Exactly one year ago today, we drove Echo down I-70 and crossed into Colorado on her maiden voyage. I can remember the second her tires rolled over the state line, Matt and I high-fiving each other and breathing a sigh of relief. We had spent the last 7 months building, tweaking, belly aching, and making Echo what she was so that we could take her across the country.
A lot has changed since this day last year. There has been career moves, trips, lifestyle changes, lots of joy and some heart ache too. And as of last Thursday at 7 pm, Echo found her new home. It was an incredibly bittersweet thing. Driving away from Wright Patt Credit Union and leaving her in the parking lot to roam the open roads with someone new. Matt and I put so much into that van, and now she’s gone. We both knew that it was best to pass her along to someone else, so that we could then start the whole process over. I don’t know which is more enjoyable to us. The hunt for the perfect van and all the building and planning that goes into an adventure van, or the outcome of all our hard work and being able to have a mobile home away from home. One thing is for sure. Echo isn’t our last van.
She has been sitting in our driveway for close to a week now, and I’ve waited til this morning while drinking my tea to sit and reflect on the last few days. It’s almost weird to me how excited I am over this van. Maybe a part of it is because building this together will be the next chapter in our lives. Maybe a part of it is looking into the future and seeing the places she will take us; the people we will meet, the little towns we will come to fall in love with, the roads that seem to go on forever without a single soul in sight for miles. We are a long way away from these things, but I am so happy to start the process of getting Echo on the road.
I don’t know who said it first, but Echo is what we decided on. Echo the Econoline. Echo the Adventure Van. We both thought it had a nice ring to it. And for all it’s worth right now the inside of her is for the most part an empty shell, which does tend to carry an echo when you talk.
A lot of people have asked me what our timeline is to get everything built the way we want it and get her out on the road. I honestly don’t have an answer for that. In a perfect world, I would love for everything to be done by the end of spring. However this is a used vehicle, with lots a love already on her body and motor and I know things will not go as smoothly as I would hope. Just the other night we pulled out the partition door between the cargo space and the front of the van. We thought it would be a quick and easy task. Two hours later, a handful of swear words and lots of grinding out old rusted bolts, it was finally out. Right now my only plan is to be able to drive her to Colorado in August when we go on our backpacking trip. Other than that I am not rushing anything for the sake of getting it done quickly.
Oh, and for whatever reason Jango has decided that this van is his new home and refuses to get out of it. He cries to get inside as soon as we let him out of the house so he can sit in the driver seat and just stare down our driveway for hours. I think he loves her just as much as we do.
Be sure to check out the Adventure Van page for progress pictures!
Until next time.
If you’ve never been on a mission to find a Sprinter van that isn’t too new (WAY out of our budget) and not too old (WAY too many miles) with the exact wheel base you are looking for, don’t do it. Just kidding…. Sorta.
Leave it to us to start our search the day the weather decides to act like winter and start snowing. Seven hours of trekking through the snow and ice yesterday, and 10 hours of standing in freezing cold parking lots/driving freezing cold vans has me wishing we would have started the hunt back in the fall.
When we decided that building a camper van was what we wanted to do, I never in a million years would have thought finding the van would be the most challenging part. Matt and I have spent our last 3 days off driving from the most northern part of Ohio to the most southern, and still came home empty handed. I guess it’s good we aren’t pulling the trigger on one just for the sake of buying a van, but it’s frustrating to say the least. Since we both start back to work tomorrow we are taking a few days off from the search and regrouping, expanding our search options and maybe start looking into different vans that aren’t so hard to come by. However I am giving Matt full permission to buy one without me if he finds the perfect one while I’m out of the country next week, so maybe i’ll come home to our new Adventure Van sitting in the driveway!
Whippin’ doughnuts in a van I don’t own