After 30 years of sailboat cruising we are accustomed to living in confined spaces. For our first motor home experience, we wanted to create in Liberty an ocean cruising experience on land.
When we cruise, we enjoy cooking our own healthy meals, so we configured the galley cabinets in Liberty to accommodate the cooking implements we use most often. With Rob’s guidance we designed each drawer and cabinet to fit our needs. We included a pull out coffee station in the pass-through area with a shelf for bottled water storage. We also included a trash bin drawer and a pull-out shelf for appliances under the sink. Rob also designed for us an innovative paper towel dispenser hidden away in the overhead cabinet above the sink. We got this idea when renting Stewie for a week, noticing that the curved corner of the overhead cabinet was just tall enough to stand a role of paper towels on end.
We wanted our living space in Liberty to be visually inviting; light in tone yet rich in color. The rear area had to be comfortable to lounge in while dining, reading, watching TV, or listening to music; but convertible to a sleeping area that can accommodate ourselves and our two small dogs. To achieve this we selected a twin bed configuration, but with three insert cushions so that the sleeping area is maximized while leaving an open space at the foot of the bed for easy in and out. The space under the beds was designed for maximum accessible storage but its contents are concealed from view from the front of the coach by drop down cabinet doors and a leather flap between the beds. Other little details that enhance day-to-day living include a red night light in the bathroom and a rubber stopper to hold the bathroom door open for rear coach privacy.
Since we live in Colorado, we wanted full winter usability so we added a rear heat exchanger that provides heat to the rear of the coach and bathroom, as well as floor and tank heaters. We also chose a 4×4 chassis and a more aggressive tire tread to handle winter snow and off-pavement driving.
The electronics package in Liberty was configured to include a security system tied into the 360 degree exterior cameras. Once we add an interior wifi camera with temperature and air quality sensors (made by Canary), we will be able to see what is going on inside and outside the van and monitor its interior environment on our smartphones from anywhere with internet access. This capability, together with ARV’s 800 amp hour lithium battery system with Silverleaf’s auto-gen capability, will allow us to leave our dogs in the van for extended periods in any weather without worrying about whether they are comfortable and secure.
The audio system in Liberty mirrors our home audio system. It uses SONOS components to distribute internet music content and our audio library (on an iPhone) to separate front and rear speaker zones that can be independently controlled from any IOS device. We can also easily add a SONOS powered speaker plugged into an outside 110v outlet on Liberty for listening to music outside the coach. The system requires no separate tuners or “head units” with complicated input and output settings. Everything is operated from any iPhone or iPad using a single SONOS app, and it works exactly like the system we have at home. Simple.
While driving (sitting in our Recaro seats, which we love) audio content and navigation information are provided by an iPad mounted on the dashboard linked via Bluetooth to the Mercedes radio, and delivered to the front zone high end amplifier and speakers (including a subwoofer under the passenger seat). The video system uses Apple TV for web content and a Tablo TV DVR for over-the-air content, all controlled by the small Apple TV remote control. HD video is displayed on a 27 inch 4K LG computer monitor, which can also be connected to a laptop computer for viewing and/or editing photos.
On Liberty’s exterior, we included fresh water showers and air compressor fittings on both sides of the van, and a heavy duty bike rack strong enough for our hefty eBikes. The bike rack is attached to an articulating arm that allows the rack to be swung 90 degrees to permit full access to the rear doors without having to unload the bikes.
Advanced RV did a terrific job of transforming our ideas and desires into reality. The quality of execution is excellent and I think that we have achieved in Liberty the “elegance” that Mike Neundorfer often talks about. On our trip back to Colorado after picking up Liberty, my wife and I kept commenting to each other, “This just works”.
View additional photos of Liberty in our Gallery here: https://advanced-rv.com/gallery/