We’ve reached the end of yet another year of RVing and it’s the perfect time to reflect back. We started this whole adventure 4 years ago with the idea of “trying it out for a year”. Each year we re-evaluate and decide if we want to keep going and so far the answer has always been “yes”. It’s a lifestyle experiment that continues to surprise and enthrall us. But one thing that has definitely become a bit of a theme is that we really, really love the west. Something about the wide-open space, the abundance of public land, the amazing scenery and the generally dry and mild weather (esp. for the seasons we choose to visit) keeps us coming back.
This year we embraced that draw and completed a total of ~4,200 miles of driving across 5 main western states, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Oregon and California (with a very quick touch into WA). Following our typical planning process, our focus was to follow the weather at a relaxed pace with extra time in spots we really loved. Our longest drive was 275 miles and our shortest a mere 21, with the average 101 miles….perfection! We also spent alot more time both boondocking and lighthouse hosting this year which meant we spent just under $10/night for camping all year…not too shabby.
Winter In Wonderful Arizona
Our winter started in Arizona where we embraced boondocking and arctic blasts in Yuma, including our first dental visit to Mexico. This was followed by the big & crazy RV show in Quartzsite (something I think every RVer should do at least once) whereafter we made our way to Tuscon and encountered our first EVER days of snow in the rig (magical!!). The rest of Feb & March were spent boondocking around SE Arizona discovering cool & funky Bisbee, the amazing birds of Whitewater Draw and the hidden gem of Las Cienegas Wildlife Refuge (what a find!!). The beginning of spring had us catching desert bloom in Phoenix, followed by a last hurrah to Arizona boondocking just outside Cottonwood with our buddies Beluga. What an awesome winter!!
Spring In Spiritual Utah
With the weather turning our goal was to hit the amazing and remote area of SE Utah. In the first whiffs of spring we communed with the spirits in Monument Valley, admired the gods near Goosenecks, gaped in awe of the ancients near Comb Ridge and topped it all off with the red rocks of Moab. This period also gifted us with our first (and in retrospect amusing) encounter with RV mice….eeeeek! Our Utah adventures ended in one of the most unexpected and gorgeous areas we’ve ever seen -> Antelope Island. Were it not for the gnats we might have spent a whole month there.
Summer In Stunning Oregon
As the legs of summer encroached we sped over for a quick rest in Idaho before entry into our beloved Oregon. Our first stop was the wonderful & enchanting Columbia River Gorge (what a great spot!!). This marked the end of our land-locked adventures and the beginning of our coastal Odyssey. By June 1st we were on the beach in Washington in the Foulest Place In The West, after which we meandered veeery slowly and deliberately down the OR coast starting at Astoria, discovering outstanding Manzanita, stopping for cheese in Tilamook, gawking at fish in Newport, braving the rains in Florence and discovering hidden secret Winchester Bay. Our coastal summer topped off with 3 months of lighthouse hosting at two of our favorite places in the world, Bandon Beach and magical Cape Blanco (the latter of which we shared with our buddies Technomadia). We loved it so much we signed up again for next year, our 3rd in a row. We ended our OR adventure in at the very southern tip of the state in the “banana belt” of Brookings. Ahhh…summer along the Oregon Coast….it can’t be beat!
Fall In The Fabulous Sierra Nevada Mountains
Having spent a near-perfect summer on the coast we set our sights on fall in the mountains. A messed-up transmission service set-us back temporarily, but this was followed by exactly what we’d hoped for…FALL colors in the Sierra Nevada Mountains (Oh, and a naked man)! The trip happened to coincide with the Federal Government Closure so we just switched our plans to 100% boondocking….free and fabulous! The remainder of October was spent hanging along Hwy 395 in all our favorite spots, the diverse Bishop, lovely Alabama Hills (where we had an impromptu Pumpkin Carving contest) and ending up in the warm pools & crazy desert of Desert Hot Springs.
That about wraps up our year, at least as far as the sights & travels go. What I didn’t mention were the rich and abundant encounters with people we’ve met along the way -> evenings spent with other RVers, friendships made, boondocking sites shared and campfires attended. These human encounters are what makes this lifestyle soooo much more than just travel, and to those of you who’ve been part of our year I send our warmest thoughts. You know who you are! As usual, I’ve kept a detailed track in Google Maps of every spot visited and every road driven on our 2013 journey including a link-back to the blog posts for each location. So, if you’re looking for a fun evening of reading, just sit down in a comfy chair with your favorite beverage and click away….
That’s it folks. I’ll be doing another post for our top campgrounds of the year, but after that’s done it’ll be onto 2014….year 5 here we come!!
Where Are We Today?Sam's Family Spa, Desert Hot Springs, CA
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