If we’ve been friends for a while you’ll recall that I quit my fancy shmancy strategy consulting job at the end of 2015 to become a full-time nomad and live in a van down by the river. It was amazing, it was terrifying, and depending on your perspective it was hands-down either the dumbest or the best thing that I have ever done in my life. And it was all made possible by a loyal little roughed-up dream mobile that I discovered on Craigslist and subsequently rescued from a series of abusive (or at least non-caring) prior owners.
That roughed-up little dream mobile is Eddie the Van. Eddie is the first vehicle I ever owned. He spoiled me with a long honeymoon and many incredible moments that have been indelibly burned into my memory. Eddie was there and patiently waiting when I placed top 10 in the US Track and Field National 100K trail championships; when I celebrated my 31st birthday - my first birthday of freedom - in Goblin Valley with my mom and her husband; when I fell in love with the incredible man who has since become my best friend and as of late my husband; when I almost sank my inflatable SUP on Lake Powell and had to get an emergency evac back to the marina; when I headed off to Yosemite to climb El Cap with Paul as our sixth date; when I signed my first outdoor industry sponsor contract and when I got my first paid photography assignments. Every time I drive to a trailhead for a long training run, Eddie is the one who sees me off and waits for me to get back; no big run is complete until I slap him on the butt. Except that now… well, now I am married and as incredible as Eddie is, he’s just no match for two 6ft+ people with hundreds of pounds of payload from big wall gear to full-strength winter mountaineering equipment.
So Paul and I bought a bigger van to accompany us on our adventures. And Eddie… Eddie still has too much life in him to consider putting him down, but it seems heartless to just put him up for sale and try to get the highest price (in case you’re curious, I bought him for $2800 back in 2015, and have since put and additional ~$2-3k of labor and parts into him). Which is the reason that I am giving Eddie away to an individual who loves and values the spirit of vanlife as much as she or he values having a functioning four wheels.
Eddie is awesome. He’s an old gentleman with almost 270,000 miles on the chassis (150,000 miles on the engine) and a couple of ailments, but chances are that he’ll keep running for many more thousands of miles if you are gentle with him. I took Eddie on a hard 1000 mile trip through the desert as recently as two months ago; starter, alternator and battery have all been replaced within the last 24 months. The interior is built out in simple fashion - a bed platform, storage box that doubles as seating area, and little table in the back; no solar or insulation - designed for one person but Eddie is also workable as a fun weekend mobile for two. Don’t expect to *sleep* two people in there with the current setup, but with some basic carpentry it should be quite easy to modify the bed platform so you can extend it into a double.
As far as old man ailments go, here is what you’re looking at…
Permanent / too pricy to fix
- Electrical: there is a short in the system leading to warning lights on the dash (breaks and engine; I’ve had both checked out regularly; they’re fine) and screwy door actuators - doors must all be locked manually
- Air Conditioning is broken, would be $1000+ in labor and parts to fix. I have lived with out A/C for the last 20 months
Easy / affordable fixes
- Windshield: big circular crack right in the middle; been stable for a year, but probably wouldn’t pass inspection…
- Rear hatch: doesn’t open due to a stuck actuator; should be an easy fix, I didn’t bother since I knew there was going to be a new van soon…
- Spare tire: needs replacing, the old one is cracked - this one is a safety issue should you break down with a flat, so I’d highly recommend addressing this.
Eddie is still running well enough that I could get a bit of money out of him on Craigslist, but that just doesn’t feel right. Instead I want to share the happiness that he’s given me over the last 2.5 years and gift the joy of vanlife. So, here’s the deal: if you want Eddie, find me on Instagram and direct message me there (since that's where most of my engagement happens, this will allow me to keep everything in one spot and not lose track of submissions in different places). Share your story of why you love the idea of owning Eddie and what you’re hoping to do with him. I’ll choose his new owner this Friday June 22 based on my favorite story.
If your story is the one that wins, Eddie will be yours for free! The only costs you'll have to cover are any applicable state taxes (not sure about the details but I think this might be zero for a gift?), and standard title transfer/registration costs.
And if you're still on the fence about vanlife... here's what my first six months on the road looked like.