Maiden voyage of the Eagleroo.

So, we’ve spent the last month fitting, kitting and fulfilling our #vanlyfe dreams.

We start the trip in earnest this coming Saturday, but since we were lucky enough to be invited to the backyard music festival, ‘Rabscuttlooza’, in Rensselaer (Indiana) last weekend, we thought – given the ‘roo was 90% of the way there –  it was a good opportunity to give her a test run.

In preparation, we spent the whole of Friday evening spreading the entirety of our belongings over our friends’ living room (they may be unwilling to have us back after that little display!) before packing them into tubs and baskets. We packed our tubs and baskets into their van tub and basket holders. We made our bed. We turned on our electric esky (cooler).  We were ready.

We set off around midday and it was all smooth sailing until we stopped for gas. Erik was filling the van whilst I took a bathroom break. As I walked back toward the bowser (gas pump), I noticed liquid pouring out the bottom of the van as Erik was filling it. A short burst a drama ensued, as we quickly worked out that as we filled the van, a good percentage of the fuel was leaking out onto the asphalt below it. This was an alarming and depressing start, but after a quick Eagleroo inspection and conference in a McDonalds parking lot, we made a (quite frankly, rather ill-informed) decision to keep going and take it to a mechanic when we were back in Indianapolis. Fortunately, we managed to limp the rest of the way to Rabscuttlooza without further mishap.

Erik inspecting the van

We had a wonderfull afternoon, full of music, Mexican food, good company and a violent game called hammerschlagen (which you can read about here). Late in the evening, as we settled in to watch Donnie Darko (yep, Rabscuttlooza has a strong rabbit theme – it’s THAT Rabscuttle) the most intense storm I have ever witnessed rolled in. After a lightening strike put an end to watching Donnie D (and our friend’s entertainment system), it was time for bed. We were a little apprehensive about sleeping in our customised metal box during such a storm, but determined not to chicken out of our test run, so settled in to sleep to the sounds of pounding rain and thunder claps. However, this wasn’t what kept us awake during the night… and now we arrive to lesson one of road living:

  1. When stopping overnight, always park the van on flat surfaces.

We had managed to park the van so not only were our heads pointed down a hill, but we were also slanted to the side. So not only were we sleeping with a slight sense of vertigo, but Erik was also rolling into me all night and at one point I actually came off the mattress. It was a tough first night, but a solid lesson learnt. We’ve now downloaded a level app to our phones so we can make sure we are parked in a way that will ensure a decent nights sleep.

The van as Rabscuttlooza
The van at Rabscuttlooza… you can kind of see the precarious angle!

But, we made it! The ‘roo is currently back at the mechanic (we fortuitously had her booked in for a leisure battery fitting), so she will hopefully be back on the road on Saturday when we officially start our trip. Stay tuned.

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