Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Adventuremobile!

For a few years now, B, our friend Kurt, and I have been daydreaming about buying a van or a minivan or something like that that we could use as an RV. For opposite reasons our family cars are not the best for family trips. B's car is too rugged, smells like bowls of sunbaked yogurt, has a temperamental disposition and is unreliably climate controlled. My car is too sleek, too sporty and too cramped for our giant "child." I've tried to camp in it and it's a losing battle...and I'm only about five feet tall.

On those days where I've read the entire Internet, I'll switch over to the list that Craig made and scroll through the cheap and big offerings in the auto section. Sometimes I'll find something interesting, but the stars have never aligned where I've had motive and opportunity.


About a month ago I had the perfect storm of motive: two lackadaisically reliable family autos, tempting camping weather, one huge road trip on the horizon and one cramped balloon recovery in the books.  I also had opportunity in the form of a small chunk of savings that was earmarked for something fun and travel related that had finally snowballed into a reasonable amount of money.

Another issue that kept us from taking the plunge earlier was a stalemate. B wanted a truck. I didn't think a truck was practical because it was open in the back. I wanted a mini-van. B didn't think a minivan was rugged enough to tow with and it'd be madness to make a mini-van a 4 x 4. We went back and forth like this for a few years until, this time, B came over to the dark side and admitted that he'd consider a Honda Odyssey!

Carpe DMV and all that...I started looking for some mini-vans to test drive and then, one fateful day, I found a Honda Pilot for less than Kelly Blue Book value. I swooped on it. Back in the day my brother bought a Honda Pilot and B and I both kinda lusted after it. It has three rows of seats, is four wheel drive, and most importantly is part of the Honda family. I set up a test drive. B said, "Should I go by the bank?" Yes. Yes you should. Unless it was a crap pile on casters...I was gonna buy that thing.

(This is how I make decisions. Years of subtle research and mulling over and then overnight we own three cars like I'm LeBron James or something. )

Another awesome thing about this decision? I was a little worried about having car insurance on three cars but when we renegotiated our insurance with our broker, Travis, it turned out that we actually saved quite a bit of money! Bonus!

Behold the Adventuremobile in all of her glory:

The people who sold her to us were very sweet but they did not come from the Hoover School of Car Maintenance  so as soon as she was street legal I took her to Auto Patron and got the entire thing shampooed. If you live near Hillsborough, NC you should take your car to Auto Patron! The carpet is nice and fluffy now, but before, it looked like every time they finished a chocolate milkshake they just threw it over their shoulder into the back seat. I basically apologized to the manager when I drove up in it. Now it's delightful and it smells like a fancy old man!

Driving the Adventuremobile is very different from driving my race car. It has an awesome vantage point of the road and handles more like a truck. It's a bit like driving around in a living room. Passenging is even better. I can fling myself into all sorts of unladylike pretzels and ride in style.

My bestie bought a vinyl cutter and has opened an ETSY shop where we make t-shirts and stickers.  It is the MOST FUN.  I've commissioned a bunch of stuff already such as:

Ahhhh! I love it so much! It's like she pulled it out of my head. Which she basically did because I was like, "Make it exactly like this only better."

She made another one, that was also awesome in a 1970's Dodge Charger kinda way, but I knew it was going to be pink so I chose this one at the 11th hour. (Which was really 11 minutes. See also: I stay makin' calls with the quickness.)

Then there's this one, which came to me as if in a dream while I was at a stoplight:

You can already buy that one in the store. It's phenomenal. The multicolored ones take a lot of patience and skill to assemble but Phippsy is very talented. Please support her cottage industry.

Today I realized yet another bonus of the Adventuremobile...the on-board entertainment package features a DVD player, a CD player and...a TAPE DECK.

For the last 16 years I've had two cassette tapes in my underpants drawer, my drawers drawer if-you-will, that I have refused to part with during every Kon Mari-esque purge. Just the sight of them in all of their vestigial glory was enough to "spark joy" so I kept them.

The first one is, "Shut Up and Listen to Majosha" by Majosha. This was Ben Fold's band when he was at UNCG with my brother. My brother gave me the tape a million years ago, and even if it's unlikely to become a collector's item, it still held a hipster-y, "I knew of them before they were cool." appeal. 
Heck, I knew about them before I was cool. When this album came out all of my clothes had cows on them. (And my favorite shirt had cows wearing red Converse high tops which I wore with my red Converse high tops.)

The second one was a triumphant mix tape crafted especially for me by the Queen of the Mixtape, Margo Shelton. Does anyone in the world have better taste than Margo Shelton? No. They do not.

Jewels, books, music...she's the touchstone. 

When I got into the Adventuremobile today I wasn't in the mood for the one cd in the car (The Dodos, "Beware of the Maniacs," worn to tatters) so I went back in to see what else was quickly available and remembered! UNDERPANTS! 

This mixtape is so good that it's worth the price of the car. I basically bought a ritzy tape deck. 

This mixtape is so good that I am slowly transcribing the track list while driving so I could make a YouTube playlist to share it with you. I'm still adding to it as I progress through it so check back! 

For your listening pleasure:


  1. Oh my gosh, congratulations! And I am totally visiting the Etsy shop for our "adventuremobile." Did I tell you my first ever license plate was "JOMOBILE?" Heh. And I suppose I should visit Auto Patron after the beach trip, thanks for the advice. Not that MY children throw chocolate milkshakes over THEIR shoulders in the car. Nope. Only mini s'mores Frapuccinos for my little hipsters. And organic cheddar bunnies ground into the carpets. Tasty!

    1. My friend is going to be posting the more tough guy "adventuremobile" sticker soon. Also, she takes commissions so you could be the JOMOBILE again. I can give you her email address. You met her once but it's been a while!