As soon as we got back into town Scott and I decided to kick it into overdrive. I think I noted in earlier blogs that we were planning on road tripping the US and Canada this coming summer as our last hurrah before I go to school and Scott gets a real career. Well, while we were in New Zealand we ended up buying small Ford Transit Connect van from a family in Portland, in hopes of building it out and converting it in to a camping van. Also, because we were planning on van lifeing for about 3-4 months, we needed to make money ASAP and save in order to afford all of this. Traveling overseas definitely tapped us out, but we were determined to make this last trip happen.
Scott and I, for the first week and half home, ended up working at his parents’ house to help get things in order. We did insulation, put windows in a shop, sorted through pictures, went through storage, and other odds and ends projects. After that first week and half we needed to start working on the van in the evenings and then finding work in town during the day. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic we ended up getting really lucky and took on work for a grocery delivery service called Instacart. Scott and I would work 10-12 hours every day, 7 days a week and then in the evenings I would take a microbiology class and Scott and my dad would work on building out the van. To say it was exhausting would be an understatement, but we were working towards a goal and knew it would be worth it in the end! Plus, it was super rewarding helping out our local community by delivering groceries. Everyone was so kind and thankful, it really felt like we were doing something good!
Every evening while I watched lectures, did homework, and took notes, Scott and my dad chipped away at the van. Honestly, I did pretty much nothing to it other than organize, decorate, and pack what was going in it. Scott did the electrical, mounted back-up cameras, put in speakers and a new front deck, built a sub-floor, an overhead shelf, put in paneling, cut a hole in the roof and put in a max-air fan, mounted a box, bike rack, and ARB awning all on the top of the van, installed dimmable lights, welded a metal removable bed frame, and probably some other random things I forgot, but overall, very impressive. With that we added a bed, a Jackery power source, an RV bed, a fan, instacrates for gear, paddle boards in the box, and countless other tools and necessities for max comfort. A little home on wheels!
During our steady grind of Instacart and balancing the rest of our lives we decided to take a small break and head down to Tahoe for a weekend of nothing. Well, that weekend ended up changing the trajectory of our lives quite a bit. Scott and I had been planning to move to Denver in the fall/winter for months now, and every once in a while we would check craiglist for different types of housing. There is a specific criteria we were trying to hit and we wouldn’t move unless the place we rented had all those things. Low and behold, one morning while we were in Tahoe, Scott was casually scrolling Craigslist and found the perfect place. It was a duplex, with a yard, a covered garage, two bed, one bath, 5 minutes from where I am hoping to go to school, and in our price range. We immediately contacted the landlord and told her, without seeing the place, we were in. She probably thought we were crazy, but this is something we had been waiting for. That evening, she showed the property to five different people who were interested, but we had the right of refusal and we did! So I guess we are moving to Colorado on June 1st! (We actually ended up moving about a week and half earlier because we made a deal with the landlord that we would fix up the entire place if she paid for materials and let us move in early free of charge).
After deciding to move to Colorado earlier we REALLY went into work overdrive. If we weren’t working on the van, sleeping or studying, we were doing Instacart to make as much cash as we could before we moved. We enjoyed the sunshine when we could, bought stuff for our new place in order to avoid sales tax, and I tried making a few new cake recipes!
Looking back now, the time we spent at home getting ready to move went by fast, but once we got to Colorado and were preparing the house and getting ready for our long road trip time was zipping past us. We packed up all our possessions into the back of a semi and shipped it off to Colorado. It was one of those shipping companies that blocks of sections of the truck so you can save money and not have to trailer your stuff on the back of your own car. We’d see all of our boxes in Denver in about 10 days. After that we enjoyed our last meals with our parents, loaded up our two cars (left the van to pick up in Eugene in June) and headed on our way to our new place.
We broke up the drive into two big chunks. The first, getting to Salt Lake City, and the second pushing all the way to Arvada (just outside of Denver, where our place is located). On the second day we even took time to do a hike in Moab and see some arches. We decided that Utah was a place we needed to spend some serious time in when we road trip through it. Definitely a hidden gem!
After just over 20 hours of driving, we arrived in our new home in Arvada, Colorado. Situated at the bottom of the Rockies and ready for our new adventure to start.
***We were home from March 20-May 21***