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  • MJ

Mistakes We've Made While Traveling


It’s not all rainbows and sunshine to travel full-time. We have great days and we have bad days (thankfully, more of the good ones). We fight, we get lost, and we don’t get a private bathroom or shower very often. Everything works out how it’s supposed to but we’re here to tell you about a few mistakes we’ve made along the way. They’re not easy to admit because some of them are common sense, but hey... shit happens.

Know Yourself, Know the Hike, and ALWAYS Pack Enough Water!

Pack enough water ya ding dong!

Sounds pretty obvious right? Well believe it or not we’re not as smart as we think we are sometimes. A quick trip up to the highest peak east of the Rockies shouldn’t be too strenuous, right? Well maybe not for some people but for us it wasn’t a walk in the park. We figured since we had hiked to the top of the tallest mountain in Ireland once this was surely going to be a breeze. Not so much. Did I mention we decided it was a good idea to start the hike during the hottest part of the day? We were so young and naive...

Anyway, after making it about 3/4 of the way up we stopped to fill our little baby mouse lungs with as much oxygen as we could and decided to head back. We were out of water, hot as hell, and genuinely not “feeling it” anymore. Coming from a state whose highest point of elevation is probably Turn 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to say we were unprepared is a vast understatement.

We made the long grueling trek back down to the van feeling very overheated, dehydrated, and most of all defeated. We don’t like feeling like wimps but what was done was done.

This experience did however teach us a few valuable lessons. Knowing your limits is very important. What’s easy for some might not be for you. We’re definitely in better hiking shape now but there are still plenty of hikes we decide not to do. We’re not saying don’t push yourself because it’s absolutely rewarding when you achieve a goal even if it’s something like completing a big hike you didn’t think you could do. Just make sure you pack enough water!

We basically crawled to the van the last half mile, drank as much water as possible, and headed to the nearest grocery store for fried chicken and mac n' cheese.

Always Check the weather (even though it's probably going to change)!

Read a newspaper, check your phone, ask the bartender or the sweet old lady working at the grocery store in the middle of nowhere.

Seriously. Where we come from we don’t really have much to worry about when it comes to weather (besides the occasional tornado). Sure, the Hoosier weather can be a little annoying and bi-polar at times but chances are it’s not going to ruin your day.

Recently we camped out in an area of Utah that on average receives less than 8” of rain per year. That’s not very much for those of you keeping score at home. So naturally being the wise, road hardened travelers we are, we didn’t bother checking the forecast. We saw the signs on the way in informing us that the only road in and out is impassable when wet. Now I’m not going to say that we scoffed at this warning but we certainly didn’t pay much attention to it.

It was a beautiful night, a little windy but nothing too concerning, and the grilled cheeses and tomato soup for dinner were absolutely delectable. The sunset was divine and we were anticipating another night of clear dark sky and stellar star-gazing.

Then the clouds rolled in.

Less than 8 inches per year my ass! The heavens opened up and Zeus was angry that night. It stormed (violently) for several hours. The wind gusts must have been close to 420 miles per hour. I think I felt the van slide once. The rain sounded like it would certainly penetrate our little vans roof and fill the inside with water in minutes.

Thankfully we survived the ancient angry gods assault on our campsite that night. The next morning when we woke we found the van had not moved, it had not leaked, and we were not sitting on a tiny piece of land surrounded by thousands of acres of water.

However, we still had to get out of this valley and the signs that we paid no mind to on the way in were becoming more important to us by the minute. It took about 30 minutes to travel down the “impassable when wet” road. We had to cross a couple of creeks that were dry the day before and now flowing with water. Luckily, the Astro is as capable at sea as it is on land. Everything worked out fine here. No harm no foul right? But here again we have learned another valuable lesson. CHECK THE WEATHER! Even if your camping in a place that averages less than 8” of precipitation per year.

Oh Deer...

That’s not a typo. We mean oh deer not oh dear. On the morning of April 8th, 2018 at approximately 9:30 a.m a deeply depressed and suicidal deer decided to take her own life. She did so by hurling her body in front of our van that was traveling through both time and space at about 65 American miles per hour. I don’t need to tell you what this impact will do to a mule deer but I will anyway. She died.

Now this doesn’t fall in to the “mistakes we made” category so much as the “shit happens” category. There really wasn’t much we could have done to avoid this. The DNR officer informed us that over 1,000 deer are killed per year in about a 1 mile radius from where our incident occurred.

We were fine, Otter was fine, and Luna had suffered mostly only cosmetic damage in the form of a busted headlight, jacked up hood and a dented front right quarter panel. This is why we have insurance, right? The hood actually used to stick pretty bad but now it opens up real easy! The van still drives great and will no doubt guide us down the road like she always has as we continue this journey.

Always keep an eye out for wildlife on or near the road but sometimes shit just happens.

Here are some other useful tips...

Always strap your 7 gallon water jug in unless you love mopping, a lot.

Don't leave your doors open on a Texas beach. (if you can't tell, these are bugs)

Vacation isn't always the best time to eat something new... unless you want hives.

Don't run out of toilet paper, just don't.

Thanks for joining us for our mishaps. We hope you laughed at least once. That's the best way for us to get through the hard times, laugh it off. Oh, and learn a lesson.

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