Once Upon A Van In A Land Far, Far Away (or How We Started RVing)
A few days ago we ended 3 months of boondocking. Yup, you heard right…three whole months without hookups for “the beast”, so long ago that we almost forgot where our electricity cable was. That also meant our very first loooooong showers, turning on everything in the RV (just for the hell of it), and giving our girl a good wash. A whole winter of Arizona desert dirt will do it for a lady and here in SKP Saguaro Park in Benson they let you clean your rig at your site (rather thoughtful of them, is it not?).
After so long in the boonies it’s totally weird to have unlimited water….and neighbors…but every now and then even the most rugged of boondocking-lovers have to pretend to be civilized. Besides, Paul is once again off to Florida for a week and with my preponderance for accidents he prefers to leave me somewhere where someone will find me if I pass out. So, here I’ll stay pining for his return and trying to catch up on a bunch of blog posts I’ve been meaning to write for the longest time…including how the health care law is affecting fulltime RVers, and the science of transmission oil testing (yes, my interests are both varied and gripping :))
But before I get carried away on the serious stuff, I wanted to get back to this van thing. Glen’s little ultra-mobile set-up stirred up quite a bit of interest amongst you blog readers, and not just because of our witty exchange of banter. It got me thinking to the start of our own RV adventures and how that might be an interesting tale to tell.
You see, many years ago when I was still a spring chicken (or at least a working semiconductor sales chicken), hubby and I decided to try our hand at RVing (they call it caravanning over there) with a multi-month trip in Western Australia. Having never lived in a rig, we rented a van the size of a gnat with no shower and no toilet and decided to just let loose in the wilderness, figuring if we could get through this adventure, we’d have no problem living fulltime in any kind of small space that might be in our future. It was our very first introduction to van-dwelling (not that we even knew such a thing existed back then) and our very first extended trip on wheels. We had no idea how it was going to go.
Now, to get a picture of just how wild we got you’ve got to understand a little bit about the geography of Western Australia. This place is HUGE…I mean absolutely enormous, and mostly completely empty. Western Australia covers an astounding 2,529,875 square kilometres (976,790 sq mi = almost 4 times the size of Texas) and contains a paltry 2.5 million people, most of which live in Perth. That means that once you drive out of the “big city” there is….quite literally….NOTHING….for like yonks, and yonks, and yonks and YONKS! Want to talk about unspoiled beauty? Limitless miles of untouched beach? Astounding nature & unbounded highways of red dirt? Infinite places to get lost and see nary a soul? Add to this more than 70 national and marine parks, a wine growing region & some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. Yeah, it frikkin’ rocks!!
We spent two months driving this desolate corner of the world in a teeny van with suspension as tight as concrete blocks that only had space for either a bed or a table….and we didn’t kill each other. In fact it went totally the other way. We fell massively in love with the country, the boonies and the idea of a nomadic lifestyle. The seed of a different life was born. It took another two years before we finally bought “the beast” and made the leap to fulltime RVing, but there’s no doubt it all started on the dusty red roads of the Australian outback. And one day, when we are PP (post pets) we may well fly back to that crazy spot, buy a little van and do the whole thing for a few more years.
So, there you go. Our whole RV adventure started as van dwellers in a land far, far away, yet even back then we were dirt-lovers with the boonies in our soul. I guess that’s why I feel such a connection with all nomads, no matter what their type of vehicle. I guess it’s also why I love the boonies so much even without the comforts of unlimited water and long showers. We’ll be here in Benson for just over 10 days and then we’ll get back to the wilds where we belong, “beast” size and all. We can’t become toooo civilized, after all
So, what’s YOUR RV story? How did you start out on the road, and what kind of camper did you have? I’d love to hear about it! Share and enjoy in the comments below.