From RoadTrek to Transit Connect

For the last 3 years prior to this year, I’ve been wandering around the country in a RoadTrek 170. It’s a small RV van, having everything larger RVs have, including refrigerator, range, generator, air conditioner, hot water heater, furnace, shower, and toilet.

Over time, I found my use of the conveniences in the RoadTrek diminished, and some I did not use at all. The Roadtrek was great at National Parks, and I had very few problems with stealth overnighting in the cities. But I felt like something smaller might work even better.

So I decided I would get an ugly 2013 Transit Connect and build out the interior myself. I converted my condo into a woodworking shop for a few weeks, and endured sawdust in my socks, up my nose, and in my hair.

I considered this an experiment. If it worked I would sell my Roadtrek. If it didn’t, I would break down and have a good cry.

I built it out for long term use, with storage cabinets on each side of the centered bed, and more storage under the bed. The bed is made of two small cushions and two large cushions, with plywood bottoms loosely resting on rails on each side. This allows me to easily convert from seating to sleeping, and to get to the storage under the bed.

I didn’t want to take my road bike on an outside rack, so I built a “garage” inside for my Brompton foldable bicycle.

There’s a place to prepare food, and room for a Yeti cooler. I put up blackout front curtains, and adjustable blackout material for the rest of the windows.

Although there is no shower, I can clean myself inside if necessary – but that’s what my Planet Fitness membership is for. They are everywhere. And yes, I can do the necessities inside if I have to.

The disadvantages are that I can’t stand up without hunching, and I don’t have all the conveniences. But since everything inside is within easy reach, I don’t really need to stand up and move around inside.

There are many more advantages. I only need one vehicle now, and so I pay for maintenance, insurance and license renewal once. I can park in a standard 7” parking deck. I come under almost all the height-based parking restrictions out west. The carbon footprint is less, as the fuel cost is a little over 1/2. I don’t need to find a level parking place to accommodate an RV refrigerator. I don’t have to winterize. U-turns and parallel parking are a breeze. I can take it through a car wash. I can get a tent spot at a campground, which is generally prohibited if you are in an RV.

I’m on my third week on the road in the Transit Connect, and I’m loving my new home-on-wheels. The experiment worked. I won’t be selling my condo anytime soon, but I will be selling the Roadtrek.

ford-transit-connect roadtrek170

Delray Beach

Delray Beach is the name of this town of 65,000 as well as the name of the beach. It’s my first visit here, but not my last. The downtown area is active with nightlife, has two Starbucks, and lots of really interesting art galleries. The beach is just a short walk from downtown.

It’s great for stealth overnight parking, in a general area where this lifestyle is challenging. There are plenty of unmetered parking spaces within a couple of blocks of downtown, and within 5 blocks of the beach. And the parking places are without the usual signs telling you all the ways you can park illegally and get towed.

Temps are in the low 80’s during the day and the low 70’s during the night, which is just about right.

I’m looking forward to meeting some humane educators a little later this week, as well as early next week.

Last year I biked from Hollywood FL to the Southeastern tip of Miami, exploring the beaches and towns along the way. I plan to repeat that trek on Saturday.


Vegan Soul Food in Englewood

Today I joined my good friend Debbie for a late lunch at what’s got to be one of the best vegan joints in the whole wide world. The place is called “Stuff I Eat” and it’s in Englewood. The owner Babette is as delightful as the food here. We had the Soul Food Platter (yams with coconut, potato salad, coleslaw, vegan mac and cheese, and barbecue tofu), the Croquette Plate (carrot croquette with polenta cakes, carrot gravy, spinach, and salad with avocado) served with buckwheat and corn muffin, black-eyed peas, kale greens, and pozole soup. I’ll be fasting tomorrow.

babette-and-debbie stuff-i-eat