Introducing #AliceMyVan

Introducing Alice, my adventure van and soon-to-be mini-glam-van-camper!


Alice the Van, at the restored Texaco station in DeSoto MO.

You know that feeling when you went shopping and came home with the wrong thing? You know, pants that don't fit, shoes that hurt your feet, dress that just looks all wrong? Well, I did that in February with the first van that I bought. A van to convert to a mini-RV was the right idea, but that specific van was not.

I had been researching the little Ford Transit Connects for months. I loved the first-generation style of the 2010 through 2013 models, but the majority of them are high mileage. So I talked myself into a 2015 second-generation Transit Connect. Less headroom and not so cute; long wheelbase and low mileage. But that van had one more thing--that "new car" (translation:  chemicals) smell. Most of you know I'm asthmatic, and chemical and fragrance smells and I do not play well together. 

I tried boxes of baking soda, activated charcoal, ZorbX, scrubbing everything with vinegar, airing out, plus "baking off" while I was in hot, sunny, Florida. I just knew I'd bought the wrong van. Plus, I didn't have the headroom I wanted, no side door windows, and it was just too much van for me. No fun to drive. So for those of you awaiting photos of my van conversion, that's why there haven't been any! 

Late last week, I found a couple 2013 first-gen Transit Connects online that might work, one up in the Peoria (Illinois) area and one in DeSoto Missouri. Keep in mind that most of these little vans are white (because they are mostly used for business and get florists' and plumbers' logos painted on them) and most of them have big ladder racks on top of them (because contractors and insurance claims adjusters like them, too). 

The van in Peoria was SILVER. But it got sold before I got up there. So Saturday morning I called the dealership in DeSoto MO and ascertained that they still had the one there. They did, and the salesman went out to the van to check for smells. He called me back from the van, and assured me that there was very little smell. Also, the dealership had just gotten this vehicle in, and so the cleaning crew with their supply of evil chemical cleaners hadn't gotten their hands on it yet.

I headed for DeSoto MO. And I made the trade. Introducing Alice the Van! Alice is still sporting an extremely large ladder rack and also has a big desk, office chair inside, and security bars on the windows. That is because her previous incarnation was as a State Farm claim adjuster's mobile office, although I'm reasonably sure that the claims adjuster did not call her Alice! 


2015 Transit Connect (left) that I traded in, and 2013 Transit Connect (right), 
now known as Alice the Van, at Auto Plaza Ford in DeSoto, Missouri. Apparently I have 
a thing for white vans with ladder racks.

Now, I have more headroom, windows in the sliding doors, cargo doors on the back (instead of a soccer-mom-van lift gate), shorter wheelbase, an electrical inverter already installed, a floor all ready for a piece of Marmoleum, and no new (chemical) smell! The one caveat is that, like me, it has more miles on it. That's okay. Alice will get good care and we'll move at a sedate pace together.


Alice the Van, with super deluxe large fold-down ladder rack (left) and 2015 Transit Connect with budget ladder rack (right) at Auto Plaza Ford. 

As you can see below, Alice still looks like a mobile office. But not for long. Steve Rensberry and his piano-moving crew are going to perform minor surgery and unbolt and remove all the equipment. I'm pretty sure Alice can't wait to have that heavy ladder rack gone!



I can't wait, either, because I want to start re-doing the van inside, glamping it up and making it a comfy little mini-RV for my road trips. The outside will look different, too. Someone is working on some logos for me, and there will definitely be some retro- and Route 66-decor on the van's exterior!

As progress evolves, I'll post updates. Now, not to shop for the wrong makeover items!