Introducing Our Adventure Van Bessie!

I am beyond excited to introduce to you our (new to us) adventure van which we’ve named Bessie. Dave and I have been on the hunt for the perfect vehicle that we are going to convert into an adventure van to travel in, starting with our 11,000 mile upcoming summer road trip. And last week, we found “the one” and Dave rolled her into our driveway decked with balloons just in time for my birthday. A perfect 40th birthday present for me! Isn’t a 15 passenger van what every girl wants for her birthday??Adventure VanNow Bessie needs some work, but Dave has never been one to shy away from a project and we are both excited to get started. We chose a Chevy Express 3500 Extended because they are easy to repair, readily available, safe, and the most economical choice for the size vehicle we were looking for. Mechanically she is in great repair, and her interior is pretty good too! We just need to replace one of the side door latches and patch one rip in an interior bench seat. Easy peasy.Adventure Van

Converting A Passenger Van into Our Adventure Van

Once we make quick work of those minor repairs, we are going to start working on the fun stuff- making Bessie into a comfy home away from home to live in when we are on the road. We have a few things that must get completed prior to our summer trip. These are-

  • Install a back hitch
  • Build a Full Sized Platform Bunk in the Rear
  • Install a Back Up Camera

After we are finished with this initial list, we will start on the following extra projects to make our adventure van even more comfortable-

  • Screens so we can sleep with the windows down and the back doors open (this is what we’re thinking)
  • Install an extra battery to power fans/heater and our computers 
  • Roof Rack
  • Curtains for Privacy
  • Built in Storage
  • Build a Portable Awning (we LOVE this one)
  • Install a Ventilation Fan (this post shows you how)
  • Utilizing Solar Power (like this)
  • DVD Player

We will be sharing our adventure van renovations with you as we do them. So wish us luck!

I can’t tell you how excited I am about finally having her. This has been a long time dream of mine and to me represents freedom to explore our beautiful country. We can’t wait to get started.

Happy Travels!

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Written By

I love to plan family travel adventures with our four kids. Encouraging time in nature, National Parks travel, backpacking and hiking are my passions and I love to write about them.

8 Comments

  • Love it!! Van looks wonderful for travel. Our 1971 Golden Falcon is getting a new “bottom” tires, axle, electric and brakes. Just waiting for it to come back. So can hitch it and re learn how to back up. Thanks so much for all your posts. Have you been to Palo Dura Texas. Second largest canyon to Grand Canyon.

    PS I like you post gallery. Do you use wordpress?

      • Also, I am sure you’ve already done your research, but as a cost-effective option we opted for a magnetic backup camera that communicates with our iphones- we put it on only when we need it: when backing up to hitch up our popup camper, and then we can stick it on the back bumper of our popup when backing into a campsite. Sounds like you’ll be making use of yours more often, though!

        • Dave just finished installing the camera today. We went with one installed in the upper reverse light, but I think that the iPhone option is a great idea for occasional use. The fact that you can use it on both your car and your pop up makes it super convenient!

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