sprinter-van-or-bust - GM3SF


Blog - Sprinter

May 5, 2019


People like to describe a vacation as an "escape", but is it really?  Most travel doesn't get people away from much more than their everyday surroundings.  That might be all they want.  Maybe they take a trip to a different city.  Maybe they take their kids to Disney World.  Sure, it can be different and that in itself can be a lot of fun.  But when it comes to actually disconnecting from everyday life, trading one mass of people for another isn't really what I'm looking for.  I guess being around people is what others are used to.  It's probably the reason why so many people, in an attempt to "get away", buy an RV and end up right back where they started when they go straight to an RV Park....a glorified parking lot next to other campers.  That has never been for us.  I mean, we enjoy a trip like say a European vacation just like anyone else, but actually "getting away" for us has always been about getting away from the masses (aka, PEOPLE!!). 
Since June of 2013 our Airstream  provided that escape for us.  It's allowed us to get out and stay, comfortably, in places we otherwise wouldn't be able to.  We dragged that thing to places we probably had no business dragging it out to everywhere from the California coast,  to the rainy forests of Oregon,  Dry-lake beds in Oregon, to the Mountains of Colorado.

Our first Airstream in 2013.  Talk about green.  This was 15 minutes after we bought it.  Something didn't feel right so we stopped at a Walmart parking lot and found........the dealer had installed the wrong size hitch ball AND the wrong drop shank.  Wasn't the nbest buying experience.
Year after year though we noticed something changing and not necessarily for the better.  The change was in the amount of people we were encountering in places that just a few years before were desolate.  We quickly realized why this was.  See, when we started all this in 2013 social media platforms, like Instagram, were just barely catching on.  The posting of images was harmless.  Soon though, the geo-tagging of locations was a completely different story.  All of the sudden you had people with a virtual beacon out there marking every single place they stumbled upon.  The urge to say "look at me, my life is better than yours" was just too much.  This urge, unbeknownst to the poster, was rendering that great, quiet, secluded place as anything but.

As any of my friends (or anyone that follows me on Instagram) will tell you, I was warning people of this years ago.  "Gus, you're fighting a losing battle" they said.  Or, " I have such a small following that I doubt I'm making a dent in the crowds at _________".  Well, now it turns out we weren't so crazy.  Now people are finally starting to realize what happens when you put a virtual billboard up advertising these "secret spots".  Now there are movements encouraging people to keep their f.............., I mean, to stay quiet about these places.

Unfortunately it was too late and we pretty much had it.  One moment in time was the final blow.......

It was this past winter when we visited one of our favorite spots.  It's a place that just a few years ago was unknown to the masses and now busloads of tourists can be seen at it's entrance.  Still, it's our favorite place and figuring "winter, what could go wrong?", we headed out (on a Wednesday).  We drove well into the night to just get there and grab a spot.   I know the place well and with all the Rigid light you can shake a stick at getting there in the dark didn't pose any issues. 

As we drove in we saw several campers along the side of the road.  Not a good sign.  Already I could feel myself getting aggravated.....the thought of all those people reviewing this spot as if it was a restaurant around the corner was finally coming to a head.  I  pulled our small condo on wheels through the desert, through the maze of trails towards a spot we frequent, passing other spots that should be empty, but aren't.  I make the last turn and as the tens of thousands of lumens of light from our truck arced from right to left, where there should have been emptiness, was another Airstream......in "our" spot.  So, back to the main road we go with all the other outcasts. 

We found a spot to park (not camp) for the night and headed in for the night.  As far as side-of-the-road spots go, we got a decent one.  But this isn't what we come out here for.  We don't come out here to be on the side of a dirt road where the plumes of dust from the passing cars and trucks makes it so you can't even sit outside.  This isn't an adventure.  This is far from "Epic".  This sucks.  This is one step short of standing in line at Disney World!!!

That night, after Stephanie went to sleep I sat there, dumbfounded.  How could it be that on a Wednesday, in the desert, in the middle of winter, we couldn't find a spot in a place where just two years ago we were the only ones for a mile in any direction?

That night was the beginning of the end for the Airstream.  That night I found myself thinking "this isn't fun anymore.  We're going to have to sell this thing".

There are places for us still.  We'd see them all the time when we'd leave camp and head out to the more remote areas that are only accessible with a truck/Jeep and which unfortunately, we can't pull the Airstream into.  It's because of this that a few years ago we toyed with the idea of buying a 4wd Sprinter van.  By converting that into a camper-van we'd be able to get into and STAY in these more remote spots.  Sitting there in the Airstream that night, in that shitty spot along the side of the road I realized that was what we had to do.  This again, just wasn't fun anymore.

So, on January 30th 2019, we bought it.  And so the journey begins......

Sprinter Van
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