On this “episode” of 67 Designs Customer Spotlights, where we share the stories of some of our customers, we get to know Sean Collinsworth and Denise Altay. Originally from the Chicago area, Sean has called many places home over the course of his life, including a thirty-year span in California. He and his wife now make their home in North Carolina running their artisanal honey business and spending a great deal of time traveling.
Proud owner of: 2022 Mercedes Sprinter 4X4, 170 chassis, 2500, Graphite Grey van, aptly named Mellifera (Latin for honey bearing).
Featured upgrades: Mellifera’s conversion was done by Outside Van in Portland, Oregon and is outfitted as follows:
- Sheel Mann Vario F Seats
- Custom Overhead Cab Shelf
- Custom Cabinets
- Custom Bench Seats & Sunbrella Upholstery
- Vitrifigo DW RFXDouble Draw Fridge/Freezer
- Elkay Rectangular Deep Under mount Sink
- Essie SS High Arc Pulldown Faucet
- Microwave Oven
- Mac Tracs
- Interior Puc & LED lights
- Dometic 972 Toilet in Custom Drawer
- Lagun Removable Swing Out Table
- Soft Garage & Cabin Walls
- 3 Panel, Custom Removable Queen Size Bed
- OSV Custom Exoskeleton Cabinets
- Exterior & Performance Enhancements
- Custom Safari Style Roof Rack
- Rigid Ind. 50” Radiance LED Light Bar w/Amber Backlight X2
- Rigid Ind. Radiance LED Back Lit Rear Roof Lights Mounted to Safari Rack
- Rigid Ind. Side Seen Lights X4
- Rigid Ind. Dually Side Shooter Ditch Lights X2
- Rigid Ind. D-Series Pro Series Diffused Flush Mounted in Backwoods Rear Bumper
- Fiamma 13’ 2” Awning
- Terra Wagon Fenders & Aero Hood Spoiler
- Owl Vans Ladder & Tire Carrier, Sherpa 2 Carrier w/Expedition Box & DMOS Shovel
- Nokian Outpost AT Tyres on Method 701 Wheels w/Agile “No Rub” Fenders
- Van Compass Baja Brackets for Rear Shocks
- Amp Research Retractable Running Boards
- Agile Offroad Rip Kit w/Bilstein B6 Struts & AO 2.0 Rear Reservoir Rear Shocks
- Agile Offroad Skid Plate
- Agile Offroad/Alcon 2500 Big Brake Kit
- Agile Offroad Ferrata VS30 Light Bar w/Baja Designs LP9 Lights
- Baja Designs Amber Squadron SAE Fog Lights
- S&B 40 Gallon Fuel tank
- RennTech Engine Tune
- Pedal Box 2.0
- sPOD - 8 Circuit SE System w/Touchscreen
- Maxxair 10 Speed Deluxe Reversible Roof Vents X 2
- 12V Roof-top AC
- Stage 2 Lithionics 630 Ah Batteries w/2000W Magnum Inverter
- Wakespeed Alternator/Regulator for Lithionics Batteries
- Multiple 110V USB-C & USB Ports
- Espar Hydronic Plus Evo 55 Water Heating System
- Wesbasto Air Top Evo 55 Diesel System
- 20 Gallon Fresh Water Tank
- Guzzle H20 Portable Water Filter
- 12 Gallon Grey Water Tank
- Exterior Shower
- 67 Designs arm and base
- OSV 60” X 18” Garage Gear Sliders
- Bug Screens & Insulated Window Coverings
- We Boost Drive X RV Cell Phone Booster
- JL Audio System Front & Back
Customer of 67 Designs since: 2023.
Inspiration for buying his Sprinter van: Sean’s thirst for any kind of outdoor adventure has long been the impetus for various types of excursions, many of which have landed him in the emergency room. After a lifetime of roughing it in his adventures, Sean is at a point in his life where he craves some luxury. He and his wife Denise have always enjoyed camping, starting out with simple tents and graduating up from there to more and more comfortable configurations. Sean rigorously researched various types of overlanding vehicles they could use as a base camp before settling on the van. It’s been the perfect blend of utilitarian features coupled with relaxing amenities. They can drive cross-country for weeks at a time in a completely self-contained home on wheels while navigating easily into a campsite and into the wilderness. The van is truly a means of escape from the real world while maintaining real world comforts.
Early adventures: Sean gravitated toward the outdoor adventure lifestyle at a very young age. While his parents didn’t necessarily share his passion for outdoor adventure, they always emphasized independence. He started raising bees at the age of twelve, went on his first solo camping trip at the age of thirteen, and later became a falconer. He enjoyed everything from biking and swimming to back-packing and hiking. When the family relocated to Arizona when Sean was sixteen, he learned to drive on an original International Harvester Scout. He’s had numerous four-wheel drive offroad vehicles since then and enjoys four-wheeling as a way to extend his excursions into the wilderness. Always one to push the envelope, he’s been in many dire situations but has always come through.
Recent adventures: Sean and Denise recently spent almost a month exploring New Zealand where they hiked, and he hunted red stag and tahr. Last fall they hiked the Swiss Alps. In October, they traveled to Portland, Oregon to pick up their van. They quickly put it to good use driving cross-country for three weeks on their way home. Among the more interesting aspects of their journey were visits to the Lewis and Clark historical sites and Crater Lake, driving Highway 1 and Route 66, and camping at many beautiful locations along the way.
Upcoming trips: Sean and Denise have some shorter, local trips coming up, some of which include cycling events. While they live on the western side of North Carolina, up in the mountains, they’ve never been to the Outer Banks. Their goal is to head out to the coast and on to Cape Hatteras.
Dream trip: Sean has worked his entire life and now wants to enjoy it on his terms. They’ve been able to travel extensively abroad with stops in Slovenia, Croatia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Turkey to name a few. There are several places he and Denise would like to return to including Slovenia and Turkey. They’d also like to plan another cross-country trip to explore the magic of the western states. Another of Sean’s goal is to travel into Canada and even hunt some caribou while there.
Fun fact about Sean: In one of his many misadventures, Sean lived in an area that had access to a mountain road. As he was driving, he learned (a little too late) that the road was not stable. He inevitably rolled down the mountain in his vehicle, landing somewhere in the back of it. Luckily, he had his bicycle with him but had to drag it up from the back of the vehicle to get it out (no small feat) and ultimately had to bike back home.
Notes from the writer: What started as a passion for beekeeping at the age of twelve has blossomed into the artisanal honey business Sean and Denise started six years ago. With apiaries in the Pisgah National Forest, Killer Bees Honey has earned a place at the forefront of the industry. They are the only beekeepers in the U.S. who have their honey tested by internationally renowned labs for purity, resulting in a 100% pure test making them the purest honey in the U.S. They’ve also recently won the coveted Good Food Foundation award for honey. Ever conservation minded, Sean and Denise also run a nonprofit for research and education on honeybees aptly named the Queens Brigade Foundation.
Check out his work here: Check out Sean’s Instagram account and websites below for more insight into some of his adventures.
This Customer Spotlight by Tricia Soderstrom.
This series was envisioned and created by Kate Della Pietra in the summer of 2020 when she worked for 67 Designs as a marketing intern.