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Converting Maybelline


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    Musings: Authors do it Write!

    Published 3-26-2021

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    As some of you know, I recently purchased a 2003 Ford Econoline 250 cargo van from Apex Autoline and have been converting it into a camper van. Her name is Maybelline from one of Rock-and-roll's early Chuck Berry songs about an unfaithful gal named Maybelline, a Cadillac Coupe de Ville, and a hot rod Ford. My van is not a hot rod and I hope she will be faithful. (If you are too young to remember the song, Google it and enjoy. It was a big hit and a fun song.)

    I am about 90% finished and took her for a test run to nearby Goldhead State Park in Keystone Heights today. She preformed beautifully. I just need to get used to the fact a big van makes more noise than a little Spark. Here's a preview of the before and almost after.

    First things I needed to do was take out a door between the drivers section and the cargo area and some shelves used when it was an electrician's work van in Tampa. The hardest part of this was getting the bolts that go through the floor and hold the patrician and shelves in place. Naturally when I turned the head, the nut holding the bolt turned as well. Since the nut was under the van and the head of the bolt was inside, there was no way to hold a wrench on both at the same time. I finally locked a vice grip on the bolt's head and positioned it so it could not turn and then went under and unscrewed the nut.

    One of the storage units on the side where I was going to put the bunk was a nice sized cabinet that would be great to store clothes and other things in, so I moved that over to the other side and secured it to the wall of the van and the adjacent drawers and counter space I planned to keep.

    The counter space needed some dividers removed but once they were out I have a space to sit hotplates, teapots, and other cooking utensils with a top counter to put what I am using to cook; food, utensils, and what not. I bought six 12" squares of small tiles for just $2 apiece at a local Habitat Thrift Store and secured them to the counters with Liquid Nails. I haven't grouted them yet but will.

    For my bunk, I found two end tables with drawers at the Goodwill for $5 each. I had to cut off a few inches on the legs so that I won't hit my head when I sit up in the bunk. I cut three sections of 2x2s and notched them to attach the tables together and provide strength in the middle. As everyone knows that had bought lumber lately, it is through the sky. I found a sheet of slightly damaged 5/8th siding that is thick enough for the bunk at Home Depot in the damaged section with 70% off, so I got it for $12. I also struck gold with three sheets of damaged paneling I got at $11 for all three. The paneling had covered the walls and I have enough left I will probably do the back doors with it. I'll need another 2 pieces for the ceiling. Since I had enough scrap insulation around, I used what I had to insulate.

    Paint was my biggest single expense in the renovating material. I had to buy a quart of semi-gloss enamel for $15 and sent off for two tubes of red, which ended up costing $16 to color some white semi-gloss. I had. I should have just bought another quart of the red paint. The tint only got me to a sort of salmon color instead of my original idea of bright red. Okay, I like the salmon color well enough.  

    I painted most of the cabinets and tables with the salmon and used the black as an accent.

    I bought a $12 piece of indoor/outdoor carpet at Ollie's and glued it to the floor. Then cut a piece of carpet I found to make small throw rugs over that.

    Next problem was securing the bunk, an old converted sewing machine table, and leaving space for a Portta Pottie and ice chest to the front of the cargo space.

    II cut some more of the 2x2 I had around and paint them black then drill holes to match where I had removed the shelves. I left them long enough to touch the table legs and bolted them to the floor. I then screwed the table legs to these and so far, they are holding them in place.

    I had also noticed a lot of rattle in the roof rack, so I removed that. Today, driving about 20 miles to Goldhead, everything stayed in place. Less rattle and when I got back and checked oil, water, brake, and transmission fluid all is where they should be. So far, Maybelline is doing fine.

    At Goldhead, I was hoping to see a Sherman Fox Squirrel, but I guess the squirrels were smart enough to stay in their nests and try to keep cool. I changed in the original CCC built dressing room for the 1930s and took a quick dip in the lake. Felt so good taking a break after I have been working so hard either writing all my assigned stories from the last road trip and working on Maybelline.

    The park has so much and is so under-used it is amazing. I stopped for a minute at the ravine but didn't walk down. There is an old tram road that was once used for a train and is now a hiking trail. The ruins of an old mill are another good place to see but I settled for eating lunch under a shelter with a beautiful; breeze from the lake blowing through.

    I checked out the campground. All the sites are spacious and have water and electric. Most have trees for shade and privacy. Just a few campers were there. One brave family was tent camping. It really is a fantastic park.

    I'll update this when I finish the conversion. p>






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