Climbing into the driver’s seat perched high upon the lifted frame of our rental Jeep, I used my thumb to clear the dust from the gauges. Once strapped in, I stomped the clutch and fired her up. It had been several years since I had driven a stick, so as we began to roll along the washboard that serves as street in the old mining town, I might as well have been 15 again whiplashing us through the gears on the way back to the cabin.

We were in the 4 Corners area for the first time and planned to stay the entire month of August. One early lesson was that I will never again visit that part of the country without a 4 wheel drive vehicle. We had taken the #CariVan so we’d have a place to sleep on camping excursions, but there were just too many places we wanted to go that were high clearance 4×4 only, and the spot we had in mind for this outing was just such a place.
A little online research awarded us the opportunity to rent the last and least expensive 4×4 to be had. There was no extra charge to pick it up the evening prior, so we made the short walk along a street of packed earth mixed with a small ration of crushed stone. After a quick walk around to assess and inventory the multitude of scratches scrapes and bruises that marred the outside of the 15-year old Wrangler, papers were signed and she was all mine! Well, at least for the next 24 hours.

Recently, we pointed the nose of the #CariVan toward the venerable Pedernales Falls State Park deep in the famed Texas Hill Country. Growing up in Indiana, I thought that we Midwesterners had the corner on the unique pronunciation market, but my time in Texas has reminded me that every locality has it’s quirky versions. So, for the Texans listening in, that’s PERD’nales. Now, where was I? Oh, yes. It was the first crisp, sunny day off in a couple of weeks and we were looking forward to having our boots on a trail again.

In this installment, I have a heart-to-heart with Kate and Danielle Nolan of DNK Presents, Brown County Bikes, and a nonprofit called Live Adventurously. Like Episode #4 of my recent conversation with fellow van camper, Stephanie Burks, there wasn’t a set agenda for this interview. I wanted to just allow these ladies to talk about what they are passionate about. And believe me, there’s plenty. But the main thread that runs through our exchange is a focus on empowering and educating others, especially women, to embrace their sprit of adventure and self-reliance. To reconnect with themselves be immersing themselves in nature. Sound familiar?