Sunday, April 18, 2010

Van Modifications & Plans

So the mods on the van began. The van was originally a work van anyways so its only a 2 seater which worked out great. I need to replace the carpet and ceiling cover yet but for now it works great. I have added a bed roll and storage bin (large) for linens. The bed roll is permanently down on the passenger side and runs from the back of the passenger seat to close to the tailgate. Plans are to build a bed platform for the bed roll so the totes can go underneath and a hatch length shelf for the office and pets. (more below on that).

Function: place to crash in case of winter emergency with plenty of blankets, a siesta or camping. Plus the dog loves to lay on it while we are driving. The cats take over the pillows.

Then there is the mini kitchen with propane stove, water for cooking drinking and 5 gallon bucket for dishes which is also good for storage of dishes once clean. I don't cook inside the van at this point so its also got a bin. I usually eat at work, family and campgrounds. I also have a cooler with things like bread and the like for the times when I don't feel like cooking which is most often. Planning to add a 12V crockpot, norcold 3 way refrigerator and coffeemaker. I use the single serve coffee packets when needed.

A bin for van gear like spare window washing fluid, oil, battery jumper cables ect. This is self explanatory particularly for someone like me who is not mechanically inclined.

Add 2 duffles, one for clean clothes and one for dirty. I pack light as I am a minimalist (not extreme) and prefer light weight non wrinkle clothes. My job is hard on clothes so I wash and wear until they are no longer serviceable, then replace. Walmart, Goodwill and garage sales work well for this. This method has worked since high school. Plans are to add a closet bar and a shoe hanger.

Then there is the office, entertainment, work related items. I have a portable office organizer on the back of the passenger seat for portable DVD player or laptop (which I will be getting soon). Then a few plastic tiny totes with envelopes, markers, pens, crafts (I love to latchhook and do puzzles) for those days when outside isn't working out so well. There are also several paperbacks in my purse and stashed throughout.

Then the toilet that fits in the back corner which is a 5 gallon bucket (love those). Planning to get a Thetford toilet and a curtain to go around. I have a backpack that holds spare toiletries like body spray, shampoo, conditioner, body wash ect thats in the linens tote. In an emergency, the dish washing bucket, a cup and some boiled water can do a scrub up and hair wash. Not my favorite, but not a bad experience. I prefer a shower but sometimes one isn't available.

And finally, the pets. They have a mini scratcher from wal mart for the cats, a litter pan in the front passenger seat foot area, and food and water dishes behind teh drivers seat on the linens bin. I use the no tip dishes (thanks twokniveskate to your blog, they are a miracle). The puppy (Tippy) has food and water near the back hatch where she is tethered during driving (she sleeps). There is a 3 bin drawer (the roller kind with wheels off) in the back end for the puppies food and supplies. The ex pen and kennel go in the passenger seat pushed back. Plans are to build a back hatch shelf with trays that pull either in or out to put the kennel and ex pen in and then put the cats supplies and their litter box below. Maybe put the propane stove in the shelf that can be taken out and then add a keyboard tray to dual the counter space for a desk setup.

And finally planning to add a Honda EU 2000 generator, Fantastic fan, vent and 2 AGM batteries. I have LED lights now, push button lights and LED flashlights as well as emergency crank lighting and radio.

And so there is the van conversion so far. Its an evolving project which involves money and that's slow going. Its not fancy but its functional. My homebase is also functional and mostly play space for the pets, has a shower and laundry and extra storage. Probably could do for an apartment but I have issues with non refundable pet deposits and parting with my washer and dryer. When I part with my laundry and shower, its full timing for sure but for now, the local nomad is working out. Once the puppy is a little bit older, plans are to go on a road trip to TX, AZ and CO. I have taken trips in the past year to NY, NJ, Ontario, Can.,PA, southern OH and I see MI and OH every day.

For anyone visiting this region, Cabelas in Dundee,MI is a great place to visit, has awesome shops, and is great camping. Spent 5 hours in Cabelas last weekend. Monroe, MI is also a nice place with strip malls and Toledo, OH has some very nice museums and science centers that are free with low cost parking (3.00 most of the time) tons of parks, Maumee Bay and finally Luna Pier in MI.


  1. Hi Daisy, Have you taken any pictures of the van yet? I am looking forward to seeing it and the fur kids too! Glad to see your blog, we will enjoy following it I am sure :)

    -Mike & Heidi
    97 Roadtrek 170P "Taj Ma Trek"

  2. Hi Mike and Heidi, Thanks for visiting my blog, I enjoy reading yours as well -:) The cats are at the top of the blog. I will upload the puppies photos and the van in the next posting. Most posts start out via mobile phone and are edited when I get to a computer.