How the Adventure Began...
Vans were never something that turned me on. I could have 30 vans pass me and never blink an eye but one sports car drives by and I could tell you all the stats about it - from torque to tire size.
Isn’t it funny how things change?
It all started in 2015, when my co-worker Kevin showed me an Instagram photo of the most beautiful van I had ever seen. A Red 2004 Diesel Sportsmobile sitting on the edge of a canyon, where you could wake up with the best view in the world in your own adventure mobile. It shook me up and turned my world up-side down. Never again could I look at a van and not think of how I would modify, lift, weld, cut, build it out into an epic mobile condo. I turned to him and said, “We could build that” and then proceeded to spend hours and hours on craigslist looking for a similar ford to build out. I knew I would be over my head trying to do a pop-top like the epic Sportsmobile and a $16,000 4x4 conversion was out of the question, but I had about $6,000 burning a hole in my pocket and was ready to see what it could make.
In about 2 weeks I found a 2003 E350 with 163,000 miles on it for $3,750. The fun had begun!
The first build was simple (See The Green Goblin). Two benches whose backboards folded into a bed. Small roof rack, water tank, inverter, and a little storage. Didn’t even have a way to charge the auxiliary battery except hooking up a trickle charger. I added some wheels and mud tires off craigslist, matte green plasti-dip, LED bar and a Smittybilt awning; I was set.
I only got to take it on two adventures before I decided I wanted more. Threw it on craigslist and ended up selling it for the full asking price. Demand? Ok, interesting….
Two vans later, Morgan Tashea asked me to build her one to take a 10,000 mile road trip in for the summer of 2017 for Outdoor Project. She wanted a bunch of stuff I had never done before; a fridge, solar panels… a DRAWER!?!? So needy.
But with a few educational bumps along the way, we learned and had it whipped out a week before her trip started.
The feeling of turning over that van to Morgan was so gratifying that I devised a plan in the following months to quit my job, as a project manager in commercial construction, to build camper vans for Kick-ass adventurers who want to see more, do more, and be more. #54sqftOfAdventure
Dustin Sauer - Chief Exploration Officer