This past week our life on the road began.  In our newly purchased 1989 Chevrolet Astro Van we undertook the shake-down cruise of the century driving from Christmas Valley, Oregon to Los Angeles, California.

Our goal was to survive our trip down to my parent’s place with our every belonging, two humans and two huskies in our unmodified van.  Well we made it, arriving yesterday, and boy was that an educational trip.  img_8669

I knew after almost a year of planning that going on the road full-time would be difficult, and I admit to a bit of guilt in roping my significant other, Jaime, into it, but I still have the urge to roam deep in my bones and he seems just crazy enough to come along.

I’m an obsessive planner.  Spreadsheets, lists, and plans make me happy.  Logistics soothe me. Reading The Martian was practically porn for me. So after many trials and plans I found myself returning repeatedly to Campendium for possible stopping points along the way south. img_8732

The first thing we had to do upon leaving was get to a DMV and get my new van registered. We had very limited cash so we aimed for free campsites and very strategic supplies.  Our first stop was at the free campground near Klamath Falls, Oregon. Odessa Campground or Odessa Creek Campground was where we spent our first three nights.  We left on Saturday morning and so we had to wait until Monday for our trip to the DMV so we set up camp after a trip to Walmart.

img_8733The initial plan was to sleep in our 4-person Coleman tent, but after the first night we agreed that it was just too cold.  And so I spent a day laying everything we had out on our tarps and picnic table and reorganized yet again with the goal of clearing the van for our air mattress so we could sleep inside.  That night was much more comfortable and much warmer in the contained space with our two husky-shaped space heaters.

The next day we spent far too much at the DMV then returned to the img_8755campsite to spend a long day and night huddling under a tarp shelter attached to the side of the van while it poured non-stop. Add to that the horridness of our air mattress getting a hole and deflating before we even fell asleep meant the night was seriously uncomfortable and doubts and despair ate our brains for a while.

Fortunately the rain stopped by morning and we were able to pack up and get out of Klamath Falls, and Oregon altogether. I love Oregon.  I have never been to a place more beautiful, but I was plenty relieved to be heading to our next camp in the dryer California.

Continue Reading Vanlife Maiden Voyage Pt. 2


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