In our three years on the road, we have learned a lot about black tanks, GPS and engine lights. We have visited 32 states though we have only given ourselves a sticker for 23. We have enjoyed 15 National Parks and more than 40 State Parks. We have visited 6 Presidential Libraries and a handful of museums. We have drank some excellent and some average craft beers at local breweries, had a few good wines at local wineries, and appreciated regional dishes whenever possible.
Along the way, we have learned important lessons on getting out of our comfort zone and how to work efficiently in tight quarters. We have discovered that talking to strangers is always interesting and can help us discover hidden gems. And we know that going out of our way to meet up with friends on the road is ALWAYS worth it!
We have also learned that it doesn’t hurt to ask. You never know what you might get – a discount at a campground, a free sticker from a brewery or a free night in someone’s driveway. It always pays to be friendly and open!
Of course, when you live on the road, you will always be asked to name your favorite. While it is hard to choose favorites among so many great memories and experiences, we do have a few that stand out.
Willow Creek Campground
We found this great spot near Grand Lake, CO at Willow Creek Reservoir. While dry camping, it was in a recreational area so there was a small fee. The coolest part was that we overlooked the reservoir and had a small path down to what became our private beach. We saw osprey diving for dinner near the water. A family of grouse and a doe with her fawn visited us often. A bear also visited the campground one morning, but we missed it. Our big 36 foot barely fit into this spot and the road was pretty bumpy so check it out before you visit to size it up for yourself.
Lake Guntersville State Park
State park campgrounds have become a favorite place to camp. While Lake Guntersville would not normally have been on our radar to visit, we went there for a conference and loved our stay. While having friends camping with us pushes this one over the top, it has a lot going for it including a low camp fee, full hookups, and great grounds. Located next to the lake, we enjoyed gorgeous sunsets and could get on the water with kayaks or SUPs. There were good trails nearby, a restaurant in the lodge up the hill and a golf course or zip line for those inclined. It has a nice camp store and great people working in it.
Favorite Harvest Host
We love our Harvest Host experiences and always look forward to adding them to our journey as we travel between campgrounds. Our first night as full-timers was actually at a Harvest Host in the Lubbock area so we have a special fondness for them. Where else can you get to taste the local fare and sometimes have a gorgeous view all within a parking lot distance from your home??!
Barry chose a recent stay as his favorite. He loved the pizza from the food truck and the beer at Dru Brewery. I have to admit, I was in awe of the glitter beer. Really, a beer with gold glitter that acted like a lava lamp. Not only was it pretty, but it tasted good too!
We also had a great time at Spero Winery in Denver. Not only was it a great spot, close to the city but the family who lived on site and ran the winery, gave me a tour of the facility. They also were wonderful enough to let us use their vacant tasting room (closed for Covid) when we were having issues with the internet and were doing our youtube show, ironically interviewing the. Harvest Host owner, Joel Holland. Great spot!
Favorite Boondocking site
We love boondocking! Why? In this case, a picture does tell a thousand words. With views like this, what is not to like about boondocking? Our top choice has to be Sedona for the view but the most fun we have had boondocking is in Raspberry Gulch near Salida. It was a great location with a lovely view of the mountains, but the main reason was the opportunity to meet up and camp around our good friends. It is nice when you can circle the wagons and enjoy your own private campground!
Favorite National Park
This is a case of differing opinions. Barry’s favorite is Yosemite not only for its beauty, but for its endless supply of photographic opportunities. He has visited this park numerous times and every season, every time of day gives a new perspective.
The beauty of Grand Teton with its manageable size, great hikes and opportunities for wildlife encounters makes it my top choice.
Of course, every National Park has something to offer and we have enjoyed them all!
While in Zion National Park, Barry did Angel’s Landing and Subway on his own. His favorite was Subway for the cool images it offered and the interesting hike. It was steep at the beginning and end, but fairly easy in between. While I did the Narrows in Zion, my favorite hike has to be the one to the John Muir Grove in Sequoia National Park. It started with a bear sighting and then we had the trail almost completely to ourselves. The payoff at the grove of 12 or so Sequoias was awe-inspiring! It was so quiet and meditative, really an experience!
We have occasionally traveled somewhere to time it with a local event, but usually we are that good at planning ahead so it is always a delight when we “happen” upon a great arts festival or local event. It has certainly taught me to check the local calendar whenever planning a trip somewhere because you never know. Our first January in the rig, we planned to spend a month in Breckenridge since we love it and love to ski. When we got there, we found out it was time for the annual Ulr Fest, a festival dedicated to the god of snow. Naturally, something that involves a record-breaking ski shot and a parade made for great fun!
When we visited Virginia Beach, it was really just a stop along our route so I didn’t do any research. We decided to walk along the boardwalk and found the International Sand Sculpture competition. These artists are amazing!
Glacier Point, Yosemite
Bookstores are my happy place and I love to read. As we travel, I love being able to check out the various independent bookstores and love it when I can sit there to read or get some work done. I have lots of honorable mentions in this category including Tattered Covers in Denver, Battery Park Book Exchange in Asheville, and many more!
Favorite Breakfast spot
Two spots jump out for this. Collins Street in Savannah has an amazing menu for every meal, but we loved our brunch there with fancy drinks and a twist on the standard breakfast fare. Faye’s Cafe in Livingston, MT was a recent find and so wonderful. Faye, the chef, gives you a menu with words like colorful, creative, and dreamy on it along with a few options like poached, benedicts or waffles. You give the waitress a few of these words, and Faye creates a customized and very tasty breakfast. She is only open from 8 to 10ish or whenever she feeds about 40 people so make sure to get there early!
Favorite Dinner Restaurant
Hands down, our best dinner has to be this Valentine’s special in Sedona, AZ. I love the view and the crystals used to decorate Mariposa Latin Grill. It didn’t hurt that our friends, the Kempers, joined us for this unique and tasty dinner.
This is really hard as so much of the brewery is the experience, not just the beer. And we have had great times and met great people in many breweries. Something about a having a beer that makes you more friendly! With that in mind, our best experiences have been when we are with others. One that stands out is Melvin Brewery in Jackson Hole, WY. Our son was with us for this tasting. It helped that the brewery is part of the very tasty Thai Me Up restaurant and that our waiter was a doll. He made sure we stayed supplied and talked with us about the history of the brewery as well as giving us tastes of his favorites. It was a great night! We loved the atmosphere and beers at Zion Brewery in St. George, UT. With three floors of seating, two outdoor sections, a large television room, a pool table and two bar areas, you are sure to find a spot to fit your mood. Other noteworthy breweries are Steamworks in Durango and any of the Salida breweries!
Favorite City Overall
The question we are asked the most often is where is our favorite place. We have found something in nearly every place we have visited to appreciate. Like many RVers, we often ask, can we live here? And have added several spots to that list. We have spent the most time in Colorado for one reason or another (mainly our sons) and really love this state. So if I have to pick one favorite, it would have to be in Colorado and I would like narrow that to the Ouray area. We spent several weeks in this area and fell in love with its beauty. So much so that we are returning this year to host two events there.
And I also have to give special mention to Asheville which hits many of my buttons – beautiful natural beauty, a thriving arts scene with a lot of resident artists, very cool bookstores, great hikes to waterfalls and lots to do. The history of the area and its connection to the Forestry Service is also fascinating. The area also includes one of the biggest surprises of our journey. I expected the Biltmore to be a huge tourist trap, but found that I enjoyed my time there so much that I brought my mom back for a Christmas visit.
Whew, that is only a few of our favorites. We are so blessed that this is our lifestyle and look forward to many more great experiences. I am not sure if how many more years are in our future as full-time RVers but we will enjoy it as long as we can. Hopefully, year four brings new favorites into our life.
What are some of your favorite spots that you have visited? Do you agree with us or have other ideas? Let us know in comments!