Well, it finally happened. We got a Sprinter van. Six months ago, my car got stolen from right in front of our house. It was a total bummer, but it made us start seriously thinking about putting the money we'd spend to buy a replacement vehicle towards buying a used Sprinter van instead. We'd been contemplating getting a Sprinter for a long time, with plans to renovate it into a small home - Instagram has a way of convincing you that you can do anything. As such, we decided to take turns walking to work while we hunted for a Sprinter van, with the plan being if we didn't find one by the time winter rolled around again, we would just go ahead and purchase a car. Well, a few weeks ago I was out of state visiting family when Justin called to tell me he'd found an affordable Sprinter in California that he was going to have someone go and check out for us. This was good news as our hunt hadn't been going exceptionally well - the last Sprinter van we'd looked at had involved an eight hour round trip drive and had made a lot of strange noises/had a sketchy back story. Long story short, the van checked out and the next day we were proud Sprinter van owners. Almost all our friends have become home owners, and now we are too in our own round about way. Who wants to fit the typical suburban family model anyways?
The lousy part of all of this was the fact that we needed to go to California and drive the van 815 miles home. Not the end of the world, but a long trip when your vehicle has a governor that doesn't allow it to go above 65 MPH, because in its past life it was a FedEx delivery van. Last weekend, Justin had Saturday and Sunday off, a rare occurrence, so we decided to bite the bullet and bring our Sprinter home. We got up at 3:30 AM Saturday morning to catch our flight to California, and at 9:00 AM we climbed into our van for the first time. The first thing we noticed was that the pictures that had been posted online were obviously not of this van, because they had shown two regular seats in the front - a big bonus since most Sprinters are used as work vehicles and don't have this feature. The driver's seat was normal, but the passenger seat was just one of those little flip down straight backed jump seats, and I swear to you it's barely over a foot wide! Good luck if you have a voluptuous backside! I knew I would be spending most of the trip as the passenger, so I grit my teeth and settled in for a long, uncomfortable ride. It was so hard I had to change positions about every ten minutes to prevent getting pressure ulcers, and so narrow that each time we went around a corner I would slide halfway off the seat. The few times I complained, Justin was pretty sure that I was being dramatic about the situation, until we switched drivers for the last four hours of the trip and he got to experience life in the jump seat. He quickly became impressed that I'd complained as little as I did.
By Saturday night we'd made it all the way to Bend, Oregon and were impressed to still be running on our first tank of fuel. We hunted down a Walmart parking lot to spend the night in, and felt super awesome joining the menagerie of other vans and campers hanging at the back of the lot. And what was even more awesome was stretching out in the back of the van on our Therm-a-Rests. Sunday morning we got up at 5:30 AM and drove over to Smith Rock State Park to watch the sunrise. We had all these plans of taking sweet photos with the van as the sun rose above the cliffs, but instead we got tired of waiting and also felt oddly self conscious taking "selfies" with our vehicle in front of everyone else who was camped out in the parking lot waiting for sunrise.
Later in the day we lamented not having gotten any good pictures yet with our beloved Sprinter, and decided that there's no time like the present. So we screeched to a halt in the middle of Washington farm country, set up the GoPro on a tripod, and proceeded to jump wildly up and down in front of the van trying to get a mid air shot.
Thirty-three hours after starting our trip, we pulled into our driveway sweaty and tired with trash littered about and an audio book about wiener dogs playing in the background. What a trip. But now we get to sit in our living room sipping tea, gazing fondly out the window at our Sprinter van imagining all the adventures about to ensue. We're not sure what our neighbors think when they see us coming and going in a cargo van, but we're too stoked to care. We're realistic enough to know that our van's transformation won't be a quick remodel, but you can be sure that we'll keep you up to date on our progress!