Connecting With Your Authentic Self Through Nature

savor-Burroughs-quote

It’s almost Memorial Day and the place where I’m camped near Moab is being flooded with people making one of their few trips a year out camping. As I’m watching them setting up it makes me contemplate the human need for a connection to nature which is so obvious in this annual ritual. As vandwellers and RVers we know how many people buy RVs and then almost never use them; usually on Memorial Day, the 4th of July and Labor Day–and sometimes not even that much. Nature has an almost magnetic pull on us that we can’t resist but the reality is that we soon find ourselves disconnected from it again no matter how good our intentions.

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive. Eleonora Duse 

Recently I was going for my normal daily walk and something happened that put me into a philosophical mood, and I’d like to share it with you. Cody and I had just left our camp and gone about 5 minutes down the trail when we were passed by a group of folks on their ATVs who were out for a ride. I didn’t think much of it at the time because where we are near Moab is a Mecca  for off-road vehicles of all kinds; ATVs, motorcycles, Jeeps and just about every kind of motorized Off-Highway-Vehicle you can imagine. We just kept going on our walk.

Along my daily route is a high-point on a rock out-crop that I try to climb every day. There is just something about high-points that have a primal attraction to the human soul. Our ancient ancestors were all attracted to high-points where they could search out game for dinner or to watch out for enemies and predators who might do them harm. Ever since then they have had a magnetic pull on all humans, and I’m no different—twice a day I climb to this high-point for a few minutes of quiet contemplation. From the vantage point of the rise I can see far around me and everywhere I looked I saw RVs that had ATVs or Jeeps parked beside them and also many mountain bikes. I could also see far up and down the dry riverbed of Courthouse Wash which is what brings them here.

savor-purple

Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars… and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful.  Everything is simply happy.  Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance.  Look at the flowers – for no reason.  It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are. ~ Osho

Often, the silence of the reverie I fall into as I survey the beauty all around me is broken by the scream of those noxious motors. On this particular day, as I was climbing up to my perch on the rocks the group of ATVs that had passed me on the way out drove by as fast as they could go down the wash. That seems to be the magic attraction to them, the high speed they can attain.

As I stood on my little hill it occurred to me that those guys on the OHVs must feel sorry for me, “Poor guy has to walk; he must not be able to afford to buy one of these great machines.”  As I thought about them I wondered to myself what did they get for the deep debt most of them went into to buy them and for putting up with the stink and noise of the beasts? And the obvious answer is that they get to cover a lot of ground in little time really fast. On my daily walk I usually go for about 45 minutes and since I am a fairly slow walker I only go about 2 miles. However, these guys really zoom through here so in 45 minutes they can cover probably ten times more distance or roughly 20 miles. But, do they really get to see or experience the country they are traveling through?

savor-walk

When I walk, I make it a point to try to connect deeply with the land under my feet and all around me and savor all it has to offer. I want to participate in the big vistas of the terrain but also the smallest flowers and insects and everything in-between. Beyond their obvious beauty I want to know if they have a message for me; a lesson I can learn. I suspect none of that is true for the ATVers flying across the land.

Now this may seem like just another rant cursing off-road machines but that really isn’t what I’m intending to say. They are just the back-drop of what I see as a much more common and profound problem with our culture today and that is people who are just going through the motions of living but not actually experiencing any of it directly: modern life is very shallow. (Let me make it clear that I do know people who are connected to nature and themselves and also love their ATVs–they are the exception!)

These people are camped 50 yards from me and they have 7 different ATVs or motorcycles. They are at no risk of actually experiencing nature or themselves.

These people are camped 50 yards from me and they have 7 different ATVs or motorcycles. They are at no risk of actually experiencing nature or themselves.

My question is, why would they go camping in nature with their main goal to drive over it at 30 mph on a screaming, stinking machine?  When they aren’t flying over it as fast as possible, they are in their  McMansion on wheels listening to their generator and watching TV or out talking to their many friends. Can they really hope to experience nature that way? There is a great deal of scientific evidence that points to our disconnection from nature as very bad for our bodies and much worse for our mental and emotional well-being (see the suggest reading list at the bottom of the post). In other words being in nature is healing and therapeutic and being separated from it makes us sick in every aspect of our lives. And we instinctively know that to be true because most of us have the urge to get back into connection to it.

At the core of our being we miss our connection to nature and know being separated from it is killing us so we do the only logical thing and go camping—unfortunately, when we are there we stay as far away from it as we possibly can! Why?

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles. ~Anne Frank

I believe it’s because we are terrified to be alone and quiet with the thoughts in our heads and the feelings in our hearts. Lack of connection to nature is so damaging to our minds and emotions we must escape from them in every way we can so we fill our daily lives with constant distractions of noise and movement. The noise drowns out the voices in our head and the motion distracts us from the feelings in our heart.

This is especially evident in our addiction to electronic devices. Think about your daily life, is there a moment in it that is not full of some kind of distraction? Or worse, do you find yourself constantly “multi-tasking” just to be really sure you are never alone with your thoughts and feelings?

I think this is the best explanation for the huge popularity of RVing and off-road vehicles. We can actually be in nature and hope to get a little healing from being in it, but we can also insulate ourselves from the possibility of confronting our inner selves while we are there or in any way touching nature. In other words, it’s the perfect way to take the noise, movement and distraction of our city lives into nature with zero risk of being alone with our inner demons that society inflicts on all its members:

  • High levels of terribly destructive stress.
  • Anger and resentment at most people around us.
  • Worried for the future.
  • Tormented by our past.
  • Unwarranted fear of personal harm.

We find ourselves in a Catch-22; society is slowly killing us on the inside, but the chaos of destruction they cause in our hearts and heads make us fearful and unable to take the only medicine that can heal us: connection to nature. Even worse, Society has only one real solution to offer, take a pill. Fortunately I think nearly all of us know that isn’t an answer at all. We need something to slay the dragons in our head and hearts and silence the voices that are killing us. That thing is nature. (However, there are times when our bodies and brains are physically broken and pills are the very thing we need–when that’s true, get them first.)

No doubt there are many ways to find healing in nature, but the one that worked for me, and that I recommend to you, is make a radical leap and get as far away from the source of your illness as you possibly can by living in a car, van or RV. Vandwelling leaves you no choice but grow closer to nature! I know how scary and full of difficulties that is because I’ve gone through all the fear and the problems. I’m not denying it’s very hard, all I’m saying is it’s well worth it, and I can assure you that it works; there is healing for you in nature. A life that is happy, joyous and free is worth it!

I never knew that porcupines could climb trees, but after visiting with one at Courthouse Wash, I do now.

I never knew that porcupines could climb trees, but after visiting with one at Courthouse Wash, I do now.

However, if a leap of faith is too hard for you, I’d encourage you to start right where you are and do everything you can to reconnect with nature and through it to find your true inner self. You can start by simplifying your life as much as you possibly can and eliminating all the noise, distractions and movement that keeps you from your authentic self. Because your demons don’t want to be exposed, the path will probably be terrifying and difficult and things will get worse before they get better; but it in the end it will be worth the cost.

The reason we celebrate Memorial Day is to remember the many veterans who gave their lives in service to our country—and that is something we must never lose sight of. But I suggest we also make it a day when we celebrate our rising from the figurative death of disconnection from ourselves and nature. Make this Memorial Day, not just another day of hiding and running away from yourself, but the first day of a whole new life of transparency and connection.

Suggested Reading List:

You don’t have to take my word that nature is good for you and civilization is bad. I strongly recommend these books to get rid of all doubt in your mind. Click on the link to get them from Amazon:
Your Brain on Nature: The Science of Nature’s Influence on Your Health, Happiness and Vitality

Go Wild: Free Your Body and Mind from the Afflictions of Civilization

Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind

Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom

The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs

Cody enjoying the view from our high point.

Cody enjoying the view from our high point. Dogs are the perfect example of how to learn to be alone and happy with yourself. They are very Zen! Someday I hope to be just like him!atvs and are eepy conneted to 

Posted in Inspiration-Spirituality, Minimalism, Vandwelling Philosophy

Rigs of Moab

One reason I love Moab so much is the huge variety of people and rigs that come here from all over the country and even the world. On a regular basis a bus or mini-bus unloads a group of Germans, Japanese, Italians or peoples from anywhere in the world. Take a trip up and down the aisles of the City Market grocery store (a Kroger store) and you’ll hear as many foreign languages s you do English.

Another thing that will stand out to you is just how young the people are. While Moab is surrounded by stunning beauty, it’s just as much a place for adventure and living on the edge. Because of that very unusual combination it has just as many young people partaking in adventure or extreme sports as it does older, retired RVers with their McMansions on wheels towing their off-road vehicles. For older every person with white hair there are just as many  young, vibrant, athletic people with hard-bodies–both make and female.

This weekend I was in shopping at City Market and had gotten a salad from the salad bar and was sitting out in the van eating it. As I watched the traffic roll in-and-out I was struck by how many vandwelling type rigs I was seeing. Of course there was no shortage of expensive rigs, but there were a lot of really cheap live-aboard rigs that anyone reading this blog might be driving, but of course they tended toward vehicles that could be used for adventure.

I was so impressed with how many vandweller-type vehicles I could see while eating my salad I decided I should go around and take some pictures and share them with you. I’ll start with the cheap rigs that anyone of us could afford and then add in some of the more expensive rigs that many of us lust after and would love to have! First I’ll add the picture and then comment on it.

I don't know why more people don't do this. Buid a pony wall under the shell to get more height.

A 4×4 pickup is one of the very best adventure rigs because it has can go many places and so much room, but they are expensive and adding a camper is both expensive and big and heavy, defeating it’s purpose of getting off-road. However, shells are a dime a dozen and really cheap, they are just much too low for me to try to live in. However, for just a little bit of money you can build a little wall that the shell sits on and gain a lot of headroom I’ve wondered why more people don’t do this–probably because its too “ghetto”. But there are few things that are too ghetto for me!
If you’ve go to live in a shell, then at least build a pony wall at the bottom to get more height. Then build in a new back wall to get a door and windows. Paint it all to match.
riggs-hombuilt-trler
Can’t afford a trailer to tow, build your own! I just happened to notice this rig as it drove by so I quickly grabbed this shot. Moab is full of cheap but practical rigs like this one.
rigs-doge-pop-top-trailer.CR2
Here is another nice older extended Dodge van with a great pop-top roof. He is also towing a home-built trailer but this one has seen better days.

My guess is that at one time this was a sxhool bus, but now it is adventure-central for some free-spirits who ramble around the country living life to it's fullest. Apparently they couldn't afford a roof rack, so they just built their own out of wood.

My guess is that at one time this was a school bus, but now it is adventure-central for some free-spirits who ramble around the country living life to it’s fullest. Apparently they couldn’t afford a roof rack, so they just built their own out of wood.
riggs-tundra-pop-top-001
A Toyota pick-up
Bob

I’ve always

Posted in Uncategorized

Being Connected to Your Authentic Self Through Nature

savor-Burroughs-quote

It’s almost Memorial Day and the place where I’m camped near Moab is being flooded with people making one of their few trips a year out camping. As I’m watching them setting up it makes me contemplate the human need for a connection to nature which is so obvious in this annual ritual. As vandwellers and RVers we know how many people buy RVs and then almost never use them; usually on Memorial Day, the 4th of July and Labor Day–and sometimes not even that much. Nature has an almost magnetic pull on us that we can’t resist but the reality is that we soon find ourselves disconnected from it again no matter how good our intentions.

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive. Eleonora Duse 

Recently I was going for my normal daily walk and something happened that put me into a philosophical mood, and I’d like to share it with you. Cody and I had just left our camp and gone about 5 minutes down the trail when we were passed by a group of folks on their ATVs who were out for a ride. I didn’t think much of it at the time because where we are near Moab is a Mecca  for off-road vehicles of all kinds; ATVs, motorcycles, Jeeps and just about every kind of motorized Off-Highway-Vehicle you can imagine. We just kept going on our walk.

Along my daily route is a high-point on a rock out-crop that I try to climb every day. There is just something about high-points that have a primal attraction to the human soul. Our ancient ancestors were all attracted to high-points where they could search out game for dinner or to watch out for enemies and predators who might do them harm. Ever since then they have had a magnetic pull on all humans, and I’m no different—twice a day I climb to this high-point for a few minutes of quiet contemplation. From the vantage point of the rise I can see far around me and everywhere I looked I saw RVs that had ATVs or Jeeps parked beside them and also many mountain bikes. I could also see far up and down the dry riverbed of Courthouse Wash which is what brings them here.

savor-purple

Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars… and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful.  Everything is simply happy.  Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance.  Look at the flowers – for no reason.  It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are. ~ Osho

Often, the silence of the reverie I fall into as I survey the beauty all around me is broken by the scream of those noxious motors. On this particular day, as I was climbing up to my perch on the rocks the group of ATVs that had passed me on the way out drove by as fast as they could go down the wash. That seems to be the magic attraction to them, the high speed they can attain.

As I stood on my little hill it occurred to me that those guys on the OHVs must feel sorry for me, “Poor guy has to walk; he must not be able to afford to buy one of these great machines.”  As I thought about them I wondered to myself what did they get for the deep debt most of them went into to buy them and for putting up with the stink and noise of the beasts? And the obvious answer is that they get to cover a lot of ground in little time really fast. On my daily walk I usually go for about 45 minutes and since I am a fairly slow walker I only go about 2 miles. However, these guys really zoom through here so in 45 minutes they can cover probably ten times more distance or roughly 20 miles. But, do they really get to see or experience the country they are traveling through?

savor-walk

When I walk, I make it a point to try to connect deeply with the land under my feet and all around me and savor all it has to offer. I want to participate in the big vistas of the terrain but also the smallest flowers and insects and everything in-between. Beyond their obvious beauty I want to know if they have a message for me; a lesson I can learn. I suspect none of that is true for the ATVers flying across the land.

Now this may seem like just another rant cursing off-road machines but that really isn’t what I’m intending to say. They are just the back-drop of what I see as a much more common and profound problem with our culture today and that is people who are just going through the motions of living but not actually experiencing any of it directly: modern life is very shallow. (Let me make it clear that I do know people who are connected to nature and themselves and also love their ATVs–they are the exception!)

These people are camped 50 yards from me and they have 7 different ATVs or motorcycles. They are at no risk of actually experiencing nature or themselves.

These people are camped 50 yards from me and they have 7 different ATVs or motorcycles. They are at no risk of actually experiencing nature or themselves.

My question is, why would they go camping in nature with their main goal to drive over it at 30 mph on a screaming, stinking machine?  When they aren’t flying over it as fast as possible, they are in their  McMansion on wheels listening to their generator and watching TV or out talking to their many friends. Can they really hope to experience nature that way? There is a great deal of scientific evidence that points to our disconnection from nature as very bad for our bodies and much worse for our mental and emotional well-being (see the suggest reading list at the bottom of the post). In other words being in nature is healing and therapeutic and being separated from it makes us sick in every aspect of our lives. And we instinctively know that to be true because most of us have the urge to get back into connection to it.

At the core of our being we miss our connection to nature and know being separated from it is killing us so we do the only logical thing and go camping—unfortunately, when we are there we stay as far away from it as we possibly can! Why?

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles. ~Anne Frank

I believe it’s because we are terrified to be alone and quiet with the thoughts in our heads and the feelings in our hearts. Lack of connection to nature is so damaging to our minds and emotions we must escape from them in every way we can so we fill our daily lives with constant distractions of noise and movement. The noise drowns out the voices in our head and the motion distracts us from the feelings in our heart.

This is especially evident in our addiction to electronic devices. Think about your daily life, is there a moment in it that is not full of some kind of distraction? Or worse, do you find yourself constantly “multi-tasking” just to be really sure you are never alone with your thoughts and feelings?

I think this is the best explanation for the huge popularity of RVing and off-road vehicles. We can actually be in nature and hope to get a little healing from being in it, but we can also insulate ourselves from the possibility of confronting our inner selves while we are there or in any way touching nature. In other words, it’s the perfect way to take the noise, movement and distraction of our city lives into nature with zero risk of being alone with our inner demons that society inflicts on all its members:

  • High levels of terribly destructive stress.
  • Anger and resentment at most people around us.
  • Worried for the future.
  • Tormented by our past.
  • Unwarranted fear of personal harm.

We find ourselves in a Catch-22; society is slowly killing us on the inside, but the chaos of destruction they cause in our hearts and heads make us fearful and unable to take the only medicine that can heal us: connection to nature. Even worse, Society has only one real solution to offer, take a pill. Fortunately I think nearly all of us know that isn’t an answer at all. We need something to slay the dragons in our head and hearts and silence the voices that are killing us. That thing is nature. (However, there are times when our bodies and brains are physically broken and pills are the very thing we need–when that’s true, get them first.)

No doubt there are many ways to find healing in nature, but the one that worked for me, and that I recommend to you, is make a radical leap and get as far away from the source of your illness as you possibly can by living in a car, van or RV. Vandwelling leaves you no choice but grow closer to nature! I know how scary and full of difficulties that is because I’ve gone through all the fear and the problems. I’m not denying it’s very hard, all I’m saying is it’s well worth it, and I can assure you that it works; there is healing for you in nature. A life that is happy, joyous and free is worth it!

I never knew that porcupines could climb trees, but after visiting with one at Courthouse Wash, I do now.

I never knew that porcupines could climb trees, but after visiting with one at Courthouse Wash, I do now.

However, if a leap of faith is too hard for you, I’d encourage you to start right where you are and do everything you can to reconnect with nature and through it to find your true inner self. You can start by simplifying your life as much as you possibly can and eliminating all the noise, distractions and movement that keeps you from your authentic self. Because your demons don’t want to be exposed, the path will probably be terrifying and difficult and things will get worse before they get better; but it in the end it will be worth the cost.

The reason we celebrate Memorial Day is to remember the many veterans who gave their lives in service to our country—and that is something we must never lose sight of. But I suggest we also make it a day when we celebrate our rising from the figurative death of disconnection from ourselves and nature. Make this Memorial Day, not just another day of hiding and running away from yourself, but the first day of a whole new life of transparency and connection.

Suggested Reading List:

You don’t have to take my word that nature is good for you and civilization is bad. I strongly recommend these books to get rid of all doubt in your mind. Click on the link to get them from Amazon:
Your Brain on Nature: The Science of Nature’s Influence on Your Health, Happiness and Vitality

Go Wild: Free Your Body and Mind from the Afflictions of Civilization

Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind

Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom

The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs

Cody enjoying the view from our high point.

Cody enjoying the view from our high point. Dogs are the perfect example of how to learn to be alone and happy with yourself. They are very Zen! Someday I hope to be just like him!atvs and are eepy conneted to 

Posted in Inspiration-Spirituality, Minimalism, Vandwelling Philosophy

Andrew’s Craftsman Van Conversion

Andrew picked up this very nice high-top conversion van for not very much money and turned into a wonderful home. His electricity comes from a Goal Zero solar kit hanging o the side of the van

Andrew picked up this very nice high-top conversion van for not much money and turned it into a wonderful home. His electricity comes from a Goal Zero solar kit hanging on the side of the van

I don’t want to have a constant flow of travel blogs so today I’m going to mix it up and show you one of the nicer van conversions I’ve seen, made by my friend Andrew who is a carpenter from Vermont. Being a carpenter, he has the skill and tools to do some very exquisite work on his van. It’s hard to show you just how well it is done in these photos, but I hope you can get the idea.

Looking at the side behiind the drivers seat you can see the incredible beauty and craftsmanship in the van.

Looking at the side wall behind the drivers seat you can see the incredible beauty and craftsmanship in the van. The counter-top is held up by a commercial  shelf unit.

Because of his skills and access to tools, he also had a lot of very creative ideas and they are what I really want you to see. You may not have the skill to make as beautiful a conversion, but I hope you you can take some of his very creative ideas and apply them to your van no matter your skill level.

The sink is simple but very practical. Below it he has stores some of his carpentry tools so he can work on the road.

The sink is simple but very practical. Below it he stores some of his carpentry tools so he can work on the road.

One advantage he had as a carpenter is access to cheap but high quality materials. When ever he did a demo of a house or kitchen he was able to salvage some of the wood for his own use. His van is done in Beech wood which is both very beautiful and also very tough

Because he has a high-top, he wanted to gain more vertical storage. space. So he built a storage shelf along the perimiter of the van. It doesn't interfere with his movement in the van, but gains a lot of storage.

Because he has a high-top, he wanted to regain more vertical storage. space. So he built a storage shelf along the top, outside perimeter of the van. It doesn’t interfere with his movement in the van, but gains a lot of storage. In the previous photos you can see it’s also above  the sink

One of the very best things he did was build a sliding bed that slides away during the day and pulls out at night to become a very wide bed. It’s not that difficult to make, most of us should be able to figure it out from the photos and do it ourselves. Imagine the fingers on your hands sliding in and out of each other and that’s how the bed works. There are two sides each with “fingers” that slide in and out of each other. The stationary part has 4 legs and the moving part has 2 legs with half its weight resting on the stationary part of the bed.

The bed pulled out for sleeping.

The bed pulled out for sleeping.

The bed pushed back into it's daytime position.

The bed pushed back into it’s daytime position.

He uses a futon mattress to sleep on which folds nicely to become a coach for lounging during the day and then a bed at night.  At night he sleeps great and during the day he can move back and forth easily. An unexpected benefit of the slats in the bed is that it gives good ventilation to the mattress. Many times the moisture from perspiration can pool on the bottom sheet of plywood and in the morning it can be surprisingly damp. With the slats it vents very well and no moisture builds up.

With the bed made out it's very large for a single guy with a dog, or it could even fit two.

With the bed made out it’s very large for a single person, or it could even fit two.

Looking back with the bed pushed away giving the van a very open feeling.

Looking back with the bed pushed away for daytime use giving the van a very open feeling.

In the picture below looking forward at the front you can see that he put in a swivel seat. Either reversing your seat so it faces backwards or getting a swivel seat is one of the very best things you can do in a van. They make excellent recliners that give you a very comfortable place to lounge. It also opens up the space and makes the van feel much larger and more open. If you reverse your seat, be very careful it doesn’t block your view of the side mirror or out the side window. That would be both illegal and very dangerous. His cooler is between the seats. You can also see that he’s continued the overhead storage all the way around the front of the van. Not only is his van truly beautiful, it’s very functional as well.

Looking forward at the swivel seat and more storage along the top.

Looking forward at the swivel seat and more storage along the top.

One of the things I loved the most about Andrew’s van is how he used the space on the door which is usually wasted. In the pictures below you can see he attached a cabinet onto one of the doors and he put his dogs water and food dishes on the other. Those of you with dogs know its a problem to find a place to keep their food and water dishes and this is a brilliant solution! The dog can reach them from either inside or outside and if they spill they do no harm because they fall onto the ground or onto the entry step. I loved this! The cabinet on the other door lets him to cook on it either inside or outside and use it for storage as well.

His dog's food dish on one door and the cabinet on the other are both easily accessible inside or out.  I guess I though you would like a picture of my knee. No extra charge for that!

His dog’s food and water dish in on one door and the cabinet on the other. Both easily accessible inside or out. I guess I thought you would like a picture of my knee. No extra charge for that!

This cabinet is attached to the door and can be used from the outside or inside.

The cabinet is attached to the door and can be used from inside or out.

He left the back mostly open so he could use his porta-potty back there. It’s separated off by a storage closet.

andrew-back

You can barely see the porta-potty on the bottom of the picture and he hangs items above it to use the space.

 

In this shot from the back door the bed is pulled out, but if it were put away you can see he could use the porta-potty from inside.  He hangs coats and other items above it to regain the space.

In this shot from the back door the bed is pulled out, but if it were put away you can see he can use the porta-potty from inside. He hangs coats and other items above it to regain the space. Toilet paper is handy on the door.

I hope you enjoyed this tour of Andrew’s Craftsman Van as much as I did and got some great ideas for your next build! 

Posted in Conversion Details

Moab, Utah Campsite

The view from my walk everyday.

The view from my walk everyday. At the bottom is Courthouse Wash that I walk along daily.

After our two night stay in Monument Valley it was time to move on. Back when I first posted my plans for this summer and said that I planned to spend May in Moab, many people responded that it would be too hot to be here in May, so I should go sooner. The forecast seemed to bear that out so we decided to come straight here. And at first that seemed to be a good plan because right away it jumped into the mid-80s and it was getting pretty warm. But then a storm front came through and the rain rolled in and it cooled right off–and it’s been pretty cool ever since. In fact the hottest it’s been is 80 since then and that’s fine with me, I can stay comfortable in that no problem. Oddly. the bigger problem has been the cold, rainy days, not the heat. All the locals I’ve talked to said this is very unusual weather, it’s rarely  this volatile with constant ups and downs and wind and rain coming and going. Almost every day has periods of sunshine, clouds , more sun, more clouds and maybe some wind and rain thrown in for good measure.  The forecast for this weekend is more rain and wind.

moab-rainbow-la-sal

The weather had been stormy. That’s the snow-capped La Sal mountains in the background.

Because of that I’ve only made three trips into Arches NP and I haven’t done any star photography even though that is one of the main reasons I came here. We’ve already been here for 10 days so we keep thinking we will move on  but then when I research the weather at  all the places I would like to go, there is some real cold weather in their forecast. As mediocre as the weather is here, it’s still better than nearly everyplace around us!

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Suanne’s and my campsite. The yellow tent on the right is someone who couldn’t find a spot so he camped with us.

The bottom line is coming here is the best thing we could have done because it’s so much warmer than everywhere else! Weird but true!

Courthouse Wash

Courthouse Wash

I really love Moab, it’s impossible to say which place is my favorite in the country, but I can say with 100% certainty that there is nowhere in the country I like more than here–there may be places I like as much, but none I like more!  There is so much beauty around here with

  • Arches National Park
  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Dead Horse Point State Park
  • The Colorado River flows almost right through town.
  • The La Sal Mountain range provides a beautiful, snow-capped backdrop.
  • Even the “plain,” unrecognized places are beautiful around here!
A small field of Lupine near camp.

A small field of Lupine near camp.

Because of that great combination of beauty and openness it offers a huge array of sports and adventure opportunity–all of them world-class. By that I mean there isn’t anyplace  in the world where there are as many activites and that are as good as they are. People come here from all over the country and even the world to partake in the:

  • Photography
  • Mountain Biking
  • Rock Climbing
  • Off-Road 4×4 and Jeeping
  • White-water Rafting
  • Backpacking
  • Canyoneering
  • Skydiving
A group of RVs caped about a mile away.

A group of RVs camped about a mile away.

While I don’t do many of those things, I still revel in the energy that’s here because so many truly alive and adventurous people are concentrated into one small area. No one is here waiting till they are old to enjoy life, in fact the majority are young, vibrant people living life on the edge. And even the older folks who come here are the most adventurous ones who are savoring and drawing deeply from all that life has to offer.

The prevailing attitude and energy in Moab, UT is to look Death straight in the eye and spit in his face!

My kind of people!

The only problem with it’s popularity is the crowds and traffic around town, which spills over into limited camping. As far as I can tell, there isn’t an available RV space in town, they are all full. The soil in this area is very fragile so the BLM seems to continually close areas to dispersed camping. Fortunately, there is one very good place left that is still open, mainly because it’s on state land, and that is the area down Willow Flats Road where we are camped now. I have a map to our current camp at the bottom of the post.

It might be stormy right now, but just wait a couples hours and it will change completely!

If you don’t like the stormy weather right now, just wait a couples hours and it will change completely!

No matter where you live, I highly recommend you put Moab at the top of your bucket list and make sure you get here. The sooner the better!

Moab-camp-2

 

 

Posted in Adventure, Boondocking, Camping Locations, Travel

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