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