Our First Harvest Hosts Stay

We were supposed to spend four nights at Death Valley over the New Year holiday, but due to a government shutdown, we had to change our plans. We were able to stay an additional three days at the RV park that we were at in Del Mar, CA, but had to find someplace to move to for the fourth night. We called ahead to Wine Ridge Resort, which was to be our next stop, to see if we could check in a day early. They were fully booked, so we looked to Harvest Hosts for a place to stay.

Harvest Hosts is a collection of wineries, breweries, museums, farms, golf courses, and other such locations that allow RVers to stay for free on their property for one night or more. The only thing that is asked is that you patronize the establishment in some way, whether it’s buying a bottle of wine or touring the museum or something similar.

We found a second winery in Pahrump, where Wine Ridge is located, that is a Harvest Hosts property — Sanders Family Winery — and made arrangements to stay there for the night. The winery is a beautiful, quiet property and seeing as it was New Year’s Day, it was closed and we were the only ones around. The owners, Jack and his wife, live on property. Jack stopped out to meet us, and seeing as it was super cold (low of 22 that night), said that we could use our generator.

We made it through the night without anything freezing (yay!) and stopped in to the tasting room for some free wine tasting the next day. The wine was delicious and we ended up purchasing three bottles. I’d also like to note that they are very dog friendly, and invited Max into the tasting room (which we did) and said we could let him run around off leash on property (we didn’t do that, but it was a nice offer). After the tasting, we hooked up and moved on to Wine Ridge Resort. We stayed at Wine Ridge in February 2018, and you can read about that stay here.

It was a very cold night, but the setting with Mt. Charleston, agaves, and grape vines was very peaceful.

If you’re interested in signing up for Harvest Hosts, get 15% off with this link here. Harvest Hosts Classics, with 600+ locations, is $79/year. Harvest Hosts + Golf, with over 1000+ locations, is $119/year.

One Year on the Road

Today marks one year since we started living, working and traveling full time in our Airstream. One year ago feels both so incredibly distant, but also like it flew by! We have learned a lot in the last twelve months — about ourselves, about our airstream, and about what we hope to get out of this lifestyle. Here’s a look back at our first year as nomads:

We travelled 7,997 miles across 16 states:

California

Alabama Hills – Lone Pine, CA
Trinidad, CA
Poway, CA
Newport Beach, CA

Nevada

Valley of Fire State Park – Overton, NV
Las Vegas, NV
Zephyr Cove (Lake Tahoe), NV

Utah

Snow Canyon State Park – Ivins, UT
Snow Canyon State Park – Ivins, UT

Arizona

Page, AZ
Antelope Canyon – Page, AZ

New Mexico

Santa Fe, NM (We were in Santa Fe for only one night and checked out Meow Wolf, which we highly recommend!)

Colorado

Pueblo, CO
Lake Pueblo State Park – Pueblo, CO
Lake Pueblo State Park – Pueblo, CO

Kansas

Dodge City, KS (It was VERY cold and windy the couple of nights we were there, so we didn’t get a chance to explore.)

Missouri

National World War I Museum and Memorial – Kansas City, MO
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art – Kansas City, MO
Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum – Independence, MO

Iowa

(We spent two isolated, quiet nights in Cedar Point, IA and have nothing to show for it. Sorry, Iowa)

Wisconsin

Breezy Hills Campground – Fond du Lac, WI
Van Dyne, WI
Neshonoc Lakeside Camp Resort – West Salem, WI

Minnesota

Minneopa State Park – Mankato, MN
Bunker Hills Campground – Coon Rapids, MN
Bunker Hills Campground – Coon Rapids, MN

South Dakota

Dignity Statue – Chamberlain, SD
Black Elk Peak – Black Hills of SD
Black Elk Peak – Black Hills of SD
Custer State Park – Custer, SD

Wyoming

Devils Tower, WY

Montana

Max was super excited for Montana!
Garryowen, MT
Billings, MT (with cotton from the Cottonwood trees floating in the air)
Along the ‘M’ Trail in Bozeman, MT

Washington

Spokane, WA
Spokane, WA

Oregon

Cannon Beach, OR
Otis, OR
Ona Beach State Park – Newport, OR
Reedsport, OR
Winchester Bay, OR
Coos Bay, OR

 

We visited 24 National Park Service sites:

Joshua Tree National Park

Death Valley National Park

Saguaro National Park

Petrified Forest National Park

Badlands National Park

Wind Cave National Park

Glacier National Park

Redwood National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Yosemite National Park

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

Montezuma Castle National Monument

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument

Devils Tower National Monument

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument

 

Harry S. Truman National Historic Site

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

Manzanar National Historic Site

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area

…and one ghost town (Bodie, CA)…

…the world’s only corn palace (Mitchell, SD)…

…and a cheese factory (Tillamook, OR).

We drank some beer…

Santa Fe, NM
Yachats, OR
Coos Bay, OR

…and some liquor…

Coram, MT

…and some wine!

Pahrump, NV
Temecula, CA

We boondocked for the first time in Wisconsin on a family friend’s farm…

…and stayed at a Harvest Hosts for the first time in Nevada.

Travis ran a half marathon in Death Valley…

…and we learned how to play pickle ball.

We did a lot of hiking…

…and a bit of relaxing.

But most importantly, we were able to spend a lot of time with family and friends!

As you can see, it was a great year! We have a lot of amazing adventures planned for 2019, and we look forward to sharing them with you!

Zephyr Cove Resort – Lake Tahoe, NV

We loved Zephyr Cove! This is such a beautiful campground and we are already looking forward to the day we can return. It’s also a very expensive campground, the most expensive to date for us, but we treated our five nights there as a mini vacay and that helped us justify the price ($75/night). We were in site 134, which is a nice, long pull-thru. We were so glad we got a pull-thru due to the roads being narrow throughout the campground and the smattering of trees everywhere, which made getting into sites very difficult, especially for larger rigs. Our site was considered a ‘standard’ site, though I’m not sure what the difference is from the ‘premium’ sites, most of which are back-ins. We watched many Class A motorhomes and fifth wheels struggle with both getting in to and out of their sites, so even though the website says they can handle 40+ feet, I’d say this is not a big rig friendly campground.

We pulled into Zephyr Cove on Labor Day, so it was very busy, but really cleared out the next day. The week was peaceful, with the campground filling up again on Friday night — Zephyr Cove definitely seems like a summer weekend destination.

Zephyr Cove Resort RV Park & Campground

Address: 760 US Hwy 50, Zephyr Cove, NV 89448

Phone: (775) 589-4906

Amenities:

  • Full Hookups
  • Pull-Thru Sites
  • Cable TV
  • Tent Sites
  • Airstreams for Rent
  • Restrooms with Showers
  • Laundry
  • Store
  • Dump Station
  • Propane

There are three Airstreams available for rent. Looking at the Zephyr Cove website, they look to be 30′ International Signatures.

The RV park and campground is across the street from the main lodge of the resort. The resort offers cabins, a restaurant, a gift shop, a beach on South Lake Tahoe with beach bar and volleyball courts, lake cruises, marina with rentals, and horseback riding. We spent a lot of time at the beach relaxing and enjoying the amazing weather. The lake is so clear and refreshing!

Heavenly Village is a short drive from the RV park, and has shops and restaurants as well as the Heavenly Mountain Resort Gondola. The gondola, which only operates on the weekend during summer, offers panoramic views of Lake Tahoe as it carries you the 2.6 miles to the top. There’s an observation deck, cafe, and gift store at the first stop of the gondola. Continue to the top of the gondola for the Tamarack Lodge, where you can get a typical ski lodge lunch that’s of average quality and overpriced. Bar 9150′ is also located there. During the winter, Heavenly Mountain offers 96 different ski trails. During the summer, visitors can enjoy climbing walls, ropes courses, zip lines, a roller coaster, tubing and hiking trails. You can also take the chair lift further up the mountain to get better views of Lake Tahoe and access more hiking trails.

Depending on where you are on the mountain, you’ll find yourself in one of two states.

Our time in Tahoe was all about relaxing. We enjoyed sitting by the fire every night (buy your firewood before getting to the campground where it’s $$$). We also enjoyed meeting up with fellow full-time Airstreamers Marc and Paola (Instagram’s Cruising Slow). The weather was perfect and the only thing we’d change is how long we stayed. We wished our stay had been longer at Zephyr Cove, which will definitely happen during our next visit!

Bordertown Casino and RV Resort – Reno, NV

Bordertown Casino and RV Resort

Address: 19575 Hwy 395 North, Reno, NV 89508

Phone: (775) 677-0169

Amenities:

  • Full Hookups
  • Pull-Thru Sites
  • Cable TV
  • Laundry
  • Restrooms with Showers
  • Dog Run
  • Propane Fill
  • Gas Station
  • Casino with Restaurant
  • Dump Station

This is a great little RV park with 50 sites; all but two are pull-thrus. It’s a couple hundred yards from the California/Nevada border, hence the name, and a 20- to 25-minute drive into downtown Reno. The sites have long, level, concrete pads with beautiful green grass. The laundry and restrooms are a little dated, but are clean and get the job done. Upon checkin, we were each given coupons for the casino for $5 in slot play, a free drink, and a $1 off food at either the deli or restaurant in the casino — and we happily used them all. The casino is small with all slots, a bar, a deli counter and a busy restaurant with phenomenal prices. The people that run the RV park are very nice and extremely accommodating and all of the other guests were very friendly. While there isn’t much to do in the immediate area, we would definitely stay here again — it’s clean, quiet, and convenient to the highway.

 

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!

Wine Ridge RV Resort and Cottages

We spent five weeks at Wine Ridge Resort in Pahrump, Nevada. If you’ve never heard of Pahrump, don’t worry — most people haven’t. It’s located between Death Valley National Park (to the west) and Las Vegas (to the east), and it takes about an hour to get to either one.

The resort is very nice and the monthly rate is more than reasonable. We were there for 36 nights at $9.63 per night plus electricity, which, for the five weeks, was $53.82. Our grand total was $400.52.

Address: 3800 Winery Road, Pahrump, NV 89048

Phone Number: (775) 751-7805

Amenities include:

  • Full Hookup
  • Two Pools and a Hot Tub
  • Individual Bathrooms with Showers (So great!)
  • Laundry
  • Pickle Ball, Bocce Ball and Horseshoes
  • Fitness Center (Pretty decent, actually)
  • RV/Car Wash
  • Clubhouse with Pool Table, Shuffle Board, and a Lending Library with DVDs, Board Games, Books and Puzzles
  • Complimentary Breakfasts Most Mornings
  • Weekly Activities including Poker, Bingo and Karaoke
  • Mail Service
  • Cottages

Located next door to the resort is the Pahrump Valley Winery (voted #1 in Nevada) that offers free tastings and the Symphony’s Restaurant, which, according to locals, is the best restaurant in Pahrump. The wine is excellent and the food was pretty good.

Pahrump Valley Winery

Pahrump itself doesn’t have a lot going on, unless you’re really into smoky casinos and fireworks stores, but we tried to take advantage of everything it did have to offer:

  • Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area: About a 40-minute drive from Pahrump, Red Rock is home to a 13-mile, extremely scenic drive with multiple overlooks, parking areas and picnic areas. There are also 26 different hiking trails of varying length and difficulty — our favorite was the Calico Tanks Trail. Rock climbing is allowed but you need a permit. Definitely a must see if in the Pahrump area and it’s only about a 20-minute drive from the Las Vegas Strip.

    View along the Calico Tanks Trail
  • Death Valley National Park: While there are places to stay in Death Valley, the campgrounds fill up fast and the hotels are crazy expensive. Pahrump is a decent location for making day trips to the park. As we had friends visit to run the Death Valley Marathon, we did hook up the Airstream and tow to Death Valley to spend three nights at the Furnace Creek Campground.

    Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America (-282 feet)
  • Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge: Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the refuge protects threatened and endangered species, many of which occur nowhere else in the world, such as the Devils Hole pupfish.

    Crystal Spring – A true oasis in the desert!
  • China Ranch Date Farm: A family-owned date farm and bakery that serves the regional delight, date shakes. There are also a handful of trails and a cute little gift shop.

    China Ranch Date Farm (The date vanilla chip cookies were delicious!)

There are a few other attractions in the area that either didn’t interest us or we didn’t have time for: Dumont Dunes, Tacopa Hot Springs and the Amargosa Opera House.

For the most part, we enjoyed our time in Pahrump, although five weeks was too long; however, five weeks is probably too long to spend anywhere. It was nice to be able to have visitors, which we did on two different occasions. And it was very convenient to be stationary for a little while so we could get our mail sent to us regularly and be able to do some shopping on Amazon. Also, Travis had to make a business trip at one point, so being close to a large airport was important. We’d stay at Wine Ridge Resort again, but probably just for a few nights.