Your world's not falling apart, it's falling into place.
Day Twenty-nine Wahoo! The start of Week 5. Van life is starting to feel quite normal now. We've got somewhat of a schedule down and we just roll with it. I'm at the point where it is normal to suddenly exclaim, "This would be a great place to park!" whenever we accidentally find a stealthy street location while driving around. We haven't stealth street parked since the UPS truck depot night because we prefer busier areas, but my vanlife Spidey sense is working!
We haven't had a chance to make it over to the Y to get signed up on a membership (work has kept me extremely busy) and I got to thinking about it: the only day care has a maximum two hours while the parent works out. So, I did the best thing ever and put Kate in a drop-off day care. It was $9 / hour and totally worth it- for me and for her. She got to socialize and have fun, and I got to finally have a video call with no shenanigans.
When I went back to pick her up, she asked to stay longer. (That's a good sign!) I let her. Living together 24/7 in tight quarters can get annoying. We both needed to get away and we both feel quite refreshed from our time apart.
Day Thirty We are SO loving living in a van. Why didn't we do this sooner? We found out that the snow and ice have melted in the Midwest and we could start heading farther east now, but we actually really like it in Arizona.
School is back in session here. Actually, everything is basically back to normal here. Quite a nice change from ultra-lockdown California. In fact, Arizona seems like a wonderful place to settle down and raise a family. Except for the summers. We've heard they are blazingly, unbearably hot.
My guess is that we will love other states and towns just as much as we have loved our stops in Arizona. My gut is also telling me that I for one, will not be ready to settle into a house or apartment by then. I'm already thinking that going back to that lifestyle would feel like living in prison.
We had Korean BBQ beef, roasted sweet potatoes, cucumbers with avocado and dark chocolate blueberries for lunch-dinner. All from Sprouts.
Kate went back to the drop in day care because she missed her new friends she made yesterday. I worked on the walls by purchasing and staining the wood studs.
Day Thirty-one We visited Painted Rock Petroglyph Site then headed in to Phoenix. We skipped the Grand Canyon because the temp highs are in the 30s (yes, the HIGHS are in the 30s)- and it dips way below freezing over night. No thank you. These girls are sun chasers.
We had a visitor in the van today, a bee. It was quite, um... exciting. He only stayed for a while, thankfully.
We purchased a roll of Reflectix to cover the windows at night. So far, we love the extra privacy it provides. We'll see about temperature control.
Day Thirty-two Our Reflectix worked for temperature control! We're going to add it to our vanlife must-haves.
We went to the Love's in Phoenix and it was crowded! Many RVs, vans and cars appeared settled in for the night- and it was only 4:30 pm. There was also a two hour weight for the showers. We went to the other Love's about 20 miles away and stayed there. It was the loudest Love's we've been to. Lots of noisy cars and loud talking.
We signed up for a Nationwide Membership with the Y today and got a tour of one of the Phoenix area clubs.
We read a van build website that told us that self tapping screws sink into the wood studs so we got 1 inch screws. Turns out our screws didn't sink so the screws were too short. We'll have to get some 1.5 inch screws tomorrow.
Day Thirty-three We did it! We slept in a Walmart parking lot! I (Mel) have heard stories about angry Walmart managers and threats to tow. We are both scared of the infamous knock on the window, so getting something worse than that seemed unappealing, so we avoided it.
Until last night. We were at Walmart organizing after some shopping. We were also working (sort of) on the studs. After we had been there a while, we noticed that theu didn't have that security vehicle driving in circles around the parking lot like many other Walmarts do. We also spotted another van parked under a half-burnt-out light around the side of the building. A truck with a travel trailer looked like it was quite at-home, as well.
We found a spot at the edge of the parking lot near the exit. No one bothered us all night ... except for the loud noise. Well, Kate slept through it. It started at approximately 1 am. At first I thought it was a helicopter, but it didn't go away. I kept imagining a police helicopter searching for a criminal.
Eventually, it started to sound louder... and louder. On no! The criminal is in the Walmart parking lot! Certainly he will want to hide in our van! I watched out the roof vent for signs of a search light Nothing. Only louder and louder helicopter noise. I peeked out the curtains and through a small opening in the Reflectix and saw a stocky truck-looking thing with very bright lights. A street sweeper!! In total, it took over an hour and a half for the noise to stop.
We went to the Phoenix Zoo and to the Hole in the Rock then headed to Tucson, We used our Nationwide pass for the first time to grab showers the Y. We're not sure what's going on in Tucson, but so far we've only seen a lot of covid panic. Maybe they've had a surge recently and we don't know about it because we are gloriously disconnected from mainstream media.
Day Thirty-four Just clobbered at work today, but did get a nice long phone call with an old friend for some needed catching up. We went to the outskirts of Tucson and stayed at the noisiest Love's ever. It was the actual Loves this time, not customers. They had their music up very loud and programed announcements even louder. Kate slept through it (of course). I finally gave up at 3 am and drove across the street to the other Love's (next to the Comfort Inn) and it was so quiet! So if you ever go to a Love's in Tucson, choose the one that fits your noise comfort level.
Day Thirty-five I was clobbered at work again. What an ending to week five. Verizon pulled a bait-and-switch on me and pulled almost $400 from my bank for one month of internet when they said it would be $99/month. I called to complain. They said they would refund the overcharge, but then they sloooowwwwwed down our internet after we hung up. So slow that pages would time out before loading. What's the point of having internet that doesn't work? I posted in an online van group and heard from several people of similar stories from Verizon plus from a former employee who quit because of their unethical (fraudulent???) sales techniques. So we had to find free wifi to actually do anything. Thank you, Benson, AZ KFC!
Single mom and kiddo set out on a nomad, van life, roadschooling lifestyle. Watch the beginner diy van conversion, first time homeschooling, first time build, first time on the road experiences, newbie family van life adventures unfold.
We will share van life travels and tips to encourage other people to get out and explore the open road.