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by | 2018 | The Lills, VW Bus

Over winter 2018, the two of us hunkered down in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. We continued our design work and manned the front desk at a 420-friendly inn for a few months to save our pennies and gather what we needed to continue our cross-country adventure.

The owner of the inn, who is one of the most wonderful people we’ve met and connected with on the trip, showed nervousness about us heading through the desert to make it to the West Coast. We understood his worries, as he had lost three young daughters to a drunk driver in the past. We expressed our awareness, that there are risks we take each day and the two of us explained our belief that we are being guided and whatever is supposed to happen, will happen. Whether we are here tomorrow or not, he agreed, it is up to us to live for today.

Giant Cow | VW Bus | The Lills Travel

As we headed out of Pagosa Springs, it didn’t take long before we met our first challenge. Nearing Durango, Colorado, we began to hear a slight noise coming from the rear passenger side. An auto shop nearby told us it was a wheel bearing issue, so on our first travel day, we handed over $600 for the fix and we stayed at a local KOA cabin for $60.

After replacing our wheel bearings (and taking apart the whole backend without asking) they said, “have fun on your trip” and sent us off. About five miles down the road, the slight noise had morphed into a huge clunking sound. We pulled over quickly and the mechanics drove out to get us. They had us drive back to the shop, now stating we had a wheel hub issue.

One of the mechanics mentioned he may have over-torqued the castle nut, which could have damaged the soft metal in the hub. There was now play in that wheel, but the shop refused to take responsibility. On top of everything, they sent us off without tightening our castlenut or the lugnuts, meaning our tire could have fallen off and we could have been seriously injured or worse. Yet again, the shop refused to admit their mistakes or do right by us. We decided to stay another night at the KOA cabin and while we were there, we met a wonderful couple, who decided to stop working corporate jobs, so they could work and travel together. It was so nice to connect with such free spirits while in our sticky situation.

La Plata Durango Colorado KOA Cabin | The Lills Travel

The next day, we quickly made it over to another shop who couldn’t believe the other mechanics would send us off with such carelessness. They properly tightened the castlenut and lugnuts for $50 and told us we could make it to the coast with the hurt hub. They said if it were them, they’d get hub fixed on the West coast. We headed out of Durango, Colorado and made it to the Four Corners, where Colorado, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico meet. Driving in, we began to hear the hub issue and unfortunately, we were not feeling confident about moving forward.

Four Corners National Monument | Alex Lill Lara Lill | The Lills Travel

As the national landmark closed their doors for the night, we realized there was no tire shop or auto shop nearby to help us. We made it to a gas station, but they were closed and we couldn’t even gas up. Feeling pretty stranded, we found a wonderful couple who were selling snow-cones by the side of the road. The husband, Ron, used to have old Volkswagen vehicles, so he sweetly assisted us. His wife, a wise and beautiful Native American woman named Celeste, explained she had a tumor in her brain that doctors couldn’t operate on. We gave her good energy and let her know what an inspiration she was to us. She also showed us a photo of her beautiful daughter, who had just been in a car accident and was slowly recovering. It broke our hearts and inspired us deeply all at the same time. We had wonderful conversations while tweaking the bus and felt that our encounter was 100% meant to be. We will never forget them and we couldn’t believe what happened next.

Rather than camping out or going out of the way to Farmington, New Mexico, we decided it was best to keep our pets from the heat and continue driving through the night. We said goodbye to Ron and Celeste and made it about 18 miles up the road through the reservation. That’s when all of a sudden, we were sideswiped by another car, who amazingly, kept driving and fled the scene.

We couldn’t believe how blessed we were to be alive and how lucky we were to have another car witness the whole thing. Brenda, Brena and their small child continued driving after the person who hit us. They gathered the license plate number and called 911. Another sweet man also assisted us, by pulling over to the side of the road to keep his high-beams on us, so we wouldn’t get hit by another car flying through the desert.

Although we were in the middle of Red Mesa at mile-marker 444 and surrounded by desert, a local sherrif made it to us, followed by a state EDP (emergency dispatch control) officer who was able to find the driver who hit us, 20 miles up the road at mile-marker 427. Supposedly, on the reservation, natives have safehouses and hideaways to run from cops. When someone does something unlawful, they race to a spot where police are not allowed to enter the homes on the reservation. Police can only confiscate their vehicle, meaning many people get away with their bad doings.

Thank goodness they didn’t make it to a safehouse. The EDP officer explained there were too many people in the car, all of which were intoxicated beyond belief. They were brought to the local jail and it was made clear they had no insurance. Meanwhile, a tow truck came to pickup our VW bus and us. They drove us around 77 miles to Kayenta, Arizona, also in the middle of nowhere. The tow and a quick fix cost $630. We just couldn’t believe our bus was still hanging on and we were so thankful nobody was hurt.

Moksha VW Miracle Bus | Kayenta Arizona | Chief Towing | The Lills

Over Memorial Day weekend, the two of us, our dog and cat were locked in the tow yard with no cell service or wifi. Jacob, one of the tow yard’s mechanics, went above and beyond to help us work on our VW bus, Moksha. Jacob left us with the proper tools to hammer the bus back together and came by to check on us and assist through the three days we spent there. One of the days, he even brought us lunch. Little by little, our bus was piecemealed back together.

While at the tow yard, we met an incredible Native American man, also named Ron, who had walked 90 miles from the hospital where his father was. He had another 40 miles to go and stopped to talk with us. He expressed that these things happen to make us re-think what we’re doing in our lives and/or to get us on the right track. The moment we all got up, said farewell and began to walk back to the tow yard, a car pulled up and the person driving agreed to take Ron toward his home. The timing was pretty amazing and we all laughed as he got in and zoomed off.

Although it was clear we were in need of some major repairs, we slowly made it to a location we were familiar with: Page, Arizona. Before winter, we had visited with family near Phoenix, Arizona and got to see The Grand Canyon, plus the sandstones and Horseshoe Bend in Page. This time, we camped out at Lake Powell for three days and did our best to remain positive for our 8 year wedding anniversary.

Lake Powell Wahweap Beach | Page Arizona Photo | The Lills Travel

Strangely, the first person we met when we got to Page was a broken-hearted Native American named Mel. He said he had won $200 million dollars in the lottery and put the whole amount in his triplets names. Meanwhile, the money meant nothing to him as he had lost his wife in a car accident. He was too afraid to face his fears or be the man his girls needed.

We felt the universe was speaking to us and we felt beyond lucky to still be alive and able to have the conversation with Mel. We expressed to him that giving up on life was not the answer; that he still had purpose and that his lovely wife would want nothing more than for him to be there for their three daughters. He had been drinking his pain away and couldn’t see the end of the bottle. Although other people looked at us all oddly, we kept our focus on helping Mel. He cried, we held him and all of us together felt lifted.

We told him about our out-of-body experience and that the ones we love are never gone, they are just on the other side. We told him to keep a conversation and the connection alive with his wife, although they weren’t physically together and to do whatever he needs to get through the devastation to get back on his feet. We put our hands on him, gave him love and we even laughed together about the cosmic ways that are not in our control.

The Lills Arizona Travel Adventure

Mel left us by saying he was going to find a way to get a plane ticket to go be the father for his children. The two of us were reminded that each second is an opportunity to shine light and although there are challenges, they are what push us to see beyond this physical reality. There is so much more than this dense world and if we could push the negativity and distractions to the side, we could all see the truth, believe it and help our fellow man in the quest for understanding life and death.

After our experience with Mel, we came back down to Earth and got in touch with our insurance company, who had us stay in Page to assess the damage. With 8 days having gone by in the heat with no shower or a real bed, we finally gave into a hotel room. The insurance company came to assess the bus and surprisingly, only assessed the cosmetics of the vehicle (not the mechanical damages), giving us a lowball number, which would not be enough to fix our Volkswagen bus.

We miraculously were able to get an appointment with a local auto shop on a Friday, who properly assessed the mechanical damages from the crash and charged us nothing. Our next mission was to get the cosmetic damages properly assessed. We spent two weeks at the hotel with our dog and cat, waiting for the insurance company to come through and although we felt pretty beaten up, we held our heads high and kept our determination to not give up.

We met an incredible Native American woman at the mechanic shop, who connected us with her husband, an authentic medicine man who had been energetically healing people for over 40 years. He invited us into his home and began his work a few minutes after walking through the front door. Everything became quiet and then the magic happened. He began, what he called, “a ceremonial diagnosis” and took out quartz crystals, arrowheads and other Native American objects from a beautiful bag. He closed his eyes and began chanting his native tongue. The energy shifted in the room and it felt as though the walls disappeared.

Page Arizona Desert | The Lills Travel

It was as though we were sitting in the desert, with a fire ablaze and spirit came forward. He explained that the Native American woman we met after the Four Corners gave us a blessing. When she expressed the car crash her daughter was in, it was absolutely connected to the crash we experienced, which happened shortly after our meeting. One of us also developed a bump on the left side of the temple, in the same spot Celeste mentioned she had a deadly tumor. The medicine man expressed there was nothing to worry about health-wise. It was meant for us to have the accident and for us to stay in the sacred land. He said we were meant to connect with the energy and the people and in order meet him, we were meant to be weary of the random bump. He let us know we were beyond protected, being watched and on a very specific path. He finished the ceremony by offering us bitter powder, which he goes into the desert and harvests himself. It is used by his people for protection and we felt honored to be given such wonderful energy.

At the end of the day, these experiences reaffirmed the importance of appreciating life, with or without money, material or recognition. What the two of us have found, is that the more we stray from traditional belief systems, behaviors and actions, the more we connect to source. We feel an imaginary connection to what is really running this operation called life. Even though it may appear man is in control, he is not. We are moved by something else that is hard to see, if we’re not looking, listening or feeling for it.

We have no idea what is to come of our bus, our trip, our life or our love, but we know it is just another chapter that has helped us evolve into better individuals, a better team and better souls. For anyone who is going through a challenge, we hope you can accept and support whatever task you are given and that if you push through it, your questions will be answered and love like you’ve never felt is waiting for you. We are truly creating our reality by our actions and reactions. It is up to us to help remind one another of the things that truly matter in this world. Giving up needs and wants and simply being in the now has shifted our view of life and we just hope more and more people find that spreading light and helping your fellow man far outweighs what one can accumulate or achieve as an individual.

The two of us had a few moments during our ordeal where we couldn’t cope with the stress of our situation. As much as we are silly humans, even our downfalls remind us that we are more than just flesh and blood. When we give into the negativity we are only feeding it and making it stronger. Knowing that would make you think we would be able to keep shining the light in our darkest hours, but it sometimes takes purging and releasing the dark energies that still reside within us. We imagine through these experiences we are being tested, being forced to grow and see past our fears. Each time we come back together, we know more, we feel stronger and we feel closer to the light.

We are thankful to be alive to tell our story and hope everyone tells the ones they love how much they mean to them. We cannot say what will happen today or tomorrow, but we are going to be sure thank the universe for every moment we are given here in the physical world. Stay tuned for more from our adventure and oh yeah, we love you no matter who you are, what you’ve done or what you think of yourself. Today is a new day and we are excited to be here with you all in this incredibly massive collaboration. To the person who struck us that night, thank you for waking us up. We can only hope that you woke up too and that we can all make better choices for ourselves and others. Peace & Love – The Lills


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