Reflections on Eight Weeks of Vanlife

IMG_5339Intermission. It’s been eight weeks since we left home – two adults, two children, and two cats. We still have six more weeks to go!

Yesterday I flew from West Yellowstone to San Francisco to pick the kids up from their dad to bring them back out on the road for more adventures. So today we will fly back to Yellowstone and keep on rolling. Since we sublet our house for the summer, I stayed over last night at a good friend’s house, and some other friends stopped by in the evening. So I had four people asking me questions about our trip, and me all alone (Glenn, help!) to try to answer them. I surely rambled a lot and didn’t make much sense, but they were nice to me anyway.

One thing I’m learning is that LOTS of people want to do what we’re doing. “Tell me all about what it’s like – it’s a dream of ours!” I try… But it’s not all that easy to explain what it’s like. It’s pretty much what you’d imagine it’s like: four people and two cats in a van can be cramped, cat hair ends up everywhere all the time, and there’s never enough places to put everybody’s shoes.

IMG_4904.JPG

Even the cats are piled on top of each other

The biggest difference for me in daily life has been developing the essential routine of stowing. Stowing is not cleaning or tidying or organizing. It’s usually all of those things, but it’s also putting items away securely. One simply cannot make “piles” in a van. Everything has to get stowed. Here’s all of the stowing that happens between waking up and driving somewhere:

  • Put bed in upright/couch position
  • Strip sheet from bed
  • Stuff 2 blankets into their stuff sacks
  • Stow sheet, 2 stuff sacks, and 2 pillows in cabinet above bed/couch
  • Remove 2 cushions from being part of the bed
  • Remove table top from being part of the bed, fetch table leg, erect table
  • [make coffee, cook/eat breakfast, change clothes, brush teeth, etc.]
  • Empty coffee maker, stow in the lowest cabinet, somehow squeezing it between the pots and the Tupperware
  • Wash all the dishes, dry them, put them away (sometimes this can wait, if everything can fit securely inside the sink, and if we’re not going to be on any bumpy roads that would make it all rattle around a ton)
  • Fold pajamas and put them away (you can’t just leave them out because you’ll step on them in the tiny hallway, or the cats will lay on them and get hair all over them, or something will spill on them; and they usually have to be folded because otherwise they simply won’t fit in the place they belong)
  • Stow table leg and table top
  • Move fruit basket from counter to bench, where it (usually) won’t slide right off onto the floor (we used to keep it in the microwave, but then we’d forget about eating the fruit and it would get overripe)
  • Stow all books, electronics, games, EVERYTHING
  • Arrange our rechargeable fan just-so on the back cushion that it can still recharge and blow, but hopefully won’t crash onto the floor
  • …and that’s when it’s just me and Glenn. With the boys’ beds in the mix, there’s even more.

Stowing is not to be confused with STASHING. Before we started our trip, I knew we’d need more storage/stowage than what we had. So I ordered us some stretchy mesh pockets to mount on the wall – I call them stash pockets.

 

The idea is that some items should be readily accessible, and that storing them inside a cabinet or box is impractical because they’ll just get buried in there and you’ll never be able to find them when you need them. So instead, they need “stash spots.” These can be parts of the car like a cubby, cup holder, or glove compartment; or, they can be add-on stash pockets. But the idea only works if you use the same stash spot for the same item all the time. Otherwise you can’t remember where you put the thing the last time, and it might as well just be bopping around in Granny’s junk drawer for all the luck you’re going to have locating it.

Some examples of stashes: by the bed, which is also under the TV, and next to the charging ports, we have a stash pocket which holds the remote controls, charging cables, and Chapstik. The Chapstik is the stash. In the upper stash pocket by the sliding door, we keep cat treats, the cats’ leashes, walkie talkies, and cameras. Honestly, everything in there is a stash, but the thing I grab most often from there is the good camera. The keys to the cargo box have a stash spot that we both use religiously, which is kind of a miracle. The trouble comes when you get lazy and don’t re-stash your stash after using it. Or worse, if you stash it somewhere else. This bad habit of mine long ago earned me the taunt “Stasher!” Now if some always-easy-to-find thing goes missing, I get called a stasher and get shamed for stashing it somewhere random. Yes, stowing/stashing/organizing is so important in our lives that it was the genesis of a new kind of domestic teasing.

By now someone’s thinking, “Nobody cares about that boring stuff! What about traveling all the time?!” Well, it’s awesome. And taxing. It can be a lot of planning – doesn’t always need to be, but can be. And a lot of driving. And we eat “in” a lot more on the road than we do at home in the city, so there’s a lot of shopping, cooking, and dishwashing to do. But yeah, getting to see cool different places all the time is rad. Duh!

So far we’ve been to five states and ten national parks. We’ve climbed in more different spots than I can accurately count without doing a lengthy look back at our records. Wildflowers blooming all over the Rockies, elk and mule deer munching grasses, raptors screeching to defend their nesting area, chipmunks and squirrels chirping out an alarm when the cats come outside to play, marble-size hail bouncing off the van and the ground, the smoke-tinged horizon glowing peach and hibiscus at sunset, rivers bending gently through a grass valley or raging ferociously through a rocky gorge, and craggy peaks high above, daring us to climb them; these are the sights and sounds of our summer so far. And I can’t wait to get back to them.

Rocky Road

rocky-road-ice-cream-2-525

I once was told that Rocky Road ice cream was created during the Great Depression, to give people something to smile about. Well, last week – on National Chocolate Ice Cream Day – we probably should’ve gotten Rocky Road instead of plain chocolate, because we needed something to smile about after an actual rocky road beat the hell out of our van.

We were staying in the town of Escalante, Utah, right on the northwestern boundary of Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument. There are some well-known geological features nearby which I wanted to explore, or we never would’ve been in Escalante in the first place. Spooky Gulch and Peek-a-Boo Canyon are two popular slot canyons which you can explore on a 3-mile hike, squirming through tight squeezes and allegedly smiling in delight the whole way; Devil’s Garden is a grouping of hoodoos that you can actually run around and climb on; and Batty Pass Caves are another cool-sounding spot to check out right in the same area.

The catch is, the canyons are 26 miles down Hole-in-the-Rock Road, a BLM road inside the Monument; the caves are down a little ways on a spur road across from the canyons; and even the hoodoos are about halfway down the road (13 miles) to where the canyons are. Had I listened to the checker at the grocery store, who told us even he was shocked by how bad the road was, or read any one of the many websites warning visitors of how treacherous the road was, or put two and two together when I saw that multiple outfitters in Escalante ran twice-a-day shuttles to the canyons, I might have thought twice about driving out there in our van. I later learned that car rental companies don’t even allow you to take their cars on Hole-in-the-Rock Road. They’re smarter than we are.

I had told the boys that we could play hide-and-seek at Devil’s Garden, so they wanted to go there first. The road was almost all deeply rutted washboards, with a few potholes mixed in just for grins. Our van got jostled around like a can of Sherwin Williams on a Home Depot paint shaker. The silverware drawer is always the first to slide open. Then the drawer with the cooking utensils. We even got the little slide-out table to open. The “closet” door edged its way open as the drawers inside scooted toward the aisle. Even the stereo and other parts of the dash were threatening to pop their mountings. I gritted my teeth and held on until we got to Devil’s Garden.

“Now I understand why multiple outfitters in Escalante offer shuttle services,” I thought.

When we got there, a puddle soon formed under our city water hookup. The ballcock was nowhere to be seen and our fresh water tank was quickly draining onto the desert parking lot. The microwave/oven had slid backward into its housing. An upper cabinet popped open and (thankfully only) a book fell out onto the kids. The paper towel roll had unspooled from its holder beneath the overhead compartment and onto the floor. I was not happy.

After rock-hopping and some very hot hide-and-seek, we returned to the van for lunch, then decided we should head back to town rather than continue on that road to the canyons. On the drive back, the heater vent – already loose – came halfway off, risking shearing off the one remaining screw altogether. The wooden wall-mounted spice rack was disintegrating. We argued a bit about how best to drive so as to minimize further damage. Then we argued about how we should think and feel about this unfortunate turn of events. One thing we could agree on was that the chocolate ice cream needed to happen.

We stopped at a hardware store on the way to the house we had rented (to keep the kitties safe from heat while we explored during the 100-degree days) to get some supplies for repairs, then bought the ice cream, then went home.

All in all, eventually, we discovered we’d managed to:

  • Break the city water valve
  • Knock off the heater vent
  • Dislodge the microwave oven
  • Knock the shelf pins loose that held the drawers up in the closet, causing them to collapse
  • Break the spice rack

Over the course of the next few days, and after deciding to risk more destruction on similar roads, more and more things began to malfunction or get broken by our abuse:

  • The motorized step on the sliding door would deploy while we were driving, causing it to take a beating, cracking the plastic on the front corner and causing the motor to groan
  • I dragged our rear end onto a steep hillside to access a dispersed camping spot, shredding the wiring to our cargo carrier, and causing it to hang down and drag on the road
  • The kitchen faucet started spraying water – probably because the messed up, over-drained water tank pumped sediment up into the faucet
  • Under pressure, the bathroom faucet started leaking into the bottom of the closet – maybe for the same reason – onto the upholstered cushion below

Various patches have been made over the last few days, giving me more of sense that we’re held together by chewing gum and duct tape than that we’re actually repairing things in a fashion that would appeal to a buyer whenever we go to re-sell this thing. Some were true fixes, others were literal Gorilla-tape hacks.

  • The city water valve was capped altogether
  • The heater vent was bolted (not screwed) back on
  • The microwave was reseated
  • The closet shelf pins were put back (later coming undone again, now being replaced with L-brackets as a permanent fix)
  • The spice rack was glued back together
  • The motorized step had to be disabled altogether by disconnecting the wiring assembly under the step and taping off both ends
  • The wiring to our cargo carrier was replaced and re-mounted
  • The kitchen faucet was disassembled and put back together without the inner parts of the diffuser to muck things up
  • The bathroom faucet… we couldn’t do anything about this one, but realized that we need to neither use high-pressure city water nor fill our fresh tank all the way

Oh, also, one of our two stove burners is running way lower than the other, so low you can hardly boil water on it.

So…yeah. All these creature comforts are not without their weaknesses, and our use case for this van may simply be too abusive for them. To put it bluntly, we’re beating the shit out of this rig. We had some stressful conversations wherein we both bemoaned the fact that this vehicle doesn’t seem to suit our lifestyle. We’re rock climbers. We bought a camper van so we can drive to and camp at climbing spots. Many climbing spots are located down absolutely craptastic roads. When driving to the crag makes you anxious that you’re destroying your investment, and results in time-sucking repairs, is the van really enhancing our lives? Would we have been better off just sleeping on the floor of the minivan, cooking on a camp stove, drinking water from a jug, and peeing in the bushes? Sometimes simpler is better.

But me – I cannot accept that. It is in my nature to have faith that there is a solution to any problem. Maybe a simpler, more rugged class-B motorhome will work for us. Maybe a custom van conversion would be better. We started chatting about our wish-list of features. There are plenty of features and systems on this rig that we don’t need, and others we don’t have that we wish we did. Eliminate some unnecessary potential sources of malfunction, and add some new technology that supports our adventurous travel. All of that in another post…

For now, enjoy some pics of our damages and a few repairs we hacked together.

And here’s a pic of one of our cute road kitties to alleviate any anxiety this post may have caused you. You’re welcome. Now go eat some ice cream.

IMG_4669

The Van Gets All Spiffed Up

There were so many things I wanted to do to improve the van before this trip. I shared this list with you in my previous post, Summer Climbing Tour 2017:

I want to replace the flooring, get a new stereo (the one in there now doesn’t have bluetooth audio, and I’m basically dependent on that technology to function as a driver), have the original decals removed, and get a custom skin put on the lower panel of the outside (here’s an example of what I’m talking about, but we’d have a different pattern). I also need to track down the perfect hitch-mounted cargo box.

I’m happy to report that we’ve accomplished all of these things, and more!

New Flooring

I referred to the original floor as “grandma linoleum” (no offense to grandmas). When I’d been shopping for vans, I loved the interior finishes of the new RoadTreks, which paired the same cherry cabinets that I have with a gray plank laminate flooring. That was it – I wanted those floors!

I ended up choosing something even darker: TrafficMASTER Allure 6 in. x 36 in. Iron Wood Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring. We had already decided to remove the barrier that separates the under-couch/bed area and the main cabin, so that the cats could access their litter box and bed. In contemplating the flooring, we decided we should also remove the carpeting from the whole rear of the van, running the laminate planks all the way back. This will allow us to clean more easily, with more sweeping and less vacuuming.

Installation was interesting… We had to remove the metal thresholds, some to be replaced later, some to be rendered obsolete with the new 1-floor-to-rule-them-all design. We obviously had to remove the existing flooring. We also had to remove the entire motorized couch/bed to be able to install the cut-to-fit planks underneath.

IMG_3785.JPG

So that happened

Glenn completed the installation in two afternoons. He was a champion! And I do think the finished product is fantastic. We’ve gotten lots of compliments so far!

New Stereo

In my last post, I explained how high-tech the van just got, with the new stereo I craved, plus a cell-signal booster, and a mobile hotspot. Such a huge upgrade!

Decal Removal

I loathed the decals on my van. In fact, I told the dealer that I wanted them removed before I took delivery. My biggest complaint about them is that they shirked this commitment. Whatever, I drove off in the thing anyway. But I yearned for the sleek look of the latest Class-Bs, and the time had come to do something about it. I love you, Roadtrek, but I don’t need more than the iconic three windows, the emblem on the hood, and the embossed headrests. All the rest had to go.

IMG_3739

Clean and discreet

Custom Wrap

My obsession with bees is another story for another time, but I really wanted to put a custom vinyl wrap on the lower panel of my van, similar to the style done by Outside Van. I love how they get this sweet tonal effect, with the van’s paint color as the background. I really wanted a honeycomb gradient pattern, going from a lighter gray to much darker gray, or black.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a shop that could print on clear vinyl – they told me that material was used for windows, and wouldn’t hold up to the beating this lower panel would take being so close to the ground. And since automotive paint colors don’t correspond to Pantone colors, there was no way to color match the background of my design.

Eventually, I recruited a friend – magical Morgaine Breimayer – to do a riff on a panel of Metamorphasis II, by M.C. Escher. The end result was super cool.Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 11.36.35 AM

Installation was done by A52 Signs & Graphics. Nothing is ever quite how you imagined it – especially with my warped imagination when it comes to colors – but I think it worked out pretty darn well! Now my van reflects my obsession with bees. Maybe this will even cement a name for the van. The Hive? Queen Bee? Honey Pot? Okay, maybe not that last one.

IMG_3846

And more!

Drawers. I need drawers. The van came with this ridiculous (sorry, RT) “closet.” Who hangs things when they’re traveling in a camper van? They could have at least included pre-drilled holes, shelves, and shelf pins, which could be removed if someone *wanted* to hang things. I don’t get it. For me, even shelves aren’t enough. Plenty of folks out there have added shelves to their closets, but then they pack their things in packing cubes. Call me spoiled, but I can’t imagine living out of packing cubes for 3 months. I. Need. Drawers.

Glenn got on the shelf thing pretty willingly. But he resisted the drawers for a bit. Fair enough – he’s made so many of my van dreams come true as it is. But praise be to Buddha, he finished them! I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome! Now let’s see how much I can actually fit in there…

Cargo Box

This was a huge one. With two adults, two kids, two cats, and climbing gear, there’s simply not enough room in the van. We had two options: buy a bigger van, or buy a cargo carrier. With no usable space on the roof, we had to go with a hitch-mounted box. Since we have those glorious double doors on the back, I figured a swing-away mount would be the way to go, so we can still open the doors. I could only find two products out there: the StowAway2 Max Cargo Carrier, and the ROLA Adventure System. We went with the ROLA because it allows you to remove the box itself and just have a cargo tray.

Detailing

IMG_3859.JPG

After 9 months of ownership and nary a good scrub down, the van needed some attention. We’re heading to Burning Man at the end of our trip, so I already pre-arranged a thorough post-Burning-Man detail, and decided to hire the same folks to do a pre-trip detail as well. M&M Mobile Car Wash & Detail did a thorough job – in my own driveway – and now I feel ready to load in our things and live in here for the next 14 weeks.

It’s time to start packing. After some civil debate, one of us (ahem) expressed a “spiritual desire to not leave on Saturday,” so we’ve pushed our departure date to Sunday, May 28. So today we’re packing the van, and packing up our house for the sub-tenants. We’re in the home stretch!

My Small Victory at Goat Rock State Beach

IMG_3084We got a late start, so we didn’t arrive at Goat Rock until around 2:00. God, what a glorious day. Clear blue skies, temps in the high 50s, and calm waters. The hills were that brightest green of grass in a drought-busting rainy season, and so much silt had flushed through the mouth of the Russian River that there was a field of brown murky water extending beyond all the offshore rocks and then some. At the edge where the dirty, brackish water mixed with the clear blue seawater, a white foamy line marked the junction.

The trail was a sloppy mess, with a few side paths trying to avoid the worst of the mud. But the flat area in front of Sunset Boulders was just a bog – no way around, no clean way through. You wanna climb, you’re gonna get muddy.

IMG_3085

Hi, every climber in western Sonoma County!

This fine Sunday afternoon seemed to draw all of western Sonoma’s climbers to the crag. The place was pretty much at capacity, with nearly every anchor and landing area in use. We seldom do anything on weekends, when the rest of the world floods out to recreate, shop, travel, whatever. We have the privilege to be able to do these things during the week, so we might as well spare ourselves the crowds and spare the crowds our presence by staying in on the weekends. But we were in town on our way to a retreat, so it made sense to come check out this spot.

“Orange hat! Hey, orange hat!” A voice rang out from atop The Ram. The voice came from a very outgoing, helmet-wearing climber, who invited Glenn to use his rope to climb up for setting our anchors, thus sparing him soloing the 5.5 R/X that’s the easiest way to the top. He offered to give him a tour once he got up.

“Oh, I don’t mind soloing it, but if I use your rope it’ll make her feel better,” Glenn replied.

“That’s all that matters! If she’s happy, everyone’s happy!” Wise man.

At the top, Glenn asked him if he was a local steward. I missed the rest of their chatter, but there was a lot of it. Later on, when this gent and his group were packing up to leave, he seemed to narrate much of their preparations. He was there with lots of friends, and turns out he’s from Fort Ross, just up the road from Goat Rock. There were some other pairs of climbers there, and some small groups of boulderers. They all left within about 45 minutes of our arrival, and we had the whole place to ourselves until we were doffing our helmets and coiling our rope, when a group of five or six young puffy-clad dudes from Vallejo rolled up as the sun was getting low in the sky.

This is honestly the first time I’ve ever written about a climbing session. What is there to say? The spot is tough to beat on a good weather day. You’re super close to the beach, so you get plenty of spectacular coastal scenery, but high enough up on a grassy perch to feel safe from the sea, unlike climbing at an actual beach crag. The clump of boulders was once a popular spot for wooly mammoths to rub their backs, so you can see some polished surfaces on the overhanging parts of the boulders. There are safe belays, short, easy climbs (with soft grades compared to other spots in the Bay Area), and everything’s at least three stars. It’s a pretty perfect little playground for a half-day outing. There are a couple of 5.8s up crack systems that would make for great early trad leads. One word of caution: there was a fair bit of poison oak among the rocks between the boulders. I don’t think I’m allergic, but Glenn is, so we were both careful to avoid it, and washed the mud off our shoes when we got back to the van. Outdoor shower for the win!

This outing was a small victory for me. I need to climb at a few more crags like this with high-quality rock, highly-rated climbs, and short walls. Here’s the thing, friends: I get scared. It’s hard to call it a fear of heights, but it’s definitely a fear of falling. Or maybe it’s actually just a fear of failure. Whatever it is, it plagues me. Sometimes I find myself thinking, “Why do I even do this? I don’t like this feeling! I just want to get down and go do crossword puzzles.” And then I have to remind myself, “You say this is your favorite thing in the world to do.” And I repeat it like a mantra. I have other self-talk, too. “You climb routes seven grades harder than this in the gym.” “Your legs are stronger than you think.” “So what if there’s no hand when you get there? He’ll catch you.”

IMG_3089

Victory!

On this day, I needed no mantras, no self-talk at all. I felt fine. Maybe it’s because the routes were all three stars. Routes that flow well just…flow better. The holds present themselves; the moves aren’t any easier, they’re just easier to find. That was fun. And if I’m going to be psyched to climb all summer, I need to know that it’s going to be fun. Fun first! Safety third! I don’t know what’s second, but it’s probably food related.* I may have only gotten in four short climbs, but it was just what I needed. Short climbs give you a sense of accomplishment, and if you can finish a tougher grade than you’re used to, who cares that it was only 30’ tall? For me, that’s enough of a confidence booster to matter. So Goat Rock, my hat’s off to you! Thanks for being just what I needed.

*For the record, safety is always first. Saying “safety third” is a great way to remind people that they suck if they’re not being safe. It’s also apparently a Burning Man meme, and I’m pretty sure it was printed on the tee-shirt worn by some miracle-he’s-lived-this-long climber in Valley Uprising or some Reel Rock film.

——

Routes I climbed (grades according to Bay Area Rock 7th Edition, not Mountain Project):

Summer Climbing Tour 2017

 

IMG_0460No, my kids will not be doing summer camps through Rec & Park this summer. Don’t worry, I think I’ll be able to keep them entertained.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I had an epiphany last summer, and bought myself a van. Technically, it’s a Class B motorhome, but I’m too young to own a motorhome, so I just call it a van. All the cool kids are doing it. Ya know, #vanlife and all that.

The plan was to hit the road this summer for my family reunion in Denver in July. We live in San Francisco, so there’s a…how would you say?…fuck ton of cool shit between us and Denver. Especially for climbers. And then you get there, and there’s even more climbing. And you’re already halfway to all these other remote awesome places, so you might as well just make a summer of it.

Without further ado, it is time to unveil our plan:

  • 14 weeks / 102 Days
  • 6,515 miles + local exploration
  • 10 states + 1 Canadian province
  • >25 climbing areas*
  • 15 National Parks
  • 8 National Monuments, National Conservation Areas, and State/Provincial Parks (probably more, hard to remember what all of these places are, I’ll get back to you)
  • 1 climbing stewardship workshop in Yosemite
  • 1 family reunion
  • (hopefully) some volunteer conservation work
  • 1 week at Burning Man – my first time ever

You can check out our itinerary here, although with the freedom of the van, we will surely deviate from these plans many times. But hopefully we’ll get to climb climb climb!!

Screen Shot 2017-04-08 at 4.05.48 PM.png
Side note: You should seriously checkout Furkot – it’s the most robust road trip planner I’ve ever imagined! I plugged in our destinations, dates, and durations of stays, and it plotted this route for us. I still need to scrutinize it, to make sure there aren’t any awesome side roads we’d miss with this route, but it sure helps in planning! It will even help you find lodging and activities nearby. Oh, and it will sync with TripIt. I haven’t even scratched the surface on what it can do. Amazing.

The kids will be along about half the time (and no, they’re not coming to Burning Man). I have to share them with their dad, so they’ll be spending a couple of weeks with us at a time. We haven’t made flight arrangements yet, but the plan depends on a combination of:

  • Their dad will fly to where we are and explore the area with them, then return them to us and fly home
  • Their dad will fly to where we are to pick them up/drop them off
  • I will fly to SF to pick them up/drop them off
  • Maybe their dad will even rent a van of his own and do some traveling around

Thankfully, he’s being super supportive of this whole plan, and expressed a interest in exploring these places with the boys this summer even before I told him about our BIG idea.

The kids are excited about going to so many places, camping, and climbing so much. They’re not excited to drive a whole lot. We’re trying to break up the driving as much as possible, keeping it to a couple of hours at a time, but sometimes you just have to go a long way in one day! And hopefully while they’re with us we can stay camped and climb in one area for a few days in a row. I think moving every day would wear us all down, not just the kids.

I’m planning on making some improvements to the van before we go. I want to replace the flooring, get a new stereo (the one in there now doesn’t have bluetooth audio, and I’m basically dependent on that technology to function as a driver), have the original decals removed, and get a custom skin put on the lower panel of the outside (here’s an example of what I’m talking about, but we’d have a different pattern). I also need to track down the perfect hitch-mounted cargo box. We’ve been discussing these plans for some time, and now it’s only 50 days away. FIFTY DAYS?! WHAT?! Guys, I gotta go.

HELP!

One more quick thing – HELP ME! If you have suggestions for any of the following, please comment!

  • Places we should see
  • Places we should climb
  • Secret dispersed camping spots
  • Kid-friendly activities/attractions
  • Apple Play car stereos
  • Hitch-mounted cargo boxes (so far I’m into this one by Rola)
  • Road trip essential tips/tricks/gadgets

Related post: The Van


*For the climbers out there, here are the climbing areas we plan to visit:

If you have any favorite crags or routes in these areas, let us know! Bonus points for kid-friendly stuff.

And yes, I know it will be too hot to do much (if anything) in some of these areas, but we’re going to do our best to get in some early morning or late evening climbs at least.