Finally, I am ready to write the post about the final stop on our 9+ month van-traveling adventure. It is very, very late in coming, but as I mentioned before, it is hard to recap those final few stops. But today (December 23rd), we are once again in the van, parked in a National Forest, preparing for a hike tomorrow. Just like the old days. Being in the van again inspires me to write, and I have some extra down time due to tonight being almost the longest night of the year. So tonight, I finally sum up the last stop on the full-time adventure.

My hometown of Puyallup, WA is easily a days’ drive from Portland, but 150 miles is too far for these road travelers to cover in a day. Rather than drive straight onto my mom’s house from our stay in Portland, we made one final stop at Ike Kinswa State Park, a forested campground on the shores of Mayfield Lake, about 60 miles southwest of Mt. Rainier.

The van nestled into our campsite.

The van nestled into our campsite.

This short trail leads to the lake from our campsite.

This short trail leads to the lake from our campsite.

The little piece of lake shore that the trail leads to.

The little piece of lake shore the trail leads to.

Each of the two nights we camped here we walked down to the lake shore to watch the sunsets, which were glorious. The birds of prey also entertained us by scooping up fish from the lake and carrying them away in their talons like missiles.

A column of light shines down from the heavens.

A column of light shines down from the heavens.

Purple sunset over Mayfield Lake.

Purple sunset over Mayfield Lake.

Across the highway from the campground is a day use area with part of the lake roped off for swimming. When we first biked over to check it out we spotted a pair of bald eagles! It was quite warm and sunny for May in the northwest, so I attempted to go for a swim, but alas, I am a wuss and couldn’t bring myself to get in past my bellybutton.

That’s me in the distance, attempting to swim. Kayaks are a much better idea!

That’s me in the distance, attempting to swim. Kayaks are a much better idea!

It’s too cold!!

It’s too cold!!

In addition to fish jumping in the lake and birds of prey who catch them, the park is also inhabited by many bunnies, and we were there just in time to see tiny ones. These baby bunnies had yet to learn to be afraid of people, so they let me get a longer and closer look than any of the fully grown ones.

Little tiny bunny.

Teeny tiny bunny.

 John shaved the day before we set off on this adventure, on August 12, with the intention of seeing how long the beard would grow on the road. Here is the final product, just over nine months.

John shaved the day before we set off on this adventure, on August 12, 2013 with the intention of seeing how long the beard would grow on the road. Here is the final product, after just over nine months.

Us enjoying our last sunset as full-time travelers.

Us enjoying our last sunset as full-time travelers.

Our last morning of living in the van we recreated the first picture taken of us with the van, which you can see our very first post, "Ready...Set...Go".

Our last morning of living in the van we recreated the first picture taken of us with the van, shared on our very first post, “Ready…Set…Go”, and copied below.

Us_infront_of_RV

The first picture of us with the van, in May 2013.

Thus ends this book, where the John and Heidi characters live and travel full time in a van. But the adventures are not over. Stay tuned for the sequels.

May 21-22, 2014

4 Thoughts on “The End

  1. Looking forward to the sequeal !!
    Xo V

  2. So lovely to hear from you! Thank you for the card; I kept the address from the envelope so let me know if that changes.

    I will miss living your adventures vicariously. May the new year bring as much happiness as you ever hoped for. As they said in my youth, “keep on truckin”. (general phrase of encouragement meaning to stay focused on a particular job or in general. )
    Love to you both,
    Rita

  3. John and Heidi,
    I’m sure it is difficult to conclude your first adventure of a lifetime, but this was a nice conclusion. In addition to all you saw, consider how much you have brought to so many of us waiting by our computers for each new installment! I have seen sights and beings that I couldn’t have imagined. It makes me want to try some of your destinations myself and I too will look forward to your future trips, reports, and images. Thanks for sharing!
    Kathy

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