Midlife Simplicity

A journey from more to less.

Tag: van

Death Valley

Continue DEATH VALLEY, CA – I think I’ve figured out something about myself. Over the years I’ve really prided myself on getting shit done. Goal oriented would be a fair statement about my personality. Whether job performance or solving a problem, I’ve never found much satisfaction in trying yet never meeting the goal. Give me a computer with problems and I will spend every frustrating moment I have until it is solved. Just to be clear, I don’t enjoy the efforts required to solve the problem, I only enjoy it when the problem is solved. And the level of satisfaction I get from having the task resolved nowhere matches the cussing and bitching that was encountered to get to a point of resolution. So it was getting to Death Valley.

conocer a una mujer amos Keep in mind, this story really doesn’t differ from the many other times I’ve headed somewhere with camping as part of the goal. Before I picked up the van, I’d made plans to drive to Death Valley the first night and stay there. While at the dealership they offered me a free camp space at a local campground so that I could stay and familiarize myself with the van and ask any questions I might have the next day before hitting the road. They said that people often stay a couple of days.

http://www.aslansarmy.com/?odywan=dallas-area-singles-jewish-dating&49f=b1 Now let’s be honest, camping in Las Vegas proper just doesn’t sound fun. I mean, if I’m going to stay in Vegas, its gonna be hookers and blow. Ok, maybe gambling and strippers. Ok, maybe just blackjack and “free” cocktails. But as I sat there with my head spinning after a three-hour run-through of all of the features and critical operational requirements of this Leisure Travel Free Spirit Mercedes Sprinter Van that somehow now seemed more complicated than its name is long, I decided to make a reservation at the campground.

site de rencontre pour mariage blanc en france “Maybe insuring that you know how to dump the human waste out of the bottom of your van is a good thing to have a firm handle on,” I thought to myself. The vague recollection of Chevy Chase and Robin William’s movies kept flashing through my brain.

explanation I left the dealer and headed out to hit the airport, Target and REI as chronicled in the previous post. Finding myself in late-afternoon traffic and a simple exit off the freeway in sight to get me headed towards Death Valley, I made a decision and headed West. I had no idea where the campground was, but the road to Death Valley was right here!

examplws of how to carry on an a conversarion online dating So I made a call to Daryl at Wagon Trail RV and said, “Cancel the reservation, I’m on the road. I’ll call you tomorrow if I have an issues.” It was about 3:30 in the afternoon.

http://www.camelotsduroi.fr/mimino/2189 Now here’s where my stubbornness, task oriented personality sometimes doesn’t serve me. Do you know what time it gets dark in Las Vegas this time of year? Well I didn’t. As I headed down the highway westward, it started to get pretty dark. By 4:40 pm it was night. I mean, dark. By 5 pm, stars out. Lights on bright. Dark.

Headed towards Death Valley, CA from Las Vegas at 4:20 pm.

their explanation Headed towards Death Valley, CA from Las Vegas at 4:20 pm.

http://theeasybreezyway.com/?parkyw=ligar-chico-piscis&adc=ce Death Valley is about 2 hours and 45 minutes from Las Vegas and by God I was going to get there tonight. On a basically straight road with darkness as my scenery I drove and drove in my new van until I hit Furnace Creek. In my headlights I saw a sign that said “Texas Spring Campground.”

“Texas Spring, hmm, well I’m from Texas so this must be where I’m supposed to stay.”

I’m not really much a believer of signs, but it made for a good rationalization.

With that I pulled up to the automated kiosk and paid $14 for a camp spot and lumbered into the campground. It was cold and most campers were in with lights out for the evening already. It was after 7 pm and dark after all.

I saw what looked like a flat area with a picnic table, pulled in made my bed and called it a night.

This story has been such an habitual way of camping for me that I’ve become accustom to the excitement of seeing what it is going to look like when I wake up in the morning. It happened in Canyonlands, The Grand Canyon and a multitude of places where I was just car camping. I seem to have this desire to just drive and drive till I get as close to my destination possible without passing out.

The morning view from the van window at Texas Springs Campground, Death Valley, CA

The morning view from the van window at Texas Springs Campground, Death Valley, CA

“So what?” I sometimes think. The problem is that I think I’ve really stopped enjoying the journey. I know it is cliché to not enjoy the journey as you look for the destination, but like a computer problem, I will choose to suffer until the drive is completed. Blasting past interesting things in the dark.

With this van I’m gonna start enjoying the journey. I can sleep almost anywhere in it, I don’t need to stop at convince stores for a beverage or bathroom break. I carry it all with me. My dog Charlie will certainly relish the grass of a rest stop more than the concrete of a parking lot.

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No, there’s no need to rush. No need to drive past the things that interest me. Life should be about the journey and not the destination, as is often said. And really, I should let people who actually like working on computer problems fix them.

 

Good to know!

Good to know!

It took long enough

My simplification plan has been this:

Get out of the big house that required lots of maintenance, was too big for me and Charlie, and was expensive. The second part was to move to a low-maintenance condo where I could leave for long periods of time and not have to worry about anything. This required parting with many of my possessions. All of this has been addressed in previous posts. It has been a big change.

The third part has been to get a Sprinter van that I could travel for extended period of times when I want to and, perhaps, see if I can get to such a minimal level of possessions that I could live in it. The first two parts happened simultaneously while the third part has been an exercise in patience to the point of becoming a running joke for several of my friends.

Well the joke is over!

It was not-so-bright but early when I boarded the red, white and blue Frontrunner car to head to the airport last Wednesday.  After 45-minute train ride with the morning commuters and a switch to Trax in Salt Lake for another 15 minutes, I was at Salt Lake City International Airport.

A quick check of my backpack with TSA and a rush down the terminal found my plane already boarding for the short flight to Las Vegas.

Leaving Ogden by train.

Leaving Ogden by train at 6:07 am.

I arrived in Las Vegas after enduring a crowded flight that required me to be in a center seat. After exiting the plane I headed for baggage claim only to find my backpack hadn’t arrived. I was politely informed by the attendant that it would come on the next flight about four hours later and that I could come back and pick it up or they could deliver it to my hotel or home. I explained I was actually heading to pick-up a vehicle and would make it back later in the day. She politely explained I could just park in Express parking and run in and get it when I returned.

With a plan, I headed out to passenger pick-up and waited to be picked up by Daryl from Wagon Trail RV. After about 30 minutes Daryl who’d I’d only met once back in March, drove up and we took off to the dealership. It was about 9:15 am and the staff of the dealership was just getting going for the day. The coffee was just being brewed, people where just setting into their desks and I was probably the first customer to walk in.

After taking a phone call, I was ready to see what I’d been waiting for all this time.

2015 Free Spirit by Leisure Travel vans.

2015 Free Spirit by Leisure Travel vans.

This van has been a long time coming. Delayed in production due to availability of the Mercedes chassis the arrival was thee months after what I’d originally planned for. Now after the formality of paperwork, I was ready to be educated on how everything actually worked!

After three hours of head-spinning instructions on everything from how to operate the stereo/navigation system to how to dump my human waste I was given the keys and headed for the airport to get my bag.

So just for the record, I don’t consider myself a stupid person. I try to think of obstacles I’m going to have along the way and navigate around them. With that attitude, before I left for the airport, I looked on the airport website to check and make sure that there were not any height issues that would prevent me from getting into the parking lot so I could pick up my backpack that now would have been sitting there for a couple of hours.  At nine feet, nine inches tall, this van will have problems going in some structures but according to the website the airport wouldn’t be one of them-vehicles up to 13’5″  were welcome.

Off I went into Las Vegas in a 10-foot tall and 23- foot long vehicle where upon total panic set in. This van was huge compared to anything I’d driven in the past and traffic was thick. For the next five miles I worked by way through traffic, learning when I could make lane changes and getting a baptism-by-fire by missing the turn-off to the airport and being routed in the heart of the Las Vegas strip. At least by now I’d adjusted to the size and was getting around pretty good.

After a 15-minute detour I was back in route to the airport.

As you head into the Express Parking at the Las Vegas airport, you come into a little horseshoe turn that then opens up into a fan of lanes offering you several destinations. It helps to know where you are going as you don’t have much distance to get into the lane you need. Imagine my surprise when I came around the corner and the three lanes that I had an option to continue down had yellow bars over them that said 7′ and under vehicles and 8′ and under vehicles. I suddenly felt relief that my van had a toilet in it and horrified that I wasn’t sitting on it. I slowed down to 5 mph with cars honking at me as they whizzed by me. In total panic I was looking for a place to pull over and figure out what to do when a little yellow sign to the right popped into my line of sight. “Oversized vehicle emergency exit” and an arrow pointing into the taxi line. I quickly determined this qualified as an emergency and pulled into the taxi line where it became clear I could move in to the shuttle-vehicle lane where the rental car and long-term parking shuttles were going about their business.

A deep sign of relief was exhaled and I continued in the lane to the point where I estimated the Southwest baggage area was. I pulled over into an obviously illegal parking spot, jumped out and ran into the terminal to get my bag.

After quickly getting my bag I ran back out to the van where three men had gathered around. One of them said, “Nice van.” The other said, “You can’t park here?” I replied with, “Where the hell could I park?” “It’s a $100 ticket for parking here.” Now in Nevada, they don’t put any sort of license plate on a new vehicle. No paper version of a license plate that many other states do. Instead they put a little pink sticker in the front passenger side of the windshield.  I quickly thought, “Who’s gonna stop me?” I threw my back in the cab of the van, said, “Write me up.” And climbed in and drove away.

A quick stop to at Target and REI and I was on my way!

Death Valley bound from Las Vegas my first day with my van.

Death Valley bound from Las Vegas my first day with my van.

To be continued.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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