Day 20 – Utah, Idaho and Oregon

We’ve started retracing our steps heading back home. The plan today was to go from Snowville, Utah to Pendleton, Oregon.

It’s a 6.5 hour trip BUT…we get to cross a time zone so we gain an hour. It’s much nicer going this way because losing an hour sucks. Although honestly, by 9pm we were tired because it would have been 10pm. Or maybe it’s just exhausting navigating 4 people and their feelings and emotions inside of a truck and trailer for 3 weeks.

I was up by 7:30am and made coffee and set the trailer straight. I actually LOVE the simplicity and straightforwardness of trailer living. Everything has a place. You only have what you need. You use something, you put it back in its place so it’s easy to find when you need it next. It’s easier to do that on a small scale. I need to find a way to scale that for our house. I do have lots of things set up like that but it’s harder to stay on top of it when it’s a larger home and there are more people involved.

We got on the road just after 10am. The boys are ready to go home. They miss good internet and the comfort of their own bedrooms. First world problems.

We stopped for gas at a station in Sublett called “Middle of Nowhere” and they had a pen on the property with goats and alpacas and donkeys. They were adorable. It was a nice surprise and opportunity to stretch our legs and see cute animals.

We carried on driving through Idaho. We had the most fabulous tailwinds and just cruised our way through Idaho toward Oregon.

Between navigating Google Maps (like a boss), planning our routes, booking RV sites, writing blog posts and looking up interesting facts of information about our travels; I have also knit or crochet 5 dishcloths. I’ve even tried patterns that I’ve never made before. Crazy, right?

We’ve also listened to a variety of podcasts while on the road. From murder mysteries, to unsolved mysteries, medical mysteries, stand up comedy, talk shows and even the above one about women of the Wild West. It’s been an eclectic mix interspersed with current pop hits, country music, classic rock and our favourite, radio roulette. You just keep hitting the button until something comes on clear.

The weather has been pretty good for us but we can definitely tell that we are getting closer to the Pacific Northwest. It’s colder and wetter and there’s a whole lot more evergreens than we have seen. The skies have been cloudy and stormy looking for most of today. Still beautiful in their moody brooding way though.

Siah exclaimed, “Well, this looks familiar.” as we approached Pendleton. He didn’t mean the city but the landscape as we were passing through forests of evergreens interspersed with packs of snow on the ground. It definitely looks like home.

We pulled into the Pendleton KOA around 5:30pm and off towards the Blue Mountains a storm was looming. We even got a storm warning on the weather app. There was a gorgeous double rainbow that Jon called us outside to see.

We ordered pizza delivery to our campsite – how fun is that – and even watched a few shows that we had previously downloaded. We hunkered in expecting the storm to blow through overnight but it, thankfully, missed us.

It was a quiet night and we only have a few more days ‘till we’re home. This time has been such a gift and we have so many incredible memories that we will treasure for a lifetime. I’m so grateful that we were able to do this.

Day 18 – Broken Arch (Part 4)

We left Sand Dune arch and walked towards Broken Arch.

It was quite a bit further than any of the walks we’d done up till now and if Siah wasn’t hobbling, it wouldn’t have been an issue at all.

It wasn’t a difficult walk. Mostly sandy pathways. Sometimes there was hard rock or loose shale.

There were times when you had to climb up the jagged rocks or down over smoothed out formations but nothing terribly difficult.

I was wearing my Birkenstock sandals and had no issues navigating anywhere I wanted to go.

There were all these little holes in the ground. I’m guessing some kind of prairie dog or gopher.

The guys were pretty pumped that there was a campground in the park and if it weren’t close to 6pm at this point, we may have gone and investigated.

It took about 10-15 minutes of meandering to get to Broken Arch. Jon took this panoramic shot from a bluff just above the small canyon that sits below the Arch. Fantastic, isn’t it?

The boys were in heaven. Climbing and taking photos. Chattering at each other and finding new, interesting things to show each other and us.

It was a bit of a climb up to Broken Arch and I didn’t feel like making it so I hung out in the little canyon while Jon and the boys explored.

The way the water and wind has worn down parts of the earth is fascinating and gorgeous.

You could spend days here and keep finding new things to be in awe of. I’m SO glad it worked out that we were able to visit.

Through the arch there is a loop that leads to another arch but it was getting later, boys were tired, Siah’s leg hurt, there was an impending bathroom break and we decided to head back the way we came.

The sensory aspect of the sand was just too fabulous and so our walk back took longer than expected.

The colors and shapes of the plants always captures my attention This trip has been absolutely filled with beautiful plants and wildflowers.

We got back to our vehicle and drove through the rest of the park.

I have so many more photos that I haven’t shared but will definitely be in a photo book that we will treasure forever. One of my favourite moments was when Jude said, “This is going to be a cherished memory when we get back to Canada. It’s definitely a core memory.”

I love it when he shares his thoughts and feelings with us. We slowly drove out of the park and back into the city of Moab. We stopped at a grocery store to grab a few things and then we headed back to our campsite.

I put the groceries away and made some dinner while the boys went swimming and Jon did a load of laundry. It was a nice relaxing end to an incredible day.

Day 18 – Sand Dune Arch (Part 3)

Even when just driving from station to station within the Park the views are incredible.

We pulled into the parking lot and we’re greeted by this stunning view.

To gain some perspective, Jon got this picture of Siah standing at the base of this giant.

Inside of this landform is Sand Dune Arch. It was my favourite experience of the park. We walked towards this landform on a gravel path.

You see a narrow space in between the columns and with no idea what you’re walking into, you head inside.

The pathway in, is squishy and awkward. The ground is slightly sloped and there’s sand on top of hardened rock and you really should use both hands to steady yourself as you slip through the opening into the magical world inside.

The temperature drops a few degrees and the wind is cool and blows steady against you. The pathway opens up into this quiet space that feels sacred. It’s awe inspiring.

The sand is cool and powdery soft. It’s a sensory delight. You kind of want to lay down and just soak it all in. I know that sounds weird but it was amazing.

The first space widens into an open sky chamber and you can hear your voice echo slightly as you call out to each other. I had the most incredible urge to sing. To join my voice with sounds and beings that have gone before and are here now, in gratitude for this incredible wonder.

As the walls narrow to lead you into the next chamber , the strength of the wind blowing through and against you, increases. It reminded me of the times when life seems narrow and restricted and the things coming at you seem to intensify. If you can press on and press through, you just don’t know what will open up for you; or what wonders you are about to step in to.

The space opened up and revealed wonders that aren’t visible from the outside. It’s only when you press in, that you get to see the beauty that’s here and available, if you’re willing.

There were other visitors in the area with us and although everyone was quiet and respectful; I wished I could have had a moment alone in this place. To just sit down and be quiet and BE in this place.

As you carry on passed the arch, the crevasse gets smaller and smaller.

Siah squished in as far as he could go. Silly boy. It’s amazing to see how happy the boys were; no screens, no devices, just nature.

We stayed for a while longer but then headed out to go and see Broken Arch.

I’m gonna break this up into one more post. We got a lot of pictures from our hike towards Broken Arch; and it’s easier than creating a super long extended post.

Day 18 – Moab – Arches National Park (Part 2)

We drove into the park and up and up and up. When we entered the park, we were given a map. It’s a huge park. HUGE! You could easy spend days here and not be disappointed or bored.

Our first stop was at the La Sal Mountains Viewpoint. We pulled off to the viewing area and parked.

There are so many pictures that we took and I honestly don’t even know how to narrow them down.

This is just the first viewpoint that we stopped at and there is so much more.

We got back in the car and carried on until we came to this formation called “The Organ”

The photo doesn’t do this justice. We took a video and it’s incredible and even then, still doesn’t translate.

We drove past The Great Wall and the Petrified Dunes and headed to Balanced Rock because the boys were desperate to get out of the vehicle and walk around.

There was a short easy walk around the base of Balanced Rock and we started with that.

It started out on a cement path and progressed to more of a trampled pathway through the the sand and brush.

It doesn’t matter which way you turn or what you look at; the colors, the shapes, the textures – everything is so incredibly gorgeous!

Even dead trees are gorgeous.

Look, it’s true! I really was here!

Siah twisted his ankle while monkeying around Balanced Rock. He probably should have quit at that point but he kept going. We packed back into the truck and headed to the Lower and Upper Delicate Arch Viewpoints. I believed that the hike to the actual Delicate Arch would be too much for Siah’s ankle.

Quartz on a rock on the pathway up

The Lower Viewpoint was nothing and both boys swore they could make the Upper Viewpoint, although they seemed quite happy to stop about 3/4’s of the way up the path. It’s a decent incline on a sandy, rocky path.

Delicate Arch from the Upper Viewpoint

After we made it back down the path and to our truck; we headed to the Fiery Furnace Viewpoint to use the toilets and from there we headed to see the Sand Dune Arch and planned to do the circuit of Broken Arch and Tapestry Arch.

I’m going to split this into another part because otherwise it’s going to be just too long……to be continued!

Day 18 – New Mexico to Utah (Part 1)

One of our propane tanks ran out in the night and it was really cold last night. Jon got up this morning and switched tanks and the heater came back on and all was right in our world. We made coffee, ate breakfast, packed up the Trailer for travel and hit the road right on schedule at 10am.

We left Farmington, New Mexico and headed towards Colorado. It was a beautiful sunny day but not warm.

It was a short trip through the bottom corner of Colorado and into Utah.

The closer we got to Moab the more incredible the landscape got.

Mesa’s, plateaus, faults, arches… many incredible sights to see and we weren’t even at Moab or in the Arches National Park.

It’s awe inspiring, surreal and a little bit overwhelming – to be honest.

We pulled into a rest area and the boys jumped out to explore a little. It was so fun to see them so excited about this part of our adventure.

The colors are gorgeous. The oranges, greens, browns and all the shades in between; contrasted with the blue sky, yellow and purple wildflowers. It’s amazing.

We pulled into the Moab KOA around 1:30pm. It was just after 2pm when we got set up in our designated spot.

We were about half an hour away from Arches National Park and our timed reservation entry was for 3pm. We headed out to grab some lunch before we hit the park.

There was a Mobile Drive-Thru Taco Time on the way so we stopped there. I have never seen one of those before; but the food was as expected.

We drove through the city of Moab on our way to the park and it is SO cute. It kind of feels like the old west, the 70’s and Whistler had a baby. Kinda old, kinda yuppie and just a whole lotta cute!

We pulled up to the park and there was a short line up but we moved through it pretty quickly and soon we were headed into the Park.

Day 4 – Utah, Wyoming and Colorado

When we woke up in Twin Falls it was -3 degrees. It didn’t actually feel that cold but that’s what the weather app said.

The boys burnt off a bit of energy while Jon and I readied the trailer.

Rock Creek RV Park

And then we hit the road around 11am.

Our goal was a BIG day of driving. We were aiming for Fort Collins, Colorado which was 9 hours and 45 mins not counting fuel stops, bathroom breaks, lunch and dinner.

The weather hovered around 0 degrees for most of the trip… did get as low as -7 through Wyoming and it was as high as 7 in Utah.

The scenery alternated between completely white out as far as the eye could see; to snow on the hills in the background to snow dusted mesa.

We stopped for gas once we made it into Wyoming and it was surprising how much snow and how cold it was.

Compared to the white knuckled windy driving of the day before; this leg of the journey seemed easy. The roads were dry and clear which was nice.

We saw lots of tiny deer while driving through Wyoming and even a couple of elk along side of the hwy.

I love seeing the wind turbines. They are SO huge and seem to move so majestically which feels weird to say about a metal structure but I just love the look of them. Like guardians watching over the land.

Because it was a huge day of driving, we ate fast food garbage for lunch and dinner but it was the boys first time trying Arby’s (lunch but no photo) and Sonic. Sonic was a bigger hit than Arby’s. We still have to hit a Jack in the Box at some point. Any other suggestions for these Canadian Boys to try?

Some time after the sun went down, the moon started to rise over the horizon. It was HUGE and so stunningly bright and orange. Pictures don’t even remotely do it justice. It was amazing.

It was interesting how late the sun stayed up but then how quickly night fell. It felt like you could actually see the darkness taking over and growing in depth.

We pulled into the KOA in Fort Collins around 11:15pm; were set up by 11:30pm and in bed by midnight.

We are planning for a much shorter day for Day 5!

Day 2 – Oregon

We headed southeast through Washington aiming for Oregon.

We drove up and over the Snoqualmie Pass. It was gorgeous and cold. There was SO MUCH SNOW.

We stopped and grabbed a quick bite to eat and shook out our legs a little before carrying on.

We needed gas and came across this fruit and antique mall that was right beside a gas station and while Jon and Jude filled the truck; Siah and I ran through all three floors in a time that would have made Grandma Rathjen proud.

It was huge and filled with amazing treasures. You could have easily spent hours looking through it all.

Dad, you would have LOVED looking through it all!

Siah particularly liked the jewelry and he’s pretty sure he needs a cowboy hat to go with his black trench coat.

Seriously! 3 floors of wonder and treasure. Amazing. We boogied down the amazing stairway and flew across the parking lot just as Jon was getting back into the truck.

As we got closer to Oregon, you notice the lack of evergreens as the land flattens out to more rolling hills and flat land.

I happened to be looking at Google Maps as we approached Oregon and was warmly welcomed by this little pop up. We made it to Pendleton, Oregon and had booked a reservation at an RV site at a KOA Campground. We pulled in, hooked up and the boys immediate jumped on the internet to “relax”. Ha ha!

Our site backed onto a gorgeous view of the Blue Mountains and after a late dinner, we shut it all down and headed to bed.

Everyone is still mostly happy and happy to be on this epic road trip; but there’s still time for that to change, eh?