• Mrs. Nomad

Is it Camping or is it Overlanding?

For as long as I can remember, Dad took our family camping every summer. We didn’t have to venture very far . . . we lived in Oregon. Detroit Lake, Yellowbottom on Quartzville Creek, Tumalo Falls, somewhere along the Nehalem River, it didn’t matter. It was something we looked forward to every year.

Dad would pack the trunk full of gear; the tent, Coleman stove, sleeping bags, a huge cooler full of food, chairs, an axe. He always had a checklist so we wouldn’t leave anything behind. One year we had to pile all of that stuff on the side of the road to change a flat tire. Dad probably wasn’t very excited about that. Another year I was old enough to drive the car out to the Prineville Reservoir. I’m not sure Dad was very excited about that either, but we made it there safely.

I still remember the smell of bacon wafting into the tent as we woke up, playing in the lake or river with my little brother, feeding the chipmunks during our hikes, roasting marshmallows or hot-dogs, and huddling near the fire after dark. Life was good.

Fast forward several decades and Dennis and I have decided to retire and go overlanding on a full-time basis. (“Overlanding is self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal. Typically, but not exclusively, accommodated by mechanized off-road capable transport (from bicycles to trucks) where the principal form of lodging is camping; often lasting for extended lengths of time (months to years) and spanning international boundaries". --- Home on the Highway). Really it’s much like a really long camping trip. And Dad has donated some of that camping equipment that he packed in the trunk all those years ago.

Cooking dinner on the vintage (1964) Coleman stove Dad donated for our trip

When we first started the conversation, we were going to pull a Bushranger tent-trailer behind our rig throughout all of Mexico until we found a perfect spot in which to live. That morphed into spending a bit more money for a pop-up truck camper. That morphed again into building a much more complex, off-road-ready vehicle that we could take just about anywhere. And here we are.

Our Bushranger Trailer We Used To Own

Retirement was the easy part. We enjoyed a wonderful retirement party with friends I will never forget, said goodbye (and good riddance!) to commuting across the Columbia River and into the terrible Portland traffic, and we settled into a relaxed routine rather nicely. Again, life was good.

Retirement Gift - A Drone!

Retirement Party - My boss Trey saying a few words

Retirement Party - Our friends the Cochrans, fellow bankers and co-workers for many years!

Then, we put our house of 16 years on the market. The housing market had been pretty hot for some time. The stats from our neighborly realtor friend showed recent sales in our area had occurred in an average of only 10 days. 10 days!!! We were thrilled. However, things don’t always work out the way you want them to. Our house sold in 7 weeks, but it seemed like much longer. We had a lot of showings and very positive comments, but it took that special someone to actually make the purchase. A wonderful family from Salt Lake City is in our former house and now making it their home. Life is still good.

For Sale (Se Vende!)

Of course we had multiple garage sales!

Selling books at Powell's Books in Portland

We had a lot of books!

One room empty, more to go!

Another room empty!

Mr. Nomad had to do the hard part in the garage

Sale Pending! Thanks to our friend, neighbor and realtor T.C. Davis!

Next, we had to determine what would go in the camper (space is pretty limited), what we want to keep in a storage unit (including our beloved Toyota FJ Cruiser), and what would be given to charity. We managed to pare down so much we were able to fit all our belongings and the FJ Cruiser into a 10’x30’ storage unit, and the FJ took up 16’ of it! Talk about downsizing!

Everything fit in a 20' U-Haul - Alaska, we'll see you next summer!

One last trip to Dennis' favorite local donut shop, The Donut Nook

With our bro-in-law John's help all our belongings, snuggly fitting in 10'x14' space of a 10'x30' storage unit (leaving the remaining 16 feet for our FJ Cruiser)

As we head off into the sunset, we are thankful that all of you will be following along on our journey. Maybe you could meet us somewhere along the way. If you do, shall we call it camping, or overlanding?