Normal Family of 4 - 39 days MO, KS, OK, NM, CO, UT, NV, OR, CA, WA. + AZ and TX


Smoke from Durango 416 fire in Telluride

We stayed for a few nights and enjoyed the scenery. One of the days the kids got to swim, and we also drove up Gold King Basin and ate sandwiches for lunch.

After Telluride we headed for Dove Creek via Dunton Rd.

Found another good spot for lunch
The landscape flattened out and became dull relative to the mountains behind us as we headed west towards Dove Creek

We arrived at our VRBO near Dove Creek and the kids got to pet the horses and cows on the 800 acre ranch that we were staying on.

Afterwards we headed to the State Line Bar for dinner, before checking out Delores Canyon at sunset.

Delores Canyon overlook was completely desolate. We saw no one from the time we left the paved road.

The kids got to be ranchers in the morning, cleaning up and moving cattle with the owner and their workers. They drew us a map to the field that they would be working in so we could pick the kids up when we were ready to head towards Moab.

Driving through fields to go find the kids.

Happy little rachers

Flat Utah

Getting up into the mountains it cooled off and turned green again

We found a nice side trail to go down and eat our lunch.

While there, an older couple in a Ranger told us that there was a small cave nearby that cold air blows out of like an air conditioner so we checked that out too.

While we found two of them, we think this was the one they spoke of.

Once in Moab, we let the kids swim at the hotel and went to eat. As the sun was going down we went over to Arches to see if it was too packed, and were able to roll in and see some sights before dark.

Last year we took a road trip which was a big loop from Vegas in a rental, but it was spring break, and right before Jeep Safari so Arches was way to crowded. Glad we got to see it this time.

In the morning we hit the road going north and taking the Green River Cutoff to the Wedge Overlook on the San Rafael River. This was not the most remote section relative to distances to gas and water, but it felt the most remote. Once we turned off of 191, we didn't see anyone or anything for hours.

It was pretty windy, so they ate their lunch in the shelter of the truck.

After a while back on the road we saw a living thing again. More cows.

Arriving in price, we could see the smoke from the Dollar Ridge fire.
From Price we headed up around the Strawberry Reservoir, and ended up having our lunch while watching the fire come down the hill. The wind was pretty strong and blowing away from us towards the fire. Those fire fighters are more brave than I am.

In Salt Lake City, we took a little vacation. The Airbnb we stayed in was in a basement of a very nice home and the kids loved the back yard. I liked the creek flowing through,

Since we were there on Independence Day, we got to see the valley completely disregard the fireworks ban.

Since we were on vacation, we did a touristy activity, and took the kids to Snowbird for the summer stuff they have there.
A long and expensive 5 hours for Kari and I. Kids had fun.

Alli had Gaia maps on her tablet with our routes, because I had them all loaded up, but the tablet got stolen and I had to get on eBay and get another IPad and start over. Shortly before we left, the police found and recovered the tablet, so I let Alli help navigate. We took I80 to Winnamucca, leaving SLC, so the kids got to watch movies and play games on their tablets in the car for the first time on the trip.

I know that the Great Salt Lake stinks and has millions of flies, but the family had to see for themselves.

Stopped by the salt flats
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Just because I'm immature.

As we approached Winnamucca, we could once again see smoke from a wildfire. It was the Martin Fire, and was at ~10k acres. In the morning we headed towards Fields Station, with a detour to Paradise Valley. When Alli checked her radar app it showed that the Martin Fire had grown to 90k acres, and was near Paradise Valley. Confirming that it wasn't too close and the wind was blowing it in the other direction we decided to keep our plan. We were driving in a smelly faint smoke the whole way and the town had an eerie feeling with the abandoned buildings and the nearby forces building to fight the fire.

Heading towards Fields, OR

Stopped in Denio Junction for lunch and saved our sandwiches for dinner since Fields closes at 4 or so.

Arrived in Fields to get our room and meet our neighbors for the night. Nice people that spend a week there every year to get away from the cool damp coastal side. They told us about a professor that had his students camping out and studying lizards. We went into the little oasis where they had found some shade to do their measurements out of the sun, and the kids got to learn a little bit about the lizards.

Great horned owls like to hang out in the little oasis also.

We headed north to see the Alvord lake bed and find some hot springs.


Definitely do not want to soak in this one!

When we got back to the hotel, the kids found a friend and built a condo for a lizard they found.

The sunset was pretty amazing

In the morning we waited around for the workers to show up and open for breakfast. They kind of do things when they get around to it. We had breakfast and set out for Frenchglen via Steens Mountain loop
To Alli's delight, we found a pack of wild horses, and headed down a series of trails to get a closer look.

We took a side road down to Riddle Brothers Ranch, and roamed around there for a bit.

Heading up the mountain we found a nice spot for lunch with some snow for the kids to play in.

Hiking up to the peak of Steens gives a good view of Wildhorse Lake

We had to make sure we got to Frenchglen by 6 for dinner. They like to be prompt.

We made friends with fellow guests and drank beers and wine for a while before bed.
The next day's drive from Frenchglen to Crater Lake via Burns, OR was pretty boring.

As we got closer, it got better though with snow capped mountains in the distance

And then we got there. Just amazing!

We stopped in the lodge to see if they had any cancellations. When we were planning the trip 6 months earlier they were sold out, and when we called earlier in the day, they said they had no cancellations, but showing up at the front desk proved fruitful, and we splurged on a double booking for the night. (We had a basement in Chiloquin booked on Airbnb)

The kids Animals enjoying the view.

In the morning we hiked down so the kids could see how cold the water was. 55 degrees.

Alli wanted to jump in, but I was a little worried about how well she'd swim in the 55 degree water. I walked over to the tour boat station and asked if it would be ok to borrow a life jacket for 15 minutes, and they were super cool and let us borrow one. Because it was cold, she wasn't interested in jumping again.

The fog slowed their roll a little. Just a little though.

In California, we knew we would not be taking full days of gravel or dirt anymore, and the desert was behind us, so I left the 5 gallon water can behind, and repacked since we shouldn't need recovery gear or tools anymore. Since the shipper would't take the vehicle with the roof top box, and our Airbnb was right on 101 we emptied the box, and set it on side of the road for $40.00. it was gone in less than a half hour. We headed north on 101

Cape Blanco Lighthouse

The beach at Bandon, OR

Fortunately, for our sanity, they only fight about 1/3 of the time

The Oregon coast was definitely the coldest place on the trip. We often wore stocking caps.
More fog rolling in. Makes for nice pictures

Headed north again, we stopped at Heceta Head Lighthouse and Cape Perpetua.