Across Death Valley

Miracle was still feeling pretty rough from her concussion. Luckily, the symptoms became less cognitive and turned into more physiological—shoulder and neck cramps and the like. I tried my best to massage her shoulders, but I have not the strength of a masseuse, so we began to look around and happened upon a fairly incredible spot at the edge of Death Valley—Tecopa Springs and its neighbor, Shoshone. 

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Playlist: Nevada

Nevada! Here we are in the Silver State, home to the loneliest highway in America. Although we are only cutting across the southern tip, we have designs to return to the great open north in cooler times. So here’s a few tunes to keep you company as you sweat it out to the next gas station. 

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Arizona and Nevada

I hate to ruin the magic of blogs for everyone, but my entries usually lag behind real life by about a week. Usually. As of late, it has been closer to two weeks. With this entry I am attempting to narrow this gap a bit more. We zoomed through northern Arizona. Yes, we had to give up the majesty of Saguaro and the southern sights; however, it was hot. Incredibly hot. 

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Podcast: Blacky

What do you do when your bus breaks down at a gas station in Sopchoppy, Florida and it’s dark and getting colder by the minute and you know no one in the area? You go home with a stranger named Brian Blackwell (nicknamed Blacky). Well… that’s what we did anyway. We met Blacky when he picked us up on the side of the road, but learned a lot more about him when he offered to let us stay in his house for an entire week. Turns out, Blacky is an avid VW collector, runs a wakeboard ministry, and a successful hunting business. Listen to hear all about Blacky’s super-sweet VW collection, but also what would drive him to offer refuge to two total strangers.

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Playlist: Arizona

Buckle up, folks, because we have some miles to cover and some great songs to settle into that plush 1973 bus seat (yeah, I scrapped mine out of a junkyard in New Jersey so they don’t fit quite right). We have a healthy dose of tunes to get us across The Grand Canyon State.

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Etta and Escalante

I’ve lamented the development of Moab (as have many of the locals) and I wasn’t sure if I could find anything that struck that chord inside of me like that land of stacked and arched rocks did when I was in my early twenties. Then we traveled through south central Utah and saw the small towns dotting the map. And, let me tell you, this is where you need to come if you want authentic southwest flavor. 

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“They are a cancer.” We heard this exact phrase from several of the locals regarding the number of ATVs trolling the roads of what I remembered as a laid back mountain biking town. They are simply everywhere—like super loud bumblebees with far less charm and way more environmental impact. Since I was last here, well over a decade ago, things have changed. It’s amazing how a landscape millions of years old can feel recently renovated. Arches National Park now has timed one-hour entry to control the crowds. It is still being perfected apparently as it took nearly two hours to simply enter the park. Luckily, with the way we travel, we get to meet the locals—and by locals, I mean, people who have lived here long enough to have purchased land. 

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Podcast: Leslie

Relax, folks, she was only tied to the wheel so she wouldn’t run away during the photo.

Before we even set off on this journey, Leslie Lentz, reached out to us to say that her VW bus shared the same name as our rescue dog and faithful canine companion, Jolene… But could we make it all the way to Ontario, Canada for the interview? We could when Leslie also agreed to be our “quarantine address” in Canada. Hear about Leslie’s bus, Jolene, and how Leslie’s VW bus connects her to the music festival scene, BusFusion, and a larger community. 

The concussion

Both Miracle and I have hit our heads whilst living in our bus. It’s a part of life, I suppose. We’ve heard the rumors that the number one injury in the navy is bonking your head on the low doorways and we figured we still have it more comfortable than those making their lives underwater. Still. The sound of Miracle’s crown crunching against the doorframe of the bus, the way the entire vehicle shook or the way her eyes seemed to vibrate afterward—was sickening. 

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