The First 30 Days on the Road

2012SprinterTrish and I camp out a lot. Over the years we spend on average three months (accumulatively) out of the year camping in our Sprinter. We did the same in our Syncro Vanagon (4×4 VW Bus) that we drove for 24 years putting over 450,000 kilometres on it. But, before all this I was well trained by my parents, traveling extensively in their VW Bus Campmobiles and Land Rovers outfitted for photographic expeditions.

1969AlaskaOne of the many creative endeavours my father, Robert Reynolds, did was to create photographic coffee table books for Graphic Arts Center. He designed hundreds of books for this publisher and photographed seven books in their state book series. It was his first book, “ALASKA”, when the real adventures began. I was eleven years old when we packed up dad’s brand new 1969 Land Rover and took off for the great white north, camping for months on end in an amazing wilderness. Then, for his next book, “TEXAS”, he purchased a 1972 VW Bus Campmobile. This was the beginning of “#vanlife” for me. We traveled Texas in all seasons exploring every corner for his book. Many of these expeditions would keep us on the road for up to three months at a time. Well, at least for dad and myself. On many of these expeditions, my mother would start out quite enthusiastic, but it wouldn’t be too long before I would hear, “Bob, take me to an airport”. What this meant for the two of us was fewer motels, more remote camping and I got to ride up front!


On May 1st of 2018 Trish and I ended home ownership. Our goal, hit the road full time, explore new places, meet new people and eventually find a place to call home.

We departed Eureka, Nevada late in the afternoon on April 30th driving to Elko to sign escrow papers the next day. The Sprinter was totally overloaded with the final things out the door: cleaning supplies and boxes of jumbled thing we’ve used to the last minute and other excess stuff intended for our storage unit. This was in no way conducive for comfortable travel in the least bit. We had appointments in Elko and Reno making it impossible to make it to our storage unit for several days. In other words, a complete kerfuffle existed within our Sprinter!

SouthForkThis was our first morning out at South Fork State Recreation Area, near Elko, Nevada. Overloaded and overwhelmed with stuff…

Several days later, we finally made it to our storage unit to unloaded our extra stuff. It felt so good to have a bit of elbow room in the Sprinter again!

We had several events to attend and engagements on our calendar over the next month in and around Carson City and Reno, so we didn’t want to wander too far afield yet. We purchased an annual Nevada State Park Pass, embarking on a local journey checking out Nevada State Parks. We decided to start with the two parks we’ve never visited before. These journeys turned out to be incredibly helpful to us.

We treated this time as a shake down to hone our systems, refit and move items to places where you could actually get to them.  And taking too many clothes is really a problem so we had to make some hard choices about what stays and what goes. In our case, we thought adding a few items for long term travel would make life easier or more convenient along the way. They turned out to be nothing more than a hinderance and something else to move around. We found the lighter the load, the easier it is to have maximum enjoyment out of our travels. Stuff only complicates the adventure, distracting you from why you are out there in the first place. It is very true, less is more!

IMG_9590Washoe Lake

IMG_0111Lahontan

IMG_0416Walker Lake

IMG_0199Berlin/Ichthyosaurs

We’ve now visited every state park in Nevada with the exception of the two newest ones, and one isn’t open yet (mid July 2018). Many of the parks have some fantastic and very underused trail systems. At each park we visited we hiked every trail and in most cases they offered the best park experience with virtually no one else around. Look for further posts regarding Nevada State Parks…

At one point, we finally had a little more time to travel further out so we headed east across Nevada to visit more state parks.

IMG_0877

IMG_0874Cathedral Gorge

IMG_0961Beaver Dam

But, the weather suddenly turned hot, so we scrambled north to Great Basin National Park to go hiking among the Bristlecone Pines at over 3,300 metres.

IMG_1207Great Basin National Park

IMG_1235

IMG_1231And, lets not forget about Rusty the adventure cat. He takes to the road better than most people I know. He’s ready for that TARDIS door to open to find a new planet to explore. He has really calmed down since we’re done packing stuff up in Eureka and have moved in to the Sprinter.

IMG_0806

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Time to Move

Time

With the EPA deregulating many rules inclusive of the mining industry, the small community of Eureka, Nevada, an area rich with new geological discoveries, has been experiencing an uptick in activity. Drillers rolling in, new mining companies opening offices, 5th Wheel trailers filling empty lots, rentals full and real estate seeing an increase in activity.

BuelStreet

In the middle of winter we were seeing activity on our 1880 Bank Building! One weekend alone, our real estate agent had multiple groups coming through to view our property, this after five years of thinking we were never going to sell the place! How exciting when the first offer came in! Unfortunately, it turned out to be an insultingly “low ball” offer that we ended up turning down… Then, the very next week a new door opened, our agent called to say a gentleman was on his way to see the building and would we be there to show it? He drove two days to get to Eureka from the Pacific Northwest. We showed the place to him most of the day, crawling through every passage possible and climbing ladders across the roof checking out every detail. He saw the good, the bad and the ugly. At the end of the day, we had a hand shake deal and all parties were quite happy. He needed to drive back to the Northwest and sell his property, so we agreed to close in 90 days. The first morning he returned to the Northwest he was awaked by a knock on the door, a woman standing there asking, “would you be interested in selling your house?”. It’s amazing how things fall together when they are meant to be…

Sunroom01

At first we thought, 90 days is plenty of time to pack up and move out… Wrong! When you live in a community as small and remote as Eureka, Nevada, things just take a lot longer. We’re so lucky we had started to purge our stuff nearly a year earlier. Best guess is we have sold, given away, donated, recycled or discarded nearly half of our belongings. For the first two months, we concentrated on packing and boxing up everything for long term storage. We would have clothes purging sessions. We both had lost considerable weight and most of our clothes no longer fit. So, most of our clothes were donated or repurposed. We held moving sales to find new homes for our unwanted stuff.

Next, where do we put everything? With a little research Trish found a storage unit and mailing address (forwarding service) in Carson City, Nevada.

Storage

Did I ever mention that Eureka, Nevada is a remote community? Depending on which direction you go, it’s a four to six hour drive to get to a city of reasonable size (a real grocery store). At first we thought we’d not put the miles on the Sprinter and rent a truck. Well at .89 cents a mile plus daily fees and insurance we quickly came to the realization that turning our Sprinter into a cargo hauler would save a lot of money. Not to mention, it was easier on our aging bodies to break up the packing and moving.

SeatOut

Our 2012 Mercedes Benz Sprinter has a Van Specialties interior. We knew the camper interior came out without the use of tools, but had never removed it before. It took about an hour, included taking out all of the camping gear too.

InsideRear

InsideFront

Cargo Hauler! The maximum allowable cargo capacity of our Sprinter is 5,880 lbs. On at least one trip to our storage unit we had an estimated load of around 5,000 lbs. The Sprinter handled it amazingly! Drove like a Mercedes Benz and got 20mpg doing it!

Studio01

It took several trips to storage to empty the building. We have come to the conclusion we still have way too much stuff. We plan on figuring out how to get through the storage unit and reduce even more…

Rusty

Rusty was somewhat stressed-out through the packing and moving parts. We kept his food, water, beds and litter box in their same places to help reduce his stress, but he was still stressed. Once we moved into the Sprinter he completely relaxed and is ready for adventure!

LivingRoom

The last week living in Eureka we were camping in our building.

Gone

“Gone” Our last day in Eureka, Nevada was Monday, April 30th 2018…

Parking

By the time we had reverted the Sprinter back into a camper and packed it for extended adventure, Spring had arrived and we are now mobile…

 

Burning Man 2015

Burning Man 2015

Burning Man has never really appealed to me. Maybe because I become uneasy at the thought of large crowds, let alone a really large crowd in a place that Trish and I have been camping in for decades. Camping without a crowd, or without seeing … Continue reading

Photographic Expeditions

2012Sprinter

Hot spring hopping in North America’s Great Basin Desert.

Recently I began a blog about our photographic expeditions across North America’s West Coast.

Click HERE for the link to my new blog.