Am I still on the road? The short answer is sadly NO 🙁
Getting away from the daily grind has been amazing. The tricky part has been dealing with the damn virus. Planning this road trip and getting back on the road has been incredible. I have met some pretty cool people, seen some friends, and had some crazy experiences with everything shutting down. I even got to see some fantastic van conversions that have made me want one even more and given me some additional ideas.
My plans changed almost daily, but I kept it positive and had overall a blast.
The downfall is how much I have not been able to do, but I digress.
Going back to road trips and being on holiday. It is truly amazing, and I could quickly get used to it. For years, I’ve been interested in having the ability to work remotely. That would give me the freedom to be anywhere. It is starting to prove to be an essential thought and idea right now. Many others are beginning to see the benefits and look into it as well. That is both a blessing and a curse. But maybe businesses will be more willing to give it a try now as well.
If you have any suggestions or ideas on this, let me know 🙂
Going With The Flow of Things
Like I mentioned before, my original plan was to go to Nevada, Grand Canyon, Zion, Arches, Devils Tower tipi camping, Glacier, and Olympic National Parks and Monuments. There were some new places, but this was the overall idea I had. The day after I left, CA closed all National Parks. I figured that is typical but glad I didn’t have plans to visit any of them.
Then the day after I left Arches, other states started following, including Yellowstone, Devils Tower, and Glacier, to name a few. Then the sad part is that Utah followed, I was depressed but also happy I got to see some places before everything closed down.
And don’t forget, this was also about the time I learned all ski resorts were closed for the season too. Now, this is just getting ridiculous. Everyone is so bundled up and already wearing gloves. Damn.
I was able to do a lot of camping between public lands, BLM land, and a few rest stops. My decision is always because I spend most of my time out and about then just need to sleep. Having the appropriate gear has been perfect, and I am slowly getting my Rav to where I want it.
Camping on BLM land was fantastic until I arrived in Utah. I luckily had three different places I wanted to check out. I tend to give myself a few options because you can only do so much research online. Some spots are super muddy, and my little Rav can’t make it to my location, or there are everyone and their mother in an area, and I want to be alone. I found that some BLM land is also starting to shut down. There was one location I saw in Utah, but again there were quite a lot of people even out there. We all made it work, and I think my closest neighbor was about 50 yards away from me, so that was still good. Way better than camping in CA, where your neighbors are a few feet from you if you are lucky.
I made a quick video of some of the pictures I took on this trip. Click here if you are interested in watching it.
I have mentioned a few times about my Rav set up. I have tweaked it a few times, and I have a few other ideas to make it better, possibly. Currently, I fold my rear seats down and sleep on top with my Exped MegaMat. I have found my seats don’t fold completely flat, so I use a foldable table under my MegaMat. This helps it to be completely flat, and I have a large table if I ever need it. Directly next to me is my new Yeti cooler, and towards my feet are a few duffle bags. The bags hold everything from my food to clothing.
On my front passenger seat, I have my computer. Then on the floorboards, I have snacks, water, bathroom stuff, and a few other things I need to get to quickly.
A big thing for me when camping in my Rav is sleeping. I want to make sure I’m comfortable and that nobody can see me. I used Reflectix, like what many others have used. In the cold weather, it works okay, but in the summer months, I do not like it at all. I found it difficult to get any ventilation or airflow in. So last year I switched to curtains. I have had three different set-ups, and currently, I am using magnets. It allows me to quickly put the curtains up and have enough airflow that I’m comfortable.
I also use magnets and a bug net on my windows. This helps to keep the bugs out, and the air is flowing.
Some of my new ideas are to get a simple solar system, but my current Anker, Jakery, and Goal Zero set up worked great for this trip. I would also be interested in taking out my two rear seats and make some sort of sleeping platform and shelving unit. I think this would help keep everything organized and provide more room.
I have found it’s essential to make good use of your vertical space.
Basic Gear Review
I know there have been a ton of links in this blog already, but there are going to be a few more. I decided that it is an excellent way to see what I have instead of always trying to describe it. If there are any questions about the products I’ve linked, please let me know. I thought about making a separate blog on each one, but only if there is any interest.
I’ve mentioned that I am an over-packer and did this time too. But sometimes having more is better than no equipment, especially when there are a lot of places closed. And I brought enough to support myself (food, TP, etc.) for a while. The funny part is that I didn’t end up using everything, but I will say with a few exceptions, I’m happy with what I brought and my set up.
My top three items I’ve used on this trip. Gear that I’m using and have loved
- ExPed mat (great for car camping, others are better for hiking like REI Flash Pad or others made by Sea To Summit)
- Shower & toilet set up (awesome tent, toilet seat, bags, and my spray bottle shower)
- The Jakery portable power station is amazing
Just a few additional items I am I using but are not in my current top three:
- Other battery chargers (see above and also for peace of mind I got a portable jump starter that has worked)
- Other REI equipment (tent, sleeping bag)
- Tools that include my Leatherman Raptor Sheers as well as other stuff needed for my Rav
- Sunglasses that I use while driving (by Luff and I got a yellow and dark polarized lens, they work fantastic)
Things I’ve Learned
One of the big things I’ve learned is that traffic sucks. Even when everyone is supposed to be home. One thing I have enjoyed is other states understand how the flow of traffic should work.
Most of the states I was able to go to have some cool things people do. The main one I noticed is that everyone stays in the right-hand lanes unless they are passing another vehicle. I think it helps that there are signs everywhere. But this is true if there is a disabled vehicle on the side of the road too. Cars will naturally pull over to let others pass. Living in CA, this is just not the case. So many drivers stay in the number one lane, aka the fast lane, and make others go around them. It would be nice if everyone would stay in the right lane to allow the flow of traffic. Again, I digress 🙂
One of my main focuses was to go to the gym whenever I could, in addition to hiking. This is a way that you can also get a shower when on the road. I was able to do that twice until they shut everything down. I did make my portable shower but decided it was too cold to use outside.
I found that even REI is getting in some extra mix it up at home ideas you can do to stay fit.
Wrapping This Trip Up
Being on my “Modified” Epic Road trip was a ton of fun. I’m sad that I had to cut it short, but having the ability to live the last week outdoors, going on daily hikes, and drive to some fantastic places has given me a lot of time to reflect. I think we all experience this in life, but I am thrilled to have these opportunities. Not to mention the amazing friendships and family, I have been able to have.
Every day I have been able to watch the sunrise and set. This is much different than when I worked graves and forgot about the sun. And yes, I know I’m naturally pale, but seeing that bright star in the sky every day has been a blessing by itself. There is just something about having the sun warm you up in the morning as you are drinking your hot cup of coffee.
As a thank you for reading this far, thanks! Also, click here for a fun video from Sam.
I have been watching his videos for about a year now—part of my quest to live in my car. So, to me, he’s living the dream and love it that his coworkers think he’s a bit crazy, as mine has done for years, about his lifestyle choices. Side note, firefighters do have it better than the police, but I might be biased on that. With that said, he has a funny sense of humor and sums up what the last two weeks have been for me (no gyms, grocery stores, coffee shops, campground closing, and more).