Here is the solution to a year of hard thinking about how to best use the interior of our Honda Element. Inspired by a design I found on the Element Owners Club, I cut, screwed, routed, and sanded The Box.
Why it’s genius is that it is both a platform bed and also gives clear daytime access to the space below the bed, this is achieved by piano hinged sections which stow neatly on the 42″ X 27″ box.
In hindsight, I’ve probably spent too much time thinking about the box. But, now it’s here, I’m seriously impressed with how well it’s working. We haven’t spent the night, so in theory, the box is untested, but it looks fairly solid.
We leave in one week. It’s getting exciting. In the lead-up to our departure I’m going to give you a little tour of the items we have deemed necessary for our 8-month trip. As this site began as a document of a bicycle journey across America it’s appropriate to begin with our bikes.
Before I make an introduction, I just want to say how much planning to have bikes with us on our vanlife journey has opened up what is possible, it also means we’re taking an important aspect of our “normal” lives. It’s critical to our happiness that we roll around on two wheels whenever possible.
The key to any successful trip is packing. You don’t want to carry a heavy bag, but you also don’t want to live the spartan life of a monk. Creature comforts are what make us… comfortable.
I usually attack my packing by laying everything I’m taking out on the floor so I can get a clear view of what I’ve deemed necessary, usually too many items of clothing, from there I cut about half the items, and from there cut in half again.
You needn’t get your gear down too light if you’re on a road trip, as you can comfortably fill a car with crap, but if you’re travelling by plane, bicycle or foot, the smaller your pack, the more enjoyable your trip is going to be.
I’ve come to La Cooperativa, in a high valley on the Baja peninsula because I’ve heard that things are happening in Valle De Guadalupe. I arrive with a filthy car, dust settled on all flat surfaces, having been lead down unsealed roads through olive groves and vineyards by my GPS.
Valle de Guadalupe (Guadalupe Valley) is a flat plain circled by rocky mountains high above the coastal city of Ensenada, about an hour and a half from the border at San Diego. The drive into the mountains is rustic rather than breathtaking, a gentle steady climb along a curving highway flanked by an abundance of roadside market stalls selling the produce the area is fast becoming renowned for: honey, olive oil, cheese, and wine.