Many people have approached me asking about our rig. They are curious as to how much can be packed in a 19' long van that allows us to travel conveniently for so long.
Truth be told, my plan was different when I bought it. Quite often I am out on weekends shooting outdoors, frequently at night. Lately, I wasn't able to go out because I had my son with me 95% of the time and he is not so much into outdoors (something about bugs). I needed a vehicle that could balance both our needs so neither had to compromise on what makes us happy.
I started my search listing the primary needs:
Reliable engine. Last thing I want is to be stranded in the middle of no where and/or at night.
Size convenient enough to find parking in the city and make u-turns quickly when I spot something on the road and need to go back.
Comfy space for my son to sleep while I am shooting night sky or early sunrise
No complicated set up so I could drive away on a moments notice at any time of the day
Bathroom - obvious reasons
Initially I thought of a DIY van, as I had all the power tools from the house reno already. Problem, I didn't have the time as I was still working full time, doing remote schooling for my son, and preparing the house for sale. I just couldn't fit in the time to design and build.
Next option, find a shop to build it for me. Because of COVID, getting a custom van would take several months. The ones I saw already available for sale, were not meeting my expectations and were very expensive.
Buying a used one was out of the question because of #1 above. These vans are driven for thousands and thousands of miles
That's when I came across the Interstate 19. I was sold on the reliability and safety of Mercedes Benz Sprinter and the comfort and convenience of Airstream campers. The perfect combo!
The only dealership that had a sprinter available was in ME. I drove all the way in hopes to have a test drive (I was concern about driving such tall van, silly me!) just to find out there was no inventory, there was a six month delivery time.
Oh God, tell me which way to go. I placed the order late September trusting I'd receive it in March. What a surprise when they call me in October that an old couple returned theirs because they were not using it (because of Covid). It was exactly the colors and options I wanted! just 5,000 miles in. I praise the Lord and drove to Maine to close the deal.
Key features to mention:
- Kitchen: sink with hot/cold water. Gas stove with two burners, Fridge with freezer, Microwave, vent fan, cabinet for pantry and plates/utensils
- Wet bathroom
- Heating and cooling
- TV with satellite (which I do not use)
- Captain chairs at the front
- Lounge sofa (with seat belts for two) that converts to a queen size bed and swivel table to use as desk or dinning table
- Window shades with remote control
- Solar panels and generator for battery charging
It's never been the intention to cook gourmet, yet we were able to prepare quick food in all levels of healthiness:
So what about the ease of driving? I cannot say enough how easy it is! specially with the 360 bird view, I can easily get out of tough situations, like this time that I had to go backwards for like 100 yards.
Are you into camping? Tell me about your rig, what do you love the most about it?