Additional equipment not shown:
- Eight solar panels (589 watts total)
- Heliotrope HPV-30 solar charging controller
- Xantrex XBM battery monitor (successor to the well-known Link-10)
- Four Group 27 Concorde AGM batteries (416 Ah total)
- 2,000W Trace 2012SB inverter with 3-stage charger and remote control panel
- Two Fan-tastic exhaust fans
- Two swivel-mounted Fan-tastic "Endless Breeze" fans
- 12,600 BTU Coleman air conditioner
- 40-pound (10 gallon) propane tank
- 3,000 BTU radiant catalytic heater in rear
- 6,000 BTU radiant catalytic heater in front
- 6-gal. Atwood water heater
A guided tour of Gertie
(To see a full-sized version of any of these small pictures, just click on it. Use your browser's "Back" button to return to this page.)
Looking to your right as you come in Gertie's main entrance door, the upstairs bedroom is over the cab. You climb into bed using the ladder with carpeted steps that you see here. (You can also see Marie's litter pan between the two front seats.) There's a handle in the ceiling (not visible) just where you can grab it to help yourself into or out of bed—very convenient. The queen-sized bed has a wide, shallow storage compartment at its head. There's a fluorescent light above it, plus a small halogen reading light that I added. And there's a fan at its foot (not visible) that's conveniently controlled by a switch near the head of the bed. Another switch turns on small floor-level guide lights by the bathroom, so you can see where you're going when you get up in the middle of the night. Lazy Daze put in lots of thoughtful touches!
The big vent you see above the bed is 26" square. It lets in lots of light and air during the day, and can be opened at night for a view of the stars. It also serves as an emergency escape hatch. There are windows around three sides of the bedroom (you can see them in the exterior picture at the top of the page), but they let in too much heat/cold, so Judie and Gary, Gertie's previous owners, blocked them with Reflectix, a quilted, foil-backed insulating material. I went one step further: I paneled all three walls completely with 1" foam insulation covered with quilted muslin. In addition to improving the insulation, that ensures that the bedroom stays quiet and dark. (I'm a light sleeper, so I need that.)
The entry door is just to the right of these pictures.
Below the bedroom is the cab. It's just an ordinary van cab, but there's a privacy curtain that pulls around to cover the windshield and both side windows. (I've opened the curtain for this picture so you can see the cab interior, but it's closed in the bedroom pictures above.)
As you walk in the entrance, the bathroom is straight ahead of you. You can see the Thetford "Bravura" toilet on the right; it flushes with just a few ounces of water. Above it is a medicine cabinet with a latching door so that it won't fly open when you're traveling. (All of Gertie's cabinets and drawers latch.) And on the right wall is a multi-pouched storage unit that I found at IKEA. The bathroom door, which you can see open at far right, has a mirror that came from the IKEA storage unit. I covered the door in almond Con-Tact film to make the small room look lighter.
To the left is the shower stall. It's small, but usable—better than in most rigs this size. With a lot of small RVs, the toilet is actually in the shower! Gertie has a small bathroom sink in the shower, but it doesn't get in the way.
You can see my laundry bag hanging from the towel bar. The ugly black apppliance on the floor of the shower is a "Portable Buddy" radiant propane heater. I use it to preheat the bathroom on cold days, since the the air from the furnace outlet doesn't really reach the bathroom very well. The "Portable Buddy" puts out about 8,000 BTU, so all it takes is five minutes to heat up the bathroom. I do have to open a vent, though, to make sure carbon monoxide doesn't build up.
The bathroom window is covered with Con-Tact "Frosty" film for privacy, so I don't need a window curtain. And there's a "shower screen" that rolls up neatly into its canister (visible to the right of the window), so I don't need a shower curtain. In addition to the window you see here, the bathroom has an overhead vent (with Fan-Tastic exhaust fan) that also serves as a skylight, plus two incandescent ceiling lights. Although this picture doesn't show it very well, it's really a bright and cheerful little room.
Turning a little to the left, you can see the bathroom sink, which is in the shower stall. It's only about half the width of a normal sink, but is fine for washing your hands or face. The faucets have a diverter (where the drain control would normally be) that switches the water to the showerhead mounted in the corner above the sink. The showerhead has a cutoff valve so that you can get wet, turn off the water, lather up and then turn it on again to rinse off. After a little practice I found that I was able to shower and wash my hair with only about a gallon of water.
To the left of the entrance door as you walk in is a floor-level cabinet that houses the 2,000-watt DC-to-AC inverter/charger. The pint-sized 600W microwave oven sits on top of the inverter cabinet. Above, there's a cabinet where I keep campground guides, RVing books and the like. To the right you can just see the wardrobe, so let's walk a few steps that way.
Opposite the inverter cabinet, just outside the bathroom, is the pantry closet I built. I'm very proud of this, because it adds twelve shelf feet of storage space without encroaching on Gertie's living area—a neat trick! I don't know how I'd get along without it. Details and plans are on the pantry closet page.
Looking toward the entrance door, you can see the two-door wardrobe at left. I have the wardrobe filled with storage drawers—I don't hang up anything, because drawers are more space-efficient...and a few wrinkles don't upset me. Hey, I'm retired!
To the right of the wardrobe is the 6.3 cu. ft. Norcold refrigerator, which runs on either AC or propane. (That's my pet plastic gecko clinging to the freezer door.) The fridge has a large storage cupboard below it.
You can see that I've installed wall-mounted storage pockets here and next to the entry. They're handy for temporary papers like campground maps and directions.
Turning around, you face the kitchen, which is opposite the wardrobe and refrigerator. The three-burner Magic Chef gas stove includes a decent-sized oven. A clever metal range cover folds back (as shown here) to form a handy shelf, or unfolds to provide an additional work surface if you're not using the burners. On the far left you can barely see a 5" high clear shield between the stove and the couch, placed there to prevent cooking spatters from harming the upholstery. (The small box with the orange display is my XM satellite radio receiver.)
The stove hood has an exhaust fan and light, and also serves as a spice cabinet. On the right you can see the counter extension, a drop leaf that folds down against the cabinets when not in use. All in all, the counter space is excellent for a rig of this size. The kitchen, like the rest of Gertie, also has lots of cupboards and drawers. (I'll list storage space in detail at the end of this page.)
Here's another view of the double-basin kitchen sink, with the beautiful high-rise Moen faucet that Judie put in. At left you can see my West Bend "Just for Dinner" bread machine, which makes a small loaf in 45 minutes from a cold standing start.
Finally, here's the lounge. The three large windows in the rear offer a delightful panoramic view. Two vents over the table (one with a Fan-Tastic fan) also serve as skylights. There's also a fluorescent light over the table, and I added a ceiling-mounted 20W halogen light that shines on the couch and table for reading and keyboarding. Behind and above the couch is an incandescent fixture with a diffuse center light flanked by two aimable spotlights. As in the bathroom, lots of light from skylights and fixtures makes the interior look larger than it really is.
The table can be tilted up against the rear window when not needed, making more room in the lounge area. It can also be extended with a leaf to make it longer. Underneath it, mounted on the rear wall, is an Olympian catalytic heater. The cat heater works like a fireplace: it has no blower, but produces a nice radiant heat that warms your feet and legs on chilly mornings. Unlike the "Portable Buddy," it produces little or no carbon monoxide...but it does consume a little oxygen, so you need to leave one or more vents open a crack when using it.
Gertie used to have a couch on each side, but I removed the curbside cushions and replaced them with an assortment of storage drawers, topped off by a plywood work surface that comes in handy for laying out papers or project supplies when I'm working on something. Three doors in the sideboard allow access to storage bins behind the drawers. Under each couch is a huge storage compartment—also accessible from outside.
In fact, let's look at the storage space in Gertie, which totals more than 133 cubic feet of drawers, cabinets and other enclosed storage:
- at the head of the bed, a wide, shallow lidded compartment about 50" long x 7" wide x 4" deep
- in the bathroom, a smallish medicine cabinet: 17" high x 12" wide x 3"
- just outside the bathroom door, a pantry closet 16.5" wide x 73.5" high x 4" deep
- above the microwave oven, to the left of the entrance: a cupboard 18" high x 14" wide x 11" deep
- below the microwave, to the left of the entrance: a drawer 18" wide x 16.5" deep x 4" high
- a double-doored wardrobe, 33" wide x 49" high x 23" deep, with three bureau drawers, a shelf and hanger rod
- below the wardrobe, three drawers each 13.5" wide x 21" long x 5" deep
- below the wardrobe, a drawer 11" wide x 11" long x 23" deep
- below the refrigerator, a compartment 23" wide x 22" high x 21" deep
- on the curbside couch, drawers and compartments 72" wide x 15" high x 23" deep
- above the curbside couch, a compartment 58" wide x 14" high x 11" deep
- under the curbside couch, a compartment 60" long x 14" high x 24" deep (also accessible from outside)
- above the rear window, a compartment 62" wide x 14" high x 10" deep
- above the streetside couch, a compartment 58" wide x 14" high x 11" deep
- behind the streetside couch, a compartment 50" long x 12" wide x 16" deep
- under the streetside couch, a compartment 68" long x 28" wide x 14" deep (also accessible from outside)
- above the stove, a compartment 26" long by 14" high x 12" deep
- in the stove hood, a spice rack 19" wide x 4" x 5"
- under the stove, a compartment 23" wide x 14" high x 7" deep
- above the sink, a cupboard 35" wide x 19" high x 13" deep, with a shelf
- under the sink, a double-doored cupboard 20" wide x 32" high by 21" deep, with 3 shelves
- above the counter to the right of the sink, a cupboard 17" wide x 19" high x 9" deep, with a shelf
- next to the outside entrance, an exterior compartment 28" wide x 17" high x 20" deep
- and of course there's the two-door 6.3 cu. ft. refrigerator-freezer, with four shelves in the refrigerator section and one in the freezer (plus the usual door shelves)
Not bad for a 22' mini-motorhome! Lazy Daze really knows how to use space efficiently, which is one of the reasons this motorhome is the top-rated Class C in the RV Consumer Group's book.
While I'm at it, I might as well list capacities:
- GVWR: 10,500 lb.
- Payload (CCC): 2,743 lb.
- Fresh water: 58 gallons
- Water heater: 6 gallons
- Gray water: 17 gallons
- Black water: 23 gallons
- Propane: 10 gallons (40 pounds)
- Gasoline: 51 gallons
- Refrigerator: 6.3 cu. ft.
Again, these are fairly generous for a rig this size (except for the gray water tank, which always fills up first). Because Gertie has relatively large tank capacities, plus solar cells and large storage batteries for DC power and a high-capacity inverter for AC, she's very self-sufficient. I've dry-camped (no electricity, water or sewer hookups) for as long as two weeks at a time and can probably go longer with careful water use. And I almost never run out of electricity.
During the five years I owned Gertie, I made lots of improvements. The pictures here show Gertie as she was in mid-August of 2005. I document further enhancements on the "Improving Gertie" page, so if you're looking for all kinds of hints and tips for making the most of your RV, take a look! On the other hand, if you're curious, you can see Gertie as she was when I got her almost five years ago on the old version of this "Guided Tour" page.
Lastly, in case you're wondering about Gertie's name...well, Gary and Judie named her after a variety of cow (Santa Gertrudis) because she was large, slow and friendly. OK, fine—so why is there a dinosaur at the top of this page instead of a cow? Well, because I'm both an animation buff and the son of a paleontologist, the name Gertie conjures up a different image for me: the playful face of Gertie the Dinosaur, the first animated cartoon character. Created in 1914 by newspaper cartoonist and pioneer of animation
Winsor McKay, Gertie was by turns playful, mischievous and contrite. So leaving the rig's name, I changed what it stood for...and added a picture of McKay's Gertie.
Here's a short clip of Gertie the Dinosaur fidgeting in her shy, girlish way. Click on the animation to see a much larger version.