April 27, 2021  |   MOAB, UT


I rubbed my eyes open and moved aside the window cover.  Light poured in, and it struck me how late it was. I was going to miss the sunrise if I didn’t hurry. I pulled on my thick sweatpants, shoved on my burks, and wrapped a rough wool blanket over my shoulders. I snagged my camera, stepped outside, and grabbed the camping chair sitting right outside my door. Up to my roof, I climbed, somehow clutching everything, to watch the magic of the Sedona sunrise.  Our MODE4x4 was tucked down a long dirt road in BLM land on the outskirts of this famous red sandstone town in Arizona.  Pure desert surrounded me and far out to the west were glowing red mountains with the sunlight spilling over and illuminating the entire landscape brilliantly. We had pulled in late last night, so the surrounding views were a delightful surprise. 

Next to us were two other vans—Chad and Paul on one side, who were climbing up the sides of their own van, with bowls of steamy oatmeal in hand. On the other side, Amy was already up on her roof with a yoga mat, gently stretching in the warm sunlight and breathing deeply the crisp morning air.  

“Good morning!” I called out cheerily.  Thoroughly content, I snapped a couple of shots, adjusted the lighting balance and settled into my chair. Not even five minutes later, Thor emerged from the van with steaming hot coffee and steadily climbed the ladder, his hair dreadfully awry. I smiled, he didn’t care. 

He called across: “Hey Chad, how’d you sleep?” 

So many things made that morning magical, but it wasn’t everything. It was all of the things.   


Fast forward three weeks, and I woke up again in this same van and climbed to the top of it, but this time I was surrounded by 26 or so other MODE4x4’s.  I was the only one to climb to the roof for the early morning rays this time, as the night before had run quite late with campfires, rich personalities, and wild festivities. Once again, I snapped a couple of pictures, adjusted my lighting, and sat down. A couple of other folks were far out past the ring of vans, with dogs that demanded early morning air. The dogs were kicking up glowing dust in the sunrise that made surprisingly majestic photos against an otherwise bleak landscape. I sat back and watched the van owners emerge one by one, chatting and congregating in small groups around the vans. It was peaceful, still, and quiet.

Before long, Chad pulled out his one-wheel and began cruising the diameter of the van circle. Thor was hopping on his bike and speeding off into the distance to answer the call of nature.  The smell of bacon being fried wafted up from a van behind me and I heard my own stomach growl. Out here in the desert, simplicity was key, and the beauty of the lifestyle was again, evident in each and every detail. 


“Be in love with your life, every detail of it,” says Jack Kerouac. And as our CEO loves to say, “The only details that matter, are every single one of them.” They are all around you, every day, wherever you are.  Don’t forget to romanticize the moments.


Until next time,