Week 28 – Sand Sledding!

We made some good progress on wrapping up our affairs in the US (see to do list below). I believe that I have now also fully understood what we need to do to get Gonki ready for storage. Winterization is comprised of three key components…

  1. Water System: The entire water system needs to be drained (fresh water tank, water heater, grey & black waste water holding tanks) and filled with anti septic anti freeze to protect the plumbing from freezing and from bacteria. To pump the anti freeze into the system I will need to install a pump converter that will allow me to suck anti freeze directly into the plumbing. I will further also need to bypass the water heater by flipping the respective valve hidden below our sink. Sounds easy enough, but I will make sure to report back once done.
  2. Batteries: To avoid battery sulfation we will need to ensure that our batteries do not drop below an 80% charge. The standard recommendation found amongst campers is to take the batteries home and test the charge on a monthly basis. While pragmatic this recommendation obviously doesn’t work for us. After extensive research I have found the BatteryMINDer, a plug ‘n run battery maintainer with a full-time automatic high frequency pulse desulfator that should in principle maintain a constant charge on our batteries without overcharging and therefore also destroying them. Device is ordered and hopefully do as advertised!
  3. Tires: To protect our tires from damage I have ordered tire saving ramps. I am also hopeful that Scott will agree to check on the vehicle from time to time and reinflate the tires upon his visits. Not much more we can do!

I will make sure to film my attempts to accomplish the above! Should I fail, I hope that the recordings will at the very least be entertaining.


US To Do List:

  • [DONE] Contract an enclosed storage unit for Gonki – Oasis RV & Boat Storage.
  • [DONE] Terminate US phone contracts.
  • [DONE] Terminate international health insurance policy.
  • [DONE] Extend insurance policy for Gonki + explore whether the cost of insurance can be reduced during storage (achieved 40% cost savings!). Ensure friends can drive Gonki even when we are not present.
  • [SCHEDULED] Get Gonki professionally cleaned inside and out. 6 months on the road have taken it’s toll and before being put away Gonki deserves are thorough cleanse.
  • [PREPARED] Winterize Gonki to ensure that no appliances are damaged during storage. Winterization is primarily targeted at the following areas: (1) water system incl. fresh and waste water , (2) batteries and (3) tires. I will make sure to document the process and required equipment to be shared in a future post
  • [OPEN] Extend license plates with the Registry of Motor Vehicles. These are currently due to expire in Novemer 2018. We will receive a letter at the end of October with respective instructions that will allow us to easily renew the plates via phone.
  • [OPEN] Prepare Gonki for potential usage by our friends. This includes producing a short series of tutorial videos, making a list of our inventory + compiling some tips & tricks that we have learned over the past months that are worth being shared.


Our week in bullet points:

  • We spent two days at Mesa Verde National Park. Located at an altitude of 2.500m, I was surprised that going for a 10km run didn’t kill me. I assume that spending the last couple of weeks at high elevations have left their mark. Hopefully this newly found endurance will last and provide a great base upon returning home. Berlin is only just barely located above sea level after all (34m)! We participated in two ranger lead hikes visiting both Crystal Palace and Balcony House. The dwellings built by the Pueblo People are simply mind blowing. Multi-story houses built directly into the cliffs using almost no tools – the shear effort and stamina are incomprehensible?! Particularly the visit of Balcony House was great fun. We had to climb multiple ladders, squeeze past walls, crawl through a tunnel and scramble up a cliff with just the help of some ropes. A true adventure that will definitely make the visit to Mesa Verde a memorable episode of our trip! It’s also noteworthy that Benni spent both tours holding hands with Lilly – a five year old girl he picked up during our first hike. We enjoyed the company of her grandparents while she was simply marvellous making sure to take care of Benni and keep him out of trouble. He really is ready to go back to Kindergarten!
  • For two consecutive days we sledded down the slopes of Great Sand Dunes National Park. Having rented a professional sand sled, Benni and I had the time of our lives. My best guess is that we climbed the dunes at least a hundred times. Benni was relentless and the joy in his face simply priceless. Alex eventually also came around, while Mieke enjoyed watching us scramble up the slopes! An absolute MUST visit! Videos of our adventures can be found at the end of the post!
  • On our way South we stopped in Santa Fe and had a blast at Meow Wolf – a cross over between an art installation, science fiction mystery murder, haunted house and escape room. Mieke and I enjoyed solving the riddle, while Benni and Alex loved exploring the secret tunnel in the refrigerator, going down the slide hidden in the washing machine and discovering the “parallel dimensions” branching off from the main house. Truly something you need to experience to fully comprehend the sick genius behind this place!
  • We spent a fantastic day at White Sands National Monument simply enjoying the sun and each other’s company. Sometimes it’s just important to take a break and the solitude and surrealness of these dunes were the perfect place for it!



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