Can you believe it? I’m already into another vehicle/ travel set up, it’s almost as if I can’t make up my mind. I know in my last blog, which was a long time ago, I dropped the first image of my latest project. A lot has happened since then, seriously, that’s no understatement. To catch you up on my vehicle endeavors I’ll give you an overview of what’s happened since I “announced” the purchase of Thomas.
Turns out Thomas had a bent frame, bent motor mounts and a myriad of electrical issues. After I purchased the truck I had it towed to my Disturbed Industries Automotive to have my friend Ryan look over it then shortly after drove home to Alberta to start work. The plan was to have Ryan do whatever work on the truck that was necessary to get it road worthy and legal to drive. I would return from Alberta when the work was done and drive the truck back home. A couple of weeks or so after I returned home I got the bad news about what Ryan had found. I immediately had the truck towed to another friends place so it wasn’t in the way while I figured out what I had to do. After talking with my close friend Duane we decided to poke around Thomas’ insides a little more. After some further diagnostics Duane discovered that Thomas’ motor was not in fact blown (I bought Thomas with the intention to put another used motor in knowing that the motor wasn’t running) but was actually running fairly well. But, the fact that there was a bent frame still remained. While all this truck drama was occurring I was looking into the details of importing a new van to Canada (I had purchased Thomas as a boot-around-the-farm-truck). The process was looking rather daunting and I was becoming less and less certain of my decision to purchase another Hiace. As I put more focus on Thomas I got to recalling all the good times in my 1988 Toyota pickup. I started to realize that I had a really good platform for a mobile living situation right in my lap. A reliable pickup that has a fairly basic motor, suspension and inner workings, plus parts can be located easily anywhere in North and South America and it has a 7.5ft bed, perfect for mounting a camper. All I had to do was figure out the frame problem, which coincidentally wasn’t that difficult because it turns out Ryan had another long bed Toyota pickup sitting in his shop with a perfect frame and rust free cab. Bingo. So yes, I bought a second truck. I had the second truck towed to Duane’s shop and he got started on swapping motors and anything worth saving from Thomas 1.0 to Thomas 2.0. A couple weeks later I flew to BC and spent a weekend slaving away on the truck with Duane to get it driveable so that I could return home. After some 24-30hrs of work over a weekend I started the truck and drove from BC to Alberta without so much as a hiccup from the 31 year old clunker that had just been two trucks.
SO! Fast forward a little, the truck has a new paint job, straightened body panels, new suspension, new front end, new armor and a boat load of other stuff. Phase one of Thomas’ transformation is complete, he’s ready and able to go on short term trips, can carry our camping-based kit and has my Autohome RTT mounted up top for sleeping in. Alison and I hopped into drive back to BC for a month of cycling, exploring, camping and perfect chaos. I’ll keep the summer coverage brief because I intended this blog to be more about building Thomas, but I have been due for a recap blog.
Now I’m back on the farm and working yet again. Thomas has undergone a few more upgrades, but more importantly…step one of phase two has begun. I’ve returned to my plans of building an aluminum camper. I had intended to do so using Turbo (my 2013 Toyota Tacoma) as a foundation but Norton happened and that plan was 86’d. Returning to the camper concept I’ve decided to do all the work myself and save money where I can so that when it comes to travel I can go further for longer. Step one of phase two involves ditching the truck box and building a flatbed for the camper to sit on. I had intended to build the camper inside the truck box but ultimately decided against that to avoid complications and loss of space later on down the road in the construction of the camper. I opted to build a ute tray style flatbed, something you don’t see a lot of here in Canada. Construction of phase two has already commenced and I’ve made significant progress. Take a look…
It was my decision to stay on the farm for the winter right from the get-go. I knew that I would have to spend a significant amount of time while working to both afford and properly build my next project. I knew that this decision wasn’t going to be a popular one going into the winter. I’m already watching some of my favorite people on instagram traveling around and feeling the pull of the road and the freedom of adventure. But, sometimes you have to sacrifice what you love to do for a time to enable yourself to do that same thing for much longer.