Saturday marked the four year anniversary of van life for me. In contrast to the one year anniversary of van life, where I noted every campground, analyzed my expenses, and considered what I’d learned, I came very close to forgetting the date entirely this year. In fact, I had to look it up to be sure. Was it the 25th or the 28th? It was the 25th: a Monday, when I signed the papers letting go of my beloved house and moved on into the unknown.

I realized the date while camping, which seems appropriate. Suzanne had a three day weekend, so we made reservations at Dillon Creek, a National Forest campground in the Klamath National Forest. I drove up on Thursday, with Zelda, and S joined me Friday morning. The campground was terrific — nicely isolated sites surrounded by trees, with a fast-running river providing a lovely soundtrack. On Thursday night, I was essentially alone there — there were a couple tents down the road, but no one in sight. I fell asleep watching the stars beyond the trees out of the window. (Then I woke up a few dozen times because of the realities of temperature control in the van: first it was too hot, then too cold, then too hot, etc. I’m out of practice at sleeping through minor discomfort.)

Tree overlooking beautiful glass-green water and rocks.
The river was gorgeous, refreshing and cold. Not a great place for Z to swim, though, because it was deep for her and if she got caught by the current, she’d be in trouble. I kept her on her leash but still worried.

We had a peaceful day on Friday that included a couple walks, some wading in the river, but an awful lot of sitting in our camp chairs reading. It was really hot, in the 90s, I think. I totally neglected everything I’ve learned about living in the van in hot weather — didn’t cover the windows, didn’t pull the curtain to close off the cab, didn’t open the back door and run the fan in the bathroom — and the van was suffocating. When I went in to make dinner, it was close to unbearable. I was just throwing together things for cold quinoa bowls but within a minute I was drenched with sweat. Outside, however, there were hornets that were unreasonably attracted to the food, and mosquitoes. So, so, so many mosquitoes. I went for the big-time bug spray — I will take ALL the deet, thank you very much — and still wound up needing to cover up with leggings and socks and a hoodie for comfort. Guess what? Leggings and socks and a hoodie aren’t that comfortable when it’s 90+ degrees.

I will say about the mosquitoes that although they were bad, they were nothing compared to the mosquitoes at Mabel Lake in Minnesota or even probably the bugs at Buccaneer State Park in Mississippi, and there were definitely fewer of them than on the hike we went on in the rain forest in Belize… but they still weren’t fun.

I was not, however, the first person to say, “So… camping when it’s too hot to do anything is not so appealing. It’s probably nicer at home.” I didn’t argue, though. We had a nice Friday of quiet camping, S got to try out her trailer Friday night, and by mid-day Saturday — my actual four-year anniversary of life in Serenity — we were packed up and heading home.

I spent Sunday finishing some painting in Serendipity: the cabinet, the bathroom door, the missed spots on the shelves. As I finally put the paint and brushes that had been sitting on my bathroom floor since early June into the storage shed, I admitted the truth to myself: I am no longer a full-time van lifer. My pandemic resting place has turned into a home. I don’t live in a van anymore, I live in an adorable tiny house in the middle of a garden. Lucky, lucky me!

I’m not quite sure what this means for my blogging. I didn’t actually start out as a travel blogger, so does it matter if I’m not on the road anymore? Maybe not for my own purposes — my blog has always been mostly for me, a way of saving my own memories. But I suspect I’m going to fall into only blogging when I feel like I have something to write about, which probably means not blogging very often, and definitely means acknowledging that I’ve abandoned my old routine of blogging every Monday or Tuesday and Friday. So it goes. Life is change, right? For me, it’s not a bad change.

Lunch of fresh peach & caprese salad.
Tomato season has started which means caprese salad is about to become a staple. The dark tomatoes are an heirloom named “tie-dyed” (I think) and they are absolutely delicious. Crazily good lunch. Ask me in a month if I still think so, but I bet I will.