Van Life: Mice, Ashland & Oregon license plates!


Noelle here:

I waited for Steve near Mt Ashland, about six (?) miles south of the town. It seemed like a long wait, especially when I learned after the fact that there actually was a road I didn’t see on the maps that could have taken me close to the border where I could have hiked in to celebrate the crossing with him. 😕

I did get to FaceTime with my Dad (Thanks Danielle!) and even though it wasn’t one of his best days (damn you, Parkinson’s), it was still great to see him.

I also got to FaceTime with our youngest son, Matt, and his two boys, Hunter & Carter. So fun! And a huge emotional boost!

PCT Animals


PCT Animals

I still see you

Then a Peeping Tom tried to look in the van.

So cute! There were two of them, eating leaves or berries or whatever they eat, right outside the van. I called Matt back to show them the deer! 🤣

PCT Animals

Momma and baby deer

A few minutes later, a mom and two fawns walked across the road in front of me.

I prepped some oatmeal breakfasts for Steve.

Trail meal

Trail meal prep

And rearranged our food storage.

Did I tell you we had a mouse? Twice now, a few weeks apart. First I saw some poop in the drawer where our towels are stored. And one towel had been chewed up a bit. I scrubbed, washed, cleaned, went a little crazy.

Then a week or so ago, Steve and I were awakened by scratching and crinkling. I’m fairly sure I heard a twang of metal upon the mouse (or chipmunk?) exiting the van. We saw where he had eaten some almonds from a plastic bag and where he’d tasted some oatmeal. Again, I scrubbed, washed, cleaned, went a little crazy. Bought some bait, a couple traps and steel wool (a lady at the store said they don’t like to cross over it, so we put it in every tiny opening we could find).

There’s been no new evidence of a mouse or chipmunk but I’ve still not put everything back in it’s normal place yet. Food is either stored in plastic crates or in an upper cupboard with no access points, so I feel mostly comfortable with that. I need to build a couple shelves in the clothes hanging closet. Cuz who needs room for hanging clothes in a camper van?? Any Oregon peeps interested in meeting me with some battery operated power tools? 🤣

We’ve spent a couple days in Ashland, Oregon. It’s a cute town but very spread out for a hiker town. If you happen to have a camper van, it’s not so bad! 😉


Oil change for the Campervan


The engine is inside! What!!

The van got a tune up and an oil change. The air filter change took place inside the van! I knew the engine was there but it’s different to actually see it! Then I took the van to DEQ (in Medford) where it easily passed, then to DMV for licensing. Our wallets are lighter this week for sure, but the van runs great and they didn’t even make me pay the fee for not licensing within 30 days!

PCT Oregon

Tyvek ground cover

At this very moment, I’m sitting beside the trail, with sweat literally dripping down my back. I’ve only hiked in 2.6 miles, so I’ll probably go a bit more to meet Steve. Right now though, I’m listening to birds, watching butterflies, swatting at fist-sized flies (not quite, but seems like it!) and enjoying being outdoors. I’m still carrying VFat’s recovery tyvek. It’s nice stretched out across the ground, leaning back on a fallen tree.


  1. Anonymous

    Yay! Ashland💕. I love that town. I’m hoping to go there this Fall. 🍁🍂 Too bad about the mice 🐭 do not like them. I too would be crazy. Love your pictures of the deer. So cute.

    Liz from FresnoRetro

    • mcgarveysan

      Ashland was a great town. Kind of spread out but the downtown area was very walkable and cute. We didn’t see any shows but there were quite a few in progress! I think you’ll enjoy your visit!

  2. Lesley Steiner

    I can meet you with tools and supplies. I’m in Roseburg or could meet you at Windigo pass, Diamomd Lake, etc. Let me know if you need the help. Cell-541-430-6119

    • mcgarveysan

      Thank you so much Lesley. Sent you a text! ❤️

  3. VFat

    “Recovery Tyvek”…would have been nice if it magically expanded into a 5”-thick foam mat when spread out. You two had the better idea using the log for a pillow.

    Steve, I imagine, never needs to rest. Instead every five miles he squats by the side of the trail for two minutes and traces complex engineering equations in the dust. As he resumes walking he offers a prayer to the heavens in the form of a haiku.

    Trail life and van life in a single adventure!

    • mcgarveysan

      1) Resting is highly overrated until the alarm clock rings at 5AM.
      2) I’m somewhat partial to Fourier transform equations
      3) Depending on the hill climb severity, I may be working on my Jisei.

      • VFat

        I had to look up “jisei”.

        Tasukete! Sutsukesu ni kobito o haite arimasu (Help! There’s a dwarf in my suitcase!)

        30+ miles in a day!

    • mcgarveysan

      Magically expanding Tyvek is the best idea ever!!! N


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