Friday, September 1, 2023

How We Got Here (written October 17, 2021)

It all starts in the Spring of 2011.  Up until then all of our camping  was in a tent.  We've had small tents and very large tents that required two people to setup.  Always on the ground.   Often wet.  Living in the PNW, wet weather is a possibility any time time of the year - at least west of the Cascades. 

If I wanted to continue spending time outdoors, we needed a new solution.  I had spent a few years reviewing different trailer options, but nothing jumped out.  Then I came across the Forest River Rpod.  We liked the rounded look, having beds for the four of us, a wetbath, and indoor galley.  Long story short...the quality was crappy, we didn't like converting a dinette to a bed to a dinette every night, the fridge was too small, and we didn't know how to live small.

In 2013 we sold the Rpod and picked up an Orama Teardrop trailer.  Our primary goas were a dry, off the ground, permanent bed and high quality.  We got this with the teardrop.  We had the traditional galley out the back which was preferred.  No bath was the largest negative.  We did setup a popup tent and porta potti - Steph never used it.  I used it in the evening before it got dark - beers would really go through me and I didn't feel like walking to the park bathroom every 30 minutes. 

Then came the boat in the summer of 2014.  More space.  full head with shower, beds for all, bigger fridge, and a salon to hang out in.  We learned the most on our trips to Desolation Sound in the summers of 2017 and 2019.  17 days out (12 on anchor) teaches you a lot about fridge/freezer/food management, clothing choices, food choices, battery managment, trash management, water management, systems use, and  a lot more.   You learn what you need and what is important to you.  You learn it's OK to not have everything you might want. 

We love our boat and spending time on the water.  But we really miss visiting places on land.  I've always known I'd want to spend time on the road, do it comfortably, be able to go offroad, and not be a 30 foot RV or a trailer.   Like many things, I've been following Sprinter van builds for several years.  Like so many, I started by reviewing options on the Sportsmobile site then looked at builds by larger RV companies like Winnebago.  The Revel has been a game-changer putting focus on quality van life. 

We have our home in Sunriver, we have the boat, and now we want a van conversion?  Welp...yeah.  It will take over a year to get a van built for us.  This gets us within 2 years of being empty nesters.  Ideally, retirement occurs at 55, kids are away at school, and we sell our Seattle home.  We'll have the boat in Seattle for our time here, we can create a home base in Sunriver (or maybe somewhere else), and then we use the van to see the country. 

This plan is the impetus that is moving  a daydream to reality.  We want mobility.  We want quality.  We want comfort.  We don't want a large RV.  We don't want a trailer.  With the pugs, they'll have more room to spread out while on the roach.

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