If you've been following along with our adventure for a while now, you probably remember that this adventure of ours hasn't been all about sailing and tacos. A large part of the past three years has had us hiking tall peaks, ski bumming, and visiting as many National Parks and natural wonders as we could muster. Yes, all of that stuff was intermixed with time on the high seas, but basically, this adventure has been about us enjoying ourselves in whichever way, and wherever we have seen fit.
I know a lot of you don't understand why we would leave our boat behind in Mexico and take on some other form of adventure when we have a perfectly good pirate ship just waiting for us sail the seven seas. Sure, it's hot in Mexico during the summer – everybody gets that. But why on earth would we do something else? Why not just stick it out, toughen up, and grin and bare it? The simple answer is because we don't have to. If Mexico's summer heat was making us crazy, I think the better questions is why would we want to stick it out? Remember, the whole point of this adventure is for us to be having fun and seeing cool stuff and the heat was preventing us from doing both of those things. The boat will still be there in a few months, hurricane season will be over, and the sweltering summer inferno will have subsided. We can return to the boat, take off right where we left off, and be back to boat life without skipping a beat and start making our way toward Central America.
Since we are all on the same page and everyone understands why we aren't on the boat right now, I want to make one simple point (if you already forgot, it's because Mexico's summer heat was making us crazy). The point is this - we are excited to be on this next little phase of adventure. This isn't a bad thing we are doing and we aren't sad about leaving the boat behind for a few months. A little bit of variety is good for us. It's going to be great.
During our first foray of road tripping through the States, we had a large SUV which we used to pull a small travel trailer. Even though that little home on wheels took us all over the western half of the country, it kept us warm and toasty in the middle of winter snow storms, and brought us to more National Parks and natural wonders than you can shake a stick at, it wasn't always ideal for our needs. The vast majority of what we like to see and do is off the beaten path, and towing a travel trailer didn't always get us there.
There are times when we'd “dry camp” in our little RV in remote areas, but for the most part, we'd pull it into a campground or RV Park and use that space as a home base while we went out and explored. Doing that meant that we spent a lot of time driving. We'd spend our nights in our little home on wheels, and in the morning, we'd unhook from the trailer and take the SUV out into the wild to see what mother nature had in store for us. Sometimes we'd drive a couple of hours to a trail head, hike all day, and then drive the couple of hours back to our little home after a long day on the trail. Sitting in the car for long periods of time was a daily occurrence, and if I'm going to be honest, sitting in the car is probably one of my least favorite things on earth (yes, I know that a big road trip means a lot of time sitting in the car. Unfortunately, we can't get to all of these places we want to see without car time...bummer).
Other times, since we had the travel trailer with us, we would simply skip places that we wanted to see because of the hassle. We actually have a pretty large list of places we really wanted to see that we skipped because we were towing a trailer and either a trailer wasn't allowed, it wouldn't make it through the rough roads, or we couldn't find a place to park it. Even though we loved having the comfort that the little RV afforded us, it was at the same time a large source of frustration, simply because we couldn't get to all of the places we wanted because it was with us.
So where does that leave us now? Well, we have decided the best thing for us to do for the next few months is to just keep it simple. Rather than deal with another RV or travel trailer that limits us in places we can access, we are going to be living out of a car and camping until the end of Mexico's hurricane season. You know – camping. Tents, campfires, sleeping bags, and a severe lack of showers...you know...camping. Going small and simple with a halfway decent 4 wheel drive vehicle means we can go anywhere we want. We can get out in the boonies and then rather than drive hours back to an RV park after we've spent the day hiking or climbing, we can stay put and camp out in the wild since everything we need is with us. We won't have to worry about a dirty and rutted mountain road that leads us to a trail head, and if we are in a city, we won't have to worry about parking. It's what we in the business like to call a win-win (except for the lack of regular showers...that's a lose-lose).
While we were visiting at my brother's house in Phoenix, we pilfered his high speed internet and went on a shopping spree. We bought a lightly used mid-sized SUV in Southern California and then drug my sister-in-law and nephew along on a road trip to pick it up, we ordered all sorts of camping gear on Amazon and were amazed at how fast it showed up, and then we ordered what could be the greatest invention ever bestowed upon a lowly camper who doesn't really enjoy sleeping on the ground – a roof top tent (pictures down below...it's amazingly comfy and I don't have to sleep on the ground! Did I mention we are camping and we don't have to sleep on the ground?).
As I write this bit of rambling nonsense, we are sitting under the stars at roughly 8,000 feet above sea level in a place we skipped during our last road trip – Lassen Volcanic National Park. Even though the major focus of our last big road trip was to see as many National Parks as we could muster (we made it to 20), we skipped this place because it seemed like too much of a hassle while towing our little home on wheels. The mountain roads to get here are steep and curvy and the campgrounds we could park the trailer at were severely limited. This time, with our SUV loaded with camping gear, we took a leisurely drive up into the mountains, easily parked at the trail heads we wanted to hike, and when it was time to find a place to camp, we pulled in and had no trouble finding a spot. Amazing.
So, it's official. We have now visited 21 of our incredible National Parks. And you know what, we are pretty happy to be here. It's spectacular.
|Our home on wheels is already taking us to some pretty cool places|
|Lassen Volcanic National Park|
|Our roof top tent - AKA home sweet home for the next few months|
Other than when we were at my brother's house in Phoenix, we've basically been away from internet access since we've been roaming around out in the boonies, so, now that we are connected for a brief little bit, here is a bunch of videos for your viewing pleasure.
If the link below doesn't work on your device, copy and paste this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvVWHHP4uhU
If the link below doesn't work on your device, copy and paste this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQySkMhlWZM
If the link below doesn't work on your device, copy and paste this: