Adventures & Travel

Looking Back Through 2020

I think everyone can agree that 2020 was not a typical year, and most are ready for it to end.  We have all had to make adjustments and learn to be more aware and cautious.  While some areas were harder hit than others, no area was left untouched by the virus.  Travelling full time in an RV was not without its risks, and I feel like it gave us a really good perspective on the effect this virus has had throughout the country.  As the year went on, it got increasingly harder to get out and do things (and my blogging slowed dramatically), but, despite all of the challenges that this year has brought, we still managed to make the best with what we had, and find the positive everywhere we went. Come along as we look back at some of the highlights and places we travelled in 2020!

January

January saw us leaving Michigan and headed West.  Initially, I had reservations about going to Michigan (I had never been).  Once we got there though, I saw how absolutely beautiful this state was, and immediately fell in love with it.  I hope to return again to Michigan one day as there is so much that we never got a chance to see!

We drove out of Michigan during a pretty good ice/snow storm.  Warmer weather on the West coast was sounding pretty good at this point.

We made our way across the country in about 4 days.  We stopped when we got tired, pulling over into rest areas (the nice thing about rv-ing, is that you always have your bed, bathroom and food with you!)..

At a rest stop in Missouri

eventually making our way out west.

Just outside of Albuquerque, NM

February

February found us at a KOA in Southern California, a town called Yermo, right outside of Barstow.  Yermo is a small town stuck right in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

While we were here, we had the chance to visit Calico Ghost town (click here to read about that visit).  Calico Ghost Town is located in the Calico Mountains in the Mojave Desert.  It was once a mining town in the 1800’s, and today is said to be haunted.

Inside one of the mining tunnels.

We also found a really great place to grab a burger while we were here!  It doesn’t sound like much, but if you ever pass through, you really need to hop off of the interstate and visit Peggy Sue’s Diner!

Not only do they actually have really great food here, but the atmosphere is just fun!  To eat here is like stepping back in time.  The decor, the menus, even the dress of the wait staff, are all a throwback to the 1950’s!  Originally built in 1954, using nothing but railroad ties and mortar from the Union Pacific Rail Yard, Peggy Sue’s has expanded to become an actual tourist stop!

One section of the gift shop at Peggy Sue’s Diner

 

March, April, May and June

In March, we moved on to Las Vegas, Nevada.

This is when Covid hit!

On March 16th, for the first time, the Las Vegas Strip closed all of it’s casinos!

Empty streets in downtown Las Vegas as seen from their live web cam

We managed to arrive at the RV park on Nellis AFB just in time.  The day after we pulled in, they shut the base down.  No other campers were allowed access.  Those who were already there, were being allowed to stay indefinitely Usually it is a max stay of six months.  We had only reserved a month, but with all of the RV parks shutting down, we figured we would be there longer than a month.

Among the closures, were the National Parks.  At Red Rock Canyon National Park, this only pertained to the buildings – no visitor center, no bathrooms, etc.  The hiking trails were still open.  We laced up our hiking boots, and took to the canyons.

Red Rock Canyon is a National Conservation Area that is just about 20 miles outside of the Vegas Strip.  We spent a full day hiking and exploring in and around Owl Creek Canyon (click here to read about our Red Rock Canyon hike).

As the temperatures started warm, we headed out to the Lake Mead National Rec Area to do a little kayaking on the lake (click here to read about Lake Mead).  The park was closed to the general public, but if you had a National Park Pass, you could gain entry.  This made for the perfect time to kayak the lake – normally the lake would be packed with other people boating, kayaking and fishing, but the closure cut down the crowds pretty good.

Our last big adventure in Las Vegas was another hike.  This time, we chose to hike Frenchman Mountain (click here to read about our hike and see a lot more pics).  The mountain is located just east of downtown Las Vegas, and to see it from the road, it doesn’t look too intimidating.  Once you start hiking though, you see how rapidly that impression changes.  It was a pretty intense hike, but worth every step!  The entire hike took a little over five and a half hours, and once you reached the summit, you could see everything!  You could see Las Vegas, Lake Mead, Red Rock Canyon, the surrounding desert and the rest of the mountain ranges.  The view was spectacular!

By the end of June, the temperatures were soaring in Las Vegas.  Daytime highs were averaging 110-112 degrees, and nights were “cooling off” to the mid 90’s.  RV parks had started to reopen, allowing people to make reservations again.  We chose to relocate to somewhere with more comfortable weather.  We chose to head up to Wyoming.

July

We took a few days to get to Wyoming.  We passed through some beautiful scenery along the way, and stopped at a few RV parks to overnight for a night or two.

Williams, Arizona

 

 

Sunset in Williams, AZ

Our first stop was in Williams, Arizona…also known as “the gateway to the Grand Canyon”.  Though we didn’t visit the Grand Canyon on this trip, we did think that Williams was a beautiful area!  Not at all what most people probably picture when they think of Arizona!

Kirtland AFB RV Park

Our next stop was in Albuquerque, NM at the Kirtland AFB Famcamp.  We never left the base while we were here – most places were still closed – but the famcamp was nice and provided a night or two to just relax.

Our last stop before Wyoming was in Colorado.  We stayed at the KOA in Pueblo for several nights.  We had stayed at this RV park before, and enjoyed our time here.

Riverwalk – Pueblo, CO

 

 

Pueblo Union Depot building

 

Neon Alley

 

Neon Alley

Downtown Pueblo has a lot to enjoy.  They have a really pretty riverwalk, bordered by shops and restaurants.  While a lot of the places had limited/outside only seating, we were able to grab a bite to eat.  We even sat and listened to some local talent sing for everyone one evening.  In the historic area, we took a walk past the old train depot, and walked down Neon Alley.  Neon Alley was interesting because of all of the vintage neon signs that cover the sides of the buildings.  There is an ordinance in Pueblo that prohibits neon signs on the streets.  A local preservationist who had been collecting neon signs his whole life, got around the ordinance by mounting them in an alley.  Today it is a popular attraction for people to wander through the alley – especially at night when they are all lit!  I should have done a post on downtown Pueblo, but just never did – maybe as a future post 🙂

Our last stop on this trip was Cheyenne.  We spent a month in Cheyenne.  By this time, Covid numbers were back on the rise, and most places were closed.  We stayed at the RV park on FE Warren AFB, and it was perfect.  We were entertained everyday with the wildlife that would stand right outside the camper windows…

We did a “self walking” tour of downtown Historic Cheyenne (click here to read more about the historic district in Cheyenne)..

The Tivoli

 

Governor’s Mansion

 

and went on a lot of nature walks…

We did a lot of walking around the base itself, checking out all of the historic buildings that make up the base (most are still used today!)

August

As July came to an end, we would be heading out East.  Before heading east though, I detoured up north a little.  My first stop was Idaho.  While in Idaho, we went on a relaxing nature walk through the Greenbelt in Boise.

We also did a little kayaking down the Boise River in the Lucky Peak Rec area.

To see more on the Greenbelt and Boise River, click here!

After Idaho, we shot up to Montana!  While here, we did a little more kayaking – this time on the Clark Fork (you can read more – and see more pics – of the Clark Fork by clicking here)..

We also did a little canning with some Choke Cherries that we picked 🙂 …

Click here for the recipe on this very yummy jam!

September, October

By now it was time to head east!  I allowed myself a week to get to the east coast.  My original plan was to stop and sightsee along the way.  However, due to Covid numbers, closures, and the fact that I was towing our utility trailer, those plans changed.  Instead, I drove for about 4 or 5 hours a day, and made it to Tennessee in about 4 or 5 days.

Taking a break in Bozeman, MT

 

Park City, MT

 

Lunch by the river in Spearfish, SD

 

Train crossing in Sioux City, IA

About an hour into my cross country drive, I decided I really needed a way to capture some of the awesome scenery that we always drive through.  On this trip, I was limited to my stops, but the drive, as long as it was, was absolutely beautiful!

We reached Tennessee – just in time for it to rain for an ENTIRE month!  During rain breaks, we went on nature walks and enjoyed the beauty of the Great Smokey Mountains!

We even found (and harvested) our very first Lions Mane mushroom!

Our visit to Tennessee, as well as our first time cooking Lions Mane, will also be future posts!  If you have never had Lions Mane before, it tastes (and has the same texture) just like lobster!

November

November found us heading a little further up the east coast to Maryland.  The RV park is situated right in the middle of the Presidential Golf Course, which makes for a pretty quiet campsite 🙂

With Fall turning quickly to Winter, we managed to get a visit to a local Farm Market (to read about Miller Farms, click here)

We visited Old Town Alexandria as they were preparing for the holiday season

We had spent the whole month of November, making and assembling Christmas goody baskets to deliver to family and friends…

By the end of November, there was Thanksgiving to plan for

as well as the trip back to Idaho and Montana for Christmas and New Years.

We enjoyed Thanksgiving just outside of where I grew up, so we took a quick drive to see my childhood home..

December

I made the 2400+ mile drive across the country in quick time!  There were a couple of storms that I managed to miss (thankfully), catching just the tail end of both…

 

Pennsylvania Turnpike

 

Waterfall, PA

 

South Jacksonville, IL

 

St Joseph, MO

 

Co-pilot – fueled by Cheetos

 

Without fail, between Laramie and Rawlins, WY, I always hit the worst weather for driving…

 

Little America is always a good place to stop before leaving WY.

Before we knew it, we had reached our destination…Idaho and the excitement of the Christmas Season!

Wherever this Christmas season finds you, we hope that everyone is able to find joy and happiness as 2020 begins to wrap itself up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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