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Showing posts from December, 2017

Weekend musings - 12.30.2017

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I might have an Amazon Wishlist problem.

As I research more options and strategies for Scarlet's build, I have found that I keep going back to Amazon to add various items and materials to my wishlist. The problem is that it only highlights the fact that I cannot afford to buy all this stuff NOW. Instant gratification bring-down!

Not being able to afford to buy stuff does help me refocus on what I can do now to prepare for the time when I do have a little disposable money to invest in Scarlet's transformation.

For instance, I've not yet finished stripping out the headliner, plastic trim, and carpet. I know that fuming over money is unproductive and just breeds resentment, so I am trying to put that energy towards the prep. I still need to do a thorough wipe=down of all the surfaces that have been covered by the plastic and remove the build-up of dust over the 20 years that Scarlet has been in service.

I also need to measure things out... like REALLY document the dimensions …

Braining on baby space

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I thought initially that there might be enough room on the bed platform for me and the wife and our toddler. After my initial voyage with the bed platform in place, I realized that wasn't going to make for restful nights while sleeping all of us in the van. So...


I will try a simple piece of plywood to go over the seat, and some way to block access to the front if/when the monkey gets up and starts to "explore" before we are up. On any given morning he is awake about 5am. I am hoping we can get him to sleep in longer, as our campground neighbors are probably not going to appreciate a kid running around before the sun comes up.

Some dimensions to take into consideration:

crib mattress 29" x 53"width of bench seatheight of bench seat topdistance from bench back to back of front seatswidth between front seats

Transformations Phase 1

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Deconstruction and bed platform/storage
This is the foundational effort, removing the brittle, cigarette-smoke-infused, 20 year old plastic covering on the walls, the carpet, and headliner.
With the carpet and plastic wall covering removed, I built a platform for the bed. I wanted the frame to accommodate the height and width of the 27 gallon storage bins I buy at Costco for storage under the bed platform. I also wanted the platform to have hinged lids that made the space under accessible, and which allowed the middle section to be made open for walking through.
The bed platform ended up being about 75" long by 71" wide when all the pieces came together. The space underneath is about 20" high. The frame is attached to the van body at several points and is very sturdy. The storage bins can slide under the platform out through either end of the widest part of the platform, or be lifted out of the middle or right (looking from the back of the van) sections with the lids op…

May 2, 2017 ... The adventure begins

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More or less on a whim, I bought this beautiful beast. Scarlet is an 1998 Ford Econoline E350 Club Wagon XLT. She's running a 6.3L V10 with 130,000 miles and can carry 15 passengers.

And she smelled like cigarettes.

I bought this van for $5000 with the intention of taking the family on a series of road trips. We have 3 kids, one of whom is a 15 year old who was a 6'3" when I bought it. Now he's 6'5". There was a bench for each of the childrenses, the other 2 being a 3 year old and a 13 year old, which as anyone who has taken family roadtrips will attest, is the perfect ratio of of bench seats to kids for extended driving time.

As I handed over the cash to the dealership, I imagined all the adventures that Scarlett would take us on. I didn't let the fact that I'd just spent all the money we might have used for those adventures on this van douse my euphoria at having this blank slate of a vehicle to make my own.


Here we are, 7 months later, and I'v…