Day 9 We Made it!

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With only an hour drive left we decided to sleep in. Then made the easy trip from Stockton to  Lafayette


Almost there!


oh look Windmills


Approaching their house

Woohoo!  The trailer is parked in their driveway and detached!

Wow what a trip.  We were talking on the 2nd to last day saying we could keep on going.  It was easy (except for day 8), fun, loved seeing the sites, the different terrains, the mountains, canyons and plains.  I enjoyed having Riley with me as he is my constant companion and really such a cool dog.  Travis was the perfect Travel Buddy.  I would do it all again with them.  (BTW if you are traveling cross country he may be available for hire.)

Cross Country Trip Final Stats:IMG_2136

  • Total length: 35 1/2 feet
  • Estimated weight: 14,000 pounds
  • Total run time: 73 hours and 15 minutes. *note it kept counting if we left the engine running while parked.
  • Travel Days: 9
  • Number of states: 13
  • # of National Parks: 4
  • Distance: 3739 miles
  • Cost of Diesel Fuel: $799.13
  • Cost of Lodging: $808.73

road trippersYou can view information about our trip on RoadTrippers. Click here to see the stops, route, and more information about the sites.

Thanks for following us on our #neveradullmoment cross country road trip.


Day 8 A day of extremes

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Lowest to Highest  & Hottest to Coldest

We woke up to this view. I love driving in to a hotel at night and seeing how beautiful it’s surrounding area is in the morning.


Today’s Stats


At Death Valley we say “The desert is calling and I must go” a refined rewording of the old John Muir quote.

I have to say that is not the way I felt. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

We drove from Las Vagas to Death Valley National Park and headed straight to the salt flats called Badwater Basin.

Named as such when one of the early frontier explorers noticed their Mule would not drink the water.  Interestingly enough the water is not poisoned just really salty. It is also the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level.

We got out of the truck and at 110 degrees the heat was oppressive.  On top of that it was really windy. So it was like walking into a convection oven with the blower on.  We really only stayed 10 minutes there to get the pictures and get back to the truck, where we left Riley in the AC.


From there we decided to head to Yosemite but we had to get out of Death Valley first.  It was up and over some mountains and across a dry lake where the sand storm kicked up throwing sand across the road.

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As we were leaving the park we both agreed “been there, done that, don’t need to do it again.”  The desert is so bleak and colorless, definitely not our favorite part of the trip but we are glad we can say we did it.

As we drove down the road out of the desert we could see Mt Whitney in front of us. It is the highest point in California at 14,505 feet and is only 85 miles from the lowest point.

Oh yeah we made it to California!  But there was no sign to welcome us.  As we started our drive north we had never been so excited to see trees.  Big beautiful pine tress that we wanted to get out and hug.

We found out the road to Yosemite National Park was closed and also the next mountain road was closed.  We ended up taking 89 to State Road 4.  It started out beautiful as we slowly wound our way up the side of a mountain.

As we went up we saw snow on the side of the road.  So of course we had to stop and play in the snow in flip flops and shorts.

Then we saw this sign.  However we were already committed at this point and past the point of no return.

IMG_2127This is what Wiki has to say about our route.

The route runs through the 8,050 ft (2,450 m). Pacific Grade Summit on its way up to the 8,730 ft (2,660 m) Ebbetts Pass and ends at State Route 89 ten miles (16 km) west of Topaz Lake, on the California–Nevada border. The portion from Arnold to its terminus is designated the Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway, which is eventually one lane.

Through the mountains, SR 4 is not suitable for large trucks, buses, or RVs, as it becomes very steep and narrow, with no center dividing line shortly after the Mount Reba Turnoff to Bear Valley Ski area, with tight switchbacks. The pass is not plowed for snow, and thus closes during the winter months often from November through as late as May.

So in the black of night we are going through this mountain pass in a vehicle that was way too long and heavy for the road.  It was so windy with hair pin turns and switch backs. At one point the tires spun when we went up hill around a sharp curve.  We had to watch for oncoming cars and there was barely enough room for them to get by.  Needless to say it was about 2 hours of white knuckled, sweaty palms driving.

The snow was piled up 4 feet and the temperature got down to 38 degrees.Travis did an amazing job navigating that road.

It was midnight by the time we got back to civilization and found a hotel with vacancy that took dogs. Phew what a long day!  But we ended up an hour from our final destination so we could sleep in the next day.


Day 7 Zion National Park

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Woke up to get some coffee and take Riley for a walk.  Discovered this hidden gem behind the motel.

Today’s Stats:

IMG_1995After breakfast and a quick meeting we were off to Zion.  Luckily Travis talked to a guy that told him about the drive was not an easy one especially pulling a trailer.  So he drove.

Funny this trip… I am a planner by nature but lately I have been trying to plan less and just go, see what happens. So I stopped over researching, googling everything and really knew nothing about the place I had planned.  I simple went on the app Roadtrippers and added placed that were in a 30 mile radius of our route.

So I had no idea what to expect of Zion National Park.  It was amazing but more of a drive through with scenic vistas.  Where the Grand Canyon we were on top looking down this one we drove through the canyon carved out by Virgin River.  The Mormons first settled the area and called it Zion for the bountiful land that the river fed.

In the 1920’s they built a tunnel. Cars were a lot narrower back then. So the wider ones require a tunnel traffic control.  Luckily we were just under that maximum width. What a crazy experience going through the mountain for 1.1 miles.  Felt a little bit of anxiety and Closter phobic.  Luckily they had 3 or 4 “windows” that opened up to let in light and let us view the canyon walls.

The scenic road took us down several switch backs to the bottom.  Where we exited on the other side.

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Then parked the truck and walked to the visitor center.

IMG_2024Riley was only allowed on one trail.  So we went for a walk.

It was so hot I decided to let him go in the river.  He is such a water dog went right in and laid down. 

Just before we turned around we let him in again.  This time off leash.  He went right in and started getting pushed by the current!  He went over a small rapid and tried to get out about 5 feet downstream from us.  We ran for him as he was struggling to get a grip hold to get out.  I asked Travis to take my hand them put one foot in the water and went down sneaker and all to my thigh.   I grabbed Riley by the scruff and collar and after a small yelp from him handed him to Travis.  Then with Riley safely on solid ground I looked at him and said you’re going to have to pull me out.  Wow what an adrenaline rush.  My heart was pounding after that one.  And Riley is just a happy as can be wagging his tail and shaking off the water. We walked back with one wet sneaker and one dry one.

Got back to the visitor center and sat on a bench to figure out the rest of the trip.  We have a couple of days left and not enough things planned.  I decided that since I bought the national park’s annual pass we should hit as many parks as we can.  So change of plans Hoover dam then on to the National Parks of California.

We started driving and it is getting hotter, in the upper 90’s.  It is feeling like the AC is not working in the truck.  So I found a Ford Dealership in St George, Utah.  They were able to take care of us right away.  So we enjoyed some down time and I got to write yesterday’s blog post.  They were so nice there.  I took up a table, plugged in and use the internet.  Riley was allowed to join us in the waiting room.  He was so good just laid on the cool tiles and accepted love from everyone who stopped to say hi to him.

IMG_2025Just over an hour later we are loving life with cold air coming out of the vents.

One more stop before heading toward Vegas.  Black Bear Diner, one of Travis’ favorites of the western US.  We found a shady spot and parked the truck so Riley wouldn’t get over heated. We asked the hostess if we could sit by the window so we could keep an eye on the truck with the window open.  We told her Riley was in it. After confirming with her manager, she said we could bring him in.  He was so good! Laid under the table and slept while we ate.


Then posed for pictures on our way out.

Back to driving.  Oh look there is Arizona again.

IMG_2032Now Nevada


Passed right through Vegas. Yes that is the space needle on the right.

IMG_2037We drove right past the exit for the Hoover Dam and crossed the Colorado River.  Oh look we are in Arizona again. Off at the first exit and back across the bridge and we are back in Nevada.

IMG_2041We find the exit and head to a security check point where they tell us that we can’t cross the dam because they need to inspect the trailer.  Since it is packed tight they would have to take everything out. So we went to a look out point that overlooked Lake Mead hoping to catch a glimpse of the dam.  No such luck.

Then we decided to cross back into Arizona again and see if we could access the dam from the other side.  The road is closed!  So we go back over the bridge and I am looking out the dam.  Hope to see it but again no can’t see it from the bridge.

Back in Nevada we notice a beautiful sunset and head to the lookout point again quick snap of a photo and back in the truck.

Still on the mission to see the dam we head in to the state park towards the lake again.  But you can’t see it from there either.  Ok we give up, find a hotel to crash for the night.  This one has a hot tub and pool.  So we spent the early part of the night soaking in the hot top looking at the moon through the palm trees.  Seriously you can’t beat this with a stick.




Day 6 Horseshoe bend and Bryce Canyon National Park

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“Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit.”

– Edward Abbey

The hotel we stayed at was the nicest yet.  We had a ground floor walk out slider to this view.  I worked for about an hour in the with this view. Not too shabby if I say so myself.


This morning’s driving stats and where we are at:

So our first stop was horseshoe bend. We parked in the lot and walked about 1.5 miles to see this:

Next off to Bryce Canyon.  The drive there was amazing the landscape changes so much it is really breath taking.

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We made it to Utah!  The first time we stopped at the state line sign.

Travis has become quite the photographer and getting used to the facebook checkins.  This was him the whole drive to Bryce Canyon.


Next Stop Bryce Canyon!  Seriously each wonder of the world is better than the next.

So many people stopped us to pet and ask about Riley;  Most of them from Europe.  We found out that Flat-Coated Retrievers are very common over there.  Spoke to one couple who had 4 of them.  Riley was just soaking it all in.  We spoke to another couple who used to have a Golden named Riley.  So they got their Riley fix by loving on him.

As we were walking out of Bryce Canyon we stopped at the general store for water. Ended up getting a slice of Pizza and an ice cream sandwich.  It was starting to get chilly so move to a bench in the sun.  Ahh perfect.  Walked back to the truck we started talking about selfies and selfie sticks (which I refuse to buy).  Then Travis told me about the selfie song.  When we got back to the truck and were driving out of the park he played it for me.  So funny! {Video to come when I have better internet}

We started heading to Zion Nation Park, only like an hour away.  Stayed at a motel about 15 minutes away.

Not our best motel but it was convenient.

Across the street was a restaurant where they advertise their Ho’made pies. The Thunderbird restaurant did not let me down I had a strawberry Rhubarb pie.

IMG_1989It was amazing! So the story is that back in the 30’s when this restaurant was first started they ran out of wood for the word HOME, so they shortened it to HO.  And it stuck..

Day 5 Grand Canyon

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This morning driving stats.

Last check we were around 14 hours from Lafayette. So it’s time to see some sights.


We  drove to the Grand Canyon today.

img_1823Our first stop was at the Grand Canyon Visitor center. Parking lot was so full we had to make our own parking spot but it appears we were trend setters as bikes followed our cue.

IMG_1847Wow it was crowded. It was the perfect day for it and tourists from all over the world were there experiencing it with us. There were many tour buses full of international tourists. It kinda took away from the experience, but it was still spectacular

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So beautiful, I was in awe.You could spend hours just staring at it.  Can you imagine being a traveler back in the days of horse pulled wagons traveling across country and come across great big hole in the ground? And you think yourself well how my going to get over there.

Riley again did great. He is such a poser. Many people asked to give him some love; which he gladly accepted. We could not help but laugh when some of the Asian Tourists were scared of him.  They quickly moved out of the one one girl jumped behind her guy so he would act as a shield against the ferocious Riley. But he was not the only wildlife. We saw squirrels, which despite the signs, we saw this one tourist giving nuts. This little guy was taking it right from his hands.

The next stop in the Grand Canyon National Park was the Desert View visitor center. It has an awesome look out tower built in 1932. There is also a memorial to one of the first commercial plane crashes in the US. It happened near by in 1956.

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As we were leaving we noticed a mule deer on the edge of the parking lot.  They are so used to seeing visitors that he didn’t even move as I approached him.

Next we are heading to Horseshoe bend in Page, AZ. Located very close to the Utah boarder.


Day 4 Texas, New Mexico, Arizona

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This morning’s stats.  Showing total driving time and mileage.

IMG_1740.JPGI worked a half day today.  Took two meetings but reception was not as good as yesterday, dropped the call a few times. But still it is pretty cool to be able to work from the road.


Today’s travels took us from the grass lands of Texas, to the barren land of New Mexico.  The rock and mountain shapes and structures are so rugged yet beautiful.  Two more time zones, guess it is time to adjust the clocks.  Playing havoc with our eating and sleeping schedules. Poor Riley didn’t get dinner until 10 pm last night.

The maintenance guy said that if you press No you get shocked.


Just passing into Arizona. What you don’t sing when you drive?

We stopped in Gallup for dinner. Got way too much food but I was craving BBQ. The combo platter seemed like a good idea.

IMG_1764After dinner a guy walks up to the truck and asks us for money. After giving us his spiel, T says no, sorry man.  The guy proceeds to tell us we are members of the KKK and that since we didn’t help him out something bad will happen to us.  We were thinking of staying overnight there but after that we decided to get out of there.


We made it to Flagstaff for our nightly stop.  Luckily the La Quinta takes pets.  Seems like a cool mountain town.

Day 3 Part 2 Round Bales and Wind Mills

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So I take over the driving for the second half of the day to get us to Amarillo. All of the sudden our phones start ringing that emergency warning sound.  Travis
picks up the phone to find out it is a Tornado Warning.  IMG_1678The weather looked fine to us so we just kept driving.  Later we find out that the Tornado struck about 50 miles directly south of where we were driving.  The most exciting non-event of the trip, seriously my hash tag is not letting me down. #NeverAdullMoment

The rest of that evening drive took us past round bales of hay, tractors, and windmills.

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We made it into Texas, the route takes us just across the square top of it.  The tip of the ice berg.

IMG_1732That evening ended with a beautiful sunset.

IMG_1737We finally made it to hotel after dropping Riley off we ran to the local Mexican restaurant.  It was too close in a ½ hour.  Just in time for a very large Margarita.

Day 3 Amarillo Before Midnight?

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One last picture from Tennessee. Yes that is a very big guitar in the background…

IMG_1672Start of day 3 stats.


So this is a vacation right?  Yeah there’s no rush to get out of bed and hit the road.  First we have to hit the included breakfast at the hotel.

IMG_1648Today’s travels took us out of Tennessee, into Arkansas and then Oklahoma.

We hope to make to Amarillo before turning in tonight.

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It is Monday so I used the hot spot to check in to work.  I figured it’s better to work while sitting in the passenger seat and not use all my vacation time on this trip. My rolling office today!


Straight roads and flat farm land fells like we are on the Highway to….

Day 2 Part 2 Riley’s Romp in Nashville

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Crazy Town

So only Travis would take all 45 feet of us into downtown Nashville and find a parking spot for $5!  We took up 4 and a half spots.  The parking lot was empty when we got there. By the time we got back we were almost blocked in.

IMG_1628First mission was to find an outdoor eating establishment that Riley could on the patio under the table.  Score! At the Acme Feed & Seed, food was good but a little to fru fru for me.

We could have stayed there all evening and just people watched but we had to see some sights.

Riley was in sensory overload!  He was very good and allowed many people and kids to pet him. To most he just brought on big smiles.  We walked around and took in some of the sites and sounds.

He doesn’t like to walk over grates very much and is also not a big fan of walking down open stairs.

The Peddle Tavern was one of the more interesting bars we saw.  People sit around a moving bar that the bar tender stands in the middle and steers.  It is peddle power and good times getting around Nashville.

But the the funniest thing was…We came across this guy sitting in a kiddie pool filled with sand playing music on a the corner with his buddy.


All smiles around Nashville. Gotta get to Memphis tonight.  Time to hit the road.

Day 2 Nashville Bound

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Day 1 totals…

Yesterday evening we found an ok hotel outside of Roanoke, VA that took Dogs.  Rolled in there after 11, apparently the dogs across the hall heard us coming and started barking (sorry #139 if I woke you).

Traveling with Riley is great! He is such a trooper.

After our free breakfast we were on the road around 9.  I drove! Woo hoo! My palms were sweaty and I was a bit nervous.  But I was just Highway (81) driving so within 1/2 hour I was more comfortable.  I only did about 150 miles but hey it’s a good start

Not an exciting travel day yet, but I am looking forward to Nashville.

I used to travel there for work (about 13 years ago) and loved the town.  I even met a singing Cowboy there, he had hopes of making it big.  His song was Rose Colored Glasses. Lost track of him but never did see his name come up in lights either.

I have a feeling Nashville has changed a lot since I was there last.Check in tomorrow I will let you know how it was.

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