I initially titled this post "Step One: Buy a Van" but that's hardly been the first step in this long process. After months of research, lurking forums, and scouring Craigslist, I finally bought a van. The next step was getting the van insured and registered so I could get her from Long Island to New Jersey. Aside from a few MVC hiccups, things went smoothly, and now this beast resides on my little dead end street.
She is a 1989 Ford E-150 Econoline Club Wagon... a "Starcraft" model, apparently. Sticking with the space theme, she will be dubbed the Lunar Rover, or Rover for short. OK, I actually chose the name "Rover" months ago while watching The Martian. But she is a spaceship and it fits.
The interior will need some remodeling to accommodate myself, dogs, and camp gear. Luckily, I am not starting from scratch with a contractor van, so things like insulation and wall cover will be at a minimum. The second and third row seats will be yanked out, along with the carpet. Although it's in decent shape, it won't bode well with dog hair. Everything else about the van's body is basically pristine.
My favorite part of the van is the wood dashboard. It has a lot of character and it's been kept clean, despite being nearly 30-years-old. Some fun additions: musical horn, GPS, fan, and a lucky penny thermometer from Intercourse, Pennsylvania.
I haven't had too much time to work on her yet. So far, I've removed some of the old electronics (VHS and CD player; TV is putting up a fight) to make more storage space. I also took out all the wooden cup holder/ash trays, since I won't need them. Removing the seats is the next big step, but it'll require another human or two.
I've got a roof rack and other goodies on the way (my Amazon wish list is starting to actualize). There's plenty to do, so here's hoping she holds steady for at least a few years.
Stay tuned for progress updates!