Thursday, 12 April 2007

Ultra busy

Haven't posted owt for ages for two reasons. First I was away on hol, grit bouldering in Yorkshire and since then I have been busier than I can remember with the van project.
Come July this year me and Fi are off around Europe climbing for six months. The original plan was to get a cheap, reliable and comfortable van to live in during our trip. After a fair bit of research it became aparent that such things don't exist. Decent campers/motorhomes big enough for a comfy six months come in two varieties, fairly cheap (but still £5-10k) but ancient and with huge mileage or good nick but ludicrously expensive (£15->30k). Nothing I could find in our price range seemed worth the money or reliable/long lasting enough not to be a risky investment. So it was with some great trepidation that I have embarked upon the task of making my own camper van. Have bought a good solid base vehicle, a 2001 long wheel base, high top, Ford Transit, with a mere 60,000 miles on the clock.
So far I have stripped out the original floor and partial ply lining, installed two openable double glazed windows with integral roller blind and fly net, added an immobiliser and installed a new ply floor with underfloor insulation. The next bit to go in will be a 12v rooflight/extractor fan to help keep it cool in the euro heat. Bought and ready to install I have a three way (gas,12v and 240v) fridge, a propex 1600 blown air heater, two 110 amp-hour leisure batteries, a grey enamel sink, a smoke alarm and a fire extinguisher. I'm also going to be fully insulating the walls and roof, installing a solar panel on the roof, adding two gas tanks, a hob, cold water with a manual pump, lighting, a big bed and lots of storage.
Quite a huge job and very time consuming, both interms of labour as well as research and materials sourcing. To make this possible in time for the trip i will be leaving work a month early to work full time on the van (even with the loss of a months wages it's cheaper than getting a ready made van).
As mentioned above this was not the original plan and it pretty much means I will have bugger all time to do anything with the boltfund prior to my trip. Someone will need to look after it while i'm away anyway. Basically the money is there, it just need some suitably able and keen people to do something with it. I feel a little bad for starting something and not fully carrying it through, but that's just the way things have turned out. Ultimately i'm not any more responsible for the state of peak bolts (other than the ones i've placed) than the next man and the fact that i've set some wheels in motion for a peak bolt fund doesn't change this. If anything I could fairly say that having put in a lot more effort than the next man and it's about time more people took a share of the load.


dobbin said...

Van sounds an amazing and consuming project - why not try and install the insides of an Audi whilst you are at it ;-)

As regards the bolt fund I would happilly volunteer to caretake in your absence but know nowt about it really, so perhaps am not ideal. Besides which, I would likely squander the funds on the reequipping of rubicon - more specifically Zeke! I dont know, I wonder how much would be involved - I have fcuk all time anyway, least of all to take on something new. Anyspares I have I want to spend on climbing. If I can help I happilly will but to be honest I might be better off being treasurer/admin or something - am pretty well connected to net most of time? what do you think...

bonjoy said...

Cheers yoot,
I think perhaps there needs to be a committee(sp?), that way knowledge and time are pooled and responsibility falls on a number of shoulders rather than one or two. Will think about this and talk to likely folks. You'd be welcome in any such group of course. Let me know if you can think of any suitable peeps.

Paul Bennett said...

hey jon, Glad the trip to yorkshire was good. Sounds like your getting on well with the van, i'm currently in the process of selling mine which is a heart wrenching process with people prodding at anything they consider to be vaguely rusty. If I can be of any use let me know, I am now able to walk which is always a bonus.
With regards the bolt fund i'm now around for the entire summer and have plenty of time with which i'm happy to spend re-equipping as many routes as I can (and dobbin I think Doylo is up for doing zeke ;), all I need is a lesson off you. However I don't know if you'll be leaving before I have the frame off? If you want to borrow my jingo wobbly book of all the crags to help plan your trip feel free I don't have any need for it, I also found a lot of online topo's so i'll email them to save you some hassle.

bonjoy said...

Cheers Paul,
That's cool. I'll give you a hands on bolting lesson. Hopefully with frame off and on a route, but failling that I can always show you at ground level on some random rock or even on concrete at a push.
Have got a meeting with Henry Folkard and Derbyshire Wildlife down Cheedale on the 26th, so hopefully will get some arrangement sorted about where and when we can do stuff.
Am working on the van one or two evenings a week and one day each weekend. It'd be great to have a helping hand with some of the jobs. So if you're bored and fancy joining in sometime let me know. And the a borrow of the Jingo guide would be great.
Hope the leg is on the mend.

lorenzo said...

hey your transit will make you and lady happy!!! mine has done so!!!
you seem to be quite good at converting it, maybe this summer you could spend a few hours fixing mine!!!:-)

i hope the half year trip will include some destination close to italy, and of course should you visit here just give a call and be my guest.


bonjoy said...

Cheers Nibs, it's great to have friendly faces we can call in on!

bonjoy said...

Cheers Nibs, it's great to have friendly faces we can call in on!