IKamper blog: Episode 3: United States tour
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After two full years of saving and planning, the day had finally come, October 9th, 2017, our take off date. We installed the Skycamp just 5 days prior, before really having a chance to test it out, but we didn’t want to wait any longer. We had vacated the apartment, left our jobs, and said our goodbyes. We started living off our savings and the clock started ticking. We scheduled visits with friends and family along the way, stopping at Nashville, Huntsville, Kansas City, Denver, camping in National Parks in Utah, then more family/friend visits in LA and San Diego.
True to the nature of making plans, things never go according to plan. While pulling a 9 hr cross-country driving day, in the middle of Nevada, putting the 4runner in gear up a big hill, we saw the dial go from the blue to red and steam pour out of the front hood. Our baby was overheating.
After waiting 3 hrs on the side of the road, the tow truck took us the nearest mechanic in the middle of the Nevada desert, 1 hr outside of Vegas. Sitting in cold chairs in the lobby of the shop, drinking bad coffee, Mechanic Mike turns the corner to announce our worst fear: ” You need a new engine”. Completely dead. Dust. Done. Muerto.
We spent a full week at the mechanic as they repaired our vehicle. They allowed us to sleep in our rooftop tent at the junkyard while we waited for the engine to come in. Although many more beautiful picturesque campsites awaited us ahead (spoiler alert), ironically our first experience sleeping in the Skycamp was surrounded my broken down cars, in a junkyard in the middle of the desert. After a day of feeling sorry for ourselves, we finally pulled ourselves together, pulled out our budget spreadsheet, and made a plan. We had to restructure the trip to account for the expense, keep our spirits up and count our blessings. We are together. We are safe. We are moving forward.
We didn’t camp very often while traveling the US, as we stayed mostly with friends and family, but when we did, it was definitely the most memorable. One night we are camping in a junkyard in no-where Nevada, the next night we are waking up to a gorgeous sunrise in Zion surrounded by glowing red rocks and deer grazing below. Our first week in the states was full of highs and lows, but we were getting smarter and more prepared for the adventures ahead. We stayed with family in San Diego, stocked up on supplies, and headed for Tijuana. The adventure was just beginning…