Week 52! That means it’s been a full year of full time RV living and adventuring, hard to believe! It’s interesting to reflect back over the past 365 days and think of all the things we’ve seen and done, the people we’ve met along the way, and the lessons we’ve learned. We can also see how our mindset has shifted to creating more of a sustainable balance to our life on the road; what was initially a short term adventure to see and do as much as possible, has become more of a way of life. We have learned to balance time to work toward our larger goals, time to focus on the growth of our marriage, time to be active and healthy, and time explore and spend time in new places.
Enough about all that, onto the adventures of our 52nd week in Bertha. We last left you in Park City, UT, which is crazy because as of right now, that seems so long ago! We had cold winds and temperatures in Park City, followed by crazy hot and dry temps in Moab, and are now back to cold weather and rain at 9,700’ elevation in Frisco, CO. It kinda messes with the body and the mind a little to be in such extremes in such a short period of time!
We only spent two, somewhat uneventful days in Park City. It’s a gorgeous place and as you pull into town, the Olympic Training Center is immediately visible, so we decided to go check it out. It was pretty quiet up there during our visit, it is the off season after all, so we wandered around the museum and the grounds for a bit. We decided to make a little hike out of it and hiked up the mountain to the top of the ski lifts – it was quite a feat at that elevation! The views were awesome from the top and we could only imagine what it’d be like to be an Olympic skier staring down the steep slope and into the faces of thousands of onlookers. It was actually a bit dizzying just to be looking down now, with no intention of skiing down! While we were up there, a group of daredevil kids came running through and barreled down the steep staircase that runs along the slope, they had no fear of the height whatsoever! We assumed we’d have to hike back down the hill but instead decided to follow their lead and take the stairs, it was much faster that way!
The following morning, we decided to load up and head toward Moab, a 6 hour, 240 mile drive. We pulled into town in the late afternoon and decided to get in a bike ride since we had found some great bike trails and it was so delightfully warm out. We pulled Bertha off the road, unloaded the bikes, and set off along the smooth, protected bike trail that runs from the camping areas, along Arches National Park, next to the Colorado River, and through unbelievably stunning scenery. Jim was pushing to get a hard training ride in, while Heather couldn’t stop taking pictures, the views were just too good!
We had hoped to settle into a nice, quiet spot in the desert, far off a dirt road that evening (Moab has a plethora of free public land to camp on), but we returned from our bike ride just a little too late and it was a little too dark to take our beast of an RV down long, dark, dirt roads. So we settled into the convenient, close, and somewhat crowded area of Willow Springs – it was still desert boondocking, it was just surrounded by quite a few other RV’ers!
The next day our plan was to spend most of the day exploring Arches National Park. Based on the weather forecast, the high was expected to be around 93 degrees that day with a very high UV index. So we lathered on a lot of sunscreen and decided to get into the park nice and early, while there was still a cool breeze in the morning air. Eeyore took us to the park entry, up through the mountainous, rocky path, and into the heart of the park. Our plan (along with many others) was to hike to Delicate Arch first, both because it’s a strenuous one and also because it’s arguably the most popular and therefore most crowded (Delicate Arch is the one featured on the Utah license plate). As we parked to start the hike, the parking lot was already crowded and the heat was already steadily rising. We grabbed our water bottles and made it our mission to get to the top as quickly as possible, a fairly steep mile and a half climb to get there. Our efforts were rewarded as the views were stunning and we were able to get some photos without a million other people in them. We spent a little time up there taking in the view, before starting the hike down and continuing on to Broken Arch (we’d heard the Devil’s Garden is amazing, but sadly it was closed when we were there). At Broken Arch, we found a great little shaded spot to stop for a picnic lunch and some tourist watching – those people taking pictures with their tablets just get us every time! After filling our tummies and cooling down a bit, we continued on our way to Broken Arch. This area ended up being our favorite as we climbed on top of rocks, hiked to the other side of the arch, took in unreal views of the park, and found a perfect, quiet, shaded spot to just relax and take it all in.
By the early afternoon, we were both feeling the effects of the sun and decided to head out. We had to make a stop in the town of Moab to grab a couple of things for the guests we were expecting that evening. Moab is a pretty cool place, with endless off-road and mountain-bike rental shops. The liquor laws in Utah don’t make it easy to just pop by the store and grab a six-pack, we had to find the one liquor store in town (state owned) where we paid almost $20 for a six pack of Sculpin IPA! Yikes! Oh and if you do buy beer in a grocery store, the percentage is lowered to be close to 3%. It’s pretty crazy!
At 6:30 that evening, our guests pulled up to Bertha in their Jeep, after having gotten stuck in a sand pit trying to cross the desert in the shortest way possible to get to us. They had parked their rigs out about 5 miles down a quiet dirt road, so they don’t have the same kind of neighborhood we had. Marshall and Kelley have been full-timing for 3 and 2 years, respectively. Both are doing it as single travelers, though they met on the road and now are travelling side by side as they build an RV-centric business together. We have all been following each other’s travels on Instagram, Marshall was one of our first followers when we started, in fact. It was great to spend a few hours talking RV life with them, sharing a few beers, and having Jim show Kelley how to cock a shotgun (it was not loaded!). We’ve said it before but meeting people in this community is just such a cool thing.
We departed the dusty camp spot on Saturday morning and were eastward bound to Colorado! It was nearly 300 miles to the town of Frisco, just north of Breckenridge where the wedding will be held this weekend. The drive through Colorado was truly unbelievable and we’re wishing we’d stopped for more photos! Driving through the Rockies was a show of strength for Bertha, but she did a great job…though at times our speed was about 20 mph up the steep inclines. We pulled into Frisco, where we were delightfully surprised by the cute, snow capped mountain town. On Sunday, we both headed out for out weekly long runs…Heather’s first attempt was only 3.5 miles as she was suddenly pelted by strong winds and rain. She got in another 5 miles later, after the storm cleared, and Jim was able to pull off a steady 11 miles before the rain came on. Running at almost 10,000 feet is no joke, both of our heart rates were through the roof! But at least the views are stunning in every direction and there are endless running and biking paths to choose from.
We have a few days of downtime to ourselves in Frisco before we’ll be heading into Breckenridge this weekend to take part in the wedding festivities. Pray for good weather, as it seems Colorado is pretty fickle in deciding whether it wants to be sunny, rainy, or even snowy!
Thanks again for staying with us this year, much love to you all!
Total RV Trip Miles: 16,855