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Fear + Loathing in Palm Springs

In California, North America, The Build, The Van, United States by Dane + Penny2 Comments

In an attempt to surprise Dane's dad & step mom (aka "Schmum") who live several provinces away, we had been avoiding conversations about our timeline for weeks. Even though our trusty GPS tracker (the DeLorme inReach) had been giving away our location, we managed to sneak into their complex - where they least expected to see us - and successfully pulled off the mission. We spent the next several days catching up on current events, playing card games and laying pool side -and, of course, tinkering with the van when we had down time. We finished our last few projects, ...
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Just a Taste of J-Tree

In California, Hiking, North America, United States by Dane + Penny4 Comments

The Flinstones must have been from Joshua Tree. You know, before the roads were paved. Now, the roads are perfect. Smooth, with beautiful corners that anyone who loves the freedom of a motorcycle would go crazy over! As you cruise down that perfectly paved road, there are giant boulders stacked upon each other, some of them with ropes and lines attached for rock climbing, bouldering or slack lining. You see the free climbers walking around looking like Sponge Bob with their square crash pads strapped to their back. Meanwhile, 50ft overhead, slack liners are praying the evening wind eases up ...
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Meandering Through the Mojave Desert

In California, Hiking, North America, United States by Dane + PennyLeave a Comment

It was dark as we drove down the Saskatchewan-straight highway into the Mojave National Preserve. A well-known "no-no" for overlanders; we vowed we wouldn't drive after dusk once we crossed the border further South. The full moon had risen over the hills somewhere between Bakersfield and Barstow and now we shared the road with only one other set of headlights. It was surreal peering out the window into the desert after waking up in the icebox that was Yosemite in January, surrounded by snow, sequoias and mountain faces. Now, some hours later, surrounded by cacti, tumbleweeds and sand. We spotted ...
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In the Face of Giants at Yosemite

In California, Hiking, North America, United States by Dane + Penny3 Comments

We left the coast, writhing with anticipation of our mountain escape and curious if Yosemite would live up to all of its' hype. We cruised through California’s rolling farm lands with the windows rolled down until we came upon a closed road. Flooded. Detour. Obviously, we had to take a look. Dane, eyes glazed with excitement and full of  confidence in our van (with newly equipped snorkel), was ready for the challenge. While others were turning around, we made the crossing with one long-haired, leather-backed motorcycle rider fist-pumping us on. We passed through gold rush towns with worn wood false ...
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Finding the Lost Coast in Northern California

In California, North America, United States by Dane + Penny1 Comment

While we rushed through Oregon eager to reach California, we imagined the clouds parting to reveal the glorious sun on our pasty Canadian skin. Sweet California did not disappoint, and as we crossed the border the rain wondrously stopped and the sun emerged to welcome us to the sunny state. With little knowledge of what to expect, simply armed with a personal recommendation, we were set on taking the coastal scenic Highway #1 through Northern California. Offseason, mid-January, had us feeling lucky to be cruising the windy, coastal roads with no one on our tail. And, when a local happened ...
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Soaked in Oregon’s South Coast

In North America, Oregon, United States by Dane + PennyLeave a Comment

We made a big push (still trying to outrun the rain!) driving from the interior of Oregon directly West for the coast and stopped in a little fishing town named Newport, possibly best known for 'Ripley's Believe It or Not' museum. Most memorable to us were the sea lions who were making a big ruckus on the docks; we could hear them blocks from the beach and without a clear view of the ocean. We grabbed the camera and walked down to the historic part of town to find them. The sea lions lazed around on the dock. Some of ...
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Slowing Down in Umpqua, Oregon

In North America, Oregon, United States by Dane + PennyLeave a Comment

For days, Dane studied our Oregon maps in search of the right place to test out his fishing equipment. It was January in the Pacific Northwest, so we were constantly attempting to outrun the storms that were pounding the coast and washing out what could be the best places to hook what could be our dinner. The wind howled and the rain poured down while we followed the Umpqua River inland. Meandering up a side road alongside a stream, the storm finally passed and we found a pull out where I could make lunch and Dane could put on his ...
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Cruising the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway, Oregon

In North America, Oregon, United States by Dane + Penny2 Comments

We hustled through our first 500km on the I-5 trying to outrun the rain, making it into Oregon for day two on the road. After many stops in desperate search of a percolator, we were in need of some fresh air (and caffeine). So, we took Highway 84 East to connect us with the parallel Route 30, the “Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway”. This old highway twisted and turned through the forest, leading us past waterfalls, view points and under the canopy of old growth trees. Needless to say, it was stunning! We passed by the Vista House propped up on …

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Getting Out of Dodge

In North America, Oregon, Preparations, United States by Dane + Penny2 Comments

There was at least one bet (that we knew of) regarding our departure date. While one optimistic family member was confident we would leave on our planned date, another close friend was quite positive we would not. In the end, we left nearly two weeks late trying to finish up some “simple” tasks like the solar panel mount, plumbing and electrical, just to name a few. Looking back, our eagerness to hit the road made us beyond optimistic about meeting our original date and with the ever-growing to do list, we were going borderline crazy working on the van into …