A Travellerspoint blog

Moving Over

Utah and Arizona

sunny 25 °C

Wow. We've hit about 15 states so far... unbelievable. We were just talking about how September went by so slowly for us even though we were crashing through states so fast. Now that we are taking our time in each of these wonderful states it seems that time is going by a lot faster for some reason, sadly. Though we are getting tired.

The drive from Colorado to Utah was quite amazing. desert for days and then giant plateaus and mountains in the near distance. The landscape is everything we've been waiting for. It's wild that everywhere you go or everywhere you look there is a different piece of landscape that blows your mind. Weird to think people live here (though we don't see many houses between cities or towns the same way Colorado has it set up). The cities here are different than we've noticed elsewhere. Less big name cooperations more small town family owned spots. A TONNE of Rvs though. Everywhere. America really loves their RV life and it seems like they have all congregated in Utah. It's great in some ways because it is easy to find free spots to fill water and park for the night but it is quite annoying in a lot of other respects.

We decided to cut our trip in Utah to a couple main spots that are must sees for us, simply so we can keep moving and get to California (because it's California). So we went straight to Arches National Park and Moab. Very neat little town. A lot of tourists. Going through the canyons so close to Canyonland was also amazing. And all the hikes are too beautiful to even describe. Being in Utah, hiking the rim of canyons and looking off in the distance at more mountains, more delicate landscape that has morphed into art forms really makes you realise how insignificant we are. Really.

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The weather is amazing. It reaches about 15 degrees during the day and goes down to around 0 at night. Perfect. And all sun all day. Picked an amazing season to explore this state. It is so wonderfully cold at night Ginny has started to go to bed wearing a blanket... which she usually hates. She seems quite happy with this new discovery of the luxury of comforters.

Went down to Bryce Canyon afterwards and discovered the most wonderful way to watch the sunrise. When the sun hits the stone in the canyon and lights up the rock forms its surreal. Camping here is an experience that I am sure we will never forget.

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After some beautiful camping and hiking in Utah we Drove down to Arizona... because we would be so silly to skip out on the Grand Canyon being this close. Getting into Arizona we were greeted with vast desert and zero trees. However, approaching the Kaibab National Forest you start to climb back up in elevation (sorry Bessy) and within a couple of hours it's like you're back in Colorado. Tall trees for days. Felt some relief while looking for a place to camp for the night (shade is important to us). Camped out in a lovely spot under very tall, very skinny, very wobbly trees in the Kaibab forest just outside of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Cool how close you can camp next to the rim for free and in private. The stars were absolutely insane. A night's sky like we'eve never seen before. Unforgettable.

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The Grand Canyon North Rim left us speechless. When we were there there were very few visitors, which was great. And we reached the highest peak on the rim. An amazing sight to see. It certainly is grand. Will be coming back to this spot one day to explore its corners and crevices I am sure.

We are now in California. Nevada we decided to stick to driving through rather than staying somewhere in the desert, minus one night on the southern border with California. Drove straight through Las Vegas (resisted temptation). We have now arrived to Southern California. Will be here for a bit... may want to stay here... it's sunny and beautiful and everything we've been waiting for.

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Posted by AK Adventures 08:04 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Colorado

Where Every Drive is Scenic

sunny 15 °C

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So we've done Colorado.

Here's what I have to say about what we did this last week....

Drink coffee, climb, eat, drive through mountains, fix the van. Drink coffee, climb, eat, eat, climb, sleep. Drive through mountains, snowboard, climb, hike, eat, sleep. Drink coffee, fix the van, hike, climb, eat, hike, sleep. Drink coffee, drive through mountains, break down, climb, climb, climb.

Cool spots... Durango is definitely the coolest city in Colorado and Boulder is kind of lame and over crowded. But Durango is very cool. Mesa Verde National Park was wild. Great Sand Dunes National Park was insanely cool and involved a tonne of sandboarding and burnt feet. Glenwood Canyon is super cool. Leadville is neat... and high up. Roosevelt National Forest is beautiful. But really anywhere in Colorado is an awesome view. Constantly driving up and down 10000ft has proven difficult for the van, but Johnny (or as Alex calls it, Bessy) has pushed through it. There is climbing actually everywhere... my body hurts... and Colorado has claimed one of my toenails and a bunch of Alex's skin. The rivers are low right now. All the forests are green and yellow (no red) which makes for a very pretty drive anywhere you go. Colorado is cool.

BUT... it is time to get the hell out of here. There are outdoor enthusiasts evvvvvverywhere. People soak up every corner of this place, and rightfully so, it is very cool. However, we need a break from these fine folks. Utah here we come. Who knows how that'll go over with Johnny... or Bessy?... Johnny.
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Posted by AK Adventures 07:24 Archived in USA Comments (0)

So Much!

Too many things have happened...

all seasons in one day

So since South Carolina we have done quite a bit. I am not sure how I can remember everything.

South Carolina is amazing. Alex wants to live there. It is super cool. Little restaurant joints everywhere that look dinky like and amazing. Palm trees everywhere. Beaches everywhere. We went to Folly Beach on our way out and it was wonderful. After some time on the beach we headed to Georgia... beautiful state. Not a lot there but farms.. farms... farms... and PEACHES. So many peaches. I probably ate about 8 peaches in the span of 10 hours. I'm not proud of it. Well actually yes I might be, because they're so big! We stopped at a peach farm and sat on rocking chairs looking over the hills while eating peaches. I got myself a huge jar of dessert peaches to take on the road with me, and they didn't last long. Delicious.

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Driving from Georgia to Alabama... things got pretty hot. The temperature just kept rising. And the storms were insane to drive in. After about 6 hours of driving through swampy, hot, stormy areas we caved and got a motel for the night... simply for the A.C and mostly for Ginny. Uncomfortably hot even at night. Southern Alabama was not what we expected. Of course we drove to the coastal area of Alabama, so it was your typical beachy town feel. The next day we woke up and took the ferry across a part of the Gulf rather than having to drive in the heat. Took 40 minutes less than the drive and was about half the price gas would've been. Super cool and breezy. Decided to drive straight through Mississippi, well... because its Mississippi. It was a short drive right over to Louisiana. We were going to stay in the outskirts but because we were so early in the afternoon due to the short drive we decided to stay downtown and enjoy New Orleans. WILD.

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Bourbon Street was cool to see.... but it was very clear that the only way that strip is enjoyable is if you are at a certain immaturity level mentally... and I mean mentally, definitely not physically. Smelled of puke the entire strip and we saw some things we for sure can't unsee. But it was interesting! We enjoyed ourselves, went to a delicious seafood restaurant and ate way too much food. Super cool spot. People don't really sleep here it seems.

Next stop... Texas. Man it got hot. About 38 degrees during the day and only down to around 31 degrees at night. We drove right to High Island on the Gulf of Mexico. Amazingly long strip surrounded by the ocean water on both sides. Things were looking super flat already. The beach was about 4 miles long that we set up camp on. Our favourite spot so far. So wonderful, so scenic. Couldn't swim too much due to the little sharks swimming right up to the shoreline you could just sit and watch. Very warm water. Cooked dinner on the beach (we were able to just drive right onto the beach) and enjoyed our evening. Watched a wild show of lightning storms super far off in the distance for an hour or so. Alex attempted sleeping on the beach outside on a blanket but was chased in by mosquitoes. And then at about 1am we woke up to Ginny fighting the war on mosquitoes by herself. They got in. And I mean like hundreds of mosquitoes got in. It was a full on swarm. I've never been bitten so much in my life. We quickly packed up and drove down the peninsula to blow them out. Couldn't get rid of them or kill them fast enough. I feel for Ginny. Nightmare... but hilarious.

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Next day spent in Houston... HOT HOT HOT.. Another 38 degrees. Ate a bunch of BBQ food. Delicious, spicy, weather is HOT. Dying.

Drove up to San Antonio and it was still SO HOT. I don't understand how people live like this. Alex enjoys it, though I know he had his breaking points. This is why people are so angry all the time. It's too damn hot in America. Just makes you angry sitting still as you cook in the shade and hot, thick air blows at you. My oh my. Ginny couldn't even sleep at night, she just spends the night up panting so we caved and got a motel again, using as much A.C as we could. Got to hit up a small little place to eat dinner in town called Pollos Asados Los Nortenos. Best Mexican spot I have ever eaten at. Hands down. It was a hilarious hole in the wall that served with paper plates and styrofoam cups. BUT the food was to die for. And so cheap. PLUS we got to watch the Canada vs US hockey game (we were the only ones watching... I feel like the lady strategically sat us in the corner with the only t.v playing hockey). If you are ever in San Antonio... go there. Get the chicken.

After enjoying the heat (ha) in San Antonio we moved Northwest to Balmorhea State Park. A big thanks to Helen for finding this spot and telling us about it. It was so awesome. Had a natural spring fed pool. Huge spot to swim. It was amazing, like nothing we've ever seen before. Just a big spot dug out of the rocky ground. The entire bottom of the pool was like swimming in caves. Beautiful temperature. Tall diving boards. Mountains surrounding us for views. A great spot to cool off and enjoy ourselves. And because we're so close to the mountains it's starting to cool at night. Woooo. During our sleep we were surrounded by the howls of coyotes, pretty much all night. Alex slept outside for the breeze and he said we was woken up a couple of times to coyotes standing feet away watching. Brave man.

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The drive through Texas was mostly flat. Actually insane how flat it is. The sunrise and sunset was amazing to watch because of this. But as we move West and up to New Mexico the landscape got really cool. Rolling hills and beautiful mountains in western Texas. And a tonne of mountains throughout New Mexico. We drove straight up to Santa Rosa and before heading to the woods we drove down Route 66 and directly to a spot called the Blue Hole. (Also to note here, the lakes in town are filled with giant inflated water toys and trampolines and climbing walls for you to freely enjoy, whhhaaaaat). This Blue Hole was unbelievable. It is so blue! It's a little spot about 80ft deep and leading into caves even deeper beyond the main hole. The caves below are connected to seven different lakes around here. The hole pumps out 3000 gallons of water every minute and because of this every 6 hours the hole is made up of entirely new water. The blue colour is some kind of chemical reaction, and it's constantly 61 degrees. So cool to climb up the rocks and dive in. Well Alex dove... I jumped. It's too high for that nonsense. Cold but refreshing. After a good swim we drove the climb up to Santa Rosa Lake State Park. Had amazing views and a huge, empty lake to swim in. Ginny got to cool off and run around freely. Loved it. Surrounded by desert land, hot, but had great spots for relief.

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Yesterday we woke up and the van didn't start... so we had to call AAA. On top of that we had a bunch of leaks, flies, and windy mishaps. But we laughed at most of this and enjoyed the hilarity of it all. Back on the road. Wanting so bad to get out of the desert and into Colorado. The drive through New Mexico was too beautiful to describe. Pictures don't even do it justice. Couldn't handle how cool it was to be constantly driving up and through mountains for such a long period of time. Santa Fe was a super cool spot. All the buildings and houses look wild (I say like The Flinstones but Alex laughs at me). A little town spread through the mountains. The more North we went the bigger the mountains got. And it got super windy and cold. Loved every second of that drive. Stopped at a few spots to check out the views. For a big chunk we were actually driving behind a little campervan that had "As fast as it goes!" painted on the back window. Rather than passing we decided to join them and drive super slow through the mountain roads to enjoy the view.

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Well... finally... we have made it to Colorado. WOW. So sweet already. We are in love with it. Stopped in Pagosa Springs yesterday and enjoyed the hot springs. Along the freezing cold river that runs through the town there are little pools of 140 degree water. We paid 6 bucks at a spot to go in and enjoy a 108 degree mineral bath for a while. Met some really inspiring and interesting people. What a wonderful town. Moved West to Durango to seek out some book stores. Still looking. Came across a fantastic brewery called Carver Brewing Co. Fantastic beer. Amazing burgers. Slept with mountains surrounding us. Oh and it snowed yesterday while we were in mineral baths outside. We actually went from the blazing, flat, prickly desert to freezing, snowing mountains in one day. Ginny is going wild.

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Today we head to the Mesa Verde National Park to check out ancient mountain dwellings. And then who knows. We will be in Colorado for a while I think. On the search for a climbing guide book. Looking for breweries. Enjoying the mountains. And sweaters!

Posted by AK Adventures 07:03 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Coastal

sunny 27 °C

Virginia is sweet. They say Virginia is for lovers... and they're right. It's beautiful! Romantic views everywhere you go. We stayed out on the Eastern Shore of Virginia for a couple of days, lying on the huge (and empty) beach all day and eating delicious scallops and fish tacos by sunset on the ocean. Cape Charles is a neat little town... and quiet. Such a wonderful place to relax. I gotta say though the sand flies at times were insane... but that is about the only downside to this place.

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Moving down into North Carolina was interesting. A lot of trailer homes... like a lot. Swamps everywhere. We lucked out though and found this amazing spot in Croatan National Forest on the ocean beach at the end of a dirt road. Completely private and to ourselves. Again, we had to stay here if not just to enjoy the sunrise on the horizon each morning. The private beach setting was surreal. However a few things were noted... a lot of litter all over the place (and haven't been able to get to a recycling bin in a while). Also the mosquitoes are HUGE. They're straight outta Jumanji. Boundless students would lose their miiiiiiiiinds. Makes bugging out a whole new experience. None out during the day though due to the heat I'm sure... and no sand flies!

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After a couple nights spent in seclusion, we headed down to South Carolina. Expected a similar case as North Carolina... but definitely different here. My gosh this place is nice. The coast of South Carolina is beautiful! Very well put together, strips of great little seafood bars and neat shops. Palm trees everywhere. Beaches everywhere. Straight up vacation locale. We visited Myrtle Beach yesterday and it was even more than we imagined. The waves were insane. Alex decided to do some body surfing and Ginny couldn't handle herself. Driving through the towns around here is great too. Beaches left and right and gorgeous scenery. I would vacation here for sure. Last night we drove into a national forest at a spot I thought would be pretty decent... however it was at a run down hunting camp pretty far off the beaten path. I chickened out and decided to move us back into town for the night. It was so late we ended up parking at a Walmart for the night. To be honest... I feel silly for sticking my nose up at the whole Walmart parking scene for so long. It's fantastic! We had fresh salad at 10pm. This morning we were able to wake up to fresh, cold water and fruits. We're going to make sure we do this more often. Luxury.

I didn't bring my camera to Myrtle Beach... was having too much fun.

We've decided we are skipping Florida and headed straight through Georgia. Starting to leave the coast and head across. Getting into Aligator territory and away from the beautiful ocean breeze. It's a sad day for us. But I can't wait to get to Texas and check out the Gulf of Mexico.

Noted:
We have now driven through New York State, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina... we have not seen a single sign for Hilary Clinton. All Trump. Everywhere. Even in Washington D.C.! I understand we're only seeing a small portion of each state but I must admit... this is a little concerning.

The mosquitoes are gigantic... and in turn pretty gross to kill. I miss Ontario mosquitoes. Never thought I would.

Posted by AK Adventures 05:11 Archived in USA Comments (1)

We're Out!

sunny
View The Horseshoe on AK Adventures's travel map.

Changing plans is our new specialty...

So we have finally reached a good stop with wifi. I will do my best to update without rambling...

We skipped Maine. Ha! On our drive to the border we decided we didn't want to go that far east if we really were just too excited to move down south. SO our first stop was through Upstate New York and into Skyline Drive State Forest. Really tiny forest up on a giant hill but free to stay so we jumped on the opportunity. I gotta tell you though... the drive through New York State was absolutely beautiful. I didn't realize the landscape was so wonderful. Hills for days. This gorgeous view for our drive led right through into Pennsylvania. On day two we decided to drive through these beautiful (and even bigger) hills all the way until we found a beautiful little area in Mechaux State Forest. A lot of driving in two days but it was too beautiful a drive not to. Oh an our AC broke so this day was HOT. Our site was on top of a little mountain ridge, however it didn't really have a lookout spot and it was a pretty dry, field-like area. Very private and comfortable though. We've made all attempts at fixing the AC. Tried everything ourselves. So now (on day 4 of it not working and it being ridiculously hot out) we are looking to go to a mechanic. Ugh.

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On day three we decided to head to Maryland and check out Washington DC. Amazing! So easy to navigate through (set up pretty similar to Toronto we found in terms of street set up). We parked the van and walked around in the blazing heat to check out all the monuments and memorials we could in the span of two hours - too hot for Ginny to walk any longer. What a lovely city though. So much greenery and very easy on the eyes. That night we both agreed we needed to pamper ourselves with more water than usual and some electricity because of the heat... so we went to an RV park just south of Maryland in Virginia called Manroe Bay. Located on Colonial Beach. Pretty hilarious and cool spot. Definitely got our money's worth with the water hook up and amazing breeze coming off the water. Ginny was happy. What was strange though (to me... Alex expected as much) was that there were more Confederate flags than American flags. There were so many that it was overwhelming. Everyone in the park has golf carts to get around and most of them were done up with Confederate flags and big light fixtures to show them off. Best moment on the trip so far was when Alex and I were enjoying a beer at night out on the chairs and we were surrounded suddenly by a parade of Confederate flagged golfcarts and their drivers doing donuts and drivebys throughout the entire park before the 11pm noise shutdown. It was a strange five minutes... but hilarious.

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After our visit to Manroe Bay we packed up and headed for Virginia Beach. We certainly made it. Absolutely wonderful... Alex is at home on the ocean. We got there pretty late last night so after spending some time cooling off on the beach we drove to Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The Chesapeake Tunnel-Bridge to get here was so wild! It is a 20 mile long bridge-tunnel complex across Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Couldn't believe it. Kind of scary at times because of how stranded you feel while all you can see around you is water on this huge strip of road. But awesome. Worth the expensive toll to cross for sure. Especially because now we are sitting at a free rest stop with wifi and because a National Wildlife Refuge where we watched a big buck deer hangout for about an hour last night 15 feet away. We are now on the Eastern Shore of Virginia for a couple days... getting our toll's worth out of this place. We will be exploring the beaches along the National Seashore and kayaking on the ocean waves along the beaches. Hopefully we will get our hands on some fresh oysters and soft shell crab while we're here too.

Couple of things learned so far:
New York and Pennsylvania is too pretty not to drive through
It is too hot to not have AC/lighter dresses are necessary (mom I should have listened to you and taken that dress)
Speed limits are wildly high in the strangest places
There are gun shells almost everywhere in the forests, and most signs on backroads are destroyed with bullets... America likes to shoot

Loving and missing everyone.

Posted by AK Adventures 05:36 Archived in USA Comments (1)

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