Why Did We Sell Our Skoolie?
There are many reasons why we choose to sell our skoolie. Really, we suppose, it was a combination of reasons for both of us individually why we chose to sell our skoolie.
But, it was the trip between Wisconsin and Colorado that really solidified our decision to sell our skoolie. The event that hurled it over the mountain for us made it so easy though. The day we almost died on a mountain in a blizzard snowstorm.
The picture below is what an October blizzard going over a mountain pass looks like through the windshield of a flat nose skoolie. If this didn't make us want to sell our skoolie, nothing would!
Yup, once we got down off of that mountain, the decision to sell our skoolie was made at about 11,000 feet above sea level.
We Never Imagined We'd Sell Our Skoolie
In November of 2020, we had lived in our DIY skoolie conversion for just shy of 1 year.
I remember when we were building it out, we thought we'd be traveling all over the United States for several years and we could not imagine the idea to sell our skoolie creation we had spent 100s of hours creating.
So, what happened?
Why did we sell our skoolie after only one short year of living in it?
Believe me, the decision did not come lightly.
Why Did We Sell Our Skoolie?
This is from Nat's perspective on why we would sell our skoolie:
We had just trekked from Wisconsin to Denver, Co. We had been in Wisconsin for 2 months and longed to be out west. Getting to Colorado we thought would be our first stop and then we'd keep going.
We started out excited to be heading there. The pups and I were in the Kia and Don was driving the bus. We’d take turns being in front of each other, trying to find the groove.
We had made the trip to Wisconsin from Florida pretty fast. Things were still shut down due to Covid-19 and we had been invited to this little property on the water by our van life friends the Rolling Rogans.
That trip was our first and we did not really mind being in two vehicles, driving separately.
Now, heading West was a different story.
For me, I felt we could not get into a groove and there were definitely things I realized we were missing out on. While there were other things that just plain annoyed me, little did I know, Don had his own list of grievances about driving the bus and us being in separate vehicles.
Part of the joy of traveling together is, well, traveling together. Sounds logical, right?
Driving in new states and environments, you observe natural landscapes that are unique to that area or environment. There aren’t too many, if any, tumbleweeds in Florida, or the East coast for that matter.
Having the opportunity to experience the little things like that while traveling was absent for us.
Now, while seeing a tumbleweed roll across the highway in front of you may not be anything you’d write home about, Don and I were pretty excited to see a pretty large one spin from the farmland on the right, across 2 lanes, a grassy median, then the next two lanes before hitting the other side of the road.
This was brand new to me and I was excited, so, I CALLED my husband who was driving in front of me. He was trying to call me at the same time!
We wanted to share in that tumbleweed moment together. This was the first realization that our journey, our adventures as we drove across America would be shared over a phone call.
A Bloody Phone Call!
Make that reason #1 of a good reason to sell our skoolie!
Driving a school bus is a lot different than driving a car, a van, and probably even an RV. There’s no GPS in a 2004 Thomas HDX, so you have to use your phone.
On top of that, the ride is loud, shaky, and can be pretty uncomfortable.
Make that reason #2 to sell our skoolie.
We had not invested in a new captain's chair, so Don was sitting in the original seat, with no AC or radio, hands 10 and 2 and I called him to tell him I saw my first large Tumbleweed.
The tumbleweed was the first of many things and scenery we would see and want to talk about with each other, instead, I am now listening to a podcast.
Now, it is getting late in the day and we are approaching Boulder.
They are so chill in Boulder.
They are so creative in Boulder.
Yes, this is what we thought and what we knew to be the case, at one time.
Not today. Nope. Naww. Uh uh. Hell No!
Denver and Boulder Really Got Us Thinking
Today, Boulder is giving the traffic in Atlanta a run for its money.
I am in front and Don is following. I have the GPS, but these drivers are crazy. Swerving in and out of lanes. Cutting you off. Driving like it's Black Friday Sales and they just started their shopping!
I am gripping the wheel of the Kia and my knuckles are white!
I almost missed my exit and got hit by a car going too fast. It was the second time in minutes that I almost had an accident.
I was done and Don was calling me.
“Are you ok? That was close!” he said.
It was close.
My nerves were shot and we decided to find a place to park for the night, IN Boulder.
That was a solid reason #3 to sell our skoolie!
After a few hours, we caved and went to Cabelas. This would do, but we would go without power since we did not have solar and could not think of starting up our generator at night in the Cabela's parking lot, which would come in the morning.
(See our post on 7 things we hate about our first skoolie)
No power and camping out in a Cabellas parking lot equals reason #4 to sell our skoolie.
The next morning we talked. We talked a lot. This is the first time the idea to sell our skoolie came up. Why travel if it is going to be so f*cking stressful?
We were frustrated.
Don Also Wanted to Sell Our Skoolie
I knew I was, but what I did not know, Don was frustrated too. He did not enjoy driving the bus. Don felt like he was on high alert at all times.
When he would drive in front of me and a slight swerve to him was a big fishtail into the other lane to me….so I would call him to make sure he was ok.
If I drove in front of him, I would have to keep my speed at 55-60 otherwise I would find myself barely seeing him in my rearview mirror.
I’d slow down and let him catch up only to repeat this process over and over.
We were not enjoying our traveling and we knew something had to give.
There was an option of towing our car, but then we’d be even longer. We did not want that.
We could ditch the car altogether, but we thought we’d need it to go into town and such. The bus was 32 ft so we felt unsure about moving around easily.
This was not fun. We do not like it. Something had to give.
Reason #5 to sell our skoolie. Don hated driving it!
We thought we wanted to sell our skoolie and get something smaller. Something we could drive and travel in together. Something that was not so damned stressful.
We Almost Died That Day
We Almost Died Before We Got A Chance To Sell Our Skoolie
That day in Denver, Colorado, we were heading to Lake Grandby up into the Rocky Mountains. It was a sunny 72 degrees as we left Denver and fueled up to go over the pass.
Nothing but blue skies ahead! Heading up the mountain was exciting. The temp began to drop. Then drop some more. Before I knew it, it was 52 and I was calling Don on my cellphone.
Nat, “Wow! The temps are really dropping!”
Don, “Yes, that’s great, we’d much rather be cold than hot!”
Nat, “Yep, we would.”
Now it is raining a bit. And the temps are still plummeting. Then Don calls me on the phone and asks me if I see the sleet falling.
Great….freezing rain now!
It dropped to 32, then 22, and then it started snowing.
I call Don, or he calls me, does not matter. We called each other.
Me; Wow, it is snowing!
Don: It's beautiful huh?
Me: Yes, but do you think it will snow much? I have never driven in snow before.
Don: Nah, this will probably be it, but I don't know. Besides, it’s October, it will melt as soon as it hits the ground.
The Snow Kept Coming!
It didn’t melt as soon as it hit the ground. It accumulated. On the road, it accumulated!
The higher up that mountainside we drove, the colder it got and the more snow began to fall. I mean, it was really snowing! Like the day before Christmas snow when Santa is stuck in the North Pole and has to call on Rudolph to bail him out kind of snow.
There is a lot of snow on the road at this point and I am panicking. I keep reminding myself. “We have to keep going, we cannot turn around now.”
We are driving slower and we are on the phone with each other.
The higher up that damn mountain we drove, the higher my blood pressure got, and my anxiety increased. My anxiety increased a lot!
Don: “Turn on your wipers.”
Don: “We will take it slow and everything will be alright.”
Me: “OK. Are you sure?”
Don: “Yes love, it will all be okay.”
I look down at Kona and Bandit and I am going to do my best to get us over this pass and to the other side safely. I am afraid of sliding off the side of this damn mountain! There are no rails or guards to keep you from falling and tumbling to a firey crash a thousand feet over the mountain.
Except, my car is not going when I want it to, I have to push the pedal hard to actually go. The front wheels spin in place, then grip the road and I lunge forward.
I’m scared as hell right now!
It’s a front-wheel-drive sedan. Front-wheel drive cars do not do very well in snow.
Don is fishtailing in front of me. I am picturing him sliding off the side of the mountain in front of me. Powerless to do anything about it.
I am freaking out.
I can barely see him or anything else. It’s “white-out” conditions. Maybe 10 feet of visibility in front of me.
Remember this picture from above?
My view was much worse! I can’t see left or right because snow and ice have now covered my drivers' side windows and passenger door windows.
There was no way in hell I was going to grab my phone and take a picture to “preserve” the experience.
Ice is on my wipers and the wipers are not touching the glass.
I call Don.
It Goes From Bad to Worse
There was no doubt I am going to drive us off a cliff. I mean, I am really thinking this is how I am going to die by sliding off the side of a mountain in icy snow.
I’m telling Don this in a “not so calm” way. He was trying to talk me down and get me to focus and relax. I admit it. I lost my shit! I was in a straight-up panic attack!
Over the phone, while trying to keep the bus on the mountain he was really trying hard to help me relax, focus, and get through this.
It wasn’t working. My lack of experience in the snow on a mountain and my imagination were getting the worst of me. I was convinced this was the day and this is how it ends for me. Seriously….
It was playing over and over in my head. I was convinced this was it for me and our two pups in the car with me.
There was a pull-off up ahead and we pulled off. The traffic behind me blazes on by.
The plow truck passes us plowing on the other side of the road slinging wet snow and goop all over the place.
Don gets out of the bus and comes back to the car. He is in shorts and flip-flops. There are about 6-8 inches of snow on the ground at this point. We are maybe halfway up the mountain before the pass.
I lose my shit right there on the side of that mountain.
At that moment I am crying, a blubbering mess really!
I am having this huge panic attack on top of this mountain. Right in this blizzard and we will certainly die if we continue.
I Don't Want To Continue
Me: Can we just leave the car up here? The pups and I will go with you in the bus down the mountain.
Don; You want to leave our car up here?
Me: Yes! I do not care! I cannot do this! I would rather lose the car than drive off the goddamn mountain!
He gently held my sad, scared, weepy face in his hands, looked me in the eye, and gently but firmly tells me:
“You got this!”
“We can do it!”
“We will do it!”
“The worst is behind us. I am so proud of you! We cannot stay still up here, we have to keep going and we will be out of this in a few mins.”
I believe him. I am still scared as hell, but I believe him.
Let’s do it!
He gets out of the car, walks back to the bus, calls me and we go. We stay on the phone together the whole time.
We drive another 20-30 mins and the road is better, the blitz blizzard is not as severe and we are on our way to safety.
We arrived at the next town in Winter Park. Parked the bus, I got out of the car and hugged my husband while bawling like a baby.
We did it.
Reason # 6? Hell, it didn't matter how many reasons to sell our skoolie at that point. The experience of driving over that mountain in that snowy blizzard was enough of a reason to sell our skoolie alone!
We Will Sell Our Skoolie!
Needless to say, that experience solidified the plan, we must sell our skoolie and figure out what to get so we could drive and travel together in the same vehicle.
This was just one of our trips where it was stressful. Skoolie Life Can Be Hard. We wrote a post on some of the more sobering realities of skoolie life.
Let us know what you think.
Have you ever experienced anything like this on your skoolie travels?
Leave us a comment, we would love to connect with you!