Guest post by Teren

[Mama typing on behalf of Teren]

Hi everyone! My name is Teren and living out of the van is going to be really awesome. I look forward to having less stuff, being outside more, and spending all this time with my family.

Living in the van is going to be like living in a tiny home but maybe even smaller. I’m not scared to move. All I’m bringing with me are my xbox, laptop, phone and clothes for school and some out clothes too.

I’m going to miss having my own time, like being by myself. I might even miss sleeping in my own bed but the trade-off is living with less stuff and I won’t have to clean up as much.

In 2018, I want to go to Canada and California in the van. Then take a couple trips overseas, like to Hawaii and Mexico. I want to be adventourous and explore!

I don’t have any other thoughts about our move but hope I can sleep in the van tonight.

Back in Seattle

I’m happy to report that Terence and I survived 10 straight days together in the van. Probably a good sign since we are going to be living out of it for a while, oh and our two kids. The trip was pretty amazing and gave us time to reflect, think and plan out our next steps. ┬áIt also gave us time to get a feel of living out of the van and learning the mechanics of it all.

[POWER] I was really concerned about power…actually it was a concern about running out of power and having to sleep in the cold. We had the heaters running pretty much all night for 8 days, cabin lights, phones charging, and a running fridge. Took me a couple days to figure it out but we have a pretty kick ass set-up when it comes to power sources: battery – propane – solar and the generator. Each appliance and electrical need uses different sources (I did not know that) and things are constantly charging…the battery for example, charges when the van running…solar panels well of course are charging during the day and the propane…it’s a 15 gallon tank so when we get low, just have to fill her up. Easy peasy.

[PLUMBING] The van has been winterized but we have used the toilet. We had to take an extra step of flushing anti-freeze down when we were done. We are hoping to de-winterize this weekend since the forecast doesn’t call for below freezing temps over the next couple weeks…keeping fingers crossed.

[DRIVING] We logged over 120 hours in 8 days. It was (is) a fun van to drive! Slow and wide when it came to turning, braking sooner than later and being more mindful of height clearances. I thought it would be a slow drive all the way home but we were able to push 70-75mph and at times 80.

[LIVING] I seriously cannot wait to be in it full-time. The inside is a lot bigger than I expected and has more than enough room for our family.

[COOKING] We have a 2 burner cooktop which heats us pretty fast, boiled water in 2 minutes time! We also have a convection microwave – pretty happy I can still bake and cook things that require oven functionalities. Last but not least…my InstantPot. I plan on doing most my cooking in the IP because it’s just so damn amazing.

[INTERNET] We now have unlimited data! Yay! Terence is also doing his IT thing to run internet in the van for the security cameras and other fun IT stuff.

We have 23 days left in the townhouse before we are 100% in the van. Teren is really excited and ready to be in it now. One of us will sleep in the van tonight with him…Tara caught a bug and would rather be sick in her bed and not risk spreading her germs in a super enclosed area. I do miss sleeping in it. The bed in the van is actually more comfortable than our pillow-top mattress, go figure!

Soon, it will be soon.

By the way…we still have stuff to unload so let us know if you need anything, we may have it!

 

Made it! BEWARE of ice on the roof!!!

Long trip. Glad to be back with the kids. And seeing my parents for Christmas. 3500 miles…wowzers!!

A little bit after we left Cowlitz this morning, on the freeway a car pulled up on my left. The driver made some hand gestures trying to get my attention. In my head I’m thinking something probably fell off the roof and broke or a storage door flew open. I get off the next exit and the lady follows me to the gas station. Apparently some ice on our roof landed on her windshield and cracked it. I was so worried. Thankfully her or her kids weren’t hurt. Her husband pulled up and we chatted. Of course I rambled about the van life and what we were doing. All this time I was pumping gas. Almie politely yells at me from the window. Lesson #2 some of these diesel pumps don’t auto stop. I probably put few extra gallons on the ground. Keep an eye on the pump, this has happened to me twice. The family called their insurance and found a place to get it fixed. They ended up passing us on the freeway. I hope they make it to their Christmas destination safely.

Merry Christmas!

Good morning La Center and Merry Christmas!

Terence and I talked about how unexpected all of this was and thought the worse weather would be driving through The previous 4 states! In the last week we have driven through the rain, a wind storm, hail, sun and snow.

I was just as terrified driving through Portland in the snow and ice as the day I drove through the Imperial Sand Dunes.

Terence FaceTimed with the kiddos, caught them up on our adventures, our ETA and let them open their presents virtually, everyone was happy. God, I really miss them. I miss them a lot! I’m afraid I may break down in ugly cry when we get home and see them.

We spent a majority of the night at the casino, which was surprisingly quiet. We gambled, had a few drinks, Terence watched a bit of sportsball and had dinner which included tots!

We made the most out of our situation and as usual everything worked out.

Terence has been using the term Instagram Filter in response to my slight disappointments in the morning. Example:

Me: I was hoping to wake up to the sunrise over Coos Bay but you can’t see anything at 6 in the morning!

Terence: Yeah, you had your Instagram Filter on.

Here’s my Instagram Filter for today:

The sun breaks out of the sky, warming up every road we get on, Christmas music playing in the cabin, make it to 3411 Cromwell with no issues, kids come running out of the house, hugs and kisses all around, dinner and drinks with the family, eating all the pecan pie and getting the kids settled in their new home.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Mother Nature and Christmas

Merry Christmas!! We scooted out Coos Bay’s The Mill casino early. Drove thru some nice rivers. Made it back to good old I5. Stopped over near Eugene to get kids their presents all tax free. Spent 20 minutes talking to AT&T to get new phones set up while at Best Buy, which added more time to my “quick” shopping plan. Then had brunch then decided to wait till 11am when the AT&T store opened to talk to them about getting a hot spot. Turns out they have a buy one get on phones, but you got to get a new phone line. Which is the same cost monthly as the hotspot. Ended up with a phone, it took time to set up, which again added time to my “quick” plan.

Got back on the road with Almie driving, I was trying to set up my hotspot and camera system. Figured out that I needed to turn the inverter on to use the inverter ready plugs. Duh!! Who would design an outlet that could only be used while having a loud ass generator on. So that was a good lesson. Turns out thought the base system I bought could only be connected via Ethernet, lame. I think I’m about to go back to my Blink camera system that I already have at the townhouse . I’ll add their Doorbell feature. Looks like they just got bought by Amazon 2 days ago. Maybe they’ll develop some crazy Alexa skills.

So after playing with these toys. I focus my attention on the weather. We had 4.5 hours to go with weather about 45 minute away. Sure enough we get to Portland and Almie can feel the van slide around. I quickly search and find a Walmart in Longview that has some good ratings. But that’s like 40 more minutes in the snow. We opted out if also because of the Christmas Walmart’s close early. I find the nearest casino, 15 minutes away, luckily cause it was getting nasty out there. We adventure in the Ilani casino and have a good dinner. Now back in the van waiting to get home to be kids, my parents, sister, and nephew.

Could we have made it my parents house if we didn’t stop to shop?? Who knows the weather could have came earlier. You can plan a perfect picnic but you can’t plan the weather.

Merry Christmas!!

How to Walmart Camp, courtesy of AllStays. So good I may actually pay for their phone app.

Just ran into this: how to Casino camp