Sequoia and Kings Canyon

IMG_3285Our first destination was in California only a few hours from our starting place. We arrived Monday, April 18th and departed Thursday, April 21, 2016.  Week one of our adventure and embracing being unemployed, “homeless”, RV living and happy.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon 

We stayed in Three Rivers, CA at the Sequoia RV Ranch in a river front spot.  It was one of the best  campgrounds we have stayed  in California.   There is plenty  of space between the spots and lots of trees.  Those of you local or visiting the area check it out.

Visiting Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was the perfect start of our trip.  They have lots of beautiful hikes.  The parks are side by side in the Sierra Nevada mountains.  In between the parks is national forest land which is called Giant Sequoia National Monument.

What we enjoyed about these parks was the beauty of the giant trees and rugged mountains. The best way to explore the parks is to head out on some of the trails.  There are many different options from paved trails perfect for families or people in wheelchairs to more rugged trails.  For us since dogs are not allowed on the national park trails we did our hiking in national forest land where dogs are allowed.

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Sierra walking on snow for the first time.

We spent only a day between both parks as we were limited on the areas we could explore with Sierra.  What was nice since it was our first National Park visit it enabled us to get a feel for what was to come.  We knew starting out on this trip we would be limited on what we could do with Sierra in tow.  So our goal was to explore different areas and experiences that we wouldn’t normally see if we had gone without Sierra.

Sierra doesn’t really like to get wet, but she didn’t mind walking on the snow.  The area was so fresh and clean that you could breath in nature.  Walking in the trees and viewing the canyons in the distance I could feel the stress of moving and getting started on this journey begin to melt away.  Seeing the strength of the giant Sequoias with the green branches moving slowly in the breeze was calming.

Since we needed some supplies for the trailer, the second full day  we headed into Visalia, CA.  There we went to Walmart to get the parts we needed.

 

We had lunch at a local restaurant Casa Mendoza in Three Rivers, we chose it because they had a patio area where we could enjoy the weather and because we had Sierra with us.  Plus it was a mexican restaurant, one of my favorite cuisines. I gave them a positive review on Trip Advisor  link to review.  They don’t seem to have a website but they do have a Facebook page.   They gave us water for Sierra and a dog biscuit.  It was a beautiful spring day and wonderful to be sitting out and enjoying the weather mid-week.   The food was delicious and satisfied my craving for tacos.

The campsite was so beautiful;  besides exploring the area; taking care of housekeeping items we enjoyed just hanging out and observing the river.  We didn’t know at that time that we would be getting into colder weather further along the trip.  But then this trip was about embracing the moments and taking our time to experience the journey.  It was a perfect start to our trip and a good way to easy out of working, packing and preparing for the trip.

Have you visited these parks?  What were the types of things you did?

Embracing the Journey.

Tiffany

#EmbracetheJourney #Day2DayTravels #Findyourpark?

On the Road 39 Days

We have been on the road for 39 days and tomorrow we arrive at our last National Park, Glacier.  We have another 11 days including our stop in Glacier.  Part of me doesn’t want the journey to end and another part is ready to start setting up our base camp.  We have learned so much about traveling on a long trip like this and what I do know is I would like to do another in the future.   There are so many historical and beautiful places we have yet to visit.

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Oregon Trail Historic Site in Wyoming

What is exciting is that once we arrive in Oregon we begin a new adventure and journey; learning about the new area we planning on living for the long term.   While on the road we secured our apartment in a complex that we had viewed several months prior to starting this trip.  One  challenge was e-signing the 51 page rental agreement over the campground wifi.  We had brought with us a hotspot device which still didn’t have full range but was way better than the free wifi.  So we were able to get the job done.   I am looking forward to better bandwidth once we we settle in our new place.

I am so thankful that we took the time out to travel and I am excited for the next chapter as well.  We purposely are not stopping at any of the national parks or historical places  in Washington or Oregon on this trip, those will be adventures we will have from our new home base.

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Mt. Rainier- Washington State

Today we are staying in Missoula, MT a planned stop to rest between Yellowstone and Glacier.  We will be doing some chores, getting the oil changed on our vehicle, grocery shopping and maybe some laundry.  One thing is for sure no matter where you are you always need to do the laundry, change the sheets and go grocery shopping.

Things I have learned while traveling across country:

  • Starbucks is not everywhere
  • Dairy Queen Blizzards are very good
  • When in a RV you don’t have to use stinky rest stop bathrooms
  • Wifi available doesn’t me it will work
  • Take your time and enjoy the surroundings
  • Driving 3 to 4 hours across country the scenery is very diverse
    • Nothing like driving Interstate 5 in California from the Bay Area to So. Cal.
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Road leaving Zion
  • It is very hard to eat outside in the rain/snow because you have a dog in tow.
  • Not all states allow dogs on the patio area of restaurants
  • Most places that you can eat outside on patio area with a dog are fastfood
  • Eat out in nice places when your dog is in daycare, cook the other times
  • Learned how to cook for two
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Sierra’s favorite meal that I cook
  • All gift shops start to look the same
  • Don’t trust your GPS (okay I knew that before) always have paper maps with you to validate where it is sending you.
  • Its okay to take a day out and do nothing

As our journey starts coming to end, I will continue to enjoy each moment and let the next steps come naturally.  At the end of the day life is journey with many different chapters.   I have many blogs to share about our journey but right now I am focused on today and what memories and joy it will bring.

When you travel how do you handle taking care of the day to day needs?

Embracing the Journey.

Tiffany

#EmbracetheJourney #Day2DayTravels #Findyourpark?

 

 

Sierra- Colorado

Bunnies, Elk, walking around town,  a lake and a river.

Going from Utah to Colorado was interesting.  Our first stop was in Golden, Colorado.  Which is the home for Coors and KONG.  I don’t really like beer so we went to check out the headquarters for KONG.  Couldn’t determine if they had tours but I was able to see where these fun toys were made.  My cousin Maya loves these as much as I do and I wanted to go on the tour so I could buy her one.  My human said I could get her something along the way.

In the Golden area there was a lot of hail and thunder storms and even tornado warnings to the east of our location.  We were watching the news and there were some people camping and their RV’s were flipped over.  I am really glad we were not camping over there, that would not be any fun.  Earthquakes or Tornado’s wouldn’t be good for trailers.  I also do not want to be transported to OZ and meet those flying monkeys.  Just the thought gives me chills, I don’t know how Toto survived that experience. 

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One cool thing in Golden, there was a Starbucks and I had my first Puppuccino.  It was yummy.   My human mom was so cool to ask for one for me.    It was just whipped cream but so cool and delicious.

The other cool thing about Golden was at the RV Park there were bunnies which are way more cool than Squirrels. I so wanted to frolic in the the grass with them but my humans wouldn’t let me off my leash.  😦  I enjoyed watching them from the trailer and imaging what it would be like to run in the grass with them.

Next we went to Estes Park near Rocky Mountain National Park.  It was snowing there, it was awesome. I like snow much better than rain.  It was really cool.  Then during the night when we went outside there was snow everywhere.  It was a little chilly out so I was glad I got to stay at doggy daycare and play with my new friends inside.

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The last day we went for a walk along Estes Lake and there were Elk everywhere.  They are not cute like bunnies so I didn’t want to run and play with them.  I just observed them from a safe distance with my humans. 

The one thing I liked about staying in Estes Park is that we walked the town each day and down by the river.  One day we were having lunch by the river and there were two big labs like my cousin Maya jumping in the river and fetching a stick.  They were crazy dogs, why would you jump in water, very cold snow melted water just for a stick.  I can see maybe for some steak but a stick.  Then to keep doing it over and over again, that is not something I think would be fun for me.  I hear that labs love the water so maybe this is really a fun thing for them.  Every dog is unique and enjoys different things, as long as I don’t have to jump in with them and they are happy they should go for it.  I am the type of dog that loves blankets and long walks on dry land.

Next we head to Wyoming and South Dakota maybe I will get to see more bunnies there and get a chance to run around and play with them.  I wonder what new places I will see tomorrow and yummy treats for my tummy.  Take the time to embrace the smells and sights of your journey, enjoy the moments of each day.

Sierra

Super Doggy

#EmbraceNewSmells #FindyourPark #Day2DayTravels

Planning the trip

Thoughts on the road- Starting our Adventure

It was a warm spring day when we started our adventure. No job, no house just our trailer and the road.  We embraced that we were not on a time schedule and hit the road.  We stopped at the rest stop to stretch our legs and then stopped for lunch.  It felt good not to have to check email and see what is going on while traveling.

bitmoji-Tiffany Bon Voyage

To be able to start this adventure it took a lot of planning.   We knew we wanted to travel the country and visit national parks.  So which parks and how will we travel there?  How much should we book ahead and how fluid did we want things to be.  Based on reading blogs and our experience to date in booking campgrounds we knew that if we didn’t want to dry camp  we needed to book ahead.

The route needed to be figured out first, our starting point was the San Francisco Bay Area and ending point was Portland Oregon.  We knew that Zion, Bryce and Mt. Rushmore were must have places we wanted to visit.  I spent hours searching different National Parks, maps, RV blogs, Pet Blogs, mapping trip tools and different Ipad applications.  I purchased a few books some for my Kindle and others hardcopy.  One that I purchased to help with research and we have used a lot during the trip is National Geographic Guide to National Parks of the United States, 8th Edition (National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of the United States)

One of my favorite applications to research campgrounds  was the All Stays Camping App:
125x125 AllStays Faded Edge

It showed the most campground options and was very easy to use.  So I would sit and play with the route,  until I came up with the baseline of which major national parks/monuments and points of interest to visit:

  • Sequoia and Kings Canyon
  • Death Valley
  • Las Vegas
  • Zion
  • Grand Canyon North Rim
  • Bryce
  • Capitol Reef
  • Rocky Mountain
  • Mt. Rushmore
  • Crazy Horse
  • Devils Tower
  • Yellowstone
  • Glacier

Then the research started, I also downloaded an app for my Ipad; National Parks by Chimani

 and purchased the different parks we were interested in visiting so that I could do research whenever I had a free minute.

We  were taking our dog with us and most National Parks and National Monuments don’t allow dogs beyond the parking lots.  We needed to research what we would do with our dog.  In most towns there were places that specialized in dog boarding or daycare.  I also purchased a book and App to aide in this search:

Dogfriendly.Com’s United States and Canada Dog Travel Guide: Dog-Friendly Accommodations, Beaches, Public Transportation, National Parks, Attractions. They also have a blog with lots of great information.

The last piece of the puzzle was timing, when were we going to start this journey.  That would be driven by the sale of our house,  we couldn’t even plan anything until we knew that timing.  We also had some important family events going on so we couldn’t leave any earlier than April 18th.  That was our fist line in the sand, hit the road on the 18th.  The big question; would the home sale line up with that or push it out.  Thankfully our home closed in plenty of time.

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Empty house, ready to hit the road

Once we were in contract on our home we felt we could start planning our trip out.  I was playing with different ways to keep track of what we were booking but settled on a basic Excel spreadsheet with all the dates listed in each row and then filling in the places as we moved across the country.  Once I had it all figured out then I transferred the information to my calendar so that it would sync with my phone, computer and Ipad.  I also loaded the information to the cloud and downloaded the excel file onto my Ipad and phone for reference.  Then I printed it out on 11×17 paper to keep in the car, wasn’t sure what our internet connectivity would be like along the road.

We used a combination of several different tools to figure out our path, leveraging  AAA trip planner (TripTik) and Good Sam’s trip planner.  Both were memberships we already had and both have different benefits and features.  The nice thing about Good Sam’s planner is it takes in account your RV size with the routing. Using these tools helped us determine distance between each location and determine where we needed to insert additional stops.  Our goal was to spend between 3 to 5 hours max on the road between each stop.  We planned either 2 to 5 days at each stop.  We also needed to keep in mind that Memorial day was going to be in our window of travel so that needed to be considered as well.

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Our Route from California to Oregon

So with a rough outline of our path my husband and I spent a weekend booking our trip, locating places to stay, checking reviews from AllStays (All A RVer needs: Campgrounds, Fuel, Parking, Washes and more) and Trip Advisor before determining where we wanted to stay.  I used my Ipad and laptop and my husband was on his laptop verifying via google maps the distance between each place.   At the end of plotting out the trip it felt like we had already been on a journey, a virtual one.  Now the big question, what would the trip be like.  Did our research pay off and what about the place that took only cash or check.  Was it going to be okay?

Embrace the Journey
Day2Day Travels- Yosemite National Park – One place we had visited many times before but not on our list for this trip.  Goal was to see new places or areas.

We removed two major National Park from our list, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon because it did not open until May 15th and by then we would be in South Dakota.  We also removed Capitol Reef because we were concerned we would be tired of all the red rock items.   I guess we will have to plan another trip in the future and catch all the parks and areas we did not reach.  There are so many beautiful places and so much history to learn about.  The only thing we planned out was campsites and dog day care.  What we did at each stop or park was going to be planned out in the moment.  Our goal was to enjoy the sights around us, be flexible and embrace the journey.  Do you enjoy planning a trip or just winging it?

Embracing the Journey.

Tiffany

#EmbracetheJourney #Day2DayTravels #Findyourpark?

Sierra – Utah National Parks

Utah: Bryce, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

I am  a California dog born and raised, Utah has such weather extremes. Actually a lot of these states we have visited are cold.  More on that later, today I am just going to share about the last three parks  we visited after Zion in Utah.  We went from warm and wet to cold and icy and then back to hot.   I thought it was spring not winter.  From Zion we headed to Bryce Canyon.  It was cold and there was snow.  One day my human dad found icicles hanging from the trailer. I was thankful mom brought lots of blankets and our trailer has a heater.  I can’t imagine sleeping in a tent up here.

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Toasty Warm

 

At Bryce there were these things called Hoodoos. They are really cool, apparently they don’t grow up from the ground but instead are from erosion that shapes the limestone into pillars.

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Bryce Canyon-Hoodoos

This park only allows doggies within the parking lot and look-out within that area.  So my humans got to see everything we just couldn’t take any hikes. 

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Getting our paws and shoes muddy

The first stop was really muddy from the rain the night before and my paws were very dirty.  But the last stop was icy and had snow on the ground which was great at cleaning the mud off, better than a pedicure I bet.

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Hanging out on the Ice

After Bryce we went to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in the Moab area.  It was warm there, but not too warm it was nice.  My humans had been to Arches before and they explored part of Canyonlands.  This was more a stop over for two nights to relax before we enter Colorado.  So we explored a little but these parks are not made for dogs.  Have your humans secure daycare or a pet sitter if they want to hike.  The ground is not good for your paws.

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Me and my Humans

My humans have a selfie stick so they can take pictures with all three of us together.  At first I thought it was dorky but I do like seeing the three of us together.  Sometimes though I am sleeping in the car and Mom will sneak and take pictures of me.  She is really silly.

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Mom sneaking a Selfie

From Utah we head into Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota and then we start heading west back to Wyoming.  I hope we get to a place where I can run around a little bit and smell new and interesting things.  It has been a week or so since they made  Steak, so I hope they go to a store and get some more.  But I can’t complain they had burgers the other night and I got a mini one all to myself.  I have good humans who spoil me.

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Walking along the Colorado River with my human dad

I wonder what new places I will see tomorrow and yummy treats for my tummy.  Take the time to embrace the smells and sights of your journey, enjoy the moments of each day.

Sierra

Super Doggy

#EmbraceNewSmells #FindyourPark #Day2DayTravels

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Sierra Hanging out in the Trailer

National Parks Visited April to May 5th

National Parks Visited April to May 5th

The adventure is underway, we left the SF Bay Area on Monday, April 18th and have been on the road for 17 days so far.   Today is a travel day and we are leaving Moab, Utah and heading to Colorado.  It is going to be a long travel day, we will then spend three nights outside of Denver before heading to Rocky Mountain National Park.

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View from our campsite at Sequoia RV Park.

We have visited  Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Death Valley, Zion, Bryce, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks; we even spent a few days in Las Vegas.  All the parks have such different weather, terrian and ways to visit the parks.  Best  thing about  each park is that it has its own unique beauty and truly showns how amazing our country is.

Internet has been spotty which has impacted my blogging so I will be sharing out details on each park in future blogs.  States visited to date are California, Nevada, Arizona (drove through a tiny piece) and Utah.

We have had some interesting challenges, our kitchen sink pipes started to leak when we heated the hot water or showered.  So we had to fix those, some sealant did the trick.  The other night in Moab the outside water line into the trailer burst at its seams and water was everywhere in the campground.  Thankfully John had gotten up at 2am and discovered the issue otherwise it would have been even more wet outside if we hadn’t caught until later.  We located the local Feed and RV supply store to get the replacement hose.  It was our original hose and 5 years old.

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Our home while on the road

I am thankful we tossed in the winter hats and gloves, they came in handy when we visited Bryce.  It got down to 30 degrees our last night there and John discovered Icicles hanging from the trailer the next morning.

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Bryce Canyon

Overall we are having a blast and enjoying each new experience and challenge that comes our way.   We have taking down and resetting up the trailer at each new place down to a science.   Sierra even has the routine down and just naps while we do our thing.  Well got to go, hitting the road to the next place.   What are your faviorte challenges and experiences on a journey you have taken?

Embracing the Journey.

Tiffany

#EmbracetheJourney #Day2DayTravels #Findyourpark?

Sierra – Death Valley, Las Vegas & Zion

Death Valley, Las Vegas and Zion National Park

I have been to 4 national parks and Las Vegas.  The best part is I have been hanging with my human’s almost the entire time.  I have visited two doggie places too.

When we left Sequoia and Kings Canyon National parks we headed over to Death Valley NP.   It was hot there and windy.  The ground was warm and my mom keep checking it with her hand to make sure it wasn’t too hot for my paws.  She is a worry wart like that, I am 10 years old I know how to tell her if it was too hot.  I would jump into her arms, duh.  It was really windy there so windy that the trailer was rocking all night and day.  Mom said it was like being in turbulence on an airplane.  I am not sure what that is but what  I didn’t like was all the sand blowing in my eyes.

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Here I am in the truck with my humans exploring Death Valley in the Air Conditioning.

After Death Valley we went to Las Vegas and they took me to the Camp Bow Wow and it was the best.  I really need some doggie time.  I love my human’s but being with them 24/7 and no doggies to sniff and play with was a bummer.  But don’t tell them I liked it there because I want them to feel a little guilty for leaving me.

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Here I am giving my human dad directions on how to go back to Camp Bow Wow for day two.

Then we went to Zion National Park and there was wet stuff and mud.  My paws didn’t get too wet and muddy but my fur was damp.  I had two play days at the Doggy Dude Ranch and it was an awesome place.  It is like visiting someone’s home.  Loved it there and had a blast playing with the humans and dogs.

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Dad and I along the Pa’rus trail next to the Virgin River.

 The last full  day at Zion we went on the hike in the park.  I know I was surprised too, there was actually a trail for dogs.  (Pet Rules at Zion Park)  It is called Pa’rus Trail, which says dog to me “Paws R US” is how I understand it.  Actually I read the sign while we waited for my human dad and it is a Paiute word meaning, “bubbling, tumbling water,”.    Dad dropped us off at Canyon Junction which was by shuttle stop #3.  He then parked the truck and joined us back at the shuttle stop.   I liked that the trail was paved and how it followed the river as we headed to the visitor center.  We stopped along the way at the Human History Museum for a rest before we got to the end.

I wished we had hiked the trail round trip instead of just one way, but mom was afraid it might rain.  Since I am not a fan of the wet stuff, good call but don’t tell her that.   Also, about an hour after we finished that hike and a hike into town it started to rain, thankfully we only go a little wet but it was pouring once we made it in the trailer and the sky was flashing and banging.  I am told that is thunder and lighting, very cool we didn’t have that in California.

I wonder what new places I will see tomorrow and yummy treats for my tummy.  Take the time to embrace the smells and sights of your journey, enjoy the moments of each day.

Sierra
Super Doggy

#EmbraceNewSmells #FindyourPark #Day2DayTravels

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Time for a nap after all that walking and exploring in Zion.