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Monday, May 30, 2016

The End of Our First Leg

The last few days of our trip was generally uneventful (with the exception of a brake scare and almost running our of gas in southeastern Oregon). What this time of our trip did allow us was some time to reflect on where we'd been, what we'd done and what we want to do differently moving forward.

Heading into Utah was pretty exciting for us, as it was the first state on our trip that we were visiting for the very first time. We were all also really looking forward to visiting Zion National Park. The landscape in southern Utah is of course  very similar to Arizona, and we loved every second of it. 


Utah 2016

Utah 2016

As we got closer to Zion I couldn't wait to finally spend an afternoon in a National Park, hiking and taking in the majestic sights. Unfortunately the excitement was short lived. Upon arrival at the entrance to the park we were informed that our truck and trailer combo exceeded 50 feet and we wouldn't be able to make it through the tunnel. Thankfully we could still pull up to the Checkerboard Mesa viewpoint to see what we could (and make ourselves some lunch).


Utah 2016

Utah 2016

Utah 2016
{Daddy tickles before we hit the road again}

Utah 2016

Utah 2016

We were able to get the tiniest glimpse of this beautiful park and we'll have to go back one day (without the trailer), and also visit Bryce Canyon and Arches National Park.


Utah 2016


Utah 2016

Leaving Zion, we were now in need of a new route to the interstate as we were unable to pass through the park. With a suggestion from the Park Ranger and our trusty Road Atlas from Nat Geo we found ourselves headed through a mountain pass just north of the park. Brett wasn't too sure he wanted to test out our breaks on these roads with severe grades, but after consulting our maps all our options were the same, we just had to decide how far north we would travel. We decided to test our luck on the 14 and began our drive with both kids asleep in the back.

The way up the mountain had some steep grades and narrow roads, and it wasn't until we reached snow that we realized how high we were travelling. Even after hitting the first snowy patches we still had further to travel and we just continued watching the temperature drop. We thought a few times about stopping early, but the temperature was just too cold so we kept on, finally beginning our descent.


Utah 2016

Utah 2016
{Clearly we were not dressed for the weather outside of the vehicle}

The views were breathtaking... and our brakes made it nail biting. Our trailer brakes were not kicking in the way they should and we felt the trailer pushing our truck down the steep grades. Brett did a great job keeping his cool despite the situation. About 8 miles from the bottom of the mountain we came to a large pull over where Brett was able to finally stop our downward climb (with the help of the e-brake). We opened the doors to smelly, smoking brakes and knew we were all lucky to be safe and sound, and somewhere that we could give the truck a rest and the brakes a chance to cool off.


Utah 2016

Utah 2016

Utah 2016

We knew this was serious, so we made our way to Salt Lake City where we stopped for a few nights. This gave Brett a chance to change a rear caliper on the truck, as well as adjust our trailer brakes (which were long overdue for some attention, we found out). After a couple of days of rest and recuperation, we hit the road again, making our way to Idaho.

We didn't really know what to expect from this seldom forgot about state, and I must say our short stay there really impressed us. We decided to spend a night at Three Island Crossing State Park and it was the perfect spot to spend the night. The campsites were spread out nicely and it was not busy at all. We picked a spot on the inside of the park, so we had a ton of grass behind us, filled with dandelion seeds that we enjoyed a lot of time playing in. 


Idaho 2016

Idaho 2016

Idaho 2016Idaho 2016

Idaho 2016

After dinner we took a walk down to the day use area where we took in great sites near the river and learned a little bit more about the history of the area. Afterwards we returned to our campsite for a fire. It was really quiet and we were only one of two fires that we saw that night. We loved our quiet site here and would recommend spending some time here if you're looking for a great camping spot in southern Idaho.


Idaho 2016

Idaho 2016

Idaho 2016

Idaho 2016

Idaho 2016

The next day we left Three Island Crossing with the intention of making it to Boise for lunch, and then onto Oregon for the night. When we made it to Boise, we didn't want to get directly into the city with the trailer, but we lucked out when we came across The Flying Pie location on Broadway Ave just outside of downtown Boise. This was one of THE BEST Pizza places we have ever been! We ordered a Big Kahuna BBQ Pizza, an El Diablo and a Margherita - all were awesome and we were excited to eat our leftovers the next day as well. Super friendly service and fantastic pizza! What more could you possibly want?


Idaho 2016Idaho 2016

Aside from a little scare where we almost ran out of gas in northeast Oregon, things were uneventful until we stopped in Olympia on our last night of the trip. We ended up at American Heritage Campground and loved our very private site that backed onto the playground. The trees were tall, and the sites were well spaced. After dinner it rained a bit so we played a few games of "Pass the Pigs" before we went outside for a nice campfire.


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The next morning after my jog I took a nice hot shower in the clean facilities! Overall, great campground that we all loved and would definitely go back to again!

This first road trip was fantastic! We learned a lot about not planning too far ahead and letting us see where the day takes us. One night is never long enough anywhere, unless you're stopping in the middle of nowhere and most importantly get outside, enjoy nature and connect with people. Life is too short to be lived in one place, behind a screen and not getting out there! Even if it's just the next town over... see as much as you can. 

I told Brett just the other day, "You know, we may not end up somewhere and be mortgage free like we hoped, but we will never regret all of this travelling". It's true, I'll never wish this time away and I'm always excited for each new day we have together as a family. It's an exciting time... with a lot more excitement to come. I can't wait to see where the road leads next!

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