Our ‘holding pattern’ in weeks 59-60, of sitting around waiting for some items to be sorted in the UK, got confirmed, and so our Pan-American plans are going into a more longer-term holding pattern.
I was going to head back to the UK (now that the positive house selling news had come through), for a bit of property management, so we thought it sounded like the right time to actually re-evaluate our planned route for the next couple of years. It was always the plan from Mexico to head south to Argentina, but as I was going to likely be back in the UK for at least a month or so, and with the Zika virus causing a bit of an unknown, we thought perhaps Central & South America should be put on pause.
So, the few weeks after Mexico City was spent driving back from Acapulco to Ohio (Meg already had a family visit planned, so she got to skip that part of the trip!), and then sorting out the selling of Milton (to a couple from Florida of all places).
Milton has been by far & away the best vehicle we have had on any of our trips. Not only has he been our home, and a place we have spent a huge amount of time, effort & expense to make it as such, he has also given us zero trouble. And I mean zero. Not a flat tyre, not an engine over-heat, not so much as a splutter, or broken anything (aside from the odd loose screw from my home-made cabinets). And for 14 months of full time living, that is a huge achievement. So, it’s with very heavy hearts that we had to sell him and move on to the next vehicle/home/country/continent/ adventure.
However, when one door closes, another opens as they say. And as such, we have introduced a new Milton into this world of ours.
And we name this latest steed, Mike.
Not really too much of a back story to that name. Just that, a) we needed to stick with our ‘Mi__’ theme, b) the number plate was AY07 HUP which sounded a little like ‘aye up’, which is a bit of a Northern British expression, of which Mike is just a solid sounding British name, and c) Mike is only planned as a semi-temporary vehicle, so didn’t want to use too good an ‘Mi’ name on him! (Midas is my next vote)
So, for the last 2 months, myself & Meg have been busily building a 2007 Ford Transit van into our new RV (medium wheel base. Whereas Milton was 7m long, Mike is 5m – and that’s mostly space lost in the living area, so quite a big proportion lost). We decided to start from scratch as it was what I had always wanted to do – to build something to our requirements & experience of what is needed & what isn’t. And, to be honest, looking at the prices of converted vans or purpose built motorhomes, they were just way out of a justifiable price range.
I have actually quite enjoyed turning Mike into a home. Even though I have zero carpentry skills, which has been infuriating to say the least, there is something very satisfying about seeing a little home come together. If I don’t look too closely at mis-judged/mis-measured gaps here and there, I think it is not a bad stab for a first attempt. He has full solar panels, 12v & 240v electricity (with a Bluetooth app so I can anally check on the battery usage on a regular occurrence), a proper kitchen with an IKEA gas hob, fancy Italian fridge and a sink way too big for the space (not great planning in terms of keeping water usage to a minimum). We have rigged some jerry cans for water, along with a little pump & an extendable tap in the sink that can double up as an outside shower. Whilst there wasn’t room/expense/ technical expertise to build a shower, we do have an actual Water Closet with a little porta pottie, so we are pretty much as self sufficient as we were in Milton (and as a bonus, he does about 500 miles on a full tank, so we can get a lot further, and a lot cheaper than we ever did previously).
The sacrifice is that we are obviously in a lot tighter of a space. Whilst the bed is still reasonably comparable, the lack of a dinette does make eating & laptop’ing a lot less convenient. We can still squeeze past each other, but there definitely isn’t the sense of space that we had in Milton. But, this all bodes well for the next vehicle. That middle bear is out there, waiting for us to find him…