Daily Archives: October 9, 2008

Life: Summer Van Projects

Summer is short in Vail, Colorado. It wasn’t until June that the snow had melted, and here I am—at the beginning of October—listening excitedly for news of the first big powder dump. This leaves a short window for summer projects, but I made a few improvements on the Old Lady…and managed to get rid of some ugly furniture in my apartment by using the van to haul it away (couch attached to van with climbing rope and biners, at right).

If you’re a regular “Down and Out” reader, you’ll know that the Old Lady is the 1970 VW van that I bought for $1000 about five years ago. It was rusted out and in appalling condition at that time, but I’ve been slowly chipping away at its the never-ending list of things that need fixing. This summer’s big improvement: a new floor! Hardwood laminate—which amazingly cost only $25 on sale:

My cool dad came out here to visit in September, and we tore up the old floor, which was harboring nearly 40 years of dirt, mold, and mice crap (leftovers from the time I stored the van in a shed on the eastern Colorado prairie). While dad was patching holes with sheetmetal and silicone sealer, I painted all of the interior compartments with mold-resistant paint.

We also ripped out the old cooler and fridge (disgusting—another 40 years of mold), and we took out a seat to make room for more bikes and other gear that would actually be useful on a camping trip.

All of these improvements, of course, will make for more happy passengers, like Amanda and Etienne (above), who came out from Chicago to go hiking in Vail earlier in the summer. So, what’s next? Well…

The aspens have started turning gold here, and there’s a chill in the air. When it gets like this, I feel Utah calling. It’s time for a fall camping road trip, and the Old Lady is finally ready for a good autumn adventure.