I'm writing this almost a year late, but at least that way I can include all the modifications we've made to the truck and how it's performed over the last year. Anyway, we got a new truck. It’s 2 years newer and has 28,000 less miles. Okay, Okay. It’s not new, just new to us. It’s a 2003 F350 with 442,000 miles on it. BUT, it has a Ford remanufactured engine with only 58,000 miles (as o...
The process of switching to the new camper was a much longer process than we expected and we ended up staying in Denver for about 2 and a half months (also due to staying pretty busy with work during those months). We spent the next week taking everything out of the old camper, (storing most of it on Clinton’s lawn under a tarp), and getting everything ready in the new camper. The new camper is essentially the same layout as the old, however, a lot of our storage spaces have changed. For household items in the camper, we were mostly able to just reorganize into the different cabinets. We now have a four season camper, which means that we lost access to the wheel well storage where we used to store our dirt bike boots, camp chairs, and spare truck fluids. We also used to have the three crates on our roof, but we realized that this was rubbing too much on our roof. On the old roof, we didn’t mind as much because we knew the camper would be pretty much worthless anyway at the end of our trip, but now that we have an immaculate camper, we didn’t want these crates on our roof anymore- so we bought a Thule roof rack to store some of these items, plus the kayak. We also had to redo the bike carrier since our new camper is 5 inches longer, the bike carrier had to be extended. We bought a 34 inch stinger hitch extension, and had to get it re-welded. The biggest project we had to do in order to get the camper livable again was switch over our solar system. Even though Blake is super handy, we aren’t solar experts, so we had to get some help from Nate a solar expert guru at Explorist.Life, (another van life couple who was based in Winter Park), and we weren’t able to work on it for a couple weeks.
While all of this was going on, we had several real estate projects come up while we were in Denver. We filmed a property near Bryson City, NC, which means we got to explore the Smokey Mountains a bit. We flew into Atlanta, got BBQ, then drove to NC. The property was a lakefront property on Fontana Lake, and had amazing views in the morning of the smokey mountains covered in low fog. We also went into the national park at the end of the shoot, and hiked to the Clingman’s Dome observatory (highest point in the Smokey Mountains!). Then of course we had to get BBQ one more time on our way back to Atlanta.
Then we went to help film the Gateway Canyons Resort and Spa in Gateway, Colorado. Gateway is directly east of Moab, but on the Colorado side, and has similar red rock formations and canyons, so we totally loved getting to explore the area which we’d never been to before.
This property is owned by the founder of Discovery Channel, and in addition to the resort it includes a 33k sq ft residence, multiple heli-pads, its own herd of bison, horse stables, trophy truck track, adventure center, private air strip, etc. This place was nuts, and we probably never would’ve stayed there if we weren’t hired to film. It’s on the market for $280 million, so once again, we always laugh at the cost of our “house” compared to the properties we film. At the end of June we ended up filming another mountain retreat in Edwards, Colorado being listed for $80 million, so I think its fair to say we’ve filmed the most expensive homes in Colorado at this point.
We made a weeklong trip back to Cabo as well, filming 3 properties this time. We got to stay at the Hacienda Residences right in Medano Bay, and filmed a $16 million house in a very exclusive community that was neighbors to houses owned by George Clooney, Cindy Crawford, and Mrs. Nordstrom. Highlight of this film trip was the amazing sushi that we ate all week because the owner of the Real Estate group selling the home also owned Captain Tony’s restaurant in the marina. This even got Blake hooked on sushi.
We also made a 4 day trip to Martha’s Vineyard to shoot a property, and at the end of shooting on the island, met up with Blake’s friend from college, Joe, who took us out fishing in Cape Cod for bass striper. I’ve never fished, and Blake’s only fished once in Alaska, so Joe and his girlfriend Morgan taught us how to cast the line and Blake actually caught a few during the day. Joe also grilled us cod and clamcakes at his cottage in the forest.
In between all of these trips we were finishing the camper swap, getting solar re-installed, and making a few upgrades on the truck. Blake swapped the steering column in the truck for one from Redhead Steering Gears, and it took most of the slop out of the steering. It has made driving the truck so much easier. We’ve been enjoying our Hellwig sway bars so much too that we installed them for Blake’s parents truck. When we were in Denver for some of these projects on the camper and truck, we went in between Blake’s parents and brothers house and my parents house in the camper so that we didn’t wear out our welcome in either of those neighborhoods. Blake’s parents neighborhood doesn’t allow RV parking at all, and my parent’s neighborhood allows it for 2 nonconsecutive days in a week. So essentially we weren’t allowed in either neighborhood.
At the end of our camper swap, we’d spent two months back in Denver, and we were really excited to get back on the road. Two months gave us a lot of time to see all friends and family and reorganize everything in the rig for our next stint on the road.