Our 2018 RV'ing Adventure

Our 2018 driving route, 1720 miles in all!

I spent most of yesterday morning finalizing plans for our June RV trip to Utah and Colorado, and thought it might be fun for some of you to see what goes into our detail planning for these type of trips, keeping in mind that our trip will focus heavily on hiking in a variety of state and national parks, so your mileage may vary as they say.

What will make this long distance RV trip a bit different from those we've done previously since retiring is that we'll be accompanied by our longtime and best friends, David and Fran, who both retired earlier this year and are therefore finally available to join us in some of our adventuring. We are all very, very compatible in that we not only get along wonderfully, but also share a love of RV'ing, hiking, backpacking, and spending time in our beautiful wilderness parks. We even have the exact same type of travel trailers: these super light, folding hard- sided trailers manufactured by TrailManor.

Petite enough to store in our garage when collapsed, but with all the amenities of a larger trailer:
Stovetop, fridge, heat, A/C, running water, dining area, bathroom, and overhead cupboards.

We've already had a trial run together last summer, when we spent 10 days RV'ing and backpacking through the coastline and wine country of central and northern California. Our time together went positively swimmingly, so everyone is excited about our upcoming trip.

Plotting out our long term RV'ing trips involves a lot of time looking for green spots on maps, the indicators of where our beloved state and national parks can be found. I start piecing together legs by determining the mileage between stops, then turn to Trip Advisor to glean what type of activities are available to do in each area aside from hiking. Once satisfied that I know where we want to visit, and for how long, I then turn to RV Park Reviews to find the best RV spots in which to stay. Everyone has their own set of priorities here, so mine should be taken with a grain of salt, however, for long duration RV trips I prefer to stay in either national park campgrounds offering both electric and water hookups, plus showers and laundry, or in well run private RV parks with same, plus ideally some additional amenities such as a swimming pool and spa. I find I feel less like I'm 'camping' if I have these things, of importance to me when away from home for longer than a week.

Again, your mileage may vary.

So, after doing the above, here's where our 2018 RV'ing Trip will find us:
  • St. George Utah (1 night) - We'll be overnighting here primarily to break up the long drive between home and Bryce National Park. However, in addition to the lovely pool area at the RV park we'll be visiting (because it will likely be toasty warm there by June), we're also planning short visits to nearby Red Hills Desert Garden and Pioneer Park, both free and open late into the hopefully cooler evening.                                                                                                                                        

  • Bryce National Park (3 nights) - At a significantly higher elevation than St. George, we should be out of the heat here, and our plans are to hike ourselves silly in the park, plus attend as many ranger campfire talks in the evening as we can. We'll be staying at Ruby's Inn RV Park, which is just a mile from the entrance to the park, making it uber convenient to return to our travel trailers for dinner before re-entering park for any evening ranger talks.                                                                    

  • Capital Reef National Park (3 nights) - The first of the four new-to-us national parks we'll be visiting this trip (we've been to Bryce National Park previously), we are excited to explore this least-visited of Utah's five national parks. I've also located a rave worthy taco truck nearby, plus a real, live cowboy bar, both of which we are looking forward to visiting. We love finding interesting places to experience local cuisine, even if that cuisine is handed to us by a hand reaching out the window of a food truck!                                                                                                                                                                              

  • Arches and Canyonlands National Parks (5 nights) - We're staying at what appears to be the very lovely Spanish Trail RV Park in Moab, conveniently located for visits to both Arches and Canyonlands, plus Dead Horse State Park. We've also booked a sunset dinner cruise in Canyonlands National Park one evening, and the town of Moab is supposed to a pretty fun place to explore as well, labeled by some publications as 'The Best Adventure Town in the US.' There are also lots of pretty awesome sounding places to dine in Moab, including Moab Brewery, another food truck experience called Torita's, and local favorite Milt's Stop & Eat.                                                                                                                                                      

  • Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado (5 nights) - Our first foray into Colorado by RV, we'll be staying at the only full service RV campground within Mesa Verde National Park, called Morefield, so we're doubly excited. We'll spend two days exploring Mesa Verde National Park, including some ranger led tours, plus visit nearby Four Corners Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, the Anasazi Heritage Center, and ride the railroad train from Durango to Silverton, the later of which I did when a young girl, but have no recollection of other than sitting for a long time in a very crowded waiting room full of other hopeful passengers. (This was pre-internet, when the railroad's ticket sales were all on a first come, first serve basis!)                                                                                                                                                              

  • Kanab, Utah (2 nights) - We'll be visiting Escalante National Monument via jeep on this leg, having signed up for a rollicking six hour experience into the national monument with High Adventure Tours. Upon our return, after showering the dust (!) off ourselves, we'll be celebrating the parting of ways with our friends at what appears to be Kanab's nicest restaurant, Sego. Fingers crossed that this final evening dinout with our friends will be as memorable as the jeep tour is sure to be!                                                                                                                                                                                              

  • Las Vegas, Nevada (1 night) - We'll break up the long drive home with an overnight here, as well as celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary with dinner at The Grand Luxe Cafe, and tickets to see Baz: The Musical, both at The Palazzo, located along the northern, slightly quieter edge of the strip.                                                                                                                                        

  • Home - Our drive home should be an easy straight shot down the 15 freeway back into Orange County, arriving there right around lunchtime.
It's been awhile since I've planned an RV trip of this magnitude, our last one being a six week trip through Oregon over the summer of 2015, and it feels good to brush of the cobwebs and get back to it. And we almost always come away from one of these long trips with plans for yet another big adventure, so stay tuned!

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Will you be adventuring anywhere this year for the first time? Please share where and when if so!

Comments

  1. Okay, so I'll admit it. I am . . . Just. So. Envious. We made a fairly similar circle in 2010 and I'd go back in a heartbeat. We loved everything about that trip except for the heat - we had to travel in the summer when the kids were out of school. At the time, our son was 16 and our daughter was 11. The day we were at Capitol Reef, we bought homemade fruit pies in the general store and ate them for lunch at one of the nearby picnic tables. Yum! The kids thought that was the greatest thing since we generally tend toward more nutritious fare. Coincidentally, it was just a couple of days ago that our daughter mentioned how much she enjoyed the experience of picking apricots from the orchards there. Every National Park had its own unique personality and the entire trip was an incredible and memorable experience for us. What a wonderful adventure you're going to have!!!

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    Replies
    1. Those fruit pies sound like the perfect way to end a long day of hiking, and I will definitely be on the lookout while in Capital Reef, so thank you, Mary!

      Yes, I smiled at seeing pools advertised at every RV park will be staying in, understanding it was likely indicative of very hot temps, depending on the time of year. We do have A/C as well, thankfully!

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  2. When I attended BYU (some 40 odd years ago....lol) I went to Arches National Park, and it was amazing. I was used to the sugar white sand of the Alabama and Florida gulf coast. I had never seen green sand before! I was blown away. It was one of the best trips ever, and I hope your trip to Arches is as enjoyable as my trip was so many years ago. My daughter lives in Salt Lake, and she just got back from visiting Zion. She loved it. You are making a trip I hope to make when I retire!

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    Replies
    1. I didn't know about the green sand beaches, so thank you for giving me something to look forward to!

      This will be our third time RV'ing in Utah, and we're much looking forward to it. Utah is such a beautiful state!

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    2. Well, it is green sand without the water......lol

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  3. Such a wonderful itinerary, Tamara! I look forward to following along. Next month I'll be going to the four capitals in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland for the first time. I mapped out my itinerary, booked flights and accommodations. A new adventure awaits.

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    Replies
    1. Sounds like a wonderful trip, Natalia! We've been to Estonia, and so enjoyed it, but not the other three. Yet, that is!

      Once our current backyard remodel is complete, we'll have as close to a lock and go as a home can be, and we are much looking forward to getting back to our more-robust retirement travels once that occurs.

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