I feel like I’m stuck in the Land of Eternal Winter.
We’ve been teased by glimpses of the end of it for a month now.
Sunny days that require only a t-shirt and shorts that have been followed by days of bitter cold where I’m digging deep into our Yakima SkyBox for my thick winter tracksuit pants I thought I had long packed away.
I find camping in winter so draining and it makes me want to cry each time I return to the sweater.
Noooooo. Please just give me warmth. I’ll take 100 degrees any day!
It’s May and we nearly had snow the other day. That’s how cold it is!
I refused to leave Goldie (our RV) when we were back at our boondocking spot after our days hiking. I can’t step out there and feel it for another minute.
We’ve just had several days of rain and Goldie is coated in a nice shade of orange and brown mud. More rain is coming.
Did I mention we are in the desert!!
I love how travel teaches you don’t know much.
The American Desert is vastly different to the Australian one – no snow, little precipitation and little chill around. I guess the driest continent in the world is going to be true to the desert definition.
We’ve had so much rain since we’ve been in the South West. It’s mind boggling.
I can be impressed and awestruck by it at the same time I’m shivering. Long winters just aren’t in my DNA.
I find it amazing that we’ve even traveled for nearly 5 months in an RV over winter. We’ve done well, but I’m ready to change things up.
I fear though, as we move soon into Northern California and the Pacific Northwest that the heat I’m craving just won’t arrive.
It’s verified for me one of the reasons I love living in Raleigh so much. I know that now it is May the warm sweaters are packed away in those boxes for the next 5 months. They won’t be seen.
Everyday and every evening will be hot. Warm blanket, sweaty hot – just the way I like it. I like waking up and never having to check the weather.
Today will be hot, hotter or hottest.
I love how travel helps you to know what you like and don’t like. If you only know what you know then how can you know if it’s truly what you love and why!
After spending 20 years traveling and living in various climates, I truly know what I love and what works best for me. 4 seasons with a short winter and long, hot, humid summers.
That’s my jam’.
The good news is the cold is not stopping us from having an incredible time and doing amazing things.
You’ve just got to know how to dance in the rain and cold!
This week 23 wrap up of our USA road trip shares our adventures from Saturday to Friday.
I publish the posts on Sunday (I need a few days to prepare it!) More in-depth posts on each region with loads of tips and suggestions will be coming soon.
The Saddest News of our RV Travels so far
Our beautiful email community already know this (as they get the insider stuff first. Jump in our virtual suitcase if you haven’t already. It’s free!)
We made the heartbreaking decision to skip Bryce Canyon in Utah.
It is by my favorite National Park in the USA (so far). We have been circling it now for 6 weeks waiting to get in. The Universe is against it.
Horse riding wasn’t available (for over a week). This was the number one thing we wanted to do. Craig and I did this in 2006 and it was one of our favorite travel adventures ever and we had been talking to the girls about it since before we left Raleigh in November.
A couple of the trails we wanted to hike were also still closed due to winter weather damage. And it was due to have cold temps and rain ALL week!
We didn’t want to go to this magical fairy land and have half an experience. Since Utah is pretty central, we’re sure we’ll be able to fit it in somewhere else on the trip at a better time.
If not, we will fly into Las Vegas or Salt Lake City and road trip in from there at some stage.
One of the benefits of my 22 years of long term travel is that I’ve learned to easily accept what is and let go.
We did get a glimpse of it as we drove through. My God it’s beautiful.
With this never ending winter surrounding us, I’m ready to drop anything that doesn’t’ give me warmth at the moment.
Don’t miss my post this week on 8 reasons why travel helps you live a life that is good.
RV Travels this week in Utah
Peek-a-Boo and Spooky Gulch Slot Canyon
When we left you last week, our friends Mike and Anne from Honeytrek were sitting with us around the campfire drinking way too much wine.
I felt it the next day when we all went on one of our best adventures yet – Peek-a-boo and Spooky Canyon.
None of us knew what we were in for.
The kids had a blast and did not want this 3.5 mile long adventure to end as they climbed and scrambled over rock faces, small holes and boulders.
It was full of explosive moves which pounded my head and body.
After the tough climb through Peek-a-Boo we entered into Spooky Canyon, called that for how deep and dark and narrow it gets – 11 inches wide.
It was backpacks off backs, and bums and boobs tucked in.
We donned our Flat Stanley personas and slid our way through the crack climbing down further into the canyon as we went. Can’t wait to show you the video for this adventure.
What a way to spend it with our friends!
Hell’s Backbone Drive
After two intensive hikes in a row (the Slot Canyons and Lower Calf Creek Falls), a much needed rest day was had sitting in the car and enjoying the stunning scenery from our window.
First we started with a coffee and a view at Kiva Koffeehouse on Highway 12 and then drove half of the Hells Backbone Drive, which really wasn’t anything too amazing.
Perhaps the part that was closed was better.
Burr Trail Scenic Drive
The 64 mile Burr Trail was next which goes through Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and into Capitol Reef National Park.
We knew immediately we had arrived back into Capitol Reef NP as the colors turned into the rainbow and the water pocket fold appeared.
Driving down the switchbacks was just stunning. Look at the red, chocolate, white and yellow colors of the rocks.
Slow Camp Life
The rest of the week has been spent attending to errands, catching up on work, repairing our vans, and enjoying camp life.
This week we got hit with the rain and mud and had to leave our first boondocking spot for fear we were all going to get stuck in the churning mud. It was pretty gross.
I am waiting until we get out of the desert to scrub the orange dirt off Goldie.
We met some new friends, the family from EcoWomb who are living an incredible no impact life on Mother Earth. The kids had fun running around the campfire playing with their kids.
It was great to come out of the wilderness and have access to a major town, St George. Our first stop was haircuts, followed by Target, Costco, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Albertsons and Wal-Mart!
The return to civilization was good.
RV and Road Trip Lessons
- Always check the road around you in a Wal-Mart parking lot. You never know when you may drive over a big arse bolt and flatten the tire on your Ford 250. The tires on our Beast are massive but were no match for the BOLT. $279 later…. Craig changed to the spare tire on the side of the highway. Be sure to put your hazards on and know where your warning triangle is (if you have one) so you can put that out. We had no idea.
- If you’re boondocking spot looks a little rutty, you can be sure when it rains – even the smallest bit, it will turn into a mud pit only pigs will love. We escaped before more rain by putting The Beast into 4×4 L but were slipping and sliding out of there even with the Beast dragging Goldie out.
- Boondocking can take up a LOT of time driving into town to get water, gas, propane, do laundry, dump trash, find showers etc. Think about that before deciding to do it full-time if you run a full-time business. Boondocking has many benefits that we love, but it’s time consuming and we sometimes wonder would we be better using that time in other ways, like working on our business? Just an FYI.
- Boondocking, or maybe just RV travel, also costs a lot of money initially in getting set up for it AND maintenance. I cannot keep our weekly costs under $1,000. Something is always coming up that needs attention. Hopefully now when our batteries are replaced we can stop using our generator which also adds to the gas bill.
- We just bought 4 x 6 volt golf cart batteries for the RV at CostCo which come with a 12 month replacement guarantee – Love you CostCo! They will give us 205 amp hours instead of the 110 amp hours we currently have with our 12v deep cycle batteries.
- Americans call Goldie a travel trailer. Australians would call it a caravan. Americans call a group of travel trailers traveling together a caravan. Australians would call it a convoy. I could possibly confuse you a lot with the different terminology I use. If you hear me refer to Goldie as a van you know why (short for caravan. Aussies shorten every possible word).
I’ve heard those in the van life movement would be upset with me trying to hijack that term as van is meant for sprinter type combi vans.
My reply to the van lifers – Get over it. Call it what you want. Just enjoy the lifestyle!
More RV Tips and insights
Check out our video and podcast episode sharing our thoughts and advice on RV travel.
- The pros and cons of RV travel
- Was our RV trip of the USA worth it
- The girls give their perspective of our RV trip
Where we Stayed
Hole in the Rock Escalante Boondocking Spot
We had a few more nights in this wonderful camping spot. You can read more about it in last week’s wrap.
Boondocking Hurricane on Hwy 59
We’re sitting on a plateau surrounded by the spectacular mounts of Hurricane and St George region. Zion National Park is not far away so you can imagine how beautiful it is.
The only problem is we’re on clay which turns to mud with just a sprinkling of rain. And as mentioned, we’ve been getting a lot of it.
We had to move from spot number 1 and go 2 miles down the road to a not as muddy spot on the edge of the main graded dirt road so we could easily get out if necessary.
The first spot was a challenge. And on our first night nearby tent campers were shooting clay pigeons!! Can you believe it? I was stunned they could just shoot firearms on BLM land near other campers.
It’s the Wild West y’all.
Made me a little nervous with the kids playing cricket nearby and I’m pretty sure they were all drinking. Lucky the rain came pelting down for the entire night to stop their party.
Both these spots are free, about 30-minutes drive from St George and super fast internet. You gotta still love free.
Each week, I include our travel related costs for the week.
I don’t include things like business costs, insurance, and souvenirs etc. That’s so personal that whatever I told you wouldn’t necessarily be true for you and your budget.
The following, apart from perhaps our groceries, will give you a reasonable estimate of costs related to travel.
If you are new to our weekly wrap, our costs each week are usually around $1,000 – $1,300. We’re really trying to stay under $1,000
- Fuel: $153
- Parking: $
- Uber: $
The generator is costing us a bit extra in fuel. We only use it for about an hour a day to top up. Once we get our broken batteries replaced it will be better.
- Camping: $0 (yay)
- Park Fees: $
- Tours: $
- Tickets: $
- Tips: $
- Restaurants: $
- Coffee: $66
- Groceries: $389
- Take out/ snacks: $177
We eat a mostly whole foods, organic diet, which means our grocery bills are higher than what would be typical.
Don’t forget with eating out costs, tip will be included in the prices and the odd glass of wine or two.
RV Supplies and Living
- Laundry: $12
- Firewood: $
- Propane: $
- Supplies: $
- Dump: $13
- Postage: $
This week we had to buy 4 new batteries – our broken ones will be refunded so it will balance out. (Thank you Costco). We also had to replace a tire AND buy a few other supplies to fix things in the travel trailer.
Total paid by us: $1,605
Without all the RV supplies, we would have come in at $798. Which is under budget but still not satisfactory as we’re spending too much on eating out and coffee. #Beinglazy
If this was your full time lifestyle, you’d be more careful. But, we’ve planned for an epic short term trip of the USA (1 year) so we’re okay with spending a little more on indulgences.
Where to Next?
We are back in the land of not sure.
We’re waiting to hear back from possible blogging partnerships and are dancing around weather so it’s a bit of a limbo land.
Hopefully we’ll have a bit more clarity tomorrow. But, we are headed in the general direction of Northern California.
Do we go to Kings Canyon, Sequoia and Yosemite, even though it’s still freezing?
Or do we head to San Francisco which maintains consistent cold weather year round?
OR do we just say stuff it we’re going back to Vegas for some dry warmth?
Or, perhaps just jump on a plane to the Bahamas?
We’ll let you know!
Our latest in-depth blog post is on 8 Awesome Things to Do in Joshua Tree National Park, California
Videos of the trip coming out soon. Subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss it. We’re now releasing our road trip videos.
Check out our latest video of our time in Joshua Tree National Park