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2019 West Coast Adventure

Updated: 6 days ago

"And just like that we are on our way to everywhere" --- Emery Lord

Sometimes you just need to get off the grid and get your soul right.

Three small toddlers kept my passion at bay for a while and then three turned into four, but eventually it broke free and we began our adventures in the summer of 2019 with a 28 day, 5,000+ mile West Coast road trip.

For our first adventure we pulled a double bunk camper. It was great to be able to unload and still have a vehicle to get around. We got to where we could set up/ take down camp in about 30 minutes. However, there were several downfalls to the bumper-pull camper. It made roadside meals and bathroom breaks pretty difficult and although the teenagers slept 90% of the driving time, it was a tight fit for that many hours a day (we usually drove about 4-5 hours a day) in the SUV.

Also, we had expected to save a significant amount of money through renting campsites instead of hotels/vacation rentals, however, the campsites ended up costing double what we had expected (and we had no idea to expect additional costs to shower or run our AC).

We loaded up the camper, kayaks, canoe, and headed out.

New Mexico

Clayton Lake State Park

Our first stop was Clayton Lake State Park. It was one of my personal favorites because it was an unexpected adventure mine. Very few people, dino tracks, and a beautiful lake to paddle around on -- literally in the middle of no where! I think it cost about $10 for our campsite, we pulled in to a spot not marked "Reserved" and paid and a pay station box. I mention these simple factors because it seems to be the ONLY campsite we stayed at, that was this convenient.


Headed to the Great Sand Dunes, with no reservations, my first memory of Colorado is the horrible campsite experience. EVERYTHING was booked for miles but eventually we found someone with an availability about 15 minutes away - and off we went!

The directions led us to someone's back yard that appeared to have long time residents living in the other camp spots. Well we circled around the only circle and backed into one of the many open spots. Granted we had already called and told the owner we were on our way, this lady in a bath robe with curlers in her hair comes hauling ass in her golf cart screaming at us!!

APPARENTLY you don't just pull into ALL campsites, like we did at the state campground, you are supposed to stop and check in first! Oops!

And boy was she pissed we parked in the wrong spot!

$55/ night and an additional $5/ shower and $5 if we wanted to run the AC. (It is July 1st)

Great Sand Dunes

We had an amazing time at the Dunes! I would suggest not going in July (and if you do... wear socks) the sand is hot!! It is harder than it looks to get to the top, so where we thought we would spend the whole day there, we were exhausted after a few hours! The cold river at the bottom was just what we needed to cool our burning feet off!

Gunnison, Colorado

Gunnison and Crested Butte were exactly what we needed after all the driving we had done! Nice relaxing float around Gunnison Lake and day adventures in Crested Butte! At this stop we were fortunate enough to find an adorable (and affordable) RV park right across from the lake! We met wonderful locals in the Crested Butte shops and rode the ski lift to the top of the mountain and back!


Arches National Park

Utah is BEAUTIFUL but this particular hike had me in tears! Ridiculous, I know, I made it the entire hike and one corner away I got freaked out about a narrow edge and almost didn't even finish. I wouldn't have-- but RJ forced me to, and I am (kind of) glad he did)! I did not make it to the Arch, but I made it far enough to see them and take pics.. and that was plenty for this mom!

Bryce Canyon National Park


Lake Powell, Arizona

In my books, this is tied for first place with Lake Tahoe! The slot cannons were AMAZING! The float and hike had something new and exciting around each corner! It was a full day adventure and work out worth every minute of the aftermath!

We paddled in somewhere around three miles, to park our boats and hike another 3+ miles, all just to turn around and go back!

The only fish caught on our trip, was caught here and we found reservations (a little more costly than some) at a neat lakeside resort.


Grand Canyon National Park

Las Vegas, Nevada

Vegas for the 4th of July!! Don't let their expressions fool you! It was HOT, but without a doubt, the boys' favorite stop! Apparently the movies did the street corner Showgirls no justice... because the boys' couldn't believe their eyes! They were walking around with their eyes' wide open and jaws to the ground! It was great and they CANNOT wait to go back!


Huntington Beach, California

Family, Friends, Sharing Experiences and Making Memories... While I moved only a state away, he came from California to Arkansas. Miles apart and years later, there is nothing quite like seeing family after a long haul of missing them!

As we headed back up into the mountains of California, the views were breath taking.

From trees bigger than we could ever imagined to some on the most beautiful mountain views I have ever witnessed.

Sequoia National Park

Lake Tahoe, California

The ONLY complaint I have about Lake Tahoe is that is water is so cold it's almost too hard to enjoy. The town was adorable, the views unbeatable, and there seemed to be a new adventure around each corner.


Yellowstone National Park

At this point we had been traveling for almost 20 days, the boys were sunburned and blistered from kayaking at Tahoe, and we were all exhausted. We had originally planned to spend another 4-5 days traveling through Oregon and Washington but decided it was time to start heading towards home. Yellowstone was the last one of the stops on our CANNOT miss list and it did not disappoint. Even the cranky teen boys were amazed by the colors, textures, smells, and all of the wildlife surrounding the Geysers.

This is one stop we will be sure to visit again when we have the time to truly explore!

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