My trusty steed is an old, 2000 Toyota Sienna minivan. It’s nothing special—as a matter of fact, the inside is pretty nice but, the outside has quite the collection of dings and dents …and the paint job isn’t exactly shiny (the VIN number says it’s supposed to be light green!).
In short, it’s a disposable minivan but, it’s a workhorse that’s mechanically sound (engine, transmission, brakes) with some new tires, an engine that hums right along and a smooooth ride.
The A/C rocks (thank goodness, so does the heat) and the radio is in good shape (CD and, if I still had any, cassette). I’ve got a brand new spare tire—just in case—and I’ve got road service on my insurance policy. The gas milage is “okay” (in town almost 16MPG, just over 24MPG on the highway). I’m carrying every kind of fluid that an old minivan would need down the road and some basic tools.
The seats have been removed—save the two front captain’s chairs—with the rear sporting a real, twin size 18″ high steel bed frame with wood slats (Zinus) topped with an 8″ memory foam/coil hybrid mattress (Linenspa), some plastic boxes for storage underneath and a power converter to charge up my laptop and other devices. The floor of the compartment is covered with a foam-filled rug that makes the inside very quiet and adds a layer of insulation from the cold.
Although I have a selection of “travel clothes,” I’m not carrying a single suit!
I’ve got a zero degrees-rated sleeping bag and a bevvy of blankets—just in case I get myself into some troublesome temperatures—and some winter-type clothing, including a nice warm and waterproof bright orange reflective safety jacket should I have to make some outdoor repairs on the side of a road somewhere. I have a set of tire chains in case I run into some snow (northern states require that I carry a set to drive on their roads!).
There’s the obligatory collapsing chair (I tried every last one in the Walmart for comfort, much to the consternation of Brandon!) and have packed a four foot collapsible table along for the ride—for warmer days and nights to take in the sights or to sit under the stars.
I have a small, self-contained Coleman butane stove to do some “cowboy cooking” on my blue-with-white-specks metal cowboy cook set! And I now have a “Mr. Heater Portable Buddy,” powered by propane cylinders, for those single digit temperatures.
To boldly go!
To whomever invented the battery-powered LED light, I thank you. They’re only a dollar—and I have about a dozen of them. I also fear no detour for, as long as the sky is above, so are the Global Positioning System satellites that can shepherd me anywhere on the surface of the planet!
I hope you enjoy my musings and reports from the road as I chronicle my adventure of exploring the great western United States in my old Toyota Sienna minivan! I expect to update the site every day—although I don’t know what time or place I’ll be doing it.
Hey, I’m not on a schedule anymore!
Thanks for taking the trip with me on TheMinivanExplorer, online.
Happy trails my friends!