The Conversion Begins!

We got to Canada and bought a van!



Driving Betty home


After a lovely week of culture and wine in Buenos Aires it was time to face up to our earlier money saving decision. When we decided to go to Canada our logic was as follows. Cars are around £3,000-5,000 cheaper to buy in Canada than Chile, and we could both get to Canada for £1,000. The second caveat relied on us buying the cheapest ticket available. It’s worth bearing in mind the surmountable distance from Argentina to Canada, pretty much from one end of the globe to another at 11,000km.



The second flight of the day


The cheapest tickets we found were for £450 each, but did involve a 40+hour journey. ‘That’ll be fine’ we said – all part of the travel experience right? Well fair to say it was a pretty horrible experience – the worst part being the layover in LA. We had a 13 hour layover, which wasn’t so bad in itself but it did seem to leave Mikey with a flu which didn’t shift for two weeks.



Our bedroom window view in Vancouver


But all the moaning aside (could be worse, we could be a work right?) we got to Canada on the Thursday. Mikeys Auntie Denise & Uncle Francis have lived in Canada for over 25 years and kindly invited us to stay with them. Worth saying Vancouver is a beautiful beautiful city, where the sea and the mountains are less than an hours drive away. We were pretty focused upon our arrival however, and by Saturday we were viewing vans.



Inspecting Betty in the snow


We were lucky enough to be driven to our viewings by Mikeys cousin, helpfully named Mike Connolly as well! Not only driving, but offering a third pair of pragmatic eyes on the vehicles, the first van we viewed we loved. We saw several more that weekend but were set on which one we wanted, so we agreed a price with the seller and bought Betty!



The original layout of the van


We’ll probably do a full breakdown of how we did our build out when it’s complete, but so far we’ve managed the flooring and the bed.


Time for the seats to be removed


It was pretty obvious straight away that the carpet had to go… it was not only damp but a hideous colour! In order to get the carpet out we removed the seats (and swiftly dumped them). Underneath revealed the good news that the van is already insulated! But damp… so we removed that as well down to the bare metal and let everything dry. Then we replaced the insulation, and cut some 1/2” plywood for the subfloor. We then bought, cut, nailed and glued some laminate floor down and are pretty happy with the results! It’s waterproof so should keep the plywood and insulation nice and dry.



Everything must go!




Annie laying down the shiny new flooring


Next was probably the most important part of the van – the bed! After a quick check it looked like Mikey would fit lengthways across the van, which was good for the use of space. Pretty early on Annie had decided on a design she liked which is pretty slick. The bed is made of 2 boxes and a connecting piece of plywood. The middle piece can then be put on two table legs and raised up to covert the bed into a table in the day – and the boxes offer valuable storage space.



Cutting our bed to shape




Checking everything fits


It was a quick lesson in carpentry, and again we were fortunate enough to have Francis as a teacher who was a carpenter by trade. Without his knowledge, and use of his tools & garage space we would’ve certainly ended up with something much worse!


Nice snug bed / table conversion finished

Believe it or not the work on the van has been pretty tiring, so we’re off to Vancouver Island for a ‘Vacation’ to try our hand at surfing!

Speak soon.

One thought on “The Conversion Begins!

  1. Auntie Sue says:

    Looks fantastic! Great work. Did you know Grandad used to call his car Betty?
    We’ll be in Vancouver and Vancouver island in July/August. All tips/advice gratefully received. We’re thinking of surfing too…but in August, not March brrrrrrr!
    Love to you crazy kids
    Sue, Mark, Niamh, Ava and Lucy XXXXX


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