Stanley, Idaho and Park City, Utah, USA

The big news this week is that (after 45 days) I have my van back! She's running well and we've gone on some mini adventures to test her out before making the long haul to Michigan next week. It's turning into fall which means strange weather, shorter days and busy work schedules. I look forward to getting back on the road and exploring some new places across South Dakota, Minnesota and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. 

Pictured below: rental dog Rico.

 

whitefish, Montana & Stanley, Idaho, usa

In Montana, the smoke from the wildfires is so thick that everything has an orange glow and I wake up in the morning with a sore throat. There are well over 200,000 acres of wildfire burning in the state right now and even after driving nearly 400 miles south to the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho, you can still see the orange haze from the fires. It's a strange time. 

After long work days, I have been exploring the quiet, serene lakes and rivers of the Northern Rocky Mountains and relaxing at camp.

Missoula & Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

Today marks five weeks without the van. Last Friday, I stopped at the transmission shop in Salt Lake City to check on Salty. The bad news was, they had hit (yet another) snag in fixing the transmission. The good news is, she wasn't alone - I was happy to see another Eurovan camper keeping her company.

I had plans to meet up with a friend in Montana so I rented a car and drove to Missoula for my birthday. This is my first time really spending time in Montana and, so far, I really like it. Lovely mountains, clear lakes, cute towns and - best of all - it's kind of quiet. I visited Glacier National Park, ate Huckleberry ice cream, watched a smokey sunrise (from the forest fires!), camped by the Blackfoot River and spent the week working from my friend's Airstream! 

Lake Tahoe & Southern California, USA

I had a super productive week in Lake Tahoe. It was fantastic having the opportunity to meet my clients face-to-face and to see some of the fruits of my design labor with my own two eyes. Any free time I had, I made sure to spend relaxing by the lake and catching up with old friends.  

After a busy week of meetings and projects, I rewarded myself with a (15 hour!) train ride through the Central Valley and Southern Coastline on the Coast Starlight to Southern California to visit a childhood friend. For anyone who hasn't taken the train just to take the train, it's a lovely, relaxing, worthwhile experience - I highly recommend it. 

Next week: back to Utah. Crossing my fingers that the van is finally fixed and I can continue my road trip!

Park City, Utah (and a train ride to Reno)

After treading water for another week in Utah and getting (even more) bad news from the mechanic, I decided to continue west to Tahoe via the California Zephyr Amtrak train and a Hertz rental car. Don't worry, I'll go back and get Salty when she is ready for the road. In the meantime, I look forward to catching up with some clients in Lake Tahoe.

Other highlights include: coworking in an Airstream, a puppy named Rico, getting a Lyft ride in a Tesla Series X to Salt Lake City and watching a Sundance Film in the rain at Red Butte Gardens.

Park City, Utah, USA (Still)

You'll notice that there are no beautiful blue photos of the van this week, that's because she is still hanging with the mechanic. Salty is having her transmission rebuilt - a lengthy and expensive fix. Fortunately, I am "stuck" in a great spot with supportive friends with extra beds and cars and very big hearts. For everyone who romanticizes about Van Life, this is an all-too-real reminder that it's usually not all starry nights and seaside breezes!

I'm working on a new personal project that combines my travel stories, my drawings and maybe some fun photos taken with my new Fuji Instax camera! Stay tuned on that.

It's time for the ski resorts to kick-off their winter planning, so the High Mountain Creative studio is about to be very busy with exciting new projects. The best part is, next week, I will get to spend some face time with my clients in Lake Tahoe that I will be meeting in-person for the first time - can't wait!

Cross your fingers and pray to the VW gods that Salty and I are back on the road this week.

Moab & Park City, UTAH, USA

Wow, another insane week. Solo camping on Moab public lands in a storm, Arches National Park (oh man does the van look great next to the red rocks!), cold rainy mornings working in the van, catching up with friends with new houses and cool kids, floating the river and, since we haven't had any drama on this trip yet new transmission for Salty girl.

Colorado & new mexico, USA

Too many cool things happened in the last seven days, here are some highlights.

Last weekend, I attended a Van Life gathering in Colorado in the Pike National Forest. A hundred or so folks from around the country drove their vans of all shapes and sizes to the middle of the forest to mingle, eat, drink, dance, yoga, make music, art, friends and best of all - share stories about life in a van. I met people who had been living in their vans for years - “full timers,” I met families with kids driving across the country in their van, a whole Van Life crew from Australia came and inspired us with music and good vibes. I learned the ins and outs of “boondocking,” I learned how to do acro yoga, I made new friends who taught me their tips and tricks for living minimally. 

After the Van Life gathering, it was time to get back on the grid and continue on to new, uncharted territory. I visited Great Sand Dunes National Park in Southern Colorado where I purchased my first-ever annual National Parks pass (woo!) and hiked half way up the tallest sand dunes in North America. 

I spent four days camping in Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico where I serendipitously met some of the most kind, interesting people that I have ever met and will always remember. Not to mention the fabulous, diverse landscape. New Mexico’s nickname is the Land of Enchantment and I will agree, it is the Land of Enchantment.

One of the main purposes of this trip is to connect with people; be it friends, clients or new acquaintances. On Thursday, I got to connect with Sinjin Eberle from American Rivers. We’ve been working together for several years, yet had never met in person until now. He hosted me and showed me the lovely town of Durango in Southwest Colorado. It’s a great reminder that - especially in my very digital-focused online world - that real, offline connections make my work so much more meaningful.