Back in the shop

for a final push

Back in Portland and back in the shop it was hard not to constantly count down the days until we had to deliver the first van and when that huge weight would be lifted off our shoulders.  Only problem was... the van still wasn’t back from Flagstaff.  In fact, the van still hadn’t been picked up yet from flagstaff.  Yikes!

We always knew we’d be on a pretty tight schedule in terms of the days we had remaining, and not having a van to work on didn’t really fit the bill.  We started making calls, scouring the west for transport companies and scurrying to reschedule some van work we’ve already had scheduled out for months.  It all worked out, and we ended up had the van within a week of returning home. Honestly, once we knew it was on the way we didn’t even mind having a few more down days before hitting the shop... We even squeezed in another visit from Richard and Ash on their drive back north (and actually got to spend some time with them while they were here)! All in, we did a much better job in this phase of the build(s). The list of remaining items wasn’t short, but it was manageable and we felt like we had a good plan and the help we needed to execute on time.  Other than a few scheduling snafus from others outside our control we did a good job of keeping stress low, working at a lower/slower pace and cutting off our shop days (typically) at closer to 6-8 hour days rather than 12+ like in the months before expo.

The client buying the first van had a few additions he wanted (windows in the sides above the bed being the largest), so we had to figure some last minute details on the fly that aren't a typical part of our kit and not things we've done in a van before…  These windows caused a lot of grief because everything I saw online and in other vans were pretty lackluster in terms of how to trim these out... but we're thrilled with how they came together (and were able to reuse some of our offcuts from the bent cabinet panels)!We also added plumbing to the van (something we've never had in our own rig) and went about the difficult work of trying to figure out how to maintain the ability to easily install/remove all cabinets even with quick disconnect plumbing/electrical hookups (something i'm almost certain nobody has done in a van before).  The system works great, and despite having a fully plumbed van the client can still choose to disconnect everything and pull the kitchen/galley completely out to return the van to a daily driver or for maintenance/cleaning as needed.

We finished out the flooring through out the van and wrapping the gear garage (and gear/bike drawer), and eventually solved how to add/trim out the windows in the back at the customers request.It all came together pretty well and our spirits were high.  We even pushed forward with finishing up a few kits that had sold with loose deadlines for delivery.  We had rather assumed these wouldn't make it into this months' push, but we were feeling great about the progress on all fronts and added them to the list.

Great enough in fact that we also stole away for a weekend in Vancouver.  Our friends Nat and Steve had invited us to an engagement party, and since their wedding was "planned" to be family only in Chicago we certainly didn't want to miss out on this event and since all was going smoothly in the shop we decided to make it happen.

I can't tell you how happy/thrilled/ecstatic we are that we made that choice, because they ended up holding a surprise wedding on the spot.  It was magical, beautiful and we were thrilled to be able to be present!

It also meant we got to squeeze in a bit of time with friends north of the border (and some volleyball of course), so it was perfect on all fronts - and reminded us that love and friends/family and quality time are not only things we value.... but things we haven't been getting enough of in recent months.