Campervans, Trucks, Bikes, and the Faces of the California Roads
It’s no secret the Internet is in love with campervans, the nomadic life, and the sought-after simplicity of living on the road. It only takes two to four seconds of scrolling to find a #vanlife picture, but there is often very little explanation or any verification if what you’re seeing is actually real. We asked photographer Jeff Clark, who travels around in his customized Sprinter, to document a few of the best rigs and personalities he came across while spending the summer on the California highways. Turns out there is a lot to love. Here, Clark shares a few of his favorite setups and encounters with people who live on the road.
The Ride: 1991 Jeep Comanche 4×4
The Faces: Trevor Gordon is a surfer, brand ambassador, and photographer. Maddie Joyce is an illustrator and designer. They just got married and live in Santa Barbara, California.
Dream Destination: They love the Eastern Sierras near Mammoth, California, but the Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia take the top spot.
Fun Facts: Gordon and Joyce live on a boat in the Santa Barbara harbor, so road tripping and life out of the truck isn’t too far out of the ordinary. The couple is in the process of making a cooking photo book about small alternative kitchens.
Their Words: Gordon: “It’s a fun way to travel to places and surf. Plus, it’s better than staying in hotels and is just fun. It’s great to go tent camping but it’s nice to have somewhere to charge things and stay out of the weather. Moving quickly to follow a swell isn’t a bad perk either.”
The Ride: 2005 AWD Chevy Astrovan with lift
The Faces: Lindsey Tjian is a model and climber. Joe Kinder is a professional climber. Fynn is their dog.
Dream Destination: “The desert Southwest has been a major destination for us and this van. Driving on uncharted roads in the desert and up mountain passes I feel like we have really put it to the test. There are some limitations on the super rugged roads, but I would say 90 percent of the time it can handle it.”
Fun Facts: The Astrovan has a small lift, which allows the couple to treat the rig like a truck and get some places other vans can’t. They cook outside on a collapsable table and chairs, use a cooler to keep food fresh, and park it wherever they feel comfortable.
Their Words: Kinder: “The past two years I’ve been toying with the idea of upgrading. I need the off-road capabilities of a truck and the livable/comfort of an RV. When I heard Mercedes was coming out with the 4×4 Sprinter my head spun and the seed was planted. To build one of those out would be the optimal dream van, I think. Functional, diesel, off-road-ready, lifted, new, and cool looking. Plus you can stand up in the thing! I cannot wait until this fall, I daydream about us rolling around the desert exploring in total style and comfort. From a rattly and squeaky Astro Van to a Mercedes 4×4 Sprinter!”
The Ride: Oryx road bike, plus a trailer.
The Face: Clint Haley, 22, from Tofino, BC.
Dream Destination: “Eureka, California, is my favorite place because they gave me this tattoo for free on the 4th of July.”