Great American Southwest Road Trip Pt 1 - Isis and Folks

here we go!

there is so much to tell about our southwestern lands road trip.
i have a plan of four more installments based on these themes:
towns, ruins, breweries, and nature.

but first i want to introduce our vehicle, sweet Isis the mystery van,
and our group of traveling partners.
(here's a drawing i made in our trip scrapbook)

so...Isis is a 1988 Ford Econoline conversion van that was my family's vehicle when I was a teen.
I wrote about her last year here.

(here's a scrapbook drawing em made of the inside view)

She is big.
When we sleep in the van I feel like I am in the belly of a whale.
We fit all this and so much more inside her.
Admittedly, life in a van gets crowded and messy and hot.
My job (self-appointed) was to tidy up every morning and every chance i got.

Em and I got her all gussied up before we left...
plastic wineglasses and chili pepper lights, rose scarves for curtains.
I will refrain from showing an after photo. things weren't quite so spiffy after two weeks on the road with four sweaty bodies.

and she only broke down twice on our trip! lucky us, huh ;)
in actuality, the breakdowns could have been worse and for the most part she rumbled through the massive vast west, through 100 degree desert days, with the sweetest ambition and verve.

now for our group.
you all know the four of us who rode in the van:
me, dorky and optimistic as ever.
darin my hub...generally immersed in a book, throw in the occasional sidelong glance and smart ass remark, and ever-overflowing with artistic soulfull inspiration.
my bro joey with his abundant energy, ridiculous songs and dances, and always wistful awe-filled gaze outwards at the earth.
and his lady emily, with wild stories, an eye for beauty, and wry wit skipping prettily cross the land.

now maybe i hadn't yet mentioned that we also had the joy of meeting up with my brother matt and his family for ten days of our journey!

here's matt, full of vigorous adventurous spirit and a font of knowledge.
his lovely wife amy, crazy delighted with love and the world's bounty, up for anything!
my nephew jarom, seven years old and brilliant, rebellious, a nonconformist trickster. who still lets me cuddle him and scratch the back of his wise little head.
bella, incomparable sweetheart. her top three favorite talents: cartwheels, drawing, and singing. she wants to be an actress, and she actually glows.

orion, who darin says has a "devil-may-care" attitude. this little wanderer does his own thing, shakes his golden mane, and jumps for joy (literally) all the time.

having this rambunctious little family along with us was crazy fun.
camping with them, matt and amy's early morning french toast, jarom reading to us fom Diary of a Wimpy Kid, playing arcade games, eating candies and treats, exploring natural wonders, holding hands with bella on hikes, pushing oey on the tire swing as he shrieked with laughter, peering at colorful spiders and insects, going on the hunt for thrift stores, filming scenes dressed in western clothes. oh lordy, how much fun.

here is our whole group. at an amazing place i will show you in the "ruins" post.

you can tell i am home now and immersed in longing for this experience i've had.
i make playlists of songs that remind me.
i gaze incessantly at all the photos.

so obviously, there will be lots more Southwest fun to come this week.

meanwhile, bear with me while i attempt to fix up my template. anyone know how to make the post/photo column really really wide?


Cel said…
Chaco culture! Oh I can't wait to see what photos you took there! I was obsessed with those people and their architecture and society for quite a few years... heh. Maybe am still a bit heehee.
bellisimama said…
so nice. i love the southwest so much. that picture of your brothers girlfriend is fantastic! and i love those moccasin boots. glad you are back and filling us in on the deets.
i had some sick babies to take care of the last few weeks so i still have your package. i decided to wait till you were home to send it. so i'll send it out tomorrow.
Amy Beatty said…
Heavvvvvver! Cheers and claps are going off in my mind! I love this post. And can't believe my first look into your memory book is now. This trip is way too full of goodness. Old girl was a champ and made the whole trip that much better. Still looking for one of my own, I'm just a dreamer. Love you xoxo
Andrea said…
you're such a sweet soul moonshinejunkyard :) And you take the awesome-ist road trips! I'm in awe over how cool that van is. Did you purchase it this way? Or, convert it?
Teenysparkles said…
Heather, you did an AMAZING job of this post. I loved it! Talk about a beautiful van too....I want one, just like it and as pretty as you and Em made it inside!!!! Your optimism is so infectious I believe I'm going to walk away from this post happy. So thanks!
Courtney said…
Isis is a beauty! I really love what you've done with the inside, it looks so cozy. And it's totally inspirational for us - Ethan's van has camper in its future but first we've got 3 rows of seats and some technical issues to wrestle with.

Glad you're back safe and sound!
Missa said…
Isis reminds me of the big gray van that my parents drove us across the country in when I was 5 years old to move from Massachusetts out to California. No cute kitchen stuff in our van but it was a similar shape and very whale-like.

I loved your cast of characters intro in this post and did a double take when I saw Emily's dress. I own its twin, and it was a gift from Milla!

It's such a funny dress because it's confusing as to which side is the front and which is the back. Mine has no tags and I've been wearing it turned around like this:

Looking forward to more southwest week!

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