13. Spring road trip….April/May/June.2019 

Day 51 6.11  Last day of this trip…
The sky looked amazing at 5:10am when I woke up this morning.  I popped out of Camper & snapped a couple of quick shots from my campsite.

I left camp & headed down highway 119.  Mapquest did a fantastic job of keeping me off I-70 all the way to my destination.  I made a 45 minute stop to eat breakfast in Evergreen.  It’s a really cute town & I have a friend that lives there, but didn’t just want to drop in on her & had less than an hour in town anyway.  But, she’s one lucky lady to live here & she knows it!

I had a yummy breakfast & sat outside on this beautiful morning….the last day of this road trip.

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Then I headed south on a beautiful scenic drive to Conifer, where my cousin Gary & his wife, Ann live.  They live part time in Colorado in a  magnificent wooded setting & part time in Cave Creek AZ…which is also a cool place…it seems far away from the hustle & bustle & sameness of the  big cities of Phoenix & Scottsdale.  Ann’s passion are her beautiful horses & Gary’s is hiking.  He’s got soooo many choices between the two places where he lives to explore & he just retired.  My family is very small & so it’s super special when I get to see one of my two cousins.  I’d talked to him a few days ago & we made plans for me to stop by for a couple of hours this morning.  I was such a great visit!  I follow both their kids on Facebook, but it was so fun hearing more about them (such interesting lives!) & also about Ann & Gary.  We mostly talked travel & horse talk (I love to hear Ann talk about her horses…they are beautiful!) & family.  I brought them up to date on my kids & grandkids too.  I might get to see them again this summer, on my way back to Denver from CB to pick up Danny at the airport.  That would be fun.

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With hugs good bye & hopes to see them again soon, I headed east.  I made one more stop to fill up my tank & buy some ice, then I put on my podcast & drove east.  All the rest of the day.  All the rest of the evening.  Yikesthis boring drive gets longer every time I do it.  Id left Denver around 2:30 mountain time & pulled into our driveway a little before 11:30 central time.  I gave Danny a quick hug & kiss, said hello, then I went to bed (hes was already asleep having to get up early tomorrow for work).  

My cat was soooooo glad to see me!


Here is a photo of the Japanese Float Ball I made…I love it, but the experience was great!

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This is why Danny doesn’t mind that I travel.

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what worked & what didn’t 
the microspikes
.YES!  They were great.  Easy to slip on & off & tiny to carry in your pack when youre not wearing them.

the new Altra Lone Peak trail shoeYES!  These are the most comfortable hikers Ive ever worn.  The only down is that they probably wouldnt be great for super rocky trailsthe kind that cut into the sides of your shoe.  Whenever I wore my spikes, I’d put my heavier hikers on, but these are just wonderful.  So lightweight, such a big toe box, & great sole.  I think they look a little dorky on your feet, but I’ve never really cared too much about looks.  A huge thumbs up for these hikers.

the Garmin inReach GPS device…YES!  It was great to be able to text when we needed to. It’s so small too.  The downsides are, it takes quite awhile to send the messages….longer than my SPOT did.  So, sometimes the timing was off.  Also, I’ve never been crazy that this is a rechargeable device.  I’d rather just put a new lithium battery in it at the beginning of the summer & forget about it.  I was surprised how fast the battery went down, considering I had it off most of the time.  I think I’ll do some more testing on it & if I still am questioning the longevity (it supposed to go longer than that), I’ll call the company.  

the cooler cozy I made from Reflectix…NO.  The ice melts just as fast.  I tried to figure out a way to store it in the 4Runner or turn it upside down & store stuff in it, but then what would I do with it?  I hated to loose all my stickers, but it got pitched early in the trip.

my new cook cup & the cozy I made for it…YES! And the cup is awesome: mix in it, cook in it, eat out of it, easy to clean.

my throw pillow I made that secretly hides my Rumple blanket, my Kindle box & my passport…YES!  It was so great, is comfy with the box out, super functional & looks cute in Camper.

the plastic box that protects my laptop…YES!  I could move it all around & never worried about the screen breaking & it made a great lap desk when I was working inside Camper on tripscribbles.

the dehydrated food…mostly YES.  The first night I tried it, I just added boiling water & let it sit for about 15 minutes then heated it up.  It was crunchy & icky.  But, from then on, I’d soak my food during the day (in my cooler if it included meat; if not I’d just set the cup on my dash while I hiked) for a few hours, then add more water & some boullion, heat it up & it was great.  I ate it all with the exception of one pack of mixed peppers.  I probably wouldn’t do the peppers again, but the black beans, sweet potatoes, chili, tad aka, & mixed veggies all tasted great.  I’d also purchase some small containers of precooked rice that are supposed to be heated in the microwave. One small container lasted me three meals, & I just added that to whatever dish I was making in the heating process & that worked good too.  The couscous cooked quick, but I have to think of stuff to add to it. I only made it once with cashews & dried apricots & some chile lime seasoning mixed in & it wasn’t that great.  

the steel cut oats…YES!  I’m not much of a breakfast eater & with peanut butter now banned from my diet & sunflower seed butter not making anywhere near a good replacement, I brought steel cut oats.  I’m not an oatmeal fan either, but I found the cold soaked oats to be easy & good.  After dinner or before bed, I’d just throw in some oats in my cup, add some water & 1/2 1/2, put the lid on & set it in the cooler.  In the morning, I’d add honey, cinnamon & some kind of dried fruit.  It was fast, tasted good, quick to eat & clean up.  I ate all I had taken with me & even bought more while I was on the road.

trying not to eat out as much…BIG, HUGE, GIGANTIC FAIL.  While it seems since I ate almost all my dehydrated food, I should have eaten out less, it didn’t seem like it (as reflected on my credit card & when I weighed when I got home).  It’s all totally my fault.  I love to go places & drink good beer & visit with people.  I’m sure the scale went up because I ate so many great burgers, most all of them with a side of fries, except if the side was onion rings instead.  I really enjoy most all of the food I eat out & it’s part of my travel experience.  I just don’t have the budget for so many of those experiences.  Ummm….guess I’ll have to work on that more.

pet peeve 
Men being verbally cruel to their wives.  Twice on this trip (& it has happened several times on other trips), I am someplace & I overhear a man 
berating & demeaning his wife.  On this trip, all the men were older…like 70 older.  I’m sure their wives aren’t perfect, but it’s awful to see those poor women just staring down at the ground like they have no value.  It’s not my place to get involved…there wasn’t any physical abuse going on.  But, you have to wonder, when this is taking place in a restaurant, or at a tourist spot, what happens at home.  It’s sickening. 

old friends 
 Great seeing Tom & Kelly & spending the day biking with them & camping at night in Idaho 
So much fun hiking & visiting with Joanie in Boulder, C

new friends 
Lynda & Bobbi
shared wine & travel stories near Grants Pass, CA
Visiting with Laura..the amazing adventure woman at Teton National Park, WY  
Sharing a beer with a view & chatting with Miki & her husband, motor cyclists from Wichita, KS on a route similar to mine

books I read: 
Night School by Lee Child
Clock Dance by Anne Tyler
The Art of Dying Well by Katy Butler
The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths

the podcast:  So, Jill & I were both told about BingeMode Harry Potter during out trip to Florida last February.  Id been waiting for this trip to just exclusively listen to it.  I made it to the 37th episode during this trip.I still have 26 episodes left!

States I traveled through
: Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, & Colorado 

My nights: 
47 nights in the 4Runner
1 night in the tent 
2 nights at the hotel with Luke in Sacramento
8 nights in campgrounds for a total lodging expense of $162 
the MOST Ive ever spent on campground camping in any trip

Driving mileage: 
9,969  miles

Hiking mileage: 

Photos taken: 

and last…
What a great trip!  I’d really wanted to see the PNW again & explore it more thoroughly…and I did!  It was wet & gas was expensive, but I’m blown away by the beauty of the place.  Deserts, rivers, waterfalls, mountains, forests, lakes, the ocean…it was magnificent!  

I loved meeting up with the boys & Leia…a highlight for me for sure!

I’ve cleaned up Camper, not unpacking, but just taking a little break before heading back to Colorado in early July (& I need to get new brake pads!  Yikes!).

Super stoked that all my kids & grandkids are coming home in a few days!  It’s been 3.5 years since we’ve all been together, Danny has the week off & we’re going to spend every minute enjoying them!

I am so very very grateful for the opportunity to travel & take this trip.  It sort of wasn’t a good time to leave Danny at home with so much going on, but I’m so happy I went.

Check back on in-between for pics on all the fun happening when the kids come home.

And then I’ll be headed out to my happy place in July.

Safe & fantastic travels…always!

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