All posts by Keevan

Henry Coe Camp Trip

On the two days between storms we found our way to the top of a long ten mile long winding road to Henry Coe State Park near Gilroy, CA. for a final last two days with family.

Fun times were had! Good meals, a lovely long hike to Frog Lake (destination chosen by granddaughter Malaya) and Yahtzee games in the dark cold night with a bit of bubbly champagne, made for a fabulous send off.

Yet another cold morning rain finally did us in, and we scampered down the hill for a good breakfast with kids, before heading for warmer weather.

Destination Yuma Arizona, via Josua Tree National Park in the southern California desert.


A Rainy Departure

A big push and a few hurdles, but we made it out by our deadline. Heavy rains made for a bit of a challenge during our final days. Getting the house completely cleaned out, the last remaining items and more into storage, the van back into service for an unexpected ordered part, Pia’s last minute grooming, good-byes, thank you’s, and the LWV’s load lessened a bit more made for a crazy few day. Not only was it a gully washing downpour, but an Arctic cold front as well. Brrrr. Thankfully we kept out a few warm jackets, and a good call on my part had me return to storage a few days prior to grab my warm Ugg boots, just because I thought I should.

Being tired and chilled to the bone, we decided to celebrate a bit, get a good night’s sleep and let our bodies recover from the past week on a hard floor, by starting off with one warm cozy night in a motel. Yep we did.

Then our last day in town found us at New Brighton State Beach, near Capitola, one of our favorite local spots to walk, camp and daydream. We spent the night happy and content, though still exhausted, comfortably tucked in atop our feather bed in the little white van, with our propane heater blasting us with blissful warmth while listening to yet another pouring rain. But comfy we were, as all three of us slept an amazing ten hours. Actually I did wake a few times worried about Pia, as she didn’t flinch a muscle all night, and happily slept in. She usually wakes us up early to fuel her stomach.

The morning after the second gully washer, we awoke to a beautiful sunny clear day with the Pacific Ocean in view, fog lifted enough to see across the bay from our camper window.

Looking down the bluffs at the Pacific Ocean from New Brighton Campground

Wishing we could stay, we pushed on…to finish up our last bits of business, before grocery shopping and embarking on a final camping trip with children and granddaughter.




And Then the Tears

There is much written about pain and joy relationships. The pain of hard work, the joy of success. The pain of childbirth, the joy of a baby. The pain of college, the joy of a diploma; and on and on.

Say what? What does this have to do with our traveling adventure?

Well, we’ve known we were leaving for 6 months. Close friends and family all knew we were leaving in 6 months. We’ve talked it over and over and over. We sweated and watched as the furniture disappeared. We got used to not having a washer & dryer. Then got used to not having a refrigerator or rugs on the floor.

Then it happened. We had to say our good-byes.

At first it wasn’t so hard. But the more real it all became, as time came closer to leave, the harder it was. There is just something about close physical proximity that offers security. The same routines, the familiar faces, the joys of coffee together, the comfort of the old.

Yes it’s hard.

Our children, our granddaughter, our relatives, our good pals and buddies, our ex-coworkers, the barista at the coffee shop, and the teller at the bank. All these and more have been such a huge part of our lives over the past years.

And we are SO grateful to have had these nourishing relationships.

So how can we leave it all behind?

Because we know we will see you all again. And when that day comes, the sun will shine brilliantly, the smiles will gleam, and the stories and tales will be told. We will all be richer for the parting, wiser for the absence, and so happy to be together again.


“The pain of parting, is nothing to the joy of meeting again” —Charles Dickens

Peace in the Forest

Amid the chaos of packing comes some calm.

I slipped away for a bit today to find some Spring.



I found it in the woods, and along the river, and high in the sky… peeping out from a long dry winter.

Urging us on, along our path, to follow dreams, to look closely, to see and hear and smell the wonders of all the seasons.

Happy Pooches, Happy Van

Traveling with pooch

Hey, yeah we’ve been super busy.

Packing, storing, recovering, and organizing for living on the road takes a lot of energy.

pink cherry blossoms against a bright blue sky

I’ve been reading other folks’ blogs to get an idea of the weather and crowds in different parts of the country at different times of the year. Unfortunately it seems like everyone wants to be where the weather is perfect and the crowds are small. Hmm. I wonder why? Wherever you go, there you are…and so are others.  Well people, make room for our LWV, cuz we’ll be joining you.

Our main priorities when we leave are to go slow, relax, and keep Pia comfortable. Fred and I can handle the hot weather most of the time, but our “P-girl” has long black hair all over her body, so we will be focusing on keeping her cool, as she is 12 years old. (That’s like 84 in people years)

We recently had all the windows tinted on the van to help keep her and us cool inside and also to add an element of privacy without having to pull all the shades and curtains constantly. We’re really happy with the results. In addition to the tinting, I’ve adapted a pair of light blocking curtains to hang across the middle of the van. I’m still playing with those to make them look a bit more exciting, but they are really nicely lined and insulated. I’m adding another layer to the back, so the stark white lining doesn’t show from either side.

The plan is to mostly camp in places where dogs are welcome. Although I have a personal goal of visiting as many National Parks as possible, they are not always very dog friendly. Why go there, when the pooch can’t hike around with us?  Even though she is a great traveling doggie, and always content to go anywhere, we will not be locking her up in the van for the amount of time it takes to go on a nice hike. There are plenty of other campgrounds near lakes and rivers we can play at. So, for the time being, we’ll concentrate on those more pet happy areas, and just do some scenic drives through the National Parks we cross through.

Organizing Strategies

There is none.

I think I’ve re-organized the van on every trip we’ve taken and can conclude that there is no “perfect” way to organize it. That being said, every trip does get easier. And every trip is different, requiring a different game plan. So why not just add and subtract as we go along, which is part of the fun of traveling anyway. I know from experience that we will take things we don’t need, and need things we don’t take, so I’m not expending a ton of energy on this right now.

Still, I did buy two new little plastic organizing drawers. Mostly because they were this beautiful turquoise color, I was unable to resist!  I knew they they would fit perfectly in a couple of closets, and that the toilet paper and paper towels would fit majestically on top of and beside one of them fabulously.

Turquoise plastic drawer organizer showing storage options for life in a van

There you have it!

We will have food, clothes, a warm place to sleep, reading materials, a cozy little roof over our head, and two turquoise organizing drawer units.

Isn’t life simple?


A Textbook Delivery

alpaca riding in the back of a minivan
Are We There Yet?

Our alpaca that is.

Ashley was one of our very first two alpacas we brought home  22 years ago. She has been with us since she was 17 months old, and she was the last one of the herd to leave the ranch.

So it goes, with this change of lifestyle we are engaging in, Ashley needed to find a new home. A good home. A retirement home, where she could live out the rest of her life in happy leisurely grass eating, cud chewing days.

Her departure was better than we ever dreamed of. So much in fact, that Fred and I both wished for a retirement home as nice for ourselves.

From the moment we loaded into the van, to the mellow non-exciting two hour drive to our destination, to that magical leap onto new turf, she was the Queen of Alpacas, perfectly behaved, with manners and grace to make any mother proud.  And this my friends, is her new home.

black alpaca grazing on green pasture at a wild horse sanctuary

elderly retired horses grazing on green pastures at Wild Tender Horse Sancturay

horses graze on green pastures with ocean view in background at Wild tender horse sanctuary in Pescadero, CA.

Yes, that IS a view of the Pacific Ocean in the distance. Yes, all the animals in this bit of heaven enjoy that view while munching their morning breakfast.

Oh… to be a leisurely grass eating, cud chewing, oldster retired animal with a view like that.

Many, many Blessings to the wonderful folks at  Http:// who provided this wonderful haven for Ashley and Peace of Mind for us.  Please visit their website, they make a difference in the lives of many many animals.

Making Progress

Footprints in the sand leading to a deserted long stretch of beach with the blue Pacific Ocean in the background.

Things are progressing in a good direction, and we’re now living among boxes and piles of displaced possessions, waiting to find new homes. As I go through the process of packing and letting go, my mind wanders, thinking many thoughts. Often I find myself wondering about the life of my ancestors – pioneers who came across the country, or oceans even, with what they could carry on their backs. A precious photo, the family bible, or even the spinning wheels and family heirlooms women brought, only to abandon along the trail. I think to myself, “If we bring too many items in the van, I can always leave some off along the way.” But truly, it won’t be the heirlooms, or the precious photos. More likely it would be an uninteresting book, or unnecessary clothing we honestly did not need to bring.

I continue to be amazed with Craig’s list. Since we live pretty far out in the boonies, I’m happy to find that most of the nice folks from the list, looking for a good bargain, are more than willing to drive the long winding road to get here. Thankfully so, as furniture and tools keep disappearing.

We  continue to receive mixed and interesting reactions from folks regarding our upcoming departure.  Either people are really behind us, with well wishes on our adventure, thinking it all very exiting and awesome, OR they find it incomprehensible that anyone in their right mind would take off without set plans and/or a final destination in place before embarking upon travels.

Onward our life marches forward, moving gently with the flow. It’s a crazy life, it’ll be a crazy journey…Soon we’ll be on the road!


Hello. Here we are. Two humans and one dog. We are about to embark upon a most interesting journey.

Without boring myself or anyone else, the story is that this day has been anticipated for some years. In 2010 it was a dream. A year later, we bought this white Eurovan pop top camper.

White eurovan camper van parked in front of mountains in the Sierra's.

The day after we brought the van home, we left on our first over night slumber party. We had so much fun, the following summer was filled with numerous more vacations. In the years that followed, we’ve continued to vacation, primp, and care for our van while staying strong when tackling repairs or purchasing expensive parts and gear. Yep, we adore van life.

Fast forward, and now here we are, in early 2014, preparing to go long term (as in having no other place of dwelling) in this little white van. For the past few months, we’ve busily de-cluttered, tossed, donated, and burdened our children with more boxes of “stuff” than they really need. The hidden crevices of stash swallowing closets, attics, sheds, and garages are for the most part empty. Much of the furniture is gone, thanks to Craig’s List, our same beguiled children, and the local thrift stores. Our few irreplaceable’s and heirlooms will live in an all American storage shed for the time being.

As seems fitting at this time in life, while our path meanders off in new directions, this blog  as well, is starting it’s own uncharted journey. It’s documentation is partly for our friends and relatives, some cheering us on, and others panting with unduly aghast at adventures or misadventures. Mostly though it is for us, as a place to record our excursions…hopefully post some lust worthy photos, maybe add in a few philosophical thoughts, and who knows what type of common (or uncommon) sense we acquire along the way. If you’ve stumbled along here, as happens in internet land, pour yourself a cup of tea and enjoy the journey.