Birthing a Brain Child
My new home-on-wheels is a 1995 Gulfstream full-sized GMC van with a V8 Chevy 350 engine. I chose a van with a Chevy 350 engine and mid-90’s era body because both are very easy to work on. Parts are inexpensive and in-stock at just about any automotive store. Chilton manuals, YouTube videos, and automotive forums provide guidance on just about every possible maintenance task.Over the course of last week, my father and I removed two chairs, replaced the brakes and brake calipers on the front wheels, replaced the window motors in the doors, fixed a leak in the coolant system, replaced vacuum hoses, fixed a loose connection on the starter, checked the tire pressure, fixed the speedometer, and fixed a broken fiberglass step. I also got my hands on some free desks and cut them down to size.
The van is running great and is setup as a livable, mobile office. This weekend I’ll be installing 200 watts of solar panels as well as installing a Firefly carbon-foam battery to run my lights and laptop. I had my brother weld up a rack for the top of the van, which will contain a propane tank and backup generator. The propane tank will connect to a ceramic-catalytic propane heater, which has no problem keeping the inside of the van toasty.I was distracted from my mechanical nirvana by my sister-in-law going into labor during the full moon – three weeks earlier than expected. Her water broke, but after 24 hours, her body still wasn’t going into labor. Concerned family dispersed and tried to go about their day as we waited for news that the baby was about to make his move. While my brother struggled with the potential birth of his son, I continued my struggles to give birth my brain child. I continued work on the van while staying close to the phone. It was eventually deemed a false alarm. Apparently several other women came in to the hospital on the night of the full moon with the same symptoms – ruptured water, but no labor. My nephew gets a few more precious weeks to incubate.
With the mechanical work done and the van outfitted with basic camping/galley equipment, I rallied down to Eugene, Oregon to celebrate a friend’s wedding. The van ran flawlessly and after celebrating a marriage under the swaying trees and a confetti of pine needles, I slept peacefully in a van, down by the river.
Now I’m taking it back north where a new job awaits me…