If you’ve purchased my browsing history from my ISP without me knowing then you’d know that I’ve been creeping on Craigslist for quite some time now searching for a van to convert for adventure purposes. I would bet most folks who live more of an ‘outdoor’ active lifestyle can’t help but get sucked into the prospect of having a modular way of getting around to do whatever it is you love to do and be able to live right where you love to do it and then pick up and move on to the next thing whenever it strikes you.
It also doesn’t help that this whole #vanlife thing has gotten pretty trendy and pinterest, instagram, youtube, blogs, etc. are chock full of stories, pictures, how-to’s, vignettes all by folks who are pretty good at media and making things look awesome.
I like thinking about projects like this almost as much as I like doing them and it was starting to look like this was going to be one of those pie in the sky goals that gets stuck in the planning phase basically forever. There were a few near misses over the last year or two where I made honest attempts to get a purchase going only to have something fall through. Craigslist is a crap shoot to say the least. It also doesn’t help that I get some awesome purchase anxiety with stuff like this that makes it hard for me to take that risk and just go for it. Luckily I married a woman who is excellent at reminding me that you can’t take your money with you and we should max life out RIGHT NOW.
The specific story about how this purchase came together is kind of funny, has a bit of a kismet feel to it which made taking that final leap a bit easier for me. Story starts roughly early last Fall when I first see this van / bus listed on CL for sale up in North Conway. Price is in my range and the mileage and condition of the body / frame look pretty good. Plus it has an A-team paint job and some ridiculous looking roof racks. I reach out saying I’d like to look at the van that weekend and I’m told that someone else is coming to look that night and that if it was still around they would let me know.
2 days later I get the notice that the van sold to that person and I was out of luck (OR WAS I?!). Fast forward 6-7 months later and I’m riding my bike on my lunch break cutting through Plymouth down behind Main St. by the river and I see the A-Team van parked in a weird little lot down by the skatepark. Thought it was funny to see the van pop back up on my radar. Later that day or the next I had a few minutes to do my standard CL crawl to see if there was anything new listed. Low and behold…A-Team van for sale in Plymouth.
Turns out it was bought by a student at Plymouth who graduated in December and is walking this May and has been hanging out in Plymouth since. Turns out he unexpectedly got a job in CO and couldn’t take the van with him and needed money for the move. I reached out quick to see if I could take a look at it seeing as it was about 500yds from my office. Everything moved pretty quick from there. I was looking at the van the next day on lunch with a few key things I wanted to check and make sure looked ok. I was getting a decent ‘meant to be’ vibe, engine sounded strong, ran well. Frame appeared cared for and in pretty damn good shape for an ’85. And that was it. Dude was flexible on price and we locked it down. Did the final exchange and drove it home a few days later.
Even now part of me can’t believe that I actually have a van / adventure project. First order of business has been registration, insurance, all that official State stuff to get it road ready and in my name. State Farm had some issues trying to figure out how to classify this beast but things are moving along. Now I’m in full 100% sponge mode trying to learn, watch, absorb as much info as possible trying to get ideas before we start our build. I’m very much looking forward to sleuthing solutions out with my Dad, working with Gina to maximize interior cuteness and getting Shorty* ready for our first adventure.
Stay tuned here for project and adventure updates!
*Guy I bought it from said the previous owner told him its name was Shorty and we’re going to honor that because I’m pretty sure if we don’t that’s really bad ju-ju.