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Archive for December 2011

0

Did Somebody Say Volcano?

The sun had barely cracked the horizon, its warm glow moving down the adjacent slope of the Rio Quebrada Honda valley as we rolled out of bed. While rubbing my eyes and peering out the hazy window at the early morning spectacle I begin to wonder, "Why did we sign up for this again? Oh yeah... volcano." It seems as though the very word was designed to suck the interest of anyone who dared glance at a Lonely Planet Guide. We stumbled into some CouchSurfing friends the night before and as soon as the word was mentioned, it sounded good to us and we agreed to meet up and go together. Luckily our bags were pre-packed and limited clothing makes for limited selection time. We rouse Michal, the Czech CouchSurfer staying in the room next door.  Out the door and down the road.   Read more

20

Van Dwelling Logistics: Overnight Parking and Security

You pull into a nice quiet and dark parking lot. There are only a few cars around and one semi truck. The business looks closed and it seems like a fine place to hunker down for the night. You climb into the back, get your comfy clothes on and whip out the sleeping bag. Memories of the day and excitement for tomorrow’s adventures float through your head as you drift off to sleep. Just as Mr. Sandman begins to guide you through tonight’s dream journey, a Maglite taps the glass. You jerk up and your heart skips a beat. Adrenaline. Short breaths. You attempt to gather your thoughts as you wipe the fog from the glass. On the other side is a man in uniform and he wants to talk to you much more than you want to talk to him.

No self-respecting van dweller wants to find themselves in this type of situation, but unfortunately, it’s an unavoidable fact of van life... OR IS IT? If you’re thinking about living and/or traveling in your vehicle (or if you just want to know what it’s like for us), this post is for you...   Read more

7

Costa Rica Gets Real: Time to Breathe.

The sky was not the only thing weeping yesterday.  Just getting somewhat lost took me out of any kind of positivity.  I couldn't take going back to a place we found comfort in combined with the difficulty of getting back there.  How are we going to make this work?  We have failed to find places to stay and everyone we meet has a surprised reaction to learn of our plans to stick in Costa Rica for 90 days.  This could be due to our limited understanding of Spanish and/or our lack of plans.  Then we are told of the dangers that lurk at night in areas less traveled.  It seems almost everyone has had their own experience or knows someone who has been robbed.   Read more

0

The Great Smokey Mountain Tourist Watch

Leaving Knoxville late at night, we stopped at a Walmart to rest for the night. At this particular Walmart, we were chancing our luck not to be towed away. Even with "No Overnight RV Parking"  signs posted, we figured it would be okay since others were more than obviously parked for the night. Safety in numbers, right!? The restless night went by and eventually I fell fast asleep.  Early in the morning, Josh woke to make our way to The Great Smokey Mountains.  Beyond exhausted, we stopped at an outdoor store to stock up on cooking fuel.  The store yet to open, Josh climbed back into bed for a couple hours to wait it out.  When we woke, the parking lot was full and Josh headed in.   He was lucky to come out with fuel as he mentioned the store was mainly for tourists with money burning in their pockets. Still bring a bit early, we made our way to a visitors center just outside the park. This feeling like yet another tourist trap, we found ourselves back in bed again.

Our excessive morning sleep caused us to head into the Smokies later than expected, but we pushed forward. Upon entering the park's main Visitor's Center, we were faced with the worst part of the only free (and most visited) National Park on the country- traffic. It's like Christmas-time traffic where everyone is busy getting somewhere, distracted and in some kind of dumb-founded bubble. Drivers aren't kind here for the most part. It took us a few circles to find parking and due to traffic chaos mixed with growling bellies and petty arguing follows suit. We finally made into the visitor center which was littered with aimlessly wandering tourists showing souvenir hunger in their eyes.   Read more