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The Story of Sapphire* -
Our DIY Cavansite Blue 2016 Mercedes Sprinter 3500 4 x 4 Class B RV




Progress Photos

The backstory:

Back in February 2015 after a wonderful Caribbean cruise, we arrived home to a gloomy, cold, never ending Canadian winter and immediately thought to ourselves, there has to be a better way or place to be during this time.  We started a serious conversation as to where we wanted to be from January to April each year and for many reasons decided to check out San Diego.  After an incredible two weeks exploring and visiting friends we realized we didn't want to be tied down to the expense of buying or staying in one place when traveling and that we just wanted adventures chasing the sun or weather.

While in San Diego, on a whim, we visited an AirStream dealer and were quite impressed with the Mercedes Sprinter but not impressed with the lack of flexibility with layouts, etc.

Once back home we started reminiscing on the wonderful memories and fun we had as young married DINKS (Dual Income No Kids) in our converted VW van.  Now as  empty nesters we wanted that open-road feeling again but with some minor upgrades (luxuries). 

We knew it had to be no bigger than a Class B in size and we only wanted living/traveling space for TWO people and a possible future puppy only. 

With this in mind, we visited our local AirStream and RoadTrek dealers to see if we could be happy with any of the models they offered and then flew out to Saskatoon to visit the Pleasure-Way factory.  It was a beautiful facility, but in the end and cost of a Class B, none of these Brands gave us goose bumps.  Then came our discovery of Advanced RV, probably thanks to David Stovall and his coverage on the forums of his beloved ALVAR.  

After reviewing everything we could find on Advanced RV, we were impressed and off we went to Willoughby, Ohio.  OMG, we were blown away by the facility, the people and the fact that anything and everything we possibly wanted could be done to our specs. We were ready to sign up and put down a deposit. We even sat down with Britney and worked out our interior colours right then and there.

Then we got home and did some more research.  Without CSA approval we could not easily or legally import an Advanced RV into Canada.

Disheartened, we decided we would just bite the bullet, buy a used Class B, drive it and adjust things if possible. With that in mind we searched the national used vehicle network and found a reasonably priced Class B in New Brunswick.   We flew to Moncton, rented a car, and visited the owner in Cocagne NB.  After taking the van out for a test ride we got the owner to fire up the generator which reminded me of the sounds of a chip wagon.  After some discreet whisperings to each other, we decided to make him an offer about $5k less than what he was asking pointing out that there were a lot of miles on his 2-year-old vehicle.  He declined stating he wanted asking price, so we politely left and as a consolation we drove to PEI for lobster before flying home the next day.

Fast forward now to August 2015, and we were no further ahead, other than it was Advanced RV innovations and ease of customizations that we wanted.  Then our  discussions turned to the fact that we had built and renovated houses ourselves as well as he had restored V-dubs and Porsches inside and out so why not do it ourselves.  Therefore, on August 22nd (our 34th anniversary), we walked into the local Mercedes dealer and ordered a 2016 Mercedes Sprinter 3500 extended 4 x 4 van in Cavansite Blue knowing that it would arrive sometime after we returned from New Zealand at the end of January 2016.


The van did arrive as promised at the end of January 2016 and after 20 months of configuration, we took our inaugural voyage to PEI for lobster in September 2017.



*Sapphire is my favourite GEM and both hubby and I are Virgos whose birthstone happens to be sapphire.  The van we ordered is Cavansite Blue which looks like Sapphire hence the name.