On Valentines we will begin our slow (2.5 months) journey east. We will have been on the road for 134 nights by the time we leave on Tuesday. This past week I think we “hit the wall” and we haven’t left the campground in 3 days. We have had a blast touring the U.S. and seeing all the sights. We decided we would take some time to rest up before we start moving east. This stay in Pio Pico is our last 3-week stay of the journey. Once we start moving east we will move every 2-7 days. This has been one of our favorite campgrounds. The first 2 weeks we loved the campground for it’s close proximity to San Diego. This last week we have appreciated the location itself. The campground is one of the few we stay at where you can literally walk out of your RV and start hiking right from the park.
This morning we woke to overcast skies and a light mist and decided it was a perfect day to hike with Gizmo. The overcast skies meant he would not be “baking” on the shadeless trails. This time we hiked right out through the back of the south end of the campground. The clouds and fog were hanging low in the valley creating an other worldly atmosphere. I felt like once we passed through the gate of Pio Pico we entered “The Land of the Lost”. It would not have been surprising to see a dinosaur round the corner. We followed the “jeep trail” 3 miles as it wound through the canyons. The mist turned in to rain near the end of the hike and with the temps in the 50’s and a light wind it was an “invigorating hike”. We appreciate the rain that Southern California has had this year as it has made the entire area very lush. The rolling hills and mountains are so green, at times you would swear you are in Ireland.
As we prepare for our journey east, it is a good time to reflect on our trip so far. Here is a brief summary of some of the things we have done and sights we have seen.
National Parks, Monuments and Recreational Areas- We have been lucky to revisit some of our favorites and check out a few new ones. This year we have been to Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon (North Rim) and Joshua Tree National Parks.
We love our National Monuments, Recreational Areas, Natural Landmarks and National Forests. These tend to be dog friendly and a little less crowded. This year we have visited Gettysburg , Cedar Breaks, Red Rock Canyon, Lake Mead, Mojave National Preserve, Amboy Crater, Spring Mountains NRA, Cabrillo National Monument, the Coconino, Toiyabe and Prescott National Forests.
This year we are trying to visit more state parks. We have several planned for the way home. On the trip west we stayed at Prairie Dog State Park in Kansas. This was probably some of the best nights of camping we have had so far on our trip. We were literally the only campers in the park. We had a 100 foot paved pull through site with 5O amp power. The site overlooked a huge water reservoir. To round out this perfect location, we got to enjoy it during the full moon. This is a very large state park. We spent our days riding around it on our bikes. The prairie dogs here are very entertaining to watch.
We spent a day each exploring Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio and Turkey Run State Park in Indiana. These have great hiking and are definitely worth the stop if you are coming through these states.
Valley of Fire State Park is definitely worth a day if you are in the Las Vegas Area. The rocks are beautiful, it’s dog friendly and there is great hiking.
We have seen some interesting and some quirky sites along the way. The ones that stand out are Robolights, Borrego metal sculptures, East Jesus, Bubbling mud pots, Elmers Bottle Tree Ranch an Ostrich Farm and other interesting Route 66 sites. Lake Havasu and the lighthouses that surround it make for a full day excursion. We spent an entire day in Indiana exploring covered bridges. We spent a day exploring historic Jerome and another day searching for aliens in Area 51. This country has so much to see if you just slow down and take the time to see some of the less visited spots.
We have done some great hikes throughout the country. We cannot say enough about the hiking in Sedona, there is just too much to list everything we hiked in this area.
Some of our most memorable hikes this past year are Mummy’s Toe, Turtlehead Peak, Cathedral Rock, Thumb Butte, Slate Mountain, Vulture Peak, Kelso Dune, Amboy Crater, Black Mountain, Grotto Overlook, Pumpkin Rock, Devil’s Chair and Cedar Creek Falls
What do you do after a long day of hiking? Visit a dog friendly brewery of course. We enjoyed a cold microbrew with Gizmo at Yellow Springs Brewery, New Belgium Brewing, Verde Valley Brewing and Mission Brewing. Who knew there were so many dog friendly breweries?
Now we are ready to make new memories as we start our 2.5 month journey home.
A link you can cut and paste in to your browser to view the map of our journey so far: