Days 5, 6 & the start of

[Friday] We ended up leaving my mom’s house way later than we wanted putting us behind schedule a bit. Original plan was to take 101 all the way up but LA traffic was horrible so we rerouted to the 805 which we stayed on till Salinas. We found our Walmart and was prepared to call it a night. Those plans changed pretty quickly. Here’s the thing about van living. Once you start living out of one, you notice all the other folks who are doing the same.

We saw several rvs and vans parked despite all the signs saying no overnight parking. That was the first red flag for me. We circled the lot a bit (Terence was driving) looking for a well lit spot…but I just had that feeling. You know…the feeling that something shitty would happen if we stayed. Terence sensed my hesitation so we left. I took over the driving which lasted a couple hours, I was so tired! Pulled over at a dairy farm and if you never been to one, don’t go unless you are prepared to smell shit. Like lots of it.

I took a much needed nap and woke up in Red Bluff. We found a Planet Fitness – we stopped in to brush our teeth, use the bathroom, etc…but I didn’t want to camp out there so we found a Walmart (gasp!) but it turned out to be much quieter and not a crackhead in sight. Turned the heater on, pulled down the night shades and we were in bed and fast asleep!

[Saturday] 6am. Seems to be the normal time for us to wake up without the alarm. Terence wanted a shower so we skipped going into Walmart for our usual routine and headed to Planet Fitness. It felt really good to get a run and strength workout in!

After breakfast and coffee…we were back on the road. Destination goal: Coos Bay.

The drive on the 101 was absolutely beautiful! We made several stops along the way…Redwood Forrest Museum, Vista Points along 101, and Gold Beach. More diving…with about an hour or so left to Coos Bay I had Terence take over the driving. I was pretty tired and we made it a rule to let the other one know the minute we start feeling that way, it is our home after all!

We made it to Coos Bay and found a cute little place for dinner and drinks. It was nice to have a sit down dinner outside of the van. Luckily we found street parking close by!

For those interest in what we had for dinner: dungeness crab cakes, clam chowder and halibut and chips @ Sharkbite Cafe and Seafood. I forgot to take pictures of our food but I did take this:

After dinner we settled in at the Mill Casino and RV Park. There were a handful of RVs parked and a police car patrolling the enclosed lot.

We prepared the coach for night-night time but first, casino! Terence was kind enough to hand over all his cash for me to gamble with. Hung out for about an hour and left a winner! $120 richer!

I’m getting used to sleeping in the van, the bed is really comfy and I hope the kids will love it just as much.

[Christmas Eve] Almost there! Bremerton ETA: 8-9pm? There’s snow in the forecast for Portland and Bremerton.

The only was to get to my in-laws home are 2 big hills. We’re not sure if the Serenity will make it up with snow/ice on the ground so we will play things by ear. Worse case we park at the bottom of the hill and get picked up.

Keeping my fingers crossed and asking the universe and weather gods to be on our side tonight and be snow/ice free.

Merry Christmas Eve!

Day 4 – San Diego!

We spent the day eating, drinking, and catching up with my family.

Mildred, Hayla and Maverick tagged along with us to the Mercedes Sprinter dealership to get the chassis looked over and figure out what’s triggering the check engine light to come on. Turns out the DPF was acting wonky so they replaced the filter, reset the system and we were good to go.

The rest of the day was pretty chill. Terence did laundry, I helped Mildred purge her wardrobe, sat around drinking wine, got mexican take out, and even found some time to catnap. Overall, it was a much needed day off from the driving!

We plan on leaving around 10-11am today – hoping to beat LA traffic and setting up shop in Carmel.

Stay tuned!


Day 3 – Oh. My. God. Becky…

I’ve never been so afraid in my entire life as I was today. Weather was great going through Missouri, Oklahoma, New Mexico, some parts of Arizona but once we neared the California border, everything went to shit.

If you ask Terence, he’ll probably say I’m exaggerating but I promise I am not. I took over the driving after getting gas in Agua Caliente – I was feeling pretty tired at this point and just wanted to get to San Diego already. Driving was okay, we had a bit of head and side wind but it wasn’t anything we weren’t already use to. Went over the California/Arizona mountains and saw the most beautiful sunset:


Then in a matter of miles and darkness my boss driver status went from 100 to ZERO.

The Imperial Sand Dunes was a bit extra today. 20+ mph winds, 30+ mph gusts and raining sand. Not exactly the best driving conditions, especially for high profile vehicles.

The video Terence took (which I didn’t know he was recording because I my life was flashing before my eyes) doesn’t do justice to the fear I was feeling and ulcer I think I developed. I could feel the van move every time the wind hit and add in the flying sand which made it even worse…It went on for about 5 miles and was ready to call it quits. There were moments where it felt like we were going to tip over. I had a million butterflies in my stomach and thought we were going to die. I (we) survived and made it to the gas station. Where’s the wine?

Terence took over but he didn’t escape the wind either. Except he got the luxury of having fog, giving him like zero visibility, rain, driving through more mountains…when will it stop. He was a good sport and gave the right response each time I told him to slow down, be careful, keep both hands on the wheel…

Here’s what’s funny about this whole thing…Terence had research the weather in all the other states we would be driving to except for California. Because, you know, we always get good weather here!

We made it to my moms. Had my much anticipated mom’s pork sinigang and homemade daing bangus for dinner. We were pretty happy and decided we would sleep in the van. Why not? It is our home after-all.



It’s not all glitz and glamour

We are a little over 1700 miles in. About 160ish miles away from San Diego.

Almie is driving and we get a check engine yellow light. We rush to stop. Park at a Chevron. Give Dan the Van Man a call in Missouri. He gives it a little troubleshooting and asks us to give Mercedes a call. Bless his heart for taking the call, that was our 2nd time.

Mercedes says it’s ok to drive as long as the performance seems the same. Probably from not putting the gas tank cap not being being tight. So we will drive and check it tomorrow.

That was scary as s$#%!

Day 2, Santa Rosa, NM

We left Carthage, MO at around 5am and made it to Santa Rosa, MN at about 830pm, both central time. 15 hours makes for a long day!

I used the stove for the first time today to boil water for my coffee. Easy, just like at home. Ready to go! I opted to drive first…I was wide awake, so why not?

The drive through Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas was relatively flat and uneventful. There really wasn’t much scenery to look at other than a bunch of fields, leafless trees and a bunch of semis. Terence was a sport and let me let me listen to both Lore and The NoSleep podcasts (Terence and Tara doesn’t like listening to the NoSleep one, too scary) Taylor Swift covers and Anuhea. I don’t mind driving and actually enjoy it.

The van has been winterized which limits our use of water – so no shower, no toilet, no running water. When we get back to Seattle we definitely need to get the coach outfitted so we can run water without worrying about bursting because of freezing temps.

We’ve taken advantage of the bathrooms at Walmarts, gas stations, and restaurants. We did take a shower at the Planet Fitness, which Terence is now a proud member of. He was pretty happy about that, it was driving him crazy to have gone a whole day and a half without one.

It’s been a long day of driving. We are calling it a night. We have to be out of here by 5 which means a 4am alarm.

San Diego here we come!