Monday, January 18, 2010

My start on the road.

A little over 4 years ago, my life was crazy busy. It is a common story probably. I was working like a madman to get the life I thought I wanted and getting very burnt out in the process. My health was really going down hill quickly even at only 37 years young. I have Cystic Fibrosis and all that work just was not good for me. Add that to my general avoidance of doctors, almost non existent effort to take care of myself and something had to give. So within a single month, I got rid of everything. I gave much of it away, sold what I could and threw the rest away other than the basic clothes and tools I might need for a life on the road that I was quickly heading toward. I had come to this decision based on a lifelong love of travel and a strong desire to live a much more simple and rewarding life. The fact that it would likely improve my chances of sticking around on Earth a bit longer helped too.

This picture is of my first real road home that I had purchased in that last month of crazy downsizing. I went many miles in it an had some great times. I spent the money and effort to install two 120 Watt solar panels on the roof, four 6V deep cycle batteries inside in a custom box with a 1750 watt inverter to make it a bit more self sufficient. This picture is actually from the day I sold it.

Of course this blog is named Vantramps for a reason. On a very windy road in New Mexico that had me fighting the steering wheel of that rolling sail I called home, I realized there was a better style of rig for me. Something a bit more streamlined, with a much more solid construction and better on fuel. So the search began. I looked at everything van related. Found the Yahoo Vandwellers group and learned a lot very quickly.

It took a year of looking for that perfect deal and one Saturday afternoon it showed up on Craigslist.

$4988 for a 1997 Roadtrek 170P with 117K miles. It ran and drove perfectly, everything worked when plugged in(coach battery was very dead). This pic at left was from the add on Craigslist.

I believe that the car lot selling this van had no idea it was a Roadtrek. It was not listed in the add or on the paperwork anywhere and you can see the previous owner had removed all the RT factory decals. I have put a lot of wonderful trouble free miles on this van and am always modding and adding to it. I will be detailing all of these things in future posts. At this point in her history with me, I called her Roadie. This name would change later to something less generic and more fitting to our relationship! We will get to that soon.

If you are considering this life and now hunting for the perfect rig, trust me when I say it is worth the time to check the local sources daily, have cash ready and don't hesitate to look at a bunch of them and walk away if they don't feel right. Also, do pretty vague searches and read them all. If I had failed to do this, I would never have found Roadie as well as many other deals you will hear about soon. Good luck to you!


  1. Wow! What a great deal on your van! The dealer sure was clueless as to the real value of your Roadtrek. I bought a '99 Dodge cargo van for about the same price, and thought I got a good deal until I read about your purchase.

  2. Thanks Gary! I am greatful for the occasional clueless dealer :)


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