Going places where we’ve never been!

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Sunsets along the northern Nevada Desert

For several months we planned for our 15-day road trip. It all started as a possible trip to Mammoth Lakes, California, to participate in the Mammoth Gran Fondo road bike annual event, then it evolved from there. “You can’t go to California and not go to wine country… While we are in northern California, let’s visit the Oregon coast.” And so it began this epic road trip plan; 3,342 miles, 4 states, and wonderful new experiences!

We both still work, so vacations have to be well planned to maximize our available time off. Sometimes I think I plan too much but it’s difficult not to plan things out. I did not plan activities, just the locations and our camping spots since we tow our RPod, travel-trailer. Our hotel on wheels! While we don’t mind boon-docking, it’s easier to know we have a spot to stay the night. And, with more and more people adopting the RV lifestyle, good camping spots are sometimes hard to find if not booked in advance.

First spot was Mammoth Lakes, California. Small ski town, high in the eastern Sierras surrounded by several lakes and beautiful alpine scenery. Husband participated in the one-day, 70-mile Gran Fondo, with a finish time of 4 hours and 41 minutes. I was right there taking photos. They had a beautiful day to ride through some great scenery.

We choose June Lake, Oh Ridge Campground, just outside (13 miles) of Mammoth Lakes, for our base-camp. This was the perfect spot for our 4 days stay while we explored the area. We golfed at Sierra Star Golf Course; nice mountain course right in Mammoth. A bit pricey, but the course was beautiful. Since we were this close to Yosemite NP, we decided to go; my first time. We were going to leave early and head to Napa, but glad we ended up extending our stay and taking the trip over. Also glad we drove over on a Monday. Can’t imagine the park in the summer or weekends; it was crowded enough. Just beautiful!

Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite NP

Next stop, wine country! We explored Napa Valley; mainly from Calistoga to St. Helena. Experienced some great food in Calistoga. Loved the wineries we visited and the people we met.

Sattui Vineyards, St. Helena, California

Favorite restaurants in Calistoga: Best pizza – Bosko’s Trattoria; Great After Dinner Spot – Napa Valley Brewing Co. outside patio; Mexican – Pacifico!

Wineries we visited: Markham Vineyards; Beringer Vineyards; V. Sattui; Louis M. Martini Winery; Frog’s Leap Winery. There were a few others we would have loved to visit, but we ran out of time. We will just have to return, soon!

Harris Beach State Park, Oregon

The next leg of our trip took us up hwy 101 to the Humboldt Redwoods, then up the coast to Brookings, Oregon. We stayed at Harris Beach State Park, where we met up with some friends from Colorado. This was definitely another spot we would have loved to stay for at least 3 or 4 more days. Beautiful sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.

As we traveled east through southern Oregon, we were all very surprised to drive past fields and fields of hemp. It seems the crop is a popular one with Oregon farmers. Who knew!

Lessons learn: next time, going to focus on a particular area, not multi-state attractions. More time to spend in one particular spot. I think we need to return to Oregon, especially the coast. Have you been? What area would you recommend visiting?

For now, we stored our travel trailer for the winter, or until the snow melts in northern Colorado. We stay put for a bit and enjoy our winter activities in the mountains.

I ran away to the woods!

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Living in Colorado, we are lucky to be able to “run away” for higher ground often. That was the case this past weekend. On a recommendation of friend, we added a hike to the outing.

alpine mountain lake surrounded by mountains

Note to self: when receiving recommendations on a new hike, take into consideration the fitness level of said friend!!

purple wild flowers along the hiking trail
Wild flowers along the hiking trail

This was our 2nd attempt trying to hike to Agua Fria Lake. This not so popular lake on the east side of the Continental Divide, was fairly challenging. The 4-mile hike to the lake is steep and rocky, but those that are up to the challenge are rewarded with great views of North Park along the trek up. Give yourself time to stop along the way and enjoy the views. You gain about 1,400 vertical feet in 3 miles, then you climb down another mile to reach this beautiful alpine lake. I would recommend at least time for a picnic along the lake shore or a little fishing. If you are like us, we carried our fly poles and tried out luck on the lake. One of us got a bite, no fish after that. I’ll blame the nasty wind. Regardless, the scenery alone makes all the effort worth it.

Agua Fria – Water falling over to the canyon below
Beaver Creek

July seems to be the push for family vacations; that last trip before kids of all ages go back to school. We found the area that normally is fairly quite, totally busy. Not only were the campgrounds in the area totally full, the dispersed camp sites within the 3-mile radius were occupied. Because of this, we decided until schools are back in session, we will stay around the house and catch up with summer chores. Plus another couple of weeks and the high country will start to cool down. It will be much nicer to camp then.

Dispersed camping east of Buffalo Pass

Fishing Weekend on the Green

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The Green River

Spring in Northwest Colorado has been cool and wet this year. Not that any of us will complain after last year’s fires, but still, where is summer?! We are limited where to camp at this point; too much snow in the high country. We don’t normally go to the same places week after week, but adjustments need to be made if we want to camp right now.

We headed to the Green River, again, this past weekend. Our timing was actually pretty good, since the release from Flaming Gorge will be increasing this Monday. Reports say it will go up to 6,000 cfs. Rafters will be happy.

BT looking for the big Brown Trout

Saturday we headed to the river stretch just below the dam (Flaming Gorge, UT). A little busy, but you could still find a spot on the river where you didn’t have anyone close by. Fish were biting, and water was pretty clear. While Bill fished with another friend that joined us for the weekend, I ventured along the river on the hiking trail that goes from the dam to Little Hole; about 7 miles. Beautiful, easy trail along the river.

Wild Flowers along the river trail

Fish were caught, and released! Everyone was happy. We left our campground early afternoon on Sunday to 80 degrees, it was 57 by the time we got home. Glad we had a couple of nice summer days in Utah.

Camp ~ Lily Pad

2019 Camping Season Has Begun

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Blue Heron along the Green River bank

The snow in Northwest Colorado has finally melted enough for us to get our RPod – travel trailer – out of the back yard. It’s always exciting to get ready for that first trip of the season. Getting all the gear back in the camper. Trying to figure out where to go, since the high country is still snowed-in. In the end, all it matters is that we go, somewhere, anywhere! Last year we logged 40 camping days for the season. Let’s see if we can beat that number in 2019.

My first task: organizing the storage space. I had baskets, I had dividers, Command strips – I believe Walmart stock is up due to my obsession with getting the camper organized and my quest to be more efficient this year! Having a smaller camper makes it a bit more challenging to store things. The use of the space is essential to being able to find “stuff” once you packed it all in. After much thought and some rearranging, I think I got it. I was so efficient that I have an entire shelf that is now empty. I question what was there before. Am I forgetting something? In the past couple of years since we purchased the RPod, every inch of it was filled with “stuff”; what I deem important stuff. A home away from home.

“Camping, where you spend a small fortune to live like a homeless!”

Vegetation along the river bank

So, off we went to the Green River, middle of nowhere Utah. The weather was beautiful; cool nights, warm days. This part of Western US is the perfect spot for one to disconnect from everything. You have to travel 60 miles either way, East/West, to find civilization. We set up camp at Indian Crossing, BLM campground, just along the river. It’s normally not too busy of a spot. We only had about 4 or 5 other camp sites occupied. The Green River is very popular with both rafters and anglers. Normally you will see outfitters drop off their trailers during the day. Otherwise, it’s a low key spot. I don’t fish; either spend my time reading or taking photos. Bill is the fisherman of the group. Several attempts were made to bring in a nice big brown trout. The one time Bill actually hooked one, it was too big and took off with the fly and the line. I probably don’t have to tell you, he was not very happy! I kept reminding him it’s called “fishing” not “catching”; I laughed, and laughed… he didn’t see the humor. Early morning the river flow was about 900 cfs, but by early afternoon more than doubled. 

Mighty fisherman

We did some exploring in the area after lunch on Saturday. In this vast area, one can easily get lost. It’s easy to imagine outlaws in the 1800’s hiding out. It hasn’t changed much. Apart from some curious cows grazing by Red Dirt Creek, no living creature was around for miles and miles, in any direction. Red Dirt Creek was flowing nicely. We also stopped over at the Jarvie Ranch on the way back to camp; always fun to walk through those old building.

But, not everything is fun and games when you camp. It wouldn’t be a camp trip without some “issues”. This trip was no different. I turn on the water pump, and no more than 5 seconds later, I have water everywhere. It’s coming from the wall! What the heck!?! I’m fortunate to have a very handy husband. We investigate and discover it’s the fitting in the shower faucet. Of course, you can barely fit a tool through the opening behind the faucet. Who builds these things? How can they not think we will need to reach behind pipes and faucets. Anyway, after some work and yoga moves, we manage to get it fixed. Good as new!! Life is good again.

We now start planning our next trip. Summer is Colorado doesn’t last long. We have to enjoy every minute of it. Time is wasting. Where is your next trip? Do you prefer established campgrounds or dispersed camping? Drop a line…  Happy Trails! 

What do you want for Valentine’s Day? ~ A plane ticket.

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Happy New Year everyone. As we put away our respective holiday decorations, retailers across the country have already moved on and are now focusing on Valentine’s Day. Telling us we have to buy more stuff for our significant others, and our pets. Do we really need more stuff? Be honest with yourself, do you?

I love gifts as much as anyone, but a dozen roses at Valentine’s Day equates to a one night stay at a 3-star hotel somewhere. So, I’ve advised my husband that I don’t expect gifts or flowers; save the money for traveling. Of course that also means we skip buying for birthday, anniversaries, etc… (for each other; we aren’t total scrooges) That’s personal decision; it doesn’t work for all. At this time in our lives we both want more travel and less “stuff”.

So, here we are… where to in 2019?! Are you making your lists?

Rpod
Our maiden voyage with Lily Pad @ Grand Mesa, CO (July 2017)

In 2018 we recorded 40 camping days. We decided not to travel abroad in 2018 and focused on road trips. We hiked, camped, fished and golf. Now, on to 2019 travels. Where to go? How to miss the crowds? Decisions, decisions!

Our first trip of the year takes us to Southern California. We haven’t been there since our honeymoon in 2013. That’s like forever in doggy years!

Wild Horse Winery– Templeton, CA

Trip will be a special one; more than a getaway. Will be reacquainting trip for some and introduction for others. Looking forward to trying some good wine and eating great food while finally getting to meet some family members. A perfect combination for a great trip. And, should the California weather cooperate, we might be able to sneak in a game of golf.

Where are you traveling to this year? Any good camping ideas that you want to keep between us? I promise not to share with the world.