Smokey’s Retirement Home

Some of you have been asking what I’m going to do with my old van, now that I have a new one. The deed is done, and now it’s time to tell. Like most rusty old New Englanders, Smokey Da First has retired to Florida.

I could’ve tried to sell it, but it would’ve been a hard sell. The body is in rough shape, especially with all the rust from the 17 winters it spent on the salty streets of Rhode Island. It has the misfire issue. The transmission has developed a small leak. And I can’t even get the cracked windshield replaced because of the rust around it. I wouldn’t have gotten much money for it if I was even able to sell it in the first place. More likely, it would’ve ended up going to the crusher for scrap value.

I am extremely fortunate to have Smokey II, and thankful to my family for their help in acquiring it. I decided to pay that good fortune forward, and donate my old van to Forgotten Angels, home of the biker campout I went to in March. When I thought about donating it somewhere, they came to mind first, either as a vehicle to raffle off as a fundraiser, or more likely as a home for one of the young adults who has aged out of the foster care system that they take in. I emailed David to see if he was interested. Not only was he interested, he knew exactly who could move right in. So that’s what we did.

I kept most of my stuff from the old van, but I did leave a thing or two for its new resident. I bought new fresh and grey water jugs for myself and left the old ones so that the sink will still work. I couldn’t remove my flexible solar panels stuck on the roof, so I left the charge controller to put them to use. (I needed a more powerful charge controller for Smokey II anyway.) I took the half-dead AGM battery out of my trailer and put it back in the van, along with my old 10-amp battery charger. The battery won’t last long on its own, but the charger will keep it topped off while plugged into shore power. I also left the futon and bedding, since my bed in Smokey II is a completely different size.

Basically, this arrangement works well for everyone. I don’t have to worry about how to get rid of my old van. Forgotten Angels gets a camper van donation. And someone gets a roof over his head who was about to become homeless next month. After the fire, this van put a roof over my head, and gave me a start on a new life. I’m glad it’ll be able to do that for someone else.

Meanwhile, my own adventure continues…

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