Portland, OR to Olympia, WA

Leaving Oregon with a sigh…

Bye-bye Hwy 101 beautiful beaches, great seafood, and lovely weather!

On the way from Tillamook to Portland we stopped at a few Oregon wineries.

 

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Montinore Estate in Willamette Valley

 

In Portland we had to stop at the famous Coco Donuts and the unique Abbey Creek Winery.

 

When we got to Olympia to visit friends from CB’s time in flight school at Fort Rucker we stayed for a week to do some modifications to the R-Pod and enjoy a rest from the road.

Olympia has some pretty nice diversions for a small city. We shopped and dined at:

  • Farmers Market
  • Bellezza Ropa
  • Market 22
  • Pig Brewery
  • Ricardo’s Steakhouse

Then spent the rest of the time relaxing, fixing up the r-pod and visiting with our friends. Oh, and if you ever need your hair braided in Olympia, Washington look up Dell’s Hair Design 🙂

 

Oregon Coast Beaches

We traveled along Oregon Highway 101 to enjoy the beach campgrounds and lighthouses on this lovely stretch of coast. Here are the highlights.

Coos Bay

We camped in a field right on the water in Charleston (thanks, Seamus and Pa Kelly!!) where we had water and electric hookup to their house. We woke the next morning to the sound of sea lions barking, which totally scared me at first. After a little exploring we found a few places to recommend:

We really liked La Herradura restaurant. Their flautas were perfect and their margaritas are HUGE (as are their plates so go knowing there will be leftovers).

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From Coos Bay you can quickly drive to the following scenic sites:

  • Sunset Bay State Park
  • Lighthouse @ Cape Arago
  • Botanical gardens @ Shore Acres State Park
  • Trails all along Cape Arago Highway
  • Egrets and blue herons were nesting (early June)

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Most of the congregations were attending the regional convention in nearby Salem but we were able to go to meeting with Bayview Cong in Coos Bay. Brother Ortiz gave a great talk and afterwards gave us some good recommendations for restaurants in Newport.

We did need to get an oil change because we had driven over 3,600 miles since leaving home on May 5. We took Smokey (our Ford Expedition) to Tower Ford  and had a terrific experience with their master mechanic, Ron.

Newport

We reserved an RV spot at South Beach State Park in Newport, which was a nice park with great bike trails… but since there is marsh nearby there are millions of mosquitoes. Maybe not when it gets more sunny, but when it’s overcast they’re out in force.

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Nye Beach is a historic neighborhood with cool little shops and restaurants. The nice lady at Shipping Solutions in town recommended we go there and we can’t thank her enough. We ate at Nana’s Irish Pub and had the most amazing dessert that has renewed my faith in dessert — it’s called Banoffee Pie, which is a banana-toffee extravaganza. Near Nana’s is Enrique’s Taqueria and a restaurant called Table of Contents, both of which we will be sure to try next time because their reviews are excellent.

Georgie’s is a nice restaurant on the main Highway with an AMAZING view of the beach and ocean. Wait for a window table. Try the Dungeness Crab Louie.

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The Newport Bridge is a lovely Art Deco bridge in town with great views of the bay — when it is not overcast.


South Jetty Trail at the State Park south of town was so picturesque.

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Fred Meyers, my old favorite from when I worked on a fire crew on the Siuslaw National Forest at Hebo Ranger District. Oh… the memories…

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Pacific City & Hebo

Pelican Brewery is the place to go as they’re right on the water near Haystack Rock and the Cape Kiwanda dunes. They have decent food and beer, of course.

Haystack Rock

I spent my first summer working for the Forest Service in Oregon on the Siuslaw National Forest for the Hebo Ranger District. For a City Girl I have done some decidedly non-city stuff like working out west on a wildland fire crew especially when I had never really been in a forest or on a mountain! We visited Mount Hebo and Lake Hebo on this trip.

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From the top of Mount Hebo you can see Haystack Rock in Pacific City. Camping at Hebo Lake is quiet and secluded.

Nearby you can visit Cape Meares and the Octopus Tree plus view the Three Arch Rocks from The Goonies movie.

Cape_Meares_and_three_Arch_Rocks

Tillamook

Tillamok cheese factory has the best cheese. Plus their exhibits teach you about dairy farming.

Blue Heron Cheese & Wine is a must visit in Tillamook, Oregon. Ask for Steve, a font of Oregon wine knowledge 🙂

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Trask River Auto Sales…  for pet, car, and RV washing!

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I didn’t get to visit the Air Museum, but next time!

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Steve suggested that next time we try to see a few other spots along the coast:

  • God’s Thumb in Lincoln city
  • Munson Falls near Tillamook
  • Saddle mountain in Astoria

I’ll cover the drive though wine country to Portland and Olympia in the next post.

R-Pod 180 HRE Named “Bandit”

I want to introduce you to Bandit, our R-Pod. We bought her in Arizona right after our trip to the Grand Canyon. She is a 180 Hood River Edition (HRE) model, 180 meaning she has a kitchen slide and a dry bath up front with lots of storage for a ultra-light micro travel trailer. HRE means she was made in Oregon, has more ground clearance (via axle risers) for off-road travel, 15″ all-terrain tires/wheels, two steps, and diamond plating on the front.

In this post I’ll list out our decor changes, mods, and RV accessories that we have found to be of great use on this road trip (6,000 miles and counting!).

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Smokey (our 1999 Ford Expedition) and Bandit (our R-Pod)

 

She has a grey/blue exterior with seaglass (read: brown, grey, and slate blue) interior.

 

I (CityGirl or CG for short) decided to decorate the inside with a coral and aqua palette with some shades of grey and blue.

Coral and Aqua

 

We also decided to add some more storage using our favorite stores; Amazon and IKEA. First we added the GRUNDTAL series kitchen rails, s-hooks, and a magnetic rack. Next, we installed a BEVKÄM wooden spice rack using 1/2″ screws (r-pod walls are 1 5/16″ thick and the door is 1 1/2″ thick) that we bought from Lowe’s. We also hung a key rack (Command Quartz Key Rail) that you can get at Target, but we found it at Camping World. We ordered hanging baskets for inside the bathroom door and inside the kitchen cabinet door from Amazon. We put suction cup accessories from the STUGVIK series on our bathroom mirror. We also installed the famous “over the bed” shelf using just a simple board from Lowe’s that we will paint when we return home (we are on a 3-month road trip as we are modding the pod). Lastly, we ordered a hanging storage system in grey to go over the outside of the bathroom door.

The result: we increased our storage and made it more efficient for our needs.

 

Some things I don’t know about yet are: tablecloths that actually fit the table and stay on, a comforter or quilt that doesn’t remain too bulky for the size of the bed, and more coral accents like this tea towel set from Cynthia Rowley.

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Additionally, my sweet Country Boy (CB for short) used the time we spent at a friend’s home in Olympia, Washington to install:

  • dual propane tanks,
  • a dual battery system with boxes,
  • a tongue mounted dual bike rack,
  • an under-trailer tire rack for Bandit,
  • and a Zamp 200-watt solar panel system.

While in Oregon we stopped in Lincoln City and purchased a Honda generator and companion so we could start the a/c if necessary while not on shore power and also jump off our tow vehicle if we got stuck out in the mountains with a dead battery. Couple that with lots of sun out west and we can boondock for 4 days at a time (or more if we conserve food and water).

 

When we set up, we use a few extras for protection of our r-pod travel trailer and for our peace of mind at campgrounds:

Whew! I think that is all for this post. We will cover reviews of these components in a later post.

 

Northern California – Marin & Redwoods

So many wonderful things happened while we stayed in San Rafael, California. Many thanks to Bry, our good friend who invited us to stay with her and her Oma there. We love you two 🙂

Marin County is full of beauty. The flora of the region is spectacular and the weather is perfect.

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The most beautiful things we found there, though, were inside the hearts of the people we met. Oma cooked food from her German homeland and Bry made us delicious dishes… we only ate out a few times during our stay. Typically we would come down and there would be a “tiny” spread of “snacks” laid out on the table that reminded me of my time in northern Italy. Who could turn that down?

 

We  got to travel out to Inverness & Olema to do some of our volunteer ministry work. We also spent some time out in Woodacre.
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We attended Fairfax Congregation while in Marin.
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The friends were warm and super helpful with suggestions of things to do in NorCal. We met a sister who is into geocaching and she signed us up for the app (thanks Gab!!). While there I got my feet wet and found four!
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Bikes! We wanted to take mountain bikes with us into the PNW so we stopped and picked out an inexpensive one from “Tar-jay” (or Target, if you’re not classy).
Our favorite thing about San Rafael? Relaxation and hospitality at Oma and Bry’s place!
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One of my favorite scriptures is 1 Corinthians 13:13 which states “…these three remain: faith, hope, love; but the greatest of these is love.” We certainly got a big dose of love in Marin, especially the evening we went for dinner at this brother’s house. I can’t find the picture of us all… but let me tell you the food was amazing!
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Bry’s sister suggested V. Sattui Winery in Napa so we went. It did not disappoint 🙂
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On the way north we stopped in Anderson Valley at Handley Cellars. I got to try a champagne as old as Tay Tay.
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Redwoods National Park was serene and majestic.
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Titan, our Cane Corso, loved the woods. We will turn him into a trail dog before this trip is over.
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Our R-pod did great and looked great at the campsite.
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Packing For CBCG American Road Trip

When the weather gets warm in my neck of the woods I tend to get the travel itch. It gets positively HOT/HUMID by April 15 on the Gulf Coast so I like to head to less humid areas. So far, some of my favorite destinations have been NorCal and the Pacific Northwest. They have such a vibrant culture, great food, beautiful vistas, and mountains!

We are heading west on I-10, north on I-5, and then east on I-90 for the first part of our 2017 #transAmericanroadtrip.  Since I really love to get a mix of everything when I travel to a new destination, I spent quite some time planning and wanted to share what my packing list is for such a trip. We will spend our days driving, setting up camp in the R-pod 180, hiking, lounging, touristing, etc. When we stay in one place for more than a day we will spend time there doing a large assortment of activities, from relaxing on the beach with a drink in hand, to lighthouse viewing, to wandering the grounds of a National Forest or National Park. Needless to say it will be a glorious trip! Below you’ll find a list of everything I packed for three months of travelling around the USA.

Bags

Ever since my first travel disaster where over-packing put a serious damper on my trip (Atlanta to Milan with two 28″ roller bags, a 22″ roller bag and a duffel), I have become a huge advocate of traveling light and bringing versatile pieces that can pull double duty. This trip was no exception! I was able to fit everything for a three-month trip in my Eagle Creek 120L cargo hauler duffel bag, Timbuk2 Wingman, and Sak cross-body purse. My favorite bags to bring along for daypacks and biking packs are the Eddie Bauer Stowaway Packable Daypacks and the Timbuk2 Catapault Sling.

Clothing

Even when I think I’m being minimalist with my packing, I always seem to bring too many clothes. That said, I strongly urge you not to bring more than is listed here unless absolutely necessary because chances are you really, really won’t need it.

3 leggings – I brought 2 cotton/spandex and 1 wool. I skipped the jeans, as I find they are bulky and aren’t fun to wear when it’s 90 degrees Fahrenheit out!
1 pair of convertible hiking pants – Again, not jeans.
6 tops – I brought 2 ultra lightweight wool tees, 1 tank, 2 cotton t-shirts, and 1 lightweight blouse.
3 meeting/service dresses – I had 2 knee length dresses and 1 maxi dress.
1 swim cover-up –I brought a sarong which can also double as a towel if need be.
1 swimsuit – If you’re heading to the beach for most of your stay, bring 2.
1 workout outfit
1 nice evening outfit – blouse & capris for an evening out or a nice meal.
Underwear/socks/bras – I brought 1 brown and 1 black, as well as a sports bra (they should cover all of your needs), 7 pairs of underwear and 7 pairs of socks. These can all be washed in the hotel sink if you’re in a pinch!
2 pair pajamas
2 pairs of sunglasses
1 hat
1 lightweight sweater and/or scarf – I covet the Chrysalis Cardi as a double duty scarf, but for now I just brought a red silk blend cardigan.

The weather out west ranges from arid desert to coastal rainforest so I recommend bringing lightweight layers that will work for all the temperature zones you’ll travel through. Fabrics that are good to have in this kind of weather are wool, linen/cotton and quick drying sports fabrics.

However, evenings out can get downright chilly to this Gulf Coast girl at times, so I would recommend bringing something lightweight but warm to keep you cozy during the evening. I ended up buying a fleece jacket and neck scarf at the Redwoods National Park.

Shoes

I do a lot of walking on my trips to make up for the calories I consume so I recommend bringing comfortable walking shoes, my preference is Birkenstock, just be sure they won’t give you blisters.

1 pair of trail/cross-trainer hiking – I brought La Sportiva shoes.
1 pair of strappy evening Naot sandals/wedges (or flats if those are more your style).
1 pair of walking sandals – I brought Birkenstocks (which I basically live in).
1 pair shower shoes/ hot tub flip flops.

Toiletries and First Aid

Don’t worry about forgetting something because you’ll definitely be able to purchase it there!

Makeup/Toiletries

Anything that is in your usual beauty routine. I would also suggest that you make your mascara waterproof and that your lip balm has SPF in it!
Skin – I brought travel sized bottles of: Face Cleanser, Face Moisturizer, SPF 50 Sunscreen, Body Butter (it is SO DRY out there), and Hand Cream.
Deodorant
Denman brush – this bad boy is able to brush out any knots that may be in your hair, which will be useful when your hair is all tangled up from that salty sea water.
Hair ties and bobby pins
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Wipes – These are great for freshening up and wiping off your face/body around lunch time when you may be all sandy and sweaty but aren’t ready to take a shower yet.
Bar of soap – Depending on the hotel, they may offer some complimentary soap as well. I have sensitive skin so I brought my own Dove bar soaps.
Travel sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner – I simply fill GoToob bottles with my shampoo from home.
Insect repellent – love Burt’s Bees repellant.
Emergen-C – This stuff is a dream when you’re feeling dehydrated or under the weather.
Small pack of tissues – I always carry this in my purse. You never know when you’ll be using a sketchy bathroom.
Small bottle of hand sanitizer – See note above.
Tampons – Consider the Lunette Cup instead of tampons.
Razor.

Other

E-reader/books/magazines – My iPad is the best purchase I have ever made! It allows me to download my Kindle books so I never need to worry about packing a ton of heavy books.
iphone and earphones
GoPro Camera and memory card
Chargers for all of your devices
Waterproof phone case – my iPhone 7 is waterproof.
Selfie stick – I just bought one and it is SO much better than long-arming it.
Reusable water bottle – It’s so important to stay hydrated wherever you go! I love Hydro Flask because it keeps your water cold for 12 hours.

Additional Packing Tips

Use packing bags and cubes (like from Eagle Creek) to save space in your suitcase, compress, and organize your things.
Put all liquids in a ziplock bag to avoid leaks.
Make sure that all clothing pieces work well together – try to stick to neutral colours, with 1-2 accent colours.

 

California RV Park Reviews

Needles, CA

Desert View RV Park was very nice for an overnight stay. Easy check in, clean, organized, quiet, with privacy shade shrubs on both sides of every pull though. Has a suitable dog run. Offers Wi-Fi, electric, water, and sewer. Pool at the small, dated clubhouse. Only $35. Desert view TV.com

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Our spot at Desert View RV Park in Needles, CA

Bakersfield, CA

River Run RV Park was super easy to find, and had a very nice aesthetic. It has a beautiful modern clubhouse, pool, and hot tub. They give you the gate access code to walk along the river on the sandy bank. Trees and grassy spots at each lot. Nice paved streets to walk your dog on. We paid $45 for a pull through.

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Our spot at River Run RV Park in Bakersfield, CA

San Rafael, CA

We stayed with friends there and had a glorious time in the hills. We visited Farifax, Inverness, Olema, Novato, San Anselmo, and Petaluma.

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Visiting the Fairfax Kingdom Hall

Highway 101, NorCal

We stayed at wineries! I found a site called Harvest Hosts where you pay just a $44 annual fee to stay overnight at over 500 scenic wineries and farms. You must arrive early, before dark, to meet your contact and find out where to park. That day or the next day you can tour the farm/winery, pick your own fruits/veggies, or do a wine tasting. Visit harvesthosts.com to sign up. If you sign up please let them know that countryboycitygirl username “CBCGblog” referred you 🙂

harvest hosts

Crescent City, CA

Here we stayed at a campground in the Redwoods State and National Park. No hook-ups, but lovely. The drive up CA 101 and CA 128 was also spectacular. The park, established in 1929, is 6400 acres with approximately 50% old growth coast redwood and 8 miles of wild coastline. The park is a World Heritage Site & Biosphere Preserve.

redwood-national-park-california-trees

Now… off to Oregon!

 

Grand Canyon Weekend On A Budget

I say we start a petition to change the name of Grand Canyon National Park.

The current name doesn’t really prepare you for the experience of looking over the south rim for the first time. Maybe SPECTACULAR Canyon or perhaps even SUPERCALAFRAGILISTICEXPIALADOCIOUS Canyon would be more appropriate? When I first walked through the Visitor’s Center to see the movie and walk to Mather’s Point lookout I thought I was prepared. But no! I was left speechless as I peered out over the rim into a Canyon of ridges, plateaus, buttes, water, shrubs, Ponderosa pines, and a veritable rainbow of rock layers showing shimmery sandstone, light limestone, and a myriad other sedimentary rock cross sections.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Canyon

We stayed the whole weekend at Maswik Lodge in the south rooms which were a great budget price of $112 nightly. Maswik Lodge is in the Grand Canyon Village where rooms can run upwards of $400 per night. Maswik is a cute lodge in a Ponderosa Pine forest just a 7-minute walk to the Rim Trail and Bright Angel Trailhead. The Maswik Lodge registration building has a gift shop, park information desk, food court, and pizza bar just a minute walk from your room door. The shuttle bus for the Park also stops right at the registration building.

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Maswik Lodge

If you bring your bikes, then you can bike the roads and trails. If not, there are bikes to rent and even bike tours.

On this road trip a stop at the Grand Canyon was NOT planned (or packed for). So let me tell you how we managed a pseudo-luxury weekend (for two) there for less than $500.

Where to stay: Maswik Lodge has rooms for as low as $112. Maswik is a 5-7 minute walk to the rim. Bright Angel has nice cabins for $140 and partial view rooms for $184. Bright Angel is on the rim. Call Xanterra for reservations or visit grandcanyonlodges.com for online booking.

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Basic Maswik South Room

What to do: Stop at the Visitor’s Center to see the introductory movie (it explains the geology, weather, and life in the Canyon over the ages). While you’re there get your first glimpse of Grand Canyon by walking 2 minutes to the rim at Mather Point. Take a selfie! After that you can linger at the Visitor’s Center to rent bikes, reserve a bike tour, buy a latte, and/or get maps of the park as well as information on all the activities available there.

After check in make plans to hike the Bright Angel Trail. It starts right outside the Bright Angel Lodge and offers a blood pumping 3 mile round trip hike down into the Canyon to the first rest stop with water and restrooms. It takes 2-4 hours to complete. When you’re done treat yourself to an ice cream cone at the Bright Angel Fountain.

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Bright Angel Lodge

Hike the Rim Trail. It offers you amazing views along a pretty flat rim hike that can take you from one end the Park to the other.

Use the bus/shuttle system. It’s free! It will take you to view points that you’re not allowed to drive to, like Hermit’s Rest and Yaki Point, or to amazing views 20 miles from the Village, like Desert View and the Watchtower.

Sunrise view is best at an east facing site like Hopi Point. Sunset view is best at a west facing point like Yaki Point.

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Bright Angel Trailhead

Where to eat: The food court at Maswik Lodge has dinner specials each night for about $8 and pizza for $3.25 a slice. The Canyon provides spring water and the park offers it for free everywhere. You’ll need to drink a lot of it, it’s very arid up there.

Journey over to the Arizona Room Restaurant at Bright Angel Lodge for meals from $10-$30 a plate. I had the $10 super filling Heritage Tacos (one chicken and one carnitas pork) for lunch one day and dinner the next. A half salad runs $6-$7. Get the house wine, which will run you $6-$8 per glass.

Bring rations! We brought supplemental meals and snacks with us so we didn’t have to eat out every meal. For breakfast we took our oatmeal cups to the food court eating area at Maswik Lodge and used the free hot water and plastic spoons there for a hearty breakfast. We brought the coffee cups from our room and used them to get gratis coffee at the food court, too. For snacks we brought Kind bars, apples, and baby carrots. We also had flat and sparkling water as well as wine in our car cooler. The room had a fridge so we used that too. We had our hydro flasks to keep the water we took cold all day. We also had some protein powder and blender bottles so we could have a quick meal replacement by filling then is with 10 ounces of water and adding two scoops of powder.

What to wear: Layers!! A good base layer t-shirt (I wore ultra lightweight wool t-shirts from Woolly Company), a long sleeved tee, and a three season jacket or windbreaker will take you from morning to night comfortably. Start out with all three in the chilly a.m., shed the jacket and long sleeved t-shirt mid day when the sun is at its highest, and then add them back in as the day goes on and the sun goes down. It’s super windy so a hooded long sleeved t-shirt would be a plus.

I wore wool Capri leggings by WoolX. I found them on Amazon for cheap. Wool is the best activity fabric because its insulates you when you’re cold, wicks swear away from your body when you get warm, and resists odor. It can be hand washed in the hotel sink at night and dry by morning. Plus you only need to wash it every three days or so EVEN IF YOU SWEAT IN IT. Just hang to let it air out and I swear you’ll be amazed. God made wool and it is miraculous!

Also:

  • Take a brimmed hat for full sun hiking.
  • Carry your refillable water bottle everywhere (free spring water offered at all trail heads).
  • Wear sunscreen.

Itinerary & Budget Breakdown For Two:

  • Pack your cooler with wine, sparkling water (or soda if you prefer), baby carrots, and apples
  • Bring water bottles, instant oatmeal cups, blender bottles, and meal replacement shake powder
  • Arrive Friday at 11am
  • Go to Visitor’s Center & Mather Point
  • Go to Maswik Lodge for pizza lunch = $15
  • Check in at Maswik at 3pm
  • Fri/Sat nights @ $112 = $224
  • Friday Maswik dinner for two = $25
  • Friday drinks are free from your cooler
  • Saturday (6am) breakfast is oatmeal you bring
  • Walk to Bright Angel trailhead and hike the 3 mile trail (7am – 11am), have your snacks and water in your daypack
  • Go to the Bright Angel Restaurant for lunch and to the Fountain for an ice cream cone dessert = $30
  • Walk back to your room and rest, change shoes, make reservations for dinner a the Arizona Room
  • Walk (or drive or bike) to Bright Angel Lodge for dinner at the Arizona Room = $50
  • Sunday (7am) breakfast is oatmeal
  • Drive to Desert View (8am) and climb the Watchtower
  • Drive back, check out, load your car
  • Have a meal replacement shake for lunch
  • Drive to Kachina Lodge and walk some (or all) of the Rim Trail as a goodbye to the Canyon before you head home
  • TOTAL = $344
  • Leaves some room for souvenirs and splurging on treats!

It’s An RV Life For Us!

So… this happened 🙂

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R-Pod 180

While at Grand Canyon we saw amazing sights and felt tremendous awe at the natural landscape around us. We envied those in the campgrounds that got to sleep even closer to nature. We started thinking about boondocking and RVing and, well, we decided to look for an RV.

We *had* actually done a ton of research on living in an RV a year or two ago. We decided that we would really like to have a truck and truck camper set up… which would run us about $75K. So we put that dream aside.

Now, though, since we are planning to take 3-month road trips on a regular basis we thought that looking at an ultra light travel trailer to pull behind our first generation Ford Expedition would be a good idea. We live in the southeast where a myriad of outdoor experiences are available. We also would rather travel in a way we don’t have to load and unload our gear and our service dog’s gear every day or two.

It actually is the perfect time of year to look at 2017 models they are discounting to make way for 2018s. We have long admired the Forest River R-pod, the Travel Lite Falcon, and the Livin’ Lite Camplite travel trailers. Fortunately we were still close to the Camping World at Bellemont, Arizona.

We fell in love with the R-pod 180. It has a good bit of storage, a slide, a dry bath, and it comes with high ground clearance for off road camping in the Hood River Edition.

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2018 R-pod 180 Floorplan

We named her “Bandit”. Our Expedition is already named “Smokey”, so it seemed uber appropriate.

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Smokey & the Bandit

They had just sold their 2017 model but discounted their 2018 to be close enough in price that we decided to buy. The salesmen, finance manager, and store staff were so great. We give Camping World Bellemont, Arizona the highest recommendation!

Now, we head west to California and north to Oregon!

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Free Camping and Boondocking Websites and Apps

In our new Forest River R-pod 180 we hope to be able to camp on solar power out under the stars away from RV parks.


Honestly, the amount of food we can store may be the only limiting factor. We already have a dual battery system, solar hook ups, a small generator, and an inverter…  we just need to modify our plans for boondocking up to three days at a time.

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2018 R-pod 180 Floorplan

Almost all small travel trailers can boondock, some for a night, others a couple days.


But how do you find out where? The writer at Roadtreking (http://roadtreking.com/apps-websites-help-find-perfect-boondocking-spot/) has a few good suggestions, that I’ve listed along with links below in this post.

There are several Internet sites and apps to help you find places to boondock:

rpod boondocking

AllStays (www.allstays.com) has apps for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. They list more than 22,000 commercial campgrounds, state/national parks and boondocking spots (think KOAs and Walmarts, state and federal forests, military and BLM land). This is a great app and website that offers a lot of detailed information.

Other resources?

Free Campgrounds for RVs (http://www.freecampgrounds.com) has a big database, sorted by state, of state, federal and county land open to camping, most without hookups or services.

For boondocking and camping information about National Forests, check out the very useful U.S. National Forest Campground Guide (http://www.forestcamping.com).

Free Campsites website (http://freecampsites.net). There’s an interactive map as well as comments and reviews of boondocking spots.

You can also check the site http://boondocking.org. It’s a database of free boondocking spots based on GPS coordinates. Enter in your location’s latitude and longitude and it will tell you whether the closest boondocking spot may be.

I also found a site where you pay just a $44 annual fee to stay overnight at over 500 scenic wineries and farms. You must arrive early, before dark, to meet your contact and find out where to park. That day or the next day you can tour the farm/winery, pick your own fruits/veggies, or do a wine tasting. Visit harvesthosts.com to sign up. If you sign up please let them know that countryboycitygirl username “CBCGblog” referred you 🙂

What are you favorite boondocking resources? Comment below!

boondocking

Las Cruces, New Mexico

The drive from Fort Stockton, Texas to Las Cruces, New Mexico was lovely. Driving west on I-10 gave us nice views of the Sierra Blancas to the south and the Organ Mountains to the north. 


I want to go back and hike there. 

Driving through El Paso was crazy. Lots of people in a hurry. Saw two almost accidents. Waved at Mexico from the interstate (it was so close!). Also, we are now in Mountain Time. 


Right past El Paso I saw a Camping World RV lot so we stopped. Wouldn’t it be great to do this road trip with a travel trailer? Then we wouldn’t have to chance iffy budget hotels. Hmmmm. I liked this Launch Mini Extreme 18QB model by Starcraft. Only 3,100 pounds!

Anywho, on to Las Cruces!


Along the way we reserved at the EconoLodge using the Hotels.com app and the hotel definitely exceeded my expectations. The rooms have just been updated so that was a nice touch. Their staff is friendly and the breakfast area looks promising. The price, though, is amazing! I’d definitely recommend if you’re on a low budget road trip. 

We noticed Titan limping when he got out of the SUV and worried it was because he is recovering from surgery and perhaps reinjured his knee. The husband quickly realized that during his walk outside of Camping World he stepped on a prickly seed pod and removed it. Titan walked a little better. Then in the room we saw him limp again. Upon closer inspection there were a couple of the prickles in his paw pad. We used tweezers to extract them. We have to add tweezers to Titans bag especially when he is well enough to go hiking with us!


I’ve wanted Vibram five-finger shoes for hiking for a while now and we found a retailer at Ride On Sports here in Las Cruces just a couple miles from the hotel. I found my size but they only had orange ones. So I’ll order on Amazon and have them sent to the hotel at the Grand Canyon South Rim Village. 

We ate dinner at Pho A Dong (which the blurb in the menu says means “Asian Soup” but I’m skeptical). 

It’s owned by a Vietnamese immigrant family that moved here in the 60s. Downer was that they didn’t serve wine. The food was flavorful, though. The husband got beef Pho and I got Hu Tien Xao Mein (Soft Fresh Rice Noodle).


 It was so good that I forgave the low tech menu insert update. 

All in all I would recommend Las Cruces as an overnight stopping point. It’s the perfect size, has a lot of amenities close to the interstate, and even some outdoor opportunities if you want to go hiking. 

In the morning we head to Scottsdale, Arizona.