Queen of Trades; Travel and Photography- Category [Travel/Stories/Tips]

Its May 1st. Waking up this morning was a strange feeling becuase it was the day I was supposed to arrive back in Tennessee. But due to the van giving me strange noises that made me nervous everytime I turned it on I made the deicison to come home early. Now that ive had time to settle and work on the van with Dad it became apparent that I amde the right call. There was a long list of things that needed to be done. Some of them are easy to do but take a lot of time to get right. 

This is the list 

  • Install new radio 
  • Back up camera install 
  • redo carpet in front section 
  • Build cabinet area (passenger side)
  • bigger batteries
  • Install swival seat???

Along with this list we also had maintence to do. I learned how to do the parking break on the van and also got to learn how to change out the spark plugs. Along with these changes dad discovered my front shocks were totalled and I honestly have no idea how long they have been done for. Needless to stay I got lucky that they didnt just fall apart completely on me. That would have been a very bad phone call with plenty of curse words and lots of tears. 

We still havent gotten the sound tracked down yet. The weird gruff that he was doing is a question mark but that will come after I get the new carpet installed along with the seats back in place.

So far the radio has been installed along with the backup camera. Im excited for those updates becuase the old radio had a terrible blue light that would blind you at night. It also made the occasional weird noise that you never got warning about. It would start and for hours would just keep going. It sounded like a shrill coming from under the radio and I Swear I was ready to murder someone when it came on during long drives. 

With the radio now changed out and the camera installed we can move forward. I maanged to scrape up as much of the old glue as possible and we even found a wire that was shorting from bad placement by the previous owners. With those tasks completed its time to put down the new carpet. Next stop, carpet store. 


To help with future travels I do have art pieces for sale. Down below is one of my new favorites. Click the link to purchase. 

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It's been Two weeks since I've been home. I feel somewhat back to normal now that I've settled back in. 

Going from a van back to living in a home that ISNT on wheels is a big transition. Especially when it comes to finding the right balance between work and normal activities. Mostly though it is exhausting. The transition is a lot to take on and it's different from the way it felt when it was only two months. For seven months my "home" has been wherever I've parked. Vegas, Stanley, Pheonix, Valley of Fire, Bozeman, and so many other beautiful locations. Every day was a new adventure and it was filled with new tastes, new views, and new people that I got to meet. Being home is nice in the sense that I get to go back to a normal workout routine, I get to hang out with family, cuddle my wonderful kitty Spice,  and of course, I have access to a hot shower (which has been my best friend since I've been back)

Now that I feel like I'm settled back in I can take the time to focus on the next steps. Currently, we're fixing the van. We did the parking brake and now we're working to find the source of the weird noise that started in Casper, Wyoming. There are a few possibilities but it's unclear yet as to the source. Once the big fixes are done we have one more upgrade to do to the inside of the van before I finally say that it's completed. I'm excited to do these upgrades and I can't wait to see the final product. This will be the cherry on top of this design. 

As for Youtube, I do have some videos in process and I am also practicing my spray paint work. I even have a few for sale right now. 

Stay tuned for what is to come. 


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We made it home. It was earlier than planned but we made it back. Originally we were gonna be home on May 1st but Gimli started making very unfun sounds and I didn't feel like going to a mechanic to spend more money on things that may or may not fix it. So with little time to spare, I made the decision to head home from Rapid City, South Dakota. From there it is over twenty hours to get home and it was quite the journey to get back. It took us roughly three and a half days to get home and the last leg of the trip took nearly ten hours to get back. It was a journey and I felt like death once it was over. Not only did we drive but I stopped a few times to work and I also found a place to run 4 miles with Lylah before sitting in the van and hauling ass to get home. 

We arrived at three in the morning and needless to say, I Was excited about a hot shower and to be clean before I hopped in my bed and passed out. The next few days have been a whirlwind of getting things together. I've been cleaning out the van, tackling a mountain of laundry, and have been going through my belongings from in the van and putting them in boxes for the time being. 

There are things that I have been mentally sorting through. A lot of them are small thoughts about the items I brought with me this time around. I'm configuring what I want to have and not have for next time. I used almost 90% of what I brought which is impressive and I'm very happy with that number. The 10% that I didn't use I'm ready to filter out and not bring it again. Even small adjustments can really help out in the future. 

I also have a plan for this living space and because of that I have one more configuration I want to tackle before the van is just as close to perfect as it can get. I'm excited, nervous, and ready to tackle the long list of things I want to do this summer and I hope you all are ready cause it's going to be a lot. We're getting set up for success (hopefully) and I'm ready to see how things play out and see if all this work is something I can sustain over time. 

Of course, with coming home I brought back Beer and something a little fancier for Dad as a thank you and as a pre-payment for the frustration of teaching me vehicle lingo over the summer. I need to learn but I also know that I can get frustrated easily so I'm hoping that doesn't happen too often. I'm sure in the end I will be grateful to learn what I need to for a more successful trip. 

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Here it is. My thoughts on Stanley Idaho. Enjoy the intel

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There's nothing quite like learning something new, the hard way. 

On March 16th I made my way from Casper Wyoming to Gillette Wyoming to 1)get away from the cold. 2)to get away from the wind and 3) to gain some ground on our journey back home. I've been through Gillette Wyoming before so I knew that the Walmart there was good for overnight parking and so parked in the back of the lot near some grass so that lylah can use the restroom and only travel a short distance. 

So we get things set up, have some dinner, work a little bit, and then head to bed per usual. Morning comes around and per routine, I put the keys in the ignition and turn it on and, with that Gimli sputtered to life and started to work his hardest to get warm. In the meantime, I grab Lylah and put her E- Collar on, and open the door on the driver's side. To get out I had to flip open the latch on the door and then give the door a little kick to pop it open to the outside. Of course, when I did this I must have, half awake mind you, somehow bumped the latch on my way out. In the cold, I made sure Lylah hurried to the grass and stood there while she paraded around for five minutes to pee. She's not a fan of small grassy areas and because of that, she takes her sweet time to do something that should take a few seconds. 

With her bladder now empty I sleepily make my way back to the van and get to the door we came out of and give it a tug. Nothing. 

The door doesn't budge. the handle moves but the door stays in place. Frowning I give it a good yank. Not even an inch of the door moves. Instantly panic sets in. No.****ing.way. 

I go to the driver's door and give it a yank. Nothing. I make my way around to the back, then the passenger side, and come a complete circle to the driver's door. Meanwhile Lylah is practically dancing at my feet. She doesn't know what this change is but she is kind of excited about it. Meanwhile, I go into full panic. How the hell is it locked? I opened the one door to get out and I know it was

Taking a few deep breaths and realizing my phone was also in the car and hearing the alarm go off I realize one of my nightmares is happening. I'm locked out of my vehicle, with Lylah by my side, and my phone is locked in the van...while it's running. Go figure. 

Thinking about how I'm going to get into my van I make a rash decision. I decide I'm going to find a way in through the side window. Now, these windows are almost impossible to get into because of the latch and they only open up so far when the latch is undone but the thought was, if I can get the window open, rip a hole in the screen, and get a long enough stick then I can get to the power window. 

So I get to work. Luckily I parked next to this area in Walmart that had these decorative rocks so I started off by collecting small, thin rocks and I propped the corner of the window with that. Then I reached my fingers into the latch to pop the latch and open it up. With the window popped open I then proceeded to take a stick and make a hole in the bug screen. Slowly working the stick around I got big enough to get my hand inside. From there I used rocks to try to prop open the side of the window that was opposite of the latch but not too much to crack the glass. Then I proceeded to take the stick and put it through the hole and wiggled my arm inside until I was almost to my elbow. With that, I could actually get the stick to the button. I could literally see the stick touching the square. 

I swear you guys, I was on the verge of tears. It was touching it so why wasn't it doing anything? I tried time and time again to get the pressure right to roll down the window but nothing happened. The freaking van was on and the window would just WORK I could get inside and everything would be fine. 

My thoughts were flying a hundred miles an hour and I was desperate for it to work. During this process, I even had one truck driver that stopped by. He told me that he had been watching me struggle and offered to call a locksmith or maybe he could use his crowbar. My face was on fire and I was so embarrassed. This guy had been watching me for almost an hour in between his deliveries and for some dumb reason, I turned him down. Maybe it was my pride or maybe it was that I could taste my hard work going down the drain if he called someone. I have no idea. But with reassurance, I told him I was fine and let him be on his way. 

Let me say, I will never turn down help like that again. I should have taken it because for another 30- 45 minutes I tried everything I could (from breaking the window) to get into the van. I tried with every ounce of my being to will it to work. It just had to work one time, even a little bit to get the stick in the window to then roll it down all the way. Something, anything! 

Sadly It was all for naught. In the end, I was able to track down a stranger. I stalked people and waved before finally just running up to this black ford and waving desperately for help. She rolled down the window and I told her the situation. She had this little dashound with her and while that dog barked madly at me she let me use her phone to call a locksmith. Luckily I got someone on the line and they headed over and were at my van in less than 10 minutes. 

The guy was kind and I watched in fascination as he used this little pick gadget to work his magic and get my door unlocked. I paid the man and we were back in the van. I thanked the stranger over and over and she told me that everything was fine and asked if I needed to go get Gas since the van had been on for two hours at this point. Luckily it still had a quarter of a tank left so I told her I was ok. Then proceeded to go get coffee and food and calm myself down. 

Lessons were learned this day. 

Im not going to lie, im grateful for this one stranger helping me and I'm grateful that this was somewhere in civilization. This could have been a whole lot worse if we had gone to the dispersed site I looked at before settling into the Walmart lot. 

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