As we’ve previously mentioned, Our Grand Tour is ramping up to head out on the road for real very shortly. We’ve sold our home in the super nova hot Seattle real estate market and set a date for our departure in mid-August. (First major road trip: North to Alaska!)
When we tell friends and family about this plan, there are two reactions:
You’re so cool! Man, I wish I were doing something like that. How awesome!!
You’re crazy!! Where will you go? What will you do with all your stuff? Are you NUTS?
The answers to all those questions are all still very much TBD. We’re both thrilled and a little terrified to start this new chapter with so many unknowns ahead. But, hey, that’s life, right?
We definitely never dreamed we would be taking this path, but, honestly, part of the reason we’re making this bold move… we can no longer afford to live in Seattle! It’s not the same city we moved to in 2007. And, while we truly wish nothing but the best for this beautiful spot on the Puget Sound, all the signs keep pointing us in this direction: GET OUT OF TOWN!
We’ll miss our friends, the vibrant food scene, the playoff-bound Mariners, our neighborhood, the Space Needle and so much more, but this isn’t goodbye forever. It’s just so long for now.
And… on that note! We have a new blog on our old newspaper. Please check out Going Mobile on The Spokesman-Review. Talk about going full circle!! We’re so grateful to have that platform to connect! We’re also posting our adventures on Instagram. Hope to see you down the road…
We’ve been talking A LOT about making this big move, hitting the road to live the Van Life dream… like so many others are doing right now. But in what? We’ve started seriously exploring our options.
Free Bird: A Van that Drives Like a Car
We first spotted this custom rig at the recent RV show, and it left a lasting impression. It’s a Nissan NV200 that a Seattle dealership custom fit, inspired by the owner’s love of the classic VW camper vans. So, it’s a passion project for brothers, Kurt and Craig Campbell, who own Campbell Nissan. You can tell there’s a lot of thought and care that went into creating this vehicle.
Johnny jumped behind the wheel — “because, let’s face it, I’ll be doing most of the driving” — and he was instantly impressed by its solid feel on the road. It drives like a car, and gets incredible gas mileage. Before we take the leap, though, there are some issues to consider.
Space is tight: The table breaks down and becomes the roomy, very comfy bed, but where does ALL our stuff go? There are some interior storage bins and the option for a rocket box on top, but this van almost feels more like a weekender than a viable housing alternative.
But wait! There’s also the option to add on a fairly large awning. AND panels can be added to that setup, effectively creating another “room.” Very cool.
Cooking challenge: The kitchen setup is out the back end, and it includes a one-burner setup heated by butane. Not as efficient as propane, and lots of waste because those cartridges are not refillable. So, you’d probably need to get that portable Coleman stove, or bring the trusty Jet Boil into the equation.
Powering up: Unlike the Westy, you can’t pull into an RV spot and plug in to power up. The battery runs the “fridge” (which is a small drawer, so you’d need an additional cooler, too), and a couple USB outlets, but there are no plugs to power up a laptop or other gadgets.
No riders: This is a two-person vehicle, period.
Lots of Thoughtful Touches
There are nice special features, including:
Screens on windows
Custom-made privacy curtains
A ceiling fan
The table has cup holders
It’s compact; we could park this in our teeny garage
It’s easy to convert it to a cargo van; everything slides out!
The Price is RIGHT
Most of the camper vans we’ve looked at come with pretty hefty prices, including the spectacular Sprinter outfitted by Airstream that rings up at a cool $217,000. The Free Bird is around $35,000. We’re still shopping. As much as we’d love to DIY an empty, high roof, that’s not gonna happen, so this nifty ride is at the top of the list right now.