Adventures in the #YourLead Van

Hello again! Wilderness Press is (begrudgingly) back from traveling in the #YourLead van. It was better than I ever imagined. It was also challenging (hello, five days without a shower!). The photos will tell the story far better than words ever could. Grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and enjoy living the van experience!

Where We Went

Day 1 – Flagstaff, AZ > Lake Meade, NV

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Sunrise views from the bunk beds

Day 2 – Lake Meade > Death Valley/Badwater, CA > Lone Pine, CA

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Melting inside Badwater Basin

Day 3 – Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

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Peeking through the pines at the Sierra

Day 4 – White Mountain > Mono Lake, CA

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Snowman on the summit of White Mountain

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Sun setting over Mono Lake

Day 5 – Mono Lake > Mount Rose, NV

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Ending the day high above Lake Tahoe

Day 6 – Tahoe Meadows

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Snaking boardwalks lead to three scenic trails through the meadows

Day 7 – Sportsman’s Warehouse in Reno and Carson City

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Betsy the van striking a pose

Day 8 – Lake Tahoe > Crater Lake National Park  > Lassen Volcanic National Park

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A run with a view

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The bluest blue I’ve ever seen

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Snow-covered volcanoes everywhere you look

Day 9 – Cinder Cone Volcano > Bend, OR

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Rolled out of bed, climbed a volcano

Day 10 – Dechutes River Trail

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Look Ma, no fear!

Day 11 –Sportsman’s Warehouse in Bend

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Lucas speaking with an adoring fan

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Goofing off during a run guided by Lucas

Day 12 – Grey Butte/Smith Rock/Tunnel Falls

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Single track through the high desert

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Smith Rock is a mecca for climbers.

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Worth every step of the 12-mile hike

Day 13 – Multnomah Falls/Arlington

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The Columbia River Gorge is full of falls.

Day 14 – Arlington

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Goodbye, van!

Day 15 – Home

Who We Met

Heidi—A strawberry blonde bundle of energy. Likes: 90s country music, Peanut M&Ms, trails. Dislikes: trail litter, disorder, creepy campsites.

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Looking out over her kingdom

Mike White—Highlights: hearing funny trail stories from writing Afoot & Afield: Tahoe-Reno, discussing bucket list trips, touring Reno, devouring lunch. Lowlights: Not having enough time to hike together, missing his annual family hot dog party.

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Signing books for his adoring fans

Justin and Adam Fricke—Other known alias: Bro’d Trip. Last known address: Joline the Dodge Sprinter. Famous for: vlogging, making delicious breakfasts, tubing down rivers on slices of pizza.

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Justin, Adam, and Joline

Amanda Sandlin—Phenomenal artist traveling the country in Penny, a van she built herself. She makes a mean cup of joe, and she has an Instagram account you can’t help but drool over.

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Amanda and Penny

Lucas Alberg—Author of Trail Running Bend and Central Oregon. Dad to Loren. Faster (than me) trail runner. Running tour guide of Bend, Oregon.

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Lucas and his son, Loren

Ashley Perry—Cheerleader for Bounce Energy Balls. Lover of trucker hats. Rider of cool mountain bike.

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Ashley, saving herself from flying golf balls

Terry and Kerrie Priest—Modern-day Bonnie & Clyde: They stole Betsy and drove across the border to Canada and Alaska. OK, maybe they were the next guests in the #YourLead van, but still.

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Terry and Kerrie loading Betsy the van

How We Slept

Like a Katy Perry song: It was hot, it was cold, there were mosquitos, there were moths. The sunsets were incredible, the stars were plentiful, and the sunrises were gentle.

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Breakfast with Betsy

We relied on freecampsites.net every single night to seek out a safe, free, and legal place to park our home. Seriously, if you’re looking for somewhere to lay your head at night, whether it’s in a tent or a vehicle, this site is invaluable.

When We Worked and Played

Heidi and I had an itinerary, so we pretty much knew what each day would bring and planned accordingly. If we wanted to bag some sunset peaks, we worked during the day and played at night. If the morning hours beckoned us into the great outdoors, then we’d hole up in a local coffee shop and work until they kicked us out at night. The van also had a hotspot, which allowed us to work around the clock when we had cell phone service.

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Catching up on emails in Bend, OR

What We Ate

The #YourLead diet consisted of chips, energy bars, water, fruit snacks, Bounce Energy Balls, more water, chocolate, wasabi peas, cheesecake, cinnamon buns, and Perrier water.

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Justin cooking up some breakfast

Here are two recipes we concocted and highly recommend that you try.

#VanLife Nacho Pasta

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#VanLife Eggs and Kielbasa

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Why We Did It

There aren’t many times in your life when you can pick up and move into a van for a few weeks. There are even fewer times when you can do it as a work trip.

We’d like to think that we inspired people to leave their comfort travel circle and explore what our country has to offer.

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Go travel the country – your heart will thank you

 

Tanya Twerdowsky
tanya@adventurewithkeen.com

I am a Jersey girl living in Alabama who loves to run far and eat lots.

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