The Van Is Back

Finally, on Saturday evening, I was able to pick up my Transit Connect.

Right away, I got started taking everything out of the van and putting a platform into it so that I could reorganize and put everything back in.

There isn’t a lot of clearance under the platform; so I can’t fit large bins under the bed like the ones I have my books packed away in. Luckily, I didn’t plan on taking my books on this trip. My clothing all gets to go into small organizing bins; Bruce’s toys and bowls get put away into even smaller plastic tubs with lids; and most of my kitchen is packed into my plastic camping sink. Behind my driver side seat, I will have all my clothing, books, and my laptop and other electronics. The back is where I was able to put in my new Duracell 660 PowerSource that I picked up from Costco for $499.99 plus tax. That is about $150 less than anywhere else that has them; and it will allow me to power all of my devices simultaneously from my van. Next to that I have my kitchen, tent, bathroom bin, and will fill the space that is left with food. Behind the passenger side door is all of Bruce’s food, toys, bones, bowls, and other dog related stuff.

Turns out, Ford is overpriced and incompetent.

The space is pretty cramped right now, filled with my spare tire from installing the hitch. As it turns out, I probably did not need to remove the spare. I had seen that step in install videos online that said the tire would be in the way; but the video that I watched while I was putting the hitch on (after the tire had already been removed) showed the tire obviously still in place. It does look like the tire would have plenty of room; but with the hitch now sturdily in place, there isn’t enough clearance to fit the tire back underneath the car. The plan now is to ask Les Schwab to put the tire back on while they are changing my lug nuts and checking my brakes.

I got new tires right before I dropped my van off at Ford over a month ago; and the only reason that I didn’t get the lug nuts right then was that they recommended I check with the dealer. Turns out, Ford is overpriced and incompetent. Almost three times the price of what Les Schwab quoted. Anyway, I have been waiting for over a month to go back to Les Schwab and didn’t realize until I got there yesterday that they were closed on Sundays and would be closed today for Memorial day.

Had they been open, I would have dropped the van off to get the lug nuts and breaks done and would have saved the hitch for today. Instead, I got on the ground and got to work.

Bruce’s Cousin, Appa helping with the Hitch Install

There were several things that I learned in the process of installing the hitch – even if that meant that I worked harder than I really needed to. In taking off the spare tire from under the vehicle, I found (for the first time in 6 years) the lug wrench and the jack that I would use if I had to swap tires. I also learned how to ‘fishwire’ and ‘reverse fishwire’ a bolt into place – which seemed like a really strange thing to read in the instructions; but turned out to be a very simple process.

My sister held up the hitch while I tightened one of the nuts that was catching on the bolt; but otherwise, it was a simple process with just two steps in the instructions. I can see how someone who knows what they are doing could complete the install in fifteen minutes.

Today, I will be able to spend some more time organizing and get everything exactly where I want it in the van. I might even do a test-run night in the back of the van tonight to see how it goes. One bonus of having my moon roof broken by the Auto Glass place that Ford used is that I have a crystal clear brand new roof in place now. For the time being, it is bird shit free and that is perfect for the next month of sleeping under the stars.

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