7,223 Miles, 123 Nights, 63 Destinations.

Our West Coast journey is complete! Lily and I reluctantly returned home just in time for the tail end (we hope) of the rains that will produce a typical stunning Seattle spring and summer season. Bring on the allergies!!!!

Before we sign off for the summer, here’s a look at our travel map: the route we took, the stops we made, and the path that led us to some of the most stunning places and memorable experiences of our journey(s) so far.

West Coast Adventure Travel Map.

Our very last attraction on the drive home was Multnomah Falls in Oregon. Just a quick stop with the Airstream attached before we got onto I-5 north towards Seattle.

Seattle, WA

Back at home, I was missing and craving some of my favorite eateries and did not hesitate to jump right back into the foodie scene.

Fuji Sushi. I waited 4 months for this!!!!!
Geraldines French Toast.

And so, that concludes our first Airstream adventure. We cannot wait to get out onto the road again and see all that we can see. Thanks for following us and have a spectacular summer! We will see you soon for the next journey which is already in planning.

“A giant sky, the open road, just let us roam, and we are at home.” Paul and Lily

Fire, Death, and Parachute Shields.

Lily and I wrapped up our month in Utah and prepared to head into Nevada for the final stretch of our West Coast trip.

Enjoying one final Utah evening around the campfire.

Alas, the snow caught up with us and we woke up to a winter surprise on our last morning in Kanab.

The day before it was super windy with dust and sand blowing all over everything. Combined with the overnight snow, everything was a filthy mucky mess! So, on the way out of town we stopped at a car wash to spray off the gunk and grime.

Valley of Fire State Park

This was our first stop as we entered Nevada and we planned to spend two nights at the very popular Atlatl Campground. I was pretty anxious about this stop because the campground is very popular and operates as first-come first-served. All the online reviews I read told stories of how people drive in circles all day frantically looking/waiting for an open site. As cliche as it sounds, we got the last open site on the day we arrived.

Site 19 dry camping space.

It rained one of the two days we were there so I only got one hike in and that was the Fire Waves Canyon Trail. It was spectacular. At one point, I accidentally hooked up to another trail that took me into a slot canyon and around the White Domes. This state park is fantastic and rivals some of the National Monuments, IMO.

The waves of colors in the sandstone were simply phenomenal. I had to stop and pause periodically just to take in the incredible landscape. This was the first time I have ever seen purple sandstone.

Eventually the slots widened and the trail took me around the White Domes and then returned me to the truck and Lily.

Hoover Dam

On a day that it rained in The Valley of Fire, we took the drive through Lake Mead National Recreation Area to the Hoover Dam. The dam tours were cancelled due to the damn virus so the best I could do was walk around and take dam pics from the damn viewpoints.

Here’s a damn video from the Dam Visitor Center viewpoint.

Death Valley National Park

Truth be told, Death Valley wasn’t even on the list to visit, but when I saw it would fit nicely into the itinerary, we made the stop. And, I’m glad we did. It was nice to be out of the winter weather for a bit and also the park is remarkably interesting, and the sun was very bright.

Dantes View overlooking Badwater Basin – the lowest point in North America.

I did the short hike into Mosaic Canyon which is yet another slot canyon on my journey. I have only explored slot canyons carved out of sandstone so this one carved out of actual rock was really fascinating.

The rock was marble smooth and you could easily slip and slide down it.

On to The Devils Golf Course which was my favorite stop inside Death Valley and Lily got to explore here as well. It was strangely serene being in this place and I wished I had packed a lunch to enjoy there.

Next, we drove the 9 mile Artists Drive Loop and marveled at the multi-colored volcanic deposits. National Parks are truly special places.

The one-way Artists Drive through multi-colored painted hills.
Stopped for a selfie with Artists Palette in the background.
The Artists Palette.

And that wraps up our day trip into Death Valley NP. Here’s one last sunset pic before leaving this fascinating place.

Great Basin National Park

Since it was still winter, most of the roads and trails in Great Basin NP were snowed over and/or closed, but the Lehman Cavern was open and I took the ranger guided tour. Parachute Shields are the most unique feature of this very interesting limestone cave.

This is a Parachute Cave Shield – the shield is the round flat top part and the parachute is the bottom portion.
The innards of a broken Stalactite.

The cave was discovered about 100 years before it became a National Monument and later protected by the NPS so it’s been somewhat abused and altered. Before becoming a National Monument, tourists and explorers were encouraged to break off stalactites to take as souvenirs. “Whatever you can break, you can take” was the motto.

The biggest scar on the cave is the graffiti all over the ceiling in the “Inscription Room”. Some of the markings date back to the very early 1900s.

Early explorers and tourists would use charcoal and soot to engrave their legacy into the limestone ceiling of the cave.

Heading Home

Lily and I left Nevada and continued north. We are only one week from the conclusion of this West Coast adventure. Long drive days and overnights on BLM land and Harvest Host wineries are the theme until we arrive back in Seattle.

Parked overnight on BLM land near the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Sunglow behind the Superstition Mountains.
Lily loves roaming free when we are boondocking.

Finally, we enter our home state of Washington and spend our final Airstream weekend at the Columbia River Gorge on the WA/OR border.

Sunset over the Columbia River.

In a few days, we will drive the final few hours to Seattle and wrap up this incredible four month trip. Stay tuned for one last blog before we sign off for the summer and start planning our next adventure.

Dramatic Canyons, Famous Valleys, and Crimson Spires.

We are wrapping up our time in Moab and still exploring this fascinating area. It’s quite a small town but I actually found a little local grocery store that carries all my favorite organic food brands that I regularly enjoy back home in Seattle.

Canyonlands National Park

Next on the list is Canyonlands and I will confess that I almost skipped this park in favor of something else. But, I am really glad I did not skip it. The park is really off the beaten path and I think that is what made it a special experience. I really enjoyed being here and it was nearly deserted so Lily got to explore some of the areas where dogs were not allowed.

The Shaffer Canyon Overlook.

And here’s a quick video of Lily trekking down the overlook trail.

First stop upon passing the visitor center was Mesa Arch. The little hike to the Arch was short and sweet and there were only a few other people on the trail. I spent about an hour there sitting on a ledge overlooking the expanse.

Just through the arch is a sheer cliff drop-off into the canyon below. Here’s a video of the dramatic situation.

After Mesa Arch, I headed over to the Green River Overlook and took a hike down into the canyon and literally descended 1400 feet down the side of the sandstone cliffs.

View from the trailhead just before descending down the canyon walls.
View of the Green River as it joins with the Colorado River.

After the hike, I woke Lily up from her nap in the truck and we sat on a sandstone ledge overlooking the canyon I had just conquered.

It was a great afternoon in Canyonlands and I truly appreciated the lack of people everywhere in this off-the-beaten-path National Park. With that, it was time to wrap up our stay in Moab and hit the road to the next amazing destination.

Monument Valley

Just down the road from Moab is the film famous Monument Valley. For this adventure, we drove deep into Navajo Nation Land to experience the incredible scenery and camp in a pretty unique spot.

This is the spot where Forest Gump stopped running. Everyone stands in the middle of the road to take pics of the famous film location.
Parked in space 34 at Gouldings Lodge Campground.

I signed up for a guided tour into the Valley Tribal Park and it was a great decision. Since there are about 10 families that actually live in the valley it was worth it to be taken behind the fences of the residents by a Navajo guide and see things I would miss if I drove in alone.

Natural Bridges National Monument

This was a fun afternoon excursion. We set out north on The Trail of the Ancients which is Utah State Route 261 from Monument Valley to Natural Bridges. Three miles of the journey included traversing the Moki Dugway which is an unpaved road literally carved into the side of a cliff with steep switchbacks ascending/descending.

The Moki Dugout warning sign as you approach the cliff.
View of the switchbacks from the top.

We didn’t have much time in Natural Bridges so we quickly did the 9 mile drive around the park and stopped at the last bridge to take a quick hike and some photos. I would like to come back someday and hike down into the canyons to see the bridges up close.

Owachomo Bridge.

Video of the quick hike to the Owachomo Bridge viewpoint. The trails in National Parks and National Monuments are so cool.

Valley of the Gods

On our last day in the area we took the 17 miles scenic off-road drive thru Valley of the Gods and explored more sandstone formations which also included quick stopovers at Goosenecks State Park and Mexican Hat.

Parked for a little break in Valley of the Gods.
Strange solitary sandstone statue in Valley of the Gods.
Goosenecks State Park.
Mexican Hat.

And that completes our time in Monument Valley but before we leave I had to capture some of the incredible sunsets to take with us. The evening sky is phenomenal here as it lights up the sandstone mesas with heavenly colors of red, then orange, some yellow, and finally purple. It was marvelous.

Kanab, UT (again)

We have come full circle and are parked back at the amazing Dark Sky RV Campground for one last excursion. So far, this is the only place we have stayed at more than once on this journey. And here’s why …

The sunsets are spectacular and the campground is setup perfectly.
It was the weekend for Balloons and Tunes so this is what we woke up to each morning.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Finally, it’s time for Bryce. TBH, I almost skipped this park because the campgrounds near it were closed for the winter but I’m glad I came back to Kanab and kept it on the list. Bryce was like nothing I had ever seen before. I couldn’t wait to get parked and hit the Queens Garden and Navajo Loop Trails. Unfortunately, Wall Street was closed due to snow.

The amphitheater lit up by the mid-day sun.
Queens Garden Trail with a few tunnels for the queens goblins to pass thru.
The famous switchbacks at the end, or the beginning depending on which way you go, of the Navajo Loop Trail.
View from the top of the switchbacks.
One last look at the amphitheater from the Bryce Viewpoint.

And that’s it, our time in Utah is complete. We spent nearly an entire month exploring the strange landscapes and mighty national parks. It’s such an amazing place and I’m sure we will be back again soon.

With only about two weeks of travel remaining on our West Coast trip, Lily and I head west into Nevada for some fire and drought.

Majestic Rock Faces and Natures Architecture.

At last, we arrive at the mightiest and most spectacular of the National Parks. This is probably the highlight of our West Coast trip and our first time camping inside a National Park. It was awesome in every sense of the word.

Zion National Park

What can one say about Zion except it is simply majestic. Literally, as you drive into the park from the east you start to get hints of the stunning landscape ahead. And then, you arrive and see it for the first time and almost drive off the road and crash.

We entered from the east on highway 9 which means we drove through The Zion Mt. Carmel Tunnel which is the longest vehicular tunnel in the National Park System. It was constructed in 1930 and is not quite big enough to accommodate two-way traffic with my Ford Super Duty pulling a 28′ Airstream. So, they closed down the tunnel and let me drive right down the center line for the mile long journey to the other side. Of course, there was a surcharge for this privilege. And it was worth it.

Once thru the tunnel, you start the winding road down to the canyon floor. The scenery was breathtaking (yup I used that word, breathtaking) and it was hard to drive and gawk out the windows at the same time. I had to pull over a few times to fully appreciate what I was experiencing on my first time in Zion.

After safely navigating the switchbacks and pullouts, we settled into the Watchman Campground which is in the heart of Zion and being off-season it was nearly empty the entire four days we were parked which was a nice reprieve from the nosey people always wanting to see inside the Airstream and chat about the RV lifestyle.

Amazing campground in the heart of Zion NP.

After getting setup and chasing Lily around (she was happy to be there too), I swiftly organized a National Park Happy Hour and began to settle in for the first night in this spectacular place.

Wine for the first night, then …
… switched to Gin for the rest of the stay.
Night shot from the campground as the stars were coming out.

We woke up the first morning and set out to explore the surroundings on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. It was truly amazing being in this grand place with hardly anyone else around. Zion is a lot more intimate than I expected – I think I was comparing it to Yosemite which is has a much larger canyon/valley area.

Morning sun illuminating The White Throne in the distance.

After getting the lay of the land, we ventured outside to the little town of Springdale which is just outside the south entrance. I found a great little coffee shop to fuel up on caffeine and a breakfast burrito. After eating, I was ready for the first hike which was the Canyon View Trail and it was really fun.

There was some pretty amazing scenery along the hike and I couldn’t stop taking pics.

After traversing natures staircases, I arrived at the top and experienced the glory of Zion. And let me once again say that it was really fantastic being there in the off-season without a million other people. It made the experience a lot more memorable and positive.

I was too scared to attempt the Angels Landing Hike which is supposed to be the epic Zion adventure. However, I did enjoy an afternoon of hiking around the Emerald Pools and despite some ice on the trails and ice cycles hanging overhead it was pretty spectacular. There are just no bad views from any trail when hiking in Zion.

Deadly ice cycles hanging directly over the trail at Lower Pool made this trek quite exciting.
Video view of the canyon from Middle Pool.
Video view of Upper Pool frozen solid with a snow cone on top.

Four days passed quickly and all too soon it was time to leave and head to the next amazing National Park. We packed up and settled in for the 5 hour drive across Utah to Moab which would be our home base for nearly a week.

Moab, UT

What a cool little town nestled around Jurassic sized red rock landscapes. This would be our jumping off point for the next few National Parks on the list. The Portal RV Resort was an awesome place to call home. The only bad thing about being here in February was most of the eateries I had earmarked for trying were closed for the season.

Arches National Park

After Zion, I did not think anything could impress me ever again but that changed when I entered Arches National Park. I spent all day hiking around and exploring the fascinating formations created by nature. The hike to Delicate Arch was the most cool – half of the hike was up the side of a massive granite rock dome and the final stretch was a path carved into the side of a sandstone cliff.

Trail marker on the granite dome.
Steps to the final stretch of trail.
Final stretch before the big reveal.

And then you arrive at the most interesting and fascinating formation by nature – Delicate Arch.

Being at Delicate Arch was the highlight of my day,
Video of the final stretch and big reveal at Delicate Arch.

Then is was off to Windows to check out more arches and let Lily out for a little adventure. Hiking in Arches was a little different than what I experienced in Zion, the trails were mostly marked by Cairns.

Lily got to enjoy some of the interesting hikes as well.
Trail up to Windows.
Windows Arch.
Double Arch.
View towards the Windows from inside Double Arch.

And finally, at the end of the day, we made our way back thru the park and stopped to check out Balanced Rock and Park Place.

Balanced Rock.
Park Place.

So that was the first half of what we experienced while positioned in Moab. There is just too much to do in this awesome place. Tons of off-roading and natural wonders to explore. Stay tuned for more!

Red Rocks and a Sandstone Wonderland.

We are back in Arizona after a week in Albuquerque wrapping up errands. ABQ treated us well altho the temps dropped well below freezing every night. The truck is serviced, Amazon packages collected, Trader Joe’s stocked, and now we are ready to get back on the road and see more amazing stuff.

Petroglyph National Monument

Before leaving New Mexico, I wanted to check out the petroglyphs. It was a quick and interesting trek. The monument exists around some residential areas so it didn’t take long to hike around the rocks to see what the ancient humans left behind as evidence of their existence. This was probably the least interesting experience I’ve had so far but I made it a point to see before leaving ABQ.

Petrified Forest National Park

After crossing back into Arizona, we stopped here for a quick lunch and hike. It was pretty fascinating to see the ancient crystallized trees laying all over the desert landscape. Like an ancient battlefield from a different era.

Wandering around the Crystal Forest.

Sedona, AZ

This was the next big destination that I was looking so forward to visiting. Sedona looks like it should be a National Park and it’s amazing that it’s actually just a regular place where people live and you can shop at Whole Foods surrounded by a stunning landscape.

First scene as we were driving into Sedona.
The town from the Airport trail.
Just hiking around soaking up the sunshine and views.
Famous church of the holy cross.
Walkway to the church entrance.
And, inside the church.

I did a few hikes around the area but most of the popular trails were mobbed with likeminded people so I had to forfeit a few destinations.

After 4 amazing days at Rancho Sedona RV Park, it was time to leave and even as we were driving away I couldn’t stop looking at the scenery and taking one last photo out the truck window.

Grand Canyon National Park

As we were driving north, we did a quick side-trip to the Grand Canyon South Rim. It wasn’t on the itinerary but when I saw the signs pointing the way I took the exit and spent a few hours in the park. There were only two places that would accommodate parking the Airstream – the Visitor Center and The Watchtower. I did snag a pull-out spot right along the rim to stop and take a pic. It was super windy and super cold so I didn’t spend much time wandering around outside. I would like to come back sometime and explore the canyon hikes.

Lake Powell – Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

After the Grand Canyon side-trip, and just before sundown, we arrived at our next destination – Lake Powell. This place is just magical to me. I don’t know what it is, maybe the strange sandstone formations, or the fact that it’s like an alien landscape. The lake is really low, so low they claim it’s only 30% full and there is no real hope that it would ever reach 100% again.

These monoliths and formations have not been seen since the lake was filled.
You can clearly see the water line where the lake used to be.
Lake Powell slowly disappearing.
Our camping spot “F18” for 4 days of exploring this interesting area.

Upper Antelope Canyon

Wow, just wow! It’s stunning what thousands and thousands of years of wind and water can create when used against sandstone. The Navajo Nation operates the tours to the canyon because the land is owned by members of the Nation. And, they required us to wear masks at all times, even outdoors. But that did not take away from the awe I felt being inside the canyon. All the pics I took were with my iPhone 12 Pro Max using the Vivid Warm setting.

These are the trucks you ride in for the 4 mile drive to the canyon entrance.

Arriving at the canyon entrance was a bit like an Indian Jones scene. Here’s a video of the entrance,

Once inside, it’s all about getting the right photo angles to provide the most dramatic effect as the sun streams in and casts light on the sandstone canyon walls.

“The Candle”
“The Heart”
This is the “Arizona Sunset” shot looking up from the canyon floor to the sky. The shadows and the exposure setting gave my iPhone this mazing shot.

The place is very popular and I imagine makes a lot of money for the Navajo family that owns the land – my ticket cost $200. But, it was such an awesome experience to see and capture the once in a lifetime images.

Horseshoe Bend

Next stop on the list was Horseshoe Bend which is the famous meander in Marble Canyon the Colorado River takes as it leaves Lake Powell and makes its way towards the Grand Canyon.

I literally walked up to the edge and took this video looking over the cliff. I am scared of heights so this was a bit intense for me tbh.

Marble Canyon

Home to the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River which formed Lake Powell. I really wanted to take the Dam Tour but the damn tour and visitor center has been closed since stupid COVID. Best I could do was take these pics from the visitor center and the lookout. Pretty awesome nonetheless.

One last look at the bridge as we leave Arizona for Utah.

And that concludes our amazing time in Arizona. It was amazing. I love the state parks and the painted deserts. But now, we pack up and hit the road west towards Utah.

Kanab, UT

First stop in Utah is Kanab where we get ready to head into the splendor that Southern Utah has to offer. I found this perfect little boutique campground that had the best sunsets and nighttime start gazing.

Space 17 at Dark Sky RV Campground

So, that was a lot … we’ve been busy and there is much more to come as we cross our three month milestone of this Airstream Adventure. The upcoming weeks will be spent in the Utah National Parks marveling at God’s creation.

Next stop … Zion National Park.

Caverns, Cliff Houses, and Dunefields.

Lily and I had a productive several days getting chores done and resetting the Airstream in Tucson. The highlight of our time in Tucson – I was treated to an authentic Mexican food dinner the night before we hitched up and continued East to our next destination. Thanks for dinner Chris Huff.

El Charro Cafe – the nations oldest Mexican Restaurant and the inventor of the Chimichanga!

Tombstone, AZ

Before arriving at our next big destination, we made a quick stop at the town of Tombstone. It was on the way to our Harvest Host winery stop. Tombstone was an interesting little tourist trap and my friends from Oregon said it was a must do so we made the stop to check it out.

Kartchner Caverns State Park

Camping in Arizona State Parks is a real treat IMO so I was very much looking forward to this destination. We stayed for 3 nights and really enjoyed the area. I spent one entire afternoon exploring the caverns on two guided tours. Unfortunately, Kartchner Caverns does not allow photos inside the caves so I cannot share my personal experience but it was really phenomenal to see the wonders that exist deep inside the earth. I included some photos from the website to show how amazing it was.

The only photographic proof that I was here 😝.
The Throne Room Tour ended with a little light show exhibiting the cavern columns.
Soda Straws hanging above the foot trench the original discovers made when first entering in 1974.
Daytime view from our campsite #25.
And, sunset view from our campsite #25.

This was our last stop in Arizona before heading into The Land of Enchantment. We will be back in AZ soon to visit Sedona and Lake Powell before heading in Southern Utah. But first, New Mexico.

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

We crossed over the State Line on a rather windy drive from Arizona to New Mexico. This was the first time I experienced heavy wind gusts while towing the Airstream at highway speeds. It was a little stressful and unnerving so I set the cruise control to about 10 under the 75 MPH speed limit. Lily slept through it all.

The Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument was first on the list to see during our stay in Southwest New Mexico. Lily and I drove the 2 hour one-lane windy mountain road from Silver City to the 700 year old ruins deep in the Gila Wilderness. What a cool experience to climb the ladders and tour the insides of the ancient Mogollon homes.

Silver City, NM

We were parked at a strange little RV park which honestly felt like camping in someones back yard. It was an OK home base albeit very dusty – New Mexico is very dusty. The folks I encountered while camping there were interesting as well – many new age types and one guy told me he was there because the crystals in the earth told him to come visit them. I shared some of my lesser good wines with them and called it a day.

Parked in a someones backyard for 3 nights 😂.

Before leaving the area we stocked up on groceries and explored the artsy little town of Silver City. As I was walking around the tiny historic downtown, I discovered Tranquilbuzz Coffee and experienced my first “Dirty Chai Latte” which is a Chai Latte with a shot of espresso and it was DELICIOUS!!!!! Oh, and I enjoyed a cinnamon roll too.

Tranquilbuzz Coffee – such an awesome and chill and unique spot to sit and relax..

Sufficiently caffeinated and glucose elevated, I took in some interesting wall artwork around the historic buildings that encompassed downtown Silver City.

Las Cruces, NM

We were more than ready to move on from Silver City and head Northeast to our next destination. But first, a quick stop in Las Cruces to hike the Dripping Springs trail and have lunch overlooking the Melilla Valley. I needed to kill a few hours before arriving at the Oliver Lee Memorial State Park.

Parked at the trailhead overlooking Las Cruces.
The old livery where you would park your horses before entering Dripping Springs.
Just a quick trail selfie before hiking into the canyon. It’s hard to tell in a 1-dimensional picture how deep and tall the rock canyon behind me really was.
What’s left of the Dripping Springs resort.
The stone trail leading to the old Sanatorium.
The springs were dripping, barely. I think it gets better after a rain storm.

White Sands National Park

We left Las Cruces and drove over the San Andreas Mountains into the birthplace of America’s Missile and Space Activity – White Sands. What a cool and amazing place this is. I came to the park during the day to hike around the dunes with Lily and then back again at sunset to capture the effect the sunset has on the sands and dunefields. It was such a unique experience being there.

A little white doggy in a giant white desert.
Looking towards the missile test range area.

And then sunset arrived and it was really magical to see the sand change colors as the sun glowed behind the San Andreas Mountains.

A yucca tree poised against the purple/pink NM sky.
Little doggy footprints in the sand.
It’s marvelous how the sand takes on the color of the sky at dusk.
This place left a special impression on me.

Olive Lee Memorial State Park

This was our home for 4 days while we explored White Sands and I’m telling you camping at State Parks are the absolute best. They are always positioned in beautiful places with lots of space to roam and explore.

Space 22 nestled under the Dog Canyon.
You cannot beat State Parks for the best camping locations,
Our view from site 22 looking out over the Sacramento Mountains.

The sunsets I’ve experienced on this journey have been epic and the ones here in New Mexico do not disappoint. Just look how the rays shine onto the desert floor as the sun hangs onto the horizon.

Every night I’ve enjoyed Tequila happy hour with a stunning view and every morning cold brew coffee with the same amazing view.

Happy Hour.
Morning Hour.

Alas, we are nearly done with New Mexico. Our next destination is Albuquerque which isn’t really a destination but the truck is asking for an oil change and I need to pickup some Amazon packages and visit Costco and Trader Joes. Once we get those chores done we head back into Arizona for a few nights in Sedona. Can’t wait!

Wind Farms. A Saline Lake. The Green Desert.

Lily and I are very much enjoying the desert winter as everyone back home in Seattle endures snow and rain and gloom. I’ve worn shorts everyday since we arrived in the desert just before the holidays. Anyway, here’s what we’ve been up to while most everyone was taking down decorations and thinking about getting back to normal life post holidays.

Palm Springs

We rolled into Palm Springs one late December afternoon. The sun was shining and the winds were light. This would be our home base as we entered 2022. First on the list was to stock up on groceries at Trader Joes and then check out the area.

Palm Springs – the land of perpetual wind farms.
Did a little off roading around the giant wind mills.
View of the San Jacinto mountains over the Airstream at our home base.

The only thing I was really interested in doing while in Palm Springs was the Arial Tramway to the peak of Mount San Jacinto. I reserved tickets online a few weeks before arriving because the place is very popular with tourists from all over the world. I took the first tram at 9 am so it wasn’t very crowded.

Tramway canyon to the very top of the San Jacinto Peak.
First tram car waiting for loading.
I was literally the ONLY person wearing a mask even tho masks were required.
View from about half way up.
View from 10,000 feet.

Once at the top, there are hiking trails galore but it was too cold and icy to venture out. So I just spent some time taking in the views before heading back down. I learned that there are two rotating tram cars that pass each other midway on the journey. Here are two videos of the opposing cars traveling at the same speed.

Video of the tram car starting its descent back to the desert floor.

And, video of the opposing tram car starting its ascent to the peak.

Back at the hot springs resort, I was treated to some pretty awesome sunsets. Because of COVID and especially Omicron, I did NOT take any dips in the mineral spas or indulge in any NYE festivities.

Fabulous Palm Springs sunset.

After a week of sun and wind it was time to leave Palm Springs and head towards Arizona. But first, a quick overnight someplace very interesting and unique.

The Salton Sea

As we were driving East towards Arizona, we passed the Salton Sea and spontaneously decided to pull into a primitive campground for one night. It was really nice to be isolated and alone and not around people for 24 hours. The shores of the shallow saline lake are composed of fish and bird bones that die off due to the high levels of salt and other chemicals.

Lily investigating the vast beach of bones.
Our happy place.
Our camping spot right at the edge of the bone covered beach. Totally isolated and quiet. Could not have asked for a better location.
Lily taking in the setting sun.
And finally, the sunset, and the moon, and all was well and peaceful.

The next morning we woke up and took our time getting ready to hit the road. Next stop is the Green Desert in Arizona.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

We crossed our first time zone on this trip and entered Arizona. The landscape is incredibly interesting and I had to catch myself starring off into the distance too long as I was driving. I think the Arizona landscape looks like the floor of the ocean.

After 4-ish hours of driving we arrived in the Sonoran Desert and the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. I was very much looking forward to being here for several days. We pulled into the Twin Peaks Campground which is actually our first National Park campground and it was perfect.

Space 127 surrounded by Organ Pipe Cacti and other desert flora.
Lily surveying the area and taking everything in.

The Sonoran Desert is actually a living, green desert. I hiked around and did some off roading to experience the amazing biodiversity and rare plants of this special area.

The Green Desert view from our campsite.
Hiking around and exploring the many National Park trails.

We took the 21 mile Ajo Mountain Drive which was an off-road trail that takes you all the way back into the Ajo Canyon and to the Arch Canyon Trail. I didn’t hike to the Arch because Lily was with me and it was too hot to leave her in the car that long.

The Ajo Canyon and Arch – tiny little Arch in center of the pic.

And of course the desert sunsets were just spectacular. I did a 1.5 mile hike from the campground to the top of a peak to capture these photos on our last night in the park.

Looking South towards Mexico. The border wall is just below the distant Mountain Range. Hard to see but it’s only about 7 miles from the campground.

Alas, our time camping in a National Park came to an end. We loved being there. It was 100% dry camping for 5 days and we ended up with water left over for at least another day or two. The roof solar panels charged up the lithium batteries to nearly full each day so I was able to enjoy every aspect of Airstream living (cooking, showering, streaming, brushing, flushing) while being totally unplugged for nearly a week. For us, it doesn’t get any better. Love being off-grid.


Before leaving the Sonoran Desert, we explored the casual little town of Ajo which is the centerpiece of a former copper mine and is filled with Spanish Colonial Revival architecture.

A church in the historic downtown plaza.
The historical museum, I didn’t go inside because it was too hot to leave Lily in the car.

Here is some of the artwork that exists in the alley behind the downtown plaza storefronts.

Right across from Artists Alley was Oasis Coffee and of course I wanted to patronize a local business so I grabbed a chai latte. It was amazingly delicious and the best chai latte I’ve had on this trip.

Pretty expansive menu for such a small town.

So, that was our time exploring wind farms, saline beaches, and the green desert. We packed up and continued heading east towards Tucson for a quick stop to collect some Amazon packages and refresh the Airstream tanks.

By the way, it’s officially been two months since we left Seattle and we are still loving Airstream life and planning to keep on going and going. We’ve already got major stops planned well into February so stay tuned for more adventures.

Anza-Borrego Desert, and Rainbows!

Lily and I arrived in the desert just before Christmas with much anticipation and curiosity and we were not disappointed. The drive over on Hwy 8 was really cool. The geography of the area is super rocky, hilly, and barren. We came pretty close to the Mexico border and even saw a glimpse of the border wall that separates the two countries from each other.

Borrego Springs

We spent Christmas here and it was an absolute perfect place to spend the holiday and time exploring and learning about the wonders of the desert. The Springs at Borrego was the resort we called home for a week and it was amazing. Wish I would have brought my golf clubs!

Space 217 premium back-in site with wonderful views and neighbors.
Lily is the best lil desert doggy always on alert and monitoring.

Borrego Springs is an international dark sky community so the night sky was really phenomenal to see and capture.

I think the glow behind the mountains are lights from the Palm Desert cities, maybe.

The weather was mostly fine with a few rogue rain storms and of course winds. After each rain storm the sky would explode with rainbows everywhere. It was spectacular.

Christmas Eve double rainbow after a wet and windy night.

The rain and wind did not last long and certainly did not detour me from jumping into the hiking trails that surrounded me. Every trail I would explore would have me pondering the wonder of nature and the beauty of the desert. Oh, and I did some off-roading in the truck. Having 4WD gave me a truly limitless experience.

The Slot Canyon

This was my first trail into the desert and it was by far my favorite. The slot was formed by water and wind over years and years of weather erosion. I descended into the canyon and just wandered completely alone for hours.

Initial descent into the slot canyon.
I was in awe the entire time. Nature created this beauty.
It was really tight in certain spots and not for the claustrophobic or big boned 😂🤷.
Slot selfie!
Perspective video of the canyon depth.
Really cool rock formation creating an arch over the trail.

After a mile or so of meandering the slots, the canyon opened up into a large wash and rock valley.

The trail started to widen and release me from the slots.
Stunning valley and rock formations.
Desert Sphinx, maybe.

There were so many interesting rock formations and ledges. I hiked to the top of the canyon to see what the view was like and listen to the wind and watch the clouds and storms off in the distance.

So that was the slot canyon and it was an awesome experience. I took a different trail back to the truck and observed some interesting desert flora.

Hard to tell in the pic but this tree or shrub was about 10 feet tall.
Just another fascinating desert tree/shrub.

I headed back to the Airstream and Lily to reflect on this awesome experience and go through the 300 pics I took during my hike.

Fonts Point

This was my first chance to put the truck in 4WD and drive about 4 miles into the desert on a dry river wash to the edge of a point that overlooked the badlands. I was a little nervous because the sand was pretty deep but the truck didn’t even care. I had a lot of fun doing sand rooster tails and waving at the people in their rental cars spinning tires and going in circles.

The 4WD sand trail I conquered 😝.
View of the badlands from Fonts Point.

The drive in and out was fun and I could not have done it without 4WD so that was just an awesome experience. And Lily didn’t seem to mind the roller coaster ride.

Palm Canyon Trail

Another mild rain storm rolled in and then rolled out while I was enjoying this hike to a Palm Tree oasis deep in a rock canyon. Alas, no dogs on this trail either, so I went it alone and Lily stayed home napping.

Palm Canyon Trail Head into the rock canyon.
Video perspective of how cool the trail was.
Very interesting rock layers jutting up from the earth.

After a mile or so the desert canyon revealed the Palm Tree oasis. It was fascinating to see and there was water running from the rain storms. I passed some other hikers that said there was no water present a few hours earlier so it was pretty cool to know the water I was seeing came from higher above and had finally made its way down the rock canyons and into the valleys.

The Palm Canyon.
The sudden river of water provided by the rain storm a few hours earlier.
Charred Palm Trees from an arson induced fire in January 2020.

The hike out was a different alternate trail and offered stunning views of the valley and more rainbows.

Yet another rainbow in the desert.
Sun breaking thru clouds and illuminating the cactus landscape.
Beaver Tail cactus. Really cool.
Natures bench along the trail.
View of the valley from the Palm Canyon alternate trail.

Galleta Meadows

Our last days in the desert were windy and cold so we drove around to see the metal sculptures that dot the landscape in various locations. As you can see, it was a stormy looking day so we only got a few pics before retreating back to the Airstream.


After a week of delicious happy hours, mediocre Mexican food, and dark sky star gazing, our time in Anza-Borrego came to and end but I wanted to try something cool before leaving the area. We spent one night on BLM land parked on the edge of a cliff overlooking the badlands and the Salton Sea. It was an absolutely crazy amazing scary experience that I will never forget.

The little spec in the center of the pic is us!

The location was so perfect and unique I was actually considering spending a few days/nights but a wind hurricane started in the middle of the night and had me genuinely scared I would blow off the ledge. And it didn’t stop, it just kept blasting us all night into the next day. So, we stayed on schedule and headed out towards our next destination.

So that’s our time in the Anza-Borrego Desert. It was awesome and definitely left an impression on me. I’m glad I came when I did because despite the rain and wind I think it would be too hot in the Summer months to enjoy the things I did.

Next stop for us is Palm Springs. Happy New Year!

California Coast, part 3.

Our time on the Malibu coast was interesting. We had two major rain/wind storms and then just the wind which caused my allergies to explode. I was miserable for several days. But, it was undeniably beautiful where we stayed and I got to visit with friends while we were here. It was a good week overall.


The Malibu Beach RV Park was pretty amazing. They do run a tight ship – I got yelled at a few times when Lily was roaming near me off her leash. And they don’t let kids run around screaming which was important – kudos to the golf cart brigade zooming around keeping things in check. Also, the park was maybe 30% full when we were there. We enjoyed our time there very much.

Welcome to Malibu Beach.
Birds eye view of the park entrance.
Catalina Island off in the distance.
Our perfect perch above the ocean.
Our view from the bed as we woke up each morning it wasn’t raining.

Of course, I enjoyed some fish and chips while in the vicinity of the Malibu Seafood Shack. It was just a quick hike down the canyon from the RV park. And, I think the hike down was when my allergies decided to erupt.

Very popular place with the locals.
I promise they were not frozen fish sticks 😂.

After I devoured the delicious fish and fries, I hiked back up to the park to take a grease induced nap.

Allergy inducing flora.
Solitary palm tree still charred from the 2018 fire.

Alas, another storm rolled in just before we were scheduled to leave. It was an ugly day but the storm cleared out to produce a stunning sunset.

Sunset and stars on our final night in Malibu. Absolutely perfect!

As we pulled out the next day, I stopped along the PCH to take in the Pacific Ocean one last time before we head towards the desert.

Classic image of a life guard shack overlooking the beach.
Airstream parked along the Pacific Coast Highway.


We left the coast and headed towards the desert but made a few Harvest Host stops along the way. First stop was an interesting winery in Escondido. It was the only winery I’ve seen so far that has a medieval themed Hollywood style castle and I seem to remember seeing this from the highway when I was a kid and thinking it was cool.

Balle Marie Winery.
The winery owners live in the castle.
The wines were interesting but nothing special in my opinion. I only bought one bottle 🤷.
It was a peaceful night parked next to the castle.

Next morning, my allergies were still at max strength so I made the decision to get some relief in the form of Nasal spray before continuing on into the desert.

Quick stop at Target for some allergy meds.


Back on the road and medicated we continued south towards the Mexico border to our next Harvest Host which is a campground and animal rescue farm in the middle of Native American territory. This place is rich in Native American archeology and history.

Parked among the oak trees for one night.
I found some of the laborers that were building trumps wall.
Native American prayer labyrinth for contemplation and reflection.
This is how close we were to Mexico.
Lily making new friends.

So, that concludes our time on the California Coast. We will spend the next part of our adventure in the desert. Next stop is Borrego Springs! Truthfully, I was getting bored with the coast so I’m happy to be heading in a new direction. And, my allergies are back under control so bring on the Palm Desert winds and climate!!!

Next time you hear from us will be after the holidays so we just want to wish you all Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thanks for reading and journeying with us this far. See you in 2022!

Happy Holidays from Paul and Lily – Malibu, California – December 2021

California Coast, part 2.

Lily and I spent a low-key week in Ventura at the vintage Airstream park. It was some good down time to get stocked up on groceries and collect some deliveries from Amazon. In case you were wondering how I get Amazon deliveries on the road, it’s really easy, you just select a location nearby that has an Amazon locker and the package is delivered to one of the lock boxes, then you show up and scan a barcode on your phone to unlock and retrieve your deliveries. In Ventura, there was a locker at the Rite-Aid down the street from the Airstream park.

San Buenaventura

Waypoint Ventura was fun place to park simply because it was so unique and everyone there appreciated Airstreams and either owned one or was renting one for a few nights. There were other types of vintage trailers allowed but Airstream seemed to be the star of the show. We had a lovely RV space tucked away at the end of the row facing the beach and pier. It was a quiet and relaxing six days.

Welcome to Ventura!
View of the park from our parking spot at the end of the row. Really a cool experience overall.

Here are some of the other vintage trailers that are rented out as Airbnbs for the people that want the trailer experience but don’t own one.

At night, the park lights up and you get to make s’mores and drink hot apple cider. Since it was my birthday, I commandeered the fire pit all to myself and made a some s’mores to celebrate.

Happy Birthday to me! 😊
Just waiting for the chocolate to melt.

Being one block from the Ventura Pier was awesome. I walked down to the beach several times and took advantage of the eateries on the pier.

View of Ventura from the end of the pier.
A bird, on a post, on the pier.
View from the beach.

Oddly, I wasn’t able to find any local coffee or a coffee roaster in the near vicinity but I did indulge in some local brewery delights and fish tacos. And, pizza!!!

Local favorites – Toppers Pizza and Transmission IPA.
A flight of local brewery favorites.
Also, phenomenal fish tacos.


We took a drive to the little new age town of Ojai located about 30 mins from Ventura. The village center is dotted with art galleries and cool looking restaurants. I journeyed thru downtown and up a hill to the Ojai Olive Oil Company and tasted the most delicious olive oils ever. I absolutely took some home with me!

Wow – what a cool place and the most delicious olive oils I have ever sampled.
My pantry is stocked.

And, of course, before leaving Ojai, I had to hit a local coffee place to fuel up for the drive back to Airstream heaven.

This off the beaten path place is where the locals hang out.


After six relaxing and productive days, we hitched up and pulled out of Ventura and spent one Harvest Host night at a unique French style winery in the town of Fillmore. It was a low-key fun wine tasting experience and I once again made a modest purchase of my favorites to enjoy later on down the road. Giessinger Winery was located in the smack center of town and it just so happened they were doing a Holiday evening market the night I was there.

A hidden gem.
A sweet trio: Sav Blanc, Port, and Cidre.
Fillmore City Center Park and City Hall lit up for Christmas.


After a peaceful night in the winery parking lot, we rolled back onto US 101 and headed towards our next destination – the much anticipated Malibu Coast. The sun was shining and the waves were crashing as we pulled into the famous Malibu Beach RV Park located right on the Pacific Coast Highway. This place burned in 2018 but has sort of risen from the ashes. Evidence of the destruction is still present – charred palm trees, bare landscaping, and strict rules about where certain types of RV’s can park in case an emergency evacuation needs to occur. But anyway, we are here and it’s amazing.

Space 28 where we will spend the next 7 days.
Parked right above PCH and the beach, it really doesn’t get any better.
View of the beach from inside as I write this blog.
Stunning Pacific Coast sunset over Point Dume.

The waves crashing all night were loud and soothing. This place is worth every dollar and I will certainly come back again and again. In the morning, we woke up to abundant sunshine and I just sat outside with my coffee soaking up the sunshine while watching the cars and people down below.

My spot above the beach, just soaking up the sun with my cold brew.

First stop for dinner was a local Cuban/Mexican spot in Malibu. I was joined by some local friends that had the hookup on the VIP experience – best table, tequila, and parking.

I was getting uncomfortably low on coffee beans so I took to the streets in search of a local business to patronize. Joules & Watts in Malibu was a decent choice.

A lavender oat latte – first time trying oat milk as an alternative. Not to bad actually.

We were thoroughly enjoying the Mediterranean weather of the Malibu coast until suddenly a rouge PNW type storm took over the Los Angeles area for one night and a whole day. Yup, it was rainy and blustery for about 24 hours. But, the storm cleared and all was well again. Here’s a video of the gorgeous post storm sunset.

Video of the sunset and surf after the storm. All is well again.

Due to the sudden rain dump and wind blast, we are a bit delayed on exploring the area. So, I guess there will be a California Coast part 3 next week.

Stay tuned for more as we continue exploring and then wrap up our time on the beautiful Malibu coast just before heading to the desert for end of year festivities.