Our time in St. George was full of many firsts for me: learning to drive a manual, going mountain biking, and playing pickleball, but I’d have to say rock climbing was definitely the most epic ‘first’. Brad’s sister Julie and brother-in-law Riley are outdoor lovers, and avid mountain bikers and climbers. We’d been dropping hints that we’d love to go climbing with them sometime and during this visit to St. George we finally got our chance. While Brad had been climbing before it was over a decade ago so we were stoked to have such experienced people taking us!
Archive of posts from 2018
When it comes to our travels we very rarely have a set plan, but we’ve found that having a few anchor points throughout the year can really help guide our journey. We knew we wanted to spend Thanksgiving with Brad’s family in southern Utah, so that informed our destinations as we wove our way through the southwest. We were obviously there to see family, but St. George is a fantastic destination in its own right: hiking, bouldering, biking, mountain biking, rock climbing, photography, gorgeous state parks and of course nearby Zion National Park.
As you enter Valley of Fire State Park it doesn’t take long to see what a visual wonderland this place is. Even though it’s just an hour northeast of Las Vegas it feels worlds away. The stark beauty of the colorful sandstone, the roaming herds of big horn sheep, and the delicate pastels that come to life at sunset make this a must-see place. There are several hiking trails in the park and they’ll take you to petroglyphs, slot canyons, petrified logs, arches, and vibrant sandstone you have to see to believe.
I can pretty well remember every place we’ve visited – especially since we film our travels and I spend a lot of time working with the files – but there are definitely those places that stand out above the rest. Stewarts Point is one of those spots. It’s a place we visited very early into our travels but it was such a memorable time with clear starry nights, rainbows, and Brad playing our electric keyboard on the beach! If you want to check out that visit, you can find the video here. Anyway, it was pretty exciting when we realized we would be passing nearby and able to stay at this spectacular site once again.
Our Thanksgiving plans had us on a northward trajectory and we weren’t quite sure where to head after the Phoenix area. Watson Lake in Prescott is on our list as a great kayaking destination so that was in the running but ultimately we decided we should go there in warmer weather. We had heard great things about Lake Havasu and the reviews for camping at Craggy Wash BLM were pretty positive so we decided to check it out for ourselves.
Let me just say, Fall is an absolutely spectacular time to visit Arizona: the temperatures are ideal, crowds have thinned at popular swimming spots, and the occasional rain creates more green spaces and flowering plants – we saw grass growing in the desert! After our amazing week at Indian Bread Rocks we continued northward and spent a week in Scottsdale so that Brad could put in some face-time at the office. His employer is based there and with our visit being in late October it was a super convenient place to have our absentee ballots sent so that we could vote in the Midterm elections.
When we were RV shopping, we looked inside many many RVs. There might have been others that looked a bit nicer but everything else about this one really fit our needs: it was in our price range, had low miles, had a solar panel and inverter all ready, and the previous owners had taken great care of it. I really disliked the look of the brown and tan striped furniture but we weren’t going to let that be a deal breaker. A few months after we’d purchased Fendy, I was looking into options for updating the couch and learned about chalk paint – I decided to give it a try! Long story short, it worked like a charm and even 2.5 years later the color is holding up great. It really dramatically changed the look of our living space and it’s still one of my favorite updates that we did on Fendy.
So we actually first learned of this spot from fellow RVers Drivin & Vibin. It was probably a year ago that we watched a video of their favorite free campsites and Indian Bread Rocks was on there. I added it to our adventure list back then, not knowing when we’d fit it into our travels, but sure enough as we were leaving Albuqurque after the Balloon Fiesta this year, we saw that it was the perfect time to visit this area.
People often ask us how we find these gems, these beautiful places. Well! We keep an adventure list, organized by state, and we’re always updating it as we learn of great spots. We get tips from fellow travelers, travel magazines, or sometimes we just see a green space on the map and read up on it. Pro tip: we also check out Campendium and sort by the highest-rated free campsites in an area. Anyway, when we were leaving Albuquerque we realized we could incorporate a stay at the beautiful Elephant Butte Lake State Park and so our plan was set. If you look up photos of this place, you’ll see a popular destination with cars dotting the shoreline and boats filling the lake. Well, those must be from the height of summer because that’s about the opposite of what we found coming here in mid-October!
When we left Colorado, our original idea was to spend a week in Taos but with a chilly forcast showing overnight temps there dropping into the low 30s, we decided we should keep moving south. I found that Albuquerque was a good twenty degrees warmer all around and so we made that the destination. It wasn’t until Brad started looking into camping options that we realized the International Balloon Fiesta was currently going on!
After our time in Manitou Springs, we made the three hour drive south to check out Great Sand Dunes National Park. We had heard how impressive the giant dunes are and were excited to see it with our own eyes. Our last National Parks pass expired a couple months ago, so at the entrance station we purchased our third annual pass since living on the road. It’s still a STEAL at $80 for the whole year. Not only does it get you into every national park and monument, it has also covered our parking fee at different national forest hiking and recreation sites. Worth every penny, or as my dear friend Jessica would say: it’s cheap at twice the price!
It’s always so fun to figure out what path and direction we’re going to take when we have a far-off destination in mind. We pull out our road atlas (yes, a paper map!) and start looking at all the options, and it’s very exciting to envision ourselves on different adventures along these different routes. When it came time to leave Iowa, we knew we would be heading towards the Southwest for the winter but we didn’t know what we wanted to see on the way there. Realizing that we might be able to catch some of the golden Aspens in Colorado helped us make our decision.
Hi there and welcome to our little blog. We figured it was about time that we added this facet into our digital presence, I mean, we’ve only been full-time RVing for two and a half years now! When we first started this traveling lifestyle, I was so engrossed in capturing it in photos and film – it’s what felt most intuitive to me and to be honest I’ve been a bit intimidated about the written part. But in the spirit of trying new things, especially things that push you outside your comfort zone, here we are.