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Vandwelling/RV/etc commune/caravan




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#1 Vincent2012

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Posted June 17 2014 - 07:31 PM

I have seen several posts pop up time to time about starting a roaming commune, or what might be called a caravan.I haven't seen any lately, so I'm curious if anyone is still interested in starting one.

I'm hoping that by spring I can take to the road, and spend some good time roaming and camping in national and state parks for free (many allow for free camping, but don't provide any hook-ups or water). Something that really calls to me is a group campfire with music, and stories, and dancing, and sharing the roaming experience.

Is there anyone still interested in that?

#2 Vincent2012

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Posted June 18 2014 - 08:34 AM

Edited the original message.

#3 +-Freedom-+

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Posted June 19 2014 - 12:14 PM

Sounds lovely! I would love to do something like that.

#4 Vincent2012

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Posted June 22 2014 - 08:07 PM

I'm forming my caravan, hoping to ship off spring 2015, if all goes well... Gonna gut my van tomorrow, hopefully, and start in on the conversion before winter sets in. I live in Montana, so sadly, that could happen any day, or so the joke is.

#5 +-Freedom-+

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Posted June 30 2014 - 05:50 PM

I would be down to join in, I am about to purchase a new class c, or a smaller motorhome that gets better gas mileage. Just keep me updated! Love the campfire music idea!

#6 drumminmama

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Posted July 01 2014 - 12:42 PM

Ha! I've done this going partially with other bus/van/rv folks.
Be fair, you won't get winter until at least august. Because it ended 13 days ago.

I'm aiming for spring 15 back to Colorado.
Likely a southern route, to visit family in NM and Texas and loop back northwest.
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#7 Vincent2012

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Posted July 01 2014 - 04:07 PM

+Free - I'm slowly converting my minivan--- got all the paneling down, and trying to get the mounting points for the seats and seat belts taken down but I don't have the tools. I may take it in somewhere and see if a shop won't do it for me. Course, I'd have to plug up a bunch of holes, but that won't be a huge issue... Just some JBWeld and some sheet metal.

Drummin' you're right! Though parts of MT had a snow storm last week, lol, so... yeah. I'm looking to leave from here (Billings, MT) in spring 2015, maybe we can meet somewhere between?

#8 drumminmama

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Posted July 01 2014 - 07:50 PM

Which minivan did you go with, Vincent?
I'm close to the budgeted money in savings, and need to make a freaking decision.
I'm doing SF-so cal, Az, NM, tex, back to colorado
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#9 Vincent2012

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Posted July 02 2014 - 08:01 PM

I have a 1995 Plymouth Grand Voyager LE (Also known as a Dodge Grand Caravan LE, just boxier)

She's completely gutted out in the back, and next week I'm stuffing her full of insulation, cutting out the mounting points for the rear seating, and then throwing up some of my own panels (1/8" thick hardboard). Then I'm gonna try and build some frames for the bed and kitchen!

#10 drumminmama

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Posted July 03 2014 - 06:46 PM

Nice. I'm planning on stripping out all but the front seats, insulating and finding something very lightweight to cover it.
Fiddling with how to attach hooks for a hammock.
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#11 crewcut

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Posted July 06 2014 - 06:16 PM

Hows this going? Keep me updated as well. I'll be based out of the east coast come spring.

#12 Vincent2012

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Posted July 07 2014 - 10:22 AM

The hardboard is decently light, I mean, I was able manage the sheets by myself, and they will be even lighter when cut to shape. I'm not sure about the hammock hooks, but I intend to put up some hooks to hold lighting or very light stuff around the edges of the headliner.

#13 Vincent2012

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Posted September 09 2014 - 06:19 PM

Well, the van itself is converted, just needs blinds and some reflextix for the windows, and something to put up between the drive cab and the back...

NEW ROLL OUT DATE IS SOMETIME IN NOVEMBER 2014!!!



#14 thismoment

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Posted September 22 2014 - 05:56 PM

Good for you for staying with your objectives! Great to see some photos of your van and of the journey when that happens. Here is some excellent info on car-camping in Colorado: http://www.elevation...or-car-camping/


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#15 Vincent2012

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Posted September 24 2014 - 10:26 PM

I did all the work over the summer, busted everything out in a matter of a few short weeks--- hot as hell!!!

One of a couple posts. ENJOY!!

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#16 Vincent2012

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Posted September 24 2014 - 10:30 PM

here are the last of the conversion pics, the rest to come are all for getting the windows closed off from prying eyes.

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#17 Vincent2012

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Posted September 24 2014 - 10:31 PM

Here's a picture of what I did today-- not pretty, but what it is is a bug screen.... it's attached via hotglue and velcro, and a little fabric to so I could mash it all together.

Yesterday I made a banner for to fly, it's the symbol for Thunder Bear Caravan (look it up on facebook!) I made it on my treadle conversion, that is, an electric machine turned treadle.

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Edited by Vincent2012, September 24 2014 - 10:37 PM.


#18 Vincent2012

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Posted September 24 2014 - 10:44 PM

Nice. I'm planning on stripping out all but the front seats, insulating and finding something very lightweight to cover it.
Fiddling with how to attach hooks for a hammock.

Someone showed me a tutorial where they cut small pieces of STURDY pvc, then drilled a hole in it, wired some heavy duty cord/line through them... You then open the front doors and close the line in it so the PVC is sticking on the outside.... they did this with two lines, and hung a PVC cot on them. It was suspended over the driver and passenger seat for kids, but I wonder if you could do this from the liftgate (rear hatch) and the front seats to go down the back of the passenger cab.

EDIT::: or maybe just use hooks and washers on the bolts for the seatbelts.


Edited by Vincent2012, September 24 2014 - 10:45 PM.


#19 Vincent2012

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Posted October 10 2014 - 06:10 PM

Here are all my curtains up, the tan by the pillow is the dividing curtain between the driver's and passanger seat and the back of the van. The little hook is made of coat hanger and how I put up my curtains, I just took some short screws, posted them into the panels and hung cord on them. There are a few pieces of coat hanger just hanging on the panels so they don't sag in the middle. Even my sliding door has a curtain and a cord to keep the curtain nice and close to the door.

Only thing I need is a little velcro in key spots, and she's perfect!

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#20 Justbreath101

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Posted October 10 2014 - 09:35 PM

Looks like you got it pretty set up. What all are you going to do to it?

#21 Vincent2012

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Posted October 11 2014 - 08:53 AM

Well, I'm pretty much done, I may make some curtains to cover the storage areas, but it's necessary. Gonna be headed for Quartzsite,AZ in2 weeks.



#22 +-Freedom-+

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Posted October 12 2014 - 01:23 PM

Congrats man, if you are still at it when I hit the road again we will have to link up! Looks great!



#23 RooRshack

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Posted October 12 2014 - 01:28 PM

+Free - I'm slowly converting my minivan--- got all the paneling down, and trying to get the mounting points for the seats and seat belts taken down but I don't have the tools. I may take it in somewhere and see if a shop won't do it for me. Course, I'd have to plug up a bunch of holes, but that won't be a huge issue... Just some JBWeld and some sheet metal.

Drummin' you're right! Though parts of MT had a snow storm last week, lol, so... yeah. I'm looking to leave from here (Billings, MT) in spring 2015, maybe we can meet somewhere between?

You're seriously going to go on the road without proper tools?

 

I won't leave the neighborhood without a well-stocked toolbox.

 

Hope you got some bomb-ass roadside assistance plan.

 

At the very least, you better have a fire extinguisher or two. Cars burn all the time, especially if every thing you own is in it don't take any chances about being able to stop a fire.


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#24 Vincent2012

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Posted October 12 2014 - 11:49 PM

The tools needed to take out those mounting points would not have been useful for the van, the only way they would come out would be with a plasma cutter, or other heavy duty cutting tool.... As far as tools go, I have wrenches, sockets, pliers, screwdrivers, jacks, saw, and some other basic stuff. I do also have a kick ass roadside plan in my insurance, a Carbon Monoxide detector, and do indeed plan on a fire extinguisher..... I'm adventurous, not stupid.

While there are 15,000 reported vehicular fires a year, the grand death toll from said fires is only about 208 a year. It's more likely that I could be one of the 450 a year to die from falling out of bed, or one of the 845 killed a year by volcanos.... Also, having all of one's belongings in a vehicle does not increase it's chances of catching fire, nore does a vehicle on fire automatically mean that it is irreperably past saving.... There are a lot of fires on engine blocks that can be doused, with no real harm to the engine.



#25 kenwilkes

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Posted October 17 2014 - 08:36 AM

Looks like your making good progress Vince.   I've done the same thing starting 4 years ago.   Look at Vandwellers Facebook  on Facebook.   Lots of people doing the same thing.



#26 Vincent2012

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Posted October 17 2014 - 10:16 AM

I was in a few on facebook, but settled on one (which can't be searched for) I'm looking forward to my departure date on the 25th :)



#27 stormountainman

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Posted October 17 2014 - 11:22 AM

Ha! I've done this going partially with other bus/van/rv folks.
Be fair, you won't get winter until at least august. Because it ended 13 days ago.

I'm aiming for spring 15 back to Colorado.
Likely a southern route, to visit family in NM and Texas and loop back northwest.

Hi Drumminmama, I used to pull a 13ft camper behind my little Ranger pickup; but, I blew a head gasket on a mountain near Winnimucca Nevada. So now I have a Ford van. I took the seats out and built a bed and a wardrobe. I'll be camped in Poudre Canyon for a while and visit with my daughter in December. After that, I'm going to be camped along the Vulture Mine Road, outside of Wickenburg, Arizona. The place is mostly free BLM land. You can get free water at the city park, near the public library. Winter is nice in that area. Peace & Light



#28 drumminmama

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Posted October 17 2014 - 10:40 PM

Vincent, please keep the fire extinguisher close to you.
Nothing like the fire being between you and the extinguisher. (Doghouse of a Chevy Step Van, I was napping in the back, smelled smoke, saw flames. My then husband had popped into a store. Someone saw the flames, announced in the grocery, so volunteer firefighters responded. The extinguisher was about six inches from the fire!

I happen to be very timid about fire, used to be scared of it as a kid, because of a housefire, so I don't always react as quickly as I should. I froze, then tried to figure out how I was getting past the flames. (Quickly, very, very quickly)
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#29 Vincent2012

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Posted October 24 2014 - 08:17 AM

Well.... The time has come, my friends. I roll out of Billings, MT tomorrow morning, and will be headed to Quartzsite, AZ. I have a couple stops along the way, so I'm hoping to get to Quartzsite by the first of the month. I'm really excited, but extremely nervous too...

I'll be looking to keep everyone updated via MY BLOG



#30 Vincent2012

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Posted October 26 2014 - 12:24 AM

made it to Twin Falls, ID, safe and sound.






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