Wonderful West Texas.

Lily and I spent a few weeks heading west across the Lone Star State to explore the enchantments of the Chihuahuan Desert. West Texas was such a nice surprise and welcome change of pace from the crowded beach towns of Florida. So let’s jump in because we have a lot of ground to cover.

Surfside Beach, TX

This was our first stop inside Texas and we pulled right onto the beach and camped for three nights mere feet from the gulf waters. I was super excited to be in this location and have such a unique experience. The waves roared and crashed all day and all night. And a pretty big thunder storm rolled thru in the middle of one night lighting up the sky for hours and flooding the beach with pounding rain.

I really wanted to stay on the beach more than three nights but a silly accident that created a significant laceration on my head sent us closer to civilization sooner than I had originally planned. So we pulled out and headed towards Houston.

Marfa, TX

Welcome to the artsy hipster town know for Mystery Lights and a funky art scene. I really enjoyed being here and exploring the Chinati Foundation on a sunny windy weekend.

In between art installations, I stumbled upon a unique and delicious coffee bean in the heart of the historic district. The hipster toast aka avocado toast was pretty stellar too.

One amazing thing about West Texas was the stunning presentation of sunsets and sun glows every night from our perch at the Airstream exclusive RV park. This site setup gave me some ideas about how I want to incorporate the Airstream into our home life someday in the future.

Big Bend National Park, TX

On to the next big destination. Big Bend was highly anticipated and I was ready to get out and do some hiking again inside a national park. After living the sudo snow crow life in Florida I was itching to be out in uncrowded and uncomplicated nature as soon as possible.

We setup home base in the funky little town of Terlinqua, TX and really enjoyed exploring the ghost town and cemetery on a brilliantly sunny day. This area is becoming really popular with digital nomads that crave solitude, sunshine, and fast internet.

As expected, the sunsets from the Airstream were stunning. There is just something breathtaking about the way a desert sunset turns the sky vivid orange/blue and the mesas brilliantly pink before surrendering to the night.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM

New Mexico was the next stop and Carlsbad was ready to be explored. And wow what an experience this was. I mean, I’ve been to show caves on my Airstream Adventures but nothing compared to the grandeur and sheer size of Carlsbad Caverns. It totally blew my mind. I descended 750 feet (75 stories) by foot into the earth, and spent about 3 hours wandering all around the cavern. It just kept going and going and going. There is even an information desk and little snack bar/cafe at the bottom.

Alas, my flashlight eventually died and I was getting tired of being underground so I took the elevator back to the surface and returned to the Airstream for a much anticipated happy hour with my new favorite Tequila. Lily and I camped for free on BLM government land for several days and enjoyed some very nice seclusion and decent sunsets.

McDowell Mountain Park, AZ

We took a little break from the highway to visit friends in Scottsdale and parked off the beaten path for a few nights at McDowell Mountain. I’ve wanted to camp here among the Saguaros ever since our first trip but reservations are really hard to come by. This place is really popular and really very special.

Desert sunsets cannot be beat and it was so nice being able slow down and relax for a few nights in this wonderful location. I cannot wait to come back someday.

And that’s it for this blog and this part of our adventure. We are staying in the desert for just about another month and then heading north towards the PNW by way of Nevada to spend quality time and drink quality wine with our most favorite people. As always, thanks for reading and being part of our adventures.

See you in the next blog. Until then, happy travels!

New England, how I love thee.

Lily and I left the wonders of Maine and eagerly traveled south towards the most populous state in the New England region. It was a beautiful sunny day when we blew right thru New Hampshire and rolled into our next destination.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

I was super excited to be in Massachusetts and spend some long overdue friend time with Jen and her family.

Salem was the first stop and we arrived right on time for all the spooky season festivities. I settled into a water front space at the Winter Island Park just in time for a stunning east coast sunset and before heading into town for dinner and drinks with Jen. After a long stretch of traveling, it was good to see a familiar face and catch up on life.

The next day, I walked back into the heart of Salem to check out the vibe and do a little exploring. It was about a five mile walk roundtrip from the Airstream to the center of town. I didn’t mind the walk, but it gave me a fun idea … I’ll get to that in a minute. But first, I had to stop in at a local coffee bean and get caffeinated.

After sucking down a festive Candy Corn Cold Brew, I vibrated over to The Old Burying Point Cemetery where I am absolutely convinced the headstones are faked for the thrill and delight of the tourists. I read headstones declaring this person was pressed to death and that person was hung before continuing over to the replica of the Friendship of Salem tall ship.

Sadly, the Salem Witch Museum was THE most popular attraction that day and was completely sold out of tix with lines going ’round the block to get inside. Oh well, I guess that’s to be expected for October in Salem.

After several incredible days inside Salem, we pulled out and drove the short distance to Jen’s house to boondock on her street and spend a few days touring around and visiting the interesting places off the beaten path.

The historic cotton milling town of Lowell, which is actually a National Historic Park, was a fun and super interesting afternoon excursion.

Then it was off to the bustling little town of Newburyport and the adjacent Plum Island for a wonderfully sunny Saturday excursion.

Before saying farewell to my friends, I had to collect an important Amazon delivery and add a heart shaped rock I collected from Glacier NP to Jen’s garden of heart shaped rocks as a souvenir of our visit. Thanks Jen and Tim for sharing your home, your street, and the happy hour Gin cocktails mixed to perfection. You are fabulous hosts.

Back to the fun idea … after walking to and from downtown Salem, I decided it would be way more fun and exciting to have an e-scooter so I ordered and Amazon delivered a brand new Segway. And here’s a sunset shot from my camping spot on Jen’s street.

Cape Cod National Seashore

If Lily and I randomly go missing one day, you can probably find us living the dream in Provincetown. Despite the weather being hit or miss (it rained two days we were there) I still absolutely loved it. The town, the people, the beaches – wonderful. And, I can’t wait to go back and stay longer.

The scooter was the perfect vehicle for exploring Commercial Street and the beaches. And an oat hazelnut latte was the perfect treat to start the days.

Cape Cod is delightfully littered with charming light houses that stand out even on foggy days.

I was thrilled to discover that Cape Cod has a winery/distillery which makes it an even more perfect destination for me. The gin was delicious and provided me several outstanding happy hours. The wine was pretty good too.

Did u know, the Pilgrims set foot on Cape Cod when arriving into the new world. The Pilgrim Monument is the tallest granite structure in the United States and I climbed it to the top on my last day in P-Town.

The State of Rhode Island

Continuing our tour of New England, we sadly departed Cape Cod and made our way to the Ocean State to gawk at the elaborate Gilded Age mansions in Newport.

The opulence of The Breakers was extraordinary. It was absolutely stunning to experience in person.

It was named “The Breakers” because the waves would crash and break onto the rocks below the outdoor living area. I could sit out there and listen to those waves break all day and night.

New York and Jersey City

On a whim, and completely last minute, I decided it would be cool to tow the Airstream over the GW Bridge from New York to New Jersey and stay a few nights at the only campground in Jersey City. And, I really wanted to visit Ellis Island and see where my great great grandfather passed thru when he immigrated from Germany in the late 1800s.

A short scooter ride from the Airstream which was parked in Liberty Harbor Marina and I was on the ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Standing in the Great Hall where hopeful immigrants once waited to be granted entry into the United States was rather thought provoking. I was literally standing in the same place my great great grandfather stood some 125 years or so ago.

The museum had so much interesting memorabilia to examine and contemplate. From the graffiti covered columns where weary travelers wrote their thoughts, to the steamer trunks that carried all their belongings across the Atlantic – so much history in one important place.

I also toured the old hospital on the “Hard Hat Tour” and it was exceptionally interesting and incredibly thought provoking.

I spent all day on Ellis Island and didn’t want to make Lily wait any longer for me to rescue her from the Airstream so I skipped the Statue of Liberty and took the ferry back to Liberty Park. It was a beautiful day nonetheless.

And that concludes our time in New England with a stop over in New Jersey. It was brief but we had to move fast to book east coast campgrounds before they closed for the season. We will return again soon.

Next up we head into the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia/Virginia to catch the tail end of the leaf peeping program already in progress and also make a stop in Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Happy travels and we will see you again very soon!

The Crown of the Continent, part 1.

It’s official, Lily and I are back on the road for our next Airstream Adventure. This time, we are headed east along the northern most states en route to New England for some epic fall leaf peeping and then down the east coast towards Florida and the southern most point. Along the way, we are stopping at a few National Parks and other interesting places.

Columbia River Gorge

First stop after departing Seattle is Wanapum State Park along the Columbia River to visit friends and take in some of the amazing Washington State wines. Once again, I shall declare that State Parks are really truly amazing. When the wildfire smoked finally cleared and revealed crystal clear skies it was time to get to the wineries.

Space 35 with great views of the Columbia River and beyond.
Cave B was my favorite and their Chenin Blanc was delicious.
I’ve been enjoying Merlots again since being reacquainted over the summer.

In addition to wines, and in keeping with tradition, I stopped at a local coffee shop to grab an oat hazelnut latte (my new favorite), and a bag of their signature roasted beans for the road.

A great little eclectic coffee bean in downtown Ellensburg.
How about a sit and sip on this technicolor bench.

Alas, it was a great few final days in Washington State but we were eager to begin crossing state lines and enter the first National Park on the trip.

Glacier National Park

The Crown of the Continent! Established and protected as a National Park in 1910 and host to zillions of people each year. I was lucky to find parking anywhere! Since Glacier encompasses more than 1 million acres and is bisected by the Continental Divide, we split our time between the West and the East sides of the park. I thought this would be the best way to experience the entire park and still be home in time for a relaxing happy hour each evening.

West Glacier

We rolled into West Glacier, Montana on a cloudy afternoon and the area reminded me a lot of the PNW – similar to a rain forest, in my opinion. And, it rained twice while we were there. We settled in for 4 nights at the KOA Resort which seemed like the nicest RV park closest to the west entrance to Glacier.

Space 127 deluxe patio site, perfect for relaxing and soaking up the sun when it was shining.

Our first full day inside Glacier NP was dedicated to just navigating the park and driving the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road. Along the way, we passed Lake McDonald and its beautiful colored rocks.

The color of the rocks is determined by the presence or absence of iron.

The red rocks were deposited in shallow ocean waters where the iron was oxidized by the tidal exposure to air. The green rocks were formed in deeper water where oxidation was limited. Actually, I noticed colored rocks big and small all over the park because they had been scattered everywhere by the glaciers.

Hugging the lakeshore is the historic Swiss Chalet themed “Lake McDonald Lodge” where the iconic Red Busses from the 1930s pick-up and drop-off tour passengers.

The road to Logan’s Pass, aka the “Going-to-the-Sun Road” or “The Sun Road” or “GTTSR”, was completed in 1932 and is a very narrow two-lane winding road with hairpin curves hugging the side of the Rocky Mountains. Driving it wasn’t nearly as bad as most people reported on TripAdvisor; unless you have never driven a mountain road I suppose.

The beginning of the climb to Logan’s Pass at 6,647′ elevation.

Granted, the road is exceptionally narrow, and rocks hung over sections of the roadway at times, but that is what made it exciting and interesting and exhilarating.

This was part of a sketchy seven mile stretch about half way up.
Lily taking in the view at the summit.

We drove the GTTSR twice, one day was cloudy (as you can see), but the other day was brilliantly sunny and there seemed to be more traffic because of that.

The GTTSR crossing the little arched bridge at Bird Woman Falls (it’s the lower center of the pic).
The truck was nearly at the width limit for driving the road, so we hugged the yellow line all the way up/down.

Here are a few more pics before we head back down to earth. The views from every turnout and around every curve were spectacular.

These one-dimensional photos don’t even come close to replicating the grandeur of the experience.

Back down on earth, and as soon as I could find parking, I set out on a few hikes. Unless you wake up at the crack of dawn it’s nearly impossible to find parking at any of the popular trailheads. Having patience and a plan B are keys to enjoying your time in Glacier. So, the first hike was part of the Lake McDonald Loop which went along the upper McDonald Creek and showcased some gorgeous pools and waterfalls.

Even with the cloudy sky you can see the multi-color rocks in the water. When the sun is out the colors are much richer and way more vibrant.

The deep blue water color is the result of ground up rock and sediment called “glacial flour”. The movement of nearby glaciers provides a constant source of “flour” for the lakes and rivers.

All the trails in Glacier offer stunning scenery but my favorite on the west side was the Avalanche Lake Trail. Again, parking was guaranteed impossible but I was lucky to be there just as a car was pulling out.

The trail started on a boardwalk that meandered peacefully among the ancient cedars and then continued along the Avalanche Creek Gorge until it reached Avalanche Lake.

Resting and a quick selfie along the trail with the glacial valley behind me.
First view of Avalanche Lake from the trail.

Arriving at the lake was such a highlight. I sat on a log taking in the view while munching on trail mix and hydrating. Legend says the lake was named “Avalanche” because in 1895 when it was discovered they could hear the avalanches of glacial ice falling and echoing loudly through the gorge. The lake is fed by glacial runoff and that makes the water crystal clear and turquoise blue. It was such a gift to have this experience that day.

Back home at the Airstream, I enjoyed several happy hours with some local gin and whiskey I tasted and then acquired at Glacier Distillery.

My favorite kind of street sign.
Huckleberry Whiskey and Gin is delicious.

And so, on a cold and rainy morning, we left West Glacier and drove two hours towards East Glacier crossing the Continental Divide to begin the second half of our Glacier NP experience.

One last look at Lake McDonald as we depart on a cold and cloudy morning.

Stay tuned for the second half of our Glacier NP experience with more hikes, lakes, waterfalls, and an actual glacier!

First Tow!

The day that I have been anticipating and waiting for finally arrived. The weight distribution hitch was installed and …. wait for it …. I got to tow the Airstream for the first time. I literally did not sleep the night before I was too excited. Lots of questions got answered this day.

I think the truck was ready too!

As I pulled out of the warehouse bay, I felt for the first time all the weight behind me. The truck brakes were like oh okay things just got serious huh?!  I put the transmission in tow mode and started off out the parking lot and into the world with my new toys.

Those first initial sensations of the truck registering with the movement of the trailer were amazing. I pulled into a strip mall parking lot just to get some space to take it all in. And, I really wanted to see if backing up was easy or hard. Let’s just say, it’s gonna take some practice!

I spent a few hours driving around – on the freeway, thru parking lots, into a roundabout, back onto the freeway, and back to the dealership. It was really fun, I just wanted to keep going and going.

Next milestone is taking the Airstream to Portland for the upgrades/upfits – solar, Li-ion batteries, WeBoost Cell Booster, washer/dryer combo, and some other cool stuff.