Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2001 8:06 PM
Subject: Almost there....
Much progress towards completing preparations
during the last week. Many of the van improvements have been completed
or are near completion. If you thought it impossible to make that van
any less aerodynamic, you were wrong. I have significantly extended the
lever arms the wind can use to tip me over on two axes, as you can see
in these pictures...
...the roof cargo carrier and rear hatch bike rack
have been installed. Both are "custom" installations.
"Custom" actually translates into "these installations are not
supported or sanctioned by the manufacturer." I chose these two
setups to add storage without compromising the basic functionality of the van.
The rear hatch bike setup allows the hatch to be opened with the rack on.
The roof cargo box is directly mounted to the pop top, allowing the top to be
raised. This installation required drilling directly into the fiberglass
top (yikes!). The bike rack required two 15 degree bends to be made on
each end of the top bar as you can see in the picture below...
In order to do this, I had to find somebody with a
hydraulic press, as the bars are about an inch in diameter and have fairly
thick steel walls. Note the new license plate!!
As you can see from this next picture, these
additions have significantly expanded the dimensions of the van....
...the bike adds about 3 feet to the back, and the
cargo box add over two feet to the top. I can no longer go through the
Bullets drive through on Broad street.
But the exciting news is this:
...my new stereo!!! New speakers all around
and a new amp. 75 Watts per channel!!!! And a remote control for
when I am hanging out in the back or up in the pop top! I may be living
on rice and beef jerky in six months, but I'll have good sound. Of
course, the first song I played on the CD player was "The Pump" by
Jeff Beck. I will award 1000 points to the first person to e-mail me
with the significance of that song.
Here are two more nice shots of the van....
A few more trips to REI have filled in the gaps in
my camping gear. At this point the spending is over, and it is time to
load up. I have all of my clothes laid out in my parents living room and
am about to try to figure out what I will absolutely *need* for the next few
months, and how to organize the rest so that when winter comes I can easily
identify and ship what I need to wherever I am. I am headed to Richmond
on Friday the 1st to store the old 2002, take care of a few last
administrative items, spend a day at the beach getting a surfing lesson
from my buddy George, and say last goodbyes. From there it is back to
Maryland to meet up with my Aunt and Uncle who will be visiting next week (and
to rescue my parents living room). I'll wrap up a few more electrical
and administrative items next week, and then I am off. Not sure where
first yet, I guess I'll figure it out next week. Thanks everybody who
has e-mailed me, it is great to hear from everybody. I'll send another
update next week as I get ready to go.