My Van Life: Day 39

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Boston, MA – Cambridge, MA – Somerville, MA


You thought work week days with no travel were boring in van life, try a weekday off but spent waiting for your home on wheels to be done in the shop. Now THAT’S boring. This morning we finally dropped our sprinter off at 7:30am to have the break pads checked after the light had gone on a few days prior. Of course, like any time you drop your car off at the service center, there’s a running list of items to be checked on while it’s in. I mean after putting over 10k miles on the van in the last month it was probably time to give it a good check. We packed up books, journals, computers, things to entertain us for the day and walked to Harvard Square. After our research last night we saw that Harvard Square had quite a few options for coffee, dining, entertaining, etc. and figured it was a good place to land for the day since we didn't really know how long we'd be waiting for the van.

It was a two mile walk from the Mercedes Service Center which was a bit longer than we had expected and certainly longer than Coco originally expected. Nevertheless we made it and landed at Peet’s Coffee for some morning work. The good news is it’s been quite mild in Massachusetts since we’ve been here so the walk was actually quite pleasant. We walked through the Harvard University campus which was cool to check off the bucket list but again, another one of those places that doesn’t quite meet expectations (in my opinion). Unlike Notre Dame for example, it’s really smack dab in the middle of a quite populous area with food, shopping, drinks and other tourist type destinations in the immediate surrounding area.

As mentioned yesterday, it’s quite busy in Boston (we are back in a big city) and Cambridge, where Harvard is located, was really no different. It was absolutely bustling with students and visitors alike. The Cambridge area doesn’t feel like the most desirable area in my opinion but it’s certainly a popular destination for both students and young professionals alike. There’s a lot of construction in both the Boston and Cambridge area as well. We’ve seen TONS of new development thus far just about everywhere we’ve driven in Massachusetts which always adds an interesting element to navigating the city streets in the sprinter.


Truthfully there wasn’t a whole lot to see in the Harvard Square area. We did lots of people watching as we enjoyed our coffee, Adam took care of some work, taking advantage of the supplied WiFi, I worked on my blog, did my morning writing, got a lot done before it was time to find somewhere to eat lunch. We ended up walking to a nearby restaurant that seemed fairly new called Spyce. I would equate it to like a Cava for my Los Angeles friends or like a really healthy Chipotle with wayyy more options for toppings. It’s all machine operated which is crazy. You order on an iPad and robots essentially build your salad or bowl back in the kitchen. It’s kind of wild. No matter who (or what?!?) made my bowl, it was absolutely delicious - although my stomach did start hurting immediately after. Gotta love my sensitive stomach.

We found a nearby table to sit and hang out/work for a while and I popped into a local CVS to see if I could get some support for the ole stomach discomfort. It’s been such a challenging day being essentially stranded without our van. Not only is it our transportation but it’s our home! We’re quite limited as far as walking goes especially considering we have Coco with us so we can’t push it too much but we still managed to get almost 7 miles in today. Don’t worry Coco didn’t walk all that way, she was carried for most of it.


In my daily journal I have a section for “how I’m feeling” and today could be summed up in one word – bored. It was fine for a little while but now we’re approaching 12 hours since we dropped the van off and we’re back at the Mercedes dealership, waiting. They’re working to get it finished today knowing that’s where we’re living and we’ll be kind of screwed if it’s not finished by end of day. For now we sit and wait. And wait. This is the part of Van Life they don’t show you. Or maybe they do but it’s likely you don’t realize just how unsexy and unfun it really is. I’m just grateful I have this week off work. I’m grateful and equally not grateful. Grateful because I would be so stressed if I had to work today and find a place to post up comfortably but also equally not grateful because this wasn’t exactly how I was expecting to spend my week off. My first day was spent working all day and my second was spent aimlessly walking around Cambridge, waiting on our van to be done in the shop. Sigh.


Update: We were at the Mercedes dealership until just before 7pm. Turns out they had called Adam approximately an hour prior to that to let us know that the van was done but Adam's phone was charging and not in his immediate vicinity. DOUBLE SIGH. We were essentially there an hour longer than need be but nevertheless we got the van back and $3k later, she’s good as new. Ouch. That is until we drove to Planet Fitness for our evening workout and shower and the check engine light went on. I mean this DAY! This week!! What on earth did we do to deserve this?!? We’re going to take it back in the morning in the hopes they can check on that and it’ll be a quick fix and not another miserable day of being stuck. I should mention that the dealership is about a 20-ish minute drive from downtown Boston and a little too far to walk, especially with Coco, otherwise we would probably be enjoying some time exploring Boston on foot especially without having to worry about navigating the van around the city. For now we’re settling in at our rest stop and calling it a night. Praying that tomorrow will not be another all day affair.


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