If ever there was a year to remember, 2022 was it for our small family. In June 2022, my daughter and I made the decision to sell our home and the land we intended to build new houses on and travel the country.
What Prompted Our Trip
Victoria had just finished her Masters degree and was unsure about pursuing a PhD. I had been told by my doctor that if I was going to do it, now is a good time. Plus, I saw the signs on the wall about the housing market turning around, and I didn't want to get caught struggling to sell our older home in a buyers market.
That might not seem like enough reason for some folks, but, for us, it was plenty.
How It Unfolded
Once the decision was made, we began preparations. Since we had been planning to move into tiny homes, we had already gotten rid of a lot of our stuff. Remarkably, there was still a ton left. Two full dumpsters and three yard sales later and we had whittled everything down to fit in a medium sized storage unit.
We did a lot of research and chose to go with a travel trailer for our trip. It gave us the flexibility to leave our "home" in one place and take side trips in a vehicle that was big enough to hold us, a bunch of stuff, and our 80+ pound dog.
In the end, Victoria and I found a Grey Wolf camper with two full-sized bunk beds that was perfect for our needs. It's big enough that we don't annoy each other (at least too much) while being small enough that we don't want to get too comfortable in it.
The trailer is named Little Buddy, and it has , so far, served us very well. We pull it with a Toyota Tundra.
Where We've Been
We ran into some issues with our brakes and had to leave the camper at RV One for a couple of weeks. We decided to continue on with the trip without the camper and come back for it later. So, our official trip didn't begin until mid July.
We left Greensboro and headed north to PA to spend some time with family. From
there, we headed west toward Chicago, with several stops along the way. Victoria had a tournament north of Chicago in early August, so we stayed there for a week. After that, our real trip began.
We inadvertently booked a week in Rapid City, SD, during the Sturgis bike rally, so we go to experience that first hand. Not something we would have purposely planned, but it turned out to be a great time. The hot tub at the KOA didn't hurt either. While there we visited Badlands and Mt. Rushmore, spent a day at the hot springs, and Custer State Park.
From there, we continued west. We toured Yellowstone Park with a guide, which was definitely the way to go if you want to see the highlights.
After that we headed south and stopped in Salt Lake City for a week. I really wanted to see the lake before it gets any lower. We went on the last boat tour for the summer - they closed them down that day because the water levels were too low to get boats in and out safely.
Southward we continued, making our way to Zion National Park. This was the first park that was crowded enough for us to think twice about staying. We drove through, took some pictures, and then spent the next week exploring the wilderness area of the park further north and the city of St. George further south. Both were worth the visit.
At that point, we were supposed to go east through Colorado, but I had learned of an opportunity to volunteer with the Forest Service in Arizona, and so we went south again to check it out. We drove into the edge of CA and toward Phoenix before heading south of Tucson, and those were two VERY hot days. The position wasn't going to work for us, but they found another one that we could do.
We left Arizona and headed toward Albuquerque. Victoria got to visit a friend that recently moved there and we learned that we definitely didn't want to move to there.
Next up: Roswell and everything UFO!
Luckily, these protective hats did the trick and none of us were abducted.
We then ventured into Texas for a month in San Antonio. Our first campground didn't quite work out (that's a story for another day) so we moved after a few days and got settled in. Victoria joined her favorite local climbing gym and things went well. We were glad to get a break form the road for a few weeks, but we were also glad to get back on it when the time came.
We got to spend some time exploring west Texas, and even camped for a week in Hueco Tanks State Park, which was pretty cool. Then on to New Mexico and more adventures, like soaking in a mineral bath on the edge of the Rio Grande. Finally, the time had come to return to Arizona and learn more about our temporary roles as caretakers at Brown Canyon Ranch.
For the next six weeks, we spent our days picking up litter, cleaning a vault toilet, and hiking the trails. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. Plus, we both fell in love with Sierra Vista and the surrounding area. We started shopping for land and found some near where Victoria had been practicing.
Once we left the forest, we headed to CA for a week soaking at a mineral spa and hiking and climbing in Joshua Tree. I am definitely glad we did that in the winter when it was cool.
Then, with a little trepidation, we put the camper in storage and headed back to NC to pack up our stuff. Driving clear across the country twice in a month was a bit rough, but now it's done. We've unpacked our moving truck and put our stuff in storage here in AZ.
We are happily parked at Double Adobe Campground where everyone has been super welcoming and Victoria can practice without having to drive anywhere. Hopefully we can close on the property in the next couple of weeks and start the process for permits.
What Did You Do Last Year?
My last year may seem crazier than some, but it was great. I would love to hear what you did last year? Leave a comment to let me know.