As I lay awake at 2 am, listening to the howling wind, the rain slamming down on the van, and the drip of water leaking in through the roof, I seriously questioned our sanity. Could we really spend the better part of a month living in a van?
This was our first night sleeping in the van, and so far it was not going well. We arrived at the KOA in Reno just as the rain started. Luckily, Nic and my dad had installed a rainfly before leaving Utah. We got out and fought the wind to pop the top on the van and put up the rainfly. The rainfly seemed to be working to keep the canvas dry, but we soon heard the Plop, Plop, Plop of rain leaking in through a couple of cracks in the roof. We placed cups and bowls on the top bed below the drips, and set up our bedding on the bottom bed, with Max on the floor.
In the chaos and confusion of trying to set up camp in the van for the first time as well as the weather, we discovered that we couldn’t find the key to open the rocket box on the top of the van. The box held all of our clothes, as well as some other supplies. We only had one key and couldn’t easily break into the box. We searched everywhere for the key, but couldn’t find it. We finally decided to go to bed and find a locksmith in the morning.
As the night wore on, the wind became stronger and stronger. The rainfly was whipping loudly in the wind and we realized we weren’t going to get any sleep, so Nic headed out into the pouring rain, fighting the wind to get the rainfly down and lower the top of the van. Because Max was on the floor, we couldn’t put the bowls and cups there to catch the leaking water, so we used bungee cords to hook them to the ceiling. With everything set up quieted down, I finally lay back down, tired and discouraged, hoping that this trip wasn’t a mistake.
When I woke up the next morning, I felt much better. The sun was shining and despite the short night, I felt rested. We even found the key to the rocket box in the parking lot, about 10 feet away from the van. I still questioned our sanity, but I was excited and hopeful about the rest of our trip.