I’m pleased to announce the arrival of my little miracle (manufactured today, September 25th, 2015).
My little bundle of joy will come home in a few weeks (by convoy), where I’ll help him to quickly grow up (van conversion). As an adult he’ll be able to travel the country and experience America’s natural beauty.
My Cargo Van
It has been a fairly easy process up till now. I ordered the vehicle at the dealer on July 31st, expecting a 3 month wait. As expected, I received a copy of the ‘Confirmed Order’ less than a week later. This shows what was input at the dealership. If there are errors to the order or delays in a particular option(s), this will be noted at time of order and can be rectified before the production starts.
About a month later (August 25th), I received the VIN number from the dealer, who told me that the vehicle was scheduled to go to the plant on Sept. 21st; once scheduled for build, your dealer is billed for the vehicle and you can get a printout of the window sticker. I was able to retrieve the sticker on Sept. 17th. That showed a revised scheduled build date of Sept. 25th and that’s where we are now.
In the meantime I have confirmed my car loan and will be contacting the dealer with the request to preclude the vehicle from any of their advertising. I like a clean car when I pick it up! Their ‘daily status reports’ should keep me well-informed about where the van is and when I can expect it to arrive at the dealership.
This project is the culmination of 30 years of RV use. It began with a 4-year period, living continuously in a travel trailer, traveling all over the US, Canada and Mexico, visiting every corner of the continent (except Alaska). From Sydney, NS. and Port Hardy, Vancouver Island, BC. to San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, MX. and Cancun, Yucatan, MX. Sometimes stuck in the mud for two days and other times covered with a foot of snow, but generally following the sun, exploring every corner of the country. In later years, that discovery continued a few times a year. During that period, the cars changed, as did the trailers, and the family around me passed away, leaving me single with my partner-in-crime and with a great desire to recapture those wonderful moments in time.
That brings me back to today, with my narrowly defined choice of a cargo van as transportation. More mobile, disguised as a regular van to be stealthy, yet equipped with solar and other amenities to allow for extended boondocking.
With all that in mind, I set out to find the right cargo van, that offered a mixture of affordability and serviceability. With the MB Sprinter lacking in both and the Ram ProMaster reasonably priced, but burdened with Chrysler’s unfavorable history, I ended up with the Ford Transit as the vehicle of choice.
To make the van conversion a success, I set out with the following requirements:
- Overall Comfort
At the top of my list. Getting older, means a transition into the easy life.
- 5-Day Off-Grid Survival
Create a van suitable for extended boondocking.
- Off-Road Capabilities
Preferably 4×4 without the price. The Limited-Slip rear axle will help me with that.
- Ability to Transport a Bike and/or Kayak
Like to bring some alternative form of transportation, while traveling.
- Daily Transportation at Home
As it will be my only vehicle, the van has to function as my daily mode of transportation.
With these principals in mind, I will soon start the real conversion. It will be a slow process, in which every detail will be recorded, both in print as well as on video, in addition to Live Discussions and perhaps Live Broadcasts, where the reader can ask questions or give his input.