(Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

B.C. couple converts ambulance into a traveling home

The Revelstoke couple plan on touring B.C. ski hills then driving to Mexico

Some homes have five bedrooms, a jacuzzi, and walk-in closets. Others have hanging gardens, spiral staircases and kitchens with kilometres of granite counter tops.

And others are smaller.

Much, much smaller.

Like living-in-an-ambulance-small.

Bill Smyth and Logan Miller have converted a 1994 Ford E350 ambulance into their new home. After New Years, they plan to drive it to numerous ski hills across B.C. In March, they’ll continue to Mexico and when they drive back to Canada next spring, they aim to visit all the national parks along the way.

“I’ve always known I want to do a long trip, it was just where and how,” says Miller.

“Spending money on hostels, rentals, or whatever else felt like a waste of our income that we worked so hard to get so it made more sense to put that into our own home.”

They say they chose an ambulance because of the cost and potential for personalized space.

The couple bought the ambulance off Kijiji in Cranbrook for just over $6,000. After some research on the vehicle, they discovered it was originally from Beartooth, Montana and before that, New Jersey. It was also in New York during 9/11.

Thus, they’ve called their new home Beartooth.

Turning Beartooth into a home hasn’t been easy. The couple have redone the ceiling with wood, put in laminate floors, wooden countertops, tiles, a wood burning stove, a sink, solar panels, and wallpaper.

Looking at it now, it’s hard to imagine that Beartooth may have once been engulfed by the dust and remains of the World Trade Center 17 years ago.

The ambulance is now bright, cozy, and stylish. There’s even hanging plants.

Miller owns an interior design company in Revelstoke.

“It hasn’t been easy working with a space that’s so small. There are so many things to consider,” says Miller.

“You don’t want tiles too big that break when you go over a bump, you have to use a special grout with the flooring, you can’t use anything that’s too thick because then your head space is wrong.”

They even sliced a hole in the roof for the wood stove and chimney.

“It was very nerve-wracking,” says Smyth with a laugh.

Impressively, the roof has yet to leak.

There are some laws when it comes to buying and using an emergency vehicle. For example, the words “ambulance” cannot be displayed and the driver cannot run the lights or sirens.

“As far as insurance goes, it’s basically insured as a cube van,” says Smyth.

The couple says that people have a multitude of reactions to Beartooth, such as confusion, excitement, and intrigue.

“A lot of people when we’re driving will pull aside and kind of question if we’re an ambulance or not. We get a lot of people noticing from behind that we’re not an official ambulance anymore. Then they try to pass us to see what’s going on and who is driving,” says Smyth with a laugh.

The couple says their upcoming travels will be an opportunity to experience different cultures and appreciate what they’ve left behind.

“We’re going to have to be really conservative with our water usage as we only have jugs,” says Miller.

“A lot of other countries have to do that on a daily basis. We’re so lucky in Canada that you don’t think about it. It will be a good lesson on how to live with less.”

READ MORE: UBCO student uses van as a creative outlet, by living in it

If Beartooth survives this adventure, the couple says they have others planned. Next fall they hope to drive back to Mexico and on to Central America.

“That trip is a lot more open-ended,” says Smyth.

“We don’t have an end date. It all depends on our money and time.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

(Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

(Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review) They couple love to play crib. Sometimes they have a game bet on who will make dinner for the other. Miller made the cribbage board herself.

It’s equipped with a kitchen (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

(Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Bill Smyth and Logan Miller have converted a 1994 Ford E350 ambulance into their new home. They plan to travel North America in it (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Bill Smyth and Logan Miller have converted a 1994 Ford E350 ambulance into their new home. They plan to travel North America in it (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Just Posted

QUINN’S QUIPS: Port Alberni woman honoured for her love of helping

Carolina Tatoosh earns provincial honours for her work with Nuu-chah-nulth elders, youth

West Coast Trail to remain closed for now

Federal government won’t open world-famous trek until its First Nations are ready for visitors

New gazebo for Victoria Quay opens with help from Alberni Rotary club

A new gazebo that has been erected at Victoria Quay is the… Continue reading

New Vancouver Island airline eyes Alberni’s airport for charter flights

ACRD has work to do to support air operations, says GM of environmental services

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

COLUMN: Canada needs to remember rural communities as thoughts turn to pandemic recovery

Small towns often rely on tourism, which has been decimated by COVID-19

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

Most Read