My Summer 2015 Travel & How to Plan For It

This si my tentative summer travel plans. You're welcome to join me for all or part of the trip. It begin and ends in Flagstaff, AZ where I will leave the trailer in storage and just travel in the van.

This is my tentative summer travel plans. You’re welcome to join me for all or part of the trip. It begin and ends in Flagstaff, AZ where I will leave the trailer in storage and just travel in the van.

While being a vandweller isn’t always easy or pleasant, I believe it is more than makes up for all that with all the wonderfully new and exciting things it brings into our lives. A perfect example of that is winter, when bad weather can occasionally make our lives uncomfortable, sometimes even miserable! But then comes glorious spring!  While there are low moments in winter, the highs of spring, summer and fall tremendously more than make up for them! That’s the advantage of being fully, deeply alive, the brief lows make the intense highs all the sweeter!

In Arizona, the coming of Spring brings the first of summer’s heat and since I don’t like heat that means I have to move to a cooler location. But I don’t want to move haphazardly, I want it to be in the general direction of wherever I intend to spend my summer. Otherwise, I would waste time and money back-tracking. That raises the question of where am I going to spend my summer? So for the last few weeks I’ve been pondering a travel schedule for the coming year. Fortunately that’s one of the most pleasurable tasks of being a vandweller. The whole country lies open to me to go and do and see anything at all I want! My life is such a blank slate that I can do almost anything and go nearly anywhere I want.

Living Each Year as if it’s My Last

One thing I’ve decided to do is live each year as if it will be my last. When the year ends, I want to be able to look back on it and say, “That was a year Well-Lived!”  As I thought of this coming year like it might be my last, I wondered where I would go on my last year on this earth? What would I do with each precious moment and day? The answer to that question will be different for everybody, but for me there is no doubt what it is; I’ll be going to the most beautiful places I know and seeing them through a camera viewfinder.  Without doubt, I am most alive and happiest during the act of capturing stunning beauty and creating art as I understand it. In the past that’s meant moving fast and far to see and capture as much as possible. But at this point in my life I’ve gotten over that and want to spend more time in each place “being” with it and not just “buzzing through.”

Not only that, but I’m still on a budget so I can’t waste money when I travel, I need to budget it and get the most bang for my buck. I’m living like this may be my last year on earth, but I’m planning like I may be here for awhile so I  have to stretch my money to last more than  just this year. It’s a hard balance to strike, but one I think we all must come to grips with in our own way.

Dunheger Travel Quotes

Stretching Your Travel Budget

For most of us, the main limiting factor is our budget. Right now gas is still relatively cheap so I’m planning to take advantage of that and travel more than usual. But even with cheap gas I still need to stay within my budget and keep it lean and mean. The main way I can do that is to slow down and not travel much per month. That way, no one month has to pay for all the gas, instead, it gets stretched out over multiple months. The more months the better! Fortunately, like I said, that’s how I prefer to travel.

Gas-for-Wash-trip-001I’ve been planning on spending this summer in Washington and Oregon with my main emphasis on Mt. Rainer National Park. I want to spend at least a month in that area. The more I study my possible route it looks like I’ll be driving about 5000 miles round-trip. It could be more or less, depending on how ambitious I am. I have an app on my Smart Phone called Road Trip Calculator, and according to it if I drive 5000 miles at 12 mpg and average $3.50 a gallon the trip will cost me about $1500 dollars in gas. That’s way over my budget for one month so I’ve got to spread it out. If I spread it out over 6 months, it’ll only cost $250 per month, that’s doable for me so I’m planning at least a 6 month trip moving slowly between places I love and want to spend time in. I’m looking for places that can be a basecamp and take short trips to nearby places. That gives me the most bang for my buck!

 

Whenever I go to a new place, I always find the very best guide books I can. This series is by far the best I've ever found. I don't leave home without them!

Whenever I go to a new place, I always find the very best photography guide books I can. This series is by far the best I’ve ever found. I don’t leave home without them!

Using Guide Books to Plan the Route and For the Best Weather

One thing I always do when I travel is to plan for the best weather. I don’t want to be someplace where Cody and I will be miserable from the heat, nor do I want to be where there is a known rainy season and I’m constantly stuck inside all the time. Because Nature Photography is my main hobby, one thing I do is buy guide books that tell me when and where to go to get the best photographs of an area. Fortunately there is a really excellent guide to both Oregon and Washington called “Photographing Washington” and “Photographing Oregon” both by Greg Vaughn. They are part of a series of Photography Guide books either written or published by Laurent Martres. The first three in the series are on the Southwest covering Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and some of Texas. I’ve been using them for years and I consider them totally essential to anybody who is exploring the Southwest. Don’t go without them! You can buy them from Amazon here:

Photographing Washington–Highly Recommended!
Photographing Oregon Guide Book
Photographing California – Vol. 1: North
Photographing the Southwest: Volume 1–Southern Utah
Photographing the Southwest: Volume 2–Arizona
Photographing the Southwest: Volume 3–Colorado/New Mexico

One of the best things about these guide books  is the index at the back that lists every site and ranks it from 1 to 5 stars and includes  road a trail difficulty. You can see I went through and highlighted all the places that got 4 or 5 stars for their photographic rating. That is such a time saver because I only want to go to the very best places.

One of the best things about these guide books is the index at the back that lists every site and ranks it from 1 to 5 stars and includes road and trail difficulty. You can see I went through and highlighted all the places that got 4 or 5 stars for their photographic rating. That is such a huge time saver because I only want to go to the very best places. and the rating system lets me avoid wasting time and gas.

Using those guide books I saw that the very best weather for photographing wildflowers in Mt Rainer NP was in mid-July and August and for shooting Olympic NP and the Washington coast was in September. That works perfectly because it spreads out my travel time nicely. All I needed was to find places to spend May, June and early July along the route to Mt Rainer NP.

I love the Tetons in June!

I love the Grand Tetons in June!

June and Early July in Jackson, Wyoming

That’s an easy choice for me! Last year I fell totally in love with Jackson, Wyoming as a basecamp to explore both the Grand Tetons NP and Yellowstone NP. June is the perfect time to be there to photograph not only the beautiful snow-capped mountains but also wildlife. The Tetons and Yellowstone have the very best concentration of wildlife viewing and photography of anywhere in the lower 48 states and they are at their best in June. The high country is still snowed in but the valleys are clear and have spring growth for them to eat. That brings the very hungry bears, moose and elk right down into the valley, and the wolves to follow them. I really want to be there in June!! So that’s where I will spend June and part of July, but that leaves the question of where will I be in May that’s along that path?

Close encounters with bears are common in June at the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. Jackson , WY is a great base camp for both.

Moab in May

No doubt about where I want to spend May; Moab! It’s directly in line from Flagstaff Arizona to Jackson, Wyoming and it is one of my very most favorite places in the country. Like Jackson it’s very close to two amazing National Parks, Arches and Canyonlands. I’ve been to both numerous times but I just can’t get enough of them! Their main appeal to me right now is star-photography which I have just started into. It’s not enough to get a nice shot of the Milky Way or star trails, you have to have an interesting foreground. There is nothing as good for that as the arches and beautiful red rock landscape of that country! While I’m there I might do some white-water rafting and do at least one rappel.

So as of now I am limiting myself to just a few places. The ones that I’m fairly certain of are:

  • Moab, Utah in May
  • Jackson, Wyoming in June
  • Mount Rainer NP, WA in mid-July to mid-August for wildflowers
  • Olympic National Park, WA in September
  • Smith Rock State, Oregon depending on the weather

Those I feel strongly about and are almost certain, but along that path there are some other truly wonderful places I want to see and so I’ll fit them in as time, money and energy allow. Because they often mean lots of driving to get to them or they conflict with another schedule none of them are certain. I don’t have a return path planned so some of these might be on the return in the fall. But often by then I’m tired or running out of money so I just skip them and head straight back home. That’s one of the drawbacks of getting older! Here are those ideas:

  • Alabama Hills near Lone Pine California
  • Monument Valley
  • Oregon Coast
  • Ouray or Crested Butte, Colorado in July for wildflowers
  • Cody and Pinedale, Wyoming for their museums
  • BearTooth Highway, Montana
  • Glacier Bay NP
  • Canadian Rockies.

So those are my basic ideas for this summer. If you are interested in traveling part or all of it with me, let me know, or if you are in the area of my travels let me know and feel free to drop by, my camp is always open to my readers! If you know those areas I’d love to have your suggestions about places to see along the path! All too often we drive right past amazing things but don’t know about them. That’s the advantage and power of being part of a tribal community, combining our knowledge and experience! And of course, I’ll take lots of photos and overwhelm you with them!

May we all live this summer like it’s our last, and at the end of the year be able to honestly say, “That was a year well-lived!”

(My friend Steve is selling his Honda EX 650 generator and it’s such a good deal I thought I would tell you about it. This is the generation before the current inverter generators so it isn’t as quiet and doesn’t have the eco-throttle but what it does have is the same legendary quality and reliability. Because of that they’ve held their value and are still highly sought after. Steve has the 650 watt model and with a good battery charger you can keep your batteries  charged up and run small appliances. It’s in very good shape, including a new carburetor and he’s asking $300 or best offer. We are camped just north of Prescott, AZ where you can pick it up or he will mail it but you have to pay for shipping and packing. If you are interested you can e-mail me and I’ll put you in contact with Steve. akrvbob@gmail.com )

Honda-651

honda-650-side

 

adventure-poster

Bob
About

I've been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

98 comments on “My Summer 2015 Travel & How to Plan For It
  1. Tony Richno says:

    If you’ve never been through the area before, I would highly suggest going up through Flaming Gorge, Rock Springs, WY and Pinedale, WY on the way to Jackson from Moab. US191 is a great road with more sideroads and pulloffs than a guy could ever explore. Flaming Gorge has a striking beauty that is completely unexpected and is surrounded by BLM/FS land. The desert country between Flaming Gorge and Pinedale is unlike any I’ve seen anywhere else, with very few people and lots of BLM. The Wind River Range has a grandeur of it’s own that’s every bit the equal of the Jackson area, especially when you realize there aren’t 200 people trying to admire the same scenery at every sideroad.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks for those ideas Tony! I’ll give them serious thought! Pinedale is pretty sure because I want to see the museum of the Mountain Men. I’ve been to Flamong Gorge before but it’s been a long time so I may go again.

      Thanks for the tips!
      Bob

      • Dennis Keppner says:

        Nice route Bob. X2 on Flaming Gorge. Wife and I will be hosting at the Visitor Center come September but first we’ll be roaming around the coasts from Coburg, OR north all summer looking for good wintering spots. (We have never minded the rain and the temps are moderated)

        • Bob Bob says:

          Dennis, you’re a better man than I am, I can’t handle the dreary day after day of rain along much of the coast in the winter. I need me some sun so Arizona desert here I come!
          Bob

  2. Toes says:

    Thanks for this, Bob! You’ve given me some great ideas.
    You’re an inspiration! Stay safe out there on the road. 🙂

  3. Tammi says:

    I watch the sun rise over Smith Rock, 3 days a week, from the kitchen window at work. It’s a pretty great view!

    Can’t wait to get to Wyoming myself. I’ve had an itch to get there, since January, and I don’t know why. It’s going to be a priority destination for me. Montana, Colorado, and Utah are also on my priority list, after Wyoming. Probably not going to get to any of them this year, but once I see how my budget vs. reality is working out, I’ll be able to plan better.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Tammi, I just learned about Smith Rock State Park this last winter, I’d never heard of it before. But now it’s a high priority for me! You’re lucky to be so close!

      I know what you mean by budgeting for travel. You want to go so bad but then you figure out the cost and it’s another story! Your time will come!
      Bob

  4. Al says:

    Sounds interesting, may take you up on that trip schedule. I am heading towards Grand Canyon North rim in few days. I am in Albuquerque now.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Al, you know it’s still cold up there? It’s in the 20s or low 30s every night. Are you working there?
      Bob

      • Al says:

        Visiting the North rim for awhile. I was heading North in few weeks.
        I see Moab is in the mid forties at nite and high 70’s and low 80’s now. Pretty hot there in May.

        • Bob Bob says:

          Al, stay warm up there! Yeah, I may have to change my plans and do Moab in April and maybe Bryce NP in May.

          It all depends on the weather.
          Bob

          • Al says:

            I will be spending some time in Grand canyon, hiking and photography. Than go up into Utah for more of the same.

            I am a full time minivan traveler. So will be looking to move North and come back in October for the Winter. keep in touch maybe we can meet up in Utah some where.

            I have been connected to your web sight for few years.

          • Bob Bob says:

            Al, I’ll be in Utah for some part of April and May, then move to Wyoming in June. I’ll post my camps on the blog so you are always welcome to drop in.

            My favorite place on the north Rim is Toroweep, but it’s a long ways back over rough roads.
            Bob

        • Douglas says:

          I may be up at the rim in may.
          Douglas recently posted…Radio FrequenciesMy Profile

          • Al says:

            Have a mini van and it looks like that road to Torweep maybe to ruff for it, in looking at the road from google maps, am I right? Bob

          • Bob Bob says:

            Al, no, the road isn’t that bad. Most of it is good dirt road until you get to the “campground” itself and the last lottle bit is crawling over the rocks, but I think a mini-van can do it. If not it’ll make within easy walking distance.

            But, all the guidebooks said that the rocks were volcanic and sharp and you could easily get a flat tire. I thought that was nonsense but guess what, I got a flat! I can’t even remember the last time I had a flat, probably 20-30 years ago.

            be sure you have a good spare and can fix it.
            Bob

  5. I like the tips about using the photo guide books to time your visits to places, and find the best places to shoot excellent photos. I look forward to seeing your photos!

    I recently learned that there is a huge difference if you travel a small amount per day (my average is 10-30 miles) versus driving long distances in one day. It is much more pleasurable to drive small amounts. As a bonus you get to see more of the places along the way. Also, since you are not in a hurry, you can take a road adjacent to the interstate and see the scenery and towns (plus probably get better fuel economy at a lower speed). Of course if you are paying for lodging, this would be an expensive way to travel. But for nomads, it works well. 🙂

    Enjoy your trip!
    Jim at Growing Faith recently posted…Lord means LordMy Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks Jim! Out West, a lot of the area between places is barren and has literally nothing to see, it’s just “drive-through” country. There is a lot of that on this route. You drive 150 miles and see nothing but sand!! Then there is some truly place spectacular, and then another 100 miles of nothing but sand. Plus, it can get incredibly hot if you don’t time it right.

      So I’m still expecting to blast through a lot of the southern route with long days. The northern part in the mountains will be much slower and with much less blasting through.
      Bob

  6. Naomi says:

    Bob, this looks like a great trip! I personally prefer to go to “popular” places during the off season to avoid crowds. Do you factor this in to your plans?

    Thanks.
    ~Naomi, aka Miss Ann Thropic

    • Bob Bob says:

      Naomi, that’s a good idea, but it’s not always possible. Most of where I am going is closed in the winter. During the off season at MT. Rainer its closed to snow and there certainly are no wildflowers. In the high country you have one month out of the year for wildflowers. At Jackson and Yellowstone the off-season can be -50 below zero and get 5 feet of snow and only a few roads are open. When I left Alaska, I swore I would never do that again!! June is still early in Jackson and the crowds weren’t bad and it really is the BEST time for wildlife. The Beartooth highway is closed in Winter and possibly some of June.

      September in Olympic NP after Labor Day is off-season. Schools will be closed and crowds reduced. I’ve been to Moab in December and did love it. It was cold with a little snow on the ground but not an issue for me. But it’s along the way, so that’s when I’m going.

      There is a reason it is the off-season and in this case, it’s the ONLY season.
      Bob

  7. Openspaceman says:

    Bob_

    You sure are getting good at blogging. A few years ago I drove some old dudes Saab turbo from Fort Meyers, FL to San Diego, for one of those drive away companies…had big plans to stop and smell the roses..didn’t happen.
    I made it in 3 days. What a dummy. When I get on the road, possibly the next RTR, I’m going to give myself enough time to only do 50 to 100 miles per day. Once again I wish I was tagging along on this leg of your journey. As you keep telling me, my time will come. Peace.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Openspaceman, after about 350 tries, I may finally be getting this blogging thing right!!! 😛

      Wow!! Three days! That must be more than 900 miles a day. I used to do that in my youth–no more!! 600 miles is the most I’ll do and 300 is much more to my liking!

      It may not seen like it, but it really will get here!
      Bob

      • Openspaceman says:

        Bob_

        If I remember it was 800+ miles per day. Then I took a bus from San Diego to Vegas for my seasonal houseboat pilot/instructor gig on Lake Mead. It was right after 9/11 and the bus station had National Guards checking everybody…I had my leatherman (multi-tool) in my pack, so I told them and they confiscated it…so I was a little pissed, they’re like $75, but when I got to the lake it was in my pack…they snuck it back in there, without me knowing, which was very cool of them.

        *Enjoy your trip. Look forward to the updates.

  8. Linda Duncan says:

    Bob, my sisters and I crossed over the BearTooth Mountain pass on a “sister trip” back about 5 years ago and I want to encourage you to go over it yourself. It was AWESOME! Being mainly flatlanders from Illinois, it was a little scary for us 50’s & 60’s year old women, but we made it. We drove over it in mid June, and near the top we got out and had a snowball fight on the side of the road! LindaKy.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks Linda, it is a top priority for me! I meant to do it last year but after Alaska we were just too worn out to do a lot more driving. That’s why I’m keeping this year short and slow so I have the energy to do the things I really want to do.

      But it also means I have to prioritize and leave off any non-essentials. I will do Beartooth!
      Bob

  9. I can point you to a great spot by Mt. Hood where you’re usually above the clouds and have good cell service. It’s also up out of the mosquito zone.

    http://rollingsteeltent.blogspot.com/2014/06/mr-blue-sky.html

    http://rollingsteeltent.blogspot.com/2014/06/bye-mt-hood-for-now.html

    What’s your route back south (assuming you’d be returning)?
    Al Christensen recently posted…Joshua Tree National ParkMy Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks Al, I’ll bookmark that!

      I don’t have a clue about the return trip. It all depends on how long I’m gone and how the weather holds. I won’t go in the heat and that probably means I have to follow the Rockies fairly late in the year. I may do The Candian Rockies and Glacier NP instead of the Olympic NP because if gas stays cheap and the exchange rate is very favorable. I’d save a lot of money if I spend a month in Canada.

      I can’t even speculate that far out, too many variables.
      Bob

  10. klbexplores says:

    So wish you had done this trip last year when we did the state of Washington in 7 weeks. Rarely, we we in an area with temps higher than the 70’s….perfect. We stayed in White River campground which is closest to Sunrise a beautiful spot for well, sunrise. Great pics of My Rainer AND My Adams plus the best spot for those pics is called Sunrise Vista with Verizon 4 G service. All cell service in the area is spotty at best so I went there to post all blogs. We found a excellent boondock south of Randell 12 miles
    On DR 23, turn left at the Y just before you get to the North Fork campground. It is up the left Y Road about 3 miles on the right by the River. Large enough for several vans. We spent a week at Raineer, a week near North Fork and then down by My St Helen’s before we made our way to the Ocean. Just Gorgeous!

  11. Marie Watts says:

    I second the vote for the Beartooth Highway! It is simply the most awesome road I have ever been on. I lived in Cooke City and traveled the Beartooth often. It is amazing! Just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. You’ll LOVE it!

  12. Tim says:

    love this information

  13. Desert Rat says:

    Bob, Moab may be a bit hot in May. It’s already getting into the 80s. I’ve seen some May’s when it was just way too hot for a dog, so plan accordingly. OTOH, you could slip up into the La Sals, which are gorgeous and little used. Try Gold Basin. Lots of black bears. Good boondocking and easy access.

    And I second the post about going the Flaming Gorge route. You may also wish to spend some time in the Uintas – they’re remote and beautiful and on your way. As for Colorado, not much boondocking around Ouray, so I’d go for the Crested Butte route – lots of nice wildflowers and great camping on Kebler Pass.

    I sold my trailer some time ago and am looking for a new rig – if I get one, I may join you for part of the route if I don’t just go up into Canada instead. And don’t forget the Driggs, ID side of the Tetons for camping and seclusion.

    • Desert Rat says:

      I’m sure you’re aware the loonie’s at .80/USD right now, making Canada very affordable. It may drop even more.

      • Bob Bob says:

        Desert rat, that’s a good point, that may be a strong reason to get up north this year. I’ll have to keep my eye on that.

        If I understand that correctly, that means that if I go to get money exchanged, I hand them $80 in US money and they hand me $100 in Canadian. Is that right? That does make it pretty appealing! If gas stays low and so does their dollar, I may do it this year!
        Bob

    • Bob Bob says:

      Desert Rat, that is a concern to me so I may move it up to April. I’ve been planning on being in Flagstaff in April, but it can still be cold and Moab may be perfect? What do you think of Moab in April?

      In May I might go to Ridgeway, CO where I have friends and have spent quite a bit of time. You can camp right in town no problem and it’s all gorgeous around it. But, it could still be too cold. When I said Ouray, I really meant the San Juan mountains and specifically the Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway. Coming out of Silverton you can go a long ways in a van and I love that country. Also, there is fantastic camping at the base of MT Sneffels, but no internet, so it couldn’t be for long. That all may not be open until June so it may not be an option, depends on how cold it is and how much snow they get this year. I’ve camped on Kebler Pass, gorgeous!!

      I could reverse the route and do Zion then Bryce then Jackson. There is good camping just outside the Park. But Bryce may be too cold in May. Have to wait and see. If Moab is too hot, and Jackson is bearable, I’ll probably just go straight up there in May.

      Lots of fun decisions to ponder! It all depends on the weather. All the places I want to go are potentially too cold or to hot in Spring. If those are my choices, I always go with too cold!

      Thanks for all the good ideas, I really appreciate it and you are very welcome to travel with me!! Are you going to keep the FJ?
      Bob

      • Desert Rat says:

        Not sure about the FJ – am considering getting a van and joining the vandweller community. I can sleep in the FJ, but it gets old. I really got tired of pulling a trailer.

        April is the best time for Moab, and usually, by May, the gnats are coming out. This was an exceptionally mild winter and it’s warming up fast. Too many people there anymore – Willow Springs has been discovered and is now very crowded, but there are places further north that are nice and quiet, like Little Valley, but not as convenient to town.

        I grew up near RIdgway, and a lot of the land around there is private – bought up by the wealthy. We used to camp all over that country when I was a kid, but no more. Silverjack Reservoir and Owl Creek have some beautiful spots, but are a commitment getting in and out (rough road and distance). But if you can base right out of town, that’s great. Right now, the Colorado snowpack is at 90%, but the San Juans may be higher, as they’ve been hit a bunch this winter.

        As for the loonie, you can get your dollars exchanged at any bank in Kalispell, as you well know, but they’ll take a bite, so you won’t get the “real” exchange rate, but it will still be good. You’ve been there and know the ropes, but for those who haven’t, this will be a great year to travel in Canada because it will be 20% cheaper, plus gas is lower.

        I guess the bottom line is that you can’t go wrong wherever you go – there are so many beautiful places to travel.

  14. tony richno says:

    If you’re interested in museums and such, both Green River and Rock Springs have free museums that are well worth the time. Lots of info on the settlers, westward migration and local history. The college in RS also has a very nice dinosaur exhibit and a hundred or so wildlife mounts.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks for those tips Tony! I don’t usually do museums, but I’m fascinated by the lives of Native Americans, cowboys and the Mountain Men so I always try to get to those. Cody and Pinedale both have very good museums for those. Being a nomad at heart, the settlers have little interest to me.
      Bob

  15. Linda Sand says:

    I sure wish we’d known about those photography guides when Dave and I were fulltiming with his excellent cameras. Hmmm. Wonder if I can use that as an incentive to get him back out there part time?

  16. Curtis M. says:

    Sounds like great plans Bob, appreciate the invite.:) At the moment downsizing my life and reading your book again.

  17. Ming says:

    great trip suggestions on this post! Yes the Canadian exchange rate is good for you, but gas is still very high around Vancouver with all the gas taxes. Elsewhere in the province should be better though.

    I got a truck!! Now for the cap, and I’ll have a super minimal rig for travel while I save up for the camper. It’ll be fun to see what I’ll come up with for the build, now that I have a platform to build on.

    • Bob Bob says:

      That’s great Ming! A truck is perfect for all the amazing backcountry in BC.
      Bob

    • Calvin R says:

      Please keep in touch about the “super minimal” rig. I have an interest in those.

      • Ming says:

        will do! This blog and its commenters have been wonderful for inspiration and ideas. The preliminary build will be 2 short benches on each side that will lift up for access to storage underneath. A cooler at the end of one bench and a composting toilet at the end of the other will make 2 full length beds. A middle piece can serve as a table or to make a bigger bed.

        I took a gamble and bought a 2WD as money is an issue and I want to afford the gas for the long distances that I plan to travel. I’m hoping that recovery gear, future mods (lifts, shocks, locker) and aggressive tires will work for off pavement traction issues. It’s already much better for dirt than the Fit!

  18. Terri says:

    Oh man, this is so awesome. This is my jealous face. o.O

    However, I can report on my first trip in my Transit. 2200 miles in 9 days, seven states. Made totally decent $$$ at the trade show, paid my way and then some. The weather was miserable, the traffic horrible, and I came home with a whopping sinus infection.

    Can I leave again tomorrow? I’m ready.

    Seriously, what I learned was what I need in a build-out for my bunk/desk, that my “brilliant” latrine idea was anything but, how best to pack merchandise for trade shows, what gear I needed at hand, that a spring-tension shower curtain rod DOES NOT WORK in a Transit, and that it actually rides better with a bit of a load, so the weight of the build-out won’t even be noticed. That little cutie-pie has a 1600 pound payload.

    I also learned with moderate driving I get 29 mpg. Gas for the entire adventure was around $175. (I like it so much, that it is becoming my daily driver, I am selling my little car and applying the proceeds to the loan on the van.)

    On the interim nights on the road, I stealthed at large suburban chain hotels like Holiday Inn. I’d find the inevitable row of work vehicles and park at the end with the access door away from the office. And I ranged from comfy to freaking miserable – building the bunk is job one.

    My big goal is to do some snowbirding this winter (oh Kansas is a load of suck and depression in Jan/Feb) and catch your meet-up at Quartzite.

    Thanks for providing all the awesome inspiration: Terri
    Terri recently posted…The Zen of Trolling . . .My Profile

  19. Jeanne B says:

    Hey Bob! I’m working on a similar trip, traveling with my Lazy Daze friend Nancy. Moab in mid-April, Tetons and Yellowstone in June and Glacier in mid-July. Route, in-between stops, return route are to be decided. Maybe we can share some camps along the way. Currently at Cottonwood camp, about to head to Flagstaff….probably. Will be in touch. Glad to hear we are heading the same way this year!

    Thx! Jeanne
    Jeanne B recently posted…Wordless Wednesday – Albuquerque Balloon FiestaMy Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      Jeanne, that would be wonderful! If at all possible we should plan on it.

      It’s still pretty cold at Flagstaff. It’s warming this weekend but the cold can come back in at any time and be even worse. You’re welcome to join us here in the Prescott NF. We’re at 5000 feet, 2000 more than Cottonwood and 2000 less than Flagstaff so the weather is just about perfect and no problems with Rangers. The road is little rough but you can get either all the way back or most of the way. Don’t try to come through Jerome!! Way too steep!!

      Pescott amp

  20. Andy says:

    Bob. Have you considered taking the Ferry from Port Angeles up in Seattle over to Vancouver Island. Vancouver Island is amazing and is so diverse, with huge mountains, streams and waterfalls, wonderful dockside towns and food, gardens and even storm watching on the North shore (apparently the North shore has some amazing storms). There is also kayaking with the whales.
    Here is a link with lots of video..click on “Go Play Outside” on the left hand side for all the videos on the different places to see.
    http://vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca/video

  21. Gwen Khoury says:

    Hi Bob, Nice road map, I was taking off this mourning to check out Lake Havasu from Sacramento. I hear it’s already very hot and I’m traveling with two dogs. I look for water to swim in and keep them cooled off.
    After reading your new posted Blog. I may just change my route. I’m in a camper truck and my trailer is in the shop so it would be a great time to get more off the road.I would like to meet up with you for a part of your trip. Moab UT sounds good and to go into some Nat.Forrest would be a real treat. How do I connect with you? I’m an experienced traveler and don’t lag behind and can hold my own. Just finding boon docking makes me a bit nervous.I do have Wifi and will be coming that way starting in a few hours.Any reply would be great. Have a safe,fun,beautiful trip. Gwen

    • Bob Bob says:

      Gwen, I’m assuming you mean come right now to visit me in my current camp. If that’s right you are welcome to join us here, there are three of us now, Steve, Suanne and myself. The weather has been very pleasant. Here is a map to out camp. Just head up Interstate 40 and get off on Exit 146 and go south on 89. Then use the map below. This is a Juniper forest so it isn’t real pretty, but it grows on you. Let me know if you are coming!

      Prescott NF camp

  22. Jim says:

    FANTASTIC riding along this route. Are you taking your Honda?

    • Bob Bob says:

      Jim, I’m undecided but I’m inclined not to right now. I’m thinking I’m going to take a hitch haul with a cargo box on the back hitch instead. But I could change my mind.
      Bob

  23. Gen says:

    You are coming real close to where I am, Bob. If you get a wild hair to see Glacier Np, National Bison Range, or Flathead Lake give me a yell. All day trips from my locale. Parking in the orchard on the lake. Can’t beat the view.

    Gen

  24. Howiet says:

    Hi Bob

    From looking at your map it looks like you’ll be coming within spittin’ distance of my house. I was going to offer you the opportunity for a hot shower but I just learned last night that I got the place sold. Ah well maybe I’ll take a day trip to Smith Rock to say Howdy if you happen to get there as I probably won’t be all that far from there by then.

    Howiet

    • Bob Bob says:

      Howiet, I’m sorry not to be able to stay at your place, but I’m delighted you sold your home!! Now you are on to the next thing in your life!
      Bob

  25. Carla says:

    Last September I was amazed to find a primitive (no facilities) camping area that is free just north of Gardiner (Mammoth Hot Springs entrance to Yellowstone). It is a tiny BLM holding right along the river. I haven’t gone back to find the formal name of it, but I can if you folks are not able to find it in a BLM search. It is just off the road going down into the Park, so it is not wilderness but it is handy.

    The Beartooth Hwy is wonderful. For those who remember who Charles Kuralt was: he called it THE most scenic drive in America. You’ll likely see tons of wildflowers up top as well. You can make a quick loop if you are not interested in the main part of the Park on this trip by going up Chief Joseph Pass and then to Cooke City and down the Beartooth.

    I lived in Montana for 10 years (the 90s). Stayed in numerous free camps in the state for about 3 months last year. If you need any suggestions on those, just let me know.
    Carla recently posted…Obliterated 3: Beyond Survival releasedMy Profile

  26. Elyse Gotham says:

    Bob, you are such an inspiration to me. I have “vandwelled” many times through my life and have always loved it! Little did I know, there is NOTHING WRONG WITH ME!!!! Finding your book and then your website and the documentary you were in, was a life changing experience for me:) I am purchasing my van in May, and will stay with my current life sucking job (I’m a professional Pet Groomer) until I have reached my “cash stash” goal and my butt is outta here! By next spring, I will hopefully, be catching up with some of your meets!!! Thank you for breathing life back into my soul!

  27. Douglas says:

    Lot’s of beauty up that direction. I went to the canadian rockies in 2005. They were beautiful. I loved the hiking, just wish i could have stayed longer.
    Douglas recently posted…Radio FrequenciesMy Profile

  28. Bryce says:

    I plan to put my “Mancave”, trailer in storage a few months and go traveling, too. Maybe we can hangout when you get to Oregon.

  29. Alla says:

    Bob, You will be coming through my stomping grounds! I can highly recommend traveling through the Key Peninsula for gorgeous scenery and wide Mountain vistas. Great photography opportunities. It is sparsely populated and therefore easier to get close to wildlife. I will keep track of your travels and meet up with you for some of your trip! I am really looking forward to meeting you and sharing some righteous chili!
    Great travel plans by the way!
    Alla

  30. Opa says:

    I’m glad Bob you take your Steed (Chevy van)out on the road. Any Steed needs to really run once in while. Does your Steed have a name?

    • Bob Bob says:

      Opa, no, I don’t usually name my vehicles, although I do get pretty attached to them. I shed a tear or two when I got rid of my last F150.
      Bob

  31. Alla says:

    Off of I5 take Highway 16 to Bremerton. Get a map of the peninsula and go from there. There is a lovely place in Gig Harbor called the Tides Tavern that serves the BEST fish and chips you will ever eat!

  32. Rogue says:

    I’m always on the look out for those old Honda generators such as that ex650 you are selling for your friend. I have two EM500’s so I really do not need another one. If you have solar and live where the sun always shines, a generator is not necessary, however, where there is lots of over cast days they are a cost effective, and just as efficient as the newer Honda i1000. Because of the much lower price for the good ol’Honda’s, with the savings, the fuel is in a way, free. I use a small EM500 up here in Montana. By using a 20amp smart charger, I can charge up the 2 deep cycle batteries, run all the lights and charge the laptop, for the cost of about 1/2 gallon of fuel and 5 hours of run time. Because the generator is small, this method uses all of the generator’s capacity, so fuel is not wasted. Normally the deep cycle batteries will provide enough power for the next two days, or up to a week before the generator needs to be run again. If I did not have solar, at this rate of consumption, running the generator every third day, fuel cost for the year might be only $180. The combination of solar and this small generator cover my needs in any situation, sun or no sun, or only some sun. In parts of the country or where the area is thick with trees, a small generator makes more sense than solar panels. A balance of solar panels and small generator covers most situations.

  33. Bryce says:

    Hey Bob, are u planning a trip to Bryce Canyon? If you are… count me in. I have never been there.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Bryce, my plans are way up in the air but Bryce is a possibility. May will probably be too hot for Moab so I am considering Bryce instead. At 10,000 feet it won’t be too hot! Hopefully about right. I know a nice boondocking spot just outside of it. But there is no shopping anywhere nearby so I’d figure 2 weeks without any shopping.

      All I can say is it is a possibility. How long will you be available, I thought you were headed to Oregon?
      Bob
      Bob

  34. Jeannie says:

    Hi Bob,
    Thank you so much for such an informative and inspiring website!
    Having all the information is so helpful as I finally plan the road trip of my dreams.
    I was wondering what you do with Cody when you visit the National Parks. It seems like dogs are restricted to a very limited part of them. I very much want to bring my dog on the trip.
    Hope all is going well for you….
    Jeannie

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks Jeannie, don’t let anything stand in the way of your road trip dreams! Cody just stays in the van van when I’m hiking at the NPs. That limits me to fairly short hikes or I have to be camping with someone who will watch him. It’s not ideal but it works out okay.
      Bob

  35. Maud says:

    Fantastic travel plan! I would love to do the same one actually! There are so many great things to see on this track! Thanks for the post! It is really pleasant to read about travel adventures!

    • Bob Bob says:

      You’re very welcome Maud! I’m actually planning on turning this into a guide book to the Rockies, so yu can duplicate my travels and use it judge best routes.
      Bob

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

CommentLuv badge