A16 Vanlife

Posted by Adventure 16 | 05.03.2018

So…Where’s Jay Today?


A16's full-time Van Life Ambassador and part-time Design Aficionado, Jay Golien, has embarked on a six-week Road Trip throughout the Southwest and East as far as the Mississippi River.


His goal:

To work remotely – as though he were sitting right here in our office – while exploring new places, photographing strange landscapes and meeting weird / interesting people.


Why not?

If things get too weird, he can just drive off! Check back often for his latest adventure.


vanlife header


Beep Beep!


:: A few weeks ago I put the idea out there that I would like to combine my Adventure 16 design / photography gig with roaming around in my adventure van. A few days later I pitched the plan to my Marketing Director and the President of A16. After tweaking the initial idea a bit, They both agreed that I do indeed need to get out there. I’m happy to announce that I will be roaming for 6 weeks promoting Adventure 16 as a designer / photographer / ambassador.


Get in the van, buckle up and follow along. Take notes, there might be a quiz later…



Week 3: South Western Colorado


VW van for sale
Sweet Westy for sale. 10 miles East of Durango on Hwy. 160  photo: olas creative


:: So, you’re thinking about vanlife. There are many different “levels” of vans available to start your new lifestyle. Old beater VW. Cargo Van with camping gear chucked in. Self-built high-roof Sprinter Van. Tricked out 4x4 Westy Van. Pro-built Adventure Van. Class B Van. These are some of your choices when you decide to hit the road in a van. Depending on your needs, all are fine options. For me, I started with a VW Weekender Van. Traded it in for a Class C RV. Traded that for my Class B Van. It’s a mini house on wheels and I love it. Perfect size for me with all the right features. If you are thinking about vanlife, it’s time to jump in!


Eagle Creek Duffel
My Eagle Creek No Matter What Duffel holds all my extra gear and doesn't take up valuble space in the van   photo: olas creative


Mesa Verde N P
Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park  photo: olas creative


:: Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling in North America, Mesa Verde National Park. The people who built and inhabited these cliff dwellings, from 1190 to 1300 went to extreme measures for safety and comfort in the challenging landscape of South Western Colorado. As I viewed them, the clean lines of mid-century architecture came to mind.


Trout Fishing on the San Juan River
Trout Fishing on the San Juan River  photo: olas creative


:: That wraps up week three of my #A16vanlife adventure. Heading over Wolf Creek Pass to the flat lands next. See you out there!





Week 2: Moab & Telluride


two vans dispersed camping

Josh and his sweet van  |  My Kelty Sun Shade setup    photos: olas creative


:: Josh, is a computer programer and a climber. We were both camping on BLM land North of Moab, UT. Once I saw his 2’ dreadlocks, I had to meet him. He’s been a vanlifer for 9 months now, mostly living in the Moab area. He built out his Ford Transit Van himself with a cordless drill and a hammer. The key feature of the van is the solar power setup, four 100 watt solar panels on the roof, sweet! Super cool dude, we shared a drink and talked about vans, BLM camping spots and working remotely. Good on ya mate!


Climbers in Arches National Park
Climbers on Owl Rock.  photo: olas creative


:: Is it possible to visit Arches National Park and not have a photo of an Arch? Yes, yes it is. How many climbers do you see?


Roadside attraction in Colorado
Found a great location for an Adventure 16 Field Office / Taco & Beer Joint. Half way between Moab & Telluride.  photo: olas creative


telluride colorado
Oh Telluride, you are so funky hippy high.  photos: olas creative

:: It’s great to live in my some of my favorite towns for a few days on this adventure. Moab, Telluride and next, Durango. Easy to feel at home. I see like-minded people everywhere I go.


Priest Lake Colorado

Priest Lake, CO  |  Vanlife at 9000'  photos: olas creative


:: At a thrift store in Telluride this week, the lady at the register asked me if I lived somewhere that Bears ate fish. (What? Oh yeah, I had on my “eat local” Patagonia hat, bear eating a fish art) I replied, tonight I will be, I’m camping at Priest Lake. “Be careful, it’s bear season. They’re just waking up and are hungry.” she replied. Great. I’m always a little spooked about the unknown wildlife when I’m at a new spot.


I drive up the remote Forest Service Road and find the free camping spots. Cool, there are two other campers there. A truck and tent campers. The people in the truck where walking their dogs, not camping. I asked the old boy driving about bears in the area. He said he hadn’t seen a bear, but he did see bear scat down by the little cabin. He said not to worry, I’d be fine, before driving away.


Great. Well at least there are tent campers here. People in sleeping bags are like burritos to a bear. All wrapped up nice and neat. A tasty meal. I’ll be fine, I’m not the first choice on the menu. An hour later the tent campers pack up and leave. WHAT! Now it’s only me sitting in the forest at 9,000’. In what might as well be A FOOD TRUCK. Hey bear, come check out the menu. Open 24 hours.


I actually MOVED THE VAN from the spot you see in the photo to one closer to the FS Road. Pointed in the correct direction for a fast getaway. I’m always a little spooked about the unknown wildlife when I’m at a new spot.


About an hour before sundown, an SUV pulls into the camping area. What is this? Yes! Tent campers. I go back to feeling calm and enjoy the evening.



:: That wraps up week two of my #A16vanlife adventure. Heading to Durango next. See you out there!






Week 1: Arizona & Utah


Van with Goal Zero Solar setup

:: Solar setup out in the wild.  photo: olas creative


:: Stop #1 was South of Flagstaff, AZ. Dispersed camping on Forrest Service Land for two days. I’m using my Goal Zero Boulder 100 Solar Panel Briefcase to charge the Adventure 16 demo Goal Zero Yeti 400. This setup is all I need to keep my Macbook Pro and 4G Hotspot going for this adventure – because, you know, I am working from the van. The van also has a 100 watt solar panel on the roof powering 2 deep cycle batteries. Let the sun shine!


Zion National Park

:: My 1st time in Zion. Photos cannot show the enormous scale of Zion National Park.  photos: olas creative

Fun fact: the trails, the stone pillars at the entrances and campgrounds were built with a government program (CCC) designed to put men back to work during the Great Depression in the 1930’s


photographer in Bryce Canyon NP

:: Photographer shooting in Bryce Canyon N.P.  photos: olas creative


:: This week visiting Utah’s National Parks has made it clear to me that I’m not a landscape photographer. Trying to capture the grand scale you see and feel while standing in the Parks is very challenging. Hats off to all the amazing photographers who capture that feeling in their photos. Me, I’m a photojournalist - lifestyle and events all day long.


Bryce Canyon National Park

:: This is Bryce Canyon National Park. Wednesday’s office location!  photo: olas creative

NOLS Group at the river

:: Worked in Green River, Utah today. Green River State Park. (yes, down by the river)  photo: olas creative


:: I met this group of 16 students gearing up to launch from the park on a canoe trip. While talking with the leader/guide I found out they are from NOLS, a Wilderness Education School in Landers WY. They are at the tail end of a nine day trip, climbing, hiking, canyoneering and canoeing around Utah and Nevada. I told him about Adventure 16 and my trip. He was stoked as I handed him A16 coupons for the group. 


:: That wraps up week one of my #A16vanlife adventure. Heading to Moab next. See you out there!