Getting Ready - RV Log improved, new gear

This is my update to Getting Ready - Van Conversion post from 6/22/07 and update posted to 6/23/07. I like to keep the 'getting ready' pages together and reflect the date of the changes inside the post. will need some new content so I thought I would share our new travel log book. Stay tuned.

We changed our RV log book, accounting, packing and storage since our last trip.

RV Travel Log - Google Forms
The trip log is now digital; RVTravelLog is a database on Google Forms.

RV Travel Log Google Forms

This is an amazing web application that allowed us to build an online database. It accepts entries over the internet, on desktops, portables and mobile devices. I could not get it to work on my older iPhone 3GS and it needs Apple OS X.7 to enable all the features, but it works.  Google also claims to have Forms working offline (needs Chrome OS) I had no luck on the first try (Chrome actually crashed on my iPad2 running iOS 7.1.2) so didn't pursue the matter. You can print out a copy so I have a copy of the RV Travel Log Google Form (92 kb), for off line use.

RV Travel Log - PDF Form
For off line use, I converted our printed log sheet to a PDF Form and that works on the iPod and iPhone 3GS as well as the MacBook. This was designed first using Adobe InDesign CS5 to build the form.  Acrobat was able to recognize the fields (from the lines) so building the form was easy, you specify what the fields will do (numbers, text, etc), check/correct the tab order. Once completed, Adobe allows you to output and combine the data, with other enteries, into a csv spreadsheet.

I have included a copy of a generic version of the form (78 kb download) below. Give it a try.

RV Travel Log as PDF Form

Both the Google Form and PDF Form have the same fields, when you output to a csv spreadsheet the data sets (almost) match up and can be easily combined.

Accounting and receipts are digital now as well. We save the paper receipts chronologically and use the download of the transactions to record and total. MasterCard has a pretty good software package that guesses at the expense category yet allows you to change or split the transactions if needed. The Royal provides the same service. Monthly we can download sort and save the transactions. I didi look around at a quite a few apps for tracking travel expenses, you can't beat a simple spreadsheet, which was what our accountant recommended anyway.

Replaced the (rear cargo area) tubs with 3 RubberMaid  #2159's and a half length mate RubberMaid #2221. The Sterlite tubs were fine after 7 years use, just an inch to long to fit inside the legs of the bed, this frees up a bit o space.  The RubberMaids don't nest inside each other when empty like the Sterilite but are slightly taller and slightly shorter so work a lot better with the space. The nesting is to have an empty tub to bring goods back from trips, don't need that this trip.

New Gear
Smaller (actually shorter) Folding Chairs free up quite a bit of space since they to now fit inside the bed legs. We went with Escort Chairs.

Escort Deluxe Armchair, Blue
Product #76-1526-4;
Escort Folding Chair, Gold
Product #76-1518-4

Donna found a 5 piece set of Heys Packing Cubes EcoTex (in Olive, yeah!) for her clothes. Way better to keep similar clothing together. These look like a keeper. She added a LUG bag for makeup as well.

Travel guides:
We are still taking these books,
  • Mexican Camping, Church
  • The People's Guide to Mexico, Franz
  • Fodor's Mexico 2010
and we'll add a Moon's Cancun (9th edition) 2009 to see if we like Moon's Books. Plus the Frommer's day by day for Cancun (2nd edition) 2010.

Not a big deal, but a hard to find item, Cargo Parachute Cord, found it at a Military Surplus in Tucson Az. Good to have some with us for this trip.

Can't believe the low price so bought a 1TB SSHD for the MacBook. That's a hybrid drive SATA, 64 Mb cache, 8 Gb SSD. Nice storage boost, hopefully speed as well. I'll upgrade to OS X.7 Lion when it gets installed.

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