Unpacking the Whale

Our lives as wanderers means that with each stop, we have to pack up and strap down our home, and make home afresh at each new campsite.  Sounds tedious, eh? But as you can see, from setting up the kitchen to pouring in drain cleaner and fluffing pillows, it takes no time at all…

 

Boondocking 101: On Water

Dry-camping in Colorado. Well worth learning how to conserve water.

Mastering (i.e. attempting) boondocking* (i.e. dry-camping) is a new skill that has taken over our lives in the first months of this year. Appropriate somehow, since we started our journey in the Western deserts and water conservation is a big theme in these lands.

Filling up with our 39 gallons at Joshua Tree

Living in a trailer, we’re living in an odd half-state between “normal” home conveniences and tent camping – all depending on 3 magic lines – electric, water, and sewage. When connected to all 3 lines as a “full hook-up” we get to live like we are in a normal (albeit tiny) home with high pressure running water, tv, lights and air-conditioning, and could go about taking long showers and sudsing up a ton of dishes without a care in the world. Pretty excellent, considering our backyards are some pretty spectacular places. 

Continue reading “Boondocking 101: On Water”

Top 5 Eats and Cheats from Hiking the Grand Canyon

Bright Angel camp’s temporary cooking station.
The most fun part (for me) of prepping for our Grand Canyon hike was thinking about food. Meal planning four days of camp food was a new challenge for a city girl like me. No sandwiches, as cold cuts won’t last out of the fridge and bread is easily squished. Canned goods are heavy, raw eggs are delicate, hard-boiled eggs go bad too fast, and don’t even think about fresh veg and fruit. Moose goo, S informed me, was the hard core hiker food of choice, but the idea of eating dry pellets of peanut butter and corn flour dough wasn’t too appealing.

Gear for 4 days in the Grand Canyon. It’s….mostly food.
Continue reading “Top 5 Eats and Cheats from Hiking the Grand Canyon”

Half way there! 25 National Parks, 25,000 Miles and Counting….


Summer’s in full swing here in South Dakota, and we’ve hit 25 National Parks out of 50, and put 25,000+ miles on the road with The Dude.  With the Whale in tow, we’ve hit 10,000 miles since January and have managed to drive about 3/4 of the way around the United States.

It’s hard to believe that in 6 months we’ve managed to drive down the Californian coast to the Texan-Mexico borderlands and swing up along the wildflower-ridden Appalachians.  Then it was down down down the length of Florida to the Southernmost tip of the US in Key West, and the up up up along the East Coast to the icy lobster-rich waters of Bar Harbor, Maine.  From that easternmost point, we darted westward, exploring the Boundary Waters of the North Woods of Minnesota, and then across the Great Plains to the Badlands.

It’s been a dizzying, amazing ride so far.  And now, there’s only 25 National Parks to go…

 

A grill worthy of our meat

Grilling in the shadow of Joshua Trees

Prayer After Eating

I have taken in the light
that quicken eye and leaf.
May my brain be bright with praise
of what I eat, in the brief blaze or motion and of thought.
May I be worthy of my meat.

– Wendell Berry

Dinner, all courtesy of the Grill

As we’ve been adjusting to living in the parks in our tiny home, the biggest (and best) change is how much of our life is spent outdoors. Not just hiking and exploring the parks, but even in living. The outdoors is an extension of our living room and kitchen, a place to read, nap, cook. And for the first time in our lives, grilling over a hot fire has become a regular part of our cooking repertoire, and it is awesome. Continue reading “A grill worthy of our meat”

50 in 50: Month One in 30 Seconds

If a picture says a thousand words, a video says… a couple thousand?  Who can really say how many words we’d need to detail our adventures, but sometimes just one second of a memory is worth more than a million words.

As part of our 50 in 50 project, I’m creating a video where we record one second of footage for every day of our journey, stringing them together to create a mini-documentary of our lives.  At the end of this year’s journey, we’ll have squeezed all our adventures into one six-minute video, demonstrating visibly how time does indeed fly when you’re having fun.

Here’s Month 1 of Parks on Wheels.

*This is all courtesy of 1SE (One Second Everyday), a great app that I recommend to all people who long to journal but get a little too tired to find the words some days!

The Best First Hiking Trip for Canyon Newbies – Part I

As Teddy Roosevelt, one of the great champions of the National Parks said of the Grand Canyon – “This is the one great sight which every American should see.” And people all over the world, not just Americans, seem to have taken this to heart – in 2016 the Grand Canyon had over 6 million visitors. But did you know that 90% of people visiting the Grand Canyon only spend a half day there? And only 5% ever leave the rim to walk any distance into the canyon? An even smaller 1% make their way down to camp at the bottom.*

Plateau Point, in the middle of our Bright Angel ascent

Continue reading “The Best First Hiking Trip for Canyon Newbies – Part I”

The roadtrip before The Roadtrip

Before we even picked up the Grey Whale in Portland, S and I took a hunting/gathering road trip to pick up the pick-up, not to mention all the gear and supplies stashed in our family homes from the Midwest to the coast. Rather than rush as we originally planned, we decided to hit some parts of middle America that we’ll miss this year just because there are no National Parks present.

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Sculpture garden in Kansas City

We followed the Mississippi downstream from Wisconsin, then crossed the plains of Kansas and climbed the Rockies via Denver, cut across Wyoming and Idaho and finally Oregon to Portland.  We saw that there is beauty everywhere – even without a National Park Service designation, even in the dead of winter during unforeseen blizzards, hail storms, and bitter cold snaps.  We also learned a lot. Continue reading “The roadtrip before The Roadtrip”