2017 Travels – RVing the West and Flying to Thailand & Cambodia

2017 was filled with incredible travel adventures for us, from exploring the backroads of eastern Wyoming and the Black Hills of South Dakota in our RV to flying overseas to Southeast Asia and Hawaii. Here’s a quick look back with links to every travel story we published on this blog in 2017!

2017 RV trips and international travel adventures-min


Before the year had even gotten out of the starting gate, we put our trailer in storage in Arizona and flew to Bangkok, Thailand, for a month of extraordinary and eye opening experiences (all our SE Asia adventures can be found here).

Boat on Chao Phraya River Bangkok Thailand copy-min

2017 began with us putting the RV in storage and flying to Thailand and Cambodia for a month!

Ministry of Defence Grand Palace Bangkok Thailand copy-min

We had never been to Southeast Asia before — what an adventure!

Not only was the architecture dramatically different than anything we’d seen before, the language itself was new to our ears and eyes. It was utterly exotic, and beautiful (and incomprehensible) in written form.

Thai menu copy-min

The Thai language not only sounded exotic, it looked exotic too!

We found it nearly impossible to know what to order on a menu, but when we took a boat ride through a floating market, most of the fruits and vegetables were familiar even though the method of selling them was like nothing we’d seen before!

Fruit for sale damnoen saduak floating market Bangkok Thailand copy-min

A floating market on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand, was a fascinating excursion.

We took a train ride to Kanchanaburi and hiked in caves where shrines to Buddha adorned the entrances.

Buddha statue in Lawa Cave Kanchanaburi Thailand copy-min

Shrines to Buddha — and to the recently deceased king — were everywhere, including in entrances to caves!

And we saw young monks walking along the tracks of the Death Railway where we learned of the atrocities that took place during WWII along the River Kwai.

Buddhist monks on train tracks Death Railway Kanchanaburi Thailand copy-min

Monks walk the train tracks at the somber Death Railway.

In the heart of Thailand at Cheow Lan Lake we stayed in a floating raft house at the base of towering limestone cliffs. The hosts took us on longtail boat tours around the lake in the early morning mist and after dark under the stars.

Longtail boat Greenery Panvaree Resort Chiewlarn Lake Cheow Lan Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand copy-min

One of many highlights was taking longtail boat rides and staying in a floating raft house on Cheow Lan Lake.

We also visited two stunning and very exotic waterfalls, one in Erawan National Park and another in Sri Nakarin Dam National Park.

Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall Sri Nakarin Dam National Park Kanchanaburi Thailand copy-min

Huay Mae Khamin Waterfall in Sri Nakarin Dam National Park, Kanchanaburi Thailand
(That’s a mouthful!)

At the south end of Thailand we stayed on the beach in Ko Lanta and snorkeled reefs that were teeming with unusual and colorful sea life, from giant purple clams to huge prickly blue starfish to Nemo’s cousins living among the sea anenome.

Ko Lanta Beach in Thailand-min

We relaxed on the beach on the Thai island of Ko Lanta.

Purple Sea Star Dive & Relax Snorkeling Tour of Ko Rok in Ko Lanta Thailand copy-min

Snorkeling the reefs we saw giant purple clams, spiky blue starfish and we found both Nemo and Dora too.

We decided to visit Thailand on the urging and invitation of one of our blog readers, and when we finally decided to fly halfway around the world to visit Southeast Asia, he wrote to us with great passion about the ancient Khmer ruins in Angkor Wat next to the town of Siem Reap in Cambodia.

Are we ever glad that he took the time to write such a colorful description of the area and suggest we visit there too. Thank you, Dave!

Cambodia touched our us deeply and has found a place in our hearts forever.

Angkor Thom gate at Angkor Wat Cambodia travel-min

The massive, vast and expansive ancient Khmer ruins in Cambodia were awe-inspiring

Whereas Thailand felt like an Asian version of Mexico — a Second World country coming into its own with lots of bustling and profitable industry and a fairly sophisticated tourist infrastructure — next door Cambodia was a world apart.

Tuk-tuk with heavy load Siem Reap Cambodia copy-min

We found that Thailand was very similar to Mexico in many ways, but Cambodia was unlike anything we had ever experienced before.

There was an innocence and joy in everyone we met that surprised us.

Cambodian school children playing in Siem Reap copy-min

Cambodian schoolkids swing on the vines on their way home from school.

The many miles wide sprawl of endless ancient Khmer temple ruins around Angkor Wat were breathtaking, both for their mystery and because of their toppled condition. The stories we heard of the roles the ruins and their riches played in the conflicts during the latter quarter of the last century were mind boggling.

Angkor Wat ruins in Cambodia-min

The ancient Khmer ruins hold the mysteries of an ancient and sophisticated world.

We even found one temple ruin that was reminiscent of the Mayan step pyramids an ocean away in southern Mexico. The ruins dated from about the same time period too.

Step pyramid Angkor Wat temple Cambodia-min

One ancient Khmer ruin is shaped like the step pyramids of Meso-America.

We spent several days crawling all over these fascinating ruins, many of which are an hour’s drive from the central complex.

Face in the ruins at Angkor Wat Cambodia travel-min

This face is dozens of feet tall.

Faces at the gate Angkor Wat temple Cambodia travel-min

Guards at the gate of an Angkor Wat temple palace.

The jungle is a living being, though, and it has spread its roots across many of the temple ruins, often covering them up completely.

Trees growing over Angkor Wat temple ruins Cambodia-min

The jungle engulfs the ancient Khmer ruins!

We had noticed that modern Cambodian writing and Thai writing are nothing like each other, but we were astonished when our Cambodian guide pointed out the many inscriptions carved on the arches and lintels of the Angkor Wat temple ruins and revealed that he couldn’t read them at all either!

Ancient Khmer Inscription at Angkor Wat temple district Cambodia-min

Ancient Khmer inscriptions carved into the temple door jams and lintels.
The language has roots in Sanskrit.

However, aside from the mysteries of the ancients, it was the tales we were told of recent Cambodian history that left us reeling.

We didn’t know anything about Cambodia before we got there, and our jaws hung open as we heard horrifying stories first-hand from our guides and drivers about what they, their parents and their families had lived through during the same years that Mark and I had been young adults getting our lives started in a country where basic freedoms and extraordinary abundance are easily and often taken for granted.

A day spent visiting a Cambodian family in their home left a moving and long lasting impression on both of us.

Adventure travel in Cambodia-min

We enjoyed a priceless day trip to the home of a Cambodian family where the kids, cousins and friends got a kick out of hamming it up and photo-bombing each other for our cameras.

When we returned to America we stayed around Arizona for a while in our buggy, relaxing in the beautiful Sonoran desert along its waterways and camping amid the rock art petroglyphs of Gila Bend.

Rippling water in Horseshoe Lake Arizona-min

Water ripples in our wake in the Sonoran Desert.

Saguaro cactus in Arizona-min

Saguaro cactus.

Cactus flowers in Arizona-min

Blandly colored cactus have the most brilliantly colorful flowers each spring.

When family members said they were going to Hawaii in a few weeks, we couldn’t pass up the special and very rare opportunity for a reunion with loved ones in the tropics, so we found ourselves at the airport once again!

Honolulu Hawaii travel adventure-min

At the last second we parked our trailer and flew to Hawaii for a fabulous week with family in the tropics.

Back in our trailer “for good” this time, we traveled through Winslow and Holbrook, Arizona, and got our kicks on Route 66.

Winslow Arizona Route 66 RV trip-min

Winslow and Holbrook Arizona are highlights on Route 66.

We did a few hikes in Petrified Forest National Park, scrambling around the magical Jasper Forest and hiking between the vivid white and lavender striped mounds of Blue Mesa Trail.

Petrified Forest National Park RV trip-min

Stone “logs” at the magical Jasper Forest at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona.

Blue Mesa Trail Petrified Forest National Park RV trip-min

Blue Mesa Trail at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona.

At Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Arizona we peered over the edges of the sheer walls to the green valley below and watched a brilliant sunset erupt over Spider Rock.

Canyon de Chelly RV trip-min

Spider Rock at sunset in Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona.

Continuing east and north, we stopped by Bisti Badlands in New Mexico where another glorious sunset showed off the famous alien eggs at our feet.

Bisti Badlands cracked eggs-min

Pink skies above the alien eggs at Bisti Badlands, New Mexico.

We were now in Indian pueblo country and we explored both the Aztec National Monument ruins, which are a massive ancient collection of adjoining rooms, and the ruins at Bandelier National Monument, an ancient cliff dwelling community built into natural rock holes.

Aztec National Monument Arizona RV trip-min

The Kiva at the ancient Indian ruins of Aztec National Monument in New Mexico.

Bandelier National Monument New Mexico RV trip-min

Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico has wonderful ladders for visitors to climb up and see the cliff dwellings.

Visiting nearby Tent Rocks National Monument in New Mexico, we hiked through a slot canyon and then up a steep climb to the sky where rock formations are lined up like a series of tents.

Slot canyon at Tent Rocks National Monument New Mexico-min

Tent Rocks National Monument in New Mexico — the slot canyon.

Tent Rocks National Monument New Mexico RV trip-min

Tent Rocks National Monument in New Mexico — the tents.

The new Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico had recently opened to visitors, and while we were camped nearby we found ourselves in a spring blizzard. But we descended from the 10,000′ altitude to find warmth again outside Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Snow on spring flowers New Mexico RV trip-min

Snow on spring flowers near Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Beautiful sky near Sand Dunes National Monument Colorado-min

The heavens open up near Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.

The end of May marked our 10th year of traveling full-time, and in celebration we published two posts giving an overview of all we’ve seen and done: Part 1 and Part 2. What an unbelievable decade it has been!

We found plenty of snow when we climbed back up into Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, however, and we joined our friends on a Porsche 356 rally where we tucked ourselves into the backs of cute bathtub Porshe roadster convertibles and took photos of the beautiful snowy peaks!

Porsche Rally in Colorado Rocky Mountains-min

What a way to see the Colorado Rocky Mountains — in a Porsche roadster rally!

We made our way to the Black Hills of South Dakota where we explored the beautiful town of Custer and nearby Custer State Park. The Wildlife Loop Road in Custer State Park is home to all kinds of critters, and we saw prairie dogs, pronghorn antelope and buffalo at close range.

Prairie Dogs in Custer State Park on a South Dakota RV trip-min

Custer State Park has several big prairie dog communities.

A herd of wild burros entertains visitors at Custer State Park, and they have been fed by tourists for so many years and have become so tame that they now think nothing of poking their heads inside the car window to see what kinds of snacks you brought for them!

Wild burro looks in car window Custer State Park South Dakota RV tirp-min

A wild burro peers in a car window at Custer State Park in South Dakota.

Wild burro at Custer State Park South Dakota on an RV trip-min

Some of the wild burros had adorable babies.
This one leaned against me and almost fell asleep!

We had ventured to South Dakota’s Custer State Park to meet up with professional wildlife photographer Steve Perry, and our cameras clicked animal images non-stop for a few days.

Pronghorn antelope in Wyoming-min

Pronghorn antelope.

Buffalo in Black Hills South Dakota-min

A buffalo walks towards us.

Western Tanager in Black Hills South Dakota RV trip-min

A western tanager in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Songbird in South Dakota.

A meadowlarks sings his heart out.

This part of the world is distant enough from big cities that the Milky Way is easily visible, and we enjoyed some night photography in Custer, South Dakota, too.

Milky Way reflects in a lake in Black Hills South Dakota RV trip-min

The Milky Way reflects in still water near Custer, South Dakota.

Custer, South Dakota, was also an ideal place to enjoy an old fashioned small town 4th of July celebration, complete with a parade and fireworks.

Fireworks on the 4th of July Custer South Dakota-min

Fireworks were a highlight of the small town 4th of July celebration in Custer, South Dakota.

We then made our way to Buffalo, Wyoming, and the Big Horn Mountains where we bumped into two weekend-long celebrations, the first one honoring the Longmire TV series and the second one honoring the Basque sheepherding heritage of many of the families in the area.

Buffalo Wyoming RV trip-min

Buffalo, Wyoming, is a wonderful small town near the Big Horn Mountains.

Horse riders in the Big Horn Mountains Wyoming RV trip-min

Horseback riders enjoy a trail ride in Wyoming’s BIg Horn mountains.

Although we had visited the western side of Wyoming (home of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks) several times in the past, this was our first trip to the eastern half of the state, and we loved the quiet towns and less touristy feeling of the area.

Moonrise in Wyoming-min

Moonrise in Wyoming.

Herd of deer Big Horn Mountains Wyoming-min

Spotting a deer is always special, but having a group stop and stare at us was truly fabulous!

The dark night skies drew us outside in the wee hours of the morning for more shots of the Milky Way.

Milky Way at midnight in Wyoming-min


Looping back through South Dakota’s Black Hills, we stopped in at the famous Sturgis Bike Week motorcycle rally and explored Spearfish Canyon and its lovely waterfall.

Bikini Bike Wash Sturgis Bike Week in South Dakota-min

The Sturgis Bike Week motorcycle rally is an over-the-top testosterone fest that was a blast to see.

Spearfish Canyon waterfall South Dakota RV trip-min

Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota

After a pit stop at Wall Drug, South Dakota, the once unknown small town drug store that now boasts billboard advertising worldwide, we visited Badlands National Park where we saw lots of big horn sheep. We were very close to the path of the total solar eclipse that crossed the country in August, and we got a kick out of doing time-lapse videos as the sky darkened and lightened again.

Wall Drug billboard on South Dakota RV trip-min

The funny Wall Drug billboards can now be found far from Wall, South Dakota, and the coffee really is 5 cents!

Big horn sheep in Badlands South Dakota-min

Big horn sheep in Badlands National Park, South Dakota.

Big horn sheep at dusk Badlands National Park South Dakota RV trip-min

A big horn sheep at sunset.

Making a beeline westward, we took a brief time-out to climb up on the Continental Divide in Colorado and then settled into Las Vegas, Nevada, where we saw the most amazing nighttime light show when Mother Nature filled the sky with lightning bolts.

Continental Divide near Buena Vista Colorado-min

Hiking the Continental Divide in Colorado.

Lightning in Las Vegas Nevada-min

Las Vegas is known for big shows, and Mother Nature’s lightning show during our stay was just stunning.

While Mark attended the Interbike bicycle trade show in Las Vegas, I hopped on a plane to visit my mother in Paris. From the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame to ballet and opera performances galore, she took me on a memorable tour of the City of Light.

Eiffel Tower in Paris France-min

The Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Notre Dame Paris France travel-min

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

We took a quick train ride beyond the Paris city limits to spend a day exploring the medieval town of Moret sur Loing. The charming architecture resembled a fairy tale, and I was astonished to read a tourist sign outlining the town’s history and see the first date on the sign was from the year 1045!

Moret Sur Loing medieval castle Paris France travel-min

Fairytale medieval buildings in the village of Moret-sur-Loing just outside of Paris, France.

Back in our buggy in the southwest, we resumed our travels with excursions around the town of Kanab, Utah, first on the scenic road leading to Zion National Park and then to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.

Starburst and red rocks in Zion National Park Utah-min

Zion National Park Utah scenery along the road into the Park…!

Coral Pink Sand Dunes RV trip-min

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Utah

We were blessed with another fabulous wildlife sighting when a roadrunner posed for us within just a few feet, and we had a fun a nighttime adventure in an old movie set where the ghosts and goblins roamed free at Halloween.

Roadrunner in Utah-min

A roadrunner let us take lots of close-up shots in Utah.

Johnson Canyon movie set near Kanab Utah-min

Johnson Canyon movie set near Kanab, Utah.

Just a short distance west of there, Sand Hollow State Park gave us a beautiful waterfront adventure as we camped on the beach enjoying mountain views and glorious sunrises and moonrises.

Lake view Sand Hollow State Park RV camping-min

Sand Hollow State Park reservoir and mountain views.

Full moon at sunset Sand Hollow State Park Utah RV trip-min

A full moon rises at Sand Hollow in Utah.

A side-by-side rally capped off our stay in the orange sand dunes, and then we took a spectacular scenic drive down the west side of Lake Mead in Nevada.

Side-by-side rally at Sand Hollow State Park Utah-min

We tried out lots of side-by-side buggies at a rally.

Lake Mead scenic drive Nevada RV trip-min

A little traveled road west of Lake Mead offered some wonderful scenery.

Back in Arizona we found ourselves by water once again as we hiked along the Salt River, one of Arizona’s waterways that brings moisture and life to the Sonoran Desert. We attended a “ranch sorting” cowboy and horsemanship competition in Phoenix to cap off our year of travel adventures during the Christmas week.

Spring flowers Roosevelt Lake RV camping Arizona-min

Central Arizona’s Sonoran Desert boasts many lovely waterways.

Saguaro cactus in Arizona sunset-min

Arizona’s iconic saguaro cactus at sunset.

2017 was an incredible year that brought us endless beautiful photo ops and lots of new and precious life experiences. Here’s hoping for lots more exciting adventures in 2018!!

Fifth wheel RV under the Milky Way-min

Goodbye 2017 — Thanks for the great memories!!

Happy New Year and Happy Travels to all!!

In 2017 we also published several blog articles of RV lifestyle and tech tips. In addition, we organized all of this site’s pages of RV tips into easy to navigate indexes (accessible from the menu as well):

Never miss a post — it’s free!

More summaries of our travels through the years:

An Overview of Our First 10 Years of Full-time Travel + Reflections after 9 Years!

Summaries of Each Year on the Road - All of our travel posts in chronological order:

Our most recent posts:

More of our Latest Posts are in the MENU.
New to this site? Visit RVers Start Here to find where we keep all the good stuff and check out our GEAR STORE!!

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2017 Travel Post Recap in chronological order:

2016 – A Year of RV Travels in the National Parks

When 2016 burst upon us last year, our only goal for the year was to take our RV to the Canadian Rockies. As it turned out, on the way there and again on the way back, our year of full-time RV travels took us to a slew of National Parks.

Lake Louise in Banff National Park Alberta Canada

Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

By mid-year, we had visited so many that we gathered all of our National Parks adventures from our nearly 10 years of travels onto one page:

National Parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites Travel Adventures

We always keep a list of our most recent posts at this link (under “Latest” in the menu bar). But we also wanted to share our yearlong journey from 2016 on one page for RVers and other travelers who would like to follow in our path.

Arches National Park Utah

Arches National Park, Utah

Living as we do is a dream come true for us, and we began the year with some reflections on what it takes to live the dream. We were in Phoenix, Arizona, to ring in the new year where we enjoyed some wonderful encounters with wild (feral) parrots that take up residence in the saguaro cacti.

Peach faced lovebird parrot saguaro cactus Scottsdale Arizona

A peach faced lovebird perches on a saguaro cactus in Phoenix, Arizona.

From Phoenix we made our way to Quartzsite, Arizona, the RV gathering place.

Quartzsite Arizona RV boondocking in the desert

Quartzsite, Arizona, is the RV Gathering Place each winter

The Quartzsite RV Show was in full swing in this crazy truck stop town where the name of the game is “Anything Goes.”

Quartzsite Desert RV Boondockging AZ

Sunrise in the Arizona desert in Quartzsite

From Quartzsite we headed east to Tucson, Arizona, where the historic part of town is filled with wonderful old adobe doorways.

Adobe door in Historic Tucson district Arizona

Historic Old Town Tucson in Arizona

We visited the beautiful Xavier Mission in Tucson which evokes the days of the Spanish explorers.

Front San Xavier del Bac Mission Tucson Arizona

San Xavier Mission, Tucson, Arizona.

We found even more ancient history among Saguaro National Park’s ancient Indian petroglyphs. This was our first National Park visit of the year, and we discovered wonderful native Arizona animals in their habitats at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum there as well.

Arizona Sonoran Desert Musuem Tucson Mountain Lion

A mountain lion at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona.

Despite being February, temps suddenly hit 90+ degrees in Tucson, so we began our trek north, stopping in Sedona, Arizona, to ride our bikes on the Bell Rock Pathway and hike The Crack at Wet Beaver Creek.

Mountain Bikers Bell Rock Pathway Sedona Arizona

The Bell Rock Pathway is an easy hike or bike ride in Sedona’s quintessential red rock scenery

We took in some sunsets under stormy skies.

Cathedral Rock at sunset Sedona Arizona

Sunset peeks through brooding skies at Cathedral Rock in Sedona, Arizona

In early March, we witnessed another stunning sunset and sunrise at Horseshoe Bend Overlook near Page, Arizona and explored Lees Ferry and Marble Canyon nearby.

Horseshoe Bend Sunset Arizona

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

Paria Riffle and Paria Beach Lees Ferry Arizona

The Paria Riffle at Lees Ferry, Arizona

The ancient Indian ruins at Navajo National Monument and Monument Valley beckoned, and we learned about the proposed (and staggeringly massive) Bears Ears National Monument. For the next few weeks we would travel in and around the land area that would become Bears Ears National Monument by year’s end.

Ruins at Navajo National Monument Arizona

Betatakin cliff dwelling ruins at Navajo National Monument.

At Valley of the Gods and Goosenecks State Park, we were swept us up in the otherworldly red rock beauty of southern Utah.

Valley of the Gods Utah Scenic Drive

Valley of the Gods, Utah.

It was only mid-March, so a surprise snowstorm at Newspaper Rock wasn’t really a surprise.

Ancient Indian Petroglyphs Newspaper Rock Utah Mixture

A few of the hundres of petroglyphs at Newspaper Rock in Utah

Southern Utah is peppered with stunning scenery and National Parks, and our eyes were popping as we hiked the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.

Canyonlands National Park Needles District Utah

Canyonlands National Park – Needles District.

We took in Moab’s gorgeous snowcapped mountain views and visited Arches National Park.

Double Arch Arches National Park Utah

Double Arch in Arches National Park Utah

Nearby, we witnessed a stunning sunrise at Dead Horse Point State Park, a spit of land that is embraced by the much bigger Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park where we enjoyed brilliant night skies.

Dead Horse Point State Park Utah Before Dawn

Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah

It was now April, and it was warm enough to take our trailer further north through southeastern Idaho’s picturesque mountains and farmland.

RV travel trailer on bridge Salmon Idaho

RVing Idaho’s back roads on the Salmon River.

We traveled along US-93 following the Salmon River through Challis and Salmon, Idaho.

RV roadtrip through southeastern Idaho mountains

Idaho in early Spring

Driving up through the Bitterroot Valley of Montana, we watched a herd of elk cross the highway in front of us.

Elk crossing road Bitterroot Valley Montana


We had a chance to sample a little cowboy life and cattle ranching too.

Riding horses in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana

Savoring the views of Montana’s Bitterroot Valley on horseback.

In Phillipsburg, Montana we discovered a sweet town that’s been dubbed one of “America’s Prettiest Painted Places.”

Philipsburg Montana main street

Philipsburg, Montana, one of “America’s Prettiest Painted Places.”

Early May found us on the western side of Montana’s Glacier National Park before the park was really open for the season. Placid Lake McDonald shimmered lovely reflections.

Lake McDonald Glacier National Park RV travel

Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park

Crossing into British Columbia, Canada, we had finally arrived in the Canadian Rockies. We were blown away by the casual attitude of the big horn sheep who wander all over the roads in and around Kootenay National Park.

Big horn sheep crossing a road in British Columbia

Big Horn Sheep just outside Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada

Kootenay National Park gave us glimpses of bears nibbling Spring’s earliest treats, but our arrival at Lake Louise was when we began to feel like we were in the heart of the Rockies!

Lake Louise in Banff National Park Alberta Canada

Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

We took several trips up and down the southern half of the Icefields Parkway, a scenic drive like no other.

Icefields Parkway Banff National Park Alberta Canada

Icefields Parkway, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

We were stunned by the majesty of the towering snowcapped mountains all around us in Banff National Park.

Rental RV Icefields Parkway Banff National Park Canada Rocky Mountains

Icefields Parkway, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.

Icefields Parkway Banff National Park Alberta Canada

Icefields Parkway, Banff National Park, Alberta Canada

On the Icefields Parkway, which included a stop at royal blue Peyto Lake, we felt like we were driving on a highway right across the pages of a brochure for the Alps.

Peyto Lake Icefields Parkway Banff National Park Alberta Canad

Peyto Lake in Banff National Park is an incredibly vivid royal blue.

In contrast, we reached picture perfect Moraine Lake in Banff National Park by bicycle, and we had it almost to ourselves because the road to it was still closed for the season.

Moraine Lake Banff National Park Alberta Canada

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Canada has four National Parks that are adjacent to each other in the heart of the country’s best Rocky Mountain scenery, split between the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. On our trip to Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, we bumped into the fabulous waterfall at Natural Bridge.

Natural Bridge Yoho National Park British Columbia Canada Rocky Mountains

Natural Bridge surprised us on our way to Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

Emerald Lake Yoho National Park Alberta Canada

Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

Banff, Alberta, has been a resort town since its inception, and we met an inspiring pair of young artists at the historic hotel in town.

Banff Alberta Canada and Cascade Mountain Canadian Rockies

Banff, Alberta, Canada

It was late May by now, and we celebrated our 9th anniversary of full-time travel by splashing around in the outdoor hot springs that bring a touch of summer to Canada’s snowy Rockies year round.

Banff Upper Hot Springs Alberta Canada

Banff Upper Hot Springs, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.

Visiting Athabasca Falls in Jasper National Park and spending some time in the outdoorsy town of Canmore rounded out our visits to this part of the Canadian Rockies.

Snow Icefields Parkway Jasper National Park Alberta Canada

Beautiful patterns of snow on the mountains near the Columbia Ice Fields.

But there was still more to come with a scenic drive through jaw-dropping Kananaskis Country, where some of the 1988 Winter Olympic events were held.

Sunrise Kananaskis Country Canadian Rockies

Dawn in Kananaskis Country.

Dropping south from there, we visited Waterton Lakes National Park, Canada’s sweet little sister to Montana’s Glacier National Park.

Horseback riders Waterton Lakes National Parks Canada

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada.

Waterton Lakes National Park is a beautiful jewel in Canada’s National Park system. Taking the Waterton Shoreline Cruise on a historic ship to the southern side of the lake in Montana gave us even more incredible views.

Waterton Shoreline Cruise Waterton Lakes National Park Canada

Waterton Shoreline Cruise in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

We were now well into June, yet when we arrived in Saint Mary on the east side of Glacier National Park, we were surprised to learn that the Going to the Sun Road that traverses the Park was just opening!

Happy camper Glacier National Park Montana

Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park, Montana.

The heat of the summer was on in full force by the 4th of July, and after all those National Parks we were ready to spend some time in quiet, less visited communities. We found just that in pretty Libby, Montana, where we spent happy days watching eagles and hummingbirds.

Lake Koocanusa at sunset Libby Montana

Sunset in Libby, Montana

We met some special travelers while we were there: a lady who had traveled cross country by horse for many years and a couple sightseeing by bicycle.

Bernice Ende on 28,000 mile long horse back ride

Long Rider Bernice, and her beloved mares Essie Pearl and Montana Spirit.

Nearby, we visited Kootenai Falls and Ross Creek Cedars, Montana’s answer to California’s sequoias.

Ross Creek Cedars Scenic Area and Kootenai Falls MT RV trip

Ross Creek Cedars Scenic Area, Montana

As we dropped down along the back roads of Idaho, we visited the charming small towns of Sandpoint, Moscow and McCall.

RV Trip from Sandpoint Idaho to Moscow and McCall on the Little Salmon River

Idaho’s back roads

What an absolute delight it was to find a summer beach town in the middle of Idaho’s mountains perched on Payette Lake.

Payette Lake shore near Legacy Park McCall Idaho

McCall, Idaho, is a fantastic beach town!!

Unfortunately, the summer months in America’s west always bring huge wildfires, and we soon found ourselves dodging fires and smoke. We had planned to spend several weeks in beloved Sun Valley Idaho, but were chased away by smoke.

Dashing far down south, we landed in Cedar City, Utah, where we witnessed a most moving event: the release of a golden eagle in honor of America’s First Responders.

Golden eagle release Cedar City Utah Southwest Wildlife Foundation

A rehabilitated Golden Eagle flies to freedom, honoring America’s First Responders.

Just like the Banff area in the Canadian Rockies, we were once again situated in a sea of National Parks. Cedar Breaks National Monument is a lesser known gem in the area, but it is Bryce Canyon National Park that really knocked our socks off (as it always does, no matter how many times we see it).

Photography at Bryce Canyon National Park Inspiration Point Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

After walking along the Rim Trail with our eyes popping, we then explored special parts of Bryce Canyon we’d never visited before.

Navajo Loop Trail Bryce Canyon National Park Utah

Hiking down into the hoodoos in Bryce National Park, Utah.

We hiked the Fairyland Trail and took our bikes on the newly extended Bryce Canyon Bike Trail.

Windows Fairyland Trail Bryce Canyon National Park Utah


We even discovered a year-round waterfall in the Park.

Mossy Cave Trail Waterfall Mossy Cave Trail Bryce Canyon National Park Utah

Bryce Canyon’s Waterfall.

Mother Nature was in grand form while we were there, letting loose several August hail storms that pelted the area, but rainbows appeared and the sun shone as we wandered among the thousand year old bristlecone pine trees at Rainbow Point.

Bristlecone Pine Shadow Rainbow Point Bryce Canyon National Park Utah

A bristlecone plays with its shadow

Satiated with red rock scenery, we were ready for some fall color, so we spent much of September crossing Utah from west to east. Scenic Byway 12 is a stunning drive, and we stopped along the way to do the wonderful Lower Calf Creek Falls hike.

Sunshine waterfall Lower Calf Creek Falls Grand Staircase Escalante Utah

Lower Calf Creek Falls, Utah.

A little further on, we drove between the towering cliff walls of the Burr Trail.

Red rocks Burr Trail Scenic Byway 12 Utah

Burr Trail, Utah.

Arriving in Colorado in late September, we drove the fabulous San Juan Skyway through the dazzling fall color.

Motorcycle in fall colors San Juan Skyway Colorado Rocky Mountains

Fall colors on the San Juan Skyway, Colorado

A surprise snow storm turned the world into a spectacular landscape filled with orange and yellow and a dusting of snow.

Golden aspen and pine trees San Juan Skyway Colorado Rocky Mountains fall foliage

A dusting of September snow on Colorado’s San Juan Skyway.

Life in an RV is cold when it snows, so we quickly dropped to Durango at the south end of the San Juan Skyway to enjoy a Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Horse and carriage Durango Colorado

Durango, Colorado, is the perfect setting for a Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Heading west across northern Arizona, we drove alongside the Vermillion Cliffs where we took a peek at the “Cliff Dwellers” roadside stop.

02 761 RV travel Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Arizona

Arizona’s Vermillion Cliffs National Monument

Our “National Parks” travel theme was so well established by now that we just had to make a quickie stop at Grand Canyon’s North Rim to do both day and night photography.

View from deck Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim Arizona

Tourists on the cozy back deck of the North Rim’s Grand Canyon Lodge in Arizona.

Milky Way at the Grand Canyon North Rim Arizona

Full moon and the Milky Way at the Grand Canyon’s North Rim!

Then we continued on to the majestic scenery of Zion National Park.

Virgin River Zion Canyon Zion National Park Utah RV trip

Zion National Park, Utah

Exploring an area in Zion National Park that we hadn’t visited before, we did a hike into the autumn colors of Kolob Canyons on Taylor Creek Trail.

Autumn Leaves Kolob Canyons Zion National Park Utah

Zion National Park’s Kolob Canyons in Utah.

November and December saw us flitting between Arizona, California and San Luis Rio Colorado Mexico as we made several visits to our dentist and spent time socializing with friends.

Fabulous year of RV travels

What a fabulous year of RV travels!!
Moab, Utah

During 2016 we published quite a few non-travel posts as well. The links are below:

RV Tips, Tricks and Tech Topics:

Truck Related Topics:

RV Warranty & Repairs:


Product Reviews:

Dental Care on the Road:

Mexico’s Gold Coast:

An Overview of Our First 10 Years of Full-time Travel + Reflections after 9 Years!

Summaries of Each Year on the Road - All of our travel posts in chronological order:

Never miss a post — it’s free!

Our most recent posts:

More of our Latest Posts are in the MENU.
New to this site? Visit RVers Start Here to find where we keep all the good stuff!!

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2015 RV Travel Adventures – A Thrilling Journey East!

2015 was a year of extraordinary adventures for us as we gallivanted around North America in our ninth year of full-time travel. Looking back at our year of RV voyaging, it is astonishing to re-live the wide ranging experiences we had on the road.

RV boondocking and camping adventure travel 2015

A view of New Hampshire’s White Mountains gives us pause for reflection on our sensational year
of RV travel to the eastern states in 2015.

Gas prices were at an unbelievable low at the start of the year at about $2.79/gallon in Arizona, so we realized this particular year would probably be a great one to travel a long distance. After pondering Alaska versus Nova Scotia as destinations from our starting point in Arizona, we decided to head to the northeast. What a boon it was to watch fuel prices decrease all year long, hitting $2.09 a gallon when we returned to Arizona at the end of the year.

USA Map for RVing


Our big travel loop took us from Arizona to New Mexico, Texas and Florida during the winter and early spring followed by Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia in the later spring. Summer saw us in Nova Scotia, Maine, New Hampshire and Upstate New York, and the fall months took us from Kentucky through Oklahoma and back through Texas and New Mexico to Arizona for Christmas.

RV boondocking Quartzsite Arizona

Quartzsite, Arizona – RV madness in the desert!

Our year began in Quartzsite, Arizona, where RV snowbirds gather every year in the desert. From there we took a quick trip to Lake Havasu for the annual celebration of all things hippie and groovy at the VW Microbus rally.

Buses by the Bridge Lake Havasu Arizona

“Buses by the Bridge” VW Microbus fest in Lake Havasu Arizona

In January, the death of a cherished mentor of mine, Toller Cranston, made me realize with more poignancy than ever before that life is precious and we must savor every moment we have here on earth.

Sandhill cranes in Willcox Arizona

Thousands of sandhill cranes fill the sky near Willcox, Arizona

After enjoying the Quartzsite RV show and stopping over in unsung Florence, Arizona, we watched with awe as the sandhill cranes took wing in Willcox, Arizona. Then we paid a brief visit to the eastern side of the Chiricahua mountains. At White Sands National Monument in New Mexico we romped in the soft, blindingly white sand, and in Roswell we had endless close encounters with aliens.

Camping at White Sands National Park New Mexico

White Sands National Monument in New Mexico – pure white dunes a thousand miles from the beach!

But our experiences became truly out of this world when we arrived in Big Bend National Park where we found mountains and rivers and deserts to play in. A bizarre ghost town and a daytrip across the river (and border) to Mexico capped off a wonderful stay in the area.

Big Bend National Park Texas camping travel

Big Bend National Park in Texas – Stunning mountains and deserts on the river

RV travel in Big Bend National Park Texas

Balancing Rock in Big Bend Texas

And what a surprise it was to find that Big Bend National Park encourages boondocking on their land!

RV Boondocking in Big Bend National Park Texas

Boondocking in the wilds at Big Bend National Park in Texas

The Caverns of Sonora, a few hundred miles east of Big Bend on I-10, gave us a chance to explore a truly gorgeous underground world in a massive cave, but a scary ice storm on the highway as we made our way from there to Fort Worth jolted us back to reality.

Caverns of Sonora Texas travel adventure

The Caverns of Sonora in Texas are among the world’s prettiest

2015 turned out to be a year of major repairs and upgrades on our trailer, and we had no idea of what was to come when we did our first big trailer upgrade in Fort Worth, Texas. We replaced our trailer’s electric brakes with electric over hydraulic disc brakes. This turned out to be a perfectly timed upgrade, as the traffic, hills and chaotic driving in the northeast tested our trailer’s braking system again and again for the rest of the season.

RV trailer disc brakes

Our first big upgrade in 2015 – Trailer disc brakes

In Texas, we made a quick stop at the cool Casita Travel Trailer plant before spending a few days at Rainbow’s End RV Park just north of Houston where we learned about many incredible facets of the Escapees RV Club. From there we dashed east along the bottom of the country, enjoying several interstate rest areas that rivaled state parks along the way.

Siesta Beach Sarasota Florida travel

Ahhh…Florida! The beaches in Sarasota are stunning!

Florida’s Emerald Coast brought us pure white sand beaches and turquoise water, but it was the beaches of Sarasota that really made us feel like we’d arrived in the tropics.

Venice Beach RV travel to Sarasota Florida

Fun times on the beach in Florida

We stayed in Sarasota for a month to overhaul the electrical system on our rig and embark on the second major trailer upgrade for the year: new batteries, a new converter, new inverter and new wiring for all of it. What a fabulous improvement these upgrades have given to our solar powered life.

RV battery, inverter, converter installation

New batteries, new inverter and new converter – yay!

One of our more unusual discoveries this year was The Ringling in Sarasota, Florida, a one-of-a-kind estate where we found fabulous art created by the European masters from the Middle Ages to the 19th century that had been collected by one of the founders of Ringling Brother’s Circus.

The Ringling Estate Art Museum Sarasota Florida

“The Ringling” in Sarasota – An estate and art museum full of treasures from the circus

We also got friendly with flamingos at Jungle Gardens and even watched a pair of sandhill cranes hatch at a man-made pond by a strip mall in Sarasota.

Flamingo Sarasota Florida travel_

A flamingo gets cozy with Mark

Seeing sandhill cranes in RVtravels to Sarasota Florida

A sandhill crane mom checks on her chick in the nest

I flew to Massachusetts for a week and reveled in the delights of the seaside town of Rockport before we packed up the buggy in Florida and began our long trek to the northeastern states.

Travel to Rockport Massachusetts

Quintessential New England beauty in Rockport, Massachusetts

The antebellum mansions of Georgia were first on our list as we followed the Antebellum Trail across the state from south to north.

RV travels on Georgia's Antebellum Trail

Our travel theme in Georgia was antebellum mansions.

Then we hit Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina where we saw elk, mountain vistas and Indians. We hopped on and off the Blue Ridge Parkway as we chased down the stunning wildflowers (rhododendrons!) and waterfalls that lie along this route.

Waterfall seeing while RVing the Blue Ridge Parkway North Carolia

In North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway our travel theme became waterfalls

RV camping with Waterfalls on Blue Ridge Parkway North Carolina

Dugger’s Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway

A little further north we found an incredible bicycle trail in Galax, Virginia.

We loved the fabulous free bluegrass music jams in Floyd, Virginia, and enjoyed even more free jam sessions at the Blue Ridge Music Center which is situated very close to the picturesque Mabry Mill in southern Virginia.

Mabry Mill Blue Ridge Parkway RV camping adventure

Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Chasing more waterfalls, wildflowers and rhododendrons in Virginia, we continued bee-bopping on and off the Blue Ridge Parkway as we headed north and climbed to the top of a precipice in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.

RV adventure travel Virginia

We stop to smell the flowers in Virginia

From northern Virginia, we faced a challenge as we took our big rig onto the tiny, congested roads of the northeast. Scampering through Pennsylvania and across the Catskills in New York (making a mental note to come back some day to visit at leisure), we dashed through Vermont and New Hampshire, landing at last at Narrows Too RV Resort just outside Acadia National Park in northern Maine.

Covered Bridge Bennington Vermont RV travel

Wildflowers by a covered bridge in Bennington, Vermont

Acadia National Park was a true highlight in our summer travels. We drove the spectacular and little known Schoodic Scenic Byway past quintessential New England views of anchored lobster boats and other aquatic beauty.

Winter Harbor Maine camping adventure

Winter Harbor, Maine

Northern Maine RV adventures

Clear water in northern Maine

We also caught a glimpse of the more upscale side of the New England yachting scene with a fun factory tour at Hinckley Yachts.

But it was Rockefeller’s sweet Carriage Roads throughout Acadia National Park and the utterly charming mail boat ferry ride we took to Maine’s Cranberry Islands that made us fall in love with the area.

Carriage Roads Acadia National Park RV camping Maine

The Carriage Roads in Acadia National Park – A gift to all of us from John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

Taking our RV further downeast, we were delighted by a series of lighthouse sightings, first the candy-striped West Quoddy Head lighthouse and then the red crossed East Quoddy Head lighthouse at Lubec (Maine) and Campobello Island (Canada).

West Quoddy Lighthouse Maine travel

Maine’s West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec

East Quoddy Lighthouse Campobello Island Canada travel by RV

New Brunswick’s East Quoddy Head Lighthouse on Campobello Island

These lighthouses were just a warm up for the incredible evening we experienced after we crossed the border for real into Nova Scotia and watched the setting sun play upon the Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse in south-central Nova Scotia.

RV Nova Scotia travel Peggy's Cove Lighthouse

Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse on the south coast of Nova Scotia

Peggy's Cove Lighthouse Nova Scotia

Wild skies at Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse in Nova Scotia

The visual wonders kept us in awe throughout our stay in Nova Scotia, first at Lunenburg and Mahone Bay on the southern coast, then on the Northumberland Shore on the north coast.

Lunenburg Nova Scotia RV adventure

The classic colorful fishing village of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

The Cabot Trail around Cape Breton Island had a rugged beauty all its own.

Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia RV adventure

The Cabot Trail winds through the highlands of Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia

Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia RV boondocking and camping

Seaside camping at the northern tip of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

At this point, in early July, we turned around and began the long journey back south and west. Our first stop was cute (and remote) Eastport, Maine, followed by the fun town of Bangor where we spent precious time with very special friends.

Steven King house Bangor Maine bat and gargoyle gate

A bat on the gate protects the house of author Steven King in Bangor, Maine

While we were in Bangor, we underwent the first major repair of the year when we got our trailer’s rear axle replaced. The original axle had been bent by the bad roads in Nova Scotia, and we were extremely grateful that our newly minted RV warranty came to the rescue.

Trailer axle replacement on an RV

The service team at Harvey RVs in Bangor Maine did an outstanding job replacing our rear trailer axle.

From Maine, we zipped west to the White Mountains in New Hampshire where we summitted Mt. Washington, the tallest peak in the northeast. We did it the easy way by taking The Cog Railway.

The Cog Railway White Mountains New Hampshire RV travel

The Cog Railway climbs a 37.5% grade straight up Mt. Washington in New Hampshire’s White Mountains

Traveling west from there we had some special encounters with the Amish in upstate New York’s Finger Lakes region where we watched a unique Amish farm auction.

RV travel New York Finger Lakes Amish Country

A community of Amish people make their home in the New York Finger Lakes

Amish Seneca Auction Finger Lakes NY

The farmer’s produce auction – a glimipse of another era.

The rural countryside of the Finger Lakes was lovely, and we were just delighted when a pair of fawns and a fox paused at the edge of the woods to check us out.

Deer and fox New York Finger Lakes camping

The New York Finger Lakes have their wild side!

A rainy daytrip to exquisite Watkins Glen State Park proved to be an ideal way to see this jewel, as the overcast light and flowing waterfalls were perfect for taking photos.

Watkins Glen State Park New York Finger Lakes RV Camping

The waterfalls at Watkins Glenn blew us away.

From the Finger Lakes, we dropped south along the Ohio River until we spotted a pretty town on the far shore that turned out to be the unusual and historic town of Maysville, Kentucky.

Maysville Kentucky town streets

We were charmed by the historic buildings and warm hospitality of Maysville, Kentucky

From the brick streets to the wonderful old buildings to the towering flood wall that holds back the Ohio River when it swells to threatening heights, we were enchanted by Maysville, Kentucky.

O'Rourke's Pub Maysville Kentucky

In Maysville, Kentucky, everyone loves to gather in the streets, especially outside O’Rourke’s Pub!

A stop for a beer at O’Rourke’s Pub introduced us to a warm community of newfound friends who went out of their way to make us feel welcome and special in their town.

Tobacco Farming Maysville Kentucky

We watched tobacco being harvested — an industry that once thrived but is now disappearing

We toured tobacco farms, ran local running races, saw a fabulous car show, enjoyed free music concerts, learned about Freemasons, checked out the historic village of Washington and even met the Mayor.

To our utter astonishment, all this fun we were having landed us on the front page of the local newspaper!

Maysville Kentucky RV travelers

We were shocked and touched when the local newspaper published a story about us on their front page.

This was a glorious introduction to Kentucky, and we had high hopes of seeing more of the state and to swing through Tennessee as well, but our refrigerator died and the closest place that could do a quick repair was in Indianapolis. So, off we went to get a new RV fridge. Again, thank goodness for that RV warranty, as this repair was covered too!

RV Refrigerator replacement under warranty

Our refrigerator quit working, but some fast footwork got us back on the road quickly.

With the beer sufficiently cold in our fridge once again, we headed to Missouri and visited the incomparable Spacecraft Manufacturing plant where luxurious, ultra rugged and fully custom fifth wheel trailers are designed and built.

Kansas RV camping Tuttle Creek State Park Sunset

The great plains of Kansas gave us some great skies!

Continuing west and south through Manhattan Kansas, we arrived in Humboldt, Kansas, just in time for their unique Biblesta celebration that unites the entire community as they share, retell and re-enact the stories of the Bible.

Kids at Biblesta Parade Humboldt Kansas RV travel adventures

The Biblesta Bible celebration in Humboldt, Kansas, is one of a kind.

This quiet celebration in rural Kansas and a fun fall festival in Welch, Oklahoma both took place not long before tragic world events unfolded in Paris, and it was a bittersweet moment when we reviewed our photos later and reflected on our memories of peaceful Paris, Texas, set against the ongoing chaos in its namesake City of Lights in France.

RV in Paris Texas

Paris, Texas

Continuing west, we found a town full of unusual metal art in Tatum, New Mexico, saw a rock garden of aging missiles in White Sands, New Mexico, and discovered Nature’s unique stone artwork at the City of Rocks, New Mexico.

Tatum New Mexico Metal Art and RV adventure

Tiny Tatum, New Mexico, is loaded with fun metal art by two extraordinary artisans.

City of Rocks State Park RV Campground New Mexico

Nature’s rock art at City of Rocks in New Mexico makes a fabulous backdrop for camping

When we crossed the border into Arizona, we had come full circle, ending an extraordinary year of RV adventures on the road. Autumn was in full regalia and it felt wonderful to be “home” as we explored Mt. Graham, the area around Roosevelt Lake and the ancient Indian Ruins at Tonto National Monument.

Fall color and RV camping in Arizona

A late November return to Arizona brings us in during the peak of Autumn splendor.

After arriving in Arizona, to our utter astonishment and chagrin, we had to turn to our RV warranty for a fourth time in as many months. We replaced our trailer’s entire suspension system (shocks, leaf springs and axle hangers) which had failed badly due, in part, to weak springs on our new trailer axle, and had left the coach’s tires nearly touching. I haven’t shared that story here — I just haven’t had the heart to write about another round of trailer repairs as of yet — but believe me, we sure were glad to have that warranty. This last repair brought us to a total of over $6,700 in repair reimbursements that were all covered by our $1,904 contract.

RV trailer suspension failure

Our trailer suspension sagged so badly between Maine and Arizona that the tires almost touched.

Repairs aside, as we look back on this magnificent year of travel, we feel truly blessed to be living this life, and we know just how fortunate we are. We feel grateful for and awed by every day that dawns. Throughout 2015, and in an all our years of RV and sailing travel, we have been the lucky recipients of many deeply fulfilling and truly life changing experiences.

RV camping and boondocking in Arizona

These are our happy golden years…

This memorable year of RV travel was very different from all of our prior years because we covered so much distance and were on the move for so long. We drove our truck a total of 19,837 miles, about half of which was towing our trailer. We stayed in 108 different locations, 50 of which were one night stands and only three of which lasted 3 weeks or longer.

What a rush!!

Thank you 2015!!

Never miss a post — it’s free!

An Overview of Our First 10 Years of Full-time Travel + Reflections after 9 Years!

Summaries of Each Year on the Road - All of our travel posts in chronological order:

Our most recent posts:

More of our Latest Posts are in the top MENU above.

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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.


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


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!


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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!!

An Overview of Our First 10 Years of Full-time Travel + Reflections after 9 Years!

Summaries of Each Year on the Road - All of our travel posts in chronological order:

<-Previous || Next->

New to this site? Visit our Home page to read more about our full-time traveling lifestyle and our Intro for RVers to find out where we keep all the good stuff. If you like what you see, we'd love for you to subscribe to receive our latest posts!

Never miss a post — it’s free!

2007-2012 – RV and Sailing Adventures

This page contains links to all the places we have visited since we started traveling full-time by RV and sailboat in 2007. Our travels have taken us to the Caribbean.

Florida in the upper left, Venezuela along the bottom.

We spent time traveling in the Grenadines. We have cruised our sailboat Groovy along the entire Mexican coast (except the northern Sea of Cortez). Cruising Southern Pacific Mexico and Northern Central America is quite different than along the northern coasts of Mexico.

Southern Mexico & Northern Central America

Our Travel Route: May 2007 - June 2012


Starting in May, 2007, our travels have taken us to these places:

2007 - RV: New Mexico, California, Oregon, Washington, Canada, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Arizona

2008 - RV:  Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, Kansas, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Arizona

2009 - RV:  California, Florida, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kansas, Arizona, California

Car/hotel: Michigan

RV: Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Arizona

Airplane/hotel:  SE Caribbean

2010 - Sailboat:  California, Mexico's Baja Pacific Coast

2011 - Sailboat: Mexico's Mainland Pacific Coast, Sea of Cortez

RV: Arizona, Utah, Arizona

Sailboat:  Sea of Cortez, Mexico's Pacific Coast

2012 - Sailboat:  Mexico's Pacific Coast + inland trips by bus

RV:  Arizona, Colorado, Utah

A complete chronological listing of all our travels (with links) follows:


Loop and Southern Loop

In May, 2007, we left our just-leased home in

Phoenix, Arizona and picked up our new Lynx

travel trailer in Kemp, Texas outside of Dallas.

We arrived at Marshall's RV with everything we

needed for our new lifestyle packed into the back

of our truck.  After staying near the dealership for

ten days, just to make sure all the systems

worked okay, we headed west.  We traveled

between I-10 and I-40 on small country roads

through west Texas and New Mexico.  We

arrived in Flagstaff, Arizona, and installed a solar

panel and finished some personal odds and ends,

wrapping up our old life in Phoenix.

We left Flagstaff in June, 2007 and went to

Mammoth Lakes, California where we enjoyed

snow-capped mountains and crystal clear lakes.

From there we went to Yosemite National Park via Tioga Pass on the eastern side, and then took the tiny roads out of the

mountains to the west, skirting Sacramento and landing at the California coast at Fort Bragg, 150 miles north of San Francisco.  We

wandered north along the Oregon Coast in July, 2007, awestruck by the rugged beauty of the craggy cliffs and crashing surf.  At the

top of Oregon we turned inland, following the Columbia River along the northern part of Oregon.  Next, we ventured into southern

Washington, exploring the often-foggy coast and the steaming cauldron of Mt. St. Helens.  Then we made our way up to northern

Washington, where we visited Olympic National Park and Mt. Rainier.

In August, 2007 we took a ferry from Port Angeles, Washington to Vancouver Island and spent most of the month on the southern

half of the island.  At the end of our visit we spent several days in Victoria, BC, before boarding a ferry for Anacortes, Washington.

From there we traveled east along the North Cascades in Washington to northern Idaho.  In September, 2007 we traveled further

east to visit Glacier National Park in Montana.  Then we dropped south to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming where we

enjoyed both the tamed wild animals and the hot springs and geysers.  Just a little south of Yellowstone we spent a day touring the

incomparable mountain and lake scenery of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and then made our way east to Devil's Tower

in northeastern Wyoming.

At the end of September, 2007, we reached our turnaround point at Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota in the

southwest corner of the state.  We could feel the chill of fall in the air.  We headed west through Wyoming along I-80 and dropped

down into northern Utah, wandering from Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area over to Park City outside of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Caught in an early snow storm we quickly dropped south again to Green River, Utah, and the San Rafael Swell where we were awed

by the easy access to ancient petroglyphs and dinosaur tracks.  We dipped down from there, in October, 2007, to Goblin Valley,

Utah and then to Zion National Park and Kodachrome Basin, all along the unbelievably scenic Route 12 which zig-zags across

Utah.  Chased by cold weather, we went south to the outskirts of Las Vegas, Nevada, where we found the stunning Valley of Fire

State Park.  Here we saw sunrises that looked like sunsets and cycled on an exquisite road through geological formations of every

shape and color.  As the nights grew cold in November, 2007, we sought warmth at Death Valley National Park in California and

then cruised into southern Arizona in early December, 2007, where we made our first visit to Quartzsite, Arizona.

We had completed a loop tour of the western states, and we were pooped!  We recovered completely during Christmas, 2007, visiting

with family in Phoenix before returning to Quartzsite, Arizona in January, 2008 for their big RV show.  While freezing in howling

winds under grey skies, we kept looking at the weather map on the back page of USA Today and seeing that Florida was toasty

warm.  It was time to leave.  We made our way east through Texas the long way, skimming the Rio Grande and the Gulf Coast,

dashing across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on I-10 and arriving in Florida in February, 2008.  We spent three months in

Florida, criss-crossing northern Florida several times.  We visited Daytona just in time to see the Daytona 200 motorcycle race and

Spring Break.  Then we cruised along the southern and western coasts of Florida, swimming at beaches near Miami and

Sarasota as we looped around to the Florida panhandle.

At the end of April, 2007 we visited the Gulf coast town of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, amazed at this town's enthusiastic revival

following Katrina.  From there we traveled north to Natchez, Mississippi where the great river was cresting higher than it had since

the 1930's and the historic mansions told stories of a different culture in a different era.  We drove along the Natchez Trace Parkway

north to Jackson, Mississippi, exploring ancient Indian mounds and cycling this unique commercial-traffic free road.

SECOND YEAR TRAVELS - Southwestern Loop, Florida Dash & Heartland Detour Back West

In May, 2008, we arrived in Chanute, Kansas, putting our sightseeing on hold for a month as we immersed ourselves in learning all

we could about NuWa fifth wheel trailers.  After a lot of thought, we decided to take the plunge.  We made a deal at the factory with

local dealer H&K Camper Sales to buy a new Hitchhiker fifth wheel trailer.  We moved into the new trailer on May 20, 2008, the exact

same day that we had left Phoenix to begin this new fulltime RV lifestyle a year ago.  Thrilled with our new purchase, we needed to

get it set up for solar battery charging, so we returned to Flagstaff, Arizona where we upgraded the solar system we had had on the

Lynx.  We felt a little like we were repeating history--but with greater knowledge and sophistication: we stayed in the same

campground and had a similar (though more complex) solar installation project as we had had during the same time period one year

before.  We had learned something important during this year of travel, however: to slow down.  Taking a break from our solar

installation work on the buggy, we cycled and hiked through the sights of Sunset Crater National Monument.

In late June, 2008, we left Flagstaff, Arizona and went all the way around the Grand Canyon to its North Rim.  We stayed for three

weeks in an idyllic setting about 18 miles from the Rim.  From there we wandered north through Kanab, Utah and discovered one of

Utah's great animal sanctuaries.  After hugging and petting many non-human friends, we continued north to Ruby's Inn and Bryce

Canyon where we spent a month in a bucolic setting.  In a past visit in our former lives, we had squeezed the North Rim and Bryce

into a few days.  We were really learning to sloooow waaaay down.

At the end of August, 2008, we wandering among the small communities that dot the mountainous and red rock strewn terrain of

southern Utah.  We basked in the small town comfort of Kanab and Alton, meandering along their pretty streets on brilliant blue-sky

filled days.  And we enjoyed the hometown fun of a three-day Labor Day county fair in Parowan, Utah.  During September we

stopped in at Pioche, Nevada, a once bustling mining town might have been the wildest frontier town in the heyday of the wild west.

From there we revisited our former lives with a stopover at Interbike, the annual bicycle industry trade-show in Las Vegas.  We

caught up on the latest bike gear and saw Lance Armstrong in a night-time cyclo-cross race (but forgot to bring our cameras, so

there's no proof!).

Sweltering in the 100 degree Vegas heat, we dashed across the California desert (hot hot hot!) to San Diego's Shelter Island and

Mission Bay where the cool breezes, bright sunshine and salt air seduced us into staying for the entire month of October, 2008.

Heading inland, we spent November in Yuma, Arizona, where we enjoyed the last warm days of 2008 before the start of winter.

We stayed in the Arizona Desert for most of December and January.  In Quartzsite we installed a vent-free heater just as the first

freezing winter storm hit.  This kept us warm through the holidays in Phoenix, til we hit the San Diego waterfront once again to attend

the sailboat show in January.  We were reluctant to leave the unusually warm, sunny coast, but great friends, good times and the RV

show awaited us back in Quartzsite.

Ready for a change of pace, we made a mad dash across country, and spent six weeks on the quiet rivers and sugar-white sand

beaches that fringe the Florida Panhandle's emerald waters.  State parks and seaside villages highlighted our visit and made our

photo journal spill onto two pages (Florida Panhandle 2).  Heading north, we visited the Natchez Trace in Mississippi a second time

and made some enjoyable stops in central and northern Arkansas.  Warranty work on our trailer took us to Chanute, Kansas next,

followed by a long slog back along I-40 to Arizona.

We stopped at Roosevelt Lake in Arizona and had two blissful weeks of cycling, kayaking and photography.  Spurred by a desire to

expand our travels onto the seven seas, we went boat shopping around San Francisco & Los Angeles.


Midwest (by car/hotel), West (in trailer), SE Caribbean (by hotel) & Mexico (by sailboat)

An accident in May, 2009 put us in Michigan for seven weeks with friends and family but without our trailer.  We looped around Lake

St. Clair, which borders both Detroit and Canada, and then dropped down to N. Ohio & Elkhart, Indiana where we visited the RV/MH

Hall of Fame and toured Amish Country and the Heartland RV factory.  Later in June, we traveled up Michigan's west coast,

stopping in the charming waterfront town of South Haven.  Continuing north, we traveled along the scenic coastal roads of Lake

Michigan (with a detour through Detroit) to hit Saugatuck, Higgins Lake and Traverse City, alternating between seeing new sights

and having Mark take me on nostalgic trips down memory lane.  We continued north along the Lake Michigan coast, visiting the

harborfront villages of Charlevoix and Harbor Springs and driving under the unique green limbed canopy of the Tunnel of Trees.

In late June we crossed the Macinaw Bridge into the Upper Peninsula and visited the towns of St. Ignace and Hessel, making a brief

stop at the Great Lakes Boat Building School.  A trip to the Soo Locks revealed both north and southbound freighters in the locks

simultaneously, one going up and one going down.  We ended our Michigan visit with a trip down the Lake Huron shoreline,

marveling at lighthouses, shipwrecks and hydroplane boat races, and finally wrapping it all up with a stroll through the German

immigrant town of Frankenmuth.

We flew back to California and moved back into our trailer just in time for San Diego's 4th of July bash.  Taking the long route north

and east, we traveled to Ketchum, Idaho, where we unwound in bliss and rediscovered our inner joy for a month.  We worked our

way down much of the Visitors Center's 50 Fun Free Things To Do in Ketchum/Sun Valley list.  There was the symphony's free

summer concert series, the Sun Valley Lodge itself, and winter sports memorabilia all over Sun Valley, ID.  A little further north we

stopped in Stanley, ID, enjoying several blissful kayak rides in the crystal clear lakes among the mountains.  We got a lesson in

salmon lifecycles too.  As August, 2009 ended, our lessons shifted from fish biology to cattle ranching in Stevensville, MT (just south

of Missoula) at our good friends' neighbor's ranch.  They took us to the annual Labor Day Weekend Hemville Rodeo to see how

ranchers unwind on the weekend.  This event was so much fun we had to create a second Rodeo page.

In September, 2009, we hustled south along I-15, stopping several times between Logan and Cedar City, Utah to take in the sights

and drive the scenic roads through the mountains.  A stint in Las Vegas, Nevada split us up between the glitzy annual Interbike

bicycle industry trade show and the soaring peaks at Red Rock Canyon.  A brief detour along I-15 finally landed us at Valley of Fire

State Park for a second visit (first was in 2007).  Red rocks, petroglyphs, jaw-dropping drives and exhilerating bike rides.  A little

further down the Colorado River, we stopped at Laughlin, Nevada where the RV snowbirds were flocking on their flight south.  By

the end of October we were back in Arizona for a free stay at Havasu Springs Resort in exchange for listening to an RV

membership program presentation.  We returned to our home front, Phoenix, Arizona in November, 2009, and visited two Phoenix

area parks.

Looking for new excitement and warmer climes, we jetted to Grenada in the southeastern Caribbean to begin a 10-week tropical

adventure.  Going aboard a 75' wooden yacht that Frank Sinatra used to sail on was one of many highlights as we stayed on

Grenada's main island.  Paradise Beach on Carriacou Island captivated us, and we enjoyed several walking adventures.  We spent

many days in total relaxation and pure joy in Carriacou, Grenada, and eventually took the ferry to Union Island in the country of St.

Vincent & The Grenadines where Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations were in colorful full swing.  Next day, a 15 minute

flight landed us on the island of Bequia, at one time a charming oasis of peace and tranquility where we planned to spend a month.

Accosted by scam artists at the airport and finding the locals both sullen and mean, we searched hard to find the pretty side of this


Meanwhile, an online search had turned up our dream boat for sale at a rock bottom price in San Diego.  We submitted an online bid

as a lark and suddenly found ourselves thrust into the boat buying process once again.  A wild 33 hour walk/ferry/taxi/jet ride to San

Diego put us face to face with Groovy, our new home.  After two weeks of non-stop preparations, on January 31, 2010 we left San

Diego and went south to Ensenada, Mexico via ports at Puerto La Salina and Hotel Coral & Marina.  We lived on our new boat

Groovy at Hotel Coral & Marina in Ensenada, Mexico for the next six months.

Getting out and about in Ensenada, we found small thrills in the markets and in "Gringo Gulch," the tourist zone.  Over Valentine's

weekend we got downtown to witness the amazing spectacle of the Carnaval Parade.  Returning to the US a few times we learned a

little about the border and were grateful at last to return home to the boat in Ensenada.  Despite an El Nino year, a tsunami and an

earthquake, life in Ensenada was very sweet.  In April, 2010, we watched two races back to back: the Rosarito-Ensenada bike race

and the Newport-Ensenada sailboat race.  Settling back into our routine, we continued to prepare the boat for cruising and

discovered some colorful neighborhoods in Ensenada.

FOURTH YEAR TRAVELS - Ensenada Mexico, San Diego & Mexican coastline (by sailboat)

As May, 2010 ended, we continued exploring the area around Ensenada, Mexico, including La Bufadora, the famed blow hole.  In

back-to-back contrasting adventures, we experienced both the genteel and the raucous at the Riviera Cultural Center and Baja 500

off-road race.  Sticking to the genteel, we took a daytrip a few miles inland to experience the flavor and beauty of Ensenada's wine

country.  Back at Marina Coral we met many interesting travelers passing through Ensenada, and we discovered a vibrant running

and racing scene in town.  In early August, 2010, we moved Groovy to Ensenada's Baja Naval boatyard for a few projects that were

beyond our skill set, and said farewell to Ensenada.

Towards the end of August, 2010, we sailed up to San Diego and enjoyed the free anchorages that are available to cruisers there,

learning how to boondock on the water.  In September we continued visiting the various anchorages around the bay as our many

projects to prepare the boat for cruising kept us in the San Diego.

In addition to the above map, there is more geographical detail on coastal Mexico here:  Mexico Maps.

Finishing our major outfitting projects on Groovy in October, 2010, we started sailing down the Baja coast on November 2nd.

Harbor hopping a little and doing a few overnight trips, we continued along the Baja coast further until dawn of November 19th when

we motored past the gorgeous cliffside properties on approach to Cabo San Lucas.  Following a brief stay there, we tackled 330

miles of open ocean to cross the Sea of Cortez to Chamela Bay on Mexico's mainland Pacific coast, called the "Costa Algre" ("Happy

Coast") for Thanksgiving.  55 miles further south, we were charmed by Manzanillo.  "THIS is why we went cruising," we agreed,

remaining anchored off Manzanillo's Las Hadas Resort for 10 days.  New friends persuaded us to keep moving south another 180

miles, taking us first to mini island paradise Isla Ixtapa where we swam and snorkeled and enjoyed the tropical air, and then on to

charming Zihuatanejo for Christmas and New Year's.

We stayed in Zihuatanejo for most of January, 2011, finding ever more enchantments in its nooks and crannies.  At last we hauled

anchor and motored 200 miles back north to Manzanillo where we met my mom and took her to visit lovely Santiago Bay.  We

hovered between Santiago and neighboring Las Hadas resort for a few weeks, enjoying a wide variety of scenery and activities.

Wandering just a little north for Valentine's Day, we discovered the unique charm of Barra de Navidad, an enclosed, serene lagoon

anchorage.  From Cuastecomate to Tenacatita, once considered paradise, we experienced the human and ecological challenges

facing this area.  A tsunami caused by a record earthquake in Japan sent us out to sea and up the coast where we discovered a

hidden island paradise among the islands in Chamela Bay.

At the end of March, 2011, we left the "gold coast" anchorages of the Costa Alegre, rounded Cabo Corrientes to the north, and found

ourselves immersed in the sailing and gringo oriented town of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle outside Puerto Vallarta.  Further north we

visited the famed bells of San Blas and Isla Isabel's frigate bird colony and blue footed boobies.  An overnight passage took us to

Mazatlan where we found a city in turmoil.  So we quickly hustled across the Sea of Cortez on another overnight passage to the

bottom of the Baja peninsula.  La Paz & Puerto Balandra were total delights in mid-April where we got caught up with provisioning

and learned firsthand about the potentially horrifying springtime Coromuel winds that haunt the area.

At the end of April, 2011, we started heading north into the Sea of Cortez, stopping at Isla Partida's Ensenada Grande and Isla San

Francisco.  A late season (May) Norther packed a wallop, but we emerged unscathed in the gorgeous, friendly bay of Agua Verde.

Just a few miles up the coast we witnessed both the natural side and the resort side of the Sea of Cortez at Isla Coronado and

Ensenada Blanca, set against the backdrop of reading Steinbeck's Log of the Sea of Cortez.

FIFTH YEAR TRAVELS - Sea of Cortez (boat), US Southwest (RV), Sea of Cortez again (boat),

Mexico's Pacific Mainland (boat) and inland (bus/hotel)

On May 22, 2011, we toasted the end of our fourth year of travel and beginning of our fifth while anchored off Loreto, a pretty, laid

back town.  We stayed in the Loreto area for several weeks, enjoying the civilized pleasures of Puerto Escondido as well as Loreto,

and then we ventured north to San Juanico and Bahía Concepción where we immersed ourselves in nature and hung out with the

local ex-pats.  At the end of June, 2011, we left the boat in San Carlos Marina in Mexico and went to Phoenix to catch up on a long

list of chores and re-lease our townhouse.

In August, 2011 we jumped in the fifth wheel and went to Bonito Campground / Wupatki Nat'l Monument in Flagstaff, Arizona.  We

explored caves, marveled at 2,000 year old pine trees and hiked red rock canyons in Dixie National Forest, Utah.  Seeking more

red rock vistas, we did two hikes at another hidden jewel, Cedar Breaks National Monument where we were surprised by the

abundance of colorful wildflowers.  Still not saturated with red rocks, we hiked all over Red Canyon and visited nearby Panguitch and

Tropic for some Mormon pioneer history lessons.  We ended our RVing season with a county fair in Parowan, Utah, the Interbike

bicycle trade show in Las Vegas and some Route 66 nostalgia and discovery of Sycamore Canyon in Williams, Arizona.

We returned to Groovy in San Carlos, Mexico in early October, 2011.  After crossing to the Baja side of the Sea of Cortez, we

stopped in at Punta Chivato and Bahía Concepción, where we found a cool wilderness school and met Geary the Cruisers'

Weatherman.  Continuing south to the Loreto area, we swam and snorkeled in pretty La Ramada Cove and Isla Coronado before

seeing civilization again at Loreto and Puerto Escondido.  Further south, the island anchorages near La Paz reveal a tiny

community, a long distance avian traveler, surprise treasure under water, and tropical beauty.  The La Paz area gave us great tacos

and the La Paz Waltz, while nearby Playa Bonanza and Bahía Falsa soothed our souls.  At the beginning of December, 2011 we

crossed the Sea of Cortez to La Cruz and then Paradise Village Resort Marina in Puerto Vallarta where we luxuriated in the

gorgeous resort surroundings.  Swinging through Manzanillo Bay we were entertained by a whale, reconnected with old

acquaintances and made some incredible new ones.  Christmas on Las Gatas beach followed by a tour of the could-be haunted

"Parthenon" of Arturo Durazo in Zihuatanejo wrapped up a fantastic 2011.

We started 2012 in the beautiful, warm and friendly Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa area.  Heading south, we found high end yacht races,

soaring cliff divers, a fancy yacht club and several pretty anchorages in Acapulco.  After the frightening discovery of a corpse at sea,

we arrived in the lovely Bahías de Huatulco at the end of January ready to soak up their natural beauty.  In Huatulco's two little

towns we met some young Zapotecs and out of town we explored an Eco-Archaeology Park.  Taking a bus over the mountains in

mid-February, we fell in love with the cool colonial city of Oaxaca.  We found all kinds of color and action at Oaxaca's Zócalo and

were thrilled to witness a wedding in the Cathedral.  Just outside town we discovered Zapotec pyramid ruins at Monte Alban and

wonderful relics at Oaxaca's Cultural Center.  We took a daytrip tour to see the world's widest tree, learn traditional weaving

techniques, admire petrified waterfalls, marvel at ancient ruins at Mitla and taste some mezcals.

In late February, 2012, we crossed the Gulf of Tehantepec and stopped at the brand new Marina Chiapas next to the Guatemala

border.  Taking the bus to Antigua, Guatemala we found a tourism-driven city that has an pretty veneer but a bullied soul.  After a

few days back in Puerto Chiapas, we drove inland through the Mexican state of Chiapas on another unforgettable 200 mile bus ride.

In early March we took intensive Spanish classes in San Cristóbal and walked the pretty colonial streets.  Five hours up the road on

a gorgeous mountain bus ride we stopped in Palenque where we saw amazing Mayan ruins and heard scary jungle sounds.

Narrow, bumpy roads and a boat ride up a river took us to the exotic, inspiring ruins of Yaxchilán & Bonampak.  We said goodbye to

the Mayan world by visiting the gorgeous waterfalls of Misol-Ha & Agua Azul and celebrating the Spring Equinox at the Tenem

Puente ruins.  In April, 2012 we left Groovy in Marina Chiapas for the summer and flew hurriedly to Michigan to see Mark's suddenly

ailing parents.


In May, 2012, we began our summer RVing travels with visits to Arizona's Mogollon Rim & Petrified Forest National Park.

Heading into Indian Country we visited Window Rock and stunning Canyon de Chelly National Park.  Seeking a little more ancient

Indian exploration, we visited Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado and followed that up with some special encounters with the

locals in nearby Blanding, Utah.  Following Utah's spectacular Bicentennial Highway, we visited Natural Bridges National

Monument.  Turning west on Scenic Route 12 we arrived at Capitol Reef National Park where we immersed ourselves in red rock

vistas and pioneer history.  Leaving red rocks for green rolling hills, Fish Lake, UT took us into the rural Utah countryside where we

heard the funny story behind Five Wives Vodka.  With scenic drives as our theme, we continued north along the Provo Canyon

Scenic Byway and Alpine Loop Scenic Byway, home of Sundance Resort.


































































































































The following posts came after our transition to WordPress in the summer of 2012:

An Overview of Our First 10 Years of Full-time Travel + Reflections after 9 Years!

Summaries of Each Year on the Road - All of our travel posts in chronological order:

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