Black Betty: The Set up

Last Thursday, Matt made the trip to Red Deer, AB to retrieve Black Betty from Overland Explorer.  As promised, they put her finishing touches on so that we can hit the road next week.  We will be loading her up this coming weekend and pointing her East next Friday.

Before we head out though, we’re trying to lay down some miles to workout her kinks.  For instance, when we put the bike rack on the hitch, the back doors couldn’t clear it, even when it was unloaded and extended in its farthest position.  So Matt dealt with getting a hitch extension that allows us to open the back doors with the bike rack mounted.

As if Black Betty isn’t long enough as it is. 

Then he brought BB to the Thule outfitter to get our box fit onto the new rack, because hey, we’re big yes, but we’re anticipating that we will still need more space.

Black Betty in K-Country

So for Father’s Day, we drove the van down to Kananskis Country to see how it handled on the highway.  We spent a wonderful day at the Lower Lake where we BBQ’d and picnicked.  Unfortunately, when the weather turned on us, we weren’t able to roll out the awning because we left the awning’s rod in the thule box and the thule box’s key at home.  But that didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits because the kids just got comfy in the bed and spent some time playing games and drawing until the rain passed. 

ellie in the van bed

Right now, the kids are super excited about the van and they want to spend a ton of time in it.  I guess at their ages, they don’t realize the grandeur of our country and that the amount of time boxed inside Black Betty this coming summer might make them resent her.  Nonetheless, we’re guilty of feeding into their excitement and letting them sit in their chairs long before the van pulls away from the curb.  It’s training of sorts, don’t you think?

I’ve got my own training this week.  And that’s driving BB around the city so I can get used to parking and backing up without having to phone Matt to tell him that I sideswiped something. Because you see, this van is going to be a fantastic adventure vehicle, but it's also destined to be my mom-wheels when we get back to the city!

So far it’s going pretty good. No dents yet.

Thank you everyone!! For giving me a little extra space on the road!

 

I’ve had lots of people ask for more pictures, so for now, here’s a little visual for all that are curious:

 Black Betty has been equipped with fancy wheels and a roof rack with extra lights for rolling into campgrounds on those late nights.

Black Betty has been equipped with fancy wheels and a roof rack with extra lights for rolling into campgrounds on those late nights.

 Thule box mounted on the rack with awning across the top of the sliding door.

Thule box mounted on the rack with awning across the top of the sliding door.

 Ben vegging in the bed at the back end of the van.

Ben vegging in the bed at the back end of the van.

not so shiny BB
 Dirty Black Betty after some dirt roads...The ladder will allow me to access the rack and box. It also serves as a climbing gym for the kids.

Dirty Black Betty after some dirt roads...The ladder will allow me to access the rack and box. It also serves as a climbing gym for the kids.

 The bed/shelf at the back end.  Underneath we installed an ARB fridge/freezer that runs on a second battery so not to drain my starting battery.  No ice! No mess!

The bed/shelf at the back end.  Underneath we installed an ARB fridge/freezer that runs on a second battery so not to drain my starting battery.  No ice! No mess!

 Fridge/Freezer pulls out on a handy tray so I don't have to lift it in and out.

Fridge/Freezer pulls out on a handy tray so I don't have to lift it in and out.

 RV windows with screens to allow some circulation in the van.  The great big windows for sight seeing are covered with a limo grade tint so that you can't see on the inside.

RV windows with screens to allow some circulation in the van.  The great big windows for sight seeing are covered with a limo grade tint so that you can't see on the inside.

 Kids having a watermelon break on their doorstep for the summer.

Kids having a watermelon break on their doorstep for the summer.

 View from the driver's cabin with 3 lovely faces.

View from the driver's cabin with 3 lovely faces.

 

In case you missed it, catch Rolling with Van on Global here.

8 more sleeps before we hit the road!!