2014 – A Year of Beauty

Our RV travels in 2014 were absolutely stellar in every way. It was a year full of memories that we will always cherish.

We live in our RV full-time and we love it!

A-Traveling We Will Go!

Here is a retrospective look at our 2014 travels with links to each post. Enjoy them all from this page, or read the first post and then use the right arrow at the bottom of each post to link to the next.

ARIZONA

2014 was our first year back in our fifth wheel after four years of alternating between our RV and sailboat, and we returned to the full-time RV lifestyle with enthusiasm.

We started in Phoenix, Arizona, where we did lots of hiking and photography in the lush Sonoran Desert.

Fishing on the Salt River in Arizona at sunset

A fisherman waits for his catch at sunset on Arizona’s Salt River.

Despite knowing the Phoenix area very well, we were delighted to discover the beauty of the Salt River and the lovely shores of Saguaro Lake.

The waterbirds dancing on the riverbanks were absolutely enchanting, and the wild horses kept us captivated, especially when a small family group showed up with a newborn colt.

Phoenix is teeming with little oases in the desert.  We camped at pretty Roosevelt Lake where we saw early signs of spring in April.  Soon the wildflowers in the desert began to bloom in earnest.

 

Mountain biking at Cathedral Rock in Sedona Arizona

We test our skills mountain biking in Sedona — yikes!

 

In late April, we left the Phoenix area and headed north to Sedona, where we enjoyed stunning drives around town.

Sedona is Mountain Biking Mecca, and we tested our skills on the very challenging mountain bike trails through the red rock vistas. Wow! and Ouch!

The West Fork Hiking Trail, with its thick vegetation and glassy waters, was a highlight during our Sedona stay, as was the sensational and lively 4×4 drive down Schnebly Hill Road.

 

 

Hiking Wire Pass Trail Slot Canyon Buckskin Gulch Arizona

The Wire Pass Trail is a magnificent slot canyon.

The warmth of May sent us further north to hike the glorious slot canyon at Wire Pass Trail that is part of exquisite Paria Canyon.

We explored the Toadstool Trail nearby where the wildflowers were a riot of color blowing in the breeze. What a surprise it was when a massive, unmarked red rock canyon opened up in front of us beyond the end of the trail!

From the Arizona/Utah border we zoomed through Utah. We LOVE Utah but knew that if we stopped there we’d never leave!

Ely Nevada Car Race

At the start line of the 90-mile Open Road Challenge from Ely to Las Vegas, Nevada

NEVADA

We made a pit stop in Ely, Nevada, where we accidentally stumbled on the annual Nevada Open Road Challenge car race and mingled with exotic cars and their drivers.

With speed on our minds, we stopped at the site of many land speed records, the Bonneville Salt Flats and then Lamoille Canyon outside Elko, Nevada.

Driving across northern Nevada into southern Oregon, we saw vast stretches of absolute emptiness, where there is literally nothing out in the middle of nowhere but strange road signs!

Happy campers at Crater Lake National Park Oregon

Crater Lake was breathtaking. The water is truly royal blue, just like this pic!

OREGON

What a thrill it was, then, to arrive at spectacular Crater Lake National Park on Memorial Day weekend where the wondrous royal blue of the lake was set against the blinding white of the surrounding snow-capped peaks.

Bend, Oregon, proved to be fun, trendy and a true outdoorsman’s delight, and we mountain biked, hiked and took stunning scenic drives around central Oregon.

The Two Bulls wildfire smoked us out of Bend, however, and sent us packing to the east — with stops at the Crooked River and John Day National Monument.

Baker City Oregon Bicycle Classic bike race

Baker City Oregon’s architecture and small town charm enchanted us.
Watching the bike race around town with the locals was icing on the cake!

 

The deeper we got into eastern Oregon, the more we fell in love with the area.

Baker City was absolutely charming, not only for being a friendly and wholesome small Victorian-era town that is the same size it was in the 1940’s, but for its thrilling annual bicycle race.

Still floating on a high from the bicycle race, we arrived in the tiny town of Joseph in far northeast Oregon to be swept off our feet completely.

 

Kayaking at Wallowa Lake

The Wallowa Mountains in eastern Oregon captured our hearts.

The Wallowa mountains are a gorgeous range, and they set the backdrop for this small, remote outpost that boasts not only a sweet main drag but a pretty town beach nestled into the mountains.

One great way to enjoy the scenery around town was to ride the old railroad tracks on funky bicycle rail cars. Another was to take the special tramway into the heavenly peaks.

A delightful hike along Hurricane Creek was filled with wildflowers and views. Unfortunately, we were pushed down the road once again by a series of wildfires.

Hiking the Wallowa Mountains in Joseph Oregon

Hiking into the peaks above cute little Joseph, Oregon. We’ll be back!

The Snake River at Hell's Canyon Oregon

Hell’s Canyon is best seen from the Idaho side.

IDAHO

We glimpsed Hell’s Canyon in Idaho where the hellacious ruggedness is tamed by bucolic river views.

A skip and hop across Idaho brought us to to the old train depot town of Shoshone, which is so humble you would never guess a multi-millionaire’s paradise is just a few miles north.

We reached Sun Valley just in time for the annual Sun Valley Road Rally car race on the Sawtooth Scenic Byway which included six $2.7 million Bugatti Veyrons and a very happy young gazillionaire who took his Veyron to victory while setting the course record.

Sun Valley Idaho Pleine Aire artists painting in nature

Sun Valley Idaho’s artsy vibe was infectious — how fun to see artists painting out in nature!

The cool outdoor skating rink at the Sun Valley Resort was a great spot to be in August, and we watched both young kids and budding professionals compete in back to back figure skating competitions.

While boondocked in the endless lands of possibility around Ketchum, we bumped into a group of professional artists painting landscapes around the valley.

Over at the Sun Valley Pavilion, we also took in several of the free, nightly Sun Valley Symphony concerts that are held throughout August.

 

A motorhome driving through Grand Teton National Park Wyoming

Our travels just kept getting better when we arrived at Grand Teton National Park.

Traveling across Idaho, we visited otherworldly Craters of the Moon National Monument and stopped in Arco, home of the historic ERB-1 nuclear power plant, the first nuclear plant to power an American town.

WYOMING

Grand Teton National Park greeted us with wild skies and fabulous, lugubrious clouds.

Rising before dawn many mornings, we captured the mirrored reflections of these magnificent mountains, and reveled in the beauty of this park.

Fire in the sky at Grand Teton National Monument in Wyoming copy

Fire in the Wyoming sky at sunset dwarfed the massive Tetons on the horizon.

Hiking at Maroon Bells Colorado

Maroon Bells is the most photographed spot in the Colorado Rockies — no wonder!

Spectacular rainbows, ancient barns, leaping bison and other wondrous sightings rounded out our stay in the majestic Tetons.

COLORADO

This year was proving to be a total thrill, and in September the wonders continued to unfold when we dropped south to visit Maroon Bells, Colorado.

Romance was in the air as Mark suddenly found himself watching a young man drop to his knee and propose to his girlfriend, and I found myself next to a wedding party’s photo shoot!

 

Camping at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison Colorado

Rugged Black Canyon of the Gunnison offers another kind of beauty in Colorado.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison left us breathless as we gaped at its steep and deep chasms. These craggy peaks showed us a raw side of Colorado that isn’t the typical brochure image.

But it was magical Ouray, Colorado, resplendent in her autumn gold colors, that truly made our jaws drop.

Ouray is an engaging small mountain town set high in the lofty peaks of the Rocky Mountains, and while we were there during the last days of September and first days of October, the aspen leaves were at their most vibrant.

 

Golden Aspen in autumn in the San Juan Mountains between Ouray and Silverton Colorado

Southwestern Colorado in fall is just plain GORGEOUS!

The Million Dollar Highway was ablaze in color, and we traversed that extraordinary road between Ouray and Silverton many times.

When the weather turned to rain and the overnight temps dropped into the twenties, we woke up to find ourselves and our buggy buried in snow. Happily, the scenery had gone from stunning to truly out of this world!

ARIZONA

Ready to thaw out, we hustled over the mountains into sunny northern Arizona to the mysterious Navajo Nation.

 

Hiking through red rock hoodoos and canyons in Arizona copy

The Navajo Nation holds its secrets close to its heart.

This unusual land is home to a lesser known people and, after our travels through the reservation, a pro photographer friend of our showed us her special and moving video about the Navajo Nation Fair.

When I first wrote my post about this video, I forgot to include the password for viewing it. If you couldn’t watch it before, please give it another try!

From Indian Country in NE Arizona, we returned to Sedona’s red rocks, and finally went back to Phoenix where we spent November and December relaxing from our travels and visiting friends and family.

Happy campers at Cathedral Rock in Arizona

Sedona Arizona is a place worthy of many return visits.

REFLECTIONS

Putting together this post has been a vivid trip down memory lane. What a year it was!!

I hope these pics and stories inspire you to go adventuring. Perhaps you’ll find a place or two among all these to add to your travel bucket list too.

Thank you for coming along with us in spirit this year as we traveled around the awe-inspiring western states.

We don’t know where we are headed next, but as we roll across the countryside next year, we’ll bring you lots more fun travel pics and stories!!

 

Goodbye, sweet 2014 — and Welcome 2015!!

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