Monday, April 30, 2012

Van Dwelling - First Week

Today starts week two of living in the van. Have to say this first week was an experience but I was more prepared than I thought I would be.

I was expecting to get in there and have to change a ton of stuff but it seems I set myself up pretty well.

The first night I dry docked at my friend Silver's house. Nice neighborhood, dark, no cars traveling. It was chilly but I wasn't cold as I slept.

Night two I spent dry docked at a church across the street from my friends Jen and Ed's house. I actually spent the whole day there just chilling and packing away some extra stuff.

The next day (Wednesday) I headed north to Millmont, PA to a RV park before heading to Laurelton, PA for the Spring Thaw van-in. Sunsational Family Campground is a wonderful little place to park. For $25 a night you get full hook-ups and hot showers. There was no internet when I was there but Irene, the owner, is a nice lady. She helped me get parked and plugged in and I spent a peaceful night there.

Thursday morning I zipped 10 mins over to Laurelton for Spring Thaw. I met a ton of great folks that first night before everything got going. It gives you a chance to actually have a longer conversation since once the van-in starts there are just folks everywhere.

Friday morning I woke up and realized I hadn't seen one of the cats in over 24 hours. One of the girls was unaccounted for and I tore the van apart looking for her with no luck. I was worried she may have gotten out at the RV park so I called over there to let them know I would be back by to stay and look for my cat and I shit you not - the owner said to me,

"Oh stray cats don't last long around here. We find them squished flat like pancakes by the bears all the time."

That was all it took, I spent the morning in hysterics picturing my little female cat being squished by a bear. Who says that to someone looking for a lost pet?

Turns out, my ridiculous little cat found a hole I missed and was squished up between my fridge and my converter. She spent 4 days there. I'm sure she had to come out sometime but I never saw her. I finally pulled her out today and locked off the hole but not before having to disassemble the entire converter to get to her.

Friday (after finding my cat) and Saturday I spent wandering around the Spring Thaw van-in talking to a shit ton of people. For the folks who read who are living in vans, you should definitely try to make it to a van-in - you can find a list on The folks are wonderful. I didn't meet anyone I didn't like. They're informative, generous and fun.

Sunday morning I left out of Laurelton and followed one of the folks I met to his house. Murph is by far THE nicest person I've ever met. He said he thought he had some tires that would fit my van since I expressed concern that mine were possibly dry rotted. Turns out they didn't fit but his neighbor had a nice set that were the right size that I could have. Turns out those didn't fit either, they would have dropped my van my about 2 inches. The guys at Walmart said my tires are fine and that I'm concerned about nothing.

For the next day or two I'm going to hang here in Murph's driveway. He could use a little help around the house getting some stuff organized and he went through a rough time recently with some folks he was helping out so I'm going to see if I can't do some good while I'm here.

I'm set to be somewhere in Michigan by the 11th to catch up with a vanner who is coming from Mexico to live in a van and travel the northeast US for a while seeing the state parks and stuff . I figure I'll caravan with him for a week or two before heading back to MD for the Irish Festival.

While I was at the van-in I also got my rooftop A/C working so now I have no worries about having a festival to go to in mid-July Maryland heat. As long as I can plug in - I have A/C.

I'm also sad to say that I took no pictures. I had so much going on that I just completely forgot about the camera. I do want to start doing a "morning view from my windshield" picture series. Maye I'll start that tomorrow.


  1. The RV park owner got fired from her last grief counseling job. I'm relieved to hear you found Miss Kitty.

    The Good Luck Duck

  2. Wow very interesting first week your having. Sounds exciting. Nice to know were not alone in this. I'll have to check out that site your talking about. I just can't believe that woman said that to you!!! OMG I would have said right out "How can you say that to me" Its really amazing how cats can find the littlest glad shes safe.

  3. So glad you came into my life thank you for being you hugs

  4. glad things are off to a good start and that you had a good time at spring thaw and got to meet some of the folks from the site face to face.
    Also Glad that your cat was OK. I only have one, and she is indoor only, and I know that feeling of panic when you can't find her!

  5. Wow, that guy's comment is amazing! You must have been so upset - glad you found her safe in the end. I'm thinking of travelling with a cat in a campervan but everyone says I'm crazy. Am so glad I found your site - I've bookmarked it and will follow your progress. Have you ever looked into GPS tracking collars?

  6. Glad you found your cat. I am hoping to start van dwelling myself in about a month. I find it inspirational when I see other women doing it since my family thinks my idea is crazy. I've started a blog about it and hope to do the same as you give weekly reports. I will be adding your blog to my list to watch for sure. Thanks for the link to Van in. Sounds like a cool idea. I would love to know how you are going to make money on the road? Any tricks up your sleeve? Will you be staying in Urban or have you thought of camping in dispersed areas in the national forests or BLM land?

  7. Your story made my day-I am also getting up the nerve to go portable, along with my kitty of 12 years. People can sure say some...interesting things can't they? Your story reminded me of a time when I was walking our neighborhood looking for one of our cats; one of our neighbors (Who I *don't* know) says, "Oh yes, there are people around who will kidnap cats and torture them...."
    Smdh! So glad you found your kitty; ours too, as it turns out.
    Anyway, keep on vanning,

    From: another fan and potential lady vanner