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As we visit US state parks we will write a review with detailed information you can’t get without actually visiting. Get the inside scoop.

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Where We Are in Photos

🚐 6ix Months Everyone!! Week 25, 175 Days Exploring 🌄

Unexpected sad news of a family member and his passing brought us west to Albuquerque, New Mexico. We drove 21 hours to be by my cousin’s side for her husband’s memorial. I’m so grateful that we were able to safely drive there for a quick visit.

We decided since we were only eight hours from the kids up in Colorado and Wyoming and the weather looked clear (then anyway) to make another quick trip up. It was so nice to catch up again after only a month of traveling. After about a week getting our kid-time filled, we booked it out of town (again) just in time (again) to mostly keep ahead of the deep chill spreading down and across the country bringing winter blizzard watches and dangerous temperatures and deadly wind chills.

Normally we have been strive to take our time to enjoy our travels more and only drive 2-3 hours a day at most, as you all know, but once again, we pretty much drove 2 days straight to get south to reasonable winter weather. To make a long story short, uneventful for travel blog purposes, we jump to our 198th day of traveling and back to the Emerald Coast. We, and you are all caught up.

Emerald Coast known for the beautiful blue, green coastal Gulf waters for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!!

Grayton Beach State Park Christmas Eve. Santa sighting before the big night.
Henderson Beach Christmas Day. Credit to my new van friend Lisa for this photo of me.

Grayton Beach State Park

We landed ourselves on Grayton Beach which consistently ranks among the most beautiful and pristine beaches in the United States!! It’s not just the powder-fine white sand, but the clear serene emerald water.

We loved experiencing the dune trail accessed from the beach parking lot, though it was short lived due to the incoming rain. Apparently, we experienced the relatively rare, 3 foot waves and amazing surf views over the more common smoother surface which is normally found on the emerald coast on this part of the Gulf. It was a red-flag day.

And, we learned that Western Lake is one of the largest and rare dune lakes in the world. This makes this area great for many of other outdoor activities. You may want to explore on foot have 4 miles of trails to traverse through a coastal forest where scrub oaks and magnolias are bent and twisted by salt winds.

The trail is clearly indicated while walking within the roped sections in order to preserve the dunes and nesting turtles and birds and such lovely creatures of this landscape.

This park has a very secluded feel and is just a 10-minute drive to groceries and other types of shopping.

Henderson Beach State Park

By comparison to Grayton Beach and the only thing we loved more about this park over Grayton Beach State Park was the access to the beach from the campground and the walkway that was partially on a paved path and boardwalk though the dunes that was short and sweet.

No filters, by the way! I only reflect what I see in photos with my iPhone 14Pro

We just happened to have a break in the stormy clouds Christmas Day to experience this sunset!! I don’t remember a longer, more stunning sunset in my lifetime of seeking them out.

It was a two-red flag day due to the rip tide dangers.

However, this park has a LOT of traffic and noise being very close to a plethora of condos and hotels AND helicopter tours going right over the beach and campgrounds, all day, ugh. The instant drive or bike ride to all kinds of shopping in Destin, FL sits alongside the very busy US 98 on Harbor Blvd. You’ll find pretty much any kind of store you want or need and lots of restaurants.

Week 24, 168 Days Exploring

Even though we had spent a good week and a half visiting with the kids back “home” in Colorado and Wyoming at Thanksgiving, we didn’t think we would miss the traditional time as much as we were. We have two kids in nursing school and it’s hard to get schedules aligned near the holidays, and another kiddo who just moved 19 hours away, but we still felt the pangs of missing Christmas traditions with the grown kids and grandkids this year.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

As we start making our way east, we had decided to do something special for the Christmas season. We were both starting to feel like it was a mistake to miss Christmas with the kids especially since we didn’t really have a formal Thanksgiving really. We left town after catching Covid from the Colorado kids and didn’t want to spread to the Wyoming kids, so after buying all of the dinner fare to make, we skipped town just in time for a sever winter storm.

So, we chose to make a special Christmasy stop a little further north, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.


Dollywood at Christmas

We thoroughly enjoyed, what is touted as America’s Best Christmas Event! It was just what we needed to get in the festive mood and feel the Christmas spirit. A fun, family centered theme park especially for Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas festival.

This 50 foot Christmas Tree with over one million lights puts on an illuminating, synchronized show. I could not be more dazzled by the tree animated with music, a beary cute story and interactive snowy finale. One of the best highlights of the park, I’m surprised how hard it is to find information about it. Located in the plaza at Wilderness Pass, it seems to light up about every 30 minutes once it is dark out. Not to be missed!

🎄 🚐 ✨ Light show and drones choreographed with music and light to create a new kind of light show at Dollywood. Van life on the road and needed some Christmas cheer while away from family this year. This is your roller coaster theme park and place to go for Christmas lights and shows. #droneshow #dronesarefun #dronesarecool #droneslightshow #droneshow #dronechoreogrpahy #seiverville #visittennessee #tennesseemountainhome #pigeonforgeshows #pigeonforgeattractions #pigeonforgetennessee #smokeymountainlife #vanlifetravel #vanlifers #campervanlife #campervanholiday #vanlifechristmas #vanlifeholidays #christmasthemepark

♬ original sound – Goodnight Trail
Cinnamon Bread at the Grist Mill is THE BEST I’ve Ever had!!

Here’s some important inside information here – if the line for Cinnamon Bread at the Grist Mill is way out the door, Spotlight Bakery, near the entrance, has Much shorter lines and has this amazing bread too!

Week 23, 161 Days Exploring

We started to head east again to get going on our Florida schedule events coming up in the end of January. Next stop, Sea Rim State Park, almost on the Texas, Louisiana border. Beautiful but large mosquitos. All enjoyment would have been lost if not for the cool air and cold nights and a good steady breeze to flow those suckers away, as long as we weren’t on the non-windy side of the van as it blocked that wind.

Sea Rim State Park

I love the Gulf Coastal Sunsets and Beach Walks
Gambusia Boardwalk Nature Trail

Below, is an optical illusion in the sand patterns as though shadows fall creating a 3d look that might be bumpy to walk over. Reality is that the last waves of the tide left light, finely crushed shells sprinkled over the dark, hard packed sand below and just as flat as walking on cement. Can you make your brain see what is real and switch back and forth to see the illusionary mounds? The seashells mirror the patterns of the sand and sea.

Next stop, Louisiana.

Fairview-Riverside State Park

This is our second visit to this area and staying at this campground. It was a great location to catch up on the big chores like laundry and shopping and still have time to eat at this quaint, lovely, historic restaurant alongside the Tchefuncte River and the park always lit up at night with reflective lights.

Week 22, 154 Days Exploring

We have spent the last two weeks enjoying the weather and continued fall foliage in the southeast, in Texas Hill Country. We bought the State Park Pass and discovered that we get the second day half off making Texas State Parks even more affordable for those wanting to bask in the beautiful weather in the winter for a week or longer.

Garner State Park, Texas

This park is very popular and stunningly beautiful. We had a nice, slow pace this time of year during the week.

Mirror Reflection contrasted with the Cypress Roots

Even at dusk, the miracle of light illuminates the many facets that speak when the soul is open to witness it and brightens in return. I can’t get enough of the color and reflection on the Frio River.

With so many amazing Texas State Parks, especially in this area, circling around Austen and San Antonio, there is a lot to see and explore while starting out the winter season. We are certainly enjoying being snowbirds ourselves this season following the path of many and enjoying seeing them thrive in the south during the northern cold months. We have not been disappointed with the parks or with the location to spend some time in December.

The Frio River is so clear!

Inks Lake State Park

This is the park that I realized, we had discovered a treasure trove of Texas State Parks to check out over the next couple of weeks.

Beautiful Hiking but wear your hiking boots for ankle and arch support.
Devil’s Water Hole; Jumpers leap from the rock across and into the water.

Week 21, 147 Days Exploring 5 Full Months!

After our visits with family, we took off to head south for the winter. Our destination … ummmm, we don’t know?? Wherever the best weather takes us!! We are currently snow birds flying south for the winter, but caught in a tail spin hoping to catch a good tail wind after dilly dallying and enjoying our time with family and friends along the Rocky Mountains front range around Thanksgiving.

As we started to head south, we made it through the beginnings of a significant winter storm, but stayed ahead of most of the expected snow and coldest temperatures. Even New Mexico was having their fair share of snow and cold, so we aimed for Texas Hill Country.

Our newly white painted Side Air Vent and updated SmartPlug.

Along with the fun moments we added to our Thankful memory banks, we had some beautiful days to do some chores and make some nice updates to the van. While we were in Massachusetts, we upgraded our potty with a composting toilet (we love it!!). It included an exhaust fan that we had to mount through the van wall for air circulation, but it came in a gray color. Bill painted it an exterior white to blend in with the knight in shining armor, Mr. Knightley.

We replaced our RV electric outlet with a more substantial upgrade to a SmartPlug $120 vs $20 for peace of mind and longevity. We purchased the 30 amp for our needs. It is so much more sturdy and has many long-lasting details that also include easier to use than the standard, basic type of unit.

Before we left for warmer temperatures and weather more conducive to full-time van life, we basically got Covid from family and/or friends. Thanksgiving day, while most of the adult kids were staying over in-laws for a couple of nights, I tested positive. A winter storm warning was also making the news, so we decided to make a break for it and started heading south also hoping to spare anyone from getting the bug.

Our ultimate goal is Cocoa Beach in Florida for the end of January, as we are participating in VanFest Florida 2024, connecting with other like-minded van travelers and expo’ing our van build. Come meet us at “the surf capital of the East Coast for sun, sand, and vans!”

Week 19 – 20 with 140 Days Exploring

Most recently, we made it back to see the grandkids for a few days and overnighted in their neighborhood. It was such a joy knowing we had not been forgotten by the grandkids in our months’ absence and to have more bonding experiences. We included going to Scheels, sporting goods entertainment store and rode the ferris wheel and played some games. This has become a tradition for more grand memories with the grandchildren before driving a little further north to Wyoming to catch up with most the grown kids and Thanksgiving with everyone nearby.

We did take a chance, with the weather, to be here with most of the kids around Thanksgiving. However, we are still a little annoyed about how unseasonably cold and snowy it will be in the Rocky Mountain foothills while we are here. But, we have a trusty electric heater that we can plug in with lots of cozy blankets.

Horizontal Snow in Wyoming Today

Our coldest we have slept overnight in our campervan has been 19 degrees outside and with our heater it is almost too hot inside. But, it is forecast to be around 5 degrees for two nights, so we will see just how good it is!! If need be, we will empty our tanks and sleep inside.

Only 29 degrees outside, but 77 inside. I can live with that!!

We arrived again in Highlands Ranch, CO to visit long-time friends that are like family that we missed the last few times through. Then further north, grand kids time!! Before that, we drove through the mid west to get “home” for a brief visit.

Rock Bridge was sooo big inside, Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

If you think there’s nothing “cool” to visit in the middle of country, then look again! I thought that our trek through the middle of the states would be fairly unremarkable as we make our way back “home” for one last visit before heading south for winter on our full-time excursion in our camper van.

“Always Amazed” has been my theme for 2023 and continues to ring true. I was amazed that I was, yet again, delighted to find cool and unique opportunities here. It is a purposeful attitude of gratitude to seek and to find amazing wonders all around.

Considering we have been to most of the stunning scenes our diverse country has to offer, I figured, we would just be going from point A to point B with few impressions. As usual, I look on Google Maps to try to find places to stop and get out to walk, hike and explore. Guess what I found?! More caves that are cool and amazing!

Devil’s Icebox is located in Rock Bridge Memorial State Park and is a wonderful stop to make off of I-70 in Columbia, Missouri to stretch your legs or to get a couple of hours in for a beautiful hike. A wooden boardwalk meanders right to a large cave to walk in and explore the dark, cool corners.

Devil’s Icebox, looking up to the surface from below.

Within less than a half a mile, another, shorter cave, Devil’s Icebox, is discovered immediately as the cool air washes over you and multiple levels of stairs appear to lure you to the depths and dampness of the crevasse origins.

Kanapolis State Park vistas are gorgeous.

As we only travel just 2-3 hours a day to our next destination and nighttime stay over, we picked Kanapolis State Park in Kansas. We wanted to get an electric site to plug in our heater for the just-below freezing temps for that night and take advantage of their clean, warm showers.

We had a beautify campsite on the water and thoroughly enjoyed watching the white tailed deer, activities of the birds and another amazing, unique sunset.

Kanapolis State Park, camped along the water with view of wildlife activities.

I was intrigued by another location highlighted on the map. Kanapolis State Park also manages this very small state park with unique rock features just a few miles up the road. Mushroom Rock State Park was another amazing, not well-known mini magical adventure.

These formations are the remains of beach sands and sediments of the Cretaceous Period, the interval of geologic time from about 144 to 66 million years ago.

Pedestal Rock

The park is only 5 acres but includes some of the most unusual rock formations anywhere.

Mushroom Rock

Week 18, 126 Days Exploring

On the road again.

Here are the places we have stayed overnight …

Harvest Host Farm

Mammoth Cave National Park – Our most recent stop on our way west toward our home base was another National Park. It was so cool to visit and compare the massive caves we have toured. Mammoth Cave National Park is quite a large interesting cave for sure! Number 28th National Park for us!!

There is no charge to enter the park but the only way to have a meaningful visit and to explore parts of the cave is to purchase a tour. Our first was the 2-hour Historic Tour. This tour ascends and descends hundreds of stairs and several steep inclines.

Historic Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park

There were many tight places for those challenged by width or height. I, only being 5’2″ with shoes on, did not have to bend down too much. Those any taller had many more opportunities to imagine themselves as Gollum in J.R.R. Tolkien’s middle-earth fantasy adventure The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings .

Historic Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park
Historic Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park
Domes and Dripstones Tour

Domes and Dripstones is also a 2-hour tour. This begins with a short bus ride to a sinkhole entrance, passes through huge domes and ends in the dripstone section known as Frozen Niagara. This tour also ascends and descends hundreds of stairs and several steep inclines. It has a deeper focus on the natural formation of the cave and the only location with stalactites and stalagmites which is what the majority of the extensive maze of Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico is so famous for.

Week 17, 119 Days

After a nice long visit with my sister and her family and beautiful weather, we began our westerly meandering. We plan to be at our “home base” where most of the kids are and grandkids for Thanksgiving.

Shenandoah National Park – On our way east, we went north just a little to make sure not to miss another National Park that we had not been to. This was our 27th US National Park to visit!! We’re counting the 63 that are designated and have “National Park” in its name although we love to visit many of the other “sites” as well. Screenshot below taken from the National Park Service website.

The National Park Service manages 425 individual units covering more than 85 million acres in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and US territories. While there are at least 19 naming designations, these units are commonly referred to as “parks.””

The change in the leaves and the colors were quite muted due to the continued drought but we still had a pretty drive with auburn hues and a short hike to Blackrock summit.

For week 17, we started our travels south to get into some more pleasant temperatures for the Fall. My twin sister and her husband are conveniently located in Virginia Beach for the much anticipated sister time.

We had so many more beach treasures, experiences and memories added to our collections from our week-long stay. Once again, we boondocked in the driveway. What a great way to visit for long periods of time but also have our own space and they have theirs.

Little Island Park, Virginia Beach, VA
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia Beach, VA
We had a fun night tram tour, including a moonlit,
historic walk in False Cape State Park

Week 16 – 112 Days Exploring

We continued to visit family and friends in New England. Most of our extended family, mother, father, brothers and sisters live along the east coast with the majority in Massachusetts. We lived here for most of our lives. We met in high school, married and bought our first house here. We made lasting friends from school, church and neighbors.

Memories rekindled of Boston. I worked one block from Faneuil Hall Market Place, also known as Quincy Market or the Market.

One of the best ways to enjoy Boston is to avoid the traffic and take a relatively in-exensive, beautiful water taxi. We left from Hingham with round trip tickets to spend the gorgeous evening walking around, having dinner with Bill’s brother and sister in law. It was a wonderful night and a spectacular ride both ways with so much to see. Click here for schedules and prices for the MBTA Ferry.


🛥️ 🌆 Hingham – Hull Ferry to Long Wharf across from Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market in Boston, MA. We parked our campervan 🚐 in Hingham to catch an evening roundtrip water shuttle to Boston. What a great way to avoid the traffic and maximize the beautiful evening. Dinner at the Market and walked around to reminisce about our days working in Boston years ago. Visit MBTA.COM for schedules for the water taxis available with Boston Harbor City Cruises #boston #bostonwatertaxi #bostonharbor #bostonharborcruises #bostonmbta #bostonatnight #bostontiktok #bostonboats #bostonboatcruise #bostongodzilla #faneuilhall #faneuilhallmarketplace #cityofboston #citylights #morethanafeelingbyboston #earthbound #victorlundberg #beautifulcity #beautifulcityview #vanlife #vanlifetravel #vanlifeusa #rvlife #exploremore #campervanlife #campervanlifestyle #goodnighttrail #travel #campervan #rvliving #vanlifediaries #vanlifers #vanlifestyle #vanlifemovement #vanlifeexplorers #projectvanlife #vanlifeideas #vanlifeproject #vanlifedreams #vanlifecommunity #notallthosewhowanderarelost #exploreusa #rvthereyet #retirednotretired #retiredvanlife #vanlifeover50 #adventurevibes #adventuring #adventureusa

♬ original sound – Goodnight Trail

Plymouth, MA was our main hub where we had our longest stay with Bill’s mom and her husband, Grandpa Bob between going here and there to meet and visit so many family and friends.

We helped Bill’s mom and Bob around the house when we stayed overnight in their driveway while we were in Massachusetts.

Chopping wood for his mom.

Week 15 – 105 Days Exploring

We spent the week going back and forth between visiting family and friends in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Our longtime, close friends took us around Rhode Island where they now live.

We’re trying to identify the birds on the Merlin app in Coventry, RI.

We also went back to the cemeteries to finish trimming back the flowers and vegetation. Bill’s Dad passed away just six months after we were married and my Mom about 23 years ago. We missed them, but we also feel their presence with us.

We took some short hikes through the deciduous landscapes of the east coast in Plymouth, Carver and Rhode Island.

Lane Property in Foxborough, MA

We worked for a few hours at the beach in Plymouth.

Plymouth Long Beach

I always want to give a personal thanks to family and friends when we stay and visit. I brought along a lunch box sized bag and stocked it with paper flowers, brads, ribbon and card stock to add to gifts I buy along the trip to give for our love and appreciation.

Week 14 – 98 Days Exploring


Pedestrian bridge at Somesville Museum and Gardens in Maine

The Cocoa Perspective. We drove by this pedestrian bridge a few times being in the area for a few days. Each time we headed along to our day-trip destination, I thought it wasn’t going to get any prettier than the last.

This last pass was early in the morning and no one else there, so we pulled in. We parked. The sun was eluminating the mist with the reflection of the autumn colors above.

I got in the mud to see the perfect portrait and the reflection of the bridge was beautiful. The light breeze with the low tide mildly splashing on the rocks in the bay mixed a perfect Autumn aroma.

The marshmallow-like foam swirled atop the pond as if a creamy topping of a caramel hot chocolate with a dash of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Yum. Taking it all in as one moment, the lazy autumn pace of the fog mimics the steam rising from the cup, it completes the snapshot of time and memory.

AcadiaHorses.Com is where we booked a carriage ride.

The Fall colors don’t hit the coast of Maine until a little after New Hampshire or Vermont as the ocean tends to keep the area more temperate and the elevation isn’t as high. We wanted to make sure we had access to Acadia National Park in case of the imminent government shut down. So we headed there first. Luckily for the contract businesses who Do Not get any money back from a government shutdown, did not have to incur any loss of money as the parks stayed open.

New Hampshire

Our tour through Franconia Notch State Park and Kancamangus Highway area.

Check out Guide Along audio tours! We loved following along with the history and information on the many trails and scenic stops. We also loved staying overnight at the many Harvest Hosts stays and Franconia Notch State Park in the Lafayette Place Campground.


We took a couple of weeks going east and west through Maine, New Hampshire and then Vermont to get the maximum, full-foliage experience. From the west coast to the east coast we traveled over 3,000 miles, as the crow flies (eagles go in circles more, so maybe as the eagles fly). Since, we had the time, we made sure to immerse ourselves in the color spectacle all throughout the area.

Week 12 Stays and Exploring

Overnight in the RV lot near the LL Bean store on the other side of the outlets.

It had been too many years from when I was a kid that we visited Maine as a family that I had to ask if I’d been to Acadia before. Dad found a few photos to show that we had indeed been.

When we arrived this time around, I documented our stay much better so as not to forget years down the road! Bill and I stopped for a lobster roll $29.99 just for the roll. But, let me tell you, this had no fillers and pure lobster chunks. Amazing. The bun, was sweet, toasted and soft inside. Deeee-lish at Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound.

When we arrived in Massachusetts, we drove around our home town first. We passed by Bill’s home he grew up in and then mine. We are high school sweethearts so we also went to our high school to see if it had changed much and it looked like a new field and track since we had been years ago.

We spent the majority of this week catching up with family. It was so wonderful to be back “home” visiting family and we continued our reunions. Mum in Plymouth and tidying my mom’s gravestone in Foxboro. She’s been gone now over 20 years.

A mom reunion in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Lots of boon docking at Mom’s and Bob’s in Plymouth. Love the view!

We also had wonderful sibling driveway stay overs and dinners reminising and renewing connections together. This will be just an initial pass through as we head further north to start the fall foliage tour before coming back south for more visits. Not too much at once for anyone!! LOL.

Week 11 Stays and Exploring

Heading into Ohio where we lived for four years, we definitely were feeling excited to experience the variety of landscapes different from the west for a change.

We also loved heading into the town of Cambridge, Ohio.

Our favorite place to stay overnight here was also a place that we explored for a few days and rented a pontoon boat for an afternoon. Salt Fork State Park has a couple of marinas to rent boats, lodging, swimming, fishing and hiking.

Salt Fork State Park

It reminded me of the many years spending the summers up north in Michigan on my grandparents boat tooling around the lake. It was a beautiful day, not crowded with tourists, as we were in the off season, yet it was the perfect temperature for riding the waves, watching the birds and feeling the peace of the moment.

We then continued on after a few days to catch America’s largest RV show in Hershey, PA. We met one of our favorite YouTubers who full time in their van. There are not many in our life age category in a van so we really like their travel videos.

The best of the week was arriving in New Jersey to visit with Bill’s youngest brother and his family. It was so nice to hang out with them all and to get to know our young nephews more as we went on day trips around the area.
USS New Jersey

Week 10 Stays and Exploring

We’re on a mission to get to the east coast to visit family and to see the full spectrum of fall colors in time for peak leaf peeping. Since we have lived almost two decades out west, we have experienced the Rocky Mountain autumn spectacular scenery of Aspen tree yellows against the pine greens. It is quite unique in its own way, but we are super excited to remember the season in its variety.

Mount Gilead State Park, Ohio

We were super excited as well to get to experience, even if for only a couple of days, two new states we had not visited before, Minnesota and Wisconsin, making them our 45th and 46th states we’ve now visited!

Here’s a fun video clip of the Harvest Hosts brewery we stayed at in Baraboo (love that name!!) Wisconsin. Bill is such a good sport 🤓

And, here we are, after living in the west for almost two decades, avoiding toll roads for the principle of it all…

However, we were excited to see that soda pop was just listed as “pop” on the receipt having grown up calling it that. It feels like home…

Weeks 8-9 Stays and Exploring

From Three Forks, Montana, we decided to take an hour longer route to start heading back to Cheyenne to visit the (grown) kids and grandkids. We went through Yellowstone National Park. This was our third time through, but we focused on just the north east side as that part was closed last year due to the flooding.

Once, again, we saw the impressive bison and we had an even closer encounter this time around. Just as we were 3/4 of the way across a very long, two lane bridge, a bull started his way down toward us. I don’t think he focused on us until he got closer. Check it out …

After getting in a good, long visit with the kids before continuing to head east again, we made an amazing visit to Badlands National Park. I have to be honest, that I didn’t think I would be so impressed after having lived in the Rocky Mountain area in Colorado and visiting so many amazing places recently. We boondocked on “the wall” which is a bucket list item for many, especially large RVs and trailers, where there is almost unlimited room and space for everyone.

Week 7 Stays and Exploring

We started our way east after spending several weeks along the west coast and vowing we would be back! It was actually nice to not be in bucket-list locations for awhile to catch up. Luckily this was the week that all of the US had quite the hot flash in weather so we spent a lot of our time indoors working or driving to stay cool.

Once we got to the northern Idaho area, we were able to catch up with friends we hadn’t seen in a long time. We had a wonderful, but short visit with them a had beautiful scenery to see in the Coeur d’Alene area on our way further east.

My favorite overnight stop was at a Harvests Hosts stay at a small ranch in rural Missoula, Montana. See my TikTok video below. I also really loved the Brewery we ate at and stayed as a Harvest Hosts guest as well. See the following YouTube video.

Week 5 and 6 Stays and Exploring

We boondocked a few days on the weekends in our in-law’s driveway and then stayed in the national parks on the weekdays. We loved getting to visit with my daughter and her husband’s family for a few days at a time. It worked out so well to visit, leave, visit leave for a few weeks overall.

Mount Rainier was stunning and different from the Rocky Mountains which we know well after living in Denver, Colorado area for 14 years. This mountain is actually a volcano and is solitary in the landscape, giving it quite the unique, stand-alone appearance starting from about sea level to 14,411′ making it quite an impressive 14ner to behold from all around it. We thoroughly enjoyed the Paradise area much more than the much more busy Sunrise side.

Olympic National Park was perfect temps for summer along the coastal rainforests and stunning beaches. I would definitely go back to Kalaloch Beach and campground as a home base to visit the picturesque beaches nearby. Second Beach was my favorite hike through coastal rain forest and beach to visit.

Week 4 Stays and Exploring

I just loved the Oregon coast. We were not able to see a lot of the must see stops along highway 101 as the coast was immersed in fog most of the southern shores. Finally, as we kept heading north, it cleared up and we were able to start to understand just how amazing the Pacific Ocean dots the coastline with islands of boulders, trees, flowers and wildlife.

Week 3 Stays and Exploring

Two areas we visited this week have to be specifically mentioned in the Redwoods area. Firstly, there isn’t just one place to see the Redwoods. As a matter of fact, there are multiple State Parks and National Park areas that have joined together to encompass a very large area in which to discover for yourself and see many of the tallest trees, the Redwoods.

Secondly, these areas where there are State Parks and National Parks that protect the Redwoods, are the vastly diverse coastal beaches too. We just loved the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park for its abundant wildlife in the waters and coastline. We saw harbor seals each night, following the tidal surf and elk herds roaming the trails, campground and beaches.

Week 2 Stays and Exploring

Two amazing areas of the country during week two certainly were a great kickstart after getting our bearings the first week. Of course, Sequoia National Park is a bucket list, although many may not know that there are two redwood bucket list places to visit. The Sequoia trees are the largest in volume, often the biggest around and differ from their coastal redwood cousins along the north western Pacific Ocean which the majority are in California as well.

Week 1 Stays and Exploring

Hitting the road, full time!! After building out our camper van over the last two years and trying it out on short and long trips, we finished it and are ready to go. Our tiny home on wheels! Our first stop, Colorado to visit long time friends we made over the 14 years we lived there. From there, we traveled the well-known Rocky Mountains along I-70 and stayed at one our favorite camping spots, Sylvan Lake State Park.

We ventured through Utah and visited more friends there. Our main goal as we set out is to get to the west coast to visit many of the bucket-list spots there that we have not seen by way of the north to avoid horrid hot, dessert temperatures in the summer.

We’ve Made our Dream Come True

After several years of dreaming of building a camper van to travel in, we downsized from our home in Colorado, moved to Wyoming and bought a van soon after in January of 2021. When we saw this Ford Transit with all that we wanted to build a camper van, we knew it was meant to be.


The night before: We packed up our necessities, stored the rest and were ready to go full time in our DIY camper van. We’re traveling the countryside to connect with people and places. #campervan #campervanlife #fordtransitconversion #fordtransitcampervan #goodnighttrail

♬ FEEL THE GROOVE – Queens Road, Fabian Graetz

Have a good night on the trail wherever you are on your journey 🚐✨🌙



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