August 31, 2012

Good Times at the Badlands and Driving Through South Dakota

After Rapid City we began our long slog across the state of South Dakota. South Dakota turned to be exactly as boring as I had expected it to be, if not more so. Granted, we crossed the state on interstate 90, and did not take too many side country roads, so I can’t guarantee that the whole state is not one huge corn field, but it sure seemed that way. The excessively hot temperatures outside did not help make the drive any better either. It was so hot and dry that there were highway signs warning drivers to smoke only inside their cars and to empty all ashes into the ash tray. The chance of grass fire was very high.

August 29, 2012

Mr. Rushmore National Memorial

Sunday we crossed another state line on this trip, we hit state number 14, also known as South Dakota. That night we checked into an RV park just outside of Rapid City. Rapid City would put us close enough to the nearby attractions, and it was decent sized city so we figured we could explore some city along with seeing some nature. After parking the trailer we unhitched and drove into town to see what Rapid City had to offer.

Unfortunate Consequences of Living in Small Spaces

There are, of course, downfalls to living in such small quarters. I figured this poem and picture would give you an idea of what I'm talking about

The unfortunate smelly consequences of living in small spaces

August 28, 2012

The Wild, Wild West in Wyoming

To continue our trek east we headed north from our parking spot on Grassy Lake road, back through Yellowstone Park. When planning our drive we’d looked at the topographical map of the area on Google Maps and decided that if we headed north out of the park and back into Montana to get to I-90, that that would be the flattest way out. But, at the last moment, we rethought our plans and decided to instead venture directly east through Wyoming with hopes that the mountain passes wouldn't be that bad. I’m really glad we made the choice because we saw some really gorgeous parts of Wyoming that we would have missed otherwise.

August 27, 2012

Grand Teton National Park

The camping in Yellowstone Park was $28, which included two showers and dumping use, but did not include any hook-ups. After paying for two nights we were interested in finding a cheaper place to live, if not free. On our way down to the Tetons, we remembered that our friends at the Our Take on Freedom blog had been this way previously, and they had found a great boondocking spot between Yellowstone and the Grand Teton NP. We decided to check it out, and it turned out to be great!

August 26, 2012

Grizzly Encounters And Wild Traffic Jams in Yellowstone NP

If there is one way to describe Yellowstone National Park, it’s that it’s HUGE.  We spent two full days in the park, put in full eight hour days of exploring each day, and drove just over 240 miles. Yes, all of that within the park. We saved ourselves another $25 (car entry cost) by showing up with our Annual National Parks Pass. That awesome pass has paid for itself and then some, with all the national parks and monuments we've already been to this year!

August 25, 2012

Driving under the Big Sky in Montana

After Missoula we returned to our trek across Montana on I-90. While passing through the city of Butte, I happened to look up into the mountains and noticed a glint of white on a ridgeline. When I focused my camera on it, it appeared to be a massive white statue. WTF? Upon further Wikipedia research it turned out to be Our Lady of the Rockies, the second tallest statue in the United States, after the Statue of Liberty. How random and cool is that?

August 24, 2012

6 Months On The Road: Some Thoughts

On Wednesday we hit the six month mark for our travels. Thinking about what a monumental event this was for us, I started thinking about all that we have seen and what we have learned from our experiences so far. Sky and I got to reflecting on what our expectations for this trip had been, and we came up with several examples of where this trip has turned out to be not what we had expected of it. Not necessarily good or bad, just different.  I figured it might be interesting to share some of these thoughts with you in case you were considering going on an adventure like ours, or were just curious to hear about it.

August 19, 2012

Heading East

A while back I'd mentioned that we'd almost gotten to the end of our originally planned itinerary for this trip. When we'd sat down and thought about what we wanted to see on this trip, the West Coast was the main destination, with an end point in Yellowstone Park. Today we are finally headed to Yellowstone Park, and I am happy to say that we have decided to keep traveling afterwards. We have decided to cross the country, visiting multiple national parks along the way and several large cities. Our new destination is Chicago, just 10 hours north of our hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas.

August 16, 2012

Back In The USA, On To Seattle

Surprisingly we sailed through American customs, no questions asked, again! Looks like the trick is to A)pull an RV over the border, B)go at a busy time where there are lots of other cars in line and C)have Lindsay along for the ride.

On our way into Seattle we stopped on the outskirts and paid a visit to the Red Hook brewery. I'd read that they gave cheap tours, and since I'd recently enjoyed a six pack of their Wit ginger flavored beer, I figured we'd give them a try. The tour was indeed only $1, and included 6 generous samples and a commemorative glass, but I would have to say it was one of the more boring tours I've had in a brewery. Lindsay had noticed the Chateau Saint Michelle vineyards across the road on our way in, so we walked over there and also enjoyed that free tour.

August 12, 2012

Whistler Mountain

On Wednesday we made a day trip outside of Vancouver to visit the home of the 2010 winter Olympics, Whistler Mountain. That morning started off rainy and cloudy and we were afraid that our plans for a hike in the Garibaldi Provincial Park, just outside of Whistler, were ruined.

August 11, 2012

We Went To Canada! Cool, Eh?

So, late Sunday afternoon we decided to check the customs rules for entering Canada. The funny thing was that we were heading into Canada the following day. Come to find out, our BB gun was probably not allowed, neither was our somewhat large stash of liquor we'd been dragging around for the last 10 years (no seriously..I don't know why we don't just throw this stuff away, or just have a party, we could be the cool kids on the block!), and fresh potatoes and certain other fruits and vegetables were questionable. And because we still couldn't bring ourselves to trash the liquor, and didn't want to part with the gun, we decided to ask the nice folks at the RV park to hold it for us, packaged up in a nice box of course. Surprisingly, they agreed. With the perishables we just made a huge pot of mashed taters and stir fried a random mix of the veggies. Phew! One crisis averted.

August 10, 2012

Aberdeen, WA

After driving up the Oregon coast, we crossed the highway 101 bridge from Astoria into Washington, and followed the highway north into Aberdeen.

Driving along the Washington coast

August 09, 2012

Recipes From The Road- Homemade Salsa

When Sky was working in the corporate world, he had a Mexican co-worker who made amazing salsa. She refused to share the recipe until the day we finally announced we were leaving the company, and then she emailed it him. Technically this recipe requires a blender, and we don't have one with us...but because we were staying at a well equipped RV park we had access to great resources and we made use of them.

August 04, 2012

West of Portland: The Oregon Coast Part 2

We finally made it to Seaside and settled in at our Couch Surfing hosts's home. In Seaside we had another great Couch Surfing experience (I know...but I promise I'm not being paid to say all of this...although if Couch Surfing did want to chip in, that would be OK too). When looking for someone to couch surf with, we decided to try out the "display my travel plans to local couch hosts" option. Neal, a very kind host from Seaside, contacted us and let us know that we were welcome at his house.

August 03, 2012

West of Portland: The Oregon Coast Part 1

After spending a month in Portland, we tore ourselves away and drove to the coast. Our first stop was in Tillamook, famous for the Tillamook cheese factory.We found easy street parking for the night, and in the morning decided to bike a portion of the Three Capes Scenic Route. I say a portion because the total ride is over 30 miles long, and very hilly, and after running 8 miles the day before and Sky playing 2 hours of soccer, we only had 23 miles of hills in us (on mountain bikes no less!).