We don't let waiting for a new carburetor slow us down! With the nice weather over the weekend, we decided it was the perfect time to finish Olin's Bedroom with a folding bed rail. This will prevent her from being able to roll off the bed in her sleep or when she's playing in her space. The overhead area will also double as storage while we are underway and allow us to stow our Burley Solo, and a few other items when driving to a new destination!
Last week, the folks at Tepui Outdoors announced an adventure travel contest. This was very exciting news for us, because as you know, Summer 2018 we are heading across the country to find a new home. We have been planning this journey for about 6 months now, and with some help from Tepui, it can finally become reality!
Friday turned out to be a bit of an expensive day. After the van wouldn’t start on Thursday afternoon, we attempted to jump it with our Escape. There was an issue with corrosion on the battery connectors, so it required a bit of trickery. We finally got it running and drove it right to Advance Auto Parts to have the battery & alternator diagnosed. The verdict was the battery was not only not powerful enough for the van, but the alternator was out too. We went ahead and replaced both and are waiting for the alternator to arrive next Monday. We are desperately hoping this solves the electric issue when the headlights are turned on.
While at Autozone I also decided to get the last bit of electrical connectors needed to hook up the fresh water pump for the sink, toilet, shower. Allie grabbed us a new air filter too. When we got home I went right to work on getting the electrical set up for the water pump. I decided to replace the hose as well, so I took a late night trip to Lowe’s to get a few feet of new hose and new clamps. Once it was all hooked up I turned the sink on and didn’t hear the pump kick on, which was a bummer. It was about 10pm at this point so I called it a night. On Saturday morning I went to a trail work day with SORBA at Winged Deer park. Before I headed out to that, I snapped a photo of the water pump and sent it to the previous owner asking if there was anything else I needed to do it make it work. My phone doesn’t work off of WiFi anymore, so I’d have to wait until I got home to see his response.
The trail work day went great! Dig Days are my favorite way to get out and give back to the trails we ride all summer and meet other local riders. The weather was about perfect for January, but with temperatures getting below freezing at night, the ground is frozen in the morning and mud by early afternoon. We made the best we could of the short 3 hour window and worked on a few new sections of trail. This was also the first time I really got to test my new Mountain Khaki Alpine Utility pants. I’ve had them for about a week now, but today was the first day I got to use them for what they’re made for, working outside. What I love about Mountain Khaki pants is you can wear them around town, or on work days. I’ve gotta say, I’m usually a Levi’s guy, but these are probably my new favorite pants.
Trail work wrapped up about 1:30 and we enjoyed pizza and drinks in the parking lot before I headed back home to help Allie on the van. By the time I got home, she already had the engine cover almost all of the way off. I hopped in the shower real quick and when I got out she told me of her great discovery, the chairs swivel! We pulled the engine cover the rest of the way off together and checked the air filter. Not only was is almost brand new, but the one we purchased the day before was the wrong size. We propped the cover back over the engine, but decided not to bolt it down for now. I checked my phone real quick and saw that the previous owner had replied to me, and left a message telling how to get the water pump on. It worked like a champ! That was a huge relief for the two of us.
The next thing we wanted to do was check the grounds for the battery & headlight. We pulled all of the corroded bolts out and headed back up to Advance Auto parts. With how many times we’ve been up there in the last week, we’ve made a friend in an employee who also has a few campers, Edwin. He returned the filter for us and got us the new ground bolt we needed. By the time we got home it was dark, so we called it a night and ate Pot Roast while watching That 70’s Show.
Super Bowl Sunday is forecasted to be a cold, rainy day, so we’re unfortunately probably not going to be able to work on anything else this weekend. We might try to bolt the engine cover back on if we get a break in the rain, otherwise we’ll continue to work through the week. We got a few major goals completed by reattaching the water line, replacing the battery, and ordering the alternator. Hopefully this will solve our electrical issue!
Well here she is! After almost a year of saving, scouring Craigslist & Facebook Marketplace ads, and test driving more van’s than we can remember, she’s finally ours!
We started out with a budget of about $1000 almost a year ago with the intent on purchasing something that would be a total project, from the ground up. After test driving vans in that price range, we determined that it may be wise to continue to save and get something a bit nicer. Around November we started looking really hard again and found a van that was a little bit higher than our new budget, but would have worked great. On a Tuesday evening we met up with the seller, took it for a test drive, and made him an offer. The seller rejected our offer and sold it to another couple the next day, only for a couple hundred more than what we offered.
After this blow to moral, Allie and I determined that, yet again, we should try and save some more to get the “perfect” van. At the beginning of the New Year I made an “ISO” post on Facebook stating that the two of us were interested in purchasing a Class B Camper Van. Not but 10 minutes later I had a woman message me saying she had one that used to belong to her father, and that she hasn’t been trying to sell it, but for the right price she’d let it go. She and her husband agreed to let Allie and I come check it out and take it for a test drive that weekend.
It was love at first sight. They expressed to us that they hadn’t driven it much, and the low milage on the odometer was not only accurate, but they had all the paperwork to match it. After a short test drive, we knew this was the one. When we arrived back to their house, we made them an offer. They stated they were looking for a little bit more than what we offered, so we asked if they would give us a few weeks to come up with the money. This was right after I lost my job and told our landlords we would be moving out of our home at the end of the month. Things worked out well because we had already set aside a good chunk of money for an extra month’s rent, just in case, and I had a few severance checks coming to help out. On Monday afternoon, Allie received the last chunk we needed so we asked if could come pick it up.
It definitely wasn’t brand new perfect condition, but for our budget, it was a great find. We need something big enough for the 2 dogs, baby, and Allie & I, as well as our gear.The overhead bed area is going to make a great bed/play area for Olin, plus she’ll have amazing views of the night sky. We’ll also be able to store her Burley Trailer up there while driving, which is a huge plus. The couch flips down into a bed big enough for both Allie & I to sleep on, we’ll have to see how it works with the dogs…
Our 1986 GMC Rally Wagon sports a 5.0L Chevy 305 V8 Engine and a Fiesta camper conversion. In the main living room area there is a small couch/pull out bed, a sink, stove, and a fridge. The rear of the vehicle features a toilet as well as a shower with a small, sit-down bathtub. Right off the bat I have to reattach the recently rebuilt water pump and propane valves & hoses, this will allow us to have hot & cold running water, a hot stove, and a cold fridge, as well as heat via furnace. The van also has a shore power connection, as well as a backup battery so that we can do some stealth & off the grid camping.
After the water & propane are hooked up, and the van is mechanically sound, we plan on reupholstering and baby proofing Olin’s “room”, replacing the carpet with a vinyl or laminate, and installing a 2” receiver so we can haul our bikes. Unfortunately I already had to do some upholstery work on the driver’s seat after ripping a small hole in it when trying to unfold the bed last night.
The goal is to have the van completed, and ready to live out of by the first week of May, and from there...well we’ll just have to wait and see!
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Dogs & Diapers