I don't want to give too much away if you haven't seen our vlog post yet on youtube, but as you guys already know we prefer primitive camping. However, we were forced in Moab, Utah to do our first stealth camp in the city. Opal, our minivan, had some mechanical issues and we were royally stuck! We got permission to keep her parked where she was for the night, but failed to ask if it was OK if we slept there too. We knew we'd have nights like this, but figured we'd have more of a choice where we stayed. Not a well lit parking lot at that! This is how we handled it...
It was still pretty early in the evening so we knew we couldn't hangout in or around the van, so we had to kill time. We decided to go out to eat, which we never do. A few blocks away was a unique outdoor restaurant that served vegan food out of a bus. The place was lit up with fairy lights, random repurposed livingroom furniture, and faded tapestries. Chill Zaedeco music filled the air along with the aroma of fresh made savory soups. The fragrance wafted from pipes protruding from the roof of the bus. We took our time hanging out enjoying our garden tomato soup and sandwiches while eavesdropping on conversations of the fellow vanlifers seated next to us. We were too shy to say hello.
We got back to the van just after sunset and decided to split up. Charlie walked to the grocery store to make sure we had no-cook breakfast items while my job was to block as much interior light as possible. I did pretty good using our reflectix window covering and whatever materials I could shove into every nook and cranny possible. My nerves were probably a little frayed because I jumped when Charlie slid the van door open to hop in.
In an effort to reduce light escaping we refrained from using our phones and went straight to sleep. Charlie awoke a few hours later because nature was calling. He hopped out of the van and took a walk down the alley. Just as he was coming back a police officer pulled into the parking lot where I was still asleep inside of Opal. To avoid bringing attention to the fact we were stealth camping there Charlie just kept walking past as though he was headed somewhere else, all while keeping watch in case I got "the knock". To our luck the officer paid no notice to the van and drove off after idling for a good ten minutes. A ten minutes that felt like hours to Charlie.
We were relieved to make it the entire night without being kicked out of our spot, as we would not have found other options. Hotels were all booked and our home is this van. She's not much, but Opal's become our little cave that goes with us everywhere we go. I never thought we could feel this way about a space so small, but this is where we want to be at the end of a hard day. Checkout this week's vlog to hear the whole story of what got us here in the first place.
Watch video here: