Thursday, November 6, 2014

Preparation for Ford Festiva Winter Adventure 2014-2015.

The time to leave is getting near. The Ford Festiva will pull away from PA, and we'll be off exploring and wasting time. There is still preparation to be done before we leave, and procrastination has left a to-do list with too few checkmarks. As our departure draws near, I'm happy to report that a couple items can now be removed from the list.

Item number one: seatbelts. When I bought the Festiva, the passenger side shoulder belt was missing the clip that attaches the webbing to the track for the automatic seatbelt. I called junkyards and checked with online auto part finder services. The part was not nearly as easy to find as I anticipated. After posting for the second time on the forums, somebody was kind enough to send me the clip. For free. It showed up in an empty cigarette box stuffed in an envelope. Sometimes life is awesome.

So I got the clip. Today, I found somebody to sew it back onto the webbing. I learned from the internet that shoe repair shops have the necessary heavy duty sewing machines for the job. Also, auto upholstery shops may be able to help. I called some places. Some would take over a week, and another couldn't offer an estimate over the phone. "I just want a ballpark," I said. "$5 or $500?" He couldn't guess within $100, so I decided that an hour round trip drive was not in the works. I called another number, and a friendly hometown Mexican guy told me that his shop was now closed, but he had the sewing machine in his house. He could meet me at the Italian American club in five minutes. I drove over. I showed him the seatbelts, which I'd unbolted from the Festiva, and he said he could have them ready in a few hours. Sure enough, a few hours later I had the sewn-up seatbelts bolted back in place. $20. Sometimes life is awesome.

One bolt to remove and install. Simple.

Item number two: sleeping arrangements. Previously, I had what I thought was a good sleeping system. With the back seat removed, and a platform built in the cargo area, I laid out some memory foam and thought I had a comfortable scenario. When I tested it for a night of sleep, I found it was not as good as I thought. My body sank into the seat too much, which left me feeling like I was tilted uphill too much. My top half rested on a table, as my lower half bent down at an angle. I made it through the night, but it would be hard to get used to this.

Today, I cut some 2x3's and 3/8" plywood to make a platform extension which fits over the front seats when they are fully reclined. Much, much, better. The seat platforms are fairly even and level with the cargo area platform, and when I tested it out, it felt truly flat and level. Comfortable, in fact. Kristin and I both laid down in the car, and Daisy joined us. Yes - I believe the two of us and our tiny dog will sleep fairly comfortably in a Ford Festiva.

I still need to prepare a few things. I would like to add cheap window tint, and get a windshield cover for added privacy. A system of curtains may also be in order.

The looming to-do's are being tackled, and soon we will leave. I am hoping for the best. An adventure to remember.

2x3 support cross; toe nailed joint (drywall screws)

3/8" plywood

Memory foam over all that.

Level surface for happy sleeping. Kaboom.

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