Renovating Sprinter Vans and Making Travel Plans
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Bo and Madison Cox of Troop Nashville live a life many of us only dream about — they roam the U.S. in their renovated Sprinter van, visiting beautiful places, and getting inspiration for their RV and camper renovations along the way. In our Q&A with them, we wanted to learn more about their free-spirited, outdoor-oriented lifestyle, and the unique way they get from point A to point B.
The Propane Education & Research Council is partnering with social influencers like the Cox family to share real-life stories of how American families use clean energy like propane to support their sustainable lifestyles.
Tell us about your family and where you come from.
Troop Nashville is Bo, Madison, and our golden retriever, Olive. While we have a home in East Nashville, we spend most of our time in our Van or Vintage Travel Trailer on the road. We build sprinter vans and renovate travel trailers for a living. When we aren’t working, we love being outdoors and adventuring! Olive is our little shadow and goes everywhere with us. We wouldn’t have it any other way!
How did you become inspired to renovate RVs and campers?
Before we started renovating RVs and campers, we were renovating houses. We went to Big Sur on our honeymoon and started seeing Sprinter vans and they really piqued our interest! We decided when we got back we were going to purchase one, and two weeks later we had a van in our driveway! We spent the summer building it out on nights and weekends and eventually finished and were able to start traveling. On one of our trips we started noticing there weren’t many people our age out there on the road, and there definitely weren’t any “rigs” that would appeal to us. We decided it was worth the investment risk to buy a travel trailer and renovate it in the same style we used to renovate homes. We sold our first rig within an hour of it hitting the market to a family on the other side of the country! The rest is history!
What is a typical month like for you guys? How often are you traveling in your sprinter van?
This has evolved over time and usually depends on how booked our Airbnb/home base is in Nashville … as of late …we haven’t been able to stay home in months and have been living in the van traveling/working on the road and at friends or family’s houses. We are so thankful to have such a great tribe that is so accommodating!
What has been your favorite trip or place to visit so far?
What a tough question! I’m going to give you our top two … Big Sur is where this whole dream began and is the most breathtakingly beautiful place. It will always hold a special place in our hearts. Our other favorite is Utah. The national parks and public lands are truly out of this world and I feel like they really cater to outdoor people like us!
What’s the next stop on your travel bucket list?
Canada!! We’ve been itching to go the past couple of years, but the border has been closed or it just hasn’t worked out. Their national parks are incredibly dog friendly, and the landscape is so beautiful! We can’t wait!
How does propane play a role in your projects?
Recreational vehicles depend greatly on propane … from stoves to water heaters to refrigerators, we are constantly utilizing propane to make living on the road the most comfortable it can be! Without it you would be taking cold showers, not cooking food (or cooking over a fire), and relying on a small battery to keep your food cold.
What are some of the benefits of using propane in RVs, and in general?
First, it really does make life more comfortable on the road. I don’t think people associate RV camping with comfort, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Especially with the power of propane! Second, I love that it is a clean form of energy. We have seen so much natural beauty in our travels, that we want to do everything to protect our planet and make sure generations to come are able to have the same experiences we have. We are always looking for ways to protect our planet and using propane as a form of energy is one of those ways! It also helps that propane is so affordable!!
Is there a project, or an aspect of a project, that has stood out to you as being something really cool that you’d like to do again or really memorable?
Our current van build is for sure a favorite and definitely going to be memorable! We added a water heater for hot showers (powered by propane!!), a projector and screen, and a king size bed!
What can people gain, and maybe lose, by traveling in a sprinter van like you do instead of going the traditional route and staying at a hotel or Airbnb?
Something we tell people who are interested in our lifestyle is “everything is simple, but nothing is easy.” We LOVE the fact that we can leave on a trip with a general idea of where we want to go and just, GO! We don’t have to book places to stay, we sleep under the stars hearing coyotes howling in the distance and wake up in truly beautiful locations! When we’re on the road, our goal each day is to make sure we eat and have somewhere to sleep … so simple! With all of that comes the fact that you are living in tiny quarters, constantly trying to keep your space clean, and most simple tasks have an added step or two, but it is all totally worth it!
Are there any tips you would share with those who want to try the sprinter van way for the first time?
They are quite an investment and I highly recommend renting first. There are many companies that rent and you can also check rvshare.com or outdoorsy.com! This is so important because not only will you figure out if you like the lifestyle, you’ll also learn what you want in a van. For example, a lot of people think they need a full bathroom in their rig. I cannot tell you how many people have installed a full shower and toilet and ended up only using the space as a closet. Other people love having a shower inside! It is a really good idea to test them out before you dive in!