First things first, let me introduce you to Cecilia, our 27ft bundle of joy that never broke our hearts – um well ok, maybe once broke our heart.
Getting an RV and driving around the USA has been a dream trip of ours for a very long time. After doing a bit of research we realised that the best option was to buy an old RV and hit the road. We travelled for 3 months around the west and mid west of America and I fell in love with America all over again. It was everything that I didn’t imagine it to be. The only heart break was that we had to leave our beloved Cecilia at the end of the trip.
It was love at first sight and a price we could afford (cheaper than a rental). We picked her up in Utah and headed to our first national park. Learning to drive a three-and-a-half-tonne vehicle in the middle of the Utah winter was no easy task, but we soon got the hang of it. Arches National Park was the first destination and we were blown away. Towering sandstone stacks and gaping archways carved out by millions of years of erosion, it would leave anyone’s jaw hanging. Simply driving around in our mobile home and having cups of tea whenever we pleased – we knew this was going to be 3 months we would never forget. When we set up shop in our designated campsite watching the milky way and toasting marshmallows, we knew we had to visit as many national parks as we could possibly fit in.
Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona came next, clocking up 1000s of miles on the road. We hit towns we had never heard of and people living and making a life in the middle of nowhere. This was a side of America that I hadn’t seen before, a side that is way different from a 2-week holiday in LA or a weekend in New York. We were seeing the beautiful landscape that fell in-between the advertised national parks – there was beauty everywhere. We decided to head for the bright lights of Vegas and we had a desert to drive through and a small gaping hole in the ground called The Grand Canyon to drive around, it was a bigger task than we thought but getting to all the places that the mass tourists don’t, finding and having parts of the canyon to ourselves was amazing. This was the RV Life!
I never thought I would say this but Walmart car parks became our friend, allowing us to park up for free and stay the night. We were able to cook and save money and get the rest we needed for the next day’s drive. The best thing about living from a van is that you don’t have to pack; everything you need comes with you. Even having a fridge with some cold ones stashed away was worth it’s weight in gold after as long days drive. After Vegas we headed through Death Valley and Cecilia broke our heart for the very first time. The water cooler broke and left us stranded at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. We were forced to camp out the night at the side of the road whilst she cooled down. We knew this would happen at some stage and buying an RV that was almost as old as me was going to cause some problems – but it’s all part of the adventure.
After spending a good few hours on a mechanic’s ranch whilst he navigated the ever so tight ford engine, we got her fixed and it was time to head north up to uber cool Oregon and Washington. We came across a place called Bend, skiing, rock climbing and good coffee all on your doorstep. It was an outdoor person’s paradise (I won’t mention the mass of micro breweries) and we ended up staying for a few days. Lots of people noticed our accents and asked “why on earth are you in Bend?” to which we replied “we were driving through and loved it”. The laid back lifestyle of these two states was perfect for us and we certainly won’t forget our time there.
The trip was coming to an end and it was time to part ways with our beloved RV and fly back to the UK. Not often do you get to dream about an adventure and then get to carry out your dream, but for your dream to surpass your expectations is something I never expected. And yes …I did look into ways to bring Cecilia home but she is currently in Las Vegas in a parking lot awaiting a new adventure.
SALKAN x ILLWOOKIE
Check out our collab with Brighton-based artist, Will Richards A.K.A ILLWOOKIE and buy the one-of-a-kind backpack that he made for us.
The Scuba Guide
Dive into our Co-founder, Tom’s Guide to his top scuba spots around the world.
The Craft of Travel
Travel doesn’t have to stop when you make it home, there is always room in your bag to bring that something special to remind you of your last trip.