Skip to main content

Getting Back in the Groove

An exclusive shot for The Wander Blobs blog.

Hello again, friends! It's been a while. Time is zooming by in the way it only does when there's too much on one's plate, and I admit I was shocked when I logged in and realized it's been more than a month since our last blog post.

Saturday was Andrew's birthday, and I miraculously had Friday night off, so we took advantage of the occasion and drove our Element about an hour and a half away to one of Washington's many free campgrounds in the Capitol State Forest. It was so easy to just drive up and find a spot, we are looking forward to this kind of travel in the fall on our road trip. Well, I say "easy." It almost was, but so far in our lives we've been fair weather campers, which means it's been at least 8 months since we were out in the wilderness (and that's a conservative estimate).

The American Dream.
This was all a somewhat last-minute plan, and packing after I taught first and second period at the high school was less than organized. We realized as we pulled up to our chosen campsite, secluded and right by the river, that neither of us had managed to pack the lighter that was sitting out in the open on the dresser. We ransacked the vehicle, hoping that maybe even though it would make no sense at all, there might be a little Bic tucked away somewhere random. No such luck. Staring wistfully out the dusty window as our perfect little spot disappeared from view, we rattled back down the nearly 2 miles of jarringly potholed "primitive" road to find a general store.

In a twist of fate nearly unheard of in this beautiful region on a sunny Friday afternoon, our preferred campsite remained unclaimed by the time we returned, our Element now suitably filthy. Though now we had a neighbor just a little ways over, no real complaints because he had two very friendly dogs who didn't hesitate to visit. Having reclaimed our status as gods of flame, we now had the ability to operate our camp stove, which was our only plan for food, and start a fire. We hiked a little and practiced our Instagram poses near a couple of small waterfalls before popping open a six-pack of Heineken and prepping our hot dogs for cooking.

...which wasn't an easy task, once we realized we didn't bring silverware, or cooking utensils of any kind. At all. We had just enough fuel for the camp stove to maybe make it through dinner and breakfast in the morning, and our little pot and pan, but no spatula, forks, spoons... you get the picture. Thank goodness Andrew always has his pocketknife, or we would have had to decide between burned fingers or cold dogs. We bickered over who needed this precious tool most as we tried to cook together, and it took a solid try before we got it right, but in the end we got to enjoy campfire hot dogs with camembert, grilled onions, and bacon. We are bougie campers.

Our "unprepared camper hack" that we are possibly most proud of was realizing why people own such things as "camp chairs," recognizing that even if we'd wanted to pack some we do not own any, adding them to our shopping list, and then wondering if we don't need them after all once Andrew removed our two back seats from the Element and plopped them on the ground. Let's just say they were plush. They even have little cup holders built in. If they weren't so flipping heavy we might just think they were made for this purpose. Admittedly, we do see the value in lightweight, easy-folding camp chairs (and they make them with cup holders I guess) but no regrets in terms of our fireside seating experience this weekend.

We slept for a good 11 hours in our little 2-person tent (that we love), had a delicious-but-awkwardly-cooked breakfast scramble, and threw all our stuff back into the car to make it home to host a killer birthday party Saturday night.

At the end of the day (night?) we were able to use this brief excursion to A) remind ourselves of the basic essentials that need to be packed to make our lives easier, B) start getting practiced again at finding neat places to explore for cheap (or free!), and C) edit our shopping and packing list for the road trip portion of our adventure. It also reaffirmed our excitement about our Element, which, once we start moving on the rough plans we have, is going to be *bitchin'*.

We're going to get some camp chairs though.

- J

My "sexy Instagram" pose. Andrew says it needs work. Thoughts?


Popular posts from this blog

Baby's First Passage

As I sat on the edge of the cockpit, my arms wrapped around the side of the dodger (not unlike a small monkey), riding out the 6 (maybe 8) foot swells with Galapagos and blinking through the saltwater droplets on my glasses, I figured my experience in that moment was probably similar to someone with no horse experience at all going out on a long, hilly, backcountry trail ride. Our boat crew, Andrew and his parents, were clearly unconcerned; in fact, the gusts of wind that accompanied the rough seas were filling the sails and pushing us along at a speed that pleased them all very much. I have no sailing experience to go off of, so I simply must assume that the ones who know what they're doing will let me know if there's something to worry about. The terms being thrown around are completely foreign to me, but I suppose I'll learn them in time. "Reefing the sail" can't be much more complicated than fitting a horse with a running martingale, surely.


Anniversaries and Equators

Looking at the calendar is kind of a surreal experience. First of all, days of the week haven't really mattered to us since we left last fall--even Workaways rarely run on a Monday-Friday schedule. (This lack of day-of-the-week-knowledge has slapped us in the face countless times. People ask, "Oh, so you're here until Thursday?" I have no idea, I only know I leave on the seventeenth!) Second of all, it's literally September now. How did that happen?

For real. Tomorrow, September 6th, is both the two-week mark since we touched down in Ecuador, and also eleven months since we hit the road on this trip entirely. We are 11/12ths of the way to the slightly nutty (and a little bit arbitrary) goal we wildly set for ourselves way back before we were engaged. [Insert very wide-eyed emojis]

Two weeks ago, Andrew's sister Claire and her husband Dan met us at the airport in Quito. Though it was entirely unplanned, we realized once we were in the taxi cab on the way to o…

A New Home

Many things go into a planning a trip, especially one as extensive as ours, and yes, we have spent many hours looking over places to stay and sights to see... but nothing has been more pressing than readying our vehicle. Indeed, building a bed platform and camping system for our beloved 2004 Honda Element was one of the last things that we did. (Just behind getting "his and hers" travel wine glasses.)

Little did we know, getting a small car ready for an extended road trip with almost no motel stops is a real chore. All this time, it has been our intention to remove the seats from the back of the Element and build a bed/storage system enabling us to live in the car for the whole two months, minus some stops with family. Naturally, we hadn't really put much thought into this hypothetical bed platform, and our only real concept was a vague sketch, stored in my sieve-like brain, for something that may not work at all. As I've frequently been taught to expect, though, thi…