Van Life; Month 2, Part 2

Thirteen hours from home and 2 states away, we were really living the van life! Going from city to city at our leisure felt great. We were always a tourist somewhere.

Working on the vanabus and suddenly breaking down off and on the last 45 days was becoming 2nd nature. Could you spend 90 days in a 26 foot tiny home on wheels with your loved one? Here’s how it’s going for us.

 

Maggie and PMo

Van Life Day 46:

Staying somewhere for a couple of days is nice. We can get up in the morning and get work done without worrying about packing up and driving anywhere new. Of course, after a few days of being still, I feel like it’s nice to pack up and drive somewhere new. Ah the tortured life of a traveler, lol.

We worked the morning away without really even stopping for anything more than coffee and to pack a new bowl. Here it is, 3 in the afternoon and we are still looking at our computer screens. I have managed to procure a few comped Airbnb nights in exchange for Instagram exposure. I also ordered Damien’s birthday present.

Damien was up super early to check out the market and is now working on a new product for The Herbalista Set. We also finished up a new blog today. Talk about productive! It is Friday, so we should do something fun today.  Maybe we will go check out the horses later.

Van Life Day 47:

Damien was up by 5:30 this morning ready to do some more work. I was still laying around at 7, called him for some cuddles and finally popped out of bed by 7:30. We had plans for the afternoon, so we just dilly dallied around and cleaned our vanabus.

Before heading to our next destination, we needed some gas. We stopped at a cool gas station along the way with 100 octane gas, basically racing gas. A high school kid came right up to us as soon as Damien got to the pump, stoked to see the vanabus. “This thing is one of a kind,” he offered before correcting himself, “well, I mean this thing is super rare!” Damien told him, “Yeah, there are only 8,000 of these on the road still.” But he was off in another world just ogling the vanabus. We get this kind of thing quite often, but it was kind of neat too see such a young mind have an appreciation for our coach.

Boondocker's Welcome Arizona hostIn the afternoon, we headed to Surprise to meet our 2nd Boondocker’s Welcome hosts. The neighborhood truly felt like a desert paradise. We rode up to the house with a horseshoe driveway and parked the Vanabus for the night. As the sun set, it began to rain.

Van Life Day 48:

Waking up to the sound of rain is so relaxing. Thinking about leaks is not. I got up and checked the vanabus (which we sealed when we first got back to Colorado) and found a couple of minor spots in the coach. Another round of sealing should do the trick.

Damien got up and went to work in our office while I sat around and worked on our social media. Dirty dishes in the sink, both of us in our zone; it really feels like we are at home. I guess we are!

Working in the GMC RV

Van Life Day 49:

We met our hosts today! They were out of town when we arrived, so they came by when they got back. The rain had stopped and the owner had told us that he and his granddaughter longboarded on the streets around there. We were ready to ride. The streets were smooth and wide with little traffic. Damien pulled out the drone and we took some great video in the dessert of Arizona.

After another little chat with our host, we took to the vanabus and seshed on our big buds while getting dinner ready.

Van Life Day 50:

It was time for us to ride out, but not before I made some chocolate chip cookies from scratch for our hosts and for us too, of course. (Let me know below if you are interested the recipe and I’ll post it, it’s my Grandma’s!). Such a sweet couple, they even offered to let us fill our fresh water tank before we left. The vanabus was having some issues getting power to her, so Damien was ready to change the header gasket.

We rode into the town of Surprise to a part’s place to get the gasket. Right before we pulled into the shop, a guy flagged us down and let us know that we were dumping gas. We pulled in seconds later and Damien went to work on fixing the line. Every single breakdown we have had has been so serendipitous. Thank goodness we weren’t on the highway when this started. Thank goodness we had someone stop and tell us. Thank goodness the parts store had the line we needed.

After changing the line, Damien let me know they didn’t have the header gasket. We spent the next couple of hours trying to find one, even if it meant ordering and having it sent to the store. Nothing worked.

Finally, Damien ordered the part and had it shipped to the local post office. Since I had his gift sent there, it would work out to pick everything up at once. We decided to just ride slow until we got the part in and slowly headed to the free dump station.

Finding free dump stations is like striking gold to anyone with a holding tank in their setup. State Trailer RV & Outdoor Supply had a huge building full of things we needed (and wished for) and in the back was a free dump. As we pulled in, we noted and squealed over the sign we saw. The first time ever. It read: 24 hour RV parking. We knew where we would be staying that night.

Van Life Day 51:

Damien painted my toe nails! He did a bang up job too. As I sit here and write this, my polish is still holding up well. Today we also fixed our porch light, did some laundry and had a nice lunch out.

It was the eve of Damien’s birthday and I had a lot planned for the next day. Since our coach was waiting for repairs, we didn’t want to drive her too much. We slowly putted back to West World and got ourselves all set for the night. The sunset was amazing today.

Van Life Day 52:

Happy Earthday, you sweet man! We woke up and seshed while I told him the plans for the day. He had options, which is always nice. For each phase of the day, I created 3 options for food and 3 options for fun, totaling 18 options for the day. For each part of the day, one option was always to do nothing. Obviously, that wasn’t an option for him.

We longboarded a total of 10 miles for his birthday. First, we went to Hash Kitchen and ordered some of the best brunch we have had while on this trip. He had the Paella, which was piled with meat and seafood.

We then longboarded over to Kierland Commons, a sweet outdoor mall, to pick out a gift for him (since we didn’t get to the post office yet) from Papyrus. We played a little ping pong and waited on shakes before skating to Cracker Jacks. A quick parking lot bowl later and we were ready to race some Go-Karts. Mine was super slow, but the birthday boy passed almost everyone in the race. I, on the other hand, got lapped by one person. Le sigh.

Last, we stopped by Skeptical Chemist restaurant and had a beer. We ordered some food to go because our bodies were exhausted from the long day of riding. I think this was one of the most fun birthdays I have ever had the honor of planning. I can’t wait to plan many more for this man of mine.

Van Life Day 53:

I am in the middle of doing an Instagram giveaway this week (it is over now, but go to Instagram because we do them often). This particular prize pack had a couple of really neat pieces.

Carole Goodwin Photography

One is from my friend Carole Goodwin. She and I met weeks after my arrival in Denver. We both love to shoot and have shot together on quite a few occasions. She is now a full blown photographer. In the last year alone, she has been to multiple shows and won! She put in 2 pieces from one of her latest shows; 2 butterflies and they are simply gorgeous.

The other piece is from a fellow GMC owner, Mi’randa. We found each other through Instagram and her grasp of the brush just makes my heart happy. She just finished a mural in San Francisco and I believe we will be meeting in person before we leave the west coast. Her piece is a perfect wake and bake piece and I am sure the new owner will love it.

Blissful Nana artwork

Van Life Day 54:

We are still at West World. There happens to be an old school car show here this weekend and guess who scored some media passes? Yep, Travel and Vanabus! After picking up our passes, we took to the field and checked out bad ass car after bad ass car. We couldn’t get enough. At the end of it all, the cars drove out a certain way and I got even more shots of these beauties in action. It was a good day.

Car Show at West World, Arizona

Van Life Day 55:

Slowly plodding our way back into Phoenix with our gasket on it’s last leg, we pulled up to the post office around 11:30. If you are ever on the road, using General Delivery is the way to go. All you have to do is find the main post office in town, have your mail address to you at the address in care of, “General Delivery.” The post office will hold your mail for up to 30 days.

The biggest thing you have to do is make sure the post office actually offers general delivery. This can be where things get tricky. You see, post offices don’t answer their phones and most of them say they offer general delivery on their website. But, only one post office in each major city offers this service.

All of this explanation is my long way of saying that our mail wasn’t at that post office. We hustled our asses over to the other post office before noon, only to find they closed their doors at 10 am on Saturdays. Guess we will have to wait until Monday.

Van Life Day 56:

Back to Scottsdale we went for a night at an Airbnb. Our host was not at home, so his pup greeted us instead. The pool house was a perfect spot for us to regroup. We unpacked, grabbed a beer and a bong and headed to the pool to unwind.

Cactus decorated the yard, as it does everywhere in Arizona, the pool sparkled and we were feeling refreshed in no time. The hot tub was nice and we got our bubble on for a while. It was unusually cool out, so we didn’t partake in the swimming pool. We grilled outside that evening and enjoyed each other’s conversation, over a moonlit dinner.

Van Life Day 57:

It was Monday and we were ready to roll. After a quick coffee at Regroup Coffee and Bicycle, we were off to the post office again. The right one this time. We had a great haul too. Damien got a card and gift from his mother, his awaited gift from me (a Nectar Collector) and the header gasket.

It was time, so we said goodbye to Phoenix over an ice cream cone. We stopped in Lake Pleasant for the night and it was stunning. We were feet from the water and the views were amazing. We sat down at the water in our folding chairs and dipped our feet into the cold. It was almost like we were at the beach. Soon though, we really would be.

View from 1973 GMC RV at Lake Pleasant

Van Life Day 58:

Waking and baking to the view from Lake Pleasant was another highlight of this trip. The water crashed quietly against the sand as the sun rose over the horizon. The coach had been sounding funny on the way up, so Damien put the gasket on and added new bolts.

An hour later, it was apparent we weren’t going to be going anywhere. The vanabus had zero power and our phones were roaming. We pulled into a parts store just in time. A guy followed us into the parking lot and animatedly told us we had a major gas leak. Damien jumped out to quickly see it was a leaking line. On top of that, under the hood, it looked like the intake manifold gasket was having some issues.

We putted over to the park across the street from the parts store to procure a spot for the night. It was full. The manager told us there was an overflow lot across the street. So, we went there. It was perfect for the night.

Van Life Day 59:

We found a park in town, picked up some groceries then went over to check in for the next couple of days, while Damien did the work on the vanabus. Horspitality was the name of the RV Park and I was excited to stay. But, my excitement was put to a halt within the first 15 minutes of arriving.

The woman at the front desk was nervous when we arrived. She came outside to greet us before we could get to the front door. It turned out it was her first day on the job. She politely let us know that our pup couldn’t come inside. No problem at all. I took him back to the coach and Damien headed inside to get us checked in.

Walking in the front door, I was startled by the 6 foot tall Trump cut out with a small parade flag scotch taped to his hand. On the wall directly behind this ghastly sight were autographed pictures of him and his wife. Undeterred, I continued to the desk and looked at Damien like, “did you see that?”

The rate was cheap and the uniqueness of the property made me want to stay. I chatted with the guy in the office as Damien got the paperwork situated with the woman behind the desk. As we finished up, the owner, I presume, came in. There was a sudden chill in the air, as though a dangerous ghost had just floated in. The two employees stood up straighter, as if being inspected. Their voices started to quiver a bit as they spoke.

The guy saw us to our spot on his golf cart and we asked him where the dump was since we didn’t have one at our site. He gave Damien some directions and we drove within the property to find the dump.

We couldn’t find it. We drove the horse area and back up toward our spot. As we turned the corner, we saw the uptight woman and the friendly man on a golf cart, barreling our way. Damien pulled over to get them to stop so we could ask for directions for the dump again and stop they did. The woman started yelling, asking what we were doing over here. Her exact words? “You stay where I put you.”

Well, this sent me off the deep end. This suddenly seemed personal. We drove back to our spot and on the way, I told Damien that if she came to our spot, I was going to give her a piece of my mind.

She did. And I did. Her friendly assistant acted as though he had no clue why we would be “gallivanting” through the property. Apparently, this bigot, didn’t have a dump available. But, she didn’t want to tell us that.

After a solid argument, I said, “he is the one who told us where to go to dump!”

She leaned in as though now we were friends and countered, “Really? He told me he didn’t when I asked him.”

I guess she’d had enough of the argument and saw I was not willing to back down and finally walked back to the golf cart. The guy said something under his breath and I put both my hands up and said something like, “So, what? Are we good or not?”

She said yes and took off on her golf cart. I went in to pack a bowl.

I nervously smoked, wondering if she would come back with more drama. But, eventually I calmed down and settled in for the night over a bowl of Damien’s best chili (We love cooking in the vanabus, let us know if you are interested in the recipe for Damien’s chili)!

Van life Making dinner

Van Life Day 60:

Since we had already paid for 2 days and Damien had to repair the front gasket on the intake manifold, we brushed off the incident (okay, so I eventually did) and hoped not to see her again.

We took a walk through the wash with our fur baby and enjoyed the scene, chatting away with a couple of other tenants from the park. Before heading back in to work, Booger got a good romp in with one of the pups there. We can hardly wait to take him to the ocean. I keep telling him that we are going to go back to the dog park on the beach and his eyes just gleam. Come on San Diego!

Hiking treasures

Hang with us on Instagram  and Facebook  too. We enjoy sharing our exciting adventures in the vanabus and appreciate all of your support as we continue along our way.

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