We are writing this as we are still reeling from a bit of a shock. It’s OK – it was a shock of the nicest kind. It’s a comment we just received in the About section of this blog.

We received a couple of comments so far and they are always wonderful to receive. Today’s was a little different because to us it illustrates the power that social media is giving us, the ordinary person (and the extra-ordinary VW Camper Van!) to draw attention to what we are doing and our purpose. And today, being New Year’s Eve, it is also a time when we stop and reflect on what we have done this year and what we can do in the year ahead. Maybe that’s another reason we are reeling.

On a deeper level today’s comment shows us that we are really being heard. And when we are heard we can make a difference! Just think about that for a moment ……. it’s pretty awesome.

Devon 21

Perhaps there’s another reason why Dave and Mark’s Devon21 comment moved us so powerfully. Moments before we had been thinking about New Year celebrations and our friends around the world. Being in California and in a different time zone to normal had made us especially aware how we would all be experiencing the countdown to New Year at different times. At the same time though we also realized how easy it is to forget this simple truth. So we’d both put a COLLABORATIVE 2010 message on each of our Facebook Walls and asked our friends to let us know what time they’d be counting in the New Year (*see below to post yours later)

That made us feel more connected to our friends far away. When we received the post from Devon21.com, we also felt connected with new friends and with the potential to make a difference. Devon21.com connected our heads with our hearts and this is what came to us:

When we can be heard, and when we can hear others,

When we truly listen to each other and when we connect,

We are a force of nature to be reckoned with, and

We can change the world for ourselves and for each other, for the better.

Let’s welcome in a new kind of New Year and let’s thank all the people who created all the social media tools that give us the potential to speak and be heard, and to listen and connect.


You can post your reply in the comments blog directly below and the time you’ll be entering 2010 to our Facebook pages as follows:

Carole Brown’s Facebook Wall at http://bit.ly/8Unkoe

YesWeCan CamperVan’s Facebook Wall at http://bit.ly/7WRC4J

Why are we doing this?

Taking photos, making videos, editing, writing, updating this blog, our Facebook page, and posting tweets is a lot of work. And on top of that, we’re also on the road.

So why are we doing this and trying to get attention?

Because we are doing our little bit to increase awareness on climate change and the need for everyone to take action now. We cannot understand why people worry about stock markets, house prices, and even unemployment rates, when we might not have a world!!! What if there is no drinking water tomorrow …. or you are washed away by the sea rising ….. or your children have no future ….?

This is a difficult topic to talk about because we care deeply and it’s an emotive area for us.

350.org say it better.

They were one of the organizations at Copenhagen making sure the voices of ordinary people got heard. Their website is full of information, scientific findings, people’s efforts and photos of events all around the world. Their name is related to the level of  CO2 …. “350 parts per million …

Scientists say that 350 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere is the safe limit for humanity. Learn more about 350 – what it means, where it came from, and how to get there. Read More »

350.org ask and answer such questions as:

What is global warming and what’s the problem anyway?

What does this 350 number mean?

If we’re already past 350, are we all doomed?

How do we create the political change to steer towards 350?

How do we get the world on track to get to 350?

How do we actually reduce carbon emissions to get to 350??

We hope you’ll take a look at their website and then decide on what action you can take

The Christmas Holidays

We could not have been given a more beautiful or more appropriate gift than being here in the Redwood Valley for this year’s Christmas period. This is a God-given trip, and what could be more appropriate than being in this virgin forest. Since the purpose of our road trip is to enlighten us about how to save our precious and beautiful world, we are blessed to be here. Hopefully there’ll be more inspiring stories to share along the way.

Merry Christmas to our friends at GMT and in ‘GMT-’ time zones (West of Greenwich, London)


Hoping your Christmas is a true reflection of the miraculous spirit of this time of year!

Can you see Carole? There’s a reflection of her somewhere in this tree – maybe even more than one!!!

Merry Christmas to our friends in ‘GMT+’ time zones around the world (East of Greenwich)

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas in the true spirit of the word

Please comment below to let me know where you are and how you are celebrating Christmas 2009!

Very best wishes to you, Carole x

Day 6: Sunday Dec 20 – Mt Shasta & Redwood Valley

After we stopped in Mt Shasta for a break yesterday afternoon, we asked a young lady if she could direct us to the Tourist Office and if Lake Siskiyou was worth a detour. Michelle told us that it most definitely was worthy of a visit and that we should also drive further up to another lake above.  On explaining that the van and I were a little tired after the first leg of our journey coming over the mountains from Oregon into California, she offered to drive us up to the lakes herself! What a lovely gesture; yet more was to come. After a delightful ride up to the snow covered lake with her daughter, Giovanna and her shelti dog, Mickey, we were invited to stay over! A delicious salmon dinner, and playing under the Christmas tree,

put us in a wonderful mood and we enjoyed a restful night’s sleep.

Around 5.30 in the morning, the Van and I quietly left to continue our journey, leaving a Christmas card full of thanks and hugs for these two angels. Their friendship and care warmed our hearts and we hope they receive many gifts in kind over the years.

Feeling refreshed and re-energized to drive the 225 miles ahead of us to the Redwood Valley, we got on our way. The night before I’d parked the van on Michelle’s steep driveway and we had put large blocks and rocks under the back tires to be safe. Now in the early hours of the morning, trying to find them in the dark, I was not sure that had been a good idea. I moved the big wooden beam on one side but the rock under the right wheel rolled under the van to a place where I couldn’t reach it. I had no choice but to start the van and move back very very slowly. Crunch! I stopped immediately feeling the rock under the Van. I still could not reach it and was starting to imagine sleeping in the van until daylight, when the cold weather motivated me to make one last attempt. Peering around in the dark, I found what looked like a broom handle. It was actually a garden shovel. Great! I used it to move the rock clear of the van and we were on our way at last! Another close shave in the van and yet again someone is looking over us and keeping us safe. Must be those angels!


After getting on the road and going up another mountain range in really bad fog, we decided to pull over for a coffee and see if it cleared. As we took the next exit from the highway, the neon light from an unmentionable fast food all-night pit stop beckoned us. However we were narrowly saved from ingesting their brew, because after requesting a cappuccino and  being met with a rather unfriendly teenage air of boredom, we decided to re-fuel and try somewhere else. Just down the road was a local supermarket packed with local produce that had just opened at 7:00am. We were greeted by  a friendly manager who showed us to the coffee station where a lovely cup of java soon dismissed any lingering aches and pains from moving the heavy boulder under the van.

As we sipped, we quietly thanked the ungracious teenager who had prompted us to leave the fast food venue and find a more welcoming place for coffee. Wow – this freshly brewed java really packed a punch; we had never seen pigs fly until that moment. Maybe it was the Christmas spirit or something in the water from nearby Lake Shasta?

Pigs do fly in California !

After really appreciating our luck at finding a friendly store where we could stock up with local Californian wines and local produce, we were ready to get rolling.

The miles passed by effortlessly after that. At Redding the terrain (good word that) changed from hilly to flat. Not sure if it was the drizzle and grey skies, or the straight road and flat landscape, that left us uninspired. Once we took rte 20 off I-5, though, everything changed. This was a California we had not seen before; pretty rolling hills, trees and cattle, twisty roads and views that surprised us around almost every turn.

The journey continues – more later …………

– – – – – – – –

Day 5: Saturday December 19 – Leaving for California

Hello, Woke up to a gorgeous morning in Ashland, Oregon. The Van and I are happy  that we have such a good day for our first long journey. Took early morning photos of mountains as mist lifting in the valley*. Then had a coffee in town and waited for a while, because  sun so low it made driving impossible. Here’s the Van warming up in the sunshine before we start.


Hello From Ashland Center - artsy town in beautiful mountain valley famous for its Shakespearean Theatre

Back at Earth Song House finished packing and then just had to have a dip in the outdoor hot tub to relax me, the driver. By this time, the fog had rolled down the mountains and into our valley so we drove into the blue (no sorry, grey) yonder not being able to see the view. Yet we were thankful that we had seen it earlier.

YesWeCan CamperVan odometer reading as leave Ashland =  61,073.5 (is that 161K or 261 we wonder?)

Wow – those mountains: we couldn’t see them but we could feel them, as we slowed and slowed climbing up to the first of three mountain passes. In third gear, we chugged along quite happily.

Stopping for coffee after about 40 miles in Yreka, CA (yes that California border is very close to Ashland), I sat behind the driver’s seat at the table for the first time – hey, we’re camping!!! Decided then to have a quick look at the VW manual. Good job too, because discovered that the small plastic bottle behind the driver’s seat was the brake fluid reservoir. Had better check that, we thought, as we’re going down the mountains next, before we go up again!  Good thing we did check, as it was completely empty!!!

Found a parts store nearby and bought brake fluid and  filled up the reservoir as directed in the manual. First needed to move driver’s seat. I tugged and tugged and then zip …. the drivers seat was in the foot well, clear off its runners!  I soon found out why: filling the reservoir I noticed a small leak at the hose end as it went into the floor of the van, and then, right into the seat runners. Yes you guessed it … before not too long there was only half the fluid left … then only half an inch …

The VW Manual says get it to a VW mechanic soon but the brakes will work. And so they did. It’s good that we have manual gears. 2nd and 3rd are not only good for getting up hills but also for getting down them.  What an adventure this is turning out to be.

As we left Yreka, there was more fog and then drizzle, yet we knew the mountains were there under us …. chug, chug… chug, chug. Up and up and upwards, along a very long gradient. Then suddenly the fog cleared and there were steep hillsides, and mountains, and huge fir trees. I looked to my left and my mouth fell open, as I saw a majestic sight …

To see video, click on this photo

we stopped to look back down at the mist we'd come through and then we saw ....

or to watch the video on youtube, go to http://bit.ly/4N9s8H

* More photos can be seen on our Facebook page at http://bit.ly/8W5ydC.  Join as a Fan of our page and you’ll be able to see them all. Thanks for your support!

Please let us know what you think, by adding a comment below. THANKS!

Day 4: 18 December – more of Ashland

Today over breakfast at the Wild Goose Cafe in Ashland, I was not only impressed with my super breakfast but also with the artwork on display. It’s the work of one of the waitresses, Toni DeMello, whose art is striking in its portrayal of the faces of animals as you can see below.

Toni was happy to talk to us about her paintings and, beginning in January 2010, her work will be one of several new artists whose work will be displayed at NewArtintheWorld.com, an on-line gallery selling a variety of media created by emerging artists. A percentage of sales will be donated to non-profits working in the field of environmental protection and energy conservation.

I almost forgot to mention that Toni is a fan of old VW vans – she had just sold her 1971 ‘restoration project’ to a friend who is excited to start the project. She came outside to say hello to the YesWeCan CamperVan before saying bon voyage!

[written by Carole, the driver]

'Wolf' by Toni DeMello

Toni's artcards

Toni's display at the cafe

Day 4: 18 December cont’d – getting ready to leave

After brunch, we drove north to Medford to see Ken at Performance Auto for a 2nd inspection before leaving Ashland tomorrow and the long and challenging drive into California over three mountain ranges.

After Ken fixed our dashboard light switch and gave the YesWeCan CamperVan the all clear, Carole took a look at Ken’s restoration project: the beautiful Beetle convertible seen here …

Ken said he’d been given the car and had been working on it for many years. He’d thought that $6000 would be about right for the budget, but now he realized it was going to be at least double that!

After leaving Ken, we went along the road a short way to Import Auto Parts to get a spare clutch and accelerator cable, just in case ………………………

What a place – never seen so many spare parts. Hoping we can get across America without using too many parts or visiting too many stores like this. We have breakdown cover, but it’s good planning to have some spare parts in the van so we can reduce the repair time by not having to wait for parts to be delivered once we’re on the road.

Ken had also mentioned that a local radio installer was having a sale. On visiting them we found out that they were fully booked but while there Carole noticed a guy on the side of the road with a billboard promoting mexican barbecued mesquite chicken for dinner.  It smelled delicious so Carole went in to order a plate of chicken tacos and is seen here with the owner and chef.

Scrumptious!  Thanks to The Chicken Runner, Medford, Oregon, at 1-541-772-2439.

Days 2-3: 16-17 December at Heart Song House, Ashland

Past two days have been resting at Earth Song House, enjoying Ashland and test driving the VW Westfalia.

Pamala Joy, my host, and I have discovered some areas of mutual interest and connection: we both care for the environment, reduce our use of water and electricity, and we also both trained with Chloe Wordsworth in holographic repatterning.

Pamala has won several awards for her volunteering work in feeding about 1000 people in need in Southern Oregon. She founded the Food Angels, an organization that now has 60 volunteers who pack and deliver food to homes in the area. I filmed Gretchen, a volunteer, talking about their work and the kinds of fresh foods that they provide.

Gretchen a volunteer at Food Angels in Ashland, OR

In season were persimmons, a delicious fruit. The day before I had seen boxes of them delivered. To see the video of Gretchen go to our Facebook Fan Page for the YesWeCan CamperVan, or watch it at youtube (http://bit.ly/8XVjtz).

Also to read more about the Food Angels project and its founder Pamala Joy, go to http://bit.ly/8XKytV