the number one question from everyone these days has been, “how’s the van coming?” so, i guess it is finally time to do our first update on the pending #vanlife chapter of our lives.
it has been seven weeks since we arrived in portland, and we have been super busy. ryan thought he would have all the free time in the world while on a break from work, but he was very wrong.
our first three weeks here were pretty mellow. lots of craigslist searching and alert setting, checking out various vans, and daydreaming about creating our new home. since ryan was not working full time like me, there was also a lot of boredom and anxiety to get started on this next adventure. that boy does not like to sit still for more than a day or two at a time…
we joined a climbing gym in portland, which gave him something to do while we continued to scour the internet for our perfect van. we needed to get back in shape anyways. our forearms and fingertips were definitely not up to climbing road trip status. but, after seven weeks, they are starting to get there.
after about two weeks, an alert popped up in my inbox: 2004 chevy express 2500, 164,000 miles. i forwarded the info to ryan, and he went to suss out if this could be our glass slipper.
turns out that it was. but it also turned into a hilarious example of a craigslist fiasco…
after getting the van home and getting ready to register it, we realized that we had the wrong title. what?! for the next several hours, my brain thought about every possible scenario. was this a stolen van? did we just get swindled? it turns out the answer was no. we bought the van off an electrical company that was selling off a couple vans from their fleet; we just had another van’s title.
during this time, ryan also realized that the transmission could use a little work. lucky for us, the owner had to meet us to exchange the titles. when we picked up the new title, we learned that the vehicle we had purchased was actually a 2003, not a 2004.
this was used to our advantage as i tapped into my schneider debate skills and negotiated a partial refund due to the less than perfect transmission and older than expected vehicle. threatening legal action (without actually knowing anything about the laws surrounding craigslist purchases and bill of sale stipulations), we got them to agree to a partial refund.
with the actual title now in hand, we registered the van in our name and dropped it off at the transmission shop for a makeover while we headed down to lake tahoe for a little snowboarding fun with friends for week four.
we returned to portland in early march, and ryan got straight to work. he joined a community workshop space, so he had access to all the tools he would need. and now what you’ve all been waiting for…
- removing the stickers from the outside
- stripping the inside of shelving and cage divider
- insulating the walls and floor
- sanding the wood wall panels
- waterproofing the wood wall panels (the only thing i have done to contribute thus far)
- starting to install wood wall panels
after endless hours researching and unsuccessfully finding a van bubble topper for a decent rate and reasonable turnaround time, we abandoned the idea of adding a higher roof onto our van. at least for now. standing up in the van is definitely a very exciting luxury, but in an effort to save time and money, this part of our plan has been postponed.
- finishing installation of all wood wall paneling
- insulating the roof
- installing wood ceiling boards
- wiring the van for our ceiling lighting and mood lighting
- online research and ordering of parts
- installing LED mood lighting
- prepping holes for ceiling lights
- building bed frame
- oiling wood wall panels “to make the grain pop”
- designing (and arguing about) under the bed storage compartments
- designing and planning out the kitchen
- more online research and ordering of parts
and there you have it! three weeks of hard work and ryan has already created an amazing new home for us. i can’t wait to see what else he has in store for _______! (we are taking name suggestions. “rowdy” has been suggested as a throwback to the previous owner’s company “gowdy electric” but we’re still open to ideas…)