Finally!! Our days were quickly counting down to our departure date and the van still sat empty. We were silently admitting to ourselves that we weren’t going to make it out of town on our own timeline.
We had built a few extra days in just in case, so it wasn’t the end of the world…but always sucks to see a deadline come and go. We were helped by the fact that i got severely ill in the final days. Flulike symptoms and a horrific cough didn’t make the final few 12+ hour days in the freezing shop much fun but we kept plugging away.
Rather had forgotten about all the dividers we planned on living under our lofted bed until we did one dry run with half completed cabinets…so we flew into action cutting plywood panels into rough shapes under our bed to hold propane, snowboards, etc.
Was nice to see things take shape rapidly, but the above is what the van looked like on the day we were supposed to pull out of portland…still not exactly what you might call “move-in ready”.
Our deadline came and went but the two days that followed were hugely cathartic. Most of these projects have proven that the last 10% of the project takes more than 90% of the time, but this time around we had front loaded all the projects so that in the end the process was more “plug and play”. Much like or ceiling install, what took months of planning and building literally went into the van in minutes.
On the final day we pulled into the shop with an empty shell. All underbed panel still drying and all cabinets still getting hardware, hinges etc… but by the end of the day we pulled out with a fully functioning van (minus a few details we might have planned on having).
I did a quick clean of the shop, threw some holiday hugs and raced to our garage/tiny home to meet jen where she was already sitting on the steps with all of our belongings waiting on me. We tossed the mattress on the bedframe, literally stacked all the bins and gear into the van, saving just enough space for karma to lay behind the front seats and raced out of town trying to beat traffic. We did not…
We slowly made our way out to the airport, stopped to pickup a new phone (ours has been slowly dying and causing us grief for weeks) and a burger…then hit the freeway headed north.
We didn’t make it far, but it was important for us to rip the bandaid off, be out of town and out of the crutch of having storage space, and back to life in the van. We pulled off the road in Olympia, WA and stealth camped downtown between a few bars. Last time we pack the van for a long trip we merely pulled into a parking lot and splayed our stuff all over the lawn so we could see everything and methodically find everything’s home in the van.
This time around the temps were in the mid30s and we were hiding inside the blacked out van. Jen opened a bottle of pinot, and for the next few hours we played a delicate game of VanTetris, stacking a bin on top of others providing just enough space to stand while emptying it; moving all the bins to where you were standing in order to access and unpack the next one, and so on until we had nothing but a stack of empty bins and just about everything had a home inside the cabinets.
We finally laid back into bed, cheers’d to a successful unpack and to finally being back on the road; and took what might have been our first deep breaths in months. We also…for the first time, took a second to start looking around us at the work we had done and starting to appreciate the new home we just made for ourselves.