Road trip, and arrival in California!

Just a quick update and short video to let everyone know we made it to our new home. We had a great road trip, stopping in Iowa to see most of the Sinksen clan. We also stopped in Salt Lake City to see my sister Deana and nephew Sam.

In Wyoming
In Utah
With Deana and Sam in SLC

We had very few problems, although we did discover a slight leak in the roof of the van during a downpour in Nebraska. Time to get the caulk gun out! We’re learning to live and work in this tiny space without killing each other, lol.

Prepping lunch for the day

We are in Kernville California at Mountain River Adventures. We’ll be working in the office, on the grounds, and driving shuttle buses for rafters and bikers.

Short video of the last couple miles of our drive
By the climbing wall, enjoying the last of our Leinenkugel’s

The van is parked near the climbing wall, where we can watch deer, birds, lizards, and the occasional skunk. We’re only about 50 yards from the Kern River, thus living up to our “van down by the river” ethos.

Kern River

If anyone is thinking about a beautiful getaway in the Southern Sierras, this is it! Hiking, biking, rafting, fishing, kayaking, some craft breweries, and surprisingly good dining options are all here. Let us know, we would love to share this playground with everyone!

Chair and feet in the cool water

And with that, here’s a bunch of pics of me staring at wife’s rear end for thousands of miles…


New Adventure: Moving to California

Remember when we first started work on #vanlife, and I joked that soon we’d be living in a van down by the river? Irony is hysterical sometimes.

Charisse and I have been feeling a little burnt out with trucking. Or, more accurately, with the lack of free time. We actually love trucking. Our company has been sending us on western trips primarily, and we love the view out our windshield most days. Even the challenges of weather, traffic, and “hurry up and wait” are tolerable; obstacles to be overcome. We love our big Volvo, which Charisse has dubbed “Maximus”. Once in awhile, an opportunity arises to step out of the truck for a hike, a walk around a cool mountain town, or to feast on street tacos from a food truck. We have freedom to build in time to see loved ones along the way. It really is an interesting and unique life.

But it is a massive time commitment. The typical week for a trucker is: out for 5-5 ½ days, home for 1½-2. That’s over 120 hours a week in the truck. When you get home, it’s a flurry of trying to see a couple loved ones, make it to scheduled appointments, maybe get a little recreation in, and do all the laundry and food prep for the next trip. And, of course, enjoy some quality sleep in a bed that isn’t moving.

We knew some of these drawbacks going in. But the cumulative effect of almost two years of bad sleep and limited physical activity has been taking its toll. It’s time for a change. It’s time to get back outside.

If you’ve been reading our blog for awhile, you’ll remember that when we were hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2019, we hopped off the trail for six weeks. The snowpack in the Sierra Nevadas had been nearly impassable, so we decided to pause and let it melt out. We found work at a whitewater rafting campground named Mountain River Adventures in Kernville, California. We worked on projects, in the office, on the climbing wall, and in the mountain bike rental department. The owners, John and Rhonda, welcomed us in graciously. We loved being around the “river rat” community, which isn’t very dissimilar to the hiker trash crowd. All in this beautiful playground where the mountains and desert meet.

On a whim, we called John and Rhonda, and asked if they had any work for us. After hammering out some details, we excitedly agreed to come down and work at least the rest of the rafting season, possibly longer. We’ll be hitting the road for California on June 20th. And we’re literally going to be living in a van down by the river!

After that? The only firm plan we have is to resume hiking on the PCT around June of 2022. That will last until about October 2022, after which we will probably return to Wisconsin. So from fall of this year to summer of next year, we are nomads. We have several possibilities to explore, from migrating south to work, remaining in Kernville (in an apartment, it gets cold there), picking up a trucking job, working at a ski resort, etc. We may be able to help John and Rhonda open the 2022 rafting season.

But we really are flying without a net here. Which is scary as hell, but exhilarating at the same time.