Posted by: Steve and Bethany | January 19, 2009

FIRST TRIP

10/10/11

As you know, it’s not really the first trip, but the first major trip where Bethany & I had to rely on the Bullet for everything for two months straight.

Not only did I build the perfect rig to do this, but somehow acquired the perfect wife for this as well, EVERYTHING worked great, we made a huge loop around USA & Canada, saw everything from hurricane Irene in northern maine, with torrential rains & wind (we climbed a mountain that day), to 113 degrees during the day in death valley, to 28 degrees in Yosemite with snow & blizzard conditions. All said, the bullet stayed warm & dry inside, comfortable for us & our dogs, never got stuck, didn’t baby the thing at all, cooked great food the whole way, swam in some fantastic lakes & rivers, tested out those love lights, & stayed in some amazing places.

I appreciate all those of you who came up along the way asking questions & taking pictures, & sorry we couldn’t catch up with some others of you along the way, but we have a policy of never knowing where we will be driving until we were actually driving (meaning we never know which way we’ll be traveling) but enough talk.. …

fitting right in, waiting for the ferry to BC

finding a nice remote site to camp on Vancouver island

Glacier National park

northern Maine on the Rangley lakes

did I mention I had the perfect wife! (no she’s not crawling into her bed, she sleeps up above)

another great site, no charge & a great sunset

our highest elevation – 12,169 ‘ above sea level

The great thing about a vehicle like this is the ability to leave everyone behind, we were in Colorado, just out of Ouray, when Bethany spotted a dirt road, she wanted to see just what this thing could do, after about 50 switchbacks up the side of this mountain (I mentioned earlier, the impressive turning radius on the Sterling Bullet) we ended up at 11,400′ above sea level at the site of an old abandon mine

no one in sight

then down into death valley at 291 feet below sea level

we really didn’t baby this thing!

THIS is why I built the Bullet, this was our favorite campsite, you may not notice any roads, THAT’S BECAUSE THERE WEREN’T ANY! if you look close however, you can see Bethany & the Bullet

camping the american dream

dirty, but commanding athority

arriving home two months later, just in time for dinner & drinks

I have a small list of things I want to do to the bullet over the winter, all minor, like heavier latches on the pantry & pan drawers, provide a grey water holding tank with electric drain valve, rivet the curtain rod in place, provide a slick surface along the lifting pipes so when dropping down, the softwalls don’t rub against the pipes.

The only thing I can add to my list of things to pre-think when designing your own, is to remember not only the things going into the camper, but also the things going out of the camper – two in particular, trash, which I did pre-think, & it was SO nice having it located right below the counter in one of the drawers, but also (which I didn’t think about) DIRTY LAUNDRY, I could’ve used one more drawer to put dirty clothes into, not that I had any more space for it, but this adds up to enough volume over time, that it should be considered in the design.

other than that, I think I’ve contributed all I can.. …

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Responses

  1. I found your blog a few months ago and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I too am an architect so I especially enjoyed hearing the whole story from initial concept and goal listing to the end and in seeing certain design challenges were resolved. As you stated in this post one of the most amazing aspects of this whole thing is that you found the perfect wife for this. Not only one who enjoys these sorts of trips but one who also was willing to sacrifice the time and money necessary to make this a reality. Congratulations! I only wish I had spotted you as you were travelling through Maine so I could have seen the rig first hand.

  2. The most beautiful conversion I’ve ever seen. Thanks for sharing. Do you have a photo stream on Flickr/Picasa to follow the progress visually (more for my kids as they’ll never read all your insightful pages)?

    • no, sorry, only here & expedition portal

  3. Finally found your website:) We met you camping on the coast (David and Brehen…mushroom hunters:)
    Wanted to let you know that mushroom Bethany found is called a Shaggy Chanterelle, it isn’t edible, but it is the first one I have ever seen.
    Hope to see you out and about again sometime.

    • david
      thanks for looking it up
      we were just back on the coast this last weekend for another hike
      great to hear from you
      steve

  4. I just stumbled upon your blog. Amazing Stuff!!! Your blog is a great handbook for all those who want to build such campers. Kudos to both of you and may you roll on for miles and miles!

  5. Very, very impressive!
    I really like the attention to details and the all the effort going into make it perfect 🙂
    Its exciting to see someone making essential the same as we did, but with a whole different mindset and outcome 🙂
    We build a Volvo 6×6 Camper (www.tgb13.raredog.dk) but with our minds tuned in on function over form and keeping the somewhat crude appearance of the vehicle.

    Yours is in a whole othe league and pushing the limits for what to expect from a “homebuilder” 🙂 Inspiring!

  6. Not sure if your still checking this but I would like to talk with you over a land line if you are interested in designing on a larger scale.

  7. Just saw you on hwy 101 near Gold Beach. Vehicle was so awesome…had to look it up and now just spent 3 hours reading blog. We motorhome and off road and dry camp so thoroughly understood and enjoyed your dilemmas and solutions. Thanks for sharing…enjoy…

  8. We enjoyed having you at Carl Washburne Campground delighted to see extreme rv in our place,
    Your humble camp host

  9. Hi there,

    really enjoy reading about your vehicle. I’ve got a Uhaul conversion of my own. I’m wondering how you handle condensation on the frame rails? On cold nights we have a lot of condensation build-up. Thanks, and good luck with your travels!

    • we really don’t get a lot of condensation, although it may be because being a soft top, there’s more air movement, I also insulated the walls & roof with 1″ of rigid insulation, provided poly below the 1/4″ plywood floor over the U Haul aluminum floor boards. My wall cap does get some on cold nights, but that’s not a huge percent of the interior space, so it doesn’t amount to much.I guess I’d suggest insulating all the way around as best you can.

  10. By accident landed on your blog. I am truly impressed. You have built the perfect rig. well done. I am currently going through the same process of building a camper on the back of a Toyota double cab Hilux. Much smaller than your van and I have to cater for 4 people. Challenging, but when I read about your travels I realise, that’s what its all about. Cant wait to get out there. Happy travels.
    Jofre – Plettenberg Bay, South Africa.


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