Being on the road, I had soon learnt to be resourceful and flexible. Maxtraxs are not only for recovery. Days are not always perfect.
I want to show you the most authentic version of life on the road—even the less colourful ones.
The social media boom had glorified many things, alternative living being one of them. COVID restriction brought up a massive wave of vehicle-dependent travel since boarding a plane is now commonly deemed dangerous. As we spend more time with and in a vehicle, the idea of living in it full time becomes less and less foreign. But is it all sunshine and rainbow as the online platform portrayed? The endless freedom and happy mood?
Continuing the trip, I left my secret find by the creek. Headed into town to fill up petrol and hit the road. Perhaps this area is at a relatively higher altitude; perhaps the full main and sub-tank weigh us down a lot. I struggled to keep up with the speed limit of 120km/h. I set the cruise control to just less than 100km/h. Altar had to boost to 4-5000rpm to catch the speed. I feel like a grandma having to stay in the outer lane and letting everyone pass me.
I entered the grassland near Kamloops, a recreational area with hiking and biking trails. Many cars and vans were sharing the road and campsites around.
Soon I came to a split road where the higher split leads to a narrow mountain top. I parked on the side and walked up the windy ridge. My drone struggled not to get blown away. I, however, was already blown away inside by the scenery. The tall, dry grass waves like the ocean in the wind. What a sight.
I found a big open area for camp just off a hairpin corner. Although wide open, the ground was sloped up ever so slightly. Just enough to bother me at night if I sleep with this angle. To flatten out the ground usually involve shovelling dirt around. But the area I am in is covered in grass. This was when the idea of using Maxtrax popped into my mind.
I placed two pieces of Maxtrax under each tire on the driver’s side, which was on the lower side of the hill. Pumped up the tire on that side to give it the last bit of height. When the ground is not perfect, improvise!
The wind was starting to catch up right after I set up my awning. At times, I can see a massive blow of sand coming to me. Almost like a sand storm. With nowhere to hide, all the sand blew past me and get stuck in my hair and clothes. I put up a side of the awning wall to block out the direction from where the wind was coming.
Zoleo satellite device shows me a weather report of 15KM/H wind. I set up my table and sat behind the car, extremely exhausted.
The camp spot I am in was surrounded by trees with paper targets on them – people have been here shooting. There was a pile of garbage right by the entrance and shotgun shells all over the ground.
Living in a vehicle allows us the mobility to enjoy endless backyard options. The beautifully edited Instagram photos paint a fairytale picture of what overlanding/vanlife looks like. The reality is, you don’t always get to have a beachside camp overlooking the water.
In fact, most of the time you spent with the vehicle involves a lot of dirty hard work. You have to embrace the weather at its best and worst. Setting up the camp at a less ideal spot can be a lot more work than just “park it”. And rolling into a dirty campsite with garbages left by the previous group makes you frown and question human morals.
As always, I picked up as much as possible, knowing I’ll be in town soon to transfer them into a petrol station bin. It’s not that difficult to pick up after yourself, is it? You see, the sky is still blue and the temperature just right. Why not leave the place as is for the next group of travellers to enjoy?