In less than two weeks, we’ll be heading out for another Westy West Coast trip. This time, we’ll be spending six weeks driving along the coast in the Pacific Northwest as well as possibly making our way up into Canada to visit Banff National Park. In preparation, we’ve been making some upgrades to the van over the last few months:
This is one area that was pretty awful on the original Westy West Coast trip. When you’re spending a month living in a van in the Pacific Northwest, a leaky roof isn’t much fun to deal with. We came up with a pretty good solution using bowls and bungee cords, but we couldn’t have the top popped with that setup, which greatly limited our headroom. When we decided to revisit the west coast, our top priority was getting the roof fixed. We took the van to Set it Off Paint and Body Shop, and they did an awesome job fixing the cracks in the fiberglass and lining the top and bottom of the roof. It looks great and we are so happy we no longer have to deal with bowls, mold, or drips!
We wanted to get an awning, but most of them are really expensive. After doing some research, we finally found one from Fancher’s Upholstery that was more in our price range. Robyn and Dejan were kind enough to give the awning to us as a gift, and we absolutely love it! Having covered, outdoor space greatly increases the size of our living area.
The screen in our canvas was cut out by a previous owner, which meant that when the top was popped, we either had a big, gaping hole or we had the canvas closed, with no air flow. We got a great screen replacement kit from Fancher’s Upholstery and were able to replace the screen ourselves. Now when the top is popped, we have air flow, without the bugs.
We decided to replace the upholstery and foam on the back seat and rear cushion. The original upholstery was actually in decent condition for being 33 years old, but there were some holes, broken zippers, and overall dinginess. We got our new upholstery from Sew Fine Interior Products here in Denver and installed it ourselves.
We also decided to get the the headliner above the front two seats replaced by Sew Fine. The original had a big hole that a previous owner had tried to tape shut, but it flapped around the driver’s head, and was really loud and annoying. Sew Fine installed the new headliner for us, and it is so much better!
The Road Shower is a solar shower that hooks onto the roof rack. It holds 5 gallons of water that are heated by the sun. Even though we’ve ordered the Road Shower, it’s currently backordered, so we hope to get it in time for our trip. We do have a sink in the van, but this will make it much easier to spray things down and clean them off.
We wish we had unlimited funds because there are so many fun things you can get for these vehicles. We’re excited to get on the road and test out our new upgrades!