It is exhilarating to romanticize living life on the road. Waking up in new, beautiful locations. Trail running every morning on undiscovered paths. Lounging in hammocks and reading stories to the kids. Watching the sunrise while gliding across smooth, blue water on the paddle board. These are some of the things I dreamt about as we planned and prepared for this journey. Simplicity and rich adventures waiting around every corner. It is, of course, not all dreams and I don’t believe we would want it to be. Overcoming challenges, figuring things out in a new way, trial and error, feeling depleted and thinking through all the reasons to give up and throw in the towel and then the eventual exhilaration of accomplishment and a sigh of gratitude. It is not meant to always be easy. The fulfillment we have when the hard work has been put in feels like a recharge - battery is full - continue the journey.
Our adventures so far have included hiking, rock climbing, s’mores making, meeting amazing people, working through some kinks, annoying each other at least once, stressing over where to stay for the night and today we are still smiling. Each day is unique and encompassed by thoughts of “what if we…..” and “”how do we….” and “where will we…….” and most importantly “will the bus fit”?
We “camped” at Smoky Mountain Campground for 3 nights. It is a quiet campground near City of Rocks “the city” in Idaho. Over the years I had heard friends talk about this being an excellent rock climbing destination, so we definitely wanted to check it out. It did not disappoint. For starters, we camped next to 2 stellar families - our kids had a blast playing with theirs! They invited us to join them for climbing and they even gave us a “first neighbors” house warming gift. So thoughtful! The kindness of strangers never ceases to amaze me. The rocks here were very cool and so unique. It’s difficult to describe. There are spires and mounds of granite that just seem to bubble up from the earth, dotting the valley. There are places to climb and hike everywhere you look. In some places, the granite is very sharp and rough, making it an unforgiving surface for climbing on. We took a hike to Circle Valley Overlook where Milo stumbled upon a nest of rattlesnakes. As we were climbing and playing around on the rocks, Milo suddenly stepped back. He had heard a rattling sound coming from a crack next to his foot. We all backed up and peered into the crack. There were several snakes piled up together; it was difficult to see exactly how many. It was a creepy, but fascinating sight. We were sure glad that Milo knew to back away immediately! Climbing around the rock to make it back to the trail was a little nerve racking for sure.
We climbed one last time with our neighbors on the morning we pulled away. It was a great way to end the start of our adventure! On we go, towards Boise. Now, where should we stay? The realization that we were heading into the week of the fourth of July and that we hadn’t planned anywhere to stay suddenly hit us. And hit us hard. These are the times that my panic really sets in. We know the places we’d like to be, things we’d like to see and experience, but we’re not tiptoeing in with an invisibility cloak here. We are big and loud and we take up a lot of space. From the head of the bus to the foot of the Jeep we are approximately 65 feet long. Yikes!! I may have mentioned before that planning is not our forte. However, we do have several known locations that we are traveling to that know we are coming and know our size. But these locations are a bit spaced out and we cannot and more importantly do not want to do full days in the bus in between locations. Mostly because is it too hot and taxing on the man behind the wheel. I have yet to sit behind the wheel. I think I will at some point, we’ll see. So, here we go, searching for a destination. Suddenly, Chad remembers seeing some travel hosting aps that provide a place to stay for a night or two. We decide to check out Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome. We decide to join both, costing us $80 between the two for annual memberships. We originally wanted to make it to Boise, but after climbing into the afternoon and stressing over where to stay for an hour or two we find a closer location through Harvest Hosts about 60 miles out of Boise.
We stayed the night in lovely, picturesque, Coldwater Springs Winery. The kids spent the evening playing in the sprinklers and having Nerf gun fights. Then Chad took them for a walk through the endless rows of grapevines. Addison and I made a delicious steak and potatoes dinner. And for the night we are snuggled up and nestled in this beautiful vineyard.