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Sleeper Sleeper: Toyota Sienna Campervan Build

Discussion in 'Quitters' Club' started by Boyink, Jan 31, 2021.

  1. Oct 18, 2021
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2002
    Messages:
    5,961
    Back from a 2-week MO - MI - MO trip.

    Was hoping for a nice fall color tour but overall the MI weather was crappy - pretty much rained a little each day, some more than others.

    It became more about people - we visited my parents, my son/girlfriend, two different couples that we've known for years, an old high school friend, and sister/brother in law.

    This was a "work while traveling" experiment that went mostly ok. We moved more often than I'd like, trying to fit everything/everyone in. I worked in 3 different libraries, a co-working office, other people's houses, and a little in the van.

    We spent 5 nights in campgrounds ranging from $5 city park overnighters to $35 MI state parks.

    Overall, weather aside, it was a good trip with lots of tasty meals and beverages.

    My thoughts about this rig have changed. Initially I wanted a weekender/stealth camper. But two things happened: I learned I don't sleep well in stealth mode (basically the more windows we plug up the worse I sleep), and my job changed to be more flexible.

    Two weeks was a bit long - it was only really tolerable because we spent so much time at family. MsBoyink would sleep inside their house, I did better back in the van.

    So now I'm thinking this is a 5-7 day rig and we'll try to find one place to be during that time. Less moving will help keep up the work schedule.

    But to be somewhere longer I'll probably need to carry a bit more stuff, so I'm thinking of adding the half-a-Ranger trailer into the mix, using it to haul bikes & kayaks + related gear, plus a screen tent, etc to use at the campground. It's going to take some mods, but should be doable.

    Along the AuSable river in Ludington State Park:
    mi-trip-4.png

    Lake Michigan at Ludington State Park
    mi-trip-3.png

    The Au Sable with a hint of sun that quickly went away:

    mi-trip-2.png


    DeZwaan windmill in Holland, MI. I lived within 5 miles of this for 40+ years and only just now went inside.

    mi-trip-1.png
     
  2. Nov 9, 2021
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2002
    Messages:
    5,961
    Platform bed/ kitchen drawer painted/polyurethaned:

    camper-bed.png

    Getting ready for a week-long trip to San Antonio over Thanksgiving. I booked camping at a COE park north of town, and bought tickets for the illuminated holiday floating parade on the Riverwalk.
     
  3. Nov 10, 2021
    Ol Fogie

    Ol Fogie 74 cj5 304, 1943 mb 2020 Sponsor

    Jasper Georgia
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2019
    Messages:
    722
    Good camping practice, you are on the right track. Being comfortable while camping is the key no matter what the weather. If you are warm and dry and every task is convenient, you have everything you need, it will be a successful trip for every one with you.
    We have camped in all 49 states and most of the Canadian provinces over the last 35 years. In the beginning we would make camping trips of 3-4 days within 1/2 days drive of home for practice runs while taking notes on what we needed we did not have, what we needed to do to make everybody comfortable and most importantly the things we carried we really did not need that took up valuable storage space. We learned to substitute items we needed for smaller less bulky ones that worked just as well. We learned to cook simply with a very minimal amount of work and little need to wash dishes. We camped very comfortably on several long road trips including a trip of 8 weeks and 10,800 miles plus from Ga. to Alaska, even though at times we had to camp in heavy rain, snow, hot as 98 degrees and cold as 10 degrees, flat tires, minor brake downs, one tree fell on our truck in a storm, chased and harassed by wildlife, and stuck in the snow and mud. The trip was still considered a complete success by all.
    Good luck Jim and family.
     
    Boyink likes this.
  4. Nov 13, 2021
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2002
    Messages:
    5,961
    All painted and put back together.


    van1.png


    I attached a cutting board for a place to set hot pans or just make a sandwich without having to get a plate out.

    Drawer has three spaces, one for utensils, one for the dishpan/dry sink, and the rearmost for the campstove.

    The mattress just shoves up out of the way when you want to cook.

    van2.png


    Trying to show organization. Brown bag in front of the cooler and up is our Zip-Dee camp chairs. To the right the blue a Meori foldable storage box with a picnic organizer - it holds dry food in one half and plates/dishes/spices in the other. Forward/up from that in the black bag is a folding camp table thin enough for the drawer to close over.

    I also cut out a rubber floor mat for this back trunk area - the carpet was kinda nasty and this should make cleanup easier.

    van3.png

    I have a small screen room coming for our next trip. I'm hoping it will stow next to that camp table.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2021
    Fireball, hudsonhawk, ITLKSEZ and 3 others like this.
  5. Nov 13, 2021
    Ol Fogie

    Ol Fogie 74 cj5 304, 1943 mb 2020 Sponsor

    Jasper Georgia
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2019
    Messages:
    722
    We always had a lot of fun planning and modifying our camping equipment, just about as much as going on the actual trip.
     
  6. Nov 15, 2021
    jeeper50

    jeeper50 jeeps 'till I die

    Gawja
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Messages:
    731
    You'll love the Riverwalk!! Don't blink or you'll miss the Alamo just off the river, every "whatabe Texan" needs to visit that, to pay homage to all who gave their lives.
     
  7. Nov 15, 2021
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2002
    Messages:
    5,961
    We've been to San Antonio a number of times in our travels - toured the Alamo, some of the Missions, enjoyed the Jim Cullum Jazz Band (RIP), and found our favorite restaurant (Rosarios).

    It's probably our favorite "big city."
     
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