If you have followed us at all, you know we have been planning full-time travel in our converted Sprinter Van for some time now. On December 1, 2021 we handed the keys to our new tenants and headed North. Follow along on our journey of full-timing, we'll talk of the ups and downs and share tips and tricks.
We just moved from that house to that VAN!
An enormous amount has happened since we first started considering living in the van full-time. My father-in-law moved in with us and provided much joy until the day he joined his beautiful bride in Heaven. My step-mom suddenly became ill and quickly passed on, my father followed her about a year later. About two years later Daddy also passed on. About two weeks ago our beloved dog Shadow joined them all. Our very private and loyal cat Boxer has joined her new family with folks near and dear to our hearts. Earlier this year, we helped my mom with setting up her van - TheBlackBeauty.
Darin had a hip replacement, followed by physical therapy. Whew!
Having said all that, I must say that we have also been extremely blessed in life itself. We started a line of Van Door Blankets for winter travel and continued work on our K.I.S.S. Airflow Screens. Our two 'kids' are grown-ups now and thriving better than we could have ever hoped. So this is our time and we're taking it.
Over the years, we collected lots of stuff. Truthfully, I have accumulated lots of stuff... Therefore, knowing we were working our way toward living on the road, I started packing in September! By packing I mean calculating space in the van for our clothes and marking out that same space in our closet to fill with must haves. I also mean donating box after box to thrift stores and friends.
In October we ordered a storage pod to be delivered on November 1st, a 16x8x8 box to fill. So, I duplicated that same space in our home and packed that space with things we wanted to keep in storage for when we land in another home base. Out came the graft paper and tape measure for every box or item to be packed. Meanwhile, Darin is recuperating from his surgery and forbidden from lifting anything over 20 pounds. This gave me the opportunity to pack my way...
Once the Pod arrived we invited two friends over to help and thankfully they accepted. They moved all the heavy stuff downstairs for us and filled the pod to about half full. The other half was reserved for our garage items and our bed. Which we packed the last weekend of November.
At this point we just basically waited for Darin's last doctor visit for the hip and the new tenants to sign the lease. Check and Check. On November 29th, the fully packed pod departed... NORTHBOUND!
About two months ago, I started researching spots for us to stay as we wind our way up through California. We usually drive the coast for the views but opted for places a bit inland. We joined Thousand Trails this year and will take full advantage of them while we can. Otherwise we will just 'rough-it' in random spots.
This brings us to Acton, California and our first night on the road, only a two and a half hour drive from what was our home. Acton is an old mining community that died out once the true gold rush started near Sacramento. The campground provided us with all we needed for the next two nights except cell service. This gave us the chance to reorganize and start a new routine or two.
Darin whipped out his hammock and I set up my Star-Gazer chair. He settled into relaxing in the hammock very nicely. I leaned back in my chair and hit the ground! You know the old saying, "You get what you pay for"? Well, I bought a knock-off and paid dearly for it. WHATEVER you do, DO NOT buy from Beyond The Infinity. They sell poorly made junk. I bought two chairs, the first one was defective out of the box and the second one landed me on my keister on the ground. In the trash it went and out came the Cliq Chair. You can't go wrong with these.
Since there was no cell service or internet for me we rode our bikes, played cards and played chess. We laughed and we talked, we cooked and we ate, what a concept.
This is a big adjustment and the process takes practice. Darin says hip replacement surgery helps you slow down but I think I'll just keep practicing.
We stayed two nights in Acton and leisurely broke camp and got back on the road - Next stop? Just inland from Monterey and some family time.
We are 72 hours into full-time vanning and loving every minute so far - oh wait, I didn't much like landing on my keister, but otherwise great!
As soon as we pulled into the San Benito Thousand Trails our cell service disappeared. It was like they were using one of those signal jammers or something. We discovered that the laundry area has 'free wifi", HA!! Not really sufficient for anything except randomly meeting folks, which we did. Darrell was an Angel sent from above. We rode our bikes to the laundry to try to download a movie, no such luck. When the night fell, we realized we didn't know how to turn on our bike lights. Darrell, the Angel, quite literally followed behind and lit up our path as we pedaled back to the campsite that we couldn't find first go 'round.
The wildlife was outstanding though! There were about 15-20 deer playing in the misty morning as we drove away.
Our next stop is for family time. Time to see the newest baby Stowe and break bread with loved ones.
This is just the beginning so please join us regularly to see where we end up. We have been asked for an updated Van-tour, we will do one at some point. For now, we are just settling in.