“Where’s the first place that you’re going to go?” One of the first questions I get asked after spilling the beans on our Airstream and travel plans is where we’re planning on taking Charlie, our house on wheels. Inquiring minds want to know! But, we don’t.
Nothing is set in stone, yet. Purposefully.
As most of you know, I’m a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of guy. My wife, on the other hand, is the planner. She needs to know what’s happening. She likes to have a destination. A roadmap.
Finding our way north
For the first few months after retirement, we mosey north out of Tucson. First, we visit Sonoita (wine country) about 20 miles southeast of Tucson for a couple days of boondocking out on BLM land. Extra points if we pick a spot within stumbling distance of a winery. Cause, well, you know. Wine. Then we reverse course, hop onto I-10, and head north.
About 25 miles north of Tucson rests Picacho Peak, an amazingly beautiful spot in the middle of a vast desert. I’ll cry if we don’t stay there for a few days. I need quality time with my camera, and this is an awesome spot. There’s a state park nearby, which may be our best bet.
After a couple (or few) days at Picacho Peak, we’re into early March and we resume our trip north.
Courtney’s parents live in Scottsdale, and Arizona is the place to be in the springtime. Staying in the Phoenix or Scottsdale area for several weeks is probably in the cards, though finding free BLM land may bring us outside the metro area. A good problem to have, no doubt!
By the end of April and beginning of May, temperatures begin to climb in Arizona, and we have another set of parents to visit: mine! They live in southwest Utah, which is no stranger to the heat either. In mid-April, we set sail again up to Utah, spending time hiking limitless trails in beautiful red rock country and further settling into our new lifestyle free of full-time jobs.
At this point, we really start playing things by ear. And by “ear”, we actually mean weather.
And then east!
Our air conditioner won’t work unless we plug into an external power source. Thus, we “follow the weather” so temperatures don’t get too hot. Once the mercury begin to rise in southern Utah, we begin our trek eastward into the higher altitudes of Colorado.
As the summer approaches, we ascend further and further into the thinning Colorado air.
We need campground reservations for Memorial Day somewhere in Colorado, but that should be our only “must”. Holidays are prime time for camping. People get wild, especially out in BLM land. During holidays, we want a place to stay in a more controlled environment, like a campground. Naturally, reservations need to be made early.
A year out still, we haven’t selected the campground, but it will probably be in Colorado – or, as we discussed a couple weekends ago, maybe Montana. Another trip to Glacier National Park sounds good. And of course, we need to hit Coeur d’Alene, too.
And that is where we intend on spending our first summer after quitting full-time work. At altitude. Hiking, biking, photographing and enjoying cooler temperatures, waking up whenever we want and falling asleep when we are tired.
I’m looking forward to those epic power naps during the day that have a way of rejuvenating the soul. Our dogs, who nap all the time, have it so great!
Where in Colorado? We have no idea. Maybe Durango. Perhaps Ouray. Silverton, at 9,300 feet, would be quite the ambitious trek, but it’s not out of the question. Who needs oxygen, anyway?
Where would you spend your first summer in an Airstream? Colorado? The Pacific Northwest? Somewhere that we haven’t considered?