The Shifts of Summer in the Van

The arrival of summer has brought about some changes in the van.

The weather, for one. On the days when the sun is at its peak, the van heats up like the little metal box that it is. Thanks to the savvy design of the previous owners, I have plenty of fans to keep the air moving, and it never gets dangerously hot- but it does get sweaty. For someone used to the comforts of indoors and air conditioning, it’s an adjustment.

My dog often stays in the van while I run errands or work inside. With all of the fans running and the windows covers up she’ll be fine, if on the warm side. But she enjoys laying on the blacktop at noon so it’s safe to say she doesn’t mind being warm. My husband and I however…

On the days that the sun doesn’t shine, it’s usually raining. This keeps the temperature cooler, except when it’s humid. And oh, it is so often humid in the Northeast. It’s been raining and cloudy for the past week and thunderstorms rumble through at night. My poor solar panels do everything they can to keep the charge up, but 5+ days of rain mean the battery levels are hovering just above “concerning” and I have to seek other places to work and charge my laptop.

It’s also more crowded in the summer – everywhere. The roads, municipal parks, campgrounds, and trailheads – everywhere is more crowded. It didn’t occur to me that the 4th was next week until I was trying to book a campsite for the weekend and came up short. In April and May, I could roll into any campground and have my pick of the sites. But once school’s out all bets are off. National Park campgrounds fill up weeks in advance and I plan this trip no more than a week out at a time. Roll with the punches, right?

There is no sound of the summer more classic than children screaming. Everywhere I go, there they are. This is not a criticism – kids deserve to take up space just as much as I do, and screaming is often an indication of a good time. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss the peace and quiet of visiting parks and beaches during school hours.

In short, it is crowded, loud, and sticky nearly everywhere I go.

But not quite everywhere.

Last week my husband and I camped out at a trailhead in Worcester, Vermont. Saturday brought humid temperatures early in the morning with the promise of thunderstorms later. Despite this, we hiked up Worcester Mountain and had the entire place to ourselves. The summit was enclosed in wispy grey clouds and they opened up on us as we descended. Covered in sweat and rain, we took a dip in a chilly waterfall pool and took full advantage of the privacy – if you catch my drift. The rain continued for the rest of the day, but Sunday dawned clear and nearly sunny.

We slept in until 11 (bless our dog for letting us) and ate a rushed breakfast of cold tater tots before heading out in search of a local swimming hole. We found it a mile down the road at the base of a waterfall with three channels and again, we had the entire place to ourselves. We spent an hour dancing in and out of the frigid water, swimming, dunking, and treading under the roar of the falls. I felt like a kid again, screeching with delight at the cold water, the roar of the water drowning out any sense of propriety. Even Diamond got in on the fun, dunking her head in the water to grab rocks – no idea where she learned to do that! It was one of the best weekends I’ve had in the van, even with the rain.

So of course, there is still adventure out theree. I can’t wait to see what the rest of this summer brings.

Published by Jessica Reilly, Writer

Writer, cannabis aficionado, and poetry lover

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