How Penny Love Keeps Her Cool

As a follow up to Jon’s post about the build out (click here for initial build out and here for upgrades), I’m going to expand a bit on keeping our Boxer pup cool and comfy.  Whenever I Googled “traveling with a dog” I came upon sites that said it was unsafe to leave a dog in a car. Yes, I agree.  However, our van (recently being called Ellie, short for elephant because she’s big + grey…sure, why not) is a tiny house on wheels.  It’s an opportunity to bring out little fur baby on the road with us so we have to make it work.  And here’s how:

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Sprinter Pants….Metal Baby….Transformer(TM)….Bucket-List-Mobile, etc.

Where to start? This blog entry is long overdue. I got back from Madison, WI and things just snowballed, in a good way. (Upgrades to our initial build are here)


The Vision: The thoughts for the build came from lots of late night research, typing things into Google and reading fellow “van life” blogs like those of Traipsing About and Sprinter Van Diaries. To know my wife is to know her obsession with the water, ocean, boats and everything related and this contributed to the look, feel & color pallet. Other ideas came from talking with my friend Chad and visiting OutsideVan’s facility/operation in Hood River, OR back in January. The original thought was to source the build to Van Works in Forth Collins, CO (great guys with a wealth of knowledge to share.  Barry is at the helm and he’s great to work and brainstorm with) and/or OutsideVan. However, the estimates where a reality check and mind boggling, not to mention the 3+ month turnaround times. I believe in paying good money for good work and expertise, but the more I researched building it out myself, the more I realized I was capable of doing this on my own, especially with my background of helping to design/conceptualize mobile marketing vehicles for Toyota, Adidas, Clif Bar, Sony and more. And, with the help of a few willing friends (who agreed to help at a bar…always happens this way doesn’t it?!) the buildout was going to be a great journey and experiment for all of us.

Factory Settings: 4.5 months after putting the deposit down on the new 144” wheelbase, 2500 4 cylinder 2015 Mercedes Sprinter it finally showed up during the first week of May… and I was 1500 miles away in CA doing Tour of The Unknown Coast. Why so long to get the van???

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