30 May

Bruno’s Got The Travel Itch

He’s adopted a sedentary lifestyle for the past year and made an asphalt driveway his home. He’s hauled lumber, rocks, mulch, and our sorry asses around town, but Bruno the 4Runner hasn’t gone more than 450 miles from home in over a year. He was proud to roll us over to the Women’s March on Washington back in January, but we didn’t even camp! All Bruno’s dreams are about to come true, as we pack up to leave NorCar for the summer.

The house has been rented out and we’re excited to be getting back on the road. We’ve packed up Bruno pretty similarly to when we left Costa Rica. We plan to coverΒ 3,500 miles / 5,650 kilometers over one glorious month. It’ll be fast. We’ll be moving every 2-3 days. I haven’t seen much of the US interior and this will be a whirlwind tour of the best it has to offer.

Why the short timeline? Early retirees normally revel in slow travel! As quick as we’ll be moving in that first month, we will actually be away from home for over two months. Couldn’t have done that with our 9-to-5 jobs. The first month on the road has Calgary, Alberta as our destination. Calgary is 90 minutes from Banff National Park, along with incredible hikes, lakes, and rocky vistas. As much as we love our winter sports, we’re stoked to be going in the summer for once!

The second month is the whole reason for the Canadian destination – my classy little sister is getting married and the resulting bash is going to be epic.

We’ll make a couple quick stops in Tennessee, then spend a few days in the Ozarks of Arkansas. Travis really enjoyed this part of the country when he zipped through on a motorcycle trip a few years back. After that, we’ll make a beeline for New Mexico, “Land of Enchantment”.Β We’re going to spread the Airbnb love and stay with locals in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. As big fans of Breaking Bad, we may even treat Bruno to an A-1 Car Wash.

Travis is pumped about returning to Utah and I am jazzed about the small parts we’ll see of SW Colorado and NW Wyoming.Β We have an America The Beautiful Annual Park Pass and are going to hit up all the big name National Parks: Canyonlands & Arches, Bryce & Zion, Grand Teton & Yellowstone. We’re also visiting little-known places that have been recommended to us: Pagosa Springs, Colorado; the Coyote Gulch area of Utah; and a stop into Missoula, Montana.

We’ll camp a total of 24 nights out of 30 at an average cost of $12/night, splitting between National Park and private campgrounds, interstate rest stops and free BLM campgrounds.Β We will also be celebrating this guy’s 33rd birthday in wild and crazy Salt Lake City. Recommendations welcome!

While Travis turns 33, Canada celebrates 150 years of independence this July 1st. To celebrate both events, Canada is gifting us all with free admission for the entire year to National Parks, Historical Sites, and Marine Conservation Areas. So if you can get up there, you should!

More tales to come from the road!

  • Those are some grand travel plans you’ve got there FwB! I must say — I fully approve of the Octopus Carwash visit! πŸ˜‰

    • Amanda

      I’ll let you know if we see any suspicious characters lurking around the car wash! πŸ™‚

  • Looks fun!

    We’ll be in the area towards the end of your trip probably around that time (switched to full time RV travel ourselves recently, and got the same Canada National Parks Pass). Email me if you have time to get together! πŸ™‚


    • Amanda

      Hi Joe! If we can find some good wifi, i’ll try to reach out after we cross the border. Would be nice to meet you!

  • Looks like an exciting and busy trip! Have fun. What are you doing to get Bruno ready?

    • Amanda

      Oh, Bruno got some shiny new batteries and an oil change, but didn’t need much else. Mainly transforming him like Optimus Prime again – removing rear seats to fit the sleeping platform and reconnecting all the electrical circuits to power our gadgets, LED lights and fan. Where are your summer travels taking you?

      • We’re heading to Europe for nine weeks (leaving in about 1 week once kids are out of school!). Kind of a “once in a lifetime trip” though we might do it again. Several times πŸ™‚ Only planning on spending ~$10k for the whole summer (free flights, airbnb, groceries for many meals etc).


        Visiting Portugal, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Czech, and Netherlands.

  • On the road again! Looks like a sweet itnenerary. If you have time in Santa Fe check out the Meow Wolf exhibit, it’s pretty trippy πŸ™‚

    • Amanda

      lol I do love that picture you’ve got on your blog! The website looks super cool, but those ticket prices might deter us. Maybe we’ll just check out the building and neighborhood to feel the vibes by osmosis?

    • Amanda

      We caved. Soo many people recommending MW, we had to see it. It has been one of the highlights for sure! Thanks for steering us in that direction πŸ™‚

      • Yeah, I was hesitant about the price too, but was pretty blown away by all the cool original artwork that went into it. Glad you guys got a chance to check it out!

  • Jay

    Wow, sounds like a great trip. I look forward to seeing your detailed photos and recaps!

    • Amanda

      Thanks Jay!

  • Myles Trawick

    Hey, I’ve been checking out your blog from time to time for about a year. I think what you two have done is really interesting. How long will you actually be in Calgary for? I live here and attempt to follow mustachianism when I can. I was going to contact you a number of months back when I saw that photo on your blog clearly taken from the 7th Avenue c-train stop I used to get on after work every day. If you have some downtime on your trip and would be interested in chatting let me know. Enjoy your travels. – Myles

    • Amanda

      Hi Miles! I’ll try to reach out next month when we’re in town. Maybe we can grab a coffee or something? Thanks for reading!

      • Myles Trawick

        Perhaps some context is in order. I’m a fellow ’84 baby, married with kid, eager to save and become FIREd, enjoy travel albeit a bit less adventurous than you two seem. Home-brewer. Curious about your thoughts on a few things. So yes, if you may have some free time, let me know. Thanks.

  • Paul Atkin

    Hi, Enjoying the blog and glad Bruno’s getting back on the road. July 1st is not 150 years of Canadian independence though. On July 1st 1867 the Provinces New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Canada united to form the Dominion of Canada. Canada remained a happy member of the British Empire at that time. Full control of affairs came with the passing of the 1982 Constitution Act. So July 1st is a key milestone in Canada’s journey to nationhood, but more of a birthday than an independence day. Look forward to reading about the trip!

    • Amanda

      Thanks for the history lesson, Paul! I admit I did not do my homework. We will celebrate Canada’s birthday and not her Independence day πŸ™‚

  • Nick

    You should check out https://freecampsites.net, helped us save a few dollars on our cross country move from Windsor, Ontario to Canmore, Alberta. If you are in town, drop me an e-mail and we can meet up to chat about FIRE. I stepped back from work about 2 years ago, so far so good. Safe travels.

    • Amanda

      Thanks Nick! I only discovered freecampsites.net earlier this year on a recommendation from fellow blogger/travelers http://www.fi35.com/ It’s been a great addition to my “go-to” site & app: http://ioverlander.com/

  • takalak

    When in SLC you should check out The Red Iguana Mexican restaurant … so good! Try their Hongos Alajillo (deep fried mushrooms). Nothing else like it.

    • Amanda

      We had already passed through by the time we got your comment, so it’s on the books for next trip! Thanks for the recommendation – i’m sure we would have loved it πŸ™‚