About John Abert

Retired electrician, robotics technician and builder of machines as well as homes, turned marketer, married to an executive assistant turned marketer. We have 30 years of camping and RVing experience, and travel whenever possible for as long as possible. We have traveled with everything from a pop-up tent trailer to a 40-foot motorhome, but the economy and fuel prices have us down-sized again. Our goal is to show you how it can be done economically and comfortably and still have all the luxuries.

Long time no see – – – or do!

I am slowly getting renewed energy for the process of working on this blog. I just realized that it has been nearly three years since I posted. The title refers to the “long time no see” since you heard from me last and the “or do” refers to the fact that nothing was accomplished on either a minivan camper or my ebook during all that time. That was mainly because the minivan camper project was put on hold, and our efforts were directed at a different goal, that of finally getting rid of our real estate and traveling full-time.

Although that was already in the works at the time the video in the previous post was made, it was a year later (than the video) before we actually got left. And rather than the minivan (which would obviously be too small for full-time traveling) we opted to use the cargo trailer and a full-size conversion van with which to tow it.

As the time neared to leave, we realized that even the cargo trailer and conversion van wouldn’t be large enough to carry everything with us that we wanted to keep, so we ended up using the minivan as an additional vehicle, and even bought back the Harbor Freight trailer that I had sold to a work associate. It already had plywood sides on it, and all I needed to do was buy a new tarp and some straps to secure it.

The same week we left, we signed with an auction service (on Tuesday, November 17th, 2015) to dispose of the rest of the personal property and the real estate. Once that was done, there was no need to hang around. We left on the morning of Thursday, November 19th and never looked back.

Although the real estate did not get enough of a bid to satisfy the auctioneer, and he halted the bidding on it, one of the people that had been at the auction came to him the following week and offered to buy it at the last bid that was received. Even though it didn’t meet the payoff at the bank, we wanted it gone. Hanging onto it would have only been more of a liability. So we obtained a line of credit (unsecured) to pay off the balance, and finally closed on the deal sometime in February of 2016.

We have no regrets about doing that. Had we hung onto the property, it would have only meant hassles with renters and more repairs on the property, or else leave it set empty and fall into even worse repair as well as being subject to vandalism. No matter what, it would have cost us more money… probably more than we had to borrow to dispose of it. A person has to know when to cut their losses and move on.

You can read all about our up-to-date travels at our other blog at Incargonito. Just click on that link to go to it. Many changes have taken place since we started on this adventure, including the sale of the ’94 Chrysler minivan and the trading of the conversion van for a mid-size motorhome with which to pull the cargo trailer.

Although the cargo trailer worked exactly as planned and expected, and we did live in it for seven months, it was never meant to be a “forever” situation. It was only meant to get us out of Arkansas and to someplace where we could obtain something better. That was accomplished. However, after moving into the motorhome, and traveling with it for another year, we realized it was not doing the complete job for us that we needed done.

Even though the motorhome is not “huge”, it is still too large to get into all the places that we would like to go, and sets too low to the ground. Because it is an older one (even though the mileage on it is low), it has had some major problems that have already cost us a lot of money. And there are still more problems that need to be addressed… when the expenses catch up with our income, or vice-versa.

For that reason, we have settled into an RV park in central Florida for awhile… probably through (at least) next summer and “maybe” the following winter. After that is anyone’s guess. Of course, if anything changes for any reason, we are still ready to pull out and hit the road again if we would have to. We just don’t want to plan any long trips with this RV, and take a chance on being broken down along the road or in some remote spot where we can’t get it fixed by qualified mechanics!

For the time being, we have acquired another newer minivan that we plan to use as both our daily runner, as well as a traveling vehicle for up to a six-month-long trip starting next spring. This will give me the opportunity to finish the plans for my ebook on creating (not “building”) a minivan camper. The cargo trailer is setting dormant behind the RV for now. It may get sold later.

Whether the minivan camper works as we want it to, and is comfortable enough for people of our age for longer trips remains to be seen. If it doesn’t, we have the option of trading it for a newer high-top extended van (of either the ProMaster or Transit variety) when we return next fall. With the larger van, we will also likely trade the motorhome for a travel trailer that can be towed by such a vehicle, and then the cargo trailer will be sold, also.

After all, if we’re going to use a larger RV as our “mobile home base” and do our shorter traveling in a van, there is no sense in keeping the cargo trailer or having the expense of a drive train going to waste from setting for long periods… better to use a travel trailer, with no fuel tanks, engine, transmission or running gears to cause additional problems.

Also, with a trailer, they use removable propane tanks, so that the RV doesn’t have to be driven out somewhere for refills. And if a larger tank is needed for winter and/or long term stays, it is much easier to tie in to the trailer without major modifications… as there would be with a motorhome.

Right now, we are still getting the newer minivan ready for next spring. We have to install window coverings and obtain the extra things we will need for travel, such as something to sleep on, a secondary battery and wiring, and maybe even a rear receiver hitch mounted storage pod with a swing-away hitch arm. We may even obtain a roof-mounted storage pod as well.

So for all those that have patiently waited all this time, we appreciate you. We also welcome anyone finding this blog for the first time and urge you to subscribe to new post notifications if the topic of van/minivan travel appeals to you in any way. We will be adding new stories as we create (not “build”) the minivan camper for our travels next spring, as well as show the shorter trips we take this winter, as we get out to see some of the local sights.

As always, if you have questions or comments, please use the comment forms and let us know your thoughts. I am notified of every comment that comes in, so I do see them, and reply to each one. Also, thank you to those who click on our links and make purchases through them. The small amounts we earn from your clicks helps us to keep our blogs active, and we appreciate the effort.

Stay well and travel safe!