Any respectable adventure van needs a light bar, it’s just a given. And now that Gidget has a rack to mount lights on there was nothing stopping it from happening.
There are some very expensive light bars out there and they are probably great but would be serious overkill for our needs. We just need a little extra light when traveling on dirt back roads, particularly in Baja.
So we found some affordable ones on Amazon that had decent reviews and so far we are very happy with them.
For extra storage and a place to mount the solar panel we decided to install an Aluminess roof rack and ladder. From order to install took about 2.5 months. Actual installation took about 5 hours at the Aluminess headquarters in San Diego.
Ford Transits come with 1 60A fused Customer Connection Points (CCP) as standard and up to 3x 60A may be fitted depending on vehicle configuration. If you are ordering a custom Transit you can get 3 CCPs by ordering the upfitter switches (option 67C).
If your Transit only has 1 CCP you can add the missing 2 by ordering kit part number BK2Z-14S411-A. CargoVanConversions has a good write up covering the installation process.
When ordering a custom Ford Transit you can add Upfitter Switches, also called auxiliary or accessory switches. These switches allow you to control accessory items like lights, winches, or inverters with factory looking switches.
The switches are simple on/off style with an indicator light located in the center console between the driver and passenger seats. If the key is in the ignition or run position and the switches are turned on (flipped up), they provide a 12 V and 20 A max output.
After we finished up our time in Singapore, we headed to Padang, Indonesia. This city is where most of the charter boats to the Mentawai Islands leave from. We decided to stay in Padang for 2 nights. One to make sure we didn’t miss our boat, and two to make sure we were well rested before getting on the boat. Once we got off the airplane and got our bags, the Tengirri boat crew was waiting to take us to the hotel.
Building a surfboard rack for your van allows you to pull up to your favorite break and pick the right board for the given conditions. It’s pretty awesome being able to do a surf check and have a large part of your quiver available.
After watching a couple Youtube videos it was pretty easy to come up with the plan for Gidget’s surfboard rack. It’s basically just your typical wall mounted rack, but mounted to the floor. The boards are being stored horizontally under the bed, so we created 2 racks to keep them in place.
One of our bucket list trips was going on a surfing boat trip around the Mentawai Islands off the coast of Indonesia. The boat trip was 12 days, so we decided to make it a long vacation and stop in Singapore on the way there.
Unfortunately this trip required us to leave Gidget in Southern California. I’m sure she was lonely sitting in the LAX airport parking lot for 3 weeks. It made us sad to leave her there, but sometimes you just got to get away.
We started our trip off by getting on an A380 double decker Singapore Airlines flight.
New creaks, pops, cracks, and squeaks are the last thing I want to hear while road testing a new addition to Gidget. We’re still early on in the conversion so any new noise we introduce is pretty noticeable and infuriating. When we added the bed a couple weeks back we wrote:
We are happy with how it turned out except when driving. Every little bump in the road results in a squeak. It kind of sounds like the metal is flexing where the wood attaches. Maybe we should have put something like felt in between the metal walls and the 2×6 wood? Or maybe we need to take some of the load off of the van walls with a support in the middle of the platform? We’re going to do some experiments to see if we can get the noise down.
After driving it around for a couple of weeks the squeaks reduced somewhat as everything settled but it was still pretty loud. After much debate we stopped being lazy and decided to disassemble the bed and do something about the noise.
When planning out our van build we knew we didn’t want to have to make the bed every night. We also wanted plenty of storage space under the bed and in overhead cabinets. A platform bed was really the only option.
To save space we decided to install it width wise in the back of the van. In the side cutouts of the van, there was exactly enough room to install a full size mattress.
We spent a couple days replacing the soft stock floor mat with a plywood and vinyl floor. The stock mat is not the best foundation to build a bed and cabinets on top of. And it doesn’t give you that cozy home feeling. Instead it gives off a work van vibe, not the killer adventure van feeling we want.
We went with a rather thin floor with minimal insulation so that the D-ring bolt holes are still usable.