Longest Van Build in Van Build History!

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As I write this on February 9th 2018, I’m noticing that I originally bought my Astro Van to be converted into a camper van back on February 6th, 2015. THREE YEARS!! I either suck at van builds, or something went completely wrong and delayed this build. Or, maybe it was a bit of both.

three yr van build

Building a camper van takes time, this one has taken A LOT of TIME. 🙂

Let’s take a look at what has delayed this build.

Year 1 – 2015

Well, I bought the van in February and my Dad and I began work on the van immediately. We did quite a bit of work in the first year, but the eBay business I was running at the time always seemed to get in the way. I needed to be in Houston to run the business, so completing the build kept getting put on hold. The eBay business was financing the build, so the health of my business came first.

Year 2 – 2016

In 2016, I took a couple trips to my Dad’s place and we accomplished a lot on the build. Things were looking good and we expected to complete the build soon. Then, late in the year, I had a front right blowout on Hwy 290 in NW Houston on one of the worst stretches of freeway in the city and almost slammed the van into a concrete barrier.

It was 9 pm at night, the freeway was under construction and there were no shoulders to pull off the road. I had about a mile to the next exit and could only go about 15 mph or risk tearing up my van. Cars and trucks were blazing by at 60…70…80 mph and I was causing a traffic jam. It was a crazy experience. I pulled off the freeway on an entrance ramp, not an exit ramp and called an emergency vehicle to help get me to the next exit safely.

tires for van

I needed some NEW tires!

I later changed my tire and was on my way, but that day I decided I didn’t want to do any Hwy driving until I fixed the issues with the front end causing my tires to wear down. I wore out 4 tires (used) in first 2 years.

Year 3 – 2017

In the beginning of 2017, I started a new business (Merch by Amazon) and was very excited about the possibilities of running this business while on the road and eliminating my eBay business, so this was my #1 priority at the start of 2017. Everything was going great with the business and I was about to announce that it was time to complete the build and hit the road full-time in May of 2017. Unfortunately, I got some bad news.

In late May, my Mom became ill and was admitted into the hospital. Being self-employed, I shut everything down temporarily and was with my Mom in the hospital all but 2 of the 30 days she was there. My Mom passed away in late June. The day she passed, I was at the hospital until about 6 pm and she passed away that evening at 10:30 or so. I received a call from the nurse on duty. I knew when I left that night, that she didn’t have much time left. I wish I would have been there in the end, but I was already spending 8-10 hours a day at the hospital and she happened to go when I wasn’t there. 🙁

Mom passes away

My Mom – Rest in Peace.


For the remainder of 2017, I had been handling my Mom’s affairs, but that’s not all that happened in 2017. Did you hear about a little thing called HARVEY? Well, we were hit by hurricane Harvey in late August and early September. That storm really crippled Houston.

With all the negative events going on in my life, I was happy to go hang out with my friends on weekends at the U of H Football games. It was good to talk with them about things going on other than death and hurricanes. At least it was relief for a few hours.

Then, something AMAZING happened…

Holy Toledo – Milo Hamilton

The HOUSTON ASTROS were in the playoffs and went on to win the World Series. The city was going nuts over this. My Mom would have loved to see the city finally win a World Series. She wasn’t the biggest baseball fan, but she did follow all Houston area sports, even some high school teams.

The Houston Astros - 2017 World Series Champs!!

The Houston Astros – 2017 World Series Champs!!

Year 4 Begins

As I start my 4th, yes my 4th year of this van build, I am thinking about how my Mom would have LOVED to read blog posts and watch videos about my adventures in the van. My Mom watched YouTube videos of full-time travelers and dreamed of doing something similar. While she was in the hospital, she told the nurses/doctors about her plans to buy an RV and travel the country.

Mom’s favorite YouTube channel was:

Simon and Champ of Finding Simon
She thought he was cute and loved his dog “Champ” – He has recently sold his Class B RV and bought a sailboat. She talked about him all the time. If you asked my other relatives who Simon is, they would know. 🙂

Completing The Build – Finally

After taking many, many breaks on this build, I am heading back to Austin in a couple days so my Dad and I can do our best to complete this build in a week or two. Hopefully, by March, I can get out and really test a completed Astro camper van build. Here’s to hoping.

Love you, Mom.

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2 Responses to Longest Van Build in Van Build History!

  1. David Michael February 9, 2018 at 4:42 PM #

    Troy… So sorry to hear about the loss of your mom. My condolences.

    I just went to your site to double check how you put the pine panelling on the ceiling and walls.

    To be honest, this is the second year of my build which should be complete in the next four weeks.

    We live in an apartment now so do not have the luxury of a garage. And, it rains alot during the winter
    here. So weather and lack of work space have slowed the build down as well as part-time work, even at age 80.

    It has been a great project where friends and even my wife have contributed time. Just finished the ceiling yesterday so am happy that is done. That was a challenge!

    In summary, thanks so much for this blog and series of videos. Fantastic work on your part as you have helped
    many of us van builders.

    Again, so sorry for the loss of your mom. May she rest in peace.


  2. Troy Wiedeman February 19, 2018 at 8:35 AM #

    Excellent David. Really glad the blog and videos have been helpful. I agree, it’s very difficult to work on a build when you don’t have access to a garage and also having the right tools in that garage is a plus.

    I’m at my Dad’s place now and he has a wide assortment of tools to handle most jobs. We’ve been at it a week thus far on the continuation of the build. We actually pulled everything out, replaced the plank vinyl flooring with a full sheet of vinyl flooring and now we’re making upgrades to the power center.

    It gonna be cool when we’re done. Good luck with your build!

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