And a return home We made our way north in separate vehicles, occasionally checking in on walkie talkies but mostly just completing the task at hand of transporting two vans back to portland (the third it seems is still stuck in Flagstaff awaiting pickup despite the fact it was supposed to beat us home).
A few brief pit stops along the way, but mostly this was something we rarely allow...a driving day. Just straight driving. Destination over journey. Not exactly our cup of tea.
We stopped briefly in Eugene for a night. We've always loved this town though we rarely seem to make it down for a visit outside of football season. This was a nice chance to settle in a bit more, enjoy some sushi and we may have even found our new favorite theatre (only 12 seats, all couch/loveseat seating and they actually request you text them in the middle of the movie so they can bring you food and beer!).
We rolled into the outskirts of Portland (as planned) just in time to hit Sprinterfest in Tualatin. We missed this event last year, but two years ago we were still building out our first sprinter van and this event provided a lot of motivation/inspiration as we walked around and saw others' vans and the direction they were taking.
This year was also fun. Great vans and certainly great people all around... but much like Expo it felt very "commercial" to us because we had the logo on the side of the van and are feeling a bit of pressure to sell another van (and the final DIY vanbuild kit). Don't get me wrong... we love talking about our van and about our vanlife and our travels... we just don't like when things start to feel like we're selling something.
In this case, we technically are selling something... and while we hope nobody we talked to during the day felt like that was the goal it was constantly in our minds - which is the opposite of how we would like to attend an event like this.The long drive home from cali and our day at Sprinterfest began to crystalize some direction in our minds.
We had an absolute blast on this trip to and from AZ. Camping and campfires returned after a several month drought. Smiles and down time replaced the to do lists and pushing for manic deadlines.
We now find ourselves driving back towards the shop to make the final push and deliver one complete van (and try to sell another one)... but instead of being excited about the money/success of selling a second finished van we are dreading the idea of more shop time to build out the empty van for us to live in.
Somewhere along the way our direction shifted. We know we have another month to complete the first van before delivery (assuming it ever comes back from AZ), but after that nothing sounds as good as simply being free and hitting the road. So that's exactly what we'll do!
While we were open to the universe telling us what to do, or which van we would end up in... we've decided to take a bit more control over the situation. We will keep the (mostly) finished van for ourselves and sell the empty van, however long that takes.
It means a big hit in profits, but who cares. We've talked for a long time about an Alaska trip this year and while we certainly have no problems doing that trip in an empty van we call our own, but we also doubt/question whether we would actually pull away from the shop to do so in our current mindset/direction.
So... rather than letting the new buyer decide which van is "left" for us, we decided that we are choosing less shop time over more money (and frankly, feel great about the decision already!).
Upon reaching Portland we did a quick photo shoot of the empty van with all the components of a kit inside so someone could imagine buying the van and beginning their own DIY project (and hopefully saving a ton of money in sweat equity along the way) and will hope for the best.
If the van doesn't sell quickly, so be it. We will park it somewhere safe and drive away for Alaska. It can be dealt with later in the year and if it comes down to it, we'll hit the shop then and finish it out... but only after we're completely rested and full from our slow adventure north!