July 30, 2014

Steed And Covered Wagon In One

After a hard, hot day of driving even this cramped and chaotic bed is luxurious. I had
to move 3 guitars each evening before we could make music, snoring.

A good quest is generally aided by a faithful steed. A valiant and reliable workhorse can do wonders when it comes to covering great distances in a short period of time. Our van has been like a faithful steed AND covered wagon all in one.

As we begin to decompress from our continental crossing we are more and more grateful for our van for getting us here safe, sound, and with some gold coins left in our leather pouch.

The green containers contained our kitchen and pantry. They slid out from under the bed for use.

Our bed was made up of 5 large plastic bins. Each one was filled with our stuff, put in place, then all were covered with a plywood base. A 4" custom cut piece of high density foam purchased at an upholstery shop went on top of the platform for a mattress.

Some of the best sleeps we have ever had were in our 'wagon' on this makeshift bed. It had a distinctively gypsy feel to the arrangement. It was simple and it was enough. After a hard day of questing it was divine.

We couldn't have completed our quest without our commode.

Somewhat less conversation-ready is our commode. When it comes to going, the only more basic way to go is to dig a hole in the ground. Since it is often difficult to dig a hole, and since so many washrooms are not accessible (including some with the wheelchair symbol on them), it was crucial for us to have our own facilities.

There is something about using such a simple commode that makes one think of life and waste disposal in a completely different way. Every day we lived in the van we had to find a secure place to dump our waste. It quickly became one of the biggest challenges of our travel routine.

Our modern day self-propelled covered wagon made our quest not only possible, but enjoyable.

Once we got into the groove of living in such a confined space it became more pleasurable than we could imagine. It was spartan, harsh, and void of the everyday comforts most of us take for granted, but we love it.

Or maybe we are whacked out on adrenaline, adventure, freedom and new possibilities. We are also suckers for self-improvement in the vein of 'whatever doesn't kill you…' The trip didn't kill us and we are stronger for it. Or we will be after a week of naps.

Now our faithful steed is having a well-deserved rest after carrying us over 6000 kilometres to our new home. Its next task, after fixing one or two of its well worn shoes, will be when we are ready to forage for furniture.


  1. Hey there, enjoy reading your blog since a friend of mine mentioned it to me recently. I did a bit of searching and was unable to fine where you mention the reason why you headed east. Being from the east and now living not to far from your mother, (Balfour) I also spent numerous summers running around on my granddad's farm in Nova Scotia I personally fine BC weather far better. Anyways just curious
    Cheers Joe

    1. Joe,

      We love the Nelson area and the good folks doing great things out that way. We considered living there since my mom and sister's family live there, and it is such an interesting community.

      There are many reasons why we were drawn east. Mostly, after 10 years on the west coast, we were ready for a major change. We didn't want to be there for the predicted "Big One" earthquake/tsunami, and Fukushima was headed our way in the waters of the Pacific.

      We had been talking about Nova Scotia for many years because of its proximity to the ocean, friendly people, natural beauty and affordable real estate. Linda was born in Halifax, and her family has been on the Eastern Shore since the 1700s, so for her it is returning home after a 35 year absence.

      As far as the weather is concerned, I am looking forward to snowshoeing this winter.

      Welcome to Not Buying Anything, and hugs to the friend that recommended us.

  2. Gam Kau7/30/2014

    You give me hope that someday I can undertake a covered wagon journey as well!
    I like that you shared your toilet facilities, we're so often squeamish to discuss the reality of waste disposal.
    It's hard to imagine our toilets are flushed with drinkable water.


    1. Gam,

      A lot of fresh water is used to flush waste of all kinds. I know since I worked in the education branch of a wastewater treatment plant in a large city, and gave tours for several years. Amazing the things that ended up in the plant's screens, machines and water.

      I think I will write a really disgusting, extra squeamish post about that experience some time.

      Definitely try a cover wagon journey. It is an intense, challenging and vital way of living. Proceed with caution - rubber tramping can be habit forming.

      Thanks for sharing the link.

  3. Anonymous7/30/2014

    Hi, this is Frances from the UK. I have been following your journey with great amusement, as we have just recently moved into a small (not by your standards, but hey....) two bedroom home. Very simple and very nice with no storage. So we have just been having some built in this week. Every time I wonder how we will fit things in, I think of the two of you and your wonderful van! Certainly helps to put things in proportion! I have downsized a lot but you really have to keep on top of it and now we have furniture which I would like to sell, but cannot face the hassle. So it goes.....

    What you wrote about your mother really had a resonance with me as well. I lost my father in January, but it was a sad death, he didn't want to go and wouldn't let us make arrangements. He just wanted to remain in his own home so it was so difficult. After he died we were left with a big house to clear which took a long time so I was grieving and irritated all at the same time! Stuff belonging to him, to my mother (who died ten years ago) and to my aunt (who died in 1990). I will never leave that task for my family that's for sure....

    Looking forward to hearing about your new place, when you get it. Very impressed that you managed to do so many posts whilst on the road.

    1. Frances,

      Congratulations on moving in to your home - new beginnings are very exciting with lots of opportunities for growth and change.

      Now that we are in our new place we are struggling with the idea of buying furniture. It is not something either one of us looks forward to, but now that we are out of the van life gets more complicated. We are trying to keep it simple, but as you say you do have to keep on top of things lest they get out of control.

      So sorry to hear about your dad and all that stuff. I read an interesting piece from a book called "Stuff" by Daniel Miller that talked about how people use things to deal with death and separation. He looks at stuff from an anthropological viewpoint.

      It was fun to post from the road. We had to stop often so I could rest my back, so we planned time to relax, nap and write. Glad you were along with us.

  4. Congrats you two on making it to the other side of Canada. I will miss your pictures of the big trees but understand why you have left. I am mulling over- moving to the Cariboo....as I have a small simple cabin there. I know it isn't far enough away but is away from the coast. I am look forward to your foraging for "needs" blogs ahead. take care and let us know how things go.
    Dorothy Campbell River

    1. Dorothy,

      I find I am really missing the big trees myself - they are truly spectacular. I am so glad that we took full advantage of Vancouver Island while we were there.

      We do not miss the earthquake threat, and feel good about being thousands of kilometres farther away from the Fukushima meltdowns.

      The Cariboo is beautiful, and a small simple cabin there sounds dreamy.

      We are now in our foraging stage and are in the process of defining our "needs". It isn't as simple as it seems because temptation and faulty thinking caused by the effects of a lifetime of marketing arm twisting and brainwashing.

      We must stay strong! Resistance is not futile.


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