Year Trip – 25 Days To Go

gorgeWe are getting ready for our year trip and for this trip my husband and I decided to use a new blogging site, which might help get more traffic and exposure. I am still learning how to use it but for now you can check out the new site here: http://www.yeartrip.net

This is the site we will chronicle all of our adventures, mishaps and tips that we feel important to share. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

kg

What do I want to be when I grow up?

This is a question my daughters ask me from time to time, and my first answer is always – ALIVE! I am just happy to be here and every day is a blessing, but what am I passionate about and what do I want to do when I am here and alive on the planet, well that is a very good question!

Lunch at the edge of nowhere.

Lunch at the edge of nowhere.

What I really, truly want to do is explore and share my experiences with people. I want to write about travel. Technically that is what I am doing, but I don’t do it enough, and I don’t get paid for it – that would be a nice little perk. But I also want to spend time with my family and watch my girls grow and learn and explore as well and really enjoy life while we can. Not just go along with the rat race that ends up being our daily lives – day in and day out, doing the same thing over and over again.

And because of that, Andrew and I are working on our “Year on the Road” plan. Also known as: The Gap Year. The Sabbatical. The “I need to take this trip or I need to move out of the country” trip. (We are still working out names). I believe it is important for everyone to leave the city that they grew up in for a little while, see new things, find some adventures and take some risks. My big trip was traveling through Europe after college graduation (that was a long time ago), this was one of the best and most memorable trips of my entire life – maybe that is because I met my husband, my soul mate, my best friend, and the person I love more than anything, on that trip! And he also loves to travel and explore and can use a little break from reality for a bit.

That’s the selfish part, we have Wanderlust and we want to see the world – or our entire country to start. We have talked about taking big trips like this a few times in our lives, but one thing or another keeps getting in our way, so this time, we are going for it! We also want to connect with our kids and give them an experience of a lifetime, we are not getting any younger and this world is going crazy, everyone is on devices all the time, connected to a screen, we have ADD, we are always trying to multi-tasking – it is craziness! We need to slow down and stop to breathe. We want to see the trees, hear the birds, smell the flowers, get out and SEE OUR WORLD. I know this will be an amazing, educational experience for our kids, we will learn so much while we are out there – more than they learn in the classroom. We will be learning in all aspects of our life on the road. And this will be something that they will always remember – and possibly the theme of their college essays or conversations with their future therapists. Either way, it will be time together as a family.

We understand that this trip is entirely possible and at the same time understand that there will be some challenges. We know that a lot of people think we are crazy (which is part of the reason we want to do it). We know there will be bumps along the road, but this is our goal: Our family of four will take 9-12 months, starting the summer of 2015 (exact dates TBD), living out of our truck camper traveling around the US & Canada, we would love to travel and explore with family and friends all over the country.  We invite anyone to come and travel with us, maybe we will come and camp in your driveway – Danny, Debbie, Houser Cousins. We would love to travel with you on your breaks – Skiing over Spring Break anyone? Let’s plan it. We are going to start mapping out our plan and we would love for Family and Friends to be part of that plan!

This is our goal and we are working towards it. This is my way of becoming a travel journalist. Starting in my 40th year (or 41st – however you look at it) I am going to start writing about it.  Please follow my blog, and keep us accountable. I will do my best to post at least once a week about what type of progress we are making towards our goal of living on the road.

Thank You Friends! I have had a wonderful birthday weekend and I am looking forward to many more amazing days ahead!

Lots of love!

Until Next Time, kg

—- https://untilnexttimekg.com/

The 3-Week Trip

Over the past few months, our family has been talking about our summer trip – which ended up being named “The 3-Week Trip”, Andrew and I had a lot of planning to do, what to bring, where exactly we would be going, what we needed for the camper, etc. Whenever we talked about it we called it “The 3-Week Trip”. After months of talking about it, the time finally came that we got to pull out of our drive way and set out on “The 3-Week Trip”! Our first stop was Bend, Oregon to visit our good friends Tom & Lisa and their dog Ruby. We parked Wolf Creek in the driveway and took the bikes off the front of the truck and got busy in Bend. We rode our bikes everywhere, to dinner, to the park, to the river and all the spots in between. We had a great time paddling and floating down the Deschutes River in the sunshine. It should be noted, this is not a simple ride down the river, you do need to have a little skill and be aware of what is going on around you, at one point on the river you need to exit at the Colorado Ave bridge, if you are not watching the signs you could get into serious trouble and head into the portage. Andrew found this out the hard way, from his paddle board, he skillfully helped a family from disaster and helped them get to safety. We also enjoyed some lovely meals in Bend. While Tom & Lisa were kind enough to make lots of snacks, dinner and breakfast for us, one night we went out and rode to an awesome food truck pavilion called The Lot.This place was great, it had something for everyone, there are about 8-10 food trucks surrounding a covered patio with a bar in the middle! Perfection! We all got what we wanted, didn’t spend too much money, it was lovely.

Walking Ruby

Walking Ruby

Camping in Bend

Camping in Bend

 

 

 

 

 

After 2 nights in Bend we were off to our next stop. We headed to South Lake Tahoe to a place called Camp Richardson, on the California side of the Lake Tahoe. One thing we did realize on this trip is that driving time in the camper is a lot different than driving times provided by Google Maps. We found out that when Google says it will take 7 hours to get somewhere it will really take us about 9-10 hours, as the trip went on we made the adjustments and determined that on our next long road trip driving times will be much shorter and staying times will be longer. When we finally got into Camp Richardson after about 9 hours on the road, we were greeted by a huge thunderstorm (which made getting the paddle board on the roof a little tricky), but we couldn’t let it keep us in, we needed dinner so we set off in our ponchos to the restaurant and had dinner in the historic Beacon Bar & Grill. The next day the sun came out, in the morning we rode our bikes into town to get groceries for dinner and in the afternoon we were able to play on the water. Andrew and the girls rented a jet ski, while I paddled around the lake.  We enjoyed dinner at the campsite that night and the girls made friends with the other kids on their bikes. It was a great sight watching the kids bike around with other girls from Nevada & California, they had fun checking out other kids campers, making plans to meet up and exchanging addresses to be pen pals. One great thing about being away from home for awhile is that the kids learn to break out of their comfort zone and explore new things and meet new people.

Fun on Lake Tahoe

Fun on Lake Tahoe

tahoe bike gang

Lake Tahoe Bike Gang

 

We spent 2 nights at Lake Tahoe and then we were off to the Grand Canyon, another super long drive — seeing a trend yet? After this long trip, we learned no more driving at night. Setting up at night, even in a camper is tricky, but we made it to the North Rim without hitting any wildlife (thank God and super driver Andrew!) and rested up for a great day at the Canyon. In the morning we got up and headed to Point Imperial, the highest point on the North Rim at 8,803 feet (2,683 meters), overlooking the Painted Desert and the eastern end of Grand Canyon. We hiked one of the rim trails for a couple hours and then had lunch in the camper, overlooking the Canyon. For me, this was one of the highlights of the trip and one of the things I love about having our camper. Being able to have all your stuff right there is so convenient and made lunch a great experience. After lunch we explored the North Rim lodge and listened to some great Ranger Talks. The next day we took a tougher hike down into the canyon. We started at the North Kaibab Trail, headed down past the Supai Tunnel into the Roaring Springs Canyon. We turned around at the bridge that was recently built and headed back up, overall we hiked about 6.5 miles – we were super proud of the girls. It took about 2 hours to get down and only 2 hours and 15 minutes to get back up. They were super hikers! After the long day of hiking we had lunch at the North Rim Lodge and then decided to get on the road so that we could break up our 10 hour drive to the cabin in New Mexico into two days of driving – instead of one long day…see we’re learning! We did a little cheat here and ended up in a hotel in Farmington, NM. We were going to find a place to camp but with the camper packed with the paddle board, bikes, a bbq and much more, we couldn’t really boondock it with all our gear. We enjoyed clean sheets, fresh showers and a free breakfast! And were able to get on the road early and were able to see family in Eagle Nest in the early afternoon.

Beautiful Grand Canyon

Beautiful Grand Canyon

The view from the camper for our lunch stop at Imperial Point

The view from the camper for our lunch stop at Point Imperial

Relaxing at the North Rim  lodge.

Relaxing at the North Rim lodge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super hikers made it to the bridge!

Super hikers made it to the bridge!

 

 

 

We stayed in Eagle Nest for five days, this was a great time to visit with our family, do some laundry, sleep in real beds and spread out a bit. The first night we headed into Red River with cousins Jon & Monica and watched the two-steppers at the Motherlode Saloon. Andrew and I learned that we are not two-steppers and probably shouldn’t try again until we take some lessons. We spent a lot of time in Red River and Taos. The highlight of this trip was by far our hot air balloon ride with Eske’s Paradise Balloons. We started the morning by taking off in a hot air balloon at sunrise, touching down into the Rio Grande Canyon and then enjoying a champagne breakfast on the river. Absolutely amazing and breathtaking views. I love hot air balloons and in our past trips to New Mexico we have watched the balloon rallies, and always talked about going up in one, but thought the girls were too young. This trip they were old enough and it was AWESOME!

Girls in the balloon basket.

Girls in the balloon basket.

hot air balloon ride

Our balloon almost in the Rio Grande

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a great week at the cabin but had more of the Western US to see, on this trip we ended up going through all of the Western US states (except for Texas). The next stop was Dinosaur National Monument. This ended up to be the favorite spot for both the girls on the trip. The campground near Green River was great, we were close to the river, there was huge hill for the girls to climb and run down, we played in the water, hiked and explored all the amazing fossils, dinosaur bones and Petroglyphs. The Quarry Exhibit Hall was extraordinary, it was fascinating to see all that has been discovered in this part of the country and it was fun to imagine what it must have been like millions of years ago.

Touching real dinosaur bones!

Touching real dinosaur bones!

Playing in Green River

Playing in Green River

As we started on our second half of the trip, we headed North. Our next destination was Henry’s Lake in Idaho, near the western entrance of Yellowstone. On the way there we stopped in Jackson Hole at one of our favorite spots, Snakeriver Brewery – now you know why it takes us so long to get to each spot. In addition to driving slow (or at least the speed limit) we do like to stop for lunch and try to get out stretch our legs and have something other than gas station snacks and fast food. When we got to Henry’s Lake it was super windy and cold. Which we were very sad about, it was a beautiful campground and an awesome lake, but way too chilly to paddle board. Instead of spending the day on the lake we decided to explore Yellowstone, which was great. We had camped there a few years ago but really didn’t see all the park. This trip we saw geysers, boiling mud pots, tons of bison, elk and the girls finished their third Jr. Ranger program of the trip (they also got Jr. Ranger badges in Grand Canyon & Dinosaur). At a few points we got a little too close to the wildlife. A giant bison ended up galloping in front of us while we were exploring the mud pots.This was a bit frightening as it is a

Bison ready to charge across the boardwalk we were on!

Bison ready to charge across the boardwalk we were on!

huge animal and it was moving very fast. Andrew was not pleased that our family was not all together when the bison was moving, but in my defense, I did not want to get in front of it, so I stayed put (but I may have been taking a few too many photos prior to the running of the bison). Another learning moment. From the bison experience we knew it is safest to stay together, so when we were crowded by tons of elk in Mammoth Hot Springs, we stayed together as a family and let the Park Rangers tell us where to go and how to stay out of their way. And we still got some great photos!

Elk wondering in Mammoth Hot Springs

Elk wondering in Mammoth Hot Springs

Yellowstone

Yellowstone

We left Yellowstone late in the day and headed out for a short drive to Bozeman, MT, where we planned to stay a couple nights with my brother Dan. Since he was working that night we planned on eating at Dave’s Sushi, where he is one the sushi chefs. We sat at the bar and had Dan whip up whatever he felt like for us, with a few requests from the girls. The mango cucumber roll was a favorite! The next day we headed out to the Hyalite Reservoir. This little gem is only a few miles outside of Bozeman and college kids and families come to picnic, hike and play on the water. We had super fun day paddling with Uncle Dan and hanging out on the water. We really wish we had more time to hang out in Montana, but our trip was coming to an end and we had a few more stops on the way home. After a home cooked dinner with Dan and his friends, we hit the road again the next morning.

Girls paddling with Uncle Dan.

Girls paddling with Uncle Dan.

The last leg of our road trip ended in our home state of Washington. We drove most the day and ended up at Alta Lake State Park. This one of the many areas that was devastated by the wild fires at the beginning of the summer and had been closed down for awhile. As a result, a lot of the area was burnt down, houses, camp grounds and tons of trees were all gone. It was very sad to see all the devastation that the fire caused, and also amazing to see how much in such close proximity survived. Luckily the fires have been over for awhile and the park was reopened, and we were able to enjoy it with a few less crowds.The weather was the

Fun playing at Alta Lake

Fun playing at Alta Lake

hottest at Alta Lake than it was anywhere else on our trip, the day we spent on the lake it was almost 90 degrees! Which made it great to sit on the beach, paddle, play in the water and slowly prepare for re-entry. Our last stop on the trip was Lake Chelan. We took a family vote and decided that we wanted to see another new town and park, so we took a gamble and checked to see if anyone may have checked out early at the Lake Chelan’s Lakeshore RV Park – we got lucky!

Signs of the fire in Alta Lake State Park

Signs of the fire in Alta Lake State Park

Although you generally need to book it 9 months in advance, when people go home early, we got a spot! We spent our day in Chelan biking to lunch at Campbell’s Resort and then on to Slide Waters water park – this was the girls choice and we figured they had been such super campers over the whole trip, they got to have their choice of activities that day.

The next day we got up and had to head home, we decided to make one more fun stop in the town of Leavenworth. We had a yummy lunch at Icicle Brewing Company, bought fudge, nuts and fancy olive oil to take home and then we made the super short drive (just 2.5 hours) home. Coming home was bittersweet, we had tons of laundry and gear to put away, but it was great to get back to familiar faces, sleeping in our own rooms and falling back into a normal routine.

The girls are back at school now, which is the only way I would be able to get all these thoughts down in one day. And now its on to thinking about the next big trip. I just bought my wall map of the US & Canada so we can plot out where we will go next!

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed our adventures. We certainly have!

Until Next Time!

kg

Weekend Redeemed!

photo (21)It has been awhile since I have had a chance to write a recap of our last ski/camping weekend. I have been busy with some other exciting projects. As I had reported in a previous post, we have had our share of challenges when camping at the ski area. Luckily, our past camping weekend has been redeemed! When we headed up for our last weekend of ski lessons, my husband and I gave our girls plenty of advance notice of what the weekend would entail and we made sure that we all had the same expectations. We found out that by talking about what we wanted to get out of the weekend ahead of time and what we wanted to avoid, we all knew what to expect and we all ended up happy. Not to mention, there was a great festival going on at the ski area the day we were there, the sun was shining and we had friends and family enjoying the day with us.image (4)

The weekend was fun and relaxing and we even had some fun conversations about our next camping adventure, which will be a trip down the Oregon Coast over Spring Break. More to come on that… until next time!

Family Time In Vancouver

In years past, Andrew and I have agreed with his brother Alex & his wife Anna that we really don’t need to buy gifts for Christmas and instead we should give experiences. Last year we took a trip to Victoria, and we had a lovely time exploring the city. This year we decided to extend the gift giving to Andrew & Alex’s parents. Instead of buying a book on history or something for the kitchen we decided we would plan a train trip for the WHOLE FAMILY! This past weekend, all 10 of us loaded the Amtrak Train and headed north to Vancouver. I am  really bummed we didn’t get one photo of the whole crew, considering we were all taking photos, but this is us at a holiday brunch this past Christmas, so it all ties together. family_xmas

On Friday morning, we took advantage of the mid-winter break for Seattle schools and loaded the train around 7:45am. The train ride is a great way to travel with family and kids, you can spread out and explore the train, the girls were able to run back and forth to the lounge car, I got to have some uninterupted reading time with my nephew Ollie, I watched over him while he napped, while the grown ups got to enjoy a beverage in the lounge car with the girls.

Once we got to Vancouver, we had a tasty lunch and explored Robson Street and did a little shopping. The girls also loved the hotel pool – swimming is one of their favorite activities, so while some of the others napped we did some swimming before dinner.

The second day our adventures took us to Grandville Island, this little island has an amazing public market and a super cool kids market. And when I say kids market, I really mean: crazy, insane building with tons of stuff for kids. After walking to the ferry dock (about one mile), walking around the island, these girls still had energy to burn in the crazy ball pit and tube mazes. We made sure to fully sanitize and, of course, swim and shower after this little outing.

ball pitgrandvilleisland

We had dinner at two different Joe restaurants that probably couldn’t be more different from each other. The first night was Joey – which was in the bottom of a building what seemed like the financial district. This was a recommendation from the cocierge at the Sutton Place Hotel, it was nice because we got to eat early, but it was not the best atmosphere for chatting with each other. The dinner was tasty and the service was fairly quick, which is a nice perk with kids. The second night dinner was at a restaurant called Joe Fortes, also a recommendation from the cocierge but a different style all together, still loud so our kids didn’t stand out, but this was a bit more of an upscale seafood and chop house, dinner was fabulous, but not as speedy as the night before and for some diners its hard to sit still for too long. But our waiter took great care of us and we all had a great dinner.

Sunday morning it was time to head home, and in order to have a day to regroup, we opted to take the earlier train home, which meant leaving our cozy hotel at 5:30am. Needless to say we tried to rest and sleep on the train, but that’s easier said then done with 2 little girls looking for attention. In the end we were very happy to be on the early  train home, considering the train that left later that afternoon was cancelled due to mudslides, passengers on the second train between Everett to Seattle had to be bussed to their location. Overall, it was great trip, there was quite a bit of planning, coralling and coordinating to get everyone in the same place at the same time, but it is fun to have these types of family adventures to look back on.

So, until next time, who knows were next year’s Christmas presents will take us!