Big yellow van with River and Skye

The Big Yellow Van was my and River and Skye’s home for 7 years

Life happens! You’re moving along and then out of the blue, something unexpected happens that gets in the way, I actually had a feeling 8 days ago that “life” might be about to happen as I slowly and ever so carefully nudged the Big Yellow Van into the service bay at the Oxendale GMC dealer in Flagstaff.

Over the past year and a half the van had lost brakes twice (thankfully while I was on dirt roads) and the driveshaft had come loose causing differential damage.  Now I was getting intermittent squealing sounds from the brakes, an occasional harsh shrieking sound from the right rear tire, and a clunking sound when I baked up. Things were not looking up and became less so when the service manager beckoned me into the service bay to “look at this”.

There standing next to the van was a tech with the same bemused smile that I remembered from a year ago at a guy at a different shop. “See this”, he said, as he gently pushed the driveshaft in and out. “It’s not supposed to do that”. All that was holding the driveshaft – and the right rear tire – was a thin piece of metal plus the brakes were trashed and the differential was almost certainly damaged. It was a replay of the same (apparently highly unusual) thing) that happened a year earlier in Vegas.  The report said, “Not safe to drive”.

After 13 years, 224,000 miles, two cross-country trips, and thousands and thousands of miles exploring the forests and deserts of the West, the Big Yellow Van (GMC Savana Extended 1-ton). was finally done. It had been a great companion for the seven years that I’d lived out of it. I gingerly drove it to a hotel and started looking.

It was going to be either a truck or a van and my partner and I, to our surprise, ended up coming down firmly on a van for various reasons (it was complicated). Our main requirement was a bigger motor in case we buy a trailer. No extended vans were readily available so we opted for a normal-sized van (now known as “the little white van” :). The big yellow van is done – long live the little white van!

Then the real work began. Moving the solar panels, batteries, and roof racks, the hitch over, attempting to remove the Roadmaster Suspension over (fail), shelves, and stuff over to the new van. Securing a storage unit to hold the stuff the new smaller van could not hold.

Next comes driving to Las Vegas to throw away stuff from an already packed storage unit so I can move the stuff from the Flagstaff storage, then put the shelves in, get the solar fully connected, etc.

I’m surprised I’ve held up as well as I have but it’s been exhausting and that’s why Health Rising has been on a bit of a hiatus (1 blog in the last 9 days).  The blogs will return soon – perhaps a bit more slowly but they will be back.

Thanks for your patience!

Yours truly,



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