Arkhaus Mobile Workshop? Yes!

Today my father and I traveled up for a meet and greet with the current owner of a fleet of military vehicles and mountains of parts and other equipment, Ken Kublo of Kublo's Surplus. These guys kick ass! You can find them near the PA/NY border. I knew as soon as I arrived that my next truck was parked somewhere on the property. They seem to have it all, both 2.5 ton and 5 ton trucks, winch trucks, even a few M1022 dolly set mobilizers (Which if you don't know, I was obsessed with until I learned I would never be able to legally haul a container down the highway with one... only maneuvering them around on site would be feasible, but I digress.) They even had a few steel shipping containers piled up! Shipping Containers and row after row of Deuce's, was it all some beautiful dream? It most certainly was not!

We here at the Arkhaus realized a few weeks ago that we are fast approaching a time when the miter saw, circular saw, sabre saw, pneumatic staplers, sawzall, air compressor, brad nailers, nail gun, a generator, and case of liquid nails (to name a few things we've been kicking around) could no longer take up floor space in ARK-A. Plumbing has been roughed in the bathroom done save for some tile work and maybe a second coat of varnish. We're ready to start using it as our primary living space with a kitchen, bed, closet and bathroom. But its spent the first year as our workshop and building supply cache.

So the question became, "Should we buy a third container?". But a quick phone call to our container connection revealed the price for another sea worthy box is just beyond out current budget. Plus it'd mean a second trip to deliver all three to whatever property we buy. Then it dawned on me. For the last month we've been keeping boxes of our belongings, mostly books and other non essential items loaded in the bed of my M35A2 "Bobbed Deuce". Its been crucial having that extra sheltered storage space, but the short, medium and long term solution was simple: I need a bigger truck!

Not just an un-bobbed M35A2, but the less common "Shop Van" variant designated M109A3. In looking around on the web we found Kublo's Surplus and once contacted it turns out they had eight for me to choose from! It was not a difficult decision, the one upon which I stand in the photo is "The One". I test drove it, it's not just rock solid, but the "Shop" on the back has built in work benches with cabinetry, shelves. Its wired for both 24V and 110V lighting with recessed fixtures, steps to easily walk up into the back, and electrical outlet strips convienently located above each work bench. A minimum of rust, no major leaks. And best of all for an extra 350 bucks I'm also getting an M105A2 trailer to tow behind it which is the same trailer that was used on my bobbed truck for the bed. So we'll have all that space for storage and hauling materials, plus the Shop Van to store all my powertools and other hardware, supplies, etc. The shop itself is heated and ventilated so working in there year round won't be a problem. We'll finally have a decent place to work on all the projects the research and development of these prototypes requires, whether we need to build another wind mill or kitchen cabinet. This is gonna be sweet! Stay tuned, I'll be taking a lot more pictures of the truck, inside and out once its delivered sometime in the next two weeks.

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June Update!

Spliced our fifth solar panel into the roof array on ARK-A a few days ago resulting in a nice 20% bump for our electrical production. Just in time because we also bought a 4.4 cubic foot refrigerator which has been running quietly in ARK-B since this afternoon! I measured the power consumption of the fridge with my trusty "Kill-A-Watt" and to start the compressor it spiked up around 600 watts but within a few seconds it was reading 0-6 watts and was significantly quieter running off our new 1250 Watt inverter than when we tested it on the gasoline generator. Last time I checked the temperature was 53 degrees and falling and we have ice cubes in the freezer! It's thermostat is cranked all the way up and I have four batteries wired in parallel with perhaps a 60% charge so we'll see if we have the juice to run it through the night till sun rise. Jen stained our oak pallet deck and it looks fantastic plus it is much more weather resistant. Still no railing yet, my Father and I have been preoccupied with the interior of ARK-A which is fast approaching completion. The rooftop victory garden is thriving, the cauliflower and onions especially. But the arugula and sweet basil are super tasty! The blueberries, strawberries, sweet and hot peppers are all coming along too. I must build a ladder soon for the green beans and cucumbers to climb.

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