When we began talking about this adventure, things were a little bit more organized in my mind.
The van would be running, and we would have had several overnight trips in her before we left. I’d have storage all figured out. Everything we needed would be purchased. We’d also have a better plan as to where we were going. A system, if you will.
Life has a way of getting in the way of planning things out perfectly – if we kept waiting until everything was perfect, we would still be waiting. Jason didn’t have as much time to work on the van as he had hoped, and the lease of our house set the date we had to vacate. The house projects and getting rid of our stuff took priority from the van. The packing came the day before we left. Bode and I first rode in the van on our way out of Alameda 9 days ago. On that day, everything left in our garage was unceremoniously shoved in the van.
In this small space, it is very important that everything has a place. We realized this after the first 2 days of constant questioning “where’s this?” followed by ‘in a bag, either in the closet, under the jump seat or on top…i don’t know’. And so the van projects, tweaks and adjustments as well as the storage are getting figured out as we go. It will take some time, but we know the camera, map, and soy yogurt must always be easy to get to. I fear the day we can’t find a store selling soy yogurt (Bode loves it an he’s allergic to milk).
Saturday, we worked on Red Beard, with Jason doing some electrical stuff (horn fixed!), and me repacking. We gave Red Beard a break from the mountains and traveled through Carson City (yay Trader Joe’s) and Reno, Nevada before heading back into California and towards Lassen. We decided that if we are to camp, we need a more leisurely 3 pm roll-in. Otherwise, its just too hectic to enjoy. That didn’t happen, but everything worked out perfectly anyway.
We drove into Portola, CA in the afternoon hoping to find a playground and campsites and were surprised to find “Railroad Days”. Carnival rides, street fair and live music. Just what Bode needed. We ended up staying late and drove a few miles north to Lake Davis to camp really late. In a true test of VW camping, we were able to pop the top and move all our junk to the driver’s seat without getting out of the van.
We went back to the fair on Sunday and did some ‘fishing’ thanks to the California Department of Fish and Game. They set up a tub packed with hungry trout for the kids to try their hand at landing one. I was surprised that the kids actually got to keep the fish. The guys handed out backpacks to the kids and dropped the flopping fish in and they were happily on their way. Kids walking around town with fish flopping around in their backpacks. Gotta love it. Portola also has a little skate park and free Wi-fi at City Hall. All of this stuff is immediately next to each other, so we had a fun and easy morning enjoying Portola.
Next, we are heading on towards Lassen.
By the way, for those VW folks- Red Beard did great, no problems at all.