for all of December and into January and along the way developed into Bronchitis. Nothing serious but a great deal of disappointment - because the weather got colder and the days were either raining or snowing - along with a very significant snow fall that we had not seen in a couple of years.

We were spoiled by 2011 into 2012 - that winter was warmer than normal and the weather was fairly good. Here, in 2013, we were with week after week of negative forecasts. I know it was worse in other parts of the country - snow where it has not snowed in years and years. We tried planning a few overnight trips - all cancelled because of the weather. Even impromptu overnights were not possible as the weather would be good one day and bad weather was coming the next day. And it seemed - still seems - like the Spring will never come. The groundhog came out and said Spring was soon to arrive - the groundhog lies.

I am writing this about two weeks before you are reading it and outside it is snowing - lightly - with higher predictions of accumulations than likely will happen (I hope) but still once again, it is snowing. Like many of you, I am tired of it. I have been reading on the Roadtrek Facebook page about others in Florida and other places that are warm enjoying their Roadtreks. I am envious. When I heard the prediction of this current storm, I said to Meryl, "Let's just get into the Roadtrek and head south - where it is warm and there will be no snow." She smiled and told me to have a good time. I was only half joking about the idea - the feelings were serious, but I know that we just can't do that for various reasons. I have not heard the words "NorEaster" spoken on local TV news and weather reports as often as I have these past six months. We can count our blessings that we did not lose our house as some did. We are now healthy, etc., etc. And maybe one needs to own an RV or trailer and be caught in this "lifestyle" to appreciate these feelings.

Of course, during times like these you try to use the good days to do the things that you need to do - or want to do - inside the Roadtrek. Actually, any excuse is good to get into the Roadtrek. So  you go out and exercise the generator or charge the battery or find things to go out and take photos of to write articles for sites like this. It is also a time for projects but lately even that has been hindered by the weather outside. There have been a few things that I wanted to set up to demonstrate and document for you here, but there has yet been a day that it has been nice enough to even do that. But still, any excuse to get out to the Roadtrek is good.

It has been a long, hard, non-RVing season. I hope that is will soon end and we can hit the road again. I have some plans for late April - no reservations yet - maybe so that I don't jinx it - but the reservations have to be made soon. Maybe soon we can all be singing, "Here Comes the Sun".

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Charging the Roadtrek Batteries

There is a lot of discussion on various forums and readers have asked me about charging the Roadtrek batteries during periods of non-use. Some are interested in attaching trickle chargers to keep the batteries charged. With Roadtreks with the Tripp-Lite three way inverter, all you need to do to charge the all of the batteries fully at the same time and that includes your one or two coach batteries and your vehicle battery. Roadtreks with model years of 2005 and earlier will only be  charging the coach batteries in this way.

This is as simple as plugging the Roadtrek into shore power and you can do this at home. In this article - even though it is simple - I will take you through the steps and show you what is involved in plugging the Roadtrek in.

You will need a few things to do this. You will need a 30 amp socket to 15 amp plug adapter and that looks like this:

This adapter can be purchased at any RV supply store and even Walmart in the RV section of the auto department. You may see this type or you may see just a plug with a socket on one side and a plug on the other. The one shown here is called a dogbone adapter and it is the easiest to disconnect from your power cord because of the handle on the back of the socket. It is worth the few dollars more to buy this type.

If your Roadtrek power cord does not reach the outlet at your house, mine doesn't, you will need an RV extension cord. I have written about this before and it is worth repeating. You want an extension cord that matches the 10 gauge wiring of your Roadtrek cord. Never use a household extension cord. The cord you want will look like this:

This RV extension cord was purchased in Walmart - again in the RV section - for $50 and is 30 feet long. You will find this cord in RV stores also and lengths vary from 25 feet to 50 feet. The socket on this cord lights up when plugged in showing that there is power in the cord. That is nice, but I would rather have a cord with a plug and socket that has pull grips on the back. If your outlet is within reach of your Roadtrek's power cord plug you DO NOT need an extension cord. Just follow the steps leaving the extension cord off.

The other thing that you will need - though it is not absolutely necessary but is a wise thing to use here - is a power/surge protector. Even though I am plugging in at my own outlet on the outside of my own house, I do not trust that there cannot be a power surge coming through the wiring at any time. We have had power surges in the house and we have lost electrical devices that were not surge protected - one nearly resulting in a serious fire - had we not been present when it happened.  Here is my Surge Guard. The choice of Surge Guard or Progressive is yours. Only get the model from either company that monitors and stops the flow of electricity if voltage changes in addition to surge protection. There are portable units and permanently installed units. This is a portable unit and you will find it only in RV supply stores - and some of those do not stock them regularly. Here is my Surge Guard 30 amp unit (your Roadtrek is 30 amp and you want a unit that is also 30 amp):

With these three pieces of equipment, you are ready to begin.

First - go inside your Roadtrek and turn on your battery switch. There is a large sign inside my Roadtrek near that switch that says to turn it on whenever connecting to external power, and that is why I do it. Leave this on through the whole time you are charging and plugged into shore power.

Here is the switch - press and release and the red LED will light showing the switch is ON:

While you are inside at the monitor panel, press and hold the TEST switch on the left in the photo above and see what your Battery Level is:

You see here that my battery is on the second LED from the bottom. When the batteries get to this point you want to charge them. The bottom light indicates that the battery level is LOW - see the "L" and this is not a good thing for the batteries. Some people with older Roadtreks will use a an automotive voltage meter and test the battery directly at the battery posts. This is not easy to do on Roadtreks 2011 (mine) and later. In newer Roadtreks - 190's and 210's in particular (as I do not know the battery location in the Sprinter models), the batteries were changed by Roadtrek from wet cell batteries that require regular maintenance to maintenance-free AGM batteries. With this, Roadtrek discontinued the use of a slide out draw that the batteries sit on in a compartment on the outside of the passenger side of the van and replaced that with an access hatch that no longer slides out. Here is the compartment, closed, on my van - this is in front of the rear passenger side tire:

Here is a view inside with the locking door open so that you can see the two AGM 6 volt batteries connected together. The tray they are sitting on does not move:

Here is a close up view of what you can see of the top of batteries from outside - there is no real room to reach in (and there really does not need to be unless you want to get to the terminals with a volt meter):

OK - this was all just an aside to show you the batteries and why the monitor panel is important. In addition, you should know that in the newer Roadtreks there is no 12 volt outlet socket inside - older Roadtreks did have these. There are places where you could wire one in yourself. I have not. With one you could use a voltmeter that plugs into a 12 volt vehicle outlet.

Now - back to getting all of your batteries charged.

The next step - and really folks, I am going through the steps simplistically just so that what you need to do is clear - is to start plugging everything together.

Simple steps - first you are going to get your Roadtrek power cord out and you will move it from inside the storage compartment though what is called "the mouse hole" and out under your Roadtrek. Here is the mouse hole as seen from inside the outside storage compartment (different models may look different):

Here is the view from outside the compartment where the plug pulls through. You can see here that the plug sits in a capped storage box that keeps the mouse hole closed when the power cord is not in use:


A side note about  the plug in the mouse hole - this plug is not always here when you first get your Roadtrek. Mine was not. It was inside the storage compartment. There are little V fingers that hold this cord in place here. If you pull too hard from the other side the plug will come back through. In the cold weather, it is very hard to move this plug then back through to this side past those fingers. It is much easier to do in the warm weather. Just don't pull it into the storage compartment at the end when you are putting it all away. (In the photo on the left you are seeing the City Water hose connection.)

Here, below, you see the cord pulled through. This is just about all that I need because I am using the extension cord. If you don't need an extension cord you need to pull a lot more cord out until you can get the plug to the outlet.  In the cold, it is not easy to get this cord either in or out of the compartment though the mouse hole. In the warm weather, it is much less of a problem. A trick that Meryl has found is that hand over hand with two hands gets the cord out easily - and again, in the cold, it is still hard. What she does is pull a loop of cord from inside, out through the compartment door, so that the loop is not twisted and then pull - hand over hand - one hand inside and one hand outside at the mouse hole, alternating hands - and the cord comes out. Reverse this to get it back in and it is much easier than just trying to tug it out.

 Now, plug in the power/surge protector into the Roadtrek plug. If you are using an extension cord plug the end of the extension cord into the other end of the protector unit:

Another side note - in the cold and even sometimes when it is warm, the plugs and sockets are difficult to push together. It sometimes takes a lot of effort to get them together with no gap. It is even harder to get them apart. Plugs or sockets with pull handles are easier. There is something that I recently learned about to add to any RV plug or socket to make this easier when pulling them apart and I going to order some and will let you all know all about them when I get them.

Take your extension cord or your Roadtrek power cord plug (if no extension cord, also the protection unit) to your outlet. Your house outlets are generally either 15 amps or 20 amps. I am lucky enough to have a 20 amp outlet in my backyard with nothing else on the circuit except a flood light that I wired permanently into the outlet box. When I connect the Roadtrek here, I turn that flood light switch to off so that the motion sensor does not turn the light on while the Roadtrek is plugged in. With 20 amps I can just about use everything inside the Roadtrek when it is plugged into my house with the exception of running the air conditioner and the microwave at the same time. They can each be run without the other. What would happen if I put them both on at the same time is that I am going to trip a circuit breaker - most likely in my house. See my articles on The Electric System to understand all of this better. When just charging the Roadtrek, any house outlet will do.

Now, take the adapter plug and plug the extension cord large plug into the large socket on the adapter. If you are not using an extension cord, then plug the large plug on the power/surge protector unit into the large socket on the adapter.

Now, for the moment we have all been waiting for - take the small plug on the adapter and plug it in the wall outlet!  Note, that this all has been done in this order so that until this moment, there has been no live electricity running through anything that you have been connecting - and this step is just plugging a regular plug into a regular household outlet, just like you do every day.

The power/surge protection unit had a delay before it sends current through its socket and into your Roadtrek (or any RV). When you plug in the unit you will see a Line Voltage LED light come on but it takes two and a half minutes for the current to be allowed to pass through and out. This is to protect your circuits should the unit shut down power because of a variation of voltage - too low or too high. It automatically turns itself back on then when the voltage is correct but it does not allow the voltage to just push immediately through - and that is why there is this delay. The delay can seem like it takes forever. During the delay an LED flashes next to where it says "Time Delay When Flashing". When the power starts to flow you hear a loud "click" and a green LED  lights showing "POWER ON". Newer units than mine now have a digital readout instead of the LEDs.

That is it! Your Roadtrek batteries are now charging!

How do you know?  Go inside the Roadtrek and push and hold the Test button on the monitor panel and you will see this:

You should see all of the Battery LEDs lit all the way to the "C" on the top. That C indicates "CHARGING". When you are plugged in as you just did (or your generator is running you should see this.

I take the power/surge box and put it under the van just to keep it out of the weather should there be any. All is weather proof and can stay out in the rain. Since I am leaving this plugged in for a length of time it is also (in my neighborhood) better to hide it all under the van out of sight from the nearby street.

How long should you charge your Roadtrek's batteries?  I asked a Roadtrek Service Technician this question and he told me that to fully charge the batteries the Roadtrek needs to be charged for 12 hours. I plug the Roadtrek in during the day and 12 hours later go out and unplug it. Yes, sometimes in the middle of the night and sometimes well after midnight.

When it is time to unplug the Roadtrek do the
 steps in reversing - taking the plug out of the wall outlet first and then disconnect everything and put it all away. As soon as you unplug from the wall outlet go inside the Roadtrek to shut OFF the battery switch, but before you do, push the test button again. This soon after charging you will still see all the LEDs lit up to and including the top green LED at "C". This may even light like this when you test for several hours. I am told that residual electricity in the circuit to the panel keeps the monitor showing "C" when you have the battery switch on and push the test button for a short while after unplugging. So don't be surprised if it still looks like this photo (as it was above). After a short while, if you check the battery level it will be at "G" which is where it should be. Before you leave shut off the battery switch - why waste the charge!

I said it was simple and it is. Why has this article taken so much to say - plug it in. Well, as you have seen, while you could just plug it in, there are a few things to do along with that. And as we went along you had an opportunity to see how everything should look, how the monitor panel will read, what the "mouse hole" is all about, and you got to see what the new battery compartment looks like in the 190 with its two AGM batteries.

I have a schedule set up to charge the Roadtrek in the months that it gets little to no use. The generator is run for its exercise (which also charges all of the batteries) on the 15th of the month and the Roadtrek is plugged in and charged on the 28th. The batteries hold their charge much longer in the warm weather and when the Roadtrek is out on trips every few weeks the batteries stay nicely charged on their own. Every time you plug in at a campground you are charging the batteries. In the winter, however, the level drops in two weeks after the generator's two hour run to what you saw in the photo above of the monitor panel with only the bottom two LEDs lit. After charging, by the 15th usually the panel is lit up to the "G" which is fine.  I had been forgetting to run the generator for its needed monthly exercise and also plugging the Roadtrek in to charge. It is now on my computer and cell phone calendars and I am reminded that day to take care of business.

While I have been writing this, the Roadtrek has been charging on my driveway all day. Now, I am going out (it is 1:30 am) to unplug it - and it is unexpectedly snowing outside... (What else is new?!)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The NON-Power Sofa/Bed Roadtrek

When we were shopping for a Roadtrek, the only models that were available to see on dealer's lots and at RV shows were one's with the rear power sofa/bed. We knew that older Roadtreks had a non-powered bed and that, actually, the powered sofa/bed that was so popular now was actually an option. By ordering a Roadtrek 190 or 210 without that option, there would be the older design, non-power sofa/bed in the rear. What we wanted to do was see one. We looked at photos that Roadtrek owners posted on various forums and we did get a glimpse of some older Roadtreks with this design - but none of the photos that we saw were detailed and we were not sure if what we would get by ordering our Roadtrek this way would be the same as in the photos.We ordered the Roadtrek without the power sofa/bed sight unseen, and hoped that it would be as described. It was and we have been very happy with it. Much happier than if we had decided to order the Roadtrek with the rear power sofa/bed.

I have had a number of readers ask me about what the back of my Roadtrek looks like without the power sofa/bed in the rear. I have also been asked if it adds or takes away storage.  In this article you will see exactly what the back of my Roadtrek looks like without the power sofa/bed.

This is my Roadtrek looking from the front to the back. I am standing just about in front of the kitchen sink, taking the picture back to the rear cargo door windows. What you see here is the middle of the bed platform in the very back (the Roadtrek comes with a cushion that fills in this space and two seat belts in this location at the back). Above the platform and below the windows is a short, wood headboard/backrest. At the floor you see five cabinets - two on each side and one in the middle. As you see this right now, this is set to be the twin beds - or two sofas - one on each side for sitting. The aisle in the middle is about 29 inches wide. With the rear cushion put back in the middle of the back, there would be more seating.  We removed the middle cushion and it now is stored in our basement. When making this into the king bed, that cushion is not used and has to be placed somewhere inside the Roadtrek. It was a pain to have this always in the way - so we no longer take it with us.

Here is a close up of that section in the back between the bed cushions. On the left over the cushion, you are seeing, through a cutout in the backboard, the rear cargo door release so that you may open the rear cargo door from the inside in the event of an emergency and you had to get out.  When the cargo doors are closed - as they usually are - you are just a couple of inches from the backboard to the door.  In the very middle on the platform right below the back board are two bolts that are where the seat belts once were. I removed the belts as we will never have anyone sitting back here.

The back set up as a sofa. You are looking at the passenger side of the Roadtrek.

Without the power sofa/bed there are storage cabinets on the floor that you would not have with the power sofa/bed. 

This is an access door directly to the under bed storage area that is most accessed through the rear cargo doors. This is not added storage but added access to storage that you cannot access from inside with the power sofa/bed.

This is the passenger side of the rear aisle. The front cabinet has a small storage area available to you. Behind that storage area is part of the interior fresh water tank. The cabinet on that side is all storage. You may wonder what that yellow band is - this is a velcro strip that we added - not to keep the cabinet closed - it has a very good cabinet latch, but to hold another door above in the platform down to keep it from making noise when on a bumpy road - part of my noise quieting around the Roadtrek. On the floor in the carpeting offset toward the back is where the rear table pole is inserted to assemble the rear dining table.

Here is the passenger side of the rear aisle. The cabinet in the front is not storage but contains the hot water tank, the water pump, and the various valves that need to be turned for summer mode/winter mode and hot water bypass. The slots that you see in the middle are the surround sound system's subwoofer. That speaker can be accessed through the front cabinet. The cabinet to the rear is all storage and bigger than the one on the passenger side. Again, you see one of my velcro noise strips in the front. 

I want to show you also how it is in the back when the aisle bathroom door is open. As you can see below the bed/sofa on the passenger side ends right at the wall of the bathroom. When anyone asks about privacy in a Roadtrek, my answer is that there really is no privacy. Prior to one or so years before my model year, Roadtrek did away with the rear privacy curtain that separated the toilet from view of the bed/sofa area. I am not sure why - as it was a good thing to have. You can use the shower curtain pulled halfway out in its place but this is not as convenient as the rear privacy curtain was. There is still a privacy door toward the front and that folds out from the back of the bathroom door that you see here. When you open that there is a large mirror on the back of the door that is revealed. Also you can clearly see here how your feet are in the aisle when using the toilet.

Now, what about the under bed storage accessed from the rear cargo doors? Here is a good photo showing the full rear storage area.  Both cargo doors are open. At the top right you see the cutout on the backboard for the inside cargo door release.

Under the bed you see that I can put three laundry baskets. We have done this just for convenience in what we store under the bed and getting out what we need more easily. The space is deeper than it looks as I have something stored along the entire back length of this area. If you do not have the Continental Spare Tire Kit, the spare tire is kept on the right side of this storage area, taking away a lot of space. The height from floor to the platform is about 11 inches. To the right is where we found the inverter.

Here is an angled view of this same space. 

Finally, here is the back of my Roadtrek with the bed made into king size. You can sleep back to front or side to side. Below the bed you can see how the aisle can be used for additional storage when traveling if you keep the bed made up. A couple of pressure spring curtain rods keep items under the bed in the aisle from coming forward.