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

A few days passed and my father and i corresponded on our plans. We decided that he would bring his truck and pick Lylah and I up and we would go to Yellowstone together. After all I wasn't going to bail on a race I had trained for and also miss out on going west. After all I had ripped my father into the race and I had made him excited to see the western world. After all he hasn't been out there to Yellowstone before and I wanted to share the experience with him and share my knowledge and love for our world with him. 

So as the days went by I got to enjoy being surrounded by cool people and work in my own space while waiting for my rescue....well my second rescue on this trip. 

With my father's arrival meany that the chapter with my old cruise buddy was ending. As we got to chatting i got to know that she was a traveler herself and I got some advice on places like Thailand, Egypt, Japan and China. All places that I have considered and all places she had been to. Sharing knowledge and gaining knowledge from well traveled people is always something I love doing and with her inside thoughts and ideas I got to add some new hikes to my list and know how expensive those places are. 

With a sad heart I sad goodbye to my old friend and thanked her once again for being my rescuer. She once again told me it would as all good and what comes around goes around. In a way she's correct and i felt good knowing she was doing well. After all it had been ten plus years since i last saw her. 

Waving goodbye to my well traveled friend we loaded ourselves in the truck and took off to go back to my van. We had to make a pit stop to make some switches in belongings and just make sure everything was secure in the van. Right off the bat trouble came. 

On our way to the van the suburban decided to be weird. While driving it started to loose speed and quit. My dad pulled over and took a second to let the truck sit and then restarted it. It came back on without a problem. Good lord I was passing my problems to him. 

Nervous but knowing my dad would figure it out we kept onward. Running thought possible issues he decided that the keys he kept on his physical key might be causing a weight issue. So taking the extra weight off he decided to keep going. There was discussion about possible fuse issues and maybe even an on star problem. 

For those that remember you know this all to well. On star used to have a service in gnc vehicles (maybe others as well, I'm unsure) where if you suspected that the vehicle was stolen or if they suspected it was stolen on star could literally turn off your vehicle whenever necessary. You report the theft and they would turn off the car for you. Sounds great right? Well...that is until the vehicle thinks YOU stole it and turns it off on you. That was a suspected problem and so K (K is someone my father is seeing) and my dad discussed where that fuse is to pull it. If it was the problem then it's fixed, If not well then at least it was pulled and eliminates a possible problem. 

Getting to Gimli we make some exchanges and make sure everything is secure and in proper position. Pueblo has a high crime rate and I was unsure about leaving certain items so I made sure to switch everything around and make sure to bring what i could to bring down my anxiety. Even though it was parked at a dealership it didn't mean it wouldn't be a target with a Florida plate on the back. 

After the exchanges were done I gave one last look, turned in my keys and we were off the Yellowstone. 

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With my rescue, I felt an immediate sense of relief....well after we got through traffic on the way back. It was insane and honestly, it was giving us both a bit of stress just because people were not paying attention and were in a hurry trying to get places in an area where you can't really go anywhere. so really we are just revving our cars for 10 feet of space. AS you can imagine it was not my immediate favorite thing but it was better than being stranded in a GMC parking lot. 

Arriving at the house we settled and during this time I was being a total pain in the ass to my job which was definitely not being helpful at the time with this issue. I was supposed to work that evening but being stranded there wasn't any way that I could get a hardwired connection to do ANY kind of work and yet I was getting crap for something I had no control over. I was not guaranteed an excuse for those hours so as expected I kept giving my work **** about this. When you're stranded that is a real emergency. There isn't anything you can do. We're not in times where I can have a wifi connection in my van (yet) and just work away anywhere.

Giving them a full stink and settling I made sure to let my friend know that I was grateful for her making the trip. She told me over and over it was ok and that it wasn't a big deal but I still couldn't help but thank her over and over again for a roof over my head and AC. Plus she had a puppy that I just could not help but adore and Lylah loved him instantly. 

With the immediate crazy behind me, I took the night to try to relax and not think about the crime crate in Pueblo. 

The next day I got up and I got to work. I snuggled with the puppy and waited for the news on my transmission. With a few calls, I was able to get in touch with them, and right off the bat, the lady sounded like she was unsure of a time frame for the vehicle. Furious and knowing that was my only way of transportation I gave her an earful. I told her that I needed her to give me a timeframe because I was not from Colorado and I needed it now. There wasn't any way I was going to be stranded in Colorado for a week while they played around and took as much time as they wanted. Understanding but still unsure she told me she would try to look at it as soon as possible and then hung up. 

Unsatisfied and with no answers I went to work. 

Turns out when you yell at people and tell them that you need answers now that people respond differently. A few hours go by and she tells me that they were able to look at it and tell me what is wrong. She tells me that the transmission is done and that it has burned fluid and pieces of metal inside so the gearbox is done and needs to be replaced. After that, she gives me two options. One where she tells me she that she can get the transmission the next day or the one where she can hold off and put the transmission in at a later day since it will take the normal 2-5 days for it to come in. After consulting with my dad we decided to give them a week to get the transmission fixed and of course, I was upset about the price. I know it's a new transmission and they are expensive but in terms of cash and a trip that was supposed to be two weeks I was very unhappy about the whole ordeal. 

Admitting defeat we told her what we wanted and they started the process. It would be done on Monday and we would be back to get it before close. All I had to do was wait for my dad's arrival to help with getting to the race and back 



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After finally getting the battery settled and taking off I got about two days in before the worst part happened. After a long drive, I finally pulled into a rest stop in Colorado, crawl into the back and go to bed. 8 a.m rolls around and I get up, get my things together, get ready and head off down the road. Ten minutes later the van is doing something weird. It stops working after I get to 60. Looking at my gas gauge and knowing that it has had problems in the past I go ahead and turn around and go back to the town I came from. I didn't want to take any chances. So I go back, fill up my gas tank, fill up my backup gas can and take off. Low and behold the van is still doing this weird loud air suction sound and after a few minutes I pull over and pop the hood. 

The first thing I check is the motor oil and that's fine and I pull out the transmission stick and it's clear. Confused from the fact that I went ahead and filled it a little the other day I get the can out and put some more in, check it and it seems fine and I get on the road. 

two minutes later it's back at it. So I pull back over and give good old dad a call. We go back and forth and eventually end up at the conclusion that the transmission is being weird. Realizing I needed more oil I make my way to the next gas station and fill him up and check the tank and it's fine. So thinking that the situation would sort itself out I start making my down this mountain road and the next thing I know it stops working. Panicked and unsure I pull into this pull-off and call my dad back. 

Hysterical and unsure of what to do we realize that I need to get to the next town. Gimli wouldn't drive in 3rd gear at all and it wouldn't go past 30. Devastated that my gearbox was definitely broken we had another problem. I had Lylah with me and I needed somewhere to stay so as we're talking a post was put out that I was stranded. If I had stayed in town that would have costed me another $500 just for almost three nights alone and that's because of the fees they charge which is ridiculous. 

Luckily someone reached out who had a daughter that I met a long time ago and said to ask her to come to get me. She was in Denver and I was in Pueblo and it made sense to just ask for the help so I did. I got lucky because she said she was cool with getting me and with having Lylah over. NOt gonna lie it was wonderful to have someone to come get Lylah and me. I needed the help and with connections, it really does make a difference in situations like mine. 


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One of the worst things about a trip is when your getting ready to leave and as your packing up and you go to check the van to make sure everything is set andddd the battery is dead. So what do you do? Of course, you go ahead and connect the dead battery to a working battery to let it charge. Well, of course, I did that and tried to start it again and of course, the battery was deader than dead so moving forward I made sure to pack up the van anyway and then decided to get a new battery in the morning since I checked it later that night. Now, mind you the start of this trip was not fun. It was crazy, ridiculously difficult to get moving, and of course stressful beyond belief. 

So I get up in the morning to get the battery out of the van and mind you this van has been serviced before but the battery was pretty old so it was bound to die in the heat of Florida. After 20 minutes of struggling with the bolt that holds down the battery, I finally got it to loosen and come out. Once that was out I had to then wrestle the battery out of the tight spot it was in to exchange it at Walmart. 

Fast forward to Walmart and I get into the building and get the new battery not paying any attention to the old one. I leave and go back to the van, get the battery in, and realize that one of the bolts is missing. Sighing in frustration I got back in my car and went back to Walmart to get the old bolt that was stuck to the back of the bad battery. The people at Walmart had a good laugh at my mistake. 

Finally back at the van after a two-hour delay, I get the battery installed and bam the van turns on. Great so now I can get going. I get Lylah and we move the van onto the road annnnnddd it dies. Of course just another bump in my plans. Frustrated I go and get the gas can in the back for the lawnmower and dump some gas in there. Just enough to get us to the gas station. I get there, fill up and then realize I forgot things. So I go back to the house and get the rest of my belongings and head out. After four hours of running around like crazy, I finally hit the road and thought that things would work out from there....

And as you all know it didn't. It only got worse. 

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Part 2 update on the van 


In case you guys didn't know I have named my van Gimli and of course if you don't know what that name is from...well shame on you. Its from the class Lord of the Rings trilogy and Gimli was always one of my all time favorite characters from the movies, not only because he was a classic but also because of his ability to be hilarious about his own race. While I was on the road I noticed that the van was having trouble going up mountain ranges and would start to share his voice on how much he detested the journey and all I could think of was the classic scene where they are tracking Mary and Pippin and Gimli makes a statement about how dwarfs were sprinters. From then on the name was stuck like glue. 

So Gimli is finally going to be getting the floor installed this weekend. I'm super excited. I have the old insulation out, bought new insulation, got all the bolts and screws out of the floor and i'm ready to finally make the proper cuts andget this floor done. Once that is done I will be working towards the bedframe so that I can finally put the van to use. The fun part will be getting pallets to make that happen. I know that I can just call stores and get the pallets from them but its always weird trying to ask stores to keep the pallets they recieve 

So far the progress has been amazing and I am so grateful for this experience. Iv'e never done anything like this before and I really wanted to make sure I did it correctly since I will more than likely be traveling in this van closer to full time when we move out west. Its the go to way of transportation and I couldn't be more thrilled to finally be this close to my dreams. 


of course with all of this work means I will also be posting a video soon of what I have been doing. I'm excited to get to work on that and to post it for you all to see. I appreciate each and every one of you for following my journey as I made my way towards my goal. Its been a long journey and it is far from over but I am so stoked to see what is coming. 


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