A tale of two vans' travels: Over 25 trips together

Railvan

Adventurer
A tale of two vans' travels: Owyhee

The Owyhee area of southeast Oregon is one of my favorite places to escape to. Tom, Keith, and I were there in May 2014. Picking the right time to go is a little tricky, as it's a full two day drive from where we live so we can't just stop by and see how the road conditions are. If it's been raining there it's a full-on gumbo mud hell, and if it's dry it's a dust bowl. We got lucky on this trip and the conditions were perfect. Damp roads with no dust.

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T.Low

Expedition Leader
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gHNWUSQPUU&feature=youtu.be

The photo I posted earlier of Tom looking under the front of his van was at the top of this hill. A steering arm broke on this climb. We strapped it together with two ratchet straps and he not only drove back down to camp, but drove it all the way home like that while I followed him. Gotta love team work!

For those of you not familiar with the Hawkins Mine trail that includes crankshaft Hill, here's a good look at it. :smiley_drive:



Yes, Owyhee can certainly get messy in a rain. Taken on my '08 trip.


 
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T.Low

Expedition Leader
Owyhee: Brian "chillin" at camp.



Owyhee is miles and miles of this:



 
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T.Low

Expedition Leader
Owyhee






Here's a map measuring "remoteness" by showing distance between McDonald's restaurants. As many of you already know, the big open space in South East Oregon is Owyhee.

 

T.Low

Expedition Leader
Owyhee

Brian mapped us to Silver City, a pseudo ghost town where people have been moving back in. A couplefew hours of wonderful dirt driving from Three Forks to get there.







 
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T.Low

Expedition Leader
S
Really inspiring rigs and photos. I've been seriously considering getting rid of my 06 xterra for a astro. A sportsmobile would be amazing but its so far out of the budget. Since you guys have had so much time with these rigs side by side, any chance you could do a little pro and con? How much larger is the SMB in real world situations? Is the interior space that much difference? Has there ever been places one of you could get to but the other could? Any interior shots would be really helpful. It would be a daily driver, but I spend a ton of time in the car and I think it would be a lot more comfy for my aging hound.

Keep the pics coming!

My kit when running solo. Middle bench removed. Clear plastic office chair mat to protect carpet in the whole middle living area. Behind the rear bench is toolbox, recovery bag, extra water, hibachi grill, air compressor, camp chair, camp table, 3" memory foam mattress topper :ylsmoke:, sleeping bag, full pillow.

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While it's camping layout is certainly nowhere near as convenient or cool as a Sportsmobile or Westfallia, it's worked fine for us for seven years.

I'll bring another tub for Moto gear when I bring the GasGas.

Before we had kids, when wife would go, too.




 
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T.Low

Expedition Leader
When the family comes along, I move the bench seat from the rear position to the middle, and there is a ton of space behind it.

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Railvan

Adventurer
Photos of the insides on our two vans were requested, and Tom added some photos of the inside of his van and.. I forgot...

I thought of it last week when I had my van and my camera, so here are some photos. It's a basic SMB RB50 floor plan interior. I deleted the propane option and added the diesel furnace. The only thing I would have used propane for was the stove, and I cook on a portable butane stove, mostly outside on the drop down table off the side door, but I can cook on the counter top inside if the weather sucks. (As I was just typing the previous sentence I realized I need to shoot photos of the box mounted on the side door. It opens up a couple different ways and is very handy. I nicknamed it the Transformer. It's a part of the interior I use a lot when making and eating meals.) I'm very happy with the simple little butane stove. It cooks fast if you need it to and fits inside the Transformer storage cabinet when not in use. The fridge is the smaller one offered by SMB as I'm pretty sure at the time I bought the van the larger fridge was only offered in the EB van. The door to the left of the fridge holds the PortaPotty. I have to admit I use the PortaPotty a lot more often than I ever thought I would. It's great in the middle of the night not having to go outside. The large drawer above the potty cabinet was made to fit a microwave but I tried to keep the camper as simple as possible and went without it. I instead spent money on upgrading the rear axle to a DynaTrac full-floater and got air lockers front and rear. I didn't get any upgrades on electronics as I'm not much into that when I am camping and I figured if I ever want to watch a movie when I'm camping I could bring a laptop computer. Electronics built into a van tend to get outdated every few years, so all I ever added was the cheapest stereo I could find that had a USB cable port on the front. I did that a couple years ago and added a small inline amp and new speakers shortly after that. I have around 1,100 songs on my iPhone and love being able to listen to music on the long pavement portions of trips without having to carry CD's or find radio stations in the middle of nowhere. The rear view shows the bed and storage under it. You can just see the water tank that is under the front edge of the bed.

I sleep downstairs most of the time, unless it's hot out. Then the upper bunk is nice as the five windows can be opened for lots of fresh air. The lower bed has 4" foam and the top bunk is about 2" foam. I use a Termarest on top of the foam on either bed.

I have had the van nine years now and have no complaints about the interior layout design. It's a copy of the old VW bus campers and it works well. The couch folds down into the lower bed. I have traveled for a couple weeks with two people and a small dog and it suited us fine.

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GHI

Adventurer
This definitely wasn't what I was expecting when I saw this old thread pop back up. My condolences to all that knew him.
 
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