Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy Holidays everyone

Wanted to add a couple of interior pics as the bed layout has changed and I've spent a lot of time adding small touches to store my stuff out of the way.

Here is the new bed going North and South which makes it longer.   As I am 6'6  I needed a long bed so this one is 80x44.  The reflective material shown is Reflectix which I have covering the many windows for insulation purposes.

This is a shot of the van looking back.  Note the cargo net on the left hand side.  Holds a lot of stuff. My friend Karen showed me this trick.

 This picture shows my chair and another cargo net.  Can't have enough little pockets to store your stuff!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fall Camping

Have been on several weekend camping trips and am way behind on my posting.  Glad to say the van is running GREAT and I've had a lot of fun.  Went to Tumbling Creek in Tennessee,  Dawson Forest in Dawsonville and Rich Mountain WMA in Elijay.  

A few pics:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Great news

Van is fixed and running great.  My mechanic found 2 bare wires that were rubbing together which was causing a lot of problems.  Simple in expensive fix and the test drive went perfect.  So glad to have that behind me.   A good honest mechanic is like gold.  Thanks Tim

Friday, September 16, 2011

oh well

So today I show up at my mechanic's shop all excited to pick up my van.  Well,  it broke down while waiting to get picked up.  Check engine light came on and ran really rough.  Thankfully Tim looked at and has a pretty good idea of what is wrong.   Unhappy of course but thankful it broke down at that moment instead of a 100 miles away on a camping trip.   OUCH

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Repair update

OK,  I'm excited.  My van is almost ready to come home.  Lot of repairs including a new fuel pump, new transmission selector switch and a  couple of support brackets.   All the work is done and now it just needs to be put back together and road tested.  Been a long time coming but I hope to  be road worthy for a long time to come?  Fingers crossed !   

Not sure of the bill yet?  It will be expensive but not a bank breaker.  Hopefully worth it in the long run?  Weather is nice now in the south and I look forward to camping.   Open to suggestions of places to camp within a 100 miles of Atlanta.  Maybe Muscle Shoals ??  :)  GRIN

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Van update

Bad news is that my van is still in the shop but good news is that the important repair was just a sensor and has been fixed.  My mechanic is working on a couple of other issues and will have my van for a few more days.   All is well and I look forward to getting my van back in good working order. 

Getting excited about starting another batch of improvements.   Went to the local army and navy store and purchased a few needed camping items.  That's about it...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Camping trip

Went camping this weekend with a bunch of van dwellers and had a blast.  Hickey Gap is a small free campsite up near Chatsworth GA.   Got to meet a fine group of people.  About half of them are full time dwellers so it was really interesting to see how it was done first hand.   Great fellowship and a good time was had by all.

Sadly my check engine light came on during the ride home.  That was pretty stressful but I got home safe and now the van is back in the shop.  ALWAYS something  I tell you.   My mechanical troubles did not damper the weekend though and I really did have a good time. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Van Pics

A couple people have asked to see additional photos of my bus so here they are.   The silver coverings you see in some of the pics is Reflectix, a insulation covering that keeps heat in or out.  LOVE that stuff.

The curtains are old and will be replaced.  

Front seats 

Looking back

Queen Size bed

Looking forward

Bus doors open
Bus doors closed

Gull door open   Love that !!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Van update

It's been a while since I posted and I'm pleased to say the van has come a long way since my last post.

I found a very good mechanic who kept my van for 2 weeks.  I won't bore you with all the details but he fixed every thing I asked for and a few nice extras.  619.00 dollars but worth every penny.  I haven't had a bit of problems since !!!     HAPPY

After that I went to work on the interior.   I have the bed the way  I want it with 5 inches of firm foam, 2 inches of memory foam,  a thick down comforter and another 2 inches of memory foam.  It's soft but not too squishy.  Very comfortable.

 I've added quite a bit to the electrical system.   I do have solar on the roof and I rewired to controller to 1 single 12v deep cycle battery.  115 amp hours.   It was wired to an additional starting battery under the hood.  I had difficulty in finding a deep cycle battery in that space so  I put the new 12v under the passenger seat combined with a dc plug and a 400w inverter.

I also have a small 200w inverter in the back for lights and a larger 800w inverter that I don't plan on using much but will be a great backup.   I'm really working towards a total 12v system as these inverters need a good bit of juice to run themselves.  Might as well avoid that if I can ?

I also finished the vinyl on the interior complete with insulation.   I added Reflectix to most of the windows and MAN do I love that stuff.   It blocks the ambient light but that's ok.  I feel its a good trade off to avoid all that heat here in the steamy south.

I also hired someone to tint a few of the windows which looks great and will help with the heat also.

It's amazing how much time and effort it's taken to get this all done.  I've enjoyed it mostly despite a couple of small setbacks.

My next focus will be on organization and comfort.   I have more space than a normal size van but will have none to spare especially with my two large dogs.

I'm also trying to decide on the best air conditioning options when  away from shore power.  The Carrier Air-V works great but my honda 2000 generator wont quite run it.  It will however run my smaller 10000 btu portable unit which will do for now.  Takes up valuable space though and I don't like the noise.  I'll come up with a better option,  all it takes is MONEY !!!

Happy to report also that my leaks do seem to be plugged .  Hard rain here in Atlanta tonight and I went out to check it.  No moisture at all.   LOVE It

Ok.. that's it for now..   Kenny  OUT

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Continue with van repair

The van is coming along nicely with a few setbacks but I can take them in stride.   Asked a friend to work on it for me and that was a mistake.  Somehow damage was done to the engine while in his care and it got a little ugly.  I was able to get the van to a repair shop and now it's back on the road.

Faulty wiring was found and now the next step is to have the electrical system checked out.  That should happen tomorrow.  

I was also able to add a new car stereo and also fixed my dash lights.  Very happy with both of those upgrades.

I am a bit worried about the electrical as it can be expensive.  All I can do is hope for the best !

Looking forward to putting the mechanical aspects of this thing behind me if that's possible?   Working on the interior will be much more enjoyable.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Interior work

Noticed some wood rot on the inside of the van around the two gull doors.   Decided to tear into it. I've been a boat owner for 14 years so a bit of wood rot isn't scary to me.  Happy to find the repairs will be easy.  Noticed some decent insulation which made me happy.   I'll hit home depot for supplies this week and ordered some automotive vinyl off of ebay.   Will have him looking spiffy in no time.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Automotive woes

OK I have to admit that the van broke down on me.  Thankfully my brother in law Steve was with me with transportation so I wasn't stranded.   I made an on the spot decision to tow the van to a Ford dealer that I kinda trusted.  I had wanted to have it checked out anyway so it wasn't too bad of a experience except for the 103.00 towing charge.

The Ford dealer found I had a bent valve cover and I was down 5 quarts of oil which made the engine shut down with no low oil light (odd)

The complete inspection yielded a mixed results of good/bad news.   The good news was that the engine and drive train were in good shape except for the valve cover.  Compression was good as well as the glow plugs and injectors.   Keep in mind the van has a 7.3 powerstroke diesel.

The bad news was that the front end was shot.  In the end I authorized 2600.00 in repairs including towing which included a long list of maintenance items.  I generally don't go to the dealer but I must admit they were extremely professional and I feel good about having OEM parts.   I anticipate further work being done at independent garages.

  I had anticipated money being spent when  I purchased the van but not quite that amount.   I had saved some money so I won't have any debt and I feel good that the van is now (or should be) sound.   That money buys me a lot of piece of mind.   My goal is 100,000 additional miles of dependable driving.

So I get to pick the van up tomorrow and look forward to checking it out.  Hopefully it will drive most excellent and I'll feel as my money was well spent?   Time will tell.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Atlanta Winter

Not much to report as it's been cold and rainy here in the south.  My van is in storage about 30 miles away but I think I will move it to my driveway this weekend.   It's new to me as I've owned it less than a month.  My first order of business will be to get it into the Ford dealer for a through check over and engine analysis. 

She  (I think its a she)  runs well but hasn't been used much in the last year or so.  I've saved some money and will insure that mechanically its sound before I attend to more comfort and convenience items.   I admit I've got to learn a few things about owning and operating a diesel.

I'm happy to report that its already equipped with a solar system and roof top heat/air.   The interior is in pretty good shape.  I'll customize it to my specifications but I really don't have a lot to do.  I'll nit pick over it and put a lot of thought into what and where to store my desired necessities.

One thing I LOVE is that I'm 6 foot 5 and I can stand in it.   Pretty much the deciding factor in the purchase.

Looking forward to the whole things.   Many thanks to my tribe at Vandwellers for all the help and inspiration.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

My story

My name is Kenny and I'm a 52 yo single male living in the Atlanta area.   I'm a year or more away from starting to travel the roads of America full time.   My long career as a IT professional is coming to a close as I'm self employed and my current long term contract will be ending within the next 12 to 18 months.

I have a couple of dogs,  Bella and Gracie, both of which will be coming with me.  I've recently purchased a 1995 Ford E350 Cutaway Diesel Van and will be working towards making her roadworthy and livable in the next year.

I spend a lot of time studying the lifestyle of Van Dwellers.   I plan to migrate out west and basically follow the weather.  I was born in Cheyenne Wyoming and spend many happy years in Denver so I feel it's a home coming to me.

Couple of pics:

My wonderful dogs  Bella (white) and Gracie

My Van