Driving through WA

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 all hours of the night just to get up early again the next day to repeat. On the day of our departure we were so intent to finally leave, we were literally throwing bags into the van, not distributing or even checking their contents. We made no time for a final purge or a “safety check” to see if we may have left anything important behind. This left us without some basic essentials so, friends, make a detailed packing list and check the items off once all is packed aboard. Trust us, you’ll be glad to have your percolator.

Leaving in such haste made the first days a nightmare of unorganized junk in poor Diego and we ended purging at each stop through Washington and Oregon. It was so cold and wet out, we kept pushing South while starting a mental inventory of the things we were “sure we packed”. Lucky for us, that list is short but some of the items would definitely be nice to have! Things like a hatchet, pocket stove, head lamps and one of our GRAYL filters… It’s crazy to think how many extras we packed but missed out on these essentials. As we’ve read through many other blogs, we now understand. Pack light, you’ll make do and won’t be burdened by “things”.

Putting that aside, adjusting to life on the road has been pretty easy. Still cooking up delicious meals, just with a view in the fresh air now. The first week there were some arguments, most of which happened in McDonald’s parking lots scoring free WIFI when one of us isn’t ready to go and the other can’t stand to be there another second. All other arguments can be solved with a sandwich. The ongoing conversation seems to be figuring out the simplest ways to set up and pack up camp, which will become an art over the next several months. Feel free to visit the exhibit.

We had originally intended on blasting straight through the United States within about a week but, by stretching it out, we could explore more of the Western states, dial in the van before Mexico and get some quality time with family while we lay poolside in Palm Springs. Our itinerary (what itinerary?) is already out the window but as long as the gas tank and our coffee mugs are full, we couldn’t be happier.

Over the last few days, we’ve been melting into the leisurely desert lifestyle and checking the last few items off that dusty to do list. It feels great getting the van dialed in more and it feels even better having freshly laundered clothes! But, after less than a week, we’re already feeling restless, too comfortable with home cooked meals and a proper bed. We miss wild camping with Diego and are definitely itching to get back onto an unfamiliar road destine to the unknown. As they say, life begins at the end of your comfort zone.


  1. Olga Toliusis

    Hello, my name is Olga and with my husband are planning to make Vancouver-Montevideo (Uruguay) in our little Pontiac Vibe, no camping of course.
    So you left vancouver at the end of January? it’s that the best time to depart?
    I have other questions that I’ll leave for later.
    Thanks and be safe.

    1. Author
      Dane + Penny

      Hello Olga! That’s exciting you’re planning your own adventure through the Americas. For us, leaving in January has worked out really well, giving us an almost “endless summer” apart from a taste of the rainy season in Central America. But, it depends on how long you plan on traveling for and where you will spend most of your time (ie: winter isn’t the best time to see North America!) How long do you plan on being on the road for? Feel free to email us at ofmountainsandbeaches@gmail.com!

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