So, like I mentioned on Wednesday, Anna and I pulled the trigger and actually bought a van last Saturday. I know. We’re crazy. But we’re also crazy happy with our new van, so I want to show her off to all of you!
Here’s the back story: Anna convinced me a little while ago that it would be a great plan to get a van, convert it into a camper (because we can never be without a DIY project) and drive around the country for a year or so, seeing the national parks, etc. At first my reaction was “that sounds cold” but it didn’t take long for me to come around.
So we both knew we wanted to do “The Van Plan” sometime in the near future – probably in a year or a year and a half, once we’ve both put in good time at our jobs and saved some money.
That didn’t stop both of us from casually browsing the Craigslist listings for vans from time to time, just to research of course. Our budget was $10,000 all-in, including the van and all conversions. We knew we were probably going to have to go for an older van with that budget.
Two weeks ago, Anna found a listing for a van that just looked awesome. It was an older Ford with a rebuilt engine, and it already had most of the fittings for van life – bed, stove, icebox, electricity – at a price that was within our budget. Not only that, it looked cool. Shagalicious, if you will.
We decided we should go look at it. It just looked so perfect, and we needed practice looking at vans and asking the right questions and everything, right? So I called Cindi, the woman selling the van, and we arranged to meet at a mechanic to get a pre-buy inspection and so that Anna and I could take a look at the van.
As soon as we saw it, we fell in love. We had already started calling it Cecilia on the way there, because of the Simon and Garfunkel song, and that was definitely part of what made us fall so hard, so fast.
So, long story short, the inspection came back clean, with all of the mechanics very impressed that this 1975 van was in such stellar condition, and we arranged to go back the following week to buy her.
And now we have our beautiful Cecilia!
She is surprisingly spacious inside, with a pop-top that allows us to stand up comfortably. And it is lined with mustard yellow shag carpeting, so that is also a plus.
We do have some updates and upgrades planned for Cecilia. We want to figure out a way to wire in solar energy so that we don’t have to rely on RV hookups for our electricity. Even though the shag is great, we might have to replace it with something easier to clean. We also want to replace the flooring with vinyl paneling for ease of cleaning. Personally, I want to replace the vintage seatbelts for safety reasons. We also want to replace the icebox with an actual refrigerator for convenience.
We are so, so excited to have our van! Anyone else into the van life? Any tips and tricks? We are going to be doing some short weekend trips in the next few months while we plan our big adventure.