Van Life Did Not Start As Expected

When I started this whole process I had this fantastical image in my head that the whole van build would come together quickly (and under budget) on my ideal start date so I could drive west into a setting sun.

Life does not work that way.  I moved out of my apartment, got rid of every piece of furniture I owned and gave away most of my excessive amount of possessions and moved into an unfinished van.

I’ve always thought of my trips taken while I was building as my year zero of van life.  It’s the moments and memories before I actually started travelling.

A Trip to Door County WI

October 17th - 23rd, 2020

Looking back on this outing, it was pure chaos.

I hardly did any work on the van, I basically had a cardboard floor with my diesel heater installed.  But I had a van and I was going to travel with it.

Surprisingly this was my first time to door county and it was not the peak season for a visit.  It was right after a super busy work period and the thought of a vacation away was something I couldn’t get out of my mind.

Now for the bad..  I got a new camp stove on my drive up and nearly started the interior on fire since I didn’t know how to use it.  It was cold and rainy the entire week I was there and my heater power source was insufficient causing it to not work the entire week.

And the good.. it was peak leaf peeping season and every hike I took had a beautiful view.  Being near water constantly reminded me how much I enjoy it.  And it was my first van outing and I can smile thinking how far I’ve come from then.

Meeting the Midwest Adventure Van Club

November 7th-8th, 2020

You know what sounded like a good idea at the time?  Let’s meet up with a bunch of random strangers, some of who live out of a van from time to time, on the side of the road in rural southwest Wisconsin.  I can see nothing wrong with that idea.

It turned out to be one of the best decisions I made in 2020.  This random assortment of people turned into some of the people I looked forward seeing the most!

We had a van caravan across some beautiful country roads and ended up in Mirror Lake where we spent the night.  A roaring campfire to round of the evening, it was perfect.

I also got the impression that they might have thought I was overly ambitious after seeing the current stage of the van and I don’t blame them.

Unplanned Adventure to Florida

December 7th-16th, 2020

This story begins with a good friend was helping me install my subfloor.  He was always there to help when I needed it and never asked for anything in return.  Until he casually mentioned he was going to Florida to buy a sailboat and asked if I wanted to join.  I’m pretty sure he meant that we should fly, but why fly during a pandemic when there are other options?

So before I knew it the van was loaded up to sleep two and we headed south.  While every leg of the journey was unplanned and unexpected I think it turned out quite well.  He got his boat, I got a national park, and Vincent got his first taste of what it was like to travel.

Wildcat Mountain State Park

Midwest Adventure Van Club
May 22nd-23rd, 2021

Progress!  I made build progress and I was so excited to show it off to like minded folks!  It was barely more than a bed and an electrical system but I was proud as could be.

It was very chaotic leading up to the meetup since I was trying to clean up loose ends on projects and make a good impression.  The last time they saw the build it was merely more than an empty van.

Unfortunately work took up my time during the daytime activity which in the sad side effect of working full time while also van building.  But I was so ready for the campfire that evening.

<h1">Brown Dog Farm

Midwest Adventure Van Club
October 15-17th, 2022

We decided to meet at a farm!  And they had a brown dog!

This was finally my first van club where I didn’t have work looming over my head, just finishing the van build.

Events to add:

Door County Round 2

Midwest Adventure Van Club – Wyulusing State Park