Update on our build:
At the end of October, we drove cross-country from Oklahoma to California to pickup up the van from SMB West.
Got an EB Ford van with Cruiser top and Sportsmobile 4WD. Wow, it's a big rig! Had to side track through Vegas to take out of state delivery. Then headed south to deliver the van to Aluminess and RVI. Aluminess installed bumpers and a roof rack. We customized the roof rack to fit 600 watts of solar without shading the panels. Photos here:
http://www.advanturetrek.com/2011/12/ro ... installed/
Hit an unexpected delay with RVI that pushed back the start of the interior build by 8 weeks. Brent Haywood wisely recommended that we hunker down and drink a few "Hurry Up and Wait" beers while we both waited for our builds to start.
Have spent the last several weeks ordering parts and planning the design. Choosing all the parts has been a big project, but we're glad to be able to customize the rig.
Just got our South Dakota license plates.
Cheers to Mac McIntire, the original "AdVANturer", for inspiration and for permission to use a similar name.
Dropped off our van at RVI this week. Spent about 4 hours with Jeff reviewing the build plans. He had a lot of great ideas for customizing the build. It's nice to work with a contractor who understands how we're using the gear, and is able to design around that.
Some of the custom projects that Jeff is building include:
Cutting fewer holes in the van
: a raised floor under the bath area rather than dropping shower pan through the van floor, mounting propane tank without the large hole in the side of the van (cheers to Brent Haywood for sharing this design), routing the antenna wires through the rocker panel
Saving resources and tank space
: greywater bypass so that shower water can drain to either a camper drain or grey water while sink water always goes to the grey water tank, waterflow cut-off on shower head, possibly a custom water tank, 600 W of solar and 8 4-D batteries.
: aluminum frame for the upstairs bed, reinforce attachment points for roof rack
: plumbing insulated and lifted up off the floor to prevent freezing
: folding workstations, a 3-way switch for the exterior lights so that we access lights from both the driver seat and the living space, built-in ski rack.
A few things we've learned along the way:
Drawing out electrical diagrams and floor plans was very helpful in communicating with our contractor. For the workstation, making a scale model out of styrofoam helped us to get the measurements just right. Solar system design is complicated!
The electrical, flooring, and furring installation starts at the end of the week. It feels like sending a kid off to boarding school just at the start of puberty. Next time that we see our van, she'll be a changed woman. We'll post pictures after the next visit to RVI.