Kelly and I left the Bay Area six weeks ago, but due to various family and work commitments, it wasn’t until last week that we really began our lives on the road. Escaping southern Arizona, we retreated into the elevation and cooler temperatures to the north.
For years I have heard good things about the town of Flagstaff and was excited to visit, and especially happy to be joining our pals Brian & Leigh for 10 days of dispersed camping at Walnut Canyon, located in the Coconino National Forest. Much of the forest is at high altitude (averaging 7,000 feet) and is home to the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in North America. Even better, our campsite was only about 15 minutes from super cool downtown Flagstaff – everything about this set-up was perfect.
Last night (Wednesday) I left the cozy campground in Flagstaff to return to San Francisco for a few days of face-time in the office. Now here I sit typing, reflecting on a great 10 days – mainly, that despite long work days, Kelly and I managed to pack a lot into our visit …
- met a number of (new to us) fellow full-timers (Horton’s Travels, 2Wanderaway, Finding Marshall, & Jen)
- wandered through a national monument site
- got lost amongst the various forest service roads
- helped Brian & Leigh complete much need repairs to their Airstream
- explored Flagstaff while eating good food, enjoying locally brewed beers, and sipping delicious espresso
I think this life on the road will be just fine.
Our spot in the clearing
Yesterday Kelly and I arrived to Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and once again we find ourselves visiting a national park. It appears that our woes with the recent government shutdown are now a fading memory, as this time, we were welcomed to these government lands with open arms.
Our good pals and fellow Airstreaming couples Tim & Amanda and Brian & Leigh who live, work, and travel full-time in their respective homes on wheels are also here. Seeking warmer winter temperatures found closer to the 35th latitude this time of year, both couples have retreated to the desert southwest for the winter and graciously invited Kelly and me down for the week to join them.
Despite our location being essentially in the middle of nowhere, Lake Mead offers its visitors an incredibly hospitable desert camping experience. With its relatively close proximity to the other city that never sleeps, this location affords us certain ‘roughing-it’ luxuries such as super fast broadband internet, a handful of over-the-air digital HD television channels, and as of mid-day today, clear ocean-blue skies to warm the air and pump plenty of sun-rays into our solar panels.
The invite definitely seemed like a good opportunity to spend a few days working remotely before enjoying the long Thanksgiving weekend with friends. Suffice it to say, we quickly accepted.
A bit tired from the long drive and with rain in the air, we mostly hung out yesterday, but today took advantage of the great weather with a few hours of hiking followed by an potluck dinner at our trailer.
We love hanging-out with these guys and are looking forward to a very promising, food-filled, few days.
Late morning stroll to the water
Hiking the trail
Our home for the week
Yesterday Kelly and I accompanied Brian and Leigh on a bit of reconnaissance as they scouted potential boondocking sites near Ashland. These guys are pros when it comes to sniffing-out free camp sites, that is those locations offering a blend of beauty, no costs, and quality WiFi. Kelly and I find ourselves increasingly attracted to these type locations, so we were keen to join them.
Initial site located.
We visited a few additional locations before moving onto the Grizzly Peak Trail for a nice tree-lined hike and more good conversation.
Clowning around on the Grizzly Trail
After the hike we had plans for dinner – sadly the week was ending, but not before one final meal and more swapping of stories.
Enjoying our last supper
Our week with Brian and Leigh has been really great. Unfortunately, all good things come to an end and earlier today, Kelly and I parted ways with our traveling buddies – we are headed south to Half Moon Bay and they continue onward in their crawl towards Canada.
We cannot wait to meet-up again.
After work today, Kelly and I had drinks with Brian and Leigh at their
place Airstream, before moseying into town for pizza and salad at the super informal Martolli’s – one of our favorite places to eat in Ashland.
Over the course of the evening many stories were shared … all which are securely situated in the vault.
Brian and Leigh are good people and it was a stevie wonderful evening.
Like most days, Kelly and I worked all day. Normally, this routine plays itself out as we sit in office buildings miles apart. Here in the Airstream this week we sit at a table working 42 inches from one another, yet hardly exchange a word. We are too busy pounding away at our laptops and remotely participating in meetings, all while bouncing in and out of instant message chat sessions with co-workers.
Sadly, I’ve accepted this mundane repetition of ours as the new normal … the quid pro quo of working for the man … we push the corporate rock uphill (a seemingly never-ending hill mind you) in exchange for a regular paycheck every two weeks.
Working remotely this week was supposed to shake things up a bit. Alas, even here in our beloved Ashland, we cannot escape the whispers of work as it peaks over our shoulders, it’s stale breathe an unwelcome reminder of what awaits us back in California.
It is what it is I suppose.
And, it sucks.
Oh the irony – here we are situated smack in the middle of natural beauty. Stunning 360 views abound and I hardly looked out the window.
On a more positive note, the day concluded in a lovely manner – Mother Nature gracing us with fabulous dusk lighting as the sun made its way elsewhere for the evening.
Our silver neighbors
Tomorrow is Friday and once Kelly and I close another work week, our first order of business will be to hit the town with Brian and Leigh; they too will likely be itching to step away from the responsibilities of the real world.
Surely they will be sufficiently bad influences … exactly what Kelly and I need.