At the start of our build in June/July, we set a departure date of January 1st as a goal to work towards. The original date had to be postponed for a couple reasons, so we pushed the launch date back to March 30th. We ended up leaving a few days before the 30th, (even though we weren’t completely finished or ready). We just wanted to be on the road so bad! We had already moved out of our little rented apartment (the basement of Jace’s parents house) a couple weeks before leaving and were posted up in the van in Jace’s parents driveway. Basement to driveway - big move.
We were able to accomplish quite a bit before leaving, but looked over a few important things. Such as: the condition of our worn out tires, checking to make sure we had brought along a jack, checking the quality of the spare, etc. BAD MOVE. We rolled out on Easter Sunday in the late afternoon. Exactly one hour later (to the minute) the tread blew off one of our rear tires and we wound up on the side of the road. Luckily, Jace has some rad cousins, Cody and Cy, who live pretty close to the area where we had a blowout and were able to come give us a hand. Now I’ve got to say, being stuck on the side of the road isn’t as bad when you have a fan, a comfy bed, and cold beverages in the fridge!
After getting that mess all figured out (thanks guys!) we were back on the road the next day with all 5 new tires. When we left, it was about 78 degrees and sunny. We made it a few hours and spent the night only to wake up and within ten minutes of driving in a full on snow storm. Yes, Arizona has snow. There are even mountains to ski on (without cacti). Our factory heater up in the front doesn’t work too well, so we bundled up and kept on driving. We spent a couple hours in the Petrified Forest National Park but didn't stay long because of hail and high, freezing winds. We made some quesadillas and napped in bed, waiting for the storm to pass, but ended up bouncing.
We made it to Canyon de Chelly a little before sundown. Canyon de Chelly (not pronounced how it would seem), is a beautiful canyon on Navajo land in Northeastern Arizona. If you ever have a chance to go there, do it! Its incredibly beautiful and there are many different ruins you can see while visiting. We were on a fast route up to Utah in order to visit family there, so we didn’t get to spend as much time there as we would have hoped, but will be back soon.
We spent the next night in southern Utah, near a small town called Bluff. We chose a highway pullout because it was late and we had been driving for too long that day. We woke up to about 2-3 inches of snow and cranked up our propane Buddy from Mr. Heater. That little thing really puts out some heat and we were warm within just a few minutes. As the snow started to melt, we realized we had a small leak in one of the roof seams which resulted in dripping from one of our cabinets over the desk. We climbed up on top, brushed all the snow and sealed the small leak area with some sink sealer we luckily had on hand from installing the sink months back.
The next week had its fair share of events, including a lost purse (later found that evening), Lotus having an expensive visit to the vet to remove some particle stuck in her eye, and one of our cabinet doors opening up during a canyon drive, resulting in all of our dishes being shattered and spread about the van floor. Even with all this, we were still able to have a good time longboarding, slackening, hiking, and hanging with family. Even with mishaps, we have found a way to still enjoy what we are doing. There will always be mistakes, accidents, mishaps, etc and learning to deal with them is all part of the “vanlife” dream you see dreamy pictures of on social media.
We are currently in Zion National Park, having a blast, and will be posting about our time here in the next update! For now, see ya!
Jace and Giddi