WOW it’s been a while since I posted. My last post was in the beginning of February and even that was kind of a half-assed post! So figured it was about time for a life update post about where we’ve been, where we are now and what we have in store!
Well first of all, I made the over-confident mistake of trying to redesign my website on my own. This of course was well over my head and ended in a near-fatal error that involved bringing on a professional to fix for me! That being said, after months of analysis paralysis, she’s all up and running now and I’m actually really happy with the way it turned out. The new design should allow me some more flexibility with growing it and adding more features to my site down the line.
So that’s the backend up date, but where have I really been?
So last we left off, Kyle and I were still in North Glamis at our winter campground! We had just arrived home from our cruise and I was jet setting off again to go stay with my family for a week on the coast of North Carolina.
Kyle and I had to take some time to recuperate financially after our cruise so we spent most of the spring time doing mini-adventures to the surrounding areas. We explored the wild art scene of Salvation Mountain, East Jesus and the Biennale at Bombay Beach. Each one of these locations was viciously different than the last but had so many unique things to see.
When we weren’t working, we also tried to get out riding as much as possible while we were still in the desert. We drove down to the south side of the Salton Sea and camped in this area called Ocotillo Wells. This area brings off-road enthusiasts from all over the country but we got lucky to land on a weekend that was a bit less busy than usual!
There are a variety of different features to take the trails out to visit, and plenty of hills and dunes to play on! There was anything from 4×4 vehicles and side-by-sides to dirt bikers and ATVs like us. It was a blast! We also got out and hit the trails around our campground as much as possible. For Kyle’s birthday in March, we rented a RZR and ventured far out into the desert to explore some slot canyons.
Hitting the Road
Our campground closed down mid-April so we packed up the trailer and hit the road to our next destination: Durango, Colorado! Instead of going straight there, we decided to take the scenic route through as many of the Utah parks as possible!
Our adventure started with a weekend in Vegas riding and exploring Valley of Fire State Park, Lake Mead National Recreation Area and the Hoover Dam! We had originally decided to add this stop into the route just so we could add Nevada to the list of States we visited with our camper Roo but it actually was well worth the visit because I had no idea how beautiful and unique Valley of Fire State Park was!
From Vegas, we drove North and crossed into Utah! Our first stop was Zion National Park. It’s no surprise why this is one of the most visited National Parks in the country. We were lucky to be a bit ahead of the crowded season and were able to hike out to Observation Point from a back side entrance to get some magnificent views of the park. We opted out of hiking Angel’s Landing, and the river was unfortunately too high to hike The Narrows, but we still made the most of our time in the park exploring some of the less crowded areas including up North to the Kolob Canyon area.
From Zion, we continued up to the Bryce Canyon National Park area. I didn’t have super high expectations for Bryce but it completely blew our minds. It doesn’t get enough credit because it’s a super small park but WOW is it stunning and out of this world. We did the Queens Garden and Wall Street loop hike in the morning on our second day there and I would say its one of my favorite hikes I’ve ever done. While we were in the area, we also explored Red Canyon area off of Scenic Byway 12 and drove all the way to the end of the Bryce Canyon park to see as many scenic views as we could. Well worth the stop.
The Road Less Traveled
Most people skip over the parks in between Zion/Bryce and Moab but we opted for the less-beaten-path route along Scenic Byway 12. We had several people recommend the Grand Staircase Escalante area to us so that was our next stop along the way. Escalante was home to another one of my favorite hikes ever: Peekaboo Canyon. This whole area is super remote and requires long drives down dirt roads to get to anywhere of note so not many people attempt hikes in this area. We decided to hike Peekaboo and Spooky and were not disappointed. It’s a bit of a hard hike down on slickrock down to the canyons, and then you have to scale a 12′ wall with small hand and foot holds to get into the Slot Canyon but once I conquered that (and stopped stress crying) the route through the slot canyon was super fun and unique to explore. We loved every minute of it.
The portion of Scenic Byway 12 north of Escalante is a very EXTREME section of road. We drove it with just the truck the night before our departure so that Kyle could get a lay of the land and judge the 14% grade roads prior to towing the camper through. That being said, this section of Utah was UNREAL. There were winding steep switchbacks, narrow passes through tall canyons, cliff-side drives with no guard rails and then a “hogsback” ridgeline section with drop offs and endless views on both sides of the road. Not the most stress-free drive ever but WELL worth the drive.
Our next stop along the journey was the most underrated National Park in the state: Capitol Reef National Park! We found ourselves a great (but windy) boondocking spot looking down over the entrance of the park. Many people haven’t even heard of Capitol Reef but this park was full of cool canyon drives, scenic hikes and natural rock features. We spent the first night driving the park, then the following two mornings hiking and exploring the different corners of the park. I honestly wish we had more time to spend there to do more hikes but it was WELL worth the stop.
A Week in Moab
The last two National Parks of the Utah Mighty 5 are both found in the Moab area. We decided to spend an entire week there to make the most of our time! I had a few shifts to work over the week, so we snagged a spot with great Verizon cell service a little bit north of town. Then over the course of the next 6 days, we bounced around between Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse State park and went off-roading in a couple different sports around the area.
Due to lack of preparation, I didn’t know about the timed entry requirements for Arches National Park until the week prior. Luckily I was able to snag us a half a day on Sunday and another evening ticket on Thursday. We were able to see and do almost everything that we wanted into those two time slots! Including an evening hike up to Delicate Arch without it being too mobbed.
We personally preferred Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park over Arches. We did a few hikes in both and drop throughout Canyonlands checking out all the scenic overlooks but our favorite thing we did was taking the winding, switchback Schaffer Road back into town. This gnarly dirt road was narrow, steep, rugged and remote. Definitely not for the faint of heart but it was such a fun adventure.
The rest of our time in Moab consisted of exploring the town, getting out riding on the quad and dirt bike and treating ourselves to a few eating out experiences which we don’t do often on the road to save money. This week in Moab was a perfect way to finish off our three week vacation before setting up in Colorado.
Summer Adventures Ahead
We arrived here in Durango, Colorado on May 12th and spent the first week or two getting set up and exploring town. We have a full off-grid set up here on someone’s land in the town next to Durango. It was a bit of an initial investment but now all we need to pay is $250 a month for rent and $40 a month to get our tanks emptied. Not too shabby!
So far we’ve done the scenic drive up to Silverton and Ouray, done some white water rafting down the Animas, made some new friends and explored some of the hiking trails around town. We also are officially adopting our new doggo, Sashi! I got sucked in to a cute social media post and the rest was history. We’re super excited to welcome her to the family and train her into our adventure buddy!
This weekend we’re back in Utah for a race for Kyle and testing out Sashi’s first camping experience. (I don’t think she knows that her house is on wheels yet!) And then we’ve got an ENDLESS list of other adventures we’d like to plan this summer! Between the Colorado National Parks we haven’t explored yet, the hot springs nearby and some great off-roading areas over the border in New Mexico, we’ve got a lot to fit in in a little amount of time.
I’m looking forward to getting back into the habit of blogging because I have an infinite amount of adventures to share from our last year on the road! Stay tuned and kick me in the ass if I don’t stick with it 😉 And as always, check out InMotion Adventures if you’re looking to plan a big adventure of your own! Until next time…