Back to Work…

We ended up on a small detour on our way home on Friday afternoon and instead of arriving home Friday evening, we walked in the door Sunday afternoon.

Detour #1

Post farmland there were mountains, rivers, beer, hiking, and relaxing. It was lovely.

Re-entry sucks. More from me tomorrow.

Van Updates

While I was playing in the Cabinets, Forrest hung out with Ezra in Oregon last week to work on the cabinets. It came back looking like a totally different van!

Not only did they add upper cabinets, they installed a new Fan-tastic vent, carpeted the walls, and built a box for the batteries under the bed to hold our 400 amp hour battery bank. We also have running water now!

New upper cabinets with carpeted walls and ceiling. Fan-Tastic fan installed.
Another interior view
Speakers in the cabinets. Note the passenger side cabinet is smaller for more room over the bed.
Under bed battery box at lower right

There’s a couple storage cubbies under the bed for extra water tanks and tools:

We’ll store an extra water tank in here.
Sprocket models the cabinet accessible via the rear doors.

The bed also can be moved aside so there is a 12′ cargo area for motorcycles, kayaks, building materials, etc. And the top of the big cabinet is a work bench.

Sprocket models the 12′ cargo area.

A very special thanks to Ezra and Thomas for the great work!

Sprinter van Towing Jeep

If this doesn’t look like awesomeness, I don’t know what does.

UPDATE 10-3-12: We just pulled the Jeep 1000 miles down to Moab and it worked out great. I always drive in the slow lane and this no exception, slow and steady. Gross weight was right at 12,000 lbs since the van was packed with all our wedding gear plus towing the TJ with a bike on the back. Fuel milage was 19.5 and 20 on the two towing tanks. (We got 28MPG on the way back without the jeep)

Van: In Progress

Forrest went to Oregon a couple of weeks ago to work on our van conversion.

Here’s what it looked like towards the middle of his time over there:

Here’s the van now with a large storage area under the bed.

We now have a window installed on the drivers side above the sink. It lets in so much more light!

Creeper.

We still have some cabinets to put in and need a two-burner stove but we’re slowly getting there! It’s already much more comfortable than it was. F and Ezra did a good job, don’t you think?

Sprocket Says… Vol. 11

Just off US-395 in Washington south of the Tri-Cities

“Where should I sniff first?”

“I wonder where that thing is going to take me next?”

“Oh boy, empty roads and chilling with my people!!!”

“Aaand back to sleep.”

Louisiana to Midterm

The alarm went off at 4am and we were up, dressed, and in the van by 4:11. On our way out of Leesville, F found a doughnut shop that was open (4:13am). I’ve always sworn that I don’t really like doughnuts but that was the first fresh one I’d ever had and I had to admit that they were quite good.

We headed north. I took the opportunity to sleep in the back  until we were about an hour outside of Shreveport where I swapped into the drivers seat. Forrest tried to sleep but the condition of I-49 was a little rough for him in the back (I maintain that I would have slept just fine!).

As we cruised through Dallas, it started to rain. And it rained. And rained. All the way across Texas it rained. It was about 40 and raining (what happened to going south where it’s warm?!). We did get a pretty decent hamburger at “Giant Burger” in Rhome (F had to fix a busted power steering cooler line in the rain though) And then we kept on driving. After a brief stop in Amarillo for windshield wiper blades we cruised into New Mexico. Continue reading “Louisiana to Midterm”

Florida in one night

We left the house this morning at about five-fifteen and headed for Spokane—just the start of a long day of travel. On the flight, we talked a bunch with a gentleman in our row and shared with him our travel plans. He and Forrest kept up a nice banter (I looked up from my book to chime in from the aisle seat frequently, though!). As we touched down in Phoenix, we asked him if he would like to join us for lunch.

At lunch, we talked about a whole range of things—the conversation was quite spirited at times. I had so much fun! Meeting people on the road is one of the best parts about traveling so this happy meeting really brightened our day, not to mention that our layover flew by.

The flight to Ft. Lauderdale passed quickly enough and soon we were landing at the airport ready to meet our new van. The seller, Danny, picked us up at the airport and took us to his house. After he showed us all the features of the van and we had a chance to inspect it, he called for a bottle of prosecco to toast to the van’s new life and some pictures to document the transition.

Inside, we signed paperwork and shared travel stories—it’s always so wonderful to talk with others who love travel as much as we do. We were pleased to be able to assure him that the van is destined to have a future life full of adventure. We also learned that tomorrow will be the first time the van’s been out of Florida!

We finally hit the road at almost 11 and started heading north. We stopped for McDonalds in Palm Beach (and of course we chose the fancy McDonalds that didn’t have WiFi) and I took this sweet picture with the retro arches…actually turned out pretty cool.

About Orlando, Forrest decided he was nice and awake and sent me to bed. I was awoken at six in Tallahasee—my turn to drive!

Puppy Child

For our weekend in Coeur D’Alene we decided we’d sleep in the van. (“The van?” you ask, just wait, more on the van next week. For now, just picture a FedEx van.)

The van’s just an empty shell with no additional ventilation or heat. It’s not exactly the most comfortable place in the world but an old mattress, some sleeping bags, and blankets and it becomes do-able.

Friday night, mean parents that we are, we made Sprocket sleep off the mattress. He’s not allowed to be on the bed EVER and we don’t make many exceptions for that dog. (I figure that’s why he’s a good boy. He knows the rules because they don’t change.) Saturday, however, after making him hang out in the cold van all day we caved and let him on the bed.

He started out on my feet.

And then he curled between our knees.

Then, he buried his nose under the blankets at our shoulders for full body contact.

In the morning, we woke up and his head was on Forrest’s pillow. The puppy child had found his spot.

I so wish I had a picture of this. We were as bundled up as we could be against the cold (hats, gloves, sleeping bag hoods cinched). And there was Sprocket, cozy as he could be.