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I like to travel. Usually by van. But traveling by myself often makes me feel lonely. Very lonely.

But, thankfully, I found out how to eliminate the isolation that I experience on the road: by making my own van, a Ford Aerostar, look like an ice cream truck.

First off, I would prefer you to also use a Ford Aerostar, but all of these tips below will also work for a 1983 Hi Top Chevy Custom Van. Buy one used, and burn all the paper work. Then gut it like a fish.

What you'll need:

-First, all real ice cream trucks use modern chimes, a Micro Miniature Harmony 64, which has dozens of melodies burnt onto a chip. It can play three-note harmonies, with a 37.5 watt amplifier to drive the horn. This is going to cost you about 500 bucks. You're also going to need an all-weather loud speaker with a Nichols music box. If you want one used, you can either email me after work, or go to my website. Click on the naked weightlifter, all the info will be there.

-Get some steel. I'm referring, cutely, to a one piece dipping cabinet for the ice cream. But let's be blunt - it's really not about having ice cream - it's about the APPEARANCE of having ice cream. I suggest the 300 series - it's got a stainless steel exterior and all the corners are welded. It should come with a forced-air condensing unit. Most important: you'll want a wide interior - about 28 cubic ft. This is key, in case you get stopped by anybody. You'll need to point to the cabinet and say, "I sell ice cream."

- Decals are a must. And variety is what drives "customers." A decent set of decals will run you about 200 bucks. I suggest covering all the bases with waffle cones, flavor bursts,twists (vanilla and chocolate) cones, parfait, three hard cones, chocolate sundaes,chocolate dip cones, and a pineapple sundae for the weirdos. You can get all of these at Still, if you want to broaden the appeal, spring for frozen bananas, slushes and splits. A canopy is optional, but it makes the whole thing "real." And, what you want to be IS CONVINCING. Remember, all you need are the decals. Ice cream is basically unnecessary. It melts.

- Of course, you'll need a power inverter - probably an 800 watt baby - for the vending equipment. It will be loud enough to drown out most anything coming from inside the truck. Scott, my roommate, who is also a flight attendant, swears by it. (when he's in town, anyway).

So you've got the wheels, the decals, the dipping cabinet, the music, and
the power. So what's left?

A mattress.
I suggest the aero mattress Topper. It's an air-filled adjustable sleep system with 100 percent cotton sleep surface.

Thanks to Norm Ornstein and for helping compile this helpful how-to.