From our second home in Southern Death Valley it was back to familiar territory. We took the opportunity to explore a 4WD road and canyon that we had always wanted to check out (Lemoigne Canyon), and spent our last night in Tuttle Creek Campground outside of Lone Pine where some friends were able to join us. Our final Saturday was spent along the Eastern Sierra where we visited some of our favorite restaurants and and shops and spent some time bouldering in the Buttermilks. After our final night of camp at Glass Creek we made it home safe and sound and on schedule on October 9th.
I’ve never done a road trip this long before. I thought I’d share some of the random things I learned.
What worked well:
- Having a goal for the road trip was good. We knew we had to be in Denver at a certain time for GABF. That forced us into a schedule that kept us moving but gave us time to explore what was important to us. Since so much of this trip was in unfamiliar territory I enjoyed getting the basic look at some places I’ve always wanted to visit.
- Now that I’m more familiar with some of these places I feel I can go back and fully immerse myself into exploration. For example, I’d love to go back and spend a full two weeks just in Grand Staircase Escalante or Canyonlands.
- Before this trip we struggled with what to do with the back of our truck. A simple lid or a full shell? Basically, we wanted something to secure our stuff and something to keep us dry when raining (we sleep in the back). When looking at the basics we decided a lid was sufficient. The bed of the truck is pretty deep so it’s not very suffocating. Having rode out some heavy rain I’m pretty happy with the decision. All the problems we had (like the pasty mud getting all over the tailgate from shoes) would have happened with the shell too.
- Speaking of the truck – I kind of thought MrC wert a bit overboard with the Tundra Rock Warrior when we got it but holy cow I love that thing. It gets us everywhere and it is super comfortable for long road trips. Not the greatest gas mileage, but you have to make compromises somewhere…
- The Metolius Colossus makes for an awesome two-person mattress, couch, AND crash pad. I don’t know what we’d do without that beast.
- Having cash of all denominations is good when you pull into a campsite in the middle of nowhere with something like a $7 fee. When all you have is a $20 you’re out of luck.
- Occasional peeks into civilization for a meal and a hotel is not a bad thing. While I prefer the backcountry, sometimes a hot shower and cold draft beer make all the difference in the world.
What needed improvement:
- The weather, maybe? Okay, I know I can’t control that but I feel like it really cut into my enjoyment of the area I was most excited about visiting. But, hey, guess we’ll have to go back. Darn.
- Sometimes I just need to go with the flow. I am a detailed planner and when things don’t go according to plan I’m usually pretty laid back, but sometimes even my backup plans failed (due to the weather). From Page, AZ on everything fell apart from my original plan (2-3 days in Paria, then home via the ET Highway). I sometimes get so preoccupied with staying on plan I forget to be flexible and enjoy the stuff around me at the time.
- Being organized is everything. When I head off for a weekend it’s easy to just throw everything in the truck and figure it out later, especially with a newer vehicle where I haven’t quite optimized the space. But when spending two weeks on the road I need to make sure everything is where I want and expect it to be. By the end of the trip I had the system pretty much figured out and it made packing for our nine day thanksgiving trip a breeze.
I’m sure I’ll think of a million other things, but that’s why God invented edit buttons I guess.
Thanks for bearing with me and reading along during this long string of trip reports. I know it’s a bit late but I just needed some down time to catch up. Next up: Thanksgiving Trip! Nine days of exploring Death Valley including six summits. My favorite trip of the year!