Summarizing 5 weeks and 4,200 miles without too many details and yet enough to perhaps be interesting or tempting to other campers, travelers, and road trippers is a challenging self-assignment.
A log of departures, destinations, and mileage appears at the bottom of this piece. The original trip was intended to be 6 weeks and include a stop at Yellowstone National Park but we bagged that given the crowds and limited camping facilities in the park. Some state parks closed because of the virus and we had to look for alternate spots.
First of all, realize that COVID put some limitations on the trip overall but not an inordinate amount because we carried our cabin on wheels with us and were able to remain isolated and distanced quite easily. Being self-contained with our own sleeping, eating and bathroom facilities is referred to as “camping with amenities” and is described in an earlier posting here: https://garygruber.com/camping-with-amenities/
We were able to stay 7 nights at no charge, stops at sons’ homes in their driveways, Henderson, NV and Copperopolis, CA, plugged in, one night in a friend’s driveway next to their house in Calpine, and one night in Abiquiu, NM, in former neighbor’s front yard. We did not do any dry camping, also known as boondocking although we could have as we carry our own generator and have a 160 watt solar panel on the roof that keeps the batteries charged for all 12-volt appliances including lights, TV and propane for refrigerator, water heater, stove and furnace. We have several 40-gallon tanks, one for fresh water, two for gray water and one for black water. These are filled and emptied according to needs. Lest anyone think this is an inexpensive way to travel, let me say it isn’t if you spend every night in a campground with full hookups – water, electric (30 amp) and sewer. The average cost for those was around $40. Add fuel for the truck which only gets about 12 mpg pulling the trailer and you can see how expenses add up. You have to eat wherever you are so groceries are readily attainable.
For entertainment and communications, we relied on connections to the internet and phone, either wifi in a campground or our own hotspots on our two cell phones and we have a portable satellite DISH TV that needs an open shot to the southern sky to pick up 3 satellites and as many channels as we have at home, more than enough. If we choose to forego any or all of those connections for awhile, that’s easy enough.
Highlights of the trip for me would be seeing family and friends, cooler weather as we escaped the heat of southern AZ, the northern CA and Oregon coasts, the Columbia River Gorge, being back in NM and a trip that was relatively trouble free. The scenery was varied and often spectacular. We had two truck repairs, both done at local Ford dealers, one in Newport, Oregon and one in Santa Fe at our old dealer there. The former was a transmission flush and refill and the other was a relay switch in the blower for the AC. I have called this trip our Big Western Swing, a kind of circle trip and road dance through 8 states on not always good highways, a fair amount of mountain driving. All in all very much worth it and looking forward to another much shorter road trip, in January to a rally in Mesa, AZ.
The following looks like what I remember of train and bus schedules. Skip it if not interested.
DP Tubac, AZ – June 8. AR Flagstaff, AZ – June 8. 300 miles
2 hr delay north of PHX due to wildfire. Dest. KOA Flagastaff, High 70, Low 37
DP Flagstaff, AZ – June 11. AR Henderson, NV – 238 mi.
Via Kingman and Lake Mead (Hoover Dam). Dest. Deen Gumerson driveway, Henderson
High 102 Low 82
DP Henderson, NV – June 13 AR Hawthorne, NV 340 mi.
Whiskey Flats – Site of former munitions depot, bomb storage facility, now decommissioned.
DP Hawthorne, NV – June 14. AR Calpine, CA. 186 miles
Tom and Jean Holland’s ranch in Calpine. Log house they built 28 yrs ago.
DP Calpine, CA – June 15. AR Copperopolis, CA 200 miles
Poker Flats, Lake Tulloch @ Gumerson Lake House
DP Copperopolis, CA – June 17. AR Asti, CA 205 miles
Asti KOA between Healdsburg and Cloverdale – Wine Country
DP Asti, CA – June 18. AR Brookings, Oregon 300 mi.
Passing CA Redwoods, then to Southern Oregon coast
DP Brookings, OR June 19. AR Winchester Bay OR, 130 mi.
Winchester Bay RV Resort. Close to dunes and ocean
DP Winchester Bay, OR June 23, AR South Beach State Park, OR (Newport) 76 mi
SCIO Lance Rally, .5 mi walk to beach and south jetty. Truck repaired
DP South Beach State Park, OR June 28, AR Cascade Locks, OR. 175 mi.
Bridge to Stevenson, WA. Columbia River Gorge. KOA
DP Cascade Locks, OR June 29 AR Boardman, OR. RV Park & Marina 125 mi
On the Columbia River. WINDY, beautiful park
DP Boardman, OR July 1 AR Boise, ID (next to Airport). 269 mi
Noisy exp traffic, barking dogs, good laundry, bathrooms.
DP Boise, ID. July 2 AR Draper, UT (SLC). Residential Mormons 357 mi
Tight parking spaces, Mt. View RV Park, No mountain view. Urban
DP Draper, UT July 3 AR Towaoc, CO, 10 mi south of Cortez. 342 mi.
Ute Mountain RV Park, hotel, casino, latter two closed. (3375 mi thus far)
DP Towaoc, CO, July 5 AR Abiquiu, NM. 262 mi
Dan & Rae Gonzales, 44 A Road 1622. Former neighbors
DP Abiquiu, NM July 6. AR Santa Fe, NM. 45 mi
Los Suenos RV Park, Cerrillos Road
DP Santa Fe, NM July 11, AR Alpine, AZ 296 mi.
Alpine Village RV Park
DP Alpine, AZ July 14, AR Tumacacori, AZ 306 mi.
Peachey Ranch. (home for now) If you have any questions, feel free to email, DM or txt.