March 11th, Progress, and relaxation

Today was a great day for the van build. Everyday is actually a great day for a van build, but today was exceptionally great. The ceiling is coming along great. We accomplished most of the ground work so get this portion of our van build completed. The 1/4 inch plywood that the cedar and starry starry night ceiling will be attachedf to was measured out and the holes for the sidewalk bolt that will attach to the plus-nuts were lined up and drilled.

Don returned about $200 woorth of birch, pine and cedar to Home Depot which will be replaced with another type of wood for framing and a different brand and color of cedar tongue and groove for the ceiling.

Although, it may not seem very exciting or sexy, getting this one thing completed is a great step forward to completing our ceiling. Converting a van to a tiny home on wheels or an RV is a process that requires lots of planning and patience. So many times we would like to just stop working on one project and jump into another one that we are more excited about and will have a greater visual impact. The reality of it is though. that before you build the walls of the inside of your van build, you have to prep and clean all of the metal, stuff all of the crevices and open holds with wool for insulation, seal it up with insulation tape or reflectix and then lots of measuring before installing plus notes that will eventually hold the wood walls in place.

Most of you already know, our friends Hannah and Morgan, The Traveling Tortoise, are alos building out their first van right beside us. We have playfully coined our builds, “The Dueling Van Build”. We are both at the about the same pace to complete our builds at the same time. Morgan thins we will finish about a week before them since they have approximately a weeks worth of van build longer than our 144 inch wheelbase.

We have all been working very diligently for going on three months now. We have had a couple of short trips to county and state parks to relax and enjoy some down time together, but both times ended up being something less than relaxing. If you follow us on Instagram, NatnDonintheWild, you may rmember that our van, Raven, sprung a leak in one of the radiator hoses. The other outing we all went on ended up being a little more crowded of a park that we had hoped or anticipated.

So, we all felt that it was high time for some rest, reflection and relaxation together with our vans. We decided that we would work most of the day and then go to a local park in the evening, hang out, eat some dinner and watch a sunset over the water of Doctor’s Lake.

We ordered some subs from Publix and met at one of their local favorite spots by the water. By the way, of you have never had a sub sandwich from Publix grocery store, then you have yet to enjoy the best sub sandwiches made. I’m am sure there are some local deli and sandwich shops across this globe that could challenge Publix on the deliciousness, but we have yet to come across such an establishment.

After we packed up the van, put away all of our tools, materials and work tables and loaded Kona up into the van, it was about time to head out and enjoy some down time vanlife style. Before we left though, Morgan’s father needed a little bit of help removing a part from underneath his Jeep. So, I gladly helped our host work on his owne project. Mr. Jim is one of the kindest, smartest and sweetest bad-ass guys we have ever met. A Vietnam veteren, a sailor, great husband and probably even better father. Anything we can do for our hosts while we are guests working on our van build is a pleasure to do.

We made our way over the the boat ramp and dock at Doctors’ Lake. The neighborhood that we have to drive through to get to the lake is full of big beautiful homes with small but meticulously landscaped yards. It is a gentle reminder to us that while we have lived that life of home ownership in the past, we have chosen this lifestyle now and are embracing with vigor and excitement. We all chose the paths we roam. There is no right or wrong unless your are unhappy with the path you are own. It takes resolve, motivation and and guts to make a change, but we all have it within us. It just depends on how great the “want” or desire is.

We parked our vans side by side with our side sliding doors facing one another. We back in and Morgan and Hannah pulled in forward. We got out our camping chairs, a table and passed our our Publix submarine sandwiches. Morgan and Nat both gotr chicken tender subs, Don got a meatball sub with onions, green peppers and balck olvives and Hannah for a ….hrmmmm. Not real sure what kind of sandwich Hannah got. We will have to ask her today.

Some sweet tea to wash it and we had a meal and seeting made for a king. At the very least, a meal and setting made for a van life nomad.

The weather was almost perfect. Clear, blue skies and just enough of a chill in the air to have made me wish I had not worn shorts and flip flops.

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