(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.

 

(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

Committee to oversee expansion of Teck coal mine in Sparwood

Socio-Community Economics Effects Advisory Committee formed; plus other District of Sparwood news

Accused in Fernie stabbing case remanded in custody

Livan Chris Barnett is scheduled to appear in Cranbrook Law Courts via video on December 17

Hosmer woman victim of a broken health system

Breast cancer patient left to fight disease alone after being denied referral to Calgary

Law professor owes career to Legion scholarship

Forty years after receiving an invaluable scholarship, Nancy Banks has paid it forward

Avalanche Canada issues special public warning

Very weak layer buried under recent snow a cause for concern

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

โ€˜I was just praying someone would come alongโ€™

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Christmas comes early for Fernie Ghostriders

Riders take massive 6-0 victory at home, acquire pro player from Denmark

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Fernie pair shares learnings from life-changing experiences in the mountains

Martina Halik and Todd Weselake host Q&A at special screening of This Mountain Life

Final phase of Kelowna hospital cardiac centre completed

Finishing new recovery rooms marks completion of $381 million project

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Most Read