#VanLife: Two Months In The Books!

Some predicted we wouldn’t make it a month…..well, we’ve officially completed 2+ months on the road! In a van. Spending 24/7 together. Who knew?!

5.08.2018 – 5.16.2018 Spent the week in Flagstaff, AZ camping north of town in the Coconino Forest. Man did the higher elevation temps feel amazing. There were mountain bike trails leading right from our campsite! MoZee didn’t move for days. We also enjoyed going to a yoga class and dining in the old downtown area. Not so enjoyable was getting MoZee’s windshield and brakes replaced. Adulting….ugh! Flagstaff offered great food (including a couple plant-based restaurants that were the bomb!!!), biking trails, mountain views, cooler temps, and friendly locals – which led us to checking out available jobs and digs. We could see ourselves possibly living here….someday! (Click on individual photos to enlarge)

5.17.2018 Sedona was finally out of their heat wave! We returned to hike the West Fork Trail before heading to Scottsdale to meet our friends. Arrived super early in the morning to hike before all the other tourists joined us, listening to the birds singing their songs along the way. Beautiful hike!

5.18.2018 – 5.20.2018 Scottsdale! Our friend, Erica, graciously invited us to join her and a few of her friends at her amazing family home in Scottsdale. Not that we don’t love residing in MoZee, but modern amenities for a few days was refreshing! We had a lot of fun catching up, lounging by the pool, relaxing in the hot tub, playing games, hopping around old town Scottsdale, and giving them a lift to the airport for a taste of #vanlife.

5.21.2018 – 5.27.2018 GRAND Canyon. Andy applied for several rim-to-rim permits last December. We got NONE of them. One of the luxuries of living the #vanlife lifestyle is that we have time. Walked up to the ranger station Monday morning and was 12th in line to apply for permits…..denied! Walked up Tuesday morning and was 4th in line…….bingo! We were able to secure two nights in the canyon. Andy won’t let me type the word “backcountry” when describing anything about the Grand Canyon as it was anything BUT a backcountry adventure. Don’t get me wrong, the hike was beautiful. We enjoyed panoramic views for miles. However, we were surprised to find numerous power lines, power boxes, drinking fountains, water lines, pump houses, flush toilets, and an air conditioned hotel in the bottom of the canyon with a full service restaurant, bar, and supplies. And people. Holy cow. Couldn’t believe how many people were on the trail. Some running the entire thing in one day. Some coming down on horses. Some having their gear carried in by mules. The horses and mules tear up the trail, and leave their waste along the way. Yummy!

2018-05-26 11.21.41

Day #1: Woke early and walked from the campground to the North Kaibab trailhead. We planned our days to seek shade during the 10am-4pm HOT time of the day. On our way down the North Rim, we stopped at Ribbon Falls for FIVE hours. Amazing. I napped. Andy read & cooled off in the waterfall. Stayed at Bright Angel Campground along the creek. One of the rangers led a nocturnal animal presentation at the amphitheater. Was a LONG day of 15 total miles.

Day #2: Hiked from Bright Angel to Indian Gardens Campground. Enjoyed views of the Colorado River along the way. Set up camp and hung out in the tent to avoid the heat. Couldn’t believe our campsite had a covered picnic table! That evening we hiked out to Plateau Point to watch the sunset. Beautiful. 7.8 total miles.

Day #3: Woke up super early (for me) at 4:30am to hike 4.5 miles up the South Rim before the heat arrived. Finished at 7:45am – earlier than anticipated. And easier. Though I won’t be doing any one day rim-to-rim-to-rim runs anytime soon.

5.27.2018 – 6.03.2018 Southwest ColoRADical. After spending two month in desert, we were both ready to head back to the mountains!! First stop, Cortez. Spent a few days checking out Mesa Verde National Park and mountain biking at Phil’s World. Andy made me ride the “Rib Cage” section twice. Heard a few giggles and whoops from him along the way. He and the locals are still talking about that section of the trail.

Second stop, Durango. Andy rode down a mountain bike trail while I chatted with my bestie back home and acted as his bike shuttle. Took the San Juan Scenic Byway north to Silverton. Hiked up to Ice Lakes – name proved to be true this time of year. Though covered with snow, it was awesome!!! Only a handful of other hikers on the trail as it isn’t their busy season yet. Everyone was super friendly.

The next morning MoZee was tired and wouldn’t start! EEK. After a quick diagnosis, Andy got her started with a trusty dusty screwdriver and into town we went. The Bearded Wonder was able to look at it right away and ordered our part. A couple of days he said. When someone comes down from Montrose and brings him his parts. Still waiting on that part. Lol. We were able to get another hike in while we wait, Highland Mary’s. MoZee wasn’t able to make it all the way up to the trailhead so we were able to add another 1.5 miles onto the hike. We were the only people on the trail until we were almost finished. It was fun doing detective work and trying to find the trail in certain areas as there was a LOT of snow and HUGE rocks to scramble over. We passed three lakes on our way up to Highland Mary’s, being the largest of them all. So cool. Peaceful, serene, quiet. No humans. No traffic noises. Read our books, meditated, then it started getting hazy. The fires down in Durango were spreading and the smoke was rolling in. We hoofed it back down and picked up a hitchhiker along the way. Just kidding, Hunter! Hunter has been hiking the CDT since mid-April and needed a ride to his buddy’s in Silverton. So, here we are in Silverton……still waiting on that part!

Current status:

Andy – Hungry. Does the altitude make you hungry all the time?! It’s all I’ve been hearing out of him as of late.

Monica – Turns out, also hungry. Though this glass of wine and sitting out front of the coffee shop freeloading on wi-fi is pretty fulfilling in itself.

2 thoughts on “#VanLife: Two Months In The Books!

  1. WOW yet again!!! You guys are really hitting some great places and still managing to do everything you set out to do and more! BRAVO! And the photos are awesome! Keep up the good work and stay safe! ~ lz
    PS Mrs. LZ and I just got back from Great Sand Dunes NP. We loved it… but it was a little spoiled by the forest fires that put not only a lot of smoke in the air, but also made us change travle plans and directions. But still enjoyed the Dunes!

    Liked by 1 person

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