19 November 2014

Life On The Road Lately

If you're one of our regular blog followers, then you'll know we're on a crazy little road trip from Portland, Oregon to Ray, North Dakota and then on to the East Coast to look for our next sailboat. If you're new to the blog, well now you know that we're on a crazy little road trip. And that we like sailboats. We used to own one in New Zealand and we're desperate to get another one. {You can read about our old sailboat here.} In any event, I thought it was time for a little one of our "Life Lately" posts - basically little tidbits of what's been going on lately for us. So, here we go...

Like all good plans, this one has changed. Originally, we thought we would head down to San Francisco for a few days after spending some time at the Redwood National & State Parks. After San Francisco, we only had a few National Parks picked out that we definitely wanted to get to. However, since we headed out on the road, we decided to skip San Francisco and our trip has somehow evolved into a quest to visit as many National Parks as we can between Portland and North Dakota. So far, we've been to the Redwoods, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Death Valley National Park, Zion National Park and Bryce National Park. Plus Mojave National Preserve (not technically a park, but part of the National Park Service). That's nine parks and one preserve so far in a little less than three weeks! While we wish we could spend more time in each and every place, it has been amazing to have the opportunity to just see the highlights of such vastly different places. This really is an incredibly diverse country with amazing scenery! The picture above is from Joshua Tree National Park. We hadn't planned to go there originally, but I'm so glad we did. Fortunately, we have a little more than two weeks before we have to be in North Dakota, so we should be able to cram a lot more in! {You can read about our original plan here.}

We've been trying to do a bit of camping while we've been on our road trip. Two reasons - it is a lot cheaper than staying in motels and who doesn't like a campfire at night. Plus it is pretty amazing to wake up in the middle of the park, rather than have to drive in and out each day. The picture above is from our campsite in Death Valley. Not sure if you can tell, but the picnic table is made out of metal. Who else thinks it seems like a bad idea to have metal picnic tables in a place where the temperature routinely goes above 120F/49C in the summer? Fortunately, we were there in November when the weather was much cooler!

As much as we like camping, sometimes sleeping in a tent sucks. Like when it is pouring down rain or the wind is blowing or it is freezing in the morning and it is a real challenge to make breakfast while wearing mittens. After just a few nights of tent camping, we've recently become seduced by tiny campers. One small problem, our vehicle doesn't have the biggest towing capacity out there - even for the tiniest of travel trailers. Or so we thought...then we discovered the Scamp travel trailers. They're ultra-light and even our old Nissan Pathfinder can tow the 13' one. Scamps are made to order in Minnesota by a small family business. Now we're thinking about joining the cult of Scampers. 

Although bears scare the crap out of me (see here), I was so glad I got to see one on the Tioga Road as we headed out of Yosemite. As soon as we saw this little fellow on the side of the road, we screamed "Bear!!!", Scott pulled over quickly and we jumped out to watch him forage for food (from a safe distance of course). In addition to this little fellow, we've seen some other amazing wildlife like tarantulas, mule deers, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, fox, elk, coyotes and lizards. Awesome!

So that's life lately on the road. What's been happening where you are? 

Update as of 7 November 2014


  1. Glad you got to see a bear from a safe distance -- they're amazing creatures, aren't they? I can't get enough of them!


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