Dealing with it. 

In my last article I wrote about taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves. Sometimes they look like disadvantages until I spin them into advantages. 

My work Railroaded me again. I guess it comes with the territory. I wrote about riding my motorcycle home to Utah from Washington. I left my van in Hermiston Oregon. It’s sits on the Columbia River Gorge. The border of Washington USA. I received a Text from the Forman mid off cycle. “We will not meet in Hermiston OR next week. We will meet in Alamogordo NM.” Can’t be much farther apart. My van is on the Border of Washington I’m in Utah and I have to be near the border of Texas in five days. Most would see a problem with this but my mind starts to see potential. 
My wife and I have needed some time away. She likes roadtrips. So we climbed in the Kia and she drove me to the van. 

We left hungry so we had to stop in the tiny town of Tremonton UT. Not being familiar, we decided to drive through town, then decide where to go. It was 11:30 and every where had empty parking lots. I was not feeling inspired. Until we found the edge of town and a Mexican food bus. A few cars parked around and we New we found the gem. 

Very cool concept. It was parked by a river. They also owned the building on the lot so you could eat in a brick and mortar. If you felt better about it or you could sit inside and experience the adventure. 

The food was alright. I wish I could say it was incredible but it was a bit bland honestly. The experience was awesome though. A little girl came in with her family. She was maybe 6 years old. She enters and says “Wow its fancy in here”. It was cool. It really felt like Old Mexico. 
We made a few more stops on the way. Including this awesome bridge. 

Once we arrived in Hermiston I dropped the trailer parked the car and we jumped into the van. Of to the river we went.Where I got to spoil my bride with a vanhome cooked meal. She also got a breakfast the next morning before we started the wild ride home. 

After we ate breakfast we hooked up the trailer and she followed me back through the Blue mountains in Oregon. We decided a detour to Idaho Falls where her Sister lived was in order. 
What a beautiful state Idaho is. The scenic road we took, Highway 20 from Mountain Home to Idaho Falls, was incredible. 

The best part was suddenly we had landed on the moon. 

It was a volcano and the lava was still preserved. Extremely harsh environment. Temps upwards of 150 degrees in the summer and deep snow in the winter. Jagged rock formations everywhere and the vegetation had just begun to grow again. 

My wife had work in the morning and my son had drivers ed at 6:00 am. With all our detours I wasn’t going to make it home that night. So we stopped at another historic point. Caught 3 hrs of sleep and finished the drive landing home right in time. 5:45am. Just enough time to gather my son and get him to school. 

Luckily I had the day to regroup before I had to continue on to New Mexico. That will be a couple more stories. As for now I will bid you farewell. Tomorrow I might tell you more. 

Overcoming life’s obstacles! Perk 9

In the article “Winning With Solar” I told you about the Solar System I had installed and tested best I could in the driveway of my vacation home. Before I set out into the wild unknowns of my work. 

I was excited to go back to Hermiston Oregon. It was one of the best boondocking experiences in my life. At Sand Staion you could park for free on the banks of the Colombia River Gorge. It had Bathrooms and picknic tables. 

There was a bit of Squatting going on. It looked like there was a potential problem starting to arise. I, on the other hand, didn’t mind it. I would bring beer back from work. I made friends with the locals and I knew for certain my things were safe. 

So with great excitement I got my Motorcycle ready to ride. 

I loaded it on the trailer. I filled the fridge with food and was ready to camp on the river. I was going to commute on my bike. There were a lot of dirt roads to explore after work if I had the Time. It sounded like I would. We were scheduled to work 2-11hr days and 5-10hr days. 

The drive out wasn’t bad. It took me about 9 hrs. I pushed 80mph the entire way. I left a little late so I arrived with only enough time to catch a bit of a nap before work started. I found out the first day that they changed our schedule to 6-12hr days. It was a long one. 

We were finally released. I had about an hour of daylight left. I hurried to the truck stop and got some propane. I was finally off to the camp site. It was getting pretty dark by the time I arrived to find out it was closed. Later I talked to the Park Rangers and found out it had been changed to a group only reservation site. My guess, the squatting got unmanageable. 

I drove over the river into Washington and parked on a ridge overlooking the river and Hermiston. It was beautiful.

I sleep there and drove the whole rig back to work the next morning. This wasn’t going to be the trip I expected it to be. The next day I spent all my spare time trying to find a good boondocking spot. All my resources came up empty. So I left the bike on the trailer in the parking lot at the work site. I dug into my old school car camping urban style knowledge. I spent the rest of my time sleeping at that truck stop. And driving two miles back and forth to work. LAME! 

It was comfortable though and the Utah Jazz were in the first round of the playoffs. I had court side tickets to every game right on my phone. The screen is kinda small though. I watched as the Jazz struggled. I cooked and cleaned staying warm while it was cold outside. My furnace ran quit a bit and it rained a lot. It was a good test on the Solar set up. On my way to Oregon I stopped and traded my battery in for a new one. But even new it was a little undersized at 55amp hrs to last through every night. There was two that killed the battery. The panel seemed to charge it through the day with out a problem. Even in the rain. 

On the last day I was informed that we would be right back in Hermiston on our next work cycle. So when I was finally released I hooked the trailer back up. That truck stop was kind enough to let me leave my entire rig in their back lot. I off loaded the bike bought some water and rode home. It worked out well. I got to ride after all. It was a long 560 mile 50 degree ride. My smile was frozen on. 

Point is keep at what your doing. Life will never be what you expect but it will always entertain you. 

Perk 9: in a van you will have every thing you need to overcome all life’s obstacles. 

How a successful man comes to live in a van. Part 3

I’m thinking it’s time for a little background. In order to understand how I ended up living in a van. You need to understand my past a bit. I call this blog Roadtovanlife. It’s about living on the road in a van. It’s also about how I got here. I haven’t written about the how for a long time so let’s begin again. 

The greatest thing happened to me in my first couple of years being alive. My parents (Diana and Jim) got divorced! Ya I’m sure it sucked for them but it worked out pretty good for me. My Mom met a guy (Brad) and married him. He has been the greatest man I’ve ever known. My Dad (Jim) has stuck around through everything. He has been the greatest man I’ve ever known. Yep I said that twice. They are completely different in attitude and physicality. Completely different goals and expectations. Completely incredible men in there own ways. 

My mother (Diana) had two more kids. My sister (Brooke) first. The meanest person I have ever met. She showed me girls are scary. I was so scared I didn’t get married until my mid twenties. But really she has always stood by me and loved me no matter what I did. She has always been my Fan. She has the biggest heart I’ve ever experienced. She loves on a level I will never understand. I’m not sure why but I think I’m the only person she has ever been mean to. 

My mother (Diana) also had my little Brother (Parker). He is incredible. No matter how many times I let him down. He has always been there. Somehow standing above me with his hand out picking me up. Believe me his arms must be tired. He might be the only other person that would agree with me about Brooke being mean. 

My Dad (Jim) found a lady (Maurine) as well. She had a kid (Matt) already. I knew him. He was older then me but we ruled the preschool. We would put all the trikes in a pile and ride circles around them so no one else could have one. He dared me to kiss a girl. My first was in preschool. How my Dad (Jim) found his Mom (Maurine) I still don’t know but way cool that they did. 

My Dad (Jim) had two kids in eleven months with his new wife. My New Mom (Maurine). First my little Bro (Nic). A real life Hero. That’s his story to tell though. 

Second was my little sis (Dana). Poor thing always got left out. To many boys and no girls. She is beautiful and kind and everything a girl supposed to be. 

There was now three other kids around when I got to visit my Dad (Jim) And two more kids at home. For an only child I was being surrounded by siblings. 

Then… the worst thing in my life happened. I was young so it didn’t effect me as much as my older brother (Matt). Mom died! My new Mom. Dads new wife (Maurine). She died terribly violent too. It changed everything for my older brother (Matt). My Dad (Jim) adopted him. So glad I got to keep him. The two little ones (Nic and Dana) where so young and no longer had a mom. It was bad. Still is really. 

It took a lot of years for my Dad (Jim) to get right again. His third wife my next Mom (Ruth) took on all of that Challenge. Knowing she could never be Maurine she just tried to be Mom. She had an older daughter (Kim). She was older then all of us. She had my older brother (Matt) by two years and she was HOT!!! Still is really. She showed me that girls had a lot more to be scared of then just being mean. She was awesome. I could ask her anything and she was real. She always told me the truth. 

I was a late bloomer. In eighth grade I was still a kid. Hell I can barely grow a beard and I’m almost 40. 

I was walking the hall and out of no where this tall beautiful blond girl walks right up to me and says hey your Kris right? Now I’m shaking. I stumbled over a shy yes. 

She continues unfazed “Ya, I know your sister.” 

I’m thinking it has to be Kim the other two are to young. 

I ask which one?

 “Jenny” she says. 

My heart fell out. She was talking to the wrong Kris. 

I let her know and expected to walk away with my tail tucked when she said “Your brother is Matt right?” 

“Yes, how do you know” I said. 

“Because Jenny is Matt’s sister.”

Now remember I know girls are mean. I didn’t believe her but after a while she just knew to much. 

That night I called my dad (Jim). 

He then told me that “Maurine had two children Matt, my brother, and Jenny. 

Jenny had been adopted before Maurine’s divorce with Matts dad. 

I had a sister that everyone knew about but me. How the hell could that be.

You would think after all that my Dad (Jim) would have had enough. Nope! Later my dad and his third wife (Ruth) adopted my youngest brother (Jesse). He is a real life American Bad Ass. He too is a hero. His story is still being played out. I pray for his saftey. As he continues to protect us all. 

You can see that growing up I was all twisted. Pulling everywhere. People where crying while others had complete joy. I had to learn that having compassion meant joy for some at the same time as sorrow for others. I learned the way everyone else lives isn’t my life. I started out of the box and never felt comfortable inside one. 
I have more family then anyone I know. 

I learned that not seeing them daily was ok. 

I had to many homes to know homesickness. 

I can wander the world and live all over still knowing my roots are always under me. 

Home truly is where the heart is. 

My heart just happens to be everywhere. 

Winning With Solar 

Let’s talk power! I have owned this class B RV for 16 months. It’s a sprinter Van. I’ve spent 288 nights living in it and 55,000 miles. 
My biggest struggle is the electricity. Of all the nights I’ve stayed in the RV, I’ve been plugged in maybe a dozen. If I stay in the same spot for more then three days at a time, my Blue Top Optima 55 amp hr battery will be Dead! Dead! Dead! I’m surprised it still works. Honestly it shouldn’t. I highly recommend it. 

My favorite way of living is to find a great place to park the van and commute to work, the gym, groceries and so on with my Motorcycle.
I found that it was almost impossible though. After three days I had to drive the van around just to get some battery juice. I didn’t have enough miles mid work cycle to get a good charge on the system. So it became a real hassle. 
I do have an onboard 2000w Onan generator. For some odd reason it would take hours to get just enough charge to last through the night. I was using all the propane and again I was driving anyway to fill my propane tanks. 
I decided I wanted solar. I had heard great things. So I started rummaging through the still uncertain info all over the World Wide Web. It was a lot of math and a lot of reading in another language, electrical. Best I could come up with was add everything you have together and then divide it. That equaled a lot. Never would everything run all at once, Nor would it ever be the same combination. By the math, I would need 10,000 watts of solar. It was never going to happen. 
I put on my common sense cap, turned it backwards and got to thinking. If my battery has always lasted 24hrs then I just need enough solar to recharge that battery in a few hours. That way if the sky feels moody or if I’m using some power during the day my system would have plenty of time to charge my battery by night. 
Suddenly I only needed 100w. My mind drifted back to an old man living on the banks of the Columbia River Gorge in a little camp site called Sand Station. He said to me. “All these young kids are always getting so many panels. They don’t need that much. It’s a waste. All a person needs is 100 watts. It’s plenty.” 
I found the Renogy 100 watt plug and play system. The price was on point, the 700+ reviews with 4.5 stars was definitely on point. The fact that, if the old man was incorrect, I could add another 300 watts to it was on point. 
So I gambled. Knowing nothing but, I know not what I’m doing. I closed my eyes and click. I sent it to my dad for his opinion. Yes I’m almost 40 but he is my dad. He will always have good advise for me. 

He text me back. “To late. You will have to spend your birthday money on something else.” With a picture of the order screen and shipping info. He bought it for me. YA! Now I really had nothing to lose. 
It arrived three days later. I was so excited I opened it then and there. It was very well packaged. I was shocked at the quality as well. 

I figured I would put the brackets on real quick. Next thing I knew the ladder was out I was standing on my van panel in hand trying to figure out where I was going to mount it. I had a bunch of ideas before I had received it. In hand they weren’t making sense. So right in the middle it went. Holes were drilled, wires were fed, screws got screwed. Silicon got messy. It really was so simple. All that worry and fear not knowing if I could do it my self just lifted away. It was a cake walk. 

Bam! 2 hours later with the help of my other Dad, I had power. Ya I’m lucky, God gave me two great fathers and many Grandfathers to look up too. I didn’t know how much power though. I drove around for 6 days working. It was a different situation and I really had to drive every day. So I couldn’t tell what my panel was doing. 

Finally I got my scheduled days off so I left the van in my driveway unplugged, the fridge on, the furnace thermostat normal. Just like a regular day. Three days later the battery was fully charged. Ya it is working. 
I needed to know how well though. So first light the next day I turned the Fantastic Fan on high. It would usually kill the battery in three hours. It was rainy and overcast. Three hours later all four LED lights for battery condition are still lit. 6 hours still lit. It took ten hours to drain the battery down to the last LED. Fan and fridge running. Now I was impressed. 
I kept the fridge going that night and the furnace on just so I could make sure the battery was drained by the morning. Yes I know this is bad for my battery. I couldn’t tell you the amount of times it had died already though. That is why I was going down the whole solar path in the first place. 
That next morning I went out 2 hours after first light. Again it had been raining all morning and there was a lot of cloud cover. But all four LEDs were lit. It charged in two hours. Again I was impressed!
The website said it would charge a 50 amp hr battery in three hours with optimal sun light. My light was poor and it charged them In two. 
I can’t wait to take my bike and new solar equipped van back to Sand Station again next week. I can’t wait to use it for real and see if my tests were correct in telling me I have more power then I need. Maybe that old man will be there again too. I would like to tell him he was right. 

Surprise in the Mojave Desert. 

More of perk 4

Living in a van while working allows me to better understand the places my company sends me to work. While my coworkers live in hotels I’m out discovering this world. Every place has its own bit of history. It’s own secret that is well loved within its community. 
Mojave is no different. I found a nice lady on a web site I’ve decided to join. I wrote about it in my previous article. “New Friends In Many Places.” The Site is called Boondockers Welcome


I’m staying on her property for 7 nights. I work during the day. 1 day I was instructed to take off due to federal DOT hours of service. 
The lady I was staying with has one of her sons living in another house on her property. He takes care of her. 
This man invited me to go to the local Exotic Cat House with him. I thought exactly what you are thinking. Um, no thanks, it’s not really my thing. He laughed and replied “it’s not like that. They have a bunch of Lions, Lepards, Lynx and Tigers. They are all species that are going extinct. The place is trying to breed them and reintroduce them back into the wild.” It’s called EFBC’s Feline Conservation Center
Of course I had to take advantage. It was very cool. Surprisingly we were greeted by Peacocks as we entered the park. Very pretty!  
The place was small but had a lot of cats and there Habitats weren’t terrible. Especially knowing that it’s not a zoo. It operates mainly on donations and volunteers. They are just hoping to save some animals for future generations to know. 
Again I got to experience something most never would. I am very grateful to live in a van.

More of Perk 4

Having opportunitys to experience the secrets of the world. 

New friends in many places. 

     With all of the traveling I do and all the trouble I deal with finding places to park. I decided to try out a website I have been watching for the last three months called Boondockers Welcome

     It’s based on the premise that RV owners host other RV owners at no expense. The registration costs $25 a year if you don’t host and $20 a year if you do. Once your signed up you have the opportunity to message, via the site, over 800 hosts throughout the world. Mainly in the United States. 

     Hosts describe what they have available. Parking, size, power, water, sewer, wifi, etc.. they also leave a bit of info so you can see what kind of people they may be. Picture are also available for most host places. 

     A bio is also required for guests so the host can get a feel if they are willing to entertain. 

     Then it’s all about the reviews. Hosts and guest get to build a reputation. The better the host the better discount they can earn for future years membership. The better the guest the more likely you will find a host. 

     I was a bit Leary because I don’t get to choose where I’m going. So I watched the map for a few months to see if it would even work for me. This week I decided that $25 could be spent in worse ways, so I took the plunge. 

     I Contacted the nearest host to my work site, 14 miles away. She ended up being an elderly lady that has a bit of property and a lot of life lived to share. It took about 24 hrs for her to respond and I had a place to park including power and water. To my surprise after arrival I was also offered WIFI at no expense. That wasn’t in the bio. 

        If it doesn’t work out the rest of the year, I’m sure this week will be worth the entire $25 fee alone. Thank you Boondockers Welcome and thank you to my knew friend Lois. 

The Struggle Can Be Real

When a person decides to live in a vehicle life can be turned upside down in an instant. There are so many things that can derail the sweet harmonic balance that life has when it’s simple. Like a mechanical failure. It’s nice that things are typically cheaper living on the road. If you choose the right vehicle. A breakdown will ultimately handicap you though. I am working in Los Angles California and my van has become ill. Sprinter owners listen up this article is for you. CHANGE THE HARMONIC BALLANCER PULLEY BEFORE 100,000 miles. My rig has 111,000 and I hear a little vibration under the hood. Now I’m a pretty crappy mechanic but I can and will turn wrenches a lot more than I want to admit. So I decide since my serpentine belt is wearing a bit I will change it and and check the pulleys to find which is vibrating. My guess is the idler pulley. I open the hood and it’s as tight as I remember. I can’t really see in well enough to figure out how to use the tensioner pulley. I know it’s a lot of pulling going on right now. If your not getting it bare with me. So after about an hour of talking with a complete stranger. Offering advise for no reason. I decide I gotta go. So I close the hood and leave the O’rileys auto parts store. New belt in the back instead of spinning in delight under my hood. In LA it’s illegal to live in your vehicle. Ya you can pitch a tent on the sidewalk but can’t live in your car, go figure. So I’m staying at a Camping World parking lot under my Good Sam membership about 18 miles (1 hour) from the job site. When I arrive at my pavement paradise I open the hood again and get some chain lube that I keep on hand for my Motorcycle chain. I was missing the bike pretty bad but glad to have the lube. I crawl under the motor and start spraying. The noise goes away WHALA. It’s a pulley for sure. Ok, good, easy fix. So I create an amazing meal and find some sleep hidden in the bed I keep inside the van. I get up in the morning, drive to work. No noise, awesome. I watch some You Tube and find out I need a tool (torques wrench) for the tensioner pulley. So after work back to O’rileys I go, buy the tool and as easy as landing on the moon the belt is off. Whew now for the squeaky wheel. As I say “the squeaky wheel gets… replaced!” But they are all great. I can’t check the Harmonic pulley though because it’s attached directly to the motor. So I wiggle and turn but the pulley doesn’t. So without the belt on I start the motor. To my surprise the rattle is still there CRAP! So it may not be a pulley. Now I’m thinking to my self am I going crazy? Has it always sounded like this? Am I just now noticing it? I climb under again and spray a real lubricating penetration spray on the harmonic pulley. It goes quite. Ok I flip the new belt on and ya baby back in business. Off to the parking lot of campers I go. Luckily that sleep was still hiding under my pillow. I woke, drove to work and the rattle was back. So Google I go. To read horror story after horror story of $6,000-$10,000 repair bills if this noisy pulley falls off. I guess it’s a for sure thing too. As well as a pretty good story about a guy that knew a lot more then me trying to change it himself on the road. Well needless to say I didn’t leave work that night. In fact I stayed for 3 more days working and trying to find a shop, $387 labor, the part $243, a tow $587 for 13 miles. WHAT! No way. So I looked into options. AAA wanted around $200 for 2 tows a year at 200 miles. My insurance doesn’t provide towing on the RV policy. Good to know now. Neither does the Verizon roadside assistance I have. So I called my Good Sam peeps. They told me that if I pay $89 for a new member deal I could get unlimited tows for unlimited miles to the nearest shop plus lockout, gas, tire, and road side mechanic. And it would be active in 24hrs from payment. Well cool I said while I busted out the crowbar and went to town on my wallet slipping my debit card out again. I had to find sleep two more nights anyway (my day job was not done). I was hoping that sleep was still hiding in my covers. As laid my self down to rest I found it in plenty. So now I get to leave my humble home to some strangers in a wild city while they muck around her inner workings. I hope they treat her with respect as she is a wonderful home. Luckily I get the opportunity to fly off to my vacation home and see my loving family while my home is being repaired. If I was a man living in his van at all times I can’t imagine where else this story would go from here. I hope it’s the end of this one so I bid you farewell and sleep tight. 

Perk 8 status

          A lot of life is hardships. People die, get hurt, become impaired. These are in my opinion some of the hardest points in life. We as People have added another hardship that seems to be fading finally. STATUS!!! For centuries this world has put such an importance on who a person is. Meaning what there last name is or where they came from or who raised them or what they own. The world has focused on things in a way that makes little sense. It is true that the people around us define who we become as much as the things we experience. But it is us as individuals that perceive life’s lessons and that perception is what builds us. I like to think that many countries are leaving the STATUS factor in history. I am still trying to experience this world farther and haven’t spent enough time abroad to know. What I am witnessing here in the States is that we have stumbled again on a movement trying to destroy STATUS. Along the way we have fought this battle. We created Unions so that any person would be treated fairly in the work place. Now those are being dismantled. The hippies of the ’60s tried to argue that “Love is the answer.” I think we have learned that is the case but tend to love what we know without accepting what we don’t know. A great King lead a movement that changed the views of the world about race. We have fought for women’s rights. Leading the world in these notions that all people are created equal. There have been so many great accomplishments that we have undertaken yet we still have this strange desire to have STATUS. To be that person that is admired by everyone. To be the one that all think is the best. We work consistently to gather material belongings. To prove that we have more, or did something better, or know a better system. Meaning we must be better. Fighting for a life that isn’t fulfilling while we abandon the parts of Life we say we are living for. I have found a new reality that has been around for decades but is now starting to find mainstream movement. MINIMALISM!!! It’s grabbing hold. We are starting to see worth in not having, but experiencing. Not being bogged down so we are free to move and see this world. The Tiny house movement and RV living, my favorite the Vanlife, allow people freedoms that we haven’t had while being bogged down with the American dream. No longer do we want white picket fences. No longer do we want a plot to grow old on. No longer do we want to own others and the world. We have become a society that wants to wander and see and create and experience what life has to offer. We have info at our fingertips literally. We have the ability to find whatever, wherever and have it anywhere. So life has changed and with it another discrimination has a chance to fade away. People that don’t understand see the new Hippies as a confused people. How can they want less. How can they want to be homeless or live in such a small way. Where do they keep the important things much less the day to day necessities. The truth is with less everything becomes less. There are fewer necessities, fewer responsibilities leading to less stress and a greater experience. With less I’m finding more chances for experience. More ability to give my children life instead of things. I live both lives currently. While I struggle to hold onto the dream I am living out of a van. I leave my family in my home bogged down with STATUS while I travel for work and my life becomes entirely simple. Don’t misunderstand me. It’s not easy just simple. Suddenly what I need is clear. It’s not confused as much with what I want. In fact what I used to want I no longer do. To the point I hope my children aren’t plagued with the desire of STATUS. Instead I want them to have more, live more, help more, and become a better part of this society. By having less. I hope they become the example of a better world. STATUS FREE 
PERK 8 

In a van STATUS is lost and life becomes reality. 

Back at it!

          It has been a while since I have had the notion of writing again. Why I don’t know. Maybe it’s because my work is a big part of my travels and for months I was stuck in the same spot. I didn’t have much to write about. When I finally moved on I was out of the habit. I have been out exploring though so it is time to sit for a bit and let my mind recap the adventures that I have encountered since we last spoke. 
          As many of you know I work eight days then I get seven days off. I travel to my work destination and from on my own time. This can be be anywhere from Chicago Illinois to the west coast, Canada to Mexico. While I travel and work I’ve chosen to live in a vehicle. I’ve lived in a Pontiac Grand Am, Honda Accord, Jeep Cherokee sport, Dodge Ram Van, and now finally a small class B RV that sits on a Sprinter frame. I have a home in the northern Utah mountains. My job sent me on an epic road trip of course that’s not the intention but I can’t help but take advantage. While my coworkers fly and or travel in tiny cars with many men and all there luggage. I am driving across this nation finding adventures. 
          I was told that Lordsburg New Mexico was the next place we were working. Lordsburg was a booming town in the 50s. Every time I go there I think of the movie cars. It’s so sad to see how depressed these little towns have become. While I work there isn’t much time to explore. I work 10-12 hour days. But the 823 mile drive to and from Lordsburg takes me through some of this nations most epic land. I round tripped it once this time then drove back once again. 
          My first trip down I knew from past drives that I wanted more then a day to make the trek. I left a day early. The roads where horrible. I was on snow packed roads the entire first day. I finally decided I had enough and stopped in Blanding Utah. The rest area clearly stated that overnight parking was prohibited. I found a sweet little flat spot in the Utah State University south east campus parking lot. Hoping that I had finally drove out of the storm and would be able to start the drive fresh in the morning. When I woke I found that was not the case. It had snowed all night. My van was covered and the roads were deep with fresh unpacked snow on top of packed ice. 
Being from Utah I wasn’t worried just knew that it was going to be a long drive. Even though I was nearly half way there. Luckily after about 100 miles I found my self driving south of the storm. So when I saw the brown sign I had to take advantage. A right turn was made and I was at the Hubble Trading Post.
 It is the longest standing trading post in the nation. It’s sits on the rim of the Navajo Reservation. So much history was created here. Not much to be proud of either. The mistakes we have made are important to remember. At first glance this area seems very desolate but once you get into it and start to see that there is an abundance of beauty throughout this desert.

 I jumped back in and continued my drive through Arizona and into the White Mountains of New Mexico. These mountains are beautiful forest covered and full of life. One animal I’m not used to seeing are wild pigs. Cracks me up every time I see them rushing across the road. I have found an overlook that I love to stop and cook my dinner at. So after a great BBQ I finally finished my long drive and fell asleep at my final destination for the week. 
          The ride home wasn’t all that eventful. It usually isn’t. I get to missing my family and usually hurry back home. It was a two day ride with a quite little sleepover in a car wash parking lot tucked back in the corner out of the way in a little one horse Arizona town. 
          My second trip to Lordsburg I took my time again. I left a little earlier and the roads were much better. I was able to arrive at Arches National Park around 4:30. I looked over the available hikes and decided delicate arch was first on the list. I didn’t have much day light so I got right to it. The hike to delicate arch is classified as mildly strenuous. It’s 3.5 miles and up a decent grade for the majority of it. The footing is pretty good unless it is wet. Then it becomes very slick. My luck it was lightly snowing just enough to make the rock wet. Luckily I have a pretty good pair of work boots I slipped on and didn’t have any issues. Once I got to the arch the sun was down and it was starting to get dark. It took me some time to actually realize the arch was smack in front of me. Hint it’s not very small. Very cool though especially because I was the only one stupid enough to try this hike this late in the snow. The way back was a little more nerve racking since it became very dark. Cloud cover blocked the star and moon light. It was hard to see much of anything. Every time I stumbled upon a trail marker i was genuinely surprised I was still on track. The trail is marked but would be easy to lose your way in the conditions that I was dealing with. Glad to be back in my van loaded with digital proof of my escapade. 
I decided the rest of the park would be better seen in the morning so I drove to Panorama point broke out the BBQ and settled in for a great dinner followed by sweet dreams. 

          The next morning my hopes were granted. I woke at first light and with the cloud cover the sunrise was pretty cool. With a name like Panorama point in a National Park of any kind I knew it wouldn’t disappoint and I was correct. 
I had to get back on the road knowing that I had a long drive left but so many of the hikes were classified as easy and so close together that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I was glad I didn’t. The windows were impressive! 

There is not a picture that has ever done them justice. The double arch which I’ve seen in so many pictures was one of my big hopes to see. In the pictures I never realized that these Arches are the second largest in the park. I always thought they were small. Boy was I wrong they are huge.

 After hiking a bit A quick stop at the visitor center to get my magnet for the fridge collection. I was off and on my way to Lordsburg again. 

          After five days of work and some desert walks.
My work decided to move us to Panorama City California. The name is deceiving. I didn’t find much of any kind worthy of Panorama. We loaded our equipment and headed out. The first night we stayed in Yuma AZ. Not much to say but it’s a lot of desert out there. 
The next morning there was some confusion with the semi trucks that were contracted to move our equipment into California. California is the only state we are restricted from traveling in. So I had a few hours to spare. While the other guys took naps and sat around waiting I noticed another one of those brown signs. This one was for the Arizona Territory prison.

 Crazy to read about all the history that went on in that little town. I recommend it for sure if your in the area make time. The trucks arrived and we continued on. Our next place of business wasn’t far from the coast. So a sunset on the beach, and of course some more of my famous BBQ, was to much to pass up. I barley found a spot as the sun was setting. 

After some great food and beautiful beach sights I was off and running again. I found the job sit but I’m not allowed to sleep at the site. The motel the guys had found didn’t have enough parking for the people staying much less an extra van. The law in that area prohibits people sleeping in there vehicles. So I was at a loss. Until I met an incredibly kind man named Mike that offered me not only a space but water, power and dump facilities while I worked in that area. I find it amazing how so many people can be so kind. Our world really is becoming better and better I believe. 
          It was my last day of work and it was along one. Our equipment had been damaged on the way over and we had work to get done. Finally at about 6:00pm we were cut loose. It was to late to drive home that night so one last stop in the California desert this time off I-15 just before Baker there is some BLM land. Rasor OHV area. It was quite and great for sleeping. When I woke I was eager to get back to my vacation home and find some down time with my wonderful family. I hightailed it back to the mountains of Utah. Found my brick and mortar and fell into the loving arms of my family. 
Keep reading because I won’t ever stop exploring.