My mother generously gifted us three nights in a timeshare condo where she owns shares. Given our last-minute planning timeline on this trip, our booking options were limited and we ended up in Pinetop, Arizona; a bit east of where we had intended to travel, but a very fortuitous detour. The condo resort is located in Arizona’s White Mountains at the edge of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest and near the Petrified Forest National Park. More on that to come, here I just want to tell you how amazing it was to stay at the condo. After six months living in a van, which takes six steps to walk the length of and John can’t even stand up straight in, the spacious one bedroom apartment was spectacular. We took full advantage of every facet of the apartment, as well as every amenity the resort offers. I cooked many meals in the large kitchen, including a huge Valentine’s Day brunch just before checkout; John barbecued a steak; we watched the Olympics on the television; John managed to put 40 GB of data through the internet connection (our hotspot limit is 20 GB/month); we sat in separate rooms to make phone calls and catch up with some friends; we relaxed in the spa and played all the games at their outdoor and indoor recreation areas: tennis, basketball, ping pong, shuffleboard and horseshoes. I took  a short hike in the adjacent forest, but figured my time was best spent enjoying the rare ability to spread out indoors, and even did yoga INSIDE (a first since I attended classes at a studio with John’s sister back in the summer before we hit the road).

Such a large kitchen! I love the layout, too…the island is a perfect workspace; large enough for an entire meal’s worth of ingredients and chopping, and friends can still sit on the other side and have a drink and snack with plenty of space. The sink was large, there was a dishwasher (this is a heavenly invention) and the refrigerator was so big that with all of our cold foods, leftovers in every container we own plus some the condo provided, it still looked empty like a bachelor’s fridge.

Such a large kitchen! I love the layout, too…the island is a perfect workspace; large enough for an entire meal’s worth of ingredients and chopping, and friends can still sit on the other side and have a drink and snack with plenty of space. The sink was large, there was a dishwasher (this is a heavenly invention) and the refrigerator was so big that with all of our cold foods, leftovers in every container we own plus some the condo provided, it still looked as empty as a bachelor’s fridge.

The kitchen island forms a hub between the living room and the dining room…this is really the ideal set up for entertaining (not that we had anyone in Pinetop, AZ to entertain…but you know, ideas for a future not-so-tiny home :) )

The kitchen island forms a hub between the living room and the dining room…this is really the ideal set up for entertaining (not that we had anyone in Pinetop, AZ to entertain…but, you know, ideas for a future not-so-tiny home 🙂 ).

A better view of the living room, where we watched Olympics, I knit and John abused the internet.

A better view of the living room, where we watched the Olympics, I knit and John exploited the internet.

A fireplace!!!

A fireplace!!!

The hall looking from the edge of the kitchen toward the bedroom. I was so excited when we first saw how much space we had that I literally ran back and forth down this hall and jumped (you can’t do that in a van!)

The hall looking from the edge of the kitchen toward the bedroom. I was so excited when we first saw how much space we had that I literally ran back and forth down this hall and jumped up and down (you can’t do that in a van!)

In-home clothes washer and dryer? I have never, as an adult, had that kind of luxury!

In-home clothes washer and dryer? I have never, as an adult, had that kind of luxury!

Indoor shower! The first non-campground shower we have had in months. The bathroom is bigger than our van.

Indoor shower! The first non-campground shower we have had in three months. The bathroom is bigger than our van.

A large bed, that we can enter and exit from the sides! No climbing out the foot of the bed here. It is so big that when I woke up in the morning I had to roll over three times to get to John. Usually he is holding me tight to stay warm in the freezing van.

A large bed, that we can enter and exit from the sides! No climbing out the foot of the bed here. It is so big that when I woke up in the morning I had to roll over three times to get to John. Usually he is holding me tight to keep warm in the freezing van.  

Spying on the van through the bedroom window.

Spying on the van through the bedroom window.

The balcony with grill and view of ?? National Forest.

The balcony with grill and view of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.

The steak that John cooked on the above grill.

The steak that John cooked on the above grill. 

Valentine’s Day brunch of pancakes, muffins, fruit-yogurt smoothies and eggs. This morning I used the coffee maker and packet of coffee provided to brew four cups of coffee instead of my usual one. I was bouncing off the walls while packing up and saying goodbye to the amazing space.

Valentine’s Day brunch of pancakes, muffins, fruit-yogurt smoothies and eggs. This morning I used the coffee maker and packet of coffee provided to brew four cups of coffee instead of my usual one. I was bouncing off the walls while packing up and saying goodbye to the amazing space.

My other Valentine's gift to John, which I knit during our time at the condo. Our new mascot, Lena the Javelina.

My other Valentine’s gift to John, which I knit during our time at the condo. Our new mascot, Lena the Javelina.

5 Thoughts on “A Vacation From Our Vacation

  1. I just love that Javelina. Sounds like you really had a luxurious time.

  2. Melinda on April 1, 2014 at 1:42 pm said:

    Heidi, this is without question the most excitement about being indoors that I’ve ever seen from you. This says more about what its like to live in a van than a “day in the life” blog post ever could.

  3. Faedra on April 21, 2014 at 3:49 pm said:

    Haven’t heard from me in a while – my bad….I got behind with the blogs and today I started catching up. I’ve read about six or seven today with plenty more to go to be caught up, but I wanted to comment on this one (I wanted to comment on others as well, but my goal was to get caught up and commenting would have taken away from my reading time.) Heidi, I could feel your happiness as I read this and it was wonderful! I feel it in other blogs too, but this one made me want to run around and jump up and down with you! I am so happy that you got to enjoy a special vacation from your vacation. What a beautiful place, and from a glimpse I could see out of the window in one of the pictures, the outside looked pretty as well.

    Gosh, leaving this comment makes me want to go back to the other blogs and leave the comments that I wanted to leave. Hmm, maybe I will.

    I was telling Jim that I was catching up with reading these and of course I always tell him about different ones and he says to me: ” I guess they haven’t found paradise”, I told him that probably most or all of these places are like paradise. Then he says: “Well, I told them once they find paradise to call us.” :o/ Well, that explains why he said that. :o)

    Alright, well this was a little lengthy, but I am happy to be (getting) back on track with these. The blog is wonderful and fun reading. Thank you for continuing to share your adventure with us.

    • Heidi on April 21, 2014 at 8:47 pm said:

      Hi Faedra!

      There is no pressure at all to read the blog in anywhere near realtime. I appreciate that you read it, and I know that it is a lot! And we LOVE comments, so keep those coming, please 🙂

      I remember the paradise comment…that’s why I suggested before that Redwood National Forest might be paradise, since that is on your bucket list :). I think that San Diego is paradise for John, and Yosemite may be the closest for me yet. We’ve been in many amazing places, but sadly we keep leaving them.

  4. Faedra on April 21, 2014 at 3:56 pm said:

    ooh, ooh – I forgot to mention – – I love Lena the Javelina. How cute! !

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