Fort Dodge RV & Camping Resort

As we continue our journey towards Wisconsin, we made what was supposed to be a two-night stop, but became a three-night stop, in Dodge City, Kansas. The weather along our route has been cold and windy and we decided to sit tight an extra day when our original travel day had a forecast of sustained winds of 35 mph with gusts up to 50.

Fort Dodge RV Park is a fairly new, well laid-out park. We had a long pull through site with full hookups. Due to the below freezing temps, we filled our fresh water tank upon arrival and put the hose away for the rest of our stay so it wouldn’t freeze. During our stay, we left the trailer once to go to the grocery store and once to drive around town to check things out. Otherwise, we stay snuggled inside to avoid the brutal wind and cold temps.

Even though the park was nice, we wouldn’t stay again, for two reasons: 1) Dodge City doesn’t really have a lot happening, and 2) The park just doesn’t feel secure and we felt like sitting ducks at times. Surrounding the RV park is a soccer field, a dog park, a city park with free zoo, and a water park. The soccer field is so close to the RV park property that on our first night there, people watching soccer parked in the RV park parking lot and sat at their picnic tables. Anyone and everyone had access to the RV park, because there’s no gate. This must be a continuing issue for them because the main building (office/store, bathrooms/showers, laundry room, storm shelter) has a sign on the door that says ‘No Public Restrooms’. At one point, we were the only ones staying in the park and seeing as the office is only open from 4pm-8pm, we were often completely alone. I usually use the showers at parks/campgrounds if they’re decent because I like to take a long shower when I can and it’s easier to wash my hair than it is in the Airstream, but the accessibility of this place to the outside world made me uncomfortable – anyone could walk into the bathroom at any moment. The facilities, however, are very nice, and when there are more people around, I’m sure there’s a different vibe.

Address: 701 Park Street, Dodge City, KS 67801

Phone Number: (620) 371-7177

Amenities:

  • Full Hookups
  • Pull Throughs
  • PicnicTable
  • Fire Ring
  • Tent Sites
  • Cabins
  • Restrooms
  • Showers
  • Laundry
  • Storm Shelter
  • Store
  • Adjacent Dog Park
Nice, Long, Concrete, Pull-Through Sites — Almost (But Not Quite) Level
All Alone

A Very Brief Stay in Santa Fe

We stopped in Santa Fe for less than 20 hours and saying that’s too brief an amount of time in that city is an understatement. We look forward to when we’re able to return and explore more. That being said, while in Santa Fe, we stayed at Santa Fe Skies RV Park. We didn’t have a lot of time to explore the RV park, but from what we experienced, it’s a nice, clean, quiet park located 15-20 minutes from everything Santa Fe has to offer. The gentleman that checked us in was very nice and we were able to get our propane filled while there.

Address: 14 Browncastle Ranch, Santa Fe, NM 87508

Phone Number: (877) 565-0451

Amenities:

  • Full Hookups
  • Pull-Through Sites
  • Restrooms
  • Showers
  • Laundry
  • Propane
  • Mail Service
  • Walking Trail
  • Dog Park
  • Picnic Area

After getting settled into our site at Santa Fe Skies, we went to get a bite to eat at a local brewery, Duel Brewing. For drinks, Travis had the Bad Amber ale and I had a Pinon Kola — both were great. To eat, we split the Frankenthaler (smoked trout sandwich) and the Pollock (meatball sandwich) and they were so, so good. If you’re ever in the area, stop in.

And while you’re still in the neighborhood, check out Meow Wolf, an immersive interactive art experience. From their website: “Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is an explorable, immersive art installation filled with technology and fantastic environments to inspire visitors of all ages. The wildly imaginative art space is a collaboration of over 100 local artists and is a unique combination of children’s museum, art gallery, jungle gym, and fantasy novel.” It’s really something that needs to be experienced firsthand in order to understand it.

 

Casa Grande, AZ

We were in Casa Grande, AZ for two weeks and stayed at Casa Grande RV Resort & Cottages. We chose this resort because of its proximity to the Phoenix airport and we thought Travis was going to have to travel to a customer during this time (he didn’t). This is a LARGE resort, with over 350 RV sites and 17 cottages. We stayed during the last week of March and first week of April, when the temperature really started to creep up. This is a place where snowbirds winter, and during the two weeks we were there, we saw a dramatic decrease in numbers as people started to leave to return home.

As we had stayed at Wine Ridge RV Resort & Cottages in Pahrump, NV in the past, which is also a part of the RV Management Services resort group like Casa Grande, we were expecting a clean, well-maintained, friendly resort with great amenities. The staff is pretty friendly and the amenities are plentiful, but the resort is a little tired and definitely needs some love. Half of the cottages face the dumpsters and maintenance building, along with all of the junk (tools, fence posts, etc.) piled up in that area. The bathrooms have falling down ceiling tiles and some showers with two temperatures — really hot or scalding hot. They have a fantastic dog play area but the fence needs attention in places as dogs of all sizes can escape. And the entire property could use a good weeding. Maybe these things are taken care of during the slower season after a long winter of hundreds, maybe thousands, of guests using the facilities. The day we left we noticed a prong on our surge protector had been fried. Apparently, according to our neighbor, the people that stayed in the site prior to us had backed into the electrical box and sort of knocked it over. I don’t know if that is what caused the issue. When we brought it to the attention of the staff, they made it seem as though it was our fault and said that we wiggle the surge protector when removing it from outlets and this loosens the prongs which then makes them go bad. They didn’t even come to our site to look at the electrical box, so that was disappointing.

Amenities

  • Full Hookups
  • Large, Level Sites
  • 2 Swimming Pools
  • Laundry Room
  • Free Showers
  • Pickle Ball
  • Bocce Ball
  • Mail Service
  • Lending Library with Books, Games, Puzzles and Movies
  • Propane Service
  • Fitness Center
  • Card Room
  • Dog Park
  • Billards Room (Very Impressive with 8 Full-Size Tables)
  • Daily Activities
  • Coffee & Waffles (Monday-Friday November-April)

Address: 195 W Rodeo Road, Casa Grande, AZ 85122

Phone Number: (520) 421-0401

Things to See and Do in the Area

I’ll be honest — we didn’t do much while we were here. It was hot. Really hot. Unseasonably hot. Plus, I went to San Diego for four days during this time while Travis stayed in Casa Grande with our dog, Max.

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument: Casa Grande, or Great House, was built by ancient Sonoran Desert people around 1350. It’s unclear what the purpose of it was, but it’s four walls face the cardinal points of the compass and there are various openings that align with the sun and moon during certain celestial events, like the setting sun at the summer solstice. We visited because it was close and we have a National Parks pass, but, while interesting, I wouldn’t go out of your way to see it.

Saguaro National Park: It’s a little over an hour drive to Saguaro. We visited Saguaro West, which is west of Tucson, while Saguaro East is 33 miles away, east of Tucson.  Saguaros are slow growing, only growing about an inch in their first 6-8 years. It may be 70 years before they sprout their arms, and they reach full height, 40-50 feet, at about 150 years. These majestic plants are found only in a small portion of the United States. Our visit was a quick one, as the temperature was a tad too high for us during our visit, which is why we got to the park by 8:30am. We drove the 6-mile Bajada Loop Drive, which is labeled as being suitable for low-clearance vehicles, but it was a rough ride in our Ford F-150 (which I switched into 4WD), so be cautious. Along this loop is where you’ll find the Signal Hill Trail, a short trail at a nice picnic area that is home to petroglyphs. After completing the loop, we drove to the Red Hills Visitor Center to learn a little bit more about the area. This park seems to have some nice hikes and it has great picnic areas, both sheltered and unsheltered. I would not recommend bringing a dog to this park, as they have limited access, and there are so many things that can cause them severe pain and discomfort: cactus spines, thorny brush, rattle snakes, scorpions, open mine shafts and heat stroke.

 

Zane Grey RV Village

We spent only one night here as we drove from Page, Arizona to Casa Grande, Arizona, so this will be a quick one! What a delightful find this place was! Zane Grey is a fairly small, incredibly clean, ridiculously cute RV park sitting amongst beautiful trees next to the West Clear Creek. Our site (#50) was incredibly level (yay!), large, and easily accessible.

Address: 4500 E. Hwy 260, Camp Verde, AZ 86322

Phone: (928) 567-4320

  • 96 Full-Hookup Sites with 14 Pull Throughs
  • Laundry
  • Restrooms with Showers
  • Communal Fire Pit
  • Walking Trail
  • Dog Run

Seeing as we were here for less than a day, the only site we took in was the Montezuma Castle National Monument, which is a five-story, twenty-room pueblo built by Sinagua farmers. It was less than a 20-minute drive from the RV park and was neat to see. Entry is free for up to four adults with a National Parks Access Pass or $7 per person.

 

Two Weeks in Page, AZ

We spent two weeks in Page, Arizona on Lake Powell, which, at this time of year, is at least a week too long. The winter offseason doesn’t end until about mid-April, so some of the best things Page has to offer, like the boat tour and hike to Rainbow Bridge, aren’t readily available until later in the year. Even so, we were able to take advantage of some nice-weather days and experience some of the awe-inspiring local attractions.

But first…

We stayed at Wahweap RV & Campground located on Lake Powell in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The campground is huge and caters to all types of campers, from tents to enormous fifth wheels and motorhomes; however, there are only a couple of ‘loops’ open this time of year. When making the reservation, we were told the best views are from C loop, but when checking in, were told C loop was closed and we’d be in F loop. Disappointing, yes, because the views ARE better from C loop, but understandable as they only want a few bathrooms (that need to be cleaned) open and access to only a few dumpsters (that need to be emptied). Seeing as Wahweap is part of a national recreation area, there is a $25 National Parks Service fee that is good for seven days. Your National Parks Access Pass will cover it. The campground and the neighboring Lake Powell Resort are part of an area called the Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas that include five campgrounds, three sticks & bricks lodging options, and five marinas. During prime season, they offer a slew of boat trips on the lake, as well as watercraft rentals, house boat rentals, fishing, and multiple dining options. It’s clear that this campground and the resort are seasonal destinations and I’d love to see the vibe and atmosphere during busier times. That being said, we tried to make the best of our time here, even though the weather didn’t often cooperate (lots of rain and wind) and Travis had to fly out to visit a customer onsite for five days.

Address: 100 Lakshore Drive, Page, AZ 86040

Phone Number: (888) 896-3829

  • 130 Full Hookup Sites
  • 112 Tent or Self-Contained RV Sites
  • 36 Tent Only Sites
  • 6 Group Sites (9-30 People per Site)
  • Restrooms with Flush Toilets
  • Coin Laundry
  • Showers ($2/15 Minutes)
  • Wahweap Swim Beach
  • Campground Store

Things to See and Do in the Area

Antelope Canyon: Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon located in Page on Navajo land. Because of this, you need to book a tour with one of the local tour companies in order to experience the canyon, which has two distinctly separate sections; Upper Antelope and Lower Antelope. We toured Lower Antelope Canyon with Dixie Ellis’s Tours. Visit their website here. Check our Instagram post here for tips and information regarding our tour. If you don’t want to take part in a tour but still want to see slot canyons, there are others in the area. Waterholes Canyon is just south of Horseshoe Bend, but a permit to access Navajo land is needed.

Horseshoe Bend: Horseshoe Bend was not at all what I expected! While I knew it was a bend in the Colorado River (270 degrees, to be exact), I didn’t realize it’s beauty would take my breath away. This is definitely one of those cases where photos won’t do it justice — you have to see it in person. It’s located a couple miles southwest of Page on Hwy 89. You can’t miss the parking lot, which has port-a-potties, but no other services are (currently) available. There is a three-quarter mile (one way) hike to the viewing area for Horseshoe Bend. I call it a hike, because part of it is uphill and part of it is downhill, both of which are over loose surfaces. Bring water and an umbrella or hat if it’s especially warm out. As the number of visitors has increased dramatically over the last few years, there are a handful of updates underway to make visiting Horseshoe Bend more accessible and safer. These include an accessible 1-mile long trail and rim viewing platform, restrooms, potable water, and a parking lot expansion.

Glen Canyon Dam: A 710-foot dam on the Colorado River in Page that helps ensure an equitable distribution of water between the states in the Upper Colorado River Basin and the Lower Basin, although critics argue that the dam is responsible for evaporative losses of Lake Powell and ecological impact on the Grand Canyon, which lies downstream. Tours are available.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument: Utah’s newest national monument, Escalante spans nearly 1.9 million acres. Needless to say, it takes a lot of time to come close to exploring a fraction of this area. If you’re a hiker, this is the place for you. There are hikes of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty. If you opt for a multi-day hike, a free overnight camping permit is required. We made the smallest of dents here. I wouldn’t even call it a dent; a nick, really. We drove the 25 miles from Wahweap northwest along Hwy 89 into Utah to the southern edge of the Escalante to the Toadstool Trailhead, easily found between mile markers 19 and 20. The hike is short and of easy difficulty, and you’re exposed to the toadstool hoodoos, balanced rock formations that look like mushrooms.

Hiking: We didn’t do much hiking while here, unfortunately, although we did hike the Hanging Gardens Trail. The trailhead can be found at a parking lot right before the bridge on the Page side of the dam. It was fairly easy and is only about 1 mile roundtrip, unless you follow the wrong path, like we did (stay straight when it looks like you should go left). There’s also an 8-mile Rim Trail that circles the city of Page that we didn’t get to.

We did not get to visit the following places this time, but that just means we’ve saved stuff for next time!

Rainbow Bridge National Monument: Deemed the world’s highest natural bridge, Rainbow Bridge is accessible by a boat ride from Wahweap Marina at the Lake Powell Resort plus a mile-ish (depending on water level) hike or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can hike 16-18 miles around Navajo Monument to reach Rainbow Bridge. We would’ve loved to make the trek via boat, but there aren’t many boat trips scheduled this time of year, and the ones offered just didn’t work out for us.

Vermilion Cliffs National Monument: This national monument is located directly west of Page, but straddles the state line, so part of it also lies in Utah. The Navajo Bridge Visitor Center is a 40-mile drive from Page.

Zion National Park: Page is known as the “Center of the Grand Circle” due to it’s proximity to Zion, Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon. Zion is located 115 miles west of Page.

Bryce Canyon National Park: Known for its crimson-colored hoodoos, Bryce is located 133 miles northwest of Page.

Grand Canyon National Park: Both the North Rim and the South Rim are located about 115 miles from Page and both will take about two and half hours to get to. The North Rim is considerably less crowded, cooler, and at higher elevation than the South Rim; however, it’s only accessible by car May 15 to November 1. Backcountry permits are required by hikers and cross-country skiers the rest of the year.

Kaibab National Forest: The 1.6-million-acre forest borders both the North and South Rims of the Grand Canyon. If driving to the North Rim, you’ll enter Kaibab 75 miles southwest of Page.

As for the city of Page itself, there isn’t a whole lot there. It seems the town exists strictly for tourists to come and check out the natural wonders in the area. There’s a grocery store and a Walmart, some gas stations and a Denny’s, a post office and a municipal airport. We ate at a few of the local restaurants; Big John’s Texas BBQ (the ribs were fab) and Slackers, a burger joint that was surprisingly good. We also ate dinner at the Driftwood Lounge at the Lake Powell Resort, and that was  also surprisingly good. I think the biggest draw to Page, besides Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend, is the lake. Unfortunately, it’s not very usable this time of year. If we pass through the area again, we’ll make sure it’s a little later in the year.

Snow Canyon Campground at Snow Canyon SP

Snow Canyon State Park is a 7400-acre park tucked amid lava flows and sandstone cliffs in Southwest Utah. Within the park is the 31-site Snow Canyon Campground.

Campground Info:

Address: 1002 Snow Canyon Drive, Ivins, UT 84738

Phone Number: (435) 628-2255

  • 14 Sites with Electric and Water and 4 Sites with Electric Only ($25/night)
  • 13 Sites without Hookups ($20/Night)
  • Restrooms with Flush Toilets
  • Showers (Free)
  • Dump Station
  • Water Spigots for Drinking Water
  • Group Campsites
  • Park Office Located within Campground
  • Recycle/Trash

We stayed in site 14, which is at the end of the row of 14 pull-through sites in the middle of the campground. These 14 sites are tight and even though they are paved, are not very level. Each one of the pull-through sites has a covered picnic table and a grill. If we were to return to Snow Canyon, we would try to get site 15A or 15B, which offer more privacy and nicer views.

Site 14 – It looks large enough, but this photo was taken when the site next to us was empty. A second rig fits in the spot to the left of the shade structure on the right side of the photo.
It’s hard to tell from the photo, but there are 5 sites pictured here. They are quite narrow and the website warns that you may not be able to use your slideouts in these sites.

Park Info:

We checked in late Tuesday afternoon and left early Saturday morning, so we really only had three days to explore the park. Seeing as those three days were week days and we need to work most of the time during the week, we didn’t really explore this park as much as we could have. There are more than 38 miles of hiking trails, a three-mile paved walking/biking trail, technical climbing and more than 15 miles of equestrian trails. However, dogs are only allowed on two trails, so this park isn’t as dog-friendly as other state parks.

We were able to get in a few different hikes:

Cinder Cone Trail: 1.5 miles. Difficult. Steep slopes, loose uneven surfaces. Hike among “lava clinkers” as you corkscrew 500 feet to the top of an extinct volcano where you can view a volcano crater and panoramic scenery.

The cinder cone wasn’t as impressive as we were expecting, but it was still interesting to see. The Cinder Cone Trail is accessible from outside the north end of the park.

Petrified Dunes to Butterfly Trail to Lava Flow Trail:

  • Petrified Dunes: 1.2 miles. Moderate. Some steep slopes, uneven surfaces. This route crosses massive Navajo sandstone outcrops and sand dunes frozen in time.
  • Butterfly Trail: 2 miles. Moderate. Some steep slopes, steps and uneven surfaces. Winding along the west side of Petrified Dunes, this trail leads to West Canyon Overlook and lava tubes.
  • Lava Flow Trail: 2.5 miles. Moderate. Uneven surfaces. Hike through a jumbled lava field, the vivid remains of a long-ago volcanic eruption.
Petrified Sand Dunes
Petrified Sand Dunes
At the intersection of the Butterfly Trail and Lava Flow Trail is a lava tube, which was formed during the most recent eruption (more than 27,000 years ago) of the now extinct volcano to the northeast.
The entrance to the lava tube. The tube is fairly long and fun to explore — just remember to bring your headlamp as it’s very dark inside!
Lava Field

Johnson Canyon: Closed annually from March 15 to September 14 – 2 miles. Easy. Level with some rocky slopes and steps. Leads to a sheltered canyon of willow and cottonwood, winding through lava flows and red rock to an arch spanning 200 feet.

Along the trail to the canyon…
The entrance to the canyon…
The arch from a distance. I really enjoyed this trail because it was a nice departure from the trails we’d been experiencing in the Southwest. There were trees, and a small stream, and toads croaking — it was just nice to hear nature.
The Arch (and this is as close as you can get)

In the Area:

The city of St. George (population 82,000+) is about a 20-minute drive from the campground. You’ll find grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, a post office, movie theatre, shopping, and basically anything you could need. There’s a cute, downtown historic area where we ate dinner at a fantastic restaurant called The Painted Pony and got delicious cupcakes from TwentyFive Main. There is also an airport in St. George, which is the second busiest airport in Utah after Salt Lake City.

Just south of the south entrance of the park is the Red Mountain Resort that has a spa where I got massage one day. It was nice to get a little pampering after being on the road for so long!

Zion National Park is less than 60 miles away — about an hour and fifteen minute drive.

How We Receive Mail on the Road

A common question we get when people find out we are full-time travelers is how we get our mail. It’s easier (most of the time) than you may think.

Everyone has a domicile, with domicile meaning a legal relationship between a person and a place. Everyone with a driver’s license, vehicle registration, insurance of any type, and that pays taxes, needs to have a legal domicile. For most, it’s where they live. But when you don’t ‘live’ anywhere, when you don’t have a fixed place of residence, you need to establish an address to use as your legal domicile address. Some people use a family member’s or a friend’s address, and that is definitely an option, especially if they live in the same state you’ve most recently lived in. Two caveats in this scenario are that that person will have to deal with your mail, and, if they ever move, you’ll have to change your address as well. This is why many full-timers choose to set up a domicile address with a mail service. The three states that most full-time travelers use as domiciles are Texas, Florida and South Dakota and we chose South Dakota. To learn more about establishing a domicile, read our post about it here.

All of our regular USPS mail is sent to our address in South Dakota. We can also have any packages sent there shipped via any other carriers, but we try to avoid doing that so we don’t have to pay to have them shipped to our current location. We get an email any time a new piece of mail arrives and I’m able to look online to see what it is (they scan the front of each piece of mail). When we want our mail, I schedule a shipment and our mail is sent to us. But where is it sent?, you ask.

  • Our Current Location – Many campgrounds will accept mail on your behalf; just check with them how it should be addressed in order for it to get to you. Also, make sure they accept mail from all carriers — USPS, UPS, FedEx, Amazon. Not all carriers can make general deliveries to all locations.
  • USPS General Delivery – The local post office will accept general deliveries on your behalf and hold on to them for up to 30 days. Always call the post office to see if they accept general deliveries before having something sent there (the USPS website can be inaccurate). Also, they only accept things shipped via the USPS, so don’t expect them to accept your Amazon packages. This has worked great for us when we’ve stayed at State Parks/National Parks. The address for general deliveries is: Your Name, General Delivery, City, State, Zip Code. Make sure the package is addressed to whoever is picking it up as you may need to present your ID.
  • UPS Store – Just as the USPS accepts USPS-shipped packages on your behalf, UPS Stores will accept UPS-shipped packages on your behalf; however, they may charge a fee. Again, call the store to make sure they offer this service.
  • Amazon Locker – Amazon Lockers are secure, self-service kiosks where customers can pick up Amazon.com packages at a time and place that is convenient for them. When you check out on Amazon, there’s a ‘Find an Amazon Locker’ option when choosing your delivery address. This service is most likely only available in cities of a certain size, but is also a great option for anyone who doesn’t want their packages stolen off their front porch.

So, that’s it! It’s fairly simple, but be forewarned, things move slowly this way. We often receive our mail about three weeks later than if we were in a bricks and sticks home. Make sure to sign up for paperless for everything you can. Our mail service will open and scan something if we request it, so we’re able to read the important stuff in a timely manner.

 

Atlatl Rock Campground at Valley of Fire SP

Campgrounds Info:

There are two campgrounds within Valley of Fire State Park: Atlatl Rock and Arch Rock. Both are first come, first served and Arch Rock, the more primitive of the two, is open seasonally. We chose to stay at Atlatl Rock because the sites are bigger, easier to maneuver, and more suitable for RVs, although we did see some people squeeze some fairly large rigs into spots at Arch Rock. We scored a nice pull through spot in the RV section! The RV sites are $10 more per day than the other sites, which are $20 per day. A lot of people seem to leave in the morning around 8-8:30, so the best time to arrive is around 9am. We showed up about 1:15 on a Wednesday afternoon and there were a couple of RV sites available, but the weekends during mild-temperature months are likely pretty full. There are amazing views at every turn throughout the park, and the campgrounds are no exception. They are clean and quiet and a lot of the sites are pretty private. We were blown away by the beauty of this park and we will definitely be back!

Address: 29450 Valley of Fire Road, Overton, NV 89040

Phone Number: (702) 397-2088

Amenities at Atlatl Rock Campground:

  • 44 Campsites – Half are semi-primitive (water spigot, shaded picnic table, fire ring, grill) and half are RV only (electric and water hookups, shaded picnic table, fire ring, grill).
  • Bathrooms with Flush Toilets
  • Showers (Free)
  • Self-Service Pay (Cash or Check Only)
  • Dumpsters
  • Ash Cans
  • Dump Station
  • Onsite Camp Hosts
Distant view of our site in Atlatl Rock Campground
Our site (#44) was a pull-through and had water and electric hookups.
Each site has a shaded picnic table, fire ring, and grill.
The view out our window of the moon rise.

Park Info:

There’s a $10 entrance fee to get into the park that can be put towards your campground fee. The park itself is doable in one day, but I’d allow at least two days to see the sites. The visitor center has little cards titled “What to Do & See in Valley of Fire…” …if you have two hours, …if you have half a day, and …if you have a full day. Recommendations for a full day are:

  • Drive White Domes Road and Fire Canyon Road; stop and take in the scenic vistas at areas such as Rainbow Vista and Fire Canyon
  • Hike the 1.25-mile roundtrip White Domes Trail, the 1.5-mile roundtrip Fire Wave Trail, and the 3/4-mile roundtrip Mouse’s Tank Trail
  • Check out the Native American petroglyphs at Atlatl Rock picnic area
  • Visit Arch Rock
  • Stop at the “Cabins” to see the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) enrollees who built the park’s infrastructure in the 1930s
  • Do the 1/8-mile walk to see Elephant Rock
  • Spend some time checking out the displays in the visitor center. Learn about Valley of Fire’s geologic history, human history, and flora and fauna
  • Stop at some sites along the main road, such as the 1/4-mile Petrified Logs Loop Trail and Seven Sisters picnic area
Slot canyon on the White Domes Trail, which was our favorite trail.
The remains of a movie set along the White Domes Trail. The 1965 movie was called ‘The Professionals’.
The Fire Wave at the end of the Fire Wave Trail.
Petroglyphs in Petroglyph Canyon along Mouse’s Tank Trail.
Sunset at Arch Rock
Petrified log at Petrified Logs West — Almost 225 million years old!
We were fortunate to see a herd of Desert Bighorn Sheep while driving along White Domes Road!

In the Area:

The city of Overton is less than a half-hour drive from Atlatl Rock Campground, or less than 20 minutes from the East Entrance of the park. There’s a grocery store, a gas station, a post office (that accepts general delivery), a McDonald’s, and a couple of local restaurants. Hoover Dam is about 60 miles away and is accessible through Lake Mead Recreational Area, which is six miles from the East Entrance of the park. Las Vegas is about an hour drive to the southwest.

We weren’t sure what to expect at Valley of Fire before arriving, but a handful of people that we had spoken to in the Las Vegas area said it was spectacular, and they were right! We were totally awed by it’s beauty and will definitely be back!

Things You Need to Start Your Airstream Travels

We did not spend one night in our Airstream before we started living in it full time — crazy, right? In the months that led up to our departure date, we scoured the interwebs to determine what things were needed to live and travel in an Airstream. Most items we purchased were hits; some were misses. After six weeks on the road, we’ve realized what’s important, what’s not, and what falls somewhere in between.

The following lists are what work for us in our life in our 2017 27FB International Signature. I have not included anything to do with the towing aspect including tow vehicle, mirrors, back-up camera, hitch, sway control, etc. I’m not posting links of where to find the products as that would take a looooong time, but if you want more info about something, let me know.

You Definitely, 100%, Need These Things:

  • Sewer Hose Kit
  • 30 Amp Power Cord (included with new Airstream)
  • Hose for Fresh Water Only (included with new Airstream)
  • Tire Chocks
  • Levelers
  • Bubble Levels
  • RV Toilet Paper
  • Tank Treatment Toilet Drop-Ins
  • Hitch Ball Lube
  • Disposable Gloves (for Dumping)

The above items will allow you to be fully hooked up, level, not roll away, and avoid poo issues (clogged black tank, stinky toilet, nasty hands) — so, the important stuff.

May Not Need Yet but Definitely Will Some Day:

  • Sewer Hose Extension
  • Sewer Hose Support
  • Hose to Flush Black Tank
  • 50 Amp to 30 Amp Adaptor

When I say some day, I mean some day soon. We lived without these items for a few days, but all but the sewer hose extension were purchased within the first week. The sewer hookup where we are currently staying is at the back of the site, so our original 15′ hose didn’t reach; therefore, we needed an extension. The hose support allows gravity to do it’s job when you empty the gray and black tanks. The hose to flush the black tank is used every time we empty it to get all of the ‘stuff’ washed off the sides of the tank. And the adaptor is used when only 50 Amp service is available, which happened at the first place we stayed.

Our 15′ sewer hose with 10′ extension which is supported with a sewer hose support system.

Don’t NEED, but Should Strongly Consider:

  • Hitch Lock
  • Propane Tank Lock
  • RV Surge Protector
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System
  • LP Tank Monitoring System
  • Water Filter
  • Flexible Hose Protector

If we lived in a perfect world, you wouldn’t need the first two items — but we don’t, so you may want to consider them. The surge protector is a pricy item, but what’s even pricier is if you hook up to a bad current and it fries the electrical items in your Airstream. The tire pressure monitoring system is also a little pricy. If you don’t want to invest in it at this time, do make sure to purchase a tire pressure gauge and check the tires before every trip. There’s a lot of weight on those tires and they need to be topped off often, especially if they’re sitting in the sun. The LP tank monitoring system is so you know how much propane you have left. Some people may like to chance it, but we want to make sure we don’t run out on a night with below-freezing temps. For us, the water filter falls under necessity, but doesn’t for everyone. We don’t drink the water out of the faucets, but we do use it to shower, wash our hands, and wash the dishes, so we want the water to be clean. We hook the filter up at the spigot-end of the hose so that only filtered water runs through our hose.

Our Progressive Industries EMS-PT30C Portable EMS RV Surge Protector, which is secured with a cable and lock.
We mounted the monitor for the AP Products 024-1000 Tank Check LP with Monitor Kit under the SeeLevel Tank Monitor.

Don’t Need, but Make Life Easier:

  • Generator
  • Wet/Dry Vac
  • Small Air Compressor
  • Dehumidifier
  • Security Cables and Locks
  • Assorted Bungees and Straps
  • Assorted Baskets and Bins
  • Assorted Mounting Tape/Hooks (Velcro, 3M, Scotch)
  • Museum Putty
  • Magnetic Knife Holder
  • Magnetic Spice Tins

Some people will never use a generator — it all depends on what type of Airstreamer you are. They are expensive, so do not buy one until you need it. We use the (small) wet/dry vac to vacuum out the truck (often) and seal things into Space Bags. We have a small air compressor that we use to fill our tires. The dehumidifier is a ? for us thus far. Airstream owners swear that you need one because moisture = bad, but to date we’ve only been in the Southwest, where the humidity has been 25% at its highest and zero precipitation, so we haven’t needed to use it yet. Security cables and locks are important if you want to lock up your generator or surge protector or whatnot. They aren’t that expensive and they don’t take up a lot of room, so you can have them on hand if the need arises. The next four items are all about organization and securing things. For instance, we have our generator and gas can strapped in in the bed of our truck so they don’t slide around when we travel. We’ve used various (removable) hooks throughout the trailer, velcro to hold rugs in place, (removable) 3M tape to hang things on the wall, and museum putty to keep light things on the counter in place. And baskets — so many baskets! For DVDs and office supplies and toiletries and basically anywhere a basket fits. The last two items get items out of the kitchen drawers/cabinets and into an otherwise dead space. We mounted the knife holder above our stove and have the spice tins stuck on the vent hood.

Both the Ouddy 16″ Magnetic Knife Holder and the Kamenstein Magnetic Multi-Purpose Spice Storage Tins were purchased from Amazon.

So, that’s it — the important stuff, anyways! Of course, there’s still the camping stuff (propane grill, chairs, cooler, etc.) and the hiking stuff (backpacks, boots, headlamps, etc.) and the appliances (coffee maker, InstantPot, travel iron, etc.) and work-related stuff (printer and Gator Case for the iMac), but those are individual choices only you can make.

 

 

 

 

How We Work on the Road

The number one thing that most people want to know when we tell them we live in our Airstream and travel full time is what do we do for work.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, we own an ERP consulting business that we started six years ago. We’ve worked from home for the last six years, so there wasn’t a dramatic work-related lifestyle change when we decided to begin traveling. We did, however, search out the best products, devices, and services that would allow us to continue working remotely without interruption.

Cell Phones

We have three AT&T cell phones (two personal, one business) with unlimited data. We also have one Verizon cell phone (which is a spare) with unlimited data. We are able to use these as hotspots when needed. It’s nice to have options, as the cell signals can differ significantly between the two companies. A bonus with the AT&T phones is that we can stream HBO on DirecTV Now and it doesn’t count against our data usage. With the Verizon phone, we get NFL Mobile, so we never have to miss a Packer game! All of the phones are supposed to slow down after using 22GB, but we’ve maxed out on one of the phones this month and have not noticed a slow down where we’re currently staying.

Verizon Jetpack 6620L MiFi

The MiFi is a wireless router that acts as a mobile wifi hotspot. We also have unlimited data with this, but once we hit 15GB, it’s supposed to be throttled to 600kbps. You can find more information about the MiFi here, although our particular version is no longer available.

WeBoost RV Cellular Signal Booster

We bought the weBoost Drive 4G-X RV signal booster to help boost our cell and data signals in areas where they may be lacking. From their website: “The Drive 4G-X RV is our powerful in-vehicle cell phone signal booster kit certified for use anywhere in the US. The Drive 4G-X RV boosts voice and data with max FCC-allowed 50 dB system gain, enhancing 4G LTE, as well as 3G network signals, up to 32x. RVers get fewer lost connections and dead zones, better call quality as well as faster data uploads and downloads whether parked or in motion in their RV.  Works in all classes of RV; Class A, Class C and all towables.” An antenna needs to be installed on the top of the trailer and is connected to an indoor desktop antenna. We’ve noticed that you need to be within a few feet of the indoor antenna in order for the signal to be boosted, which generally works fine as the antenna is in the storage compartment above the kitchen table. When we’re in the bedroom in the back of the trailer, we generally have a weaker signal. You can find our particular model here.

The weBoost antenna on the top of our trailer

Computers

Travis uses a 27″ iMac 3.4GHz Intel Core i7 with 32GB of RAM and a 3TB Fusion Drive. When we are towing, the iMac gets secured in a Gator Cases Tote Bag, available from Amazon here. The bag fits perfectly in the space at the end of his bed so we don’t need to worry about it sliding around at all. I use a 13″ MacBook Pro 2.3GHz Intel Core i5 with 16GB of RAM and a 500GB SSD Drive.

Gator Cases Creative Pro Series Nylon Carry Tote Bag for Apple 27″ iMac Desktop Computer
Fits perfectly at the end of the twin bed in our International 27FB

Printer

We found the perfect printer for our needs! We purchased the HP OfficeJet 250 All-in-One Portable Printer with Wireless & Mobile Printing. It wirelessly scans, copies and prints (in color, if needed). It has a battery so it only needs to be plugged in occasionally to charge. The best part?! It easily fits in the drawer beneath the bench along with packs of paper. You can find it on Amazon here.

Fits in the bench drawer with room to spare!