Our first visit to Yellowstone National Park was back in 2015, and it was only over a long weekend. This year, we knew we wanted to spend dedicated time in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park, and go back to Yellowstone to explore the areas we didn’t get to in 2015.
About two years ago, I saw a photo of Alyssa Padgett drinking a cup of coffee in her RV, as the Grand Tetons towered in the background. We had just taken a weekend trip to Yellowstone and I had fallen for the Grand Tetons while driving past them in the early morning from Jackson Hole. I told myself I would go back and recreate Alyssa’s coffee moment in that stunningly beautiful spot, known as Upper Teton View.
It took two years, but we made it back. In that time, we decided we weren’t “doing it right,” and wild camping was one of the missing pieces. Now armed with AGM batteries, portable solar panel, and experience, I was thrilled to finally be heading to Upper Teton View. It was the place I was looking forward to most of our entire 2018 West Mountain Loop trip. [Read more…]
If we don’t spend at least one night within a state’s borders in our RV, then we can’t add it to our state map. That’s our rule. So while we traveled through Idaho in 2016, we didn’t get to claim it as conquered. No matter what it took, that was going to change this year.
It wasn’t much of an inconvenience. We left Jordanelle State Park after work on Friday of Memorial Day weekend and drove a beautiful 227 miles to Indian Creek. This dry camping area in Caribou-Targhee National Forest is free, with a 5-day stay limit.
We chose to get as close to the water–Palisades Reservoir on the Snake River–as we could. The road towards the water has some unpleasant potholes, but the distance isn’t long. We turned off on the last path to the right, and pulled onto the grass just off the road. [Read more…]
In a country as large as the United States, it is actually possible for entire regions to be magnificent, and yet unknown to almost everyone. I know, because I’ve been to Heber Valley in Utah.
I’ve said before that our travel day limit of 250 miles forces us to stop places we’d normally skip. We needed to get from Moab to Grand Teton, and our 250 miles fell right around Jordanelle State Park in Heber Valley, right outside Heber City. While the situation with the state park ended up being slightly irksome, the area itself was stunning. I’m so glad we stumbled upon it. [Read more…]
Off-roading and Jeep culture are a huge part of our lives. Ever since we bought a Jeep Rubicon in summer 2016, we’ve gotten really into meeting people in the Jeep community, modifying our Jeep, and challenging ourselves with harder and harder trails. Jeeping is definitely Eric’s #1 hobby (though he’d probably use a more intense word).
For my part, I enjoy 4×4 trails that combine beautiful scenery with interesting obstacles. (I’m not super into jolting over rocks for hours.) I do appreciate the places our Jeep allows us to access, that we’d never be able to get to otherwise.
Though my passion for Jeep life may not be as strong as Eric’s, we were both looking forward to staying in Moab, Utah. Moab is an international destination [Read more…]
Zion National Park. Bryce Canyon National Park. On to our third in Utah: Capitol Reef National Park.
This one required some special doing. We left Toquerville after work on a Friday, and drove 200 miles through Fishlake National Forest and along the edge of Manti-La Sal National Forest. We traveled through beautiful farm land bordered by grass-covered hills. I had no idea there was a place in the United States that looked like this. It reminded me of photos I’ve seen of the Scottish Highlands.
And then the grassy hills gave way to brilliantly colored, jagged rock. Through the small town of Torrey, with its inviting restaurants, outdoor adventure companies, and local motels. We used the Jeep to scout our dry camping options and ended up in Capitol Reef Overflow, about half a mile outside the boundary of the park. [Read more…]
We had a fabulous time in Arizona, but we were more than ready to enter Utah. Believe it or not, Utah was the first state we added to our travel map since Montana in mid-2016. 😶
Our two-fold mission in Utah: visit all five national parks and do tons of off-roading with our Jeep. Will we succeed? [Read more…]
It doesn’t matter how long we travel. New places and new experiences continue to stretch us, and the excitement never goes away.
Dry camping hasn’t been an emphasis for us throughout more than four years of fulltime RVing. While we have our reasons, we never stop questioning the way we do things: asking ourselves whether there’s something better outside our norms and comfort zone.
Shortly before we started our Western Mountain Loop Trip, I told Eric, “We’re not doing it right.” I felt like we had been taking the safe, routine route: staying in private campgrounds with full hookups and a strong Internet signal, while missing experiences beyond the edge of civilization.
With that unsettling realization, I decided this year would be different. [Read more…]
I was mad at Flagstaff, Arizona, last time we were there. We only went because our first attempt at wild camping had failed miserably. As far as I was concerned, Flagstaff was an inferior Plan B to the grandeur of Sedona.
But time was kind to my memories of Flagstaff, and Eric never had a grudge like I did. So when it came time to plan our route for 2018, I gave Flagstaff another shot.
Good thing I did. Because after our two-week visit, I kinda think Flagstaff has made my Top 5 list of places we’ve stayed in four+ years of fulltime RVing.
The day we arrived in Flagstaff, our three older boys flew in for Spring Break. Eric drove to Phoenix to pick up Darius (20), Javen (17), and Silas (14). [Read more…]
When we plan our trips, we have a list of what we want to see. But since we only travel 250 miles every two weeks, there are always places we stop simply because they’re at the right place between Point A and Point B. Gallup, NM was one such means to an end.
When we decided to stay in Gallup on our way from Santa Rosa, NM to Flagstaff, AZ, I wasn’t exactly excited. It seemed like a small town on Route 66 with some hiking options, on the way to other places.
But when we made friends with some Albuquerque locals last week, some of them had negative things to say about Gallup. The kind of things that stick in your mind and cause your perspective to change. From that point on, I wasn’t expecting much out of Gallup.
I was wrong. [Read more…]