Friends think I’m kooky when I sleep in my van rather than their comfortable guest room. Especially when the weather is “bad.” But my van is a cocoon and I’m a happy caterpillar, even when the skies open up. Last night we fell asleep to rain pounding on the roof. We slept long and deep, and I fully expected to wake as a butterfly.
We’ve been parked beside my friend’s house, in a lane, next to a pretty field. It’s been humid; the air has been thick with the smell of green. Yesterday I woke to a wild turkey, staring us down from up the lane. This morning a pair of doves gently insisted we wake up.
I grew up weathering rainy springs, and enjoying frequent afternoon thunder showers through our Ontario summers. There is a certain steaminess associated with some rains. Others are cooling.
Rain does mean a slight shift in our daily van-routines.
I slide my shoes under the van as I get in, so they don’t get rained on, and don’t make a mess inside. My rain jacket drapes over the steering wheel so it dries between wears. We don’t do much outside in heavy rain, but spend more time in the van. I write, read or connect with family and friends. Pippa chews and naps. I turn on the little 12-volt fan so the windows don’t gather condensation, which will happen if the windows are closed tightly against the weather, or things are drying inside.
I often forgo my breakfast coffee in the morning if it rains, hitting the road early and stopping mid-morning for coffee at a local cafe, or stretching at a pull-out if the weather has cleared. But since I had one more morning with friends, I joined them inside; breakfast was offered and accepted and it was soon time for goodbyes.
By the time we made it to the County, the rain, which had taken a brief respite to regain it’s strength, begun again in earnest.
Pippa and I wandered through the local independent book store, which mixes used books with new and has an vast selection of “local interest” books. I love that they welcome dogs. Even the resident feline was hospitable. When it rains, we enjoy anything indoors in glorious slow motion. Sometimes we go to a pet store, even if we don’t need anything, to browse and visit with people. It serves the same purpose – to make sure we don’t spend too much time “inside.” I found some fascinating books about canning in the County! I think I will visit the library this week to see if I can do a bit of research 🙂
While at my friends I’d made a quinoa, asparagus, tomato and cucumber salad from my farm-shopping, and I enjoyed it for lunch in the van. I savoured each bite; the tomatoes bursting with tomato-goodness and the asparagus sweet, like baby snap-peas. A simple but hearty lunch. We spent the afternoon together in the van; I wrote and Pippa chewed things and commented on any dogs who passed by.
At the end of the day, treated myself to dinner out at a local pub. I know, local pub does not mean local food, but it was still pouring, and I wasn’t ready to settle in for the night.
In truth, I don’t always cook when boondocking in the rain. When I camp for a few days or more, I put up my canopy which gives me cover to cook. But when I’m only one or two nights at one place, I don’t set up the canopy. So, I sometimes eat out, or just eat something light from the fridge or food drawer, which is accessible inside.
After a hearty house-made veggie burger at the pub, Pip and I set off to find a good boondocking spot. I chose a little community park in a tiny hamlet outside of Picton, where there didn’t appear to be any no parking signs, and which was quiet and out of view of the road and neighbours. After a year on the road, I no longer worry much about being asked to move in the night. If it were to happen, it wouldn’t startle or scare me like it would have when I started out. Also, this is my old stomping grounds. There is a certain comfort for sure, in knowing “where I am.”
The most memorable gift of Day 3 was not food (although it was delicious!) but a Painted Turtle, digging a hole, I’m assuming to lay her eggs in the sand behind our van.
What a delight to witness her patiently digging a hole. I moved the van further away from her, watching for other turtles, so she can continue her important work tonight without Pippa and I cheering her on.
I think on my own labours, and am pretty sure cheering did not have it’s intended affect. I offer her peace, instead, and Pippa and I settle in for sleep.