#AliceMyVan Camper Van Dreaming

Dreaming of road trips in the van was mostly all I was able to do in May. Hours of work for Blue Carpet Corridor, writing deadlines, and a several-week bout of pertussis (yup, whooping cough), drastically slowed my van conversion progress. One result of all that prescribed rest was a Pinterest board chock full of clever and cute van camper ideas. You can peruse those should you wish at my Van Camper Ideas. Meanwhile, Alice waited patiently for me to get to work.

With all those ideas, I started measuring, planning, ordering, and, when I was finally non-contagious and could leave the house, shopping. I soon amassed a pile of stuff on my dining room table, including some treasured things from my mom's kitchen, thrift shop finds, and goodies from Ikea and Target. We'll see how much of it actually fits in the van. The photo just shows the cute stuff (no piles of bungees, tools, first-aid kit, carbon monoxide detector, rain poncho, and other necessary but non-glamorous items).

One thing that you really need in a camper is some sort of bench or seat for daytime use that is usable and/or convertible to a bed for night time use. The smaller the camper, the fewer the options and lay-out choices. My original thought was to hire a carpenter to build something that would exactly fit in my barely-big-enough space. Something that would fit nicely around the wheel well on that side, and that would provide lots of handy space underneath for boxes of books, containers of clothes, and other travel necessities. But I came up with an alternative to actual carpentry. Don't laugh. My idea was to use heavy-duty plastic storage shelving with 24" x 36" shelves. Two sections end-to-end make a 24" x 72" bench-bed, with lots of storage space underneath. (Each shelf is rated for 200 lbs, so I should be safe. I haven't gained that much weight.) Here's the bench-bed in a trial run in my living room complete with foam mattress, bolster, linens, and pillows.

For the exterior, a fantastic red-and-white striped awning is on order from Marti's Awnings in Chico, California. Marti makes awnings for retro and vintage campers all around the world and has the most amazing stock of Sunbrella and other awning fabrics. My awning, since Alice is not very big, will be the 5' x 5' Overnighter. Even the fabric name is cool--"Pompadour Red."

As for the van exterior, I found the most amazing Mid-Century design stickers at a company called Retro Planet. I selected a big sheet of boomerangs (think Formica countertops!) and another sheet of atomic starbursts (think clocks!) to complement my retro-looking Route 66 Chick signs.

And then there are all the special stickers given to me by, well, special people. These will find their way onto the van, too. 

Resting and dreaming time over, my plan should all come together by Sunday, July 9, which is the date of the annual World's Largest Catsup Bottle Festival at Woodland Park, Collinsville, Illinois. Please come see Alice (and her transformation) and me, plus my good friends, illustrator/artist Jo Ann Kargus and fellow author Joe Sonderman, at a very fun event!


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