Thursday, October 27, 2011

Picking meets "Monster Garage" - Creating the The Ultimate Picker Mobile...on a shoestring budget


Well, considering I am a picker, everyday is project time...but, this particular project is going to be fun...and challenging.

Challenging mainly because it is a project that needs to be completed on a shoestring budget.....a very, very tight, shoestring budget.

Here is the vehicle I am working with:

It is the motorhome...not the lawnmower, by the way....

I am hoping to sell some of the guts I will be removing (things like the fridge, stove, furnace etc), and work with the cash to help do the repairs and modifications.

 Here is what is inside, currently:

Yep, she's kinda rough inside the "living area"...but, all of what you see will be removed anyway....

to make tons of the all important CARGO ROOM!

The current plan is to scale down the "motorhome" portion by easily 4/5ths...this will mean there will be only roughly 4 feet behind the cab of "living area", as well as the sleeping bunk above the cab. I will be creating an insulated (and strong) wall between the area you see in the pics and the sleeping/driving areas.  The problem will be keeping a "stove" and "fridge" in the "living" space....otherwise it will have to be registered/insured as a "cargo van". If I keep a stove and fridge in it, it can still be insured as a "motorhome"...and will be far cheaper. Am hoping that a microwave will count as a stove...but that is yet to be determined. The stove in it currently is: (a) too large and (b) in the wrong spot....and same goes for the fridge. But, the fridge should sell for $200 - $300, as it is a "3-way" fridge; that is, it runs off of propane, 110v and 12V.

All this is fine and dandy....but I am really jumping far ahead in this project...

The unit is currently sitting elsewhere, and needs to be towed or driven to my place. Thing is, it has not been started in easily 7 years. That said, when it was parked it was running fine. It has had some components removed from the living area, but the engine appears ok, oil is fine, fluids are fine, etc, just need to pop a battery in it, gas her up and give it a shot...and cross my fingers and toes...and ear lobes!
How much was it?  The best price....


Just need to get it off of their property...they are tired of looking at it for the past 15 years. 

I love free stuff...which sometimes can be my downfall. In this case, though, if I can get this thing home, in the very least it will be good for storage.

 Hopefully it will be more than that, though!
I have all sorts of things that can make this a lean, mean picking machine. I will reveal assorted plans, gadgets, vintage/cool decor for it in coming blog posts. Just a hit of what is to come include:

- 10 CD changer stereo unit I bought years ago, brand new in box, for $10 at a G-sale...never installed it in my van(s) it is destined for this unit. 

 - LED lighting - some retrofit into vintage fixtures - have some real cool pieces in mind!

- Tool and equipment storage

- drop down tables on/in the walls to allow it to be used as interior sale/show space...for flea markets, antiques shows, etc

- slide away loading ramp

-winch system

- "rat rod" type modifications to the body

-HYDROGEN powered/supplemented fuel capabilities

- 110V inverter system

- solar panel based generators

-passive solar heating system

-computer station

and as much cool shit as imagination will allow!

Any ideas?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

It Has Been A Real Barn Burner..

Wow, it is already October!

Ok, ok, ok....yes, it is actually mid-October. Cut me some slack, I have been busy....!

Lots of stuff has been happening....some good, some bad.

Let's start with the bad.....just get it out of the way right away.

We found out in early summer that where we were starting to get a mini-salvage yard/flea market area, and antiques shop was not actually our property. As it turns out, the front of "our" property did not start at the fence line as we had been led to believe.  The Highways Department actually owns 125 feet of the land from the fence line. Wouldn't you know it, the area on which we had cleared & leveled, built some small buildings, dropped a sea container there, as well as dropped tons of stuff on, is ALL within that 125 feet! What a waste of time, money & energy.


Now we (I) have a major task ahead of us (me)...moving it all.

So, the plan was to fix up our barn, and make it a shop.

Then in July...well, the photos below explain it best.

The firemen figured the grass fire (that started the barn ablaze) was likely ignited by  glass in the dry grass, and I have been wondering if it was possibly spontaneous combustion due to rotting manure in the barn yard. Did I mention we also live in what is basically a desert? We were lucky, really. Usually that time of year the grass and much of the foliage is crispy and super dry. We had an unusually wet year in this area, so much of the foliage and such was still green. Had it been the usual sort of July, we'd likely have lost the house and everything else...

So, we are dealing with insurance, and that sort of thing. At the time of the fire, I wasn't sure we even had any insurance on the barn. Thankfully, it turned out that we had insured it way back when we bought the property, but there is no way we could replace the structure for the amount it for which it was insured.

Back to the drawing board, as they say.

Now the plan is to build on a budget...a shoestring budget. Hopefully between salvaged materials, trade deals for labor, materials, etc, combined with hard work (which I am no stranger to, being a picker and all) we can get something built in the spring.  We are currently working on some small building(s) and shelters created from salvaged materials, but once the snow starts to fly, and gets to be more than a dusting on the ground, it will be pretty tough to continue with that even.

So, there is some of my  "bad" news.

Good news from the past while includes becoming a columnist for "The Country Register." Not a big dollar paying gig, but it is publicity for the business, B&B, and this blog.  My initial column, thus far, has only appeared in the Canadian Prairies edition, so if you can't get a copy of that area's paper, Oct/Nov 2011 issue, you won't find it. But, if the publishers/editors of your area The Country Register get enough requests for them to publish my column, then maybe you will get to read it!   If it were to be picked up by other publishers of the paper, I would:

(A) Get paid for each column published in each area. (At $25 a column it might actually pay to write them!)

(B) Be a little more broad in my content of the articles as a result. Would contain more "A Pickers Journal" style of content. Half of my initial article was fairly "local". I will release it in the blog here, also...guess I will have to start a sub-section of some sort....oh geeze, now I will have to learn more stuff about this bloggin' thing.......

I am also starting a project....

I am going to attempt to create a Lean, Mean, Pickin' Machine!

Mike & Frank of American Pickers have their new Mercedes Sprinter van...

Scott & Sheldon of Canadian Pickers have the rental vans they seem to get in each province, which they slap their magnetic sign on...

Allen & Ton of Auction Hunters have that late model milk truck....

The "hosts" on Storage Wars all drive their "trademark" vehicles....

Not sure what Cari of Cash & Cari drives....haven't seen very many episodes of it.

The Picker Sisters have...oh, you know I haven't even seen an episode yet....Well, I assume they drive SOMETHING....

but I will have something far better......wait for it.....

1977 Vandura MOTOR HOME!

Yup. A vintage vehicle!  Ok, I know that there is a show out there with a vintage bus that runs on Veggie grease or bio-diesel...but they haven't been picked up buy a network yet....Well, I guess I haven't even got to the point of having my own show, either...oh well....I will have a cool vehicle, tho....Especially after the Monster Garage-esque modifications I have planned...

It is white...mostly......with some yellow & brown. It even has a textured hood...unique to "vintage vehicles" that have been sitting awhile...


Well, let me explain. The hood has lichen scattered/growing all over it.....which I intend to KEEP as part of it's "patina!"

Yep, it should be a heck of an adventure!

As you'd expect from a frugal picker, it will be on a shoestring budget, also....I am gutting much of the unit, so the proceeds from the interior bits I sell will go back into creating this ultimate picker-mobile! Donations accepted, too!!!! Cash, parts, etc!!! I'll even take beer! And/or rum!

hmm...all that is starting to sound like work!

Anyway, with winter coming, and the weather turning cooler by the day, the blog will get updated more frequently.  I do have other news, plans, ideas, etc to relate, but will save it for another day.... got an early morning tomorrow, as a friend (and fellow long time picker) is dropping by in the A.M.

Happy pickin' folks!