Our first month on the road flew by as we traveled from Austin, Texas to Wyoming. As we sit and stare in awe of the Tetons, we reflect on our experiences. This month was filled with lots of fun, adventures, lessons learned, and a few challenges. We are enjoying our new life style, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t had some bumps in the road and some adjustments along the way. We’ve been so busy that we haven’t written about any of our experiences yet, so we will try to catch everyone up with our journey so far.
We left Texas on July 5th from Stephenville, Texas. A friend of ours has plenty of land and allowed us to store our trailer here until we were able to hit the road. We were SO ready to get on the road and start our adventure, not to mention escape the Texas heat (maybe the one thing we don’t miss about Austin). We spent the whole day driving and stayed the night at Valley View RV Park in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Check out Campground Reviews for more info on that RV park and any we mention in this post. The highlight for us was the ice cream from Dariland across the street.
From Fort Sumner, we continued our journey towards Santa Fe. We stayed at Los Suenos de Santa Fe. The park was in a great location, lots of grocery stores, restaurants, and shops near by.
We also had the opportunity to check out the popular art installation, Meow Wolf. If you find yourself in Santa Fe, make sure to stop here. Be sure to arrive early because it gets crowded, but it is a must see! We (including Gizmo!) walked around the plaza where many shops and restaurants are located and enjoyed an evening stroll through a park near The Railyard. We also spent time exploring a Sunday morning artisan market there.
Santa Fe felt a lot like Austin to us and we really enjoyed our time there. There were great grocery stores like Trader Joe’s and Natural Grocer, lots of beautiful murals and artwork, and even a little free library!
We headed to Ojo Caliente, New Mexico next. We stayed in the RV portion of Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Spa and Resort. We don’t have any photos of the actual hot springs because they don’t allow phones, but it was amazing! A thunderstorm came through while we were there so we waited it out in one of the covered pools. After it passed, the sky cleared and we had a great view of the sunset. We enjoyed watching the swallows flying around while the sun went down.
New Mexico really was a land of enchantment and we look forward to visiting again.
We headed to Steamboat Springs, Colorado after our relaxing time in Ojo Caliente. We originally planned to stay at Eagle Soaring RV Park for two nights and spend two nights boondocking outside of town, but after driving around for several hours searching for a spot and realizing we would be 45 minutes outside of town, we decided to stay two more nights at Eagle Soaring and treated ourselves to some Domino’s pizza (a new favorite of ours since being on the road, we think it must be because it’s familiar and honestly, who doesn’t love a $5.99 cheese pizza?!).
We did a lot of hiking and Matt did quite a bit of fly fishing (a new found hobby of his).We enjoyed a delicious breakfast at Creek Side Cafe and saw our first black bear scrounging for trash in a dumpster! Matt also had an eventful backpacking trip where he was caught in a hail storm. Since he was well prepared, he was fine, but it was still a little scary! We enjoyed spending time with friends before heading to our next destination.
In order to stick to our monthly camping fee budget, we decided to stay at a free site in Hot Sulphur Springs, Pioneer Park. The sites here would be fine for an over-night stay, but 3 nights was too many. Hot Sulphur Springs felt like a ghost town and the park itself felt a little sketchy. There really was not much to do here, at all. There was a walking path and a disc-golf course in the park and Hot Sulphur Springs Resort and Spa nearby. We didn’t go to these hot springs due to lots of bad reviews and Meaghan being a germaphobe.
While in Hot Sulphur Springs, we began to notice that the factory installed batteries in our trailer were insufficient to run our residential fridge overnight which led to our fridge going out in the middle of the night. We weren’t able to get new batteries until we made it to Denver after our time in Rocky Mountain National Park.
We needed to find an RV park with hook-ups, laundry, and access to a grocery store so we decided to venture to Grand Lake, Colorado and stay at Winding River RV Resort. Although we didn’t utilize them, this park had TONS of amenities from horseback rides to ice cream socials. It kind of felt like a place the Griswold’s might stop on one of their vacations. We stocked up on groceries at Mountain Food Market and received some free items for using reusable produce bags! We treated ourselves to pizza (again) at Grand Pizza in town.
We drove to Rocky Mountain National Park and Matt bravely navigated the drive on Timber Ridge Road. It was beautiful and terrifying at the same time. Luckily, he didn’t have the view of the sheer drop inches away from the road until we had safely parked the trailer and ventured back up to explore some more. We stayed at Moraine Park Campground in the park which was conveniently located about 15 minutes from Estes Park. We were able to drive into town when we needed Wi-Fi for work. We ate lunch and worked at Coffee on the Rocks. This was a nice spot with good food, good Wi-Fi, and great views. While at RMNP, we hiked to Emerald Lake and The Loch.
Both were absolutely beautiful! The trail to The Loch was a bit challenging at times and we had to take breaks, but it was more than worth it. We loved all the chipmunks in RMNP! The park was very crowded due to it being a peak time, but the shuttle system made traveling within the park pretty convenient.
We headed to the Medicine Bow National Forest in southern Wyoming with hopes of finding a good boondocking site. There are many dry camping sites here, but they are not free and the majority did not have good cell or wi-fi service. We were in awe of the beauty of this forest and feeling bummed out that we couldn’t stay when Matt remembered there was another option! We drove into Ryan Park Campground and had good cell service and wi-fi (even T-Mobile worked!). We got settled in and then drove up to the Sugar Loaf area to check out some of the lakes. This forest is filled with trails that go through fields of beautiful wildflowers and lead to amazing scenic views. We highly recommend anyone who goes through this area to stop and check it out. It was truly magical. Since it is a national forest, Gizmo was allowed to enjoy some hiking too!
After 5 nights, it was time to dump our tanks and relocate. We dumped our tanks in Saratoga and headed to Rock Springs, Wyoming, to stay at a boondocking site on White Mountain Road. We stopped at the KOA to refill on fresh water before heading up to our spot. We found a great spot with beautiful views and got set up. The only negative aspect of this site was the wind! It was crazy windy. We hoped to see some wild horses, but unfortunately we did not.
We drove down to the Rock Springs KOA to spend the weekend taking care of some things. While in Rock Springs, we were able to restock on groceries, get an oil change, get a car wash, get Gizmo’s nails trimmed, donate some items at Goodwill, and purchase some extra water jugs to refill our fresh water tank. I would definitely recommend picking up a few (we got three).
We attempted to take care of the recyclable items we have been toting around, but after seeing the recycling center overflowing on a very windy day, we decided it would be better to continue toting it around. Luckily, we have since found a recycling bin for most of the items
We left Rock Springs and began the drive to Grand Teton National Park.
We had plans of boondocking on Shadow Mountain, but after a scary drive and an almost impossible turn-around with moments of thinking we might have to be towed out, we ended up back at the base of the Shadow Mountain Camping Area where we have plenty of space and a beautiful view of the Tetons from our doorstep.
We will share more about our experiences at Grand Teton National Park in a later post.
Overall, our first month has been great. We’re still learning and adjusting to our new lifestyle, but so far so good!