Hello Wayfarer Wanderers!
For this month’s edition, we’ve virtually traveled to the Centennial State (aka Colorado) to connect with Kirk and Carri. This month, the pair is celebrating their one-year anniversary since converting their ProMaster into a bona fide Walter, now affectionately renamed Ramon.
Just like many of you, this Washington state native pair is living #middlescence in full color! At 54- and 51-years young, Kirk and Carri enjoyed calling Houston home for nearly six years, but when their boys became men, it was their turn to live a little. It was Colorado or bust.
Since they were tykes, Kirk and Carri have loved being in the great outdoors. So, it’s no shock that this adolescent love affair with nature continued into adult life and now married life. When asked what they enjoyed doing outdoors, they giggled as they reminisced about days spent shredding ski slopes, wakeboarding on the lake, racking up miles running trails or quieting down with nature-inspired yoga.
So, when the opportunity to move to Colorado popped up, it was a no brainer. Fast forward four years and the duo is still out there doing their thing. “We love to ski Copper. We’re that couple that the ski resort actually loses money on because we’re up there nearly every weekend,” said Carri. “But that lifestyle is tough because I worry about our three adopted pups (Beau, Emmie and Quinn). We hated leaving them home, but we also couldn’t just take them and leave them in our Subaru all day.”
And so, the search for a pup-proof mode of transportation began.
“We wanted to be mobile and started to look into sprinter vans,” said Kirk. “After shopping online for a few months, we came across Ian and his shop and loved their set up. Within 45 days of finding Wayfarer, we bought our van online through Perkins. We didn’t even bother to see it in person,” he jokes.
Of course, it was only fitting that their first trip was to Copper, but this time it was with the pups.
"We loved taking our dogs with us, but our system just wasn’t quite right,” said Carri. “On the way home, Kirk asked me to rate the conversion van and I gave it a 6. But we soon realized that the reason was because we didn’t know how to organize ourselves. We were stacking on top of tubs and it was chaos. Little by little, we perfected our systems by trial and error and with the advice of others.
After attending Wayfarer Weekend, doing some research and referring to notes compiled during each trip, the duo nailed it. In fact, here’s some sticky notes tips from Carri:
- Kirk installed a short, "catch all" webbing compartment from the roof of the van garage. It stores awkward-shaped items and is easily accessible, so in the winter we keep our skis there (pairs bound together) and in the summer we store our pop-up shower and accessories.
- Prepare for cold winter nights by having several extra blankets available. They store nicely on the shelves above the bed.
- Don't ever over-pack. We have never been so isolated that getting to a store was impossible. We do, however, prepare well and we use the bare minimum amount of space. For example, we get rid of packaging ahead of time and store everything we can in Ziploc bags. We usually cut vegetables ahead of time and write which meal they go with on the Ziploc bag. We always have plenty of snacks on hand (such as crackers and trail mix), just in case something happens with our cooking source.
- Keep the cupboards stocked with all essentials such as garbage bags, cleaning wipes, dish soap, matches, etc. We keep a pad of sticky notes in the van to jot down items we need before our next trip.
- Prepare for the worst, regardless of the time of year. Have chains, shovel, come-along, sunscreen, hand warmers, first aid kit, etc. handy. Although we have yet to need an emergency item, it is a guarantee we will need something if we take it out of the van. Always be prepared to self-rescue; there are lots of camping spots with no cell service.
- Be flexible. More often than not, we have ended up camping somewhere other than where we originally planned. We are rarely on a timeline, so that works well for us. The one thing we do try to do is find our landing spot before it is completely dark outside, but that doesn't always happen. We have had several 14 hour driving days!
When asked where they’re heading next, Kirk replied “We don’t even know where we’re going half of the time, we just get on the road, have a rough idea of where we’re heading and just go.”
“What we love about Ramon is that it used to take us a half day to a full day to pack before we could head out on a camping trip,” said Carri. “But now, we can be out within a half hour. We just pack two tubs and go. The drives are so much more enjoyable, and we can now stop and see sights, whereas when our kids were young, it was all about just getting to where we were going. It’s super fun to just be spontaneous and figure it out 10 minutes before we go.”
There you have it, another insiders’ look at Wayfarer wanderers in their natural habitat. Stay healthy. Drive safe. Until next time!