As with most things in life, I thought I was good to go and learned early on that this was… less true than I imagined.

We had a fun set up and layout in the van from the building and planning, but once I was on the road I quickly discovered that reinforcement was sorely needed. My first stop after leaving Maryland was my parents’ house in Delaware where my dad helped me finish up some prep. This list now included adding better closures to the cabinets with doors because once I had loaded up the mounds of food I had left from my home life and didn’t want to waste, the heavy load flung the doors open and rolled all over the van floor on my way driving to the hardware store. Oops. Easily fixed though with some laches, grippy shelf liner, and an additional bungee cord.

Did some other last touch finishes like tacking up some wires, filling the cooler, gathering and culling items, finding space for all the books, and all that fun stuff.

All was well until a mere 3 or 4 days later. Driving down the highways was easy, but once I hit the potholes and bumps of Brooklyn streets, the construction zones here and there, and the gravel roads leading to my Maine destination my shelves were swinging more than they had been with each turn, and more rattles were getting my attention.

A quick check showed that the screws in one side of the shelves had come loose and were now squeaking against the wood of the cabinet. The weight of the cabinets and shelves had started to pull the wood base we created and secured to the van walls and floor away from the van wall. Some of the screws I’d put into headliner holes with plastic anchors were just hanging in by a thread. Oops.


Made a trip to Home Depot and got more brackets, some butterfly anchors, and straps. Spent about 90 min adding more reinforcement to the shelving, tightening screws, hammering in anchors, and seeing what I could do in the time before I wanted to be somewhere. So far it’s holding up okay but I need a better long term solution once I’m back to real tools and some pieces I left behind to better anchor the tall shelves to the walls. A project for a rainy day perhaps.

Another factor which I’m sure didn’t help the state of things was… I may have gotten stuck in a ditch. By a graveyard. Oops.


I overshot a trailhead and had a line of locals behind me playing parade as I tried to find a decent place to pull in and flip around. The first road I found was the drive going past a cemetery, so I pulled in and attempted a quick 3-point turn on a mostly level part of the road with wildflowers and weeds beside it. In doing so though the back tire got a little too close to the other edge and as I tried in vain to pull forward that stinking tire just pulled the whole backheavy thing down into a little ditch. No luck trying different wheel placement, sticking spare maps and boxes under the tires for traction, even tried putting a soft cooler and my floor mat under to try not to spin myself deeper into the soil and gravel, but zero luck. Couldn’t back up into a position I knew I’d be able to get out due to the cemetery fence.

So had to call my roadside assistance, which put me on hold… and hold… and hold… before informing me that all their contacts in the area were either too busy or not answering the phone. Great. The local police (who I called at the insurance roadside people’s suggestion) gave me the number of the service they use who picked up and said they’d have someone there within the hour. So much for everyone being too busy.

Finally he arrived with the tow truck and eventually after a few creative tried I was out- but not without him snagging the fence in the process under the wrathful watch of the man from the cemetery who conveniently appeared when the tow man did and showed zero interest for the two hours I’d been sitting there stuck. Oh well. Oops.

More adventures to come! And hopefully fewer ditches.

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  1. I pretty much stop everything I’m doing when a new post shows up in my Inbox! Go Mary go! Loving you and your adventures!


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