One of my favorite things about traveling in a campervan is the ability to literally wake up every day with a different view. Its always been a part of my dream and I enjoy it greatly. I even get to enjoy it with a four-legged companion by my side. Of course with her having to use a crate it makes things a little difficult but once we get the conversion done it will make things a little easier on us both. Not only for the sake of space but also for the sake of us being able to get around the campervan without any issues. Right now it feels like its a little cramped and that makes things difficult every day. YOu take things out you need in the morning and in 30 seconds the van is demolished. Once you're done doing what you need to do you put it all back and start over. Once we get some cabinets in here and figure out storage it will make things easier and we won't have to demolish the place to get to things.
So far these are the things that I have learned I need for the van.
*Ac unit/heater unit
*A bag of tools/oils/rags for when the van needs some RnR
*More storage space up top for food/cooking utensils
*possibly solar power (unclear if it's needed really but with the blog and editing I'm seeing it more as a necessity)
*Bug net on all sides
So far that is what I am seeing I need from this trip. Most of it is work necessities. I also need to get some of the blinds in the van replaced as they are very easy to break and it has been a little bit of a pain not being able to cover all the windows. When I get home it will be interesting to see what I come up with and how I will make this happen. A lot of it seems to be based on New Zealand's whole set up when I was there which is totally fine. Really I enjoyed New Zealand's set up. It was nice and really made things quite simple. Oh I am so excited to get this thing fully converted over.
Yesterday was one of those classic Sarah days. A day that I didn't want to happen but yet it did. A day that I clearly was not ready for nor wanted.
I got up a little bit late to leave but that is ok considering I got to say goodbye to my friend I was staying with. I hadn't seen him in ten months so it was nice to be able to catch up on the last few days. We said our goodbyes, took a photo, and then went on our way. Taking my time I started to get things together, making sure that I wasn't leaving anything behind. I loaded up the cooler, the food I had, my clothes, the dog crate, and as I was loading up the little knickknacks I had laying around I noticed that there was something coming out from under my van.
It has a certain tint to it and as I looked closer I realized what it was.
Transmission fluid. Fu*k. I bend down and look underneath the vehicle and instantly I see the drip. Its not a big drip but its there. Instantly I called my dad and we started talking about the next steps I needed to do. I already knew that it needed to put oil in the van and I was going to do that before I took off but now I needed transmission fluid. Looking up the closest Walmart I made my way over there and purchased what I needed and supplies. Already an hour late When I was packing I added on two more hours to being late and it was starting to put a damper on things. So I filled the van with fluid and started driving.
About an hour and a half in I notice that my tank is close to empty but it still has about give gallons at the most so I skip the gas station coming up and keep going. I don't even get a half-mile away from the gas station when the van starts to sputter. Panicked I look for a way to turn around. There isn't anywhere to turn around. Taking in a deep breath I look up gas stations and I realize, I'm ten miles away from the next one. Awesome.
I swear the next ten miles were the longest ten miles of my life. I had no idea what to think and I had no idea how to feel about everything. I was putting the pedal to the metal so to speak and I was trying my damndest to make sure to make it to the gas station. I needed to make it to the gas station. By some miracle I made it and when I got to that gas station I felt myself release all the tension I felt. Holy moly was I unamused by what just happened.
For those of you wondering this has happened before, in Colorado. The gas gauge started acting up from going up and down the mountains and so I have experienced this beforehand but it has been a while since It had done it so I assumed that everything was fine. Not. So not fine.
Luckily I made it to Zion in one piece. It was late and when we hit the trail for Lylah I was pretty exhausted. The good news is that I got some amazing star shots last night and I can't wait to edit them for you guys to see.
Today we are heading back out to Zion National Park from Vegas. The drive is about two hours long which isn't too bad considering that you have to jump state lines to get there. I honestly am a little unsure about this park just because last time I was there I wanted to murder somebody but I have faith that I can control myself and keep myself from hurting somebody. It really is just because of the fact that I have to find a parking spot. That part really gets me. Like the stress in the park is so dumb. It is the first park where I felt like I was going to get so angry and it would never subside but once we got moving and hiking I was fine. It just took a bit for it to simmer down.
But the reason I am typing this for you guys is to let you know something interesting about the park.
There are a good amount of hikes all around Zion but if you want to do the big boy hikes (angels landing, the watchman, the narrows, and so on) you have to take a shuttle to get into those parts of the park. You can walk but it will take you anywhere from an hour to three hours to get to the start of the hikes themselves so you should definitely buy a shuttle ticket. Now to buy a shuttle ticket you need an account on recreation.gov. After that, you look up zion national park and it will come up with an option to buy shuttle tickets. The trick to shuttle tickets is to be on the site by 9 a.m and you have to purchase them the day before you leave.
As an example. I want to go tomorrow to Zion. The date is 9/15/2020. I have to be on the site by 9 A.M, I log in to my account, type in the shuttle service and the calendar box will light up with an A saying that tickets are available. I click on it, pick a time I want, and purchase them. Now the window only holds the tickets for 15 minutes so you have to have your card ready to purchase. The best thing though about the tickets, they are only $1. Just $1 which is awesome.
To make things better about the tickets, because of COVID they can only allow 20 to 30 people on the shuttle at a time which means that your reservation time is good from the time you reserved through to the rest of the day. You can show up whenever and board the shuttle. It actually is super helpful to know that because when my bf and I went there we were late getting parking spots and by the time we were parked we had "missed" the shuttle but because of the way the park is, how busy it is, and etc they were waving the tight reservation times.
So if you are visiting zion national park while COVID is still happening I hope this helps you out.
Quick update, I am in Vegas! It sounds super exciting but I honestly think I won't be doing much in vegas while I am here. I am mostly getting everything ready and regrouping for getting back on the road. Due to the fact that California is literally on fire and that they closed all of their national parks I will be skipping that state and going back to Utah to do some more of the national parks. I was only in the parks for three to four days so I didn't really get to explore as much as I wanted to.
For those of you that might be wondering what we did, we did Arches National Park, Bryce canyon national park, and Zion National Park. All of them were amazing and all of them took my breath away in different ways. It was one of those experiences were we just kept running into one amazing place after another and I swear it was something I was not expecting. Utah has literally taken my breath away. It is one of those mysterious states that I was unsure of but after visiting it in those four days I can say that it is one of my favorite states so far.
Of course, Colorado is always at the top but in terms of places I haven't been it definitely is one of my favorites in terms of new places I went to so far. While I am in vegas i am going to get all my editing done and line up the videos for you guys to watch. It will be exciting and honestly, I can't wait to check out all the footage and let you guys see parts of what I have seen. All this hiking has been so fun and I am ready to share my stories and videos with you all.
My boyfriend finally came to visit me on my journey. He decided that he wanted to see Zion National Park and I can't blame him for wanting to come to visit me while I am out here. This state is beautiful and there is so much to see and do in this area. It honestly is overwhelming to think about and when it comes to deciding what to do it is kind of a lot to go through. In the end, he decided based on the photos I showed him and based on the fact that he wanted to be wowed in all kinds of ways.
while waiting for him to arrive (on his birthday no less) my friend Steph and I were dealing with a crisis. September 8th in Salt Lake City we had terrible winds come through. They were so bad that half of the city lost power. The hotel that she was staying in didn't have power and while she and I struggled to figure out where to go to do work and get coffee we also wondered what the best course of action would be for that night. The locals kept saying that it was supposed to get worse and I honestly wasn't sure if I should get a hotel or not based on that fact alone. Like I knew it was supposed to get pretty bad but I wasn't sure if that was true. After an hour of talking in her hotel and rearranging my suitcase with clean clothes, we finally found a coffee shop that was open and had power. That meant caffeine and we could sit down and enjoy some warmth while Lylah got to be out of the crate with us.
At the coffee shop, we sat, worked, and tried to figure out a game plan for when my boyfriend came into Salt Lake City. I knew that he would want to see Steph so I figured we could get dinner somewhere together and celebrate together. She agreed and when two p.m rolled around we realized that we had to head out and go somewhere else. The lady at the desk (in the coffee shop) was very nice and told us we could stay if we wanted but feeling guilty and understanding that she might want to go home we left and headed to our next destination.
Next was the gym. We hit the gym in hopes that they would have power. Sadly they did not and they were only taking members. Steph was a member but I was not. Defeated we left and headed out. Literally the next two hours we drove around the city trying to get a signal and book a hotel room for the night. The storm was so bad that our signal kept going in and out and places with wifi were all shut down because of the power outage. It really was frustrating and in the end, we got hotels near the airport.
Getting to the hotel I walked in and realized that my bf was landing right as we walked in the door. Frustrated, starving, and just not in the mood I talked with the lady trying to get everything set up. She then tells me there is a $100 deposit on the room. Baffled and tired I gave her my card and said it was fine. The card declined. Annoyed I stormed out but realized I had no other choice and went back. Sucking it up and using the Atm I put down the deposit and got everything in the room quickly. I changed and then Steph and I were off to go pick up my boyfriend. It was the most frustrating day and yet when I saw him I instantly felt better about everything. It was so nice to see him after three weeks on the road. For me, it felt like longer but that was expected to happen when I started this journey.
Today we are going to check out Zion and tomorrow he flys home. I am sad that he is leaving but I know that is something that has to happen. It's just been nice having him here to hang out with and to explore.
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