(Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

(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.

 

B.C. couple converts ambulance into a traveling home

(Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

(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.

(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)

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

(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)

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

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from the beach in rescue attempt in Nanaimo

Animal dies in spite of efforts of marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires Vancouver Island wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

RCMP say a woman turned herself in to police after hitting a pedestrian and fleeing the scene of the accident in downtown Nanaimo on Friday morning. (File photo)
Driver flees, then turns herself in after hitting pedestrian in downtown Nanaimo

Nanaimo RCMP say woman was struck in marked crosswalk after driver ran red light

Wayne Allen's graduation photo from Chemainus Secondary School. (Photo submitted)
Brother charged with murder in Chemainus teenager’s Ontario death

Jesse James Allen stands accused in the death of Wayne Allen, a 2020 Chemainus Secondary grad

Kim McGregor died in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run accident in Chemainus. (Photo submitted)
Victim identified in Valentine’s Day Chemainus hit-and-run

Kim McGregor grew up in Chemainus and had recently returned to be close to his parents

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

A crossover utility vehicle smashed through the front of a business on Bowen Road on Friday evening. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Vehicle smashes all the way inside business in Nanaimo

No serious injuries reported after incident at Venue Financial Centres on Friday

Amy Morrison was surprised to find a note on her windshield for parking on a public street with no restrictions in south Oak Bay where she works. (Amy Morrison Photo)
Note left for Oak Bay resident ignites debate about on-street parking

‘You must have noticed, we park in front of OUR HOUSE,’ note writer says

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

Cowichan Tribes open up vaccinations for members who are 40 and older. (File photo)
Cowichan Tribes opens up vaccinations for members 18 and older

Vaccination sessions to be held over weekend

Police in Nanaimo found multiple graffiti tags they allege were made by three men arrested for mischief in Maffeo Sutton Park on Feb. 15. (Photo submitted)
Graffiti taggers caught in Nanaimo with paint on their hands

Three suspects arrested at Maffeo Sutton Park last week

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

Most Read