2018 Travel Journal

A reverse chronological travel listing:

For other years travel journals: Current, 2020, 2019, 2017

15Dec-16Dec2018 Bellingham, WA

Nights This Trip: 1, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2018: 61, Months: 2.0

Stayed in Bellingham by myself overnight.

07Nov-13Nov2018 Tofino, Victoria - Vancouver Island

Nights This Trip: 6, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2018: 60, Months: 1.8

We explored Vancouver Island on this trip.

02Nov-03Nov2018 Cypress Mountain Provincial Park - Parking Lot 3B

Nights This Trip: 1, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2018: 54, Months: 1.7

One night up in the overnight parking lot 3B. The only vehicle up on the mountain overnight, since there is no snow yet, and it was pouring rain. Very quiet except for the wind. Nobody bothered us, and there are no fees or other restrictions.

26Oct-28Oct2018 Bellingham, WA and Swinomish Casino, Anacortes WA

Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2018: 53, Months: 1.7

Two night weekend trip. On the Friday night, visted Melvin’s Brewing again for their $3 craft beer special, with all proceeds going to charity. Very nice beer. Visited the Bellingham Farmers Market. Drove along the coastal road highway 11, visited Samish Island along the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Area.

Sprinter Discovery Vanlife Photo Melvins Brewery

On the Saturday night, stayed at the Swinosh Casino parking lot. On Sunday, drove into Anacortes and explored Cap Sante Park with amazing views into Anacortes and Fidalgo Bay.

19Oct-20Oct2018 Overnight trip into Bellingham WA, Melvin Brewing, Cheap Tacos

Nights This Trip: 1, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2018: 51, Months: 1.6

Found a good level parking spot at the corner of Broadway and Monroe Street in Bellingham, very close to the Melvin Brewing Company and had a few beer there. They have their head office in Jackson Hole Wyoming. On Saturday, visited Mi Rancho Meat Market, where inside they have very authentic tasting Mexican tacos for only $1.

06Oct-08Oct2018 Swinomish Casino, Anacortes, Deception Pass, Oak Harbour, Mt Erie, Crescent Beach, North Vancouver

Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2018: 50, Months: 1.6

Two nights, first night at the Swinomish Casino along Highway 20 East. Explored Anacortes the next day, drove through Deception Pass along to Oak Harbour on Whidbey Island.

Visited Mt Erie near Anacortes for the first time, enjoying the various fall colours on the drive.

From there headed over to Crescent Beach in Surrey BC and parked under the trees alomst next to the ocean. The holiday Monday travelled over to North Vancouver to do some shopping, then headed home.

21Sep-22Sep2018 Tulalip Casino, WA

Nights This Trip: 1, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2018: 48, Months: 1.5

Overnight trip, stayed at the casino parking lot overnight after enjoying a few local draft craft beers. Silvercity Oktoberfest Lager, and Farmstrong La Raza Amber Lager. The Silvercity one was very nice to drink.

14Sep-16Sep2018 Banff, Lake Louise, Moraine Lake

Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2018: 47, Months: 1.5

Left Friday afternoon, stayed in Revelstoke next to the hotel on the dirt parking lot. Saturday morning arrived at the Alberta border, with snow on the ground. Arrived around 1pm at Lake Louise, Moraine Lake parking lot was full. Was told to arrive very early before 7am in order to get parking. Stayed on the side of the road next to the residential housing along the Cave and Basin road. Very quiet and nobody bothered us there.

Arrived at Moraine lake at 6am in the snow, took about an hour and twenty minutes from Banff. Untouched snow.

07Sep-09Sep2018 North Cascades Loop, WA

Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2018: 45, Months: 1.4

Drove to Leavenworth, WA and enjoyed some beer at the Icicle Brewery, stayed overnight just behind the McDonald’s in the residential area.

Next day drove to Wenatchee, explored and stayed across from the residential apartments along Riverside Drive and East Island View Street - close to the Wenatchee Valley Brewing Company. Drove along through Twist, Winthrop, into Burlington along highway 20 and then home.

30Aug-03Sep2018 - Reno, NV for Ribfest on the Labour Day Long Weekend

Nights This Trip: 4, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2018: 43, Months: 1.3

Left Thursday afternoon, drove as far as we could and arrived at the Flying J Travel Center in Aurora Oregon at 11:30pm and stayed the night. Truck stops can be noisy, but still slept ok.

Arrived in Sparks / Reno just in time for the RibFest at 6pm, and parked at Prater Way and 6th Street for free - no need to pay anybody for parking. Just a 10 minute walk over to the Victorian Square. Slept in the residential area overnight. The next day we drove into Reno, found free parking next to a residential apartment building that shaded the Sprinter the entire day. Parked in front of 238 Mill Street, Reno for 2 nights.

Enjoyed tea and coffee at the HUB Coffee Roasters, walked along the Truckee River Boardwalk, enjoyed an evening outdoor concert at Harrah’s. Basically chilled out in the Little City of Reno.

Headed along I-80 west then up I-5 and stayed at the Seven Feathers Casino parking lot around 11:45pm, then arrived home the followning day. The trip is 16 hours each way, and probably won’t do this stretch in such a short period of time again.

27Jul-13Aug2018 West Coast Highway trip - Mount St. Helen’s, Highway 101, California Highway 1, San Francisco, Las Vegas

Nights This Trip: 17, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2018: 39, Months: 0.7

Day 1 - Home to Mount St. Helen’s - Overnight in the forest service road at the north part of the park just south of Randle, WA along highway 131

Day 2 - Explored the east and south side of Mount St. Helen’s, then drove twoards Astoria and stayed at the Gnat Creek Campground

Day 3 - Drove along the coastal highway 101 in Oregon, at stayed at the Chinook Winds Casino parking lot. Many people stay for weeks on end on the parking lot living in their vans without being hasseled.

Day 4- Continued the drive along highway 101 into California, stayed at the Lucky 7 Casino at Smith River California.

Day 5 - Drove along the California Coastal Highway 1, a very slow and beautiful drive. Stayed at a pullout along the cliff on highway 1 just south of Jewell Gulch. Beautiful sunset, and a sunrise above the fog in the morning.

Day 6 - Continued the drive into San Francisco, stayed across the street from the Westlake Touchless Carwash along a busy road. Not a good choice as the road was noisy at night.

Day 7 - Explored San Francisco some more, and stayed the night alongside a mix of residential apartments and businesses on Sacramento Street and Walnut Street. Nice and level parking, and quiet at night.

Day 8 - Had to visit friends in Las Vegas for a party, and travelled most of the day into Vegas. Stayed in parking lot of the Courtyard Marriott in Las Vegas North.

Day 9 - Stayed with friends in their home in north Las Vegas. Temeratures exceeded 45c and our friends had an air conditioned home.

Day 10 - Left Las Vegas for the cooler temperatures. Stayed in a small town called Arvin right next to the Assembly of God Church. Very quiet residential area.

Day 11 - Drove towards the coast to get cooler weather. Visited Oceano Beach, and stayed in Pismo Beach on Bay Street and Price Street.

Day 12 - Explored a lot more, drove up towards Morro Bay and stayed the night on Monterey Avenue and Harbor Street close to the laundromat. Very quiet residential area.

Day 13 - Drove and explored the coastal highway up to Carmel by the Sea, and stayed overnight at the Safeway Parking lot. Many other vanlifers parked in this lot.

Day 14 - Explored Monterey, drove back up to San Francisco and stayed overnight right next to one of the water resevoirs in a residential area. Very quiet at night.

Day 15 - Raced up along highway 101 staying at the Lucky 7 Casino in Smith River California.

Day 16 - Continued up along highway 101, did some Costco shopping in Warrenton, Oregon. Slept at the new Walmart across the street in Warrenton. Very quiet at night.

Day 17 - Drove from Astoria towards Marysville along I-5, and stayed at the Tulalip Resort Casino and parked in the RV parking area. Very quiet at night.

Day 18 - Drove home along I-5. End of the trip!

13Jul-15Jul2018 - Mountain Loop Highway - Stayed near Bedal Creek

Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2018: 22, Months: 0.7

Nice weekend stay along the Bedal Creek for two nights - peaceful. Enjoyed chicken BBQ and campfire all weekend. No cell reception, internet or computers.

06Jul-08Jul2018 Manning Park, BC

Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2018: 20, Months: 0.6

Stayed in two campgrounds, paying $23 and $25 for Hampton Campground (spot #53) on Friday and Mule Deer Campground (spot #5) on Saturday respectively. This is the 5th and 6th times paid campgrounds have been used. Both are close to the highway, so some noise during the early evening. But during the night, it was very quiet.

08Jun-09Jun2018 Mountain Loop Highway, WA

Nights This Trip: 1, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2018: 18, Months: 0.6

Stayed in the Mountain Loop Highway for one night, along the gravel part of the road right along the South Fork Sauk River.

18May-21May2018 Banff, Columbia Icefields, Jasper - Victoria Day May Long Weekend

Nights This Trip: 3, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2018: 17, Months: 0.5

Stayed in Revelstoke on Friday 18May2018, on the gravel lot next to the Frontier Motel. This was the Victoria Day long weekend, and many of the campgrounds were full. With luck, there was a cancelled reservation near Banff at the Tunnel Mountain Village I campground for Saturday 19May2018. This is the 4th time a paid campground was used, at a cost of $36. The other great overnight spot found was at Valemount for Sunday 20May2018, just off McKirdy Road at a coversation area, which was absolutely quiet.

GPS Coordinates: 52.820588, -119.241459

04May-06May2018 Kelowna BC, Kettle Valley Railway

Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2018: 14, Months: 0.4

Drove out to Kelowna for the weekend but stayed in the Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott instead of the van. Free breakfast and showers! Explored Waterfront Park, Quail’s Gate and Mission Hill wineries, enjoyed Brear Creek Provincial Park and Mission Creek Regional Park.

13Apr-14Apr2018 - Anacortes WA, Washington Park WA

Nights This Trip: 1, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2018: 12, Months: 0.4

Weekend trip over to Anacortes staying near Cabana Park close to the Marina on Cabana Lane. Enjoyed the day at Washington Park. They have pullouts for vehicles along the loop, and picnic tables along the water. Very peaceful to be there.

27Mar-01Apr2018 California Redwoods, CA - March Break Week

Nights This Trip: 5, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2018: 11, Months: 0.2

Over the March Break, enjoyed a long drive over to the California Redwoods, stopping along the way through Astoria and many of the Oregon coastal towns like Seaside, Cannon Beach, Rockaway Beach. Stopping in for some free cheese samples at Tillamook Cheese Factory on the way down.

First night parked in the parking lot of the Hampton Inn and Suites Astoria. The next night stayed in the Three Rivers Casino parking lot in Florence Oregon. The next night stayed at the Lucky 7 Casino parking lot. Visited the huge redwoods in Redwood National and State Parks.

The next day travelled up over to Grants Pass along highway 99 and up along I-5 stopping in Canyonville Oregon at the Lucky 7 Casino parking lot late at night. After that drove home.

24Mar-25Mar2018 - Whistler and Pemberton BC

Nights This Trip: 1, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2018: 6, Months: 0.2

Visited Whistler and Pemberton for the weekend. Overnight stayed in a small subdivision in Pemberton at the corner of Frontier Street and Camus Road. Very quiet spot at night.

02Mar-03Mar2018 - Seattle WA

Nights This Trip: 1, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2018: 5, Months: 0.1

Quick overnight trip over Seattle WA, stayed at the Angel of the Winds Casino on the Friday night.

19Jan-21Jan2018 Mount Baker WA

Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2018: 4, Months: 0.1

Stayed at Cloud 9 Restaurant parking lot overnight on Friday night, heavy rain and wet snow. Went up to the top of Mount Baker, which was covered deep in snow and very busy. Found an overnight spot near milepost 45 a short distance away from Nooksack Falls, deep in the woods just off the highway under the trees and next to the Nooksack River. Very quiet, with very heavy rain and wet snow.

12Jan-14Jan2018 - Portland OR

Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2018: 2, Months: 0.0

Stayed at Angel of the Winds casino parking lot on the Friday night. On Saturday, headed to Astoria Oregon to spend time exploring the city and the docks and took a short walk along the Astoria Riverwalk to view the sea lions. Then headed down to Warrenton OR to do some Costco shopping. Headed back to Astoria to sleep at the Safeway parking lot, but the local police now enforce no overnight parking. Parked on the hotel parking lot close by.

06Jan2018 - Cypress Provincial Park Day Trip

Day trip to Cypress Mountain in North Vancouver BC.

2018 Travel Journal

Click on our 2017 Travel Journal link for all the details.