I wasn't sure how to focus this essay but in the end I decided I just want to show a few pretty pictures of a place we spent five days wandering around: a sort of rectangular circle approximately an hour from Traverse City. A lunch stop:
We were a hundred yards from the main road down what they label as an "unmaintained seasonal road."
It dead ended into a National park Service Gate so we turned in the circle in front of the gate, threw-pen the doors and took up our chores...Layne made lunch and I walked the hound with my camera.
I have made an effort to show the interior of the van as it is, our crumpled bed, a king sized sheet on the bottom tucked in all round and another sheet on top designed to catch dog hairs and dust. Rusty will only stretch out here when we aren't driving. Consequently he is ending each day in a coma of exhaustion.Custom Coach loves paying attention to the details.
Photography can be a giant pain in the ass frankly. I have heard it said and I have found it to be true that traveling and taking pictures is a mass of conflicts. There are so many demands on your time and attention that it takes dedication to find time to be alone with the camera. At home Rusty knows his own trails but here he is tugging hither and yon chasing new scents. And I have no time to compose my own pictures and there is so much to look at and think about and enjoy.
We tested ourselves and our furniture driving dirt roads. we did get slightly stuck once, spinning our road tires in an accidental mud hole. I took my foot off the accelerator and let the Promaster walk us out of the mud. Four wheel drive will not be needed. I carry a tire inflator in case we need to deflate the tires temporarily to get across soft ground, though we found none of that on this trip.
Rusty got better the farther we went, enjoying the stops but much more ready to come back to the new space we called home.
Home is where you park it, even for a short while:
Rusty relaxed after his walk while we worked. As we exercised a few cars went by and a couple of bicycles until a power walking white man about our age with a gray flat top and piercing blue eyes stared at us as he strode past and his look was so disapproving and his face was creased in such a scowl we talked it over, admitted we both got a strong negative vibe and decided to get going right away.
I am very sensitive to the idea of not screwing things up for others who might come after us, so beyond leaving no trace I also want to leave no pissed off residents in our wake. I see it all the time at work in Key West where people who live in houses are always on the look out for nomads wrecking their zen. I didn't much want the Gauleiter of Glen Arbor bringing code compliance crashing down with a No Parking sign on this inoffensive little pull out. We scooted with our tails between our legs sitting on our towels to absorb the seat from our tabada.
It was a lovely cool sunny morning which made the indoor outdoor living easy. Its true though that van living is very weather dependent. Later we found ourselves parked and listening to rain pouring down. It was snug all right but not conducive o the indoor/outdoor living you see here. I walked Rusty between downpours and we retreated to the tiny cabin as the rain returned.
Our routines are forming and we have to remember to filter water from the tank for our drinking bottles stored in the fridge. Our trash can is tiny and needs frequent emptying. And that involves at the can recycling separation pulling the few cans and few recyclables from the small container. Oh, and then the porta-potty needs its own emptying routines.
But then you get a front row fridge when local supplies are for salmon the honor system. Traverse City is the capital of cherry production I believe. If not, it should be as they are delicious.
How much time could I spend with a camera gawping at the scenery in these northern fields and towns and woods?
Long straight roads undulating across all this greenery:
My sailor buddy Webb likes life on the ocean, the open spaces of salt water but for a mere van driver like me the colors of the Great Lakes and the wooded shorelines and indentations make for great views.
And if you're in a. van they sometimes even welcome you. How about that?