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Kamper’s Anonymous

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

I have a new name for all the KOAs we’ve been staying at: Kamper’s Anonymous.  I didn’t realize until today, but there is a strange fact about all these KOAs and that is that no one talks to one another.  You might be able to strike up a conversation with the desk clerk or the night watchman, but not usually with other kampers, unless they are mentally challenged like the Rain man we met in our virgin Salt Lake City experience who was a man that had memorized every highway exit and corresponding city on every major highway in the US.  Other than this odd bird you are not likely to strike up a real meaningful conversation with anyone while staying at a KOA.  These Kampsites are filled with closet kampers that aren’t even willing to admit to their neighbors that they kamp.
[read on]

Packing Light

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

One of the challenging parts of this trip was packing. Everything we needed to take with us on our trip had to fit IN, ON or UNDER our van. We need to bring a certain amount of tools and misc. car parts, diapers, baby wipes, toiletries, food and enough clothes to stay warm at high elevations and to keep cool in warm climates.

Julian and I share a space (18” wide, 6” tall and 18” deep) for our clothes. Measure it out – it really isn’t that much space if you consider we are planning on traveling for a year. The kids have a similar space for the toys they brought along. Matthias and I share 12 inches of a clothes rack where we can hang clothes on hangers. Matthias and William each have their own space (8” wide, 8” tall ,14” deep). That is all the room we have for clothes. For me that amounts to 4 pairs of shorts, 2 tank tops, 2 pairs of pants, 2 long sleeve tops, a pair of pajamas, underwear, socks, 1 bathing suit and one sweatshirt. It really is frustrating since I haven’t even worn one pair of jeans and 1 top that I brought once. Space is golden in our van and to waste it is a sin.

I really love shoes. And I like to buy a lot of them and it was hard for me to decide what shoes to bring with me. I would have loved to bring all my shoes, but we just don’t have room for them all. Believe you me, I can make a good honest case for bringing each and every one of my pairs of shoes with me, but in the end I am so committed to this trip that I only brought a pair of tennis shoes, a pair of Keen Waterproof Sandals and a silly pair of flip-flops. I think I started about 6 months ago on my search for the perfect sandals. First and foremost they had to look good, plus I wanted them to be waterproof (for the rainy season), they also had to have good support because I figured they would probably be my main shoes. I had always kept those Keen shoes in my sight, but they really weren’t ideal. They have such a ridiculous bulbous toe, but they seemed to fulfill all the functional requirements. Nordstrom had them on sale during their Half-yearly sale and I gave in. Matthias and I both got a pair (his are black, mine are red). Then I bought William and Julian a pair on ebay (William has Navy and Julian has Lilac). So we are now a family of matching Keen waterproof Newport sandals. We are just so cute and so Northwest!!!

This trip is really about paring down to the necessities (like Keen Waterproof Newport Sandals) and there are a lot of things we all just had to do without on this trip. I left all my make-up at home. I also left my hairdryer and my flat iron. The things that have replaced that are insect repellant, sun tan lotion and After-Bite. We are living a minimalistic life and are doing really well.

Another great thing about being on the road is the Vanagon-love you feel on the highway. We had a bit of a dry-spell between Seattle and Albuquerque (we saw 1 Vanagon outside of Salt Lake City and 1 in Bryce Canyon). Surprisingly, there are a ton of Vanagons in Albuquerque. It is a great unwritten rule that when you pass another Westy (a Vanagon with the Westphalia pop-top) that you honk or wave or possibly give the peace symbol while driving. Recently when Matthias was driving our Vanagon around the Seattle area he noticed a guy with dreadlocks on a bike waving at him. He must have been a Vanagon owner.

And lastly about our car – It seemed like we were leaking oil, but that is no longer our concern. We had an oil change in Santa Fe (a 7 hour affair) which revealed nothing. But afterwards, it seems our oil level is higher and our gas level is lower. Is gas leaking into our oil chamber? We have no idea, but we have faith in Yoda, and faith that he will bring us to Las Cruces, New Mexico, one of our last stops on our way to Mexico.

Does size matter?

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006
We never intended this blog to be a travel guide.  There are travel books that do a much better job than we do. It also is not supposed to be political (politically incorrect maybe).  I do however want to write ... [Continue reading this entry]

One Bad Cat, That Julian

Sunday, August 20th, 2006
Originally I wanted to make this entry all about what we brought with us on our trip to give you an idea of what it means to “travel light”, but this afternoon was such a crazy afternoon that I figured ... [Continue reading this entry]

My Man Wolf

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

From Bryce Canyon we made our way to Zion National Park. Our van was knocking the entire way. After Zion, we decided to head to St. George since there was a VW mechanic. We didn’t arrive until Saturday, and of ... [Continue reading this entry]

Our Poopy Groove

Sunday, August 13th, 2006

If any of you have been around a 4-year old for any length of time you will know that everything is poopy. Poopy food, poopy car, poopy lo lo, and poopy head. Julian is also starting to pick up on ... [Continue reading this entry]

We’ve Sold Out!

Sunday, August 6th, 2006
The enemy of the true American camper is the KOA (Kampground of America).  Just the fact that they write words like ‘campground’ and ‘cabin’ with a ‘K’ is enough to dismiss this establishment as something I ... [Continue reading this entry]

Welcome to Mormon Country!

Sunday, August 6th, 2006
Today’s front page in the Utah Sunday paper said: Alcohol sales zoom 62%. This was before we arrived here!  And that’s good, because after yesterday’s day on the road Alcohol was exactly what ... [Continue reading this entry]

We’re Off!

Saturday, August 5th, 2006

packing

 

We left Thursday just before 9 AM. We said goodbye to my parents and drove off. Matthias and I were full of emotions when pulling away, but mostly exhilaration and ... [Continue reading this entry]