All the solutions for energy independence exist already for the mobile home industry. So the surplus wealth and recreation time of the last generation has provided the R&D for the basic subsistence of the next. Hooray. Lynda has joined Stardust Circus, so I am happily taking on the project of renovating a caravan for us to live in.
I started looking online first to get a feel for what is available. There are some really cute vans from around the 60’s, but they tend to be around the 14 foot length. I looked inside some 16 – 18 foot vans and decided that even they were a bit on the small side for 2 people to be living in full time. After seeing a 22 foot van with a bathroom installed in place of one of the bunks, we decided on that size.
Watching the online ads, started to give me a good feel for the price range:
- < $4000 would get a renovated shell and floor, with no interior- someones project they had given up on. (This is a pretty good option in retrospect)
- approx. $8000 a van in reasonable condition with well worn interior, likely water damage.
- > $12000 a nicely renovated van (not that common though)
I set up saved searches on all the van sales sites which allowed it and used 3rd party website monitors to watch the local dealers. This helped me find a van with a surprisingly good original interior, at a good price ($7500) which included checks and registration.
The van had surprisingly little water damage for its age.
When I went to pick it up I was advised that I couldn’t pull it with my car, since I don’t have a break controller. The dealer delivered it for me. Towing and breaking remains one of the tasks for the future.
After the first rainy day test, it seems that there was a minor drip coming from the vent in the roof. I figured my first job was to re-seal the roof. A job, I was to learn, that should not be started before going overseas for a month.
Next: Waterproofing the roof