(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

At present, the Marysville Arena remains closed. Bulletin file
Kimberley Minor Hockey asks city to reopen Marysville Arena

Kimberley City Council received a letter from Kimberley Minor Hockey President Trevor… Continue reading

File photo
Two arrested near Creston after allegedly fleeing U.S. border agents in Idaho

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

The 2019 Kimberley & District Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards. Kimberley Bulletin file.
Kimberley Chamber seeks nominations for 2020 Business Excellence Awards

The time is here once more to put in your nominations for… Continue reading

A number of guidelines have been put in place to keep skiers safe at Kimberley Alpine Resort this winter. Bulletin file
Kimberley Alpine Resort unveils ‘Know Before You Go’ regulations ahead of ski season start

Kimberley Alpine Resort has outlined their rules and regulations implemented to keep… Continue reading

The Kimberley Dynamiters defeated the Columbia Valley Rockies on home ice at an exhibition game on Friday, Oct. 23. Paul Rodgers photos.
Dynamiters pull off a win and a draw in weekend’s exhibition games

Though the stands were empty and the Civic Centre devoid of its… Continue reading

Carolyn and Steve Touhey came across a pod of humpback whales while on their boat Sunday, Oct. 25. Photo supplied
VIDEO: Boaters encounter pod of humpbacks in Georgia Strait

Pod spotted between Comox and Texada Island

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The voting station mimicked a real voting station in Nicole Choi’s classroom at Chilliwack middle school on Oct. 22, 2020, where students had to show their ID (student cards), be checked off a list, and mark a secret ballot behind a screen. (Jessica Peters/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. students choose NDP majority in mock election

More than 90,000 youth took part in school-based election process

Crew transport bus at the Trans Mountain pipeline project work site in Burnaby, March 2020. (Trans Mountain)
Check your workplace COVID-19 safety plans, Dr. Henry urges

Masks in public spaces, distance in lunchrooms for winter

B.C.’s Court of Appeal is in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Judgment reserved in Surrey Six slayings appeals

Six men were killed in suite 1505 of the Balmoral Tower in Whalley on Oct. 19, 2007

Most Read