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The Black Beauty arrives in California for a Makeover

We made it from Kerrville, Texas to Oceanside, California pretty quickly.

The Kerrville-Schreiner State Park was nice and convenient after those torrential storms of Texas that we went through. We left at about 9am and took the fastest exit from Texas we could. The bad part about that was the gas prices got higher... and higher.

The area around Las Cruces, New Mexico is the first place we decided to look for another state park and really lucked out. The Leasburg Dam State Park had lots of sites available and was very scenic.

We arrived early enough to set up and relax a bit before heading to bed. The next morning our drive took us out on a different route, the scenery was impressive. Lots of what I understood to be Pistachio orchards before getting back on the dreaded I-10.

Arizona was more of the same...I-10... to I-8... into California and, of course, we encountered more high winds. So much so we witnessed a bird losing its footing while trying to eat something at a rest area.The poor thing had zero control over how the wind was pushing it across the sidewalk. We arrived at my house at 6pm. We didn't unpack much that night but made quick work of it the next day.

Let the build begin... "Build" is a term we throw around a lot. There is a ton to do before building anything. First we decided on the design, then we removed the wall covering and went shopping. As I mentioned in the previous post, many items were ordered but a few things needed to be purchased from Lowes or Home Depot. We picked up insulation, stain for the wood, a power outlet and sealant for the MaxxAir Fan.

This particular van had the walls covered from floor to ceiling with dark gray/black gator board which we have decided to use in the build. My mom has a color scheme in mind and that fits right in with her colors.

The Gator board was removed, FatMat rattle trap was applied and some insulation was started. We ran wire through the van ribs and the first hole was cut into the side of the van. We used Romex for the power outlet at the back door, 16 AWG for the refrigerator near the slider, 18 AWG for the Nature's Head toilet near the slider and 18 AWG for the light switch near the slider.

The hole we cut was for an exterior plug to use shore power at night, so the extension cord to charge the solar generator doesn't have be run through a window.

Now this is an extremely dirty van but just wait - we will make it shine by the end of this build. This is a brand new 2021 Ford Transit 250 extended van, so trust me, it will shine.

The next hole is cut! On the ROOF! Yep we cut a 14x14 inch hole in the roof of a brand new van. The MaxxAir Fan is a great way to ventilate this black box on wheels, coupled with some K.I.S.S. Airflow window vents, of course! We actually thought seriously about the Dometic AC Brisk II but the fan won out. Both require a 14x14 inch hole to be cut, so we can always switch it out if she decides to go that route.

We finished the insulation and replaced the Gator board and I snapped a picture of the proud owner/build supervisor. We really have liked the denim in our van and opted for denim in this build. We used R-13 rated on the walls and R-19 rated on the ceiling. The logic behind that was purely based on the fact that Lowes sold out before we could get back for the rest of what we needed to do it all in R-19.

Next up, furring strips to attach the 3D ceiling. The cool effect looks awesome in my mind so lets keep our fingers crossed that it looks great in real life. The idea is to cover the ceiling with black PVC and attach evenly spaced wood slats over the PVC. The wood will have a light gray semi-transparent stain so the contrast should work out nicely.

Yes, yes, yes, there are lights attached to the furring stip... that is temporary to keep the lights safely out of our way while working. They will ultimately be on the finished ceiling along with 8 other LED recessed lights.

Check back with us to see how we work out the details of all the things you will actually be able to see! I think the design will be awesome for this VIP traveller.

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