Ready, Set, Van Go!

Aren’t we on the road, yet, you ask? Finally, the answer is yes. The next inevitable question  is what took so long? Besides the 14 month wait for a Sportsmobile, well, nothing.


A trip to see family and friends in Florida became the only thing standing between us and van delivery in mid November. While enjoying the trip, pent up excitement for Van Go day built. Thanks to an exploding camera battery shutting down the Orlando airport and our flight back to San Francisco, the plan came to close to being thwarted.

Back in San Francisco only one day later than planned, the van pickup and orientation day kicked into overdrive. If you know us, spreadsheets, lists, ideas, dreams and plans are our forte. From mid-October through mid-November, the Owen team excelled at executing the plan.

Condo ready to rent. Check. Van ready to load check.  Drive to Fresno. Get van orientation from Nick and sign paperwork at Sportsmobile. Drive to back to San Francisco in the bucketing rain. Spend the night in Pacifica. Drink champagne.

Drive to the condo loading dock. Still raining.

Load van. Realize we will not fit everything. Use dumpster and storage to purge stuff. While loading the van, an offer came in to rent our condo. Good thing we can multi-task.

Install Thule box during the cold rain in the REI parking lot.

Drive to Half Moon Bay. Still raining. Wake up to sunshine. Hurray.

Weigh van to figure out just how much stuff we need to purge.

Eat BBQ. Huh? BBQ at the Salinas Valley Truck Stop proved to be popular and delicious. Who knew.

Drive to Big Sur. Figure out where to put too much stuff. Celebrate Duncan’s birthday. Phew! Now can we relax? Soon. Maybe.


6 thoughts on “Ready, Set, Van Go!

  1. Great to hear you found someone to rent the condo. This means you can keep travelling!

    1. At least a bit longer. Off to Alaska next week. Should be great fun! Hope to catch up with you in 2019. Cheers, D.

  2. Hi Adrienne,

    Thanks for your comment. Congrats on ordering a Sportsmobile.

    The wait to get the van is long enough to allow iterations on your layout and choices. The most important first step is getting the van ordered and a deposit down.

    Our suggestion for the first meeting is to nail down the manufacturer’s van options. The Sportsmobile options including the layout can be decided while you wait for the van to arrive. Figuring out how we planned to use the van heavily influenced the layout and options.

    In the first build meeting, we prepared the list of options we thought we wanted and the list of questions about any options. We learned a ton in the first meeting. With that info, we went home and really thought about our use cases for the van. About a month before the van arrived, we met again to nail down the layout and options. During the build, we changed a few small things and added a few options.

    Options not on the website or order form can be added. After delivery, we went to Agile Offroad to get skid plates and ride improvement package. We did not get our security system from Sportsmobile – we wanted a more advanced security system than they offered. Everything else came from Sportsmobile.

    We love the Isotherm frig/freezer. One consideration is the up to 7 amp power consumption. Make sure your electrical and charging systems support the draw. We added the extra battery (total 400 amp hours) and solar panels.

    Feel free to contact us with any additional questions.


  3. I am planning on working with Sportsmobile Fresno this Spring. I really like some of the amenities you included in your van. Is it difficult to get accessories you want that aren’t on the web site? I really want the isotherm refrigerator like I think you have. Could you give me tips as to what to prepare for my initial meeting? How did you go about picking details? Our layout will be different but I love the look of your van.

  4. Awesome! Really looking forward to armchairing your adventure. Tell us more about the MBZ chariot. What a beautiful machine. Has she been christened? (Vango? Cedes? Panzervan? Vandamort?) What’s the head and shower situation? Have you considered an aerodyne wind generator? Ground tackle? Have a great time and keep posting.

    1. Ahoy Apsara! The chariot remains nameless for now. We are bonding with her prior to finalizing a name.

      The head is a cassette toilet that stows in the lower cupboard. We primarily use the cassette toilet for night time. The shower is an alfresco set up between the stern doors. When the doors are open, a shower curtain snaps on to make the shower enclosure. The hose/faucet comes out of a interior compartment in the interior aft port side connecting to the water tank and espar hot water heater.

      As with Whisper, we will skip the wind generator. Noise and chopping off body parts continue to be a concern.

      While we thought about anchors and drogues, the weight of the van is our ground tackle. She weighs a whopping 9,700 pounds. In case she becomes too grounded, the recovery gear and max-trax will hopefully get us out of any sticky situations.

      Great to hear from you!

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