Oh My, Just Like That it’s 2022

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Time sure does fly and a ton has happened and so many sites have been seen since I last blogged from Seattle. I will just give a run down of what we did since Seattle and catch up to today, where we are sitting until next month in Florida. I will also talk about all the things we learned while on the road, so stay tuned.

After Seattle we headed to meet our friends in Olympia, where we stayed for nearly a month. We went to the San Juans, and Olympic National Park. We also participated in our first in post Covid road race in Olympia. One of the best things of being rootless is that we got to see our friends across the country where any other normal summer that would not have been an option. After Olympia we headed down to Cathlamet, Washington, a cute little town on the Columbia River, to see Mike’s cousins. We spent a few days there, hanging with family and seeing the sites. We went to Astoria, Oregon while there, where we climbed the tower and went through the Goonies’ Museum. After spending a few days we needed to head towards our next “rock-destination” which was the Xscapers Convergence in Driggs, Idaho.

First stop was a casino in Pendleton, Oregon. Well we weren’t going for the casino we were there for the campground. The campground was Wild Horse Casino and was clearly set up by a Rv’er as the all the sites were easy to get into and spaced perfectly. While in Pendleton we did the underground tour. Which was a great tour about the history of Pendleton. The campground had it’s own pool but we were able to use the pool and all the other facilities at the casino. There was an indoor pool, there was a gym, movie theater, bowling alley, and game room, not to mention the actual casino. Mike and I don’t gamble but decided to “blow” $10.00. We had no idea how to even play the slot machines. We left $166.00 richer. We stayed there for a few days and headed onward toward Driggs.

Next stop was in Idaho at a campground, Green Canyon Hotsprings, that had some natural hot springs. Which we did not use as they were really crowded. It was just a stopping point as we were getting ready to boondock for the next month. Our first stop after the hot springs was Driggs, Idaho where we were doing the Xcapers Convergence. We had such a great time there, even when the weather wasn’t great or when the smoke filled the sky. We met some new people who we will have as friends for lifetime. We volunteered to set up, park and knock down the event. Which I think volunteering makes it even more fun. We went kayaking as a group, ski lift and hiking as a group. All of it was fun and it was sad to leave but I am sure we will see these folks down the road.

After we left there we headed back to Yellowstone where we had reservations in the park for 3 nights, then it was on to the Tetons. Of course Yellowstone was amazing. I did a photography tour where I got some amazing shots. I will do this tour again when we go out in May. After Yellowstone we had a week in the Tetons, at Gros Ventre. After spending 8 glorious nights there and seeing alot of Moose we headed back up to Atherton Creek. We we spent another week up there and met our friends from the convergence. Then it was time for us to go our separate ways as we had a lot more we wanted to see and we had the next big boulder in Savannah that we had to get to, plus the weather was changing daily before our eyes. It was getting colder and the trees were literally changing colors daily. We haven’t seen fall before at least not like this so it was really cool.

Next stop was Colorado as we made our way east. First stop was in Rock Springs, Wyoming. I could live there. We stayed for a few days and did things like laundry, dog grooming and just basic normal household chores. We spent over a month boondocking so it was nice to have full hookups for a few days. After Rock Springs we headed down the road to Dinosaur National Monument via the Flaming Gorge passes, where we found a great campsite in the Monument to boondock. The sunsets were amazing. We did some touring. Half of the park in in Utah and half of it is in Colorado. I will go into more details about the park in another blog.

After a few days there we headed to Delta Colorado (Grand Junction), where we went to Colorado National Monument, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Colorado National is one of my favorite parks. It has a little bit of everything. After we spent sometime there we lucked out and got a campground in Ouray. Where we spent 4 days there. The campground was in town. Ouray was an amazing little town, with history, sites and views. To head to our next destination we had to drive the Million Dollar Highway. It was a scary pass but not the scariest I think I have ever driven. That being said, I don’t have any need to do it again. There is no shoulder and at times we were at something like 15,000 feet in elevation. To say I was happy to see the town of Silverton is an understatement. While staying in Ouray we did a day trip to Telluride. Another amazing ski town that has a free ski lift to take you up and down the mountains. Like a bus but a ski lift instead. We also watched people doing the Via Ferrata. Mike became hooked and couldn’t wait to try this himself. A Via Ferrata is basically rock/wall climbing, on ledges. That is a big NO for me.

While we did not stop in Silverton we may return some day, we had a destination and that destination was Durango. Where we stayed at a great campground right on the narrow rail train tracks. We took the shortened train ride. We both loved it. So beautiful, however it was cold and drizzly all day but that was ok we brought stuff to keep us warm and know what to bring next time. While there also went to Mesa Verde National Park. It was ok, that’s all I can say. After a few days there it was time leave and we really wanted to boondock for a few days.

As we were headed east we stopped at Great Sand Dunes National Park. Where there is some amazing boondocking opportunities right outside the door. We did a hike while there but there was no way I wanted to climb the sand dunes. The one thing we love about this lifestyle is you never know who you may come across again. While boondocking we ran into someone we met the month before in Gros Ventre.

Then we made it to Colorado Springs, where we did a Harvest Host one night and did a couple nights at a KOA. We went to Garden of the Gods, which was really cool and the dog got to hike with us as well, so the always makes us happy.

Onward we headed and made our way to Kansas. Two nights later we were in Kansas City. While we stayed on the Missouri side that didn’t stop us from enjoying the Kansas side. Totally surprised as to the beauty that was there. We wish we would have had more time to spend there.

Next stop was St. Louis. The Arch was on my bucket list. Friends told us about the casino to stay at, while it was no Wild Horse like we had in Pendleton it was good. The view was the arch and a short walk away over the Mississippi River via the Eads Bridge, which was the world’s first steel truss bridge. The campground was in Illinois and there was a state border sign on the bridge. Well we were officially east of the Mississippi, where things just got damper or so it seemed. We had to drive over on the day for our tour at the Gateway Arch National Park because of weather. After we toured the Arch, (again I will dedicate a full blog post to all the parks we went to) we met my sister-in-law for lunch. Again it is so cool, getting to meet family on the road.

As I said we are now east of the Mississippi. so it is a good time to say good bye and I will tell you all about the rest of our Season One in the next blog, which I promise will not be months away. Stay tuned for all the eastern states we stopped at and Mike’s first Via Ferrata.

Black bear in Olympic National Park
Colorado National Monument
Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Dinosaur National Park
Ouray
Durango
Garden of the Gods

It’s Time for Yellowstone Part I, but First Here Comes the Teton Pass….

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So after spending a wonderful, memorable week in the Teton’s it was time for us to move on, in order to do this we had to go through Jacksonhole and head over the Teton Pass, after traveling across the country I have driven a lot of mountain passes but I gotta tell you Teton Pass is not for the faint at heart, it is never ending or so it seemed.  We made it through and I assume it was beautiful but my hands were firmly placed on the steering wheel and eyes on the road and I kept peeking at gages as well, maybe someday without us towing our home we will go up it again and check out the views, but honestly I wanted it overwith as did Eris.  Eris is not crazy about passes, we can tell, just wonder if it is because she cannot “pop” her ears or if the twisty turny road hurts her belly.  Either way, I am with her on that, this Florida girl is not happy driving them either.  

Well after we made it to that we went through Driggs (where we will be going to the XCapers Convergence in August.  Cute town and are looking forward to heading back.  We found a perfect campsite in Island Park, Boot Jack Dispersed Camping, it was free and it was easy to get in and out of and close to West Yellowstone.  After getting settled we did what we always do with a national park, headed in to get the way of the land.  We have been there previously (3 times to be exact, once just Mike and I, once with Annette and Cathy (we did a backpacking trip) and once with the girls, however, even though with the girls we did stay in West Yellowstone we never really did much on that side of the park.  We did do the required stops like Old Faithful, but mostly we just kept heading over to the Canyon area.  

One day we went to Mammoth area, saw some elk just chillin’ on the lawn, and we did all the pull offs and hiked the Mammoth area.  The weather in early June was perfect (mostly).  

Of course we got stuck in our fair share of “bison jams”, which I always like, got some great shots of some bison.  Also a lot of animal butts, a little cooperation would be lovely but I am certainly not one to ask them to move or smile for the camera.  

We did spend some time in West Yellowstone.  They have a great camera shop there (Yellowstone Camera).  I got a great zoom lens, which will be great for my wildlife photos when we come back.  When we come back we will be going on a scenic boat ride but what I am most excited about is the photo safari.  Honestly, we didn’t know these exist but not only do the exist they are reasonable.  Scenic boat ride is $19.00 per person and the photo safari is a little over $100.00.  They will take me and a few others to the areas where wildlife is present, I am hoping for a bear.  

One very cold morning (puffy jacket cold)  we got up super early and headed into the park in the dark, to try to beat the crowd for the Grand Prasmatic shot, well, the steam washed it out.  But we had a great hike and got some great shots regardless. Then we headed to Old Faithful and had breakfast at the Snow Lodge.  We walked the boardwalk around Old Faithful and made it back to what I think was a great place to see it “blow”.  We then headed to do the scenic drives.  Scenic drives are nice and relaxing, they have pull offs where they need to be and ususally have ample parking to see such.  I highly recommend doing any scenic drives that are available.  The ones in Yellowstone do not require a 4 wheel drive truck, but if any of the parks suggest that you have a 4 wheel drive truck, heed that advise oh and be sure to know how to use your 4 wheel drive properly.  On the scenic drives we did, one had a ton of thermal features and the other had some waterfalls and mountains.  While we were freezing when we left home in the morning our Waggle went off that it was 94 degrees inside the camper.  It was a hot night,  so we made our plans to move on. 

After a few days, I needed to go see Canyon, as that area has been our favorite part of the park.  I am excited to be spending some time on that side in August but wanted to see it just the same.  Oh my has it changed.  We did the scenic drive to the Yellowstone Canyon, of course.  

We ended up staying a full week in our free campsite.  Very unique area and can’t wait to return.  Yellowstone for sure is our favorite national park and if you haven’t been, make plans as pictures do not do it justice.  

That’s all for this week, hope you enjoyed it, and if you did please consider following us and liking it.  We will be back next week as we make our way to Deer Lodge, Montana, a surprisingly interesting cowboy town and if we weren’t looking for air conditioning we might have missed it and then back boondocking in Missoula.

So until next week, keep exploring, discovering and dreaming…

Hope, Mike and Eris, the lowrider camping hound

OFF TOO DRIGGS OR FLAMING GORGE, WHAT WILL THE MAGIC 8 BALL PICK, AND OUR FAVORITE CAMPER ADDITION

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Well we don’t have a Magic 8 Ball, but we do have a son, so we sent him the weather conditions for both Driggs and Flaming Gorge and said you be our Magic 8 Ball and tell us where to go.  This is the conversation we were having with our son as we were emptying out our black tanks at the Maverick down the road from the Flight Park.  He said definately Flaming Gorge.  So off we went, headed east, made it into Wyoming and then back into Utah.  Flaming Gorge is technically in both Wyoming and Utah  but our campground was in Utah.  After a series of serious, not kidding mountain passes we made it to our campground, Jug Hollow Dispersed. We decided to not scope it out and just go for it, because we could see there was a way to turn around at the end from Google Maps, so off we set out to what would become our home for the next week, actually 10 days, as we were not leaving on Memorial Day or before.  

The campground was amazing the road in was cow filled (cow jams were not out of a question) and the road in, while it was only 5 miles back took every bit of 20 minutes.  Our piece of paradise was at the very end on a penisula and while the ride back was a bitch it was worth every bit of it.  We were surrounded by beautiful water on three sides.  We had beautiful weather almost every day we were there, cool to cold in the morning and warm and pleasant during the day. The rain that looks so ominous never came to us.

While boating and fishing are favorite past times in the area we enjoyed just hanging out at our site and chilling.  The closest big town to the area is Rock Springs, Wyoming, while it was only about 50 miles, with getting out of our area and driving the scary mountian passes it is easily and 1.5 hours to get there.  But we did it a couple times, once for groceries, and laundry and another because I needed some running shoes.  

Since we were there a week before Memorial Day we felt like we would be protected from people camping too close to us and as there are no and I mean NO facilities at the campground we honestly didn’t figure on it becoming the place to drive down to for the weekend, but we were wrong and am glad we have plans to be at a friend’s mom’s house for 4th of July and established campground for Labor Day.  It started with 2 vans, with their dogs and kids, the were mostly quiet but let their dogs run loose.  We set up a tent near our camper thinking for sure this would deter anyone further from intruding or getting to close to our camper, no such luck, we went to bed at 11:30 one night and woke the next morning to 3 huge tents (almost on top of our tent) 4 or so kids and 4 or so off leash dogs, however, Eris now has a boyfriend.  Well he liked her but not sure how she felt about them.  Honestly, they were quiet though so except for letting their dogs run loose they were all fine.  But my question is where, oh where are they using the bathroom.  Anyway, by Monday afternoon all peace was restored, they all left.  We spoke to one of our other full time neighbors and they said she actually had to park her truck behind her rig because multiple people tried to set up behind her.  Anyway, our time in the campground was amazing and we will definately go back again.  

Now all about Flaming Gorge,  established in 1968 is a National Recreation Area.  There is over 300 miles of shoreline, boat ramps, marinas compgrounds and lodges.  As I mentioned it is a water paradise with the fishing, swimming and boating. As a Floridian I can tell you I was not getting in the water as it was 42 or so degrees.  There is dam and the Green River below it is world renowned for its trout fishing and rafting.  The area was named by John Wesley Powell in 1869 after he and his 9 men saw the sun reflecting off the red rocks.  In the 1870’s ranchers moved into the mountain valleys near Flaming Gorge.  There are remenents of Swett Ranch stil present today. Apparently, many outlasws and fugitives would hide out in the isolated valleys along the Green River, Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch were among them.  

There is a ton of hiking and as it is a National Recreation area, most of the trails are able to be used by dogs.  So Eris did get to go hiking with us.  We hiked the Rim Trail.  Not sketchy just beautiful.  When in the area we will return to here. It was amazingly breathtaking, if you don’t believe me go check it out.  

At our campground we had amazing cell service so I was able to work.  Which get’s me to my favorite addition to our camper this week and that is our WeBoost.  It gives us just that little bit extra when needed.  Also, I might want to add our two hotspots, one AT&T with 100 GB a month and our Verizon, doesn’t give us nearly as much but works good when needed.  Right now and most times, I use my phone as a hotspot we are able to do most with it but sometimes we just need that little bit of boost and we now have our WeBoost for that.  

So that’s all I got for this week, again put The Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area on your bucket list and if you liked this blog, give it a like and consider following us for a weekly dose of our travels as we head towards Grand Teton National Park.  

Until next week, and keep Exploring, Discovering and Dreaming,

Hope, Mike and Eris, the lowrider camping hound