Day 22 – The Road Home

We got up after a good nights sleep and got ready for the day. Then headed down to breakfast. We had purchased a “breakfast package” so went for the buffet rather than the snack shop that has coffee and muffins/cookies/donuts.

Jude found the waffles and ice cream and made a breakfast sandwich; and Siah worked on a pile of bacon. Cause nothing says “Good morning” like a bacon coma.

Jon and his wolf ears enjoyed an omelet.

We had picked up our wolf ears the night before and at first the boys were too cool for them but I’m not sure how it’s possible to be too cool for wolf ears.

After breakfast, Jon and I packed up the room and the boys headed back to the water park.

While Jon took our bags back to the trailer, I took the boys clothes and went to find them.

They eventually noticed me and came out to get dressed. They LOVE swimming but they also want to go home. So it wasn’t a tough sell to get them out of the water, this time.

Yesterday, they got caught by this bucket of water dumping on them unexpectedly. We were headed to the hot tub which is sort of behind this structure and when Jon and the boys walked passed, it dumped on them. It was perfect timing. Not planned at all. It’s a lot of water.

We were going to take a selfie but a sweet lady offered to take a photo for us. Not sure that’s a wolf, maybe an eagle. I dunno but it was nice to get a photo with all of us that wasn’t a selfie. The wolf ears are just a bonus.

We got in the truck for our last family selfie before we hit the road home. It was just a short 3.7 hours to home.

It’s weird to be thinking that tomorrow we’ll wake up at home in our bed and not be driving anywhere. There are no more routes to plan or RV parks to book; just regular life stuff.

I’d love to brag about this guy for a moment. He has driven almost every one of the 9919 kms on this trip. He fixed the RV when it was broken. He hooked up and dumped every black water tank. He stayed calm and present when we dealt with frustration and meltdowns. He white knuckled our way through every wind gust and kept us on the straight and narrow. He had plans and strategies for issues that never happened but if they had, we would have been totally taken care of. He was a rock star and I’m so very thankful for him and the way he takes care of us.

This particular drive seemed to fly by. We missed traffic in Seattle which was fabulous and as we neared the border, everyone was excited to get home.

When we crossed the border, Siah exclaimed. “It even smells like Canada; smell that fresh smell of cow poop.”

Welcome to Aldergrove!

We got home and began to unload the trailer. Somehow it’s always more fun and seems easier to load a trailer than it does to unload it. We made quick work of it though. Siah was a HUGE help and made a number of trips packing boxes of stuff from the trailer to the house. It probably only took 45 mins to empty it into the foyer, front room and kitchen of our house. And now we begin the process of putting it all away. That’s a HUGE job.

We managed to get good portion put away and most of everything is in close proximity to where it should eventually go. For example all the food and kitchen stuff is in the kitchen, bathroom stuff is on the counter in the bathroom and 18 Hundred loads of laundry and bedding are in the hallway upstairs next to the laundry machine. Since we got home, I’ve already done 5 loads of laundry and haven’t even hit the bedding yet!

Gia was happy to have us home.

I laid down on my bed for a moment and was so thankful to be home; and even more thankful for the wonderful opportunity to get to go on a road trip like this. Being able to spend this time with my family and being able to see where Jon grew up and experience things that he’s talked about and shared over the past 27 years, was so special.

This time was truly a gift and definitely a cherished and Core Memory that we will hold onto forever

Oh, I hear the laundry calling me!

Day 21 – 3 Weeks on the Road

It’s crazy to think that we’ve been on the road for 3 entire weeks, as of today. So far we’ve travelled about 9,000 km and by the time we make it home we should be close to 10,000 km.

We left the Pendleton KOA just after 9am and we were headed for Grand Mound, Washington. We planned to wrap up our trip with a night at the Great Wolf Lodge.

As we left Pendleton, we had crazy headwinds and lots of clouds but as we carried on towards Portland, the clouds burned off but the wind intensified

We drove along the Columbia River and noticed the incredible rock formations along the river; Jon and I pointed them out to the boys as looking fascinating and wondering what they were.

Jude pipes up from the back seat and nonchalantly says, “Oh that’s basalt.”

What??? So I google and sure enough the Columbia River Basalt Group is what we were looking at. Basalt is a dark, fine-grained volcanic rock that sometimes displays a columnar structure. (According to Wikipedia)

How did Jude know that?


Apparently, Basalt is a type of rock found in more than one game that he plays. It’s been incredible to have this time together. There is so much that both boys have shared that I had no idea that they knew and lots of the information is stuff that I didn’t even know.

One of the sights I have loved seeing is the graffiti on the different train cars. We saw a surprising number of trains on our travels. I took these two photos yesterday but these are not even remotely the most complicated nor the most colourful tags we saw. There are some incredibly talented artists out there playing with shapes and colours in stunning ways.

We made it to the Great Wolf Lodge around 3:30pm and were able to check in a little early as our room was ready. The boys were thrilled to have a real bed, decent wifi and to go crashing in the wave pool. I only got 2 photos of our time in water park. We were just too busy having fun.

Jon and Siah went on a water slide that free fall dropped them down a chute; and they said it was AWESOME!

This was a great ending to a fabulous trip. We have one more day of driving to get home. It’s exciting and sad that our trip is over. I kind of love the duality of life. That we can hold space for conflicting emotions and that it’s okay to be both happy and sad in regard to the same event.

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 19 – Utah

It wasn’t a HUGE travel day but we are tired and definitely feeling our almost 3 weeks on the road. We left Moab at 10:30am and the plan was to head towards Garland, Utah.

Look at all the smiles.

We drove North West up through Provo and Salt Lake City.

The red in the rocks are from rust and the green is created when the iron in the rock reacted differently and at a lower concentration than the iron that caused the orange. It’s all just so pretty; and so different than what we typically see in BC.

We travelled out of the desert and into snow dusted mountains. There were lots of dead zones with no coverage as we drove through Utah.

I find it absolutely fascinating how the landscape can so dramatically change as you drive within only a few hours.

We decided to not go to Garland but to head to Snowville which is only about 10 mins from the Idaho border. It’s an interesting aspect of our journey. Trying to find a location to travel to that’s not too far away but has a decent looking RV park. It’s lots to juggle especially because once you book a spot you are kind of committed and hoping that everything goes smoothly between where you are and where you’re headed. Along the way there’s gas to get, bathroom visits to be made, food to eat and sometimes a break because you’re tired and feeling way too close to a meltdown.

We made it to The Hitching Post in Snowville, Utah sometime after 6pm. I’ve got to give a huge shout out to Jonathan for his graciousness with my navigating skills. I can organize and plan like a Fortune 500’s top Administrator but Google maps confounds me. We have needed to reroute more times than I can count because I struggle to read the map and follow Google’s directions. Trying to find The Hitching Post in Snowville was no exception. But in my defence, we have gotten to travel some of the cutest and bumpy back roads as we circle around and we would never have had that opportunity without my exceptional navigation skills.

So I’d like to think it’s a win for all and really what’s a few extra moments when you get to see the sights that hide off the main roads.

We pulled into the bustling RV park. If you look really hard, you can find our rig in the photo.

There was the cutest diner back on the Main Street and it has real food. So we went there for dinner.

If you get a chance, you should ask my boys about these cute little houses that the owner’s son makes. They were surprising and so adorable.

We enjoyed our food and then headed back to the quiet campsite. We are not too far away from home now. It’s only going to be a few more days and I’m feeling all the feels. I have loved this trip and I’m ready and not ready to go home. We have learned a lot and if we have another opportunity to do a road trip, I would jump at the chance. It’s definitely a core memory!

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 17 – New Mexico

We got up and got ready for the day. Wifi still sucked. Kids still complained. It was sunny but windy and freezing cold. We still had no firm plan about whether we were headed through New Mexico or up into Colorado.

Part of the dilemma was that New Mexico had brutal winds and driving against or across wind with our decidedly not aerodynamic trailer sucks. It sucks because it pushes the trailer around and Jon ends up driving with a death grip on the steering wheel or it just literally sucks gas.

Colorado was going to be less windy but was actually going to have below zero temps and possible rain and snow. So, we decided to push through New Mexico and hope for the best.

Day 17 and still smiling…mostly.

We headed out just before 10am and planned to make it to Cuba and then we’d reassess if we were done for the day or felt we could do a bit more driving. New Mexico is beautiful.

We drove from the central east of New Mexico through Albuquerque and towards the north west of the state.

The photos don’t do justice to the depth or beauty of the landscape. It truly is even more stunning in person.

We stopped for lunch and gas just before Albuquerque and the winds were 50 km’s per hour. It was crazy!

We climbed and climbed and climbed in elevation until we hit over 7,000 feet above sea level and we crossed the Continental Divide. There has been lots of interesting learning opportunities along the way and it’s been fun to learn as we go.

As we approached Cuba, New Mexico, we decided that we still felt good about traveling a bit further and I found a decent RV park in Farmington, New Mexico that was only an hour and a half further so we made the call to carry on.

We pulled into Farmington around 6:30pm, made dinner and settled in for the night. This RV park definitely has more acceptable wifi than the last place.

While planning our route for the next day, we realized that Moab and Arches National Park was 3 hours away AND we could actually get timed entry tickets. We had wanted to go to the park but I thought we would make it there for Saturday and I wasn’t sure we’d be able to get the timed entry tickets as it was a free entry day. So we had given up on going. BUT…because we were a whole day earlier, everything worked out. We got a timed entry ticket, the park pass AND booked an RV site. We plan to leave Farmington at 10am. Arrive at our RV park for check in at 1pm and head to the Park shortly after. Woot! I’m excited.

Day 16 – Texas to New Mexico

We woke up in heaven and drove out of it and now I want to go back.

Sunglasses would have been helpful

Apparently Brady, Texas is pretty close to the center of Texas. We woke up and it was warm and sunny. The wind was blowing and we sat outside and had coffee listening to the quail coo. I just feel happy when I’m warm and it’s sunny. Siah climbed this HUGE tree while we had breakfast.

I ADORE the trees down south. They are so gorgeous and sprawling.

Jon walked around the property and found a field of cacti just about ready to bloom.

I wish we could have seen an entire field of flowering cacti. It must be stunning.

We left Brady around 11am. I really was in no hurry to leave; although Siah and Jude are not the hugest fans of the heat and they are starting to talk about getting home soon.

Got the arm wrapped up and in the photo

It’s been a good trip. For 4 people living on top of each other – 2 introverts. 2 extroverts, meeting people, eating food that’s not typical, living in a different place most nights, with iffy wifi connections, iffy toilets, random showers, way too much fast food, no personal space and WAY TOO MANY HOURS in a vehicle – we have done spectacularly. I’m kind of proud of how well we’ve done. You can tell how tired the boys are by how much bickering they do ;but they’d bicker at home, too. Honestly the only difference is they don’t have the luxury of going to their own bedrooms.

We drove and drove and drove and drove. Texas is really pretty. I kind of love it. The wild flowers, the open spaces, the wildlife, the warmth, the wind……I don’t think I’d want to live in the city but put me outside the city…….oh man.

We weren’t exactly sure if we were going to make it into New Mexico but considering that we crossed a time zone, we decided doe go for it. We crossed over from Texas into New Mexico at 6:55pm and then gained an hour.

We pulled into the Clovis RV Park around 6:15pm and got set up for the night. It was SO cold and windy. The park was quiet but had horrific wifi according to the boys. It would have been better if it had none, because it was like teasing them with wifi bars and then they kept dropping the signal.

I have done pretty well at planning out our routes the day before or at the very least in the evening but I was really struggling to get the next day planned. I think I’m just sad about leaving Texas and both options – Denver and New Mexico – are cold and windy with overnight temps dropping below zero. Not cool. Seriously not cool! Maybe a good night sleep will help me gain some clarity. I certainly hope so.