how to live, travel and explore the world from your van

Vanabode Overall Information Covering 2,866 mile trip
From Nevada through Oregon, Washington and Canada

Vanabode trip, 20+ days spent, June   

Even though we were basing out of Florida we needed to cover some of the North West territory for our Destinations Guide we had previously skipped. After visiting friends in Pahrump and Las Vegas Nevada we drove some 2866 miles from Pahrump through Oregon, Washington, and into Canada and back via the Oregon and Washington coasts. We wanted to have fun and test the viability of Vanabode living in these parts of the United States on $20 a day. You can read about the individual places we went by clicking any of the links at the bottom of this page for this particular trip or see the master list of hundreds of places by state we have written about by referencing the Destinations Guide.

We met many people on this trip who tried to take automobile based camping trips and they certainly needed the Vanabode book. Everyone we saw was using the wrong kind of rig. There were the typical giant oversize rv's struggling to get up and down the mountains with nowhere to park for free. There were families of 3 or 4 people jammed into minivans stacked from floor to roof with coolers and clothes. There were hippie types using Volkswagen buses (small vans) jammed full of belongings. These van buses do not have much room and they have many windows. This means they are crowded and have no privacy.

One of the totally unexpected pleasures about this particular run up the middle of the United States and into Canada, then across to Vancouver, was the nearly completely empty highways. Less than 10% of the time were we ever within a ½ mile of another vehicle. There were times we traveled a hundred miles or more and did not see ten people on the road. Long stretches of deserted country side, coupled with fantastic scenery and plenty of bodies of water, plus no traffic gave us some serious food for thought.

I actually came to believe after running this stretch of country that one could happily live year round Vanaboding back and forth between the US and Mexican border and the US and Canadian borders using this very route. There is just so much free open range and so few people that it is a real pleasure to travel. It is cheap, fun, safe, stress free driving and camping. All you have to do is follow the "temperature" strategies outlined in the Vanabode book.

picture of mountains in squamish canada

Above: Picture taken along Sea-to-Sky Highway in British Columbia, Canada near Squamish.

Keep in mind when traveling any mountainous region that you will not be making quick time. Typically we average one mile per minute on the highways because we go 60 miles per hour. It is easy to get it wrong when you see a sign or read on the map that it is 24 miles to your next destination and you think "oh I will be there in 20 minutes or so". You forget to take into account the elevation issues that can mean the 24 miles may be driven as slow as 20 miles an hour and you might be stopping often to take pictures. Now instead of 24 minutes this part of the route may take you over an hour or longer. So relax. Don't get in a hurry.

Eat somewhere nice along the way and take your time. In the typical Americans life the number one job is to "hurry hurry hurry through each task so they can have two hours at the end of the week to themselves". When Vanaboding however you get your time back so your number one concern switches to ENJOYING the immense amounts of time you have. Vanboding means you no longer have to rush through life and this takes some people a few months to adjust to.

We did a test this trip where we did not pay for the use of a wireless card for internet access. Though we had connectivity through our cell phones we could not build web pages or upload hundreds of pictures from the road like we were used to doing. I will not go on a Vanabode trip of longer than 10 days without this connectivity in the future since we earn our living with the publishing of such websites. A good Internet connection also offers one the opportunity to stay busy when inclement weather dictates you stay in the van or if you are parked for the night but do not want to go to sleep yet.


Austin Nevada on the western slopes of the Toiyabe Range, in the middle of Nevada
      Austin Nevada pictures wild west town near Spencer hot springs, great outdoor altitude camping
Spencer Hot Springs Nevada camp and soak in hot springs in the middle of the wild desert for free
Square Mountain Nevada super secluded and completely pitch black at night, millions of stars visible
      Square Mountain Nevada pictures wild great outdoor living in beauty and grandeur
Winnemucca Nevada has everything from golfing to riding your ATV, see a rodeo or a 50s car show
Lake Tahoe popular destination and crowded, crystal clear alpine lake, rich in outdoor activities
Reno "The Biggest Little City in The World", Riverwalk, and lots of events throughout the year


Oregon overview overview of the Oregon portion of this 22 day trip
Burns to Pendleton Oregon
attacking bobcat, powerlines, rivers and sleeping in the rain
Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon pictures plus Burns and Pendleton and John Day
Astoria classic Victorian architecture, ship wreck, lovely art galleries, crafts, and local candy store
      Astoria vacation pictures includes Cannon Beach, Ecola State Park and shipwreck at Fort Stevens
Tillamook known for it's cheeses but has more to offer than you might imagine, delicious
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area dunes covering 47 miles of coast, aka Sahara-by-the-Sea
Oregon Coast Trip stopping and sightseeing from Pacific City to Florence along Highway 101
      Oregon Coast Trip pictures hunting for mussels, west coast sunrise, houses on rocky coast


Washington Overview overview of the Washington portion of this 22 day trip
Olympic Game Farm interactive game farm with hundreds of bears, elk, buffalo, deer, llamas, more
Chuckanut Drive slow scenic travel, friendly and cozy restaurants, antique stores, oyster farm beds
Deception Pass State Park most popular state park in WA to dive, hike, kayak, and search tide pools
Seattle friendly city with lots of sights to enjoy like the famous fish throwing Pike Place Public Market
      Seattle Vacation Pictures big city, markets, library, shops, eateries, fun places
Olympic National Park hike rain forests, see glacial peaks, and the rugged beauty of the pacific
Long Beach popular beach town, lots of history, festivals for kites and sandcastles, cranberry bogs
Leavenworth friendly Bavarian style fun tourist town near super good hikes and fish hatchery
Lincoln Rock to Hedley Canada thru WA into Osoyoos Canada and on to waterfront campsite
Prosser to Ellensburg Washington wineries, lakes, cities
Cape Flattery Washington prized magnificent coastal area for outdoor adventure in northwest
      Cape Flattery Washington Vacation Pictures woods, animals, coastal images, gorgeous, moody
Sekiu Washington recreational fishing destination combined with a national scenic byway, beautiful
Port Townsend boutique shops, galleries and art shops, bars and restaurants, antique buildings


Canada overview overview of the Canadian portion of this 22 day trip
Vancouver British Columbia clean fun expensive city, lots of outdoor sporting opportunities all year
      Vancouver British Columbia Vacation Pictures Stanley Park, downtown, walking areas, marina
Vancouver surrounding areas Squamish, Horseshoe Bay, Highway 99 Sea to Sky scenic highway
Othello Tunnels Canada Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park extraordinarily deep old train tunnels
Manning Park Canadian outback encompasses 100,000+ acres in the Cascade mountains, pristine

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