Eight Punches (and a New Grill)

April 7, 2015 Categories Camper Van

I decided to start today by heading to Home Depot to find some possible flooring material that fits the look I want to achieve on the interior of the She-Beast (van). It rained last night, so the day was already off to a less than desirable start. I headed out to the van, opened the door, and before doing anything else, I noticed a puddle on the floor right in front of the driver’s seat that was big enough you could probably throw a goldfish into (not a live one, but definitely the cracker kind). I looked up and noticed that the corner of the roof was dripping (which explains some of the headliner damage). The seal around the high top and the roof appears to be a little worn and is letting water in (that’s what I hope it is, at least). So it looks like I’ll be re-sealing the entire top, just to ensure it is water tight.

So with the morning just beginning and already haven been given two punches to the gut (the rain and the leak), I decided to fix it later and head off to Home Depot because I really wanted to get started on the flooring. I turned the wipers on to clear the rain off the windshield and noticed the blades aren’t really wiping much rain away. They’re old, worn out, and pretty much useless. Punch number three. But it’s ok! I could see well enough to make it to Home Depot and the rain was only a sprinkle at that moment, despite the sky screaming “Get out of my house!” Then, punch four! The driver side wiper blade stops moving, then starts again, then gets jammed under the passenger side blade and somehow folds itself in half. So much for driving in the rain.

I ditched the idea of taking the van and decided to take my car instead. I thought to myself “maybe if it clears up later, I’ll go back to Home Depot with the van to get the plywood I need,” as that was the only reason I was gonna take the van in the first place. I got to Home Depot and headed to the flooring section. Linoleum was my first choice because it’s cheap and I like the idea of having one, giant waterproof sheet covering the entire floor. However, I have a particular look and feel I want to achieve on the interior and the linoleum just wasn’t gonna cut it. The design patterns just didn’t appeal to me. On to the laminate wood section! For the most part, I thought the selection was crap and it all looked too “manufactured” (can you sense the irony here?).

Then I noticed the bamboo flooring. BINGO! We have a winner. It’s called “Strand Woven Distressed Dark Honey.” The boards are not too dark, but not light either, and the edges are blackened making the borders really vibrant and when connected together makes each board really stand out. These are the pictures from their website. Honestly, the pictures don’t do it justice. It looks significantly more appealing in person.

Now the only problem – there were no boxes on the shelf. That’s ok, maybe they had some hidden somewhere or I could just special order it. I kid you not, it took me 20 minutes to get someone to come over to the flooring department. Apparently there were only two people there who could help in flooring and they were both off doing non-flooring related things. After finally getting someone to help, I quickly learned that the earliest I could even get the flooring would be June 1st. That’s two whole months away! Punch number five.

I decided to look around at some other stores and maybe, hopefully, I can find something that looks like that bamboo flooring or at least find some other design that appeals to me. Next stop, Menards! I head to their flooring section and it doesn’t take very long for me to find a design I like, available in both light and dark variations. And it’s in stock!¬†Sweet sugar snake bite! It’s called “Rustic Allure” and looks like something you’d see on an old, beaten up barn floor. Here are the pictures of both styles.

The only problem was that I was still so hooked on the appearance of that bamboo flooring. I loved how the borders stood out so much. I couldn’t get it out of my head. I decided to keep looking around and maybe the Home Depots in other towns would have it in stock. I wanted to go to Best Buy to find a stereo anyway, so I headed off to East Towne Mall in Madison where there’s a Home Depot across the street.

I get to Best Buy and started playing with a couple different stereos that had a video display screen, as I want to hook a backup camera into it so I can see what’s behind me when reversing in the She-Beast. I really liked one model in particular, because the menu design was more appealing to me, it had two USB ports instead of one, and it only cost $10 more than the other one. I was set. I wanted it. Dear Mr. Best Buy person, I need some assistance, please. What’s that? You don’t have it in stock? Punch numero six! On the plus side, he told me that the West Towne Mall had it, all I had to do was drive across the city to get it. I stared at the other stereo for a good couple minutes, deciding if I should just get it instead. I convinced myself that I had already driven part way across the state, what’s another 25 minutes gonna hurt? West Towne Mall, here I come… but not before stopping across the street at Home Depot.

I was pretty much in and out. Went to flooring, found the one I wanted, nothing on the shelf. Punch seven. Though, it was a light punch… like fighting a baby with a learning disability.

I get to Best Buy on the other side of the city only to find that the model I was told was in stock there wasn’t even on display. Great. El punch-o ocho (my Spanish-o is muy excellent-o). And I had no way of referencing the item number because I didn’t take a picture of the one at the other store, I just assumed it would be on display at both stores. Screw it. I wanted a win and decided to get the slightly less cool stereo. It had all the main features I wanted, the menu wasn’t that bad, and I could deal with only having one USB port. I bought it, as well as the dash install kit, and a USB extension cable so that I’ll be able to access the rear USB port without having to remove the entire stereo from the dash (I listen to music almost exclusively from a 32GB micro USB stick).

Since I had already driven to West Towne, I decided to make a pit stop at REI to get a new 3L water bladder, as I gave mine away while on the Appalachian Trail. I had just over $34 from my yearly REI dividend to use up and REI was also having a 20% off one item for members, so I got a new water bladder for under $30 and then they paid me the remaining $4 and some change that I had left. WIN! Free stuff and money? This is why REI is awesome.

As I headed back home, I came to the conclusion that it was unlikely I’d find something similar to that bamboo wood design and there was no way I was gonna wait two entire months to start working on the van, so I stopped back at Menards and got three boxes (90 sq ft) of the dark Rustic Allure as well as some Reflectix foil insulation, a moisture/vapor barrier, and a roll of underlayment. As wide as the laminate boards are, I don’t think I need to install a subfloor. Each board is gonna have three or four of the sheet metal “ridges” underneath it for support, as well as the Reflectix and underlayment. I also plan on filling the gaps between the ridges with additional Reflectix, so I think it should be a solid enough base to build upon, which is great because I won’t have to spend money on sheets of plywood now.

By the time I got home, it was too late to do much. I didn’t get to start on the flooring today like I wanted to, but I did manage to finish the installation of the new grill. The old one was bent, cracked, and pretty worn down. There’s not much to the installation; four screws and some clips hold it in place, plus removing the turn signals and parking lights. I ordered new clips for everything, but since those parts haven’t arrived yet I popped the old ones out and reused them. They’ll do for now (granted, most of them are missing). I think it looks a lot better and once the new front bumper comes in, it won’t look like I ran someone over anymore. Here is a photograph for your viewing pleasure.

Tomorrow I’m gonna for real, almost certainly, probably, hopefully, maybe gonna start installing the flooring. Really.

Ok, Maybe.

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