Month Two Van Life
After two months of living in our campervan full time, we are still learning ways to keep costs down and adventures high!
Living in a Van: Month Two in Review
After driving a total of over 5,000 miles in our first month, we really didn't want to do that much driving going forward. Month two, however, racked up close to 3,000 miles with all of our adventures! Our route changed several times as conditions in the PNW worsened with fires.
Our Route Month Two
We started out month two in the van in Snowbasin, Utah, at the Camelbak Pursuit Series. After that amazing weekend, we headed out toward Cascade Locks, Oregon. Our route took us through Oregon and up into Washington for a bit, before heading down the coast to our Month Two Endpoint: Sanborn County Park south of San Francisco, where we attended the second Camelbak Pursuit Series.
Our plan was to spend some time in the mountains of Washington, but due to the many forest fires burning in the region, we were unable to stay. Because of that, we ended up in Seattle earlier than we intended to be there, resulting in us having to pay campground fees for a few nights. As many of you know, we hate paying for camping. But, sometimes we have to bite the bullet! At least it was a gorgeous campground on the beach!
Once we got to Coos Bay Oregon, we took Highway 101 and Highway 1 down the coast to San Francisco. That drive is absolutely incredible. We made a slight detour off of Highway 101 in Northern California to drive the Avenue of the Giants in Redwood National Forest. Standing in the midst of those enormous trees, you find yourself appreciating more and more the greatness of nature.
Highway 1 down the coast of California is easily one of the most scenic drives I've ever taken. From huge drop-off cliffs to hidden beaches along the highway, there is enough to keep you in awe for days. If you haven't seen it already, here is our recap of the northern drive of Highway 101 and Highway 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0D-bjgwUf3c&t=802s
Troubles on the Road
We have yet to fix our turbo issue, and in fact it is getting more frequent that we lose power. We will likely be spending a lot of time next month troubleshooting this and the other issues we have had arise. This is definitely one downside to van life; we don't have a garage in which we can work on the van. Sometimes we are forced to wait to be able to troubleshoot. Or pull a wheel off on the side of the road…
We have a bad wheel speed sensor on one wheel, which caused three warning lights and the loss of our cruise control! What a pain when driving is what you do nearly every day! We attempted to clear it by cleaning the sensor, but unfortunately that did not work. We will need to pull the rotor off completely to fix the sensor. Again, that will have to wait till we have a garage to work in or a shop to take it to. Luckily, it doesn't cause any harm other than our cruise control and traction control.
We had our first ever van meetup this month, and it was aweome! We got to meet some people we have been friends with on social media for a long time. We all met at a river near Portland and hung out for the day, before going and showing our vans off to each other. It was great to meet them and get to hear the different experiences each of us have had in our time as van lifers.
We would really love to do more of that in the future, and hopefully plan a more organized meetup. So, if you would like to meet us sometime on the road, please let us know! You don't have to be a van lifer, of course, so drop a comment here or on our YouTube channel to let us know if and where you'd like us to meet 😀
Van Life with Dogs
Pyros and Sparta have been great this month. They are really getting into the groove of traveling again, and being in a lot smaller of a space. Pyros (mostly) stays in her bed while we drive, but we have one drawer that comes open sometimes. When that drawer comes open, she usually gets startled and tries to come up in the cab with us. Once the drawer is closed, however, she's usually fine with going back into her bed.
Sparta has decided that he really loves watching out the window as we drive. As soon as the van is put in drive, he hops up into my lap and lays with his head propped up on the window. It's pretty adorable.
We've had several questions about Sparta and why he doesn't come on hikes with us. Sparta is 10 years old and he has lost the desire to go on hikes of any length. While he used to be a little adventurer and go on 3-5 mile hikes, he has made it very clear to us that those days are behind him. He'd prefer sitting in the van looking out the window or taking a nap than walking more than a few hundred feet! So, we let him roam around our campsites when we can, but more often than not he just hops back into the van to chill there.
How Much Does it Cost to Live in a Van?
Our second month in the van, we did a bit better on spending than in our first month. Here are our actual expenses for the month:
- Fuel: $572.90
- Grocery Stores: $412.43
- Restaurants: $131.68
- Campgrounds: $140.00
- Gym Memberships: $45.27
- Insurance: $68.55 (note: this will change, adjustments were made this month)
- Health Insurance: $186.53
- Mail Service: $19.95
- Laundry: $11.50
- Repairs/Maintenance: $56.59
- Phone: $211.10
- Pet Expenses: $392.92 (we boarded the dogs twice this month due to work needs)
- Misc Personal: $82.40
While we did better this month than our first month, there is still room for improvement. Boarding the dogs was expensive, although it was more a business expense than personal. We also stayed at campgrounds 5 nights this month, which adds up quickly. We are still pretty happy with our spending, and it's definitely much cheaper than living in a house!
Second Month of Van Life
We are still working out some kinks of living in the van as well as with the van itself, but month two was a lot more laid back than our first month in the van. Next month, we plan to do some work on the van and change up a few things that have been nagging at us. Be sure to subscribe to see what we are up to next!