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Van Life

Fixing the heater in Lucky


Ready to start removing the dashboard

One of the first things I did this winter was remove and replace the heater core and heater motor in the van. The motor was squeaking and the core was leaking.

Not a job for the faint of heart, it took me three weekends to get it all apart and then all back together again. Surprisingly I had no screws left over when the job was done. This was because I labelled everything and put all screws, bolts and connectors into separate baggies for later installation. I also labelled every wire otherwise I would have forgotten where they connected back up.

The first part of the job was to remove the seats.  This helped in giving me easy access to the dashboard and left the van looking very empty.


“Camping” at Tunnel Mountain

Our first overnight trip in the van this year! I’d like to say that we “camped” last Saturday, but I don’t think that getting an electrical site among the monster RVs parked at Tunnel Mountain campground in Banff really qualifies as camping. Truth be told, I was being a bit of a princess – I wanted to plug in our ceramic heater so that I wouldn’t freeze my derriere at near-zero temperatures. (more…)

Lucky Van

‘Lucky’ the van got some improvements over the winter.

  1. Remove Dashboard and replace heater core and blower motor
  2. Remove Kitchen unit and upgrade fridge with internal and external fans and new starting pump.
  3. Replace insulation behind fridge
  4. Upgrade second battery for more ‘off grid’ time
  5. Add locking cabinet under passenger seat
  6. Change all interior lighting to use LEDs (more…)

The Westy: Our Home

Our red ’87 VW Westfalia camper van will be our home for the 3-month Alberta-California-Newfoundland road trip. We named her “Lucky” because, according to the Chinese, the colour red symbolizes luck and also drives away misfortune and evil spirits. Indeed, we were lucky to find her after our white ’86 Westy was written off in April 2008 – that’s when a pipe burst in the underground garage of our downtown Calgary apartment, causing an epic flood that drowned the white van. We lived a life-changing 5 months in that van during our 2007 sabbatical. Our website’s banner pays homage to the dearly departed white Westy.