Starting our Ford Transit Van Build… (ok, Journey)

Brad here!

Ok, so you’ve heard Lesley and I talking about our #cargovanlife for… well, almost a full year now! And I’m finally excited to say that we’ve just made our first purchase towards actually beginning our build out. Whenever I have had a free evening I spent it watching youtube videos, reading blog posts from Isabelle and Antoine at, and generally conceptualizing what the heck we’re going to do with this beast – how we’ll be turning it into a Pilates tour van so we can bring a reformer with us when we drive around the country.

I’ll be documenting our Ford Transit Van build-out – although not quite as meticulously as other blogs out there. Along with planting and growing cacti, this van build is going to be my hobby for the next… year? Two?

meet rbg

We’ve dubbed him/her Rosebud Globetrotter, or RBG for short. (Obviously inspired by Schitt’s Creek and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.) RBG is a 2020 Ford Transit 350 Cargo High Roof Extended van. This thing is 23 feet long and 9 feet high! After a long time friend of mine lamented about how he wished he’d gotten the largest option after converting his Sprinter, we decided to go big or don’t go at all.

Ford Transit Joshua Tree CA
RBG in Joshua Tree, CA (pre-build, 2021)

We shopped for nearly four months last year before deciding that we just couldn’t trust anything used. The thought of having a bent frame or some other damage that would haunt us forever kept me up at night. So, we rolled it off the lot with 18 miles.

The day after that we threw off the training wheels and drove RBG clear across the country, from Las Vegas to Philadelphia. It was a heck of a trip and we took all three dogs with us. Covid changed our normal process… instead of hunting out fun restaurants and stopping at friends’ houses along the way we simply blasted across the country as fast as we could. Seriously, we made the drive back from Philly to LV in 55 hours. As you can guess, Lesley and I trade off driving.


Well… we’ve had a full year of conceptualizing, and we’re about to head across the country again, so I thought I’d better get my ish together and start insulating the van. But, step one had to be sound proofing. It’s actually incredibly loud when you have an entirely empty cargo van and you’re barreling down the highway.

If you have any interest at all we’re using Kilmat Butyl Car Sound Deadening Mat. After a good squeaky cleaning/degreasing, we’ll apply the Kilmat as layer number one!

What Did We Get Ourselves Into??

With about a million different options and theories on what order to do this build out and how to do it, I thought I’d share our process. I always love a good behind-the-scenes, so we thought we’d include you on this voyage with us.

We hope to see you as we drive around North America, but at the very least you can stay tuned in to the blog!


Lesley Logan Brad Crowell Dogs
Lesley Logan, Brad Crowell & the dogs

Comments (6)

Hey Lee, so glad you dig it! We thought it was so fun 😀 Stay tuned, I’ve been working on the van some more this week and have all of Saturday blocked off for primer and insulation!

So excited for you guys!! You need to pop up in Grass Valley sometime!

Christine, we absolutely will do that!! Can’t wait to see your lavender fields!

This is awesome! Happy to watch the process!

Thanks for tuning in, Ida! I think it’s going to take a year or so, but I can’t wait to see it Return To Life! (pun intended… haha)

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