I can’t believe that it’s been a little over 3 weeks since we left home headed for Camp Hosting in Moab, Utah. Why does it seem everything goes by so fast sometimes ? I clearly remember sitting in our neighbor’s hammock on a hot sunny day in July. I had a slice of cold sweet watermelon that I was thoroughly enjoying. All the adults around me were talking about my upcoming birthday- I was just days away from turning 12. All I could think about was being 21 ! Those 9 years seemed so far away , I thought I would never get there. And here I am 60 years later, sometimes wishing I could slow down that clock. Coincidentally we recently went through “Spring Forward”, Daylight Savings Time and I’ve lost an hour of this sweet life. Would I go back to being 12 if I had the chance ? Oh no ! I sometimes think if I could time travel I would go back to when I was 40-50. years old, just to gain a little time. But since time travel doesn’t exist I really am content to live the life I have been given at my current age. Yes, sometimes I get out of bed a little bit slower (well maybe a lot slower). And sometimes I can’t remember why I walked into the kitchen ! But I have my health along with family and friends who love me and support me. I am blessed.
I am still working very hard on living in the present moment-quite the challenge for a chronic daydreamer. And while van life does require some planning, I do try to minimize thinking about what’s around the bend. When we do arrive at our destination I put on my present moment cape and work like crazy to stay in the moment. Walking around the campground where we are staying is helpful-I just kind of zone out, enjoying what surrounds me and listening to the sounds of the canyons. The Colorado River rushing past our campground; the blue birds chirping at each other and the ravens sounding their crazy alarms, caw caw caw.
When it gets near to sunset it’s like watching a nature special. Watching the sun slowly disappear from lighting up the canyon walls; watching Venus and the North star appear on the horizon; watching the moon rise up from the canyon; listening to the crackling of the camper’s fires, and listening to the laughter and camaraderie of fellow campers. Sigh, beautiful sounds for the mind and the soul.
Let me tell you how we spent the last three weeks arriving at this beautiful spot. We left our home on February 18th, headed directly to Monroe to spend an evening with our two very best friends, Mel & Brenda. We’ve known them for over 20 years and love them dearly. We spent the evening catching up, enjoying a delicious dinner and making promises to stay in touch while out on the road. We don’t get to spend much time with them since we are gone so much, but the time we do spend fills me with so much love and gratefulness for their love and friendship-I feel very lucky and blessed to have them in our lives.
February 19th was a surprise for my sweetie. We have never done a kind of “kick off” for our travels and I thought we should. So I planned a secret brunch at camp out on Camano Island. Where did I take him ? Cama Beach Cafe on Camano Island. I can’t believe it took me this long to discover this incredible, magical spot just across the water from where we live. When we arrived I told the host we were celebrating our wedding anniversary and trip kick off and he seated us at a table with a beautiful view of the water. All the servers who stopped by to assist wished us happy anniversary. The food was incredible-you can usually tell how good the chef is by the omelet he or she makes, and my omelet was perfection. We were so stuffed we took the cinnamon rolls back to the rig with us, they are huge and we underestimated their size. No problem, they lasted all week.
After hiking around we went to Camano Island State Park-another surprise for my sweetie. It’s a gorgeous campground and some of the sites overlook the water. We spent time walking around the campground and hiking down to the water. We will definitely return to this spot and the Cafe. Reservations are definitely recommended for the Cafe and the Campground during the normal season-off season at the campground it’s pretty easy to find a site.
Next on the list of visits to make before we really got out on the road-Monday the 20th we drove to Edmonds, Washington along the waterfront. We spent the early afternoon exploring the Edmonds Marina. We had booked a “Boondockers Welcome” stay through our Harvest Hosts Membership. Why did we do this when we were just a ferry ride away from Edmonds ? Because Jim had an appointment at Swedish Hospital on the 21st at 730am ! We were not going to trust the ferry and we certainly didn’t want to take a 5am ferry to get to the hospital on time. The couple who hosted us-Daniel and Jean were perfect hosts.
Cozy little neighborhood, really enjoyed this Boondockers Welcome Location
We spent the evening (from 7pm-11pm) comparing travel notes and solving the world problems . It was perfect, plus they were literally 2 1/2 miles from the hospital. We stayed a 2nd night with them because on the 22nd we had an appointment at Mercedes of Lynnwood to have a computer update done on the van-part of a recent recall . The shop was only 4 miles away . We really scored with the Boondocker stay-met a lovely couple who we hope to continue our friendship with and took care of health and mechanical issues before we hit the road for 10 months !
After leaving Mercedes we had no idea where we would end up that evening. We headed out to the interstate and headed south. I was watching the weather reports and it wasn’t looking good. Blizzards and snow storms, oh my. We normally use the iOverlander app to find off grid wild camping. With the winter snow storm predictions we decided not to tackle any dirt roads to wild camping and we played it safe and pulled into a truck stop outside of Pendleton, OR.-Arrowhead Truck Stop. Turned out to be a good choice, we were warm and cozy as the storm came through. Plus the truck stop had a store that carried everything you could need along with showers and a McDonalds. We use McDonalds for our coffee-it usually costs about $1.50 to fill a 48 ounce thermos-love it ! And they have a separate area for truckers to overnight away from where the RV’s overnight.
The next morning we headed out and were amazed at the amount of trucks along the side of the highway chaining up for the trek over Blue Mountain Pass. The roads weren’t too bad, the winds were a little strong with some blowing snow. When we got to the top of the pass we stopped at a rest stop and let Bailey enjoy a romp in the snow!
As we continued on , yet another snow storm was being forecast, so we started looking around for a safe spot to spend the night and ride out the storm. We discovered that some Camping World Stores welcome overnight RV’ers. We pulled into the Camping World in Meridian, Idaho, told them we were Good Sam Members and they directed us to a spot. No hook ups but free camping ! Another night of being cozy and warm as we rode out the storm.
The next morning we pointed towards Salt Lake City-things looked good-dry roads, sunshine and no storms lurking. When we arrived outside of Salt Lake City, we were both tired and needed to stretch our legs. I looked at the weather report and guess what-snowstorm pending south of Salt Lake .
With the threat of more bad weather hanging over us we headed to the Walmart in Clinton Utah for our overnight stop. A great Walmart for that quick overnight stop when you are too tired to go any further. You can stock up on supplies, restaurants surround the parking lot so you can walk to dinner and just around the corner a City Public Works lot that welcomes RV’ers with potable water and a dump station. We had dinner and tucked ourselves in for the night. Next day back on the road, sunshine, blue skies and dry roads through Salt Lake City, Utah.
Since we were only 300 miles from Bryce Canyon National Park ( a little detour enroute to Moab) we decided to head that way and play it by ear based on weather reports. We arrived in Beaver, Utah and talked to a local at the Chevron station about the roads into Bryce-dry and clear. Hooray- less than 25 miles from the campground we headed towards Panguitch and the turn off to Bryce.
Snow everywhere in the canyons-exactly what I had hoped for. Years and years ago we went cross country skiing at a resort outside of Bryce called Brian Head-we never did make it to Bryce . Winter in Bryce Canyon National Park has been on my bucket list for at least 25+ years and here we were-in the park , being wowed by the scenery-red rocks covered in snow, bright blue skies and sunshine for miles. How blessed and grateful we felt.
We checked into the campground and of course did the Goldilocks routine looking for a level campsite-no this one is too steep, no this one is too shaded, oh yes this one is perfect. We checked into site 10 for the first night and of course the next day we moved to site 4. We had planned on spending 3 days here giving us plenty of time to arrive in Moab for our hosting duties.
Once we got settled into our site we looked at the alerts and park road map and headed to the visitor center . Filled up our water jugs and headed out to explore Sunrise Point. I was stunned by what was in front of me.
I had imagined the beauty of Bryce from photographs I had researched, but no photo does it justice. I stood on the edge of Sunrise Point in awe of the beauty , thanking the Universe for what I was experiencing. No one was around-no crazy crowds, just peace and quiet.
After hiking around we decided to head back to camp for a late lunch. I was trying to decide about heading over to Sunset Point , the sky wasn’t looking too promising for sunsets, but you know how that could change. So we cleaned up and headed to Sunset Point.
Just as I walked out to the edge of Sunset Point the light began changing-another take your breath away moment-thank you again Universe. Sunset Point had about 2-3 dozen people sprinkled along the edges taking photos and enjoying the beauty. I hung around and ended up being the last one to leave.
This was such a spiritual moment for me, being overwhelmed by the fact that something I had wished and hoped for over the past years had really come to be. I stood in that moment, feeling so grateful, so happy and like a little dot in this huge Universe. I hope that some of my photos from Bryce convey that to you, thank you for coming along on my journey-I am so happy to share these times with all of you.
Dreams are the touchstones of our character.
Henry David Thoreau