Aka – Wanderlusting’s less known sister. The one that takes the desire to travel and rolls with it. I stumbled across this word a few weeks back and as soon as I read it, I knew it was created for me. And today I roll…
I have always loved a nice long road trip. The wind in your hair, tunes on the radio, random sites like a giant Paul Bunyon and The Worlds Biggest fill in the blank. When I was in high school I got my first taste of road life while following The Grateful Dead on a summer tour. I LOVED the idea of packing up, driving out, settling down, hanging with friends, selling my crafts (I was really good at sewing patchwork clothing and crafting hemp jewelry 😉 ) listening to music, sitting by bonfires, and camping at night. If it wasn’t a two-night city, we got to pack up and do it all over again the next day. The Dead community gave me my first insight into van life and all that came with it. When Jerry Garcia died, I switched to Phish tour (cool, but NOT THE SAME). Town after town, parking lot after parking lot, grilled cheese after grilled cheese…I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT. Even the gas stations and Walmart bathrooms.
Soon after high school, I took to the road with my best friend Marisa. The plan was to drive her 69 VW bus across the country eventually making our way to Boulder CO, aka the hot hippy guy mecca of our world. The VW never made it. Apparently, 4 bald tires, a bus with no heat (in February) or working windshield wipers, and a starter on the fritz is a recipe for disaster. Not to worry, though the bus didn’t make it, Marisa and I eventually did…via a Greyhound bus. I am happy to report that indeed there were a ton of hot hippy dudes to be found. 😉
Fast forward 20 years and I haven’t been on a road trip since. I mean, I have gone on long drives with specific destinations – when I moved to Ashland OR or visited my sister in Bar Harbor, Maine. But I haven’t driven just to drive. I haven’t had a chance to turn left on a whim instead of going straight…until today.THE IDEA
Many moons ago, I bought a 2001 Honda CRV, affectionately known as The Beast. I had one specific purpose in mind when signing those papers – ROAD TRIP!! But it never happened. I have had some amazing adventures, but most of them involved planes, trains, and feet to get me there. Somehow the road trip fell by the wayside. 😦
Since purchasing The Beast, I have aged and so has she, though my aging has cost nothing in comparison. In 2016, it was her radiator, then brakes ($894.08 total). Last year her exhaust went, soon after the starter, and in September she got two new tires ($913.54 total – not including the 2 tires which were a birthday gift from my mom. Thanks, mom!). Basically, her internal parts are similar to J$’s Franken-Caddy’s external parts – they would have been a match made in car heaven (may he RIP – Franken-Caddy, not J$).
A few weeks back I took The Beast in for an oil change and a new battery – all the things midwesterners do to assure not getting stuck in the dead of winter. A half-hour later I received a call from the mechanic explaining that The Beast was not safe to drive. In addition to the oil change and battery, she now needed new ball joints ($870.41 total). I returned to find her suspended in the air with her undercarriage on full display for all to see. After a quick walk around with the mechanic poking and prodding, pointing out all her issues and flaws, I whispered the words no one ever wants to say, “how long?”. How long could she (we!) continue to live this way?? Thankfully, his answer was more optimistic than my thoughts. With only 150k on the odometer, the mechanic assured me that after this repair, she had plenty of life left. With that, I decided it is time to give her the life I bought her for. It’s time for a road trip.
Van Life is all the rage right now. But you don’t need a van to join the party. You can make use of whatever vehicle you have (yes, even hatchbacks and sedans)…all you have to do is google your make + camper and I can almost guarantee at least one result similar to what you are looking for. Here is an example of what came up when I did it:
After that search, I went down the rabbit hole of all things Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, and blogging to find the perfect combination of small footprint/lots of storage. I settled on a modified version I found at A Great Wandering Affair.
Last weekend I met with my newly retired Dad (Congrats, Dad!) to turn my CRV into an RV. It took us two days of planning and tweaking, but we eventually got it perfect…
All that bending down…no wonder our backs hurt!
The platform is 46 wide and 72 inches long – big and wide enough for 2 people…or one person plus a 65lb dog, as is my case. The total cost of the platform itself was $77.53 which included all the wood, screws, hinges, and turnbuckles (to secure the whole thing to the car – safety first!).
And then I got to beautifying…
I used two yoga mats for the base (no carpet since Bubs is coming along), made curtains, designed and installed a pulley system for the seats to go up from the back seat (hard to explain, but necessary for stealthiness), cut window shades out of Reflectix to insulate, made a ramp for Bubs to access the platform, and found a way to make every inch of space useful.. and I have a ton of space left!
I haven’t taken pictures of here all packed up yet (too cloudy), but here she is with the mats partially installed:
And with Bubs in her new bed (again thanks, Dad and Pam!)…
I will fill you in on more of the details (final costs and pictures!!) in a future post. We were due to hit the road 3 minutes ago at 10 am central.
In my last post, I spoke about my Lean FI goals nearly being accomplished. With the market being what is has been, I feel financially stable enough to stop working for a month and enjoy this journey. I’m still tracking my expenses (obviously, what else would I write about?? 😉 ), but I am more looking forward to tracking my experiences and sharing them with you all (as well as the financials)!!
First stop, Springfield IL to visit my cousin. Upcoming stops include Austin, Denver, El Segundo to see my other cousin and friends (Waffles on Wednesday and Tonya), San Francisco, a 3 day stop in Sonoma for a girls wine tasting bonanza, hot springs hunting, Redwood hugging, Ashland Or (my old stomping grounds), and whatever else comes my way. No actual plans (besides Sonoma!!), I am traveling in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination. And it better have sun!!
I plan to be gone for one month, returning back to Chicago on the 23rd (just in time for our Rockstar Finance Forum meet up!!). If you are interested in following along on my journey, I will be most active on Instagram and of course, Twitter. I am hoping to also get a ton of writing done but I won’t make any promises. 😉 If you happen to be along my route, email or DM me and I would love to meet up…provided you are not a serial killer. If you are, you should know I am armed with mace, my dog is trained to sic and doesn’t like strangers, and my mom is tracking my every move via Find Friends (seriously). You do not want to feel the wrath of the Italian mafia. Trust me.
So ta ta for now, friends. I hope to see you on the road or in the near future!!
Until next time…