My Go-To Products.

April 26: My Go-To Products. Okay, guys! A little update on our truck. The Ford Dealership was fantastic and got our new transmission placed in no time. It was only took about 3 days to complete. That’s super impressive, especially since they had to ship the transmission in. I figured that since most of the time we spent in Cider City, UT was surrounding our truck, I would do a dedicated blog post all about my go-to products. We’re talking hair, makeup, skin! That was so dramatic. I need to calm down. In all seriousness, I wanted to sit down and just show off my go-to products that I travel with and that I love. Most of these products I have been using for many years before we even set out on this trip. Of course, everything that I will show you if 100% subjective to my personal skin care needs, make up needs, hair needs. Some of these products might not work for you, but, I still want to show them off. So I am a simple women. I like simple things. That includes the products that I enjoy. The older I get, the more simple I like my make up. Especially now that I’m traveling full-time, I love a simple make up look or no make up at all. My skin is very temperamental. If it doesn’t like something that I apply on my face, it will break out in severe cystic acne. It took me many, many years and many, many tears before I figured out what works for me. My skin is always very dry. My body just eats up all of the lotions that I apply. My number one concern is moisture. I need it. Right now we are in Utah and this desert weather is really irritating my skin. I have to make sure to take the time to bring moisture back to it. So I would say that my number one product for any day are lotions and skin care. I see it this way. We only have one set of skin. We might as well make it look the best for the longest amount of time.

So, I guess that the first category is skin products.

So this is my routine for the day.. I honestly just use unscented Dove soap to wash my face. That might seem boring, but, that’s what I do. I find that it doesn’t irritate my face like some of the fancy facial washes. I always wash my face once in the morning and once at night. After I wash my face, I apply my facial moisturizers. I have repurchased this Lush facial moisturizer probably over a dozen times by now. I absolutely love it. It is the “Celestial” facial moisturizer by Lush and is $27. Celestial moisturizer was made for the people with super sensitive and irritated, dry skin. ME! I have tried so many facial moisturizers before and there is nothing that compares to this. My skin feels hydrated and supple. I make sure to apply a nice layer on my face and on my neck. Never forget to hydrate your neck! Next comes the under eye moisturizer. My trusted product for that is the “Chamomile Eye Cream” by Mario Badescu for $18. Okay, I know what you may be thinking. Why do you need that if you are also using something for your face? Even with the Celestial, my under eye area remained super dry, especially after applying a concealer. I decided enough was enough and to try out an under eye cream. I will never go back. My skin looks refreshed after I apply it and I have never struggled with any dryness underneath of my eye since. I love this particular product because it was created with chamomile which has calming properties for sensitive skin. It also has a mixture of antioxidant Vitamin A and E oils. This product has more of an oil texture to it, so a little goes a long way. Highly recommended! When I do wear make up, I take it off with the “Milk Cleanser” from Juice Beauty. This cleanser is $25 and was created to remove dirt or make up for people with all skin types. It works wonders for my sensitive skin. I have actually tried other, cheaper options that remove make up and always end up with cystic acne. I always just stick with this product. It is strong enough to remove my mascara, but, gentle enough where I can literally open my eyes in the process. After I use this product, I just go through the steps above: soap and moisturizers. And that’s it for my daily skin care routine! I didn’t want to apply a ton of skin care and have reactions from it. I find the less, the better. I realize that this is a simple skin care routine, but, this is what works best for me. The last product for my skin care is my body moisturizer. I have to use lotion everyday otherwise my skin will feel uncomfortable. I don’t know if you are familiar with having dry skin, but, it almost feels tight without lotions. I love using Jergens lotions for this job. There are many reasons why I like Jergens. One, it does the job just fine. Two, it’s inexpensive and found at all of the drugstores. I just picked up this Daily Moisture from Jergens and it was only $7. It has a very light, fresh scent to it as well. Win, win. Long story short, take care of your skin.

Second category: HAIR! I am probably a big embarrassment to all females in this world because I am honestly so lazy when it comes to my hair. This is my laziest category, for sure. I usually just wash my hair, put some product in it, brush it out, and call it a day. I do still love the hair products that I have.

No, I don’t use all of these everyday or even throughout the week. The two hair products that I use the most are the dry shampoo and a hair oil. My mom introduced me to the Chi “Silk Infusion” for $22. A little goes such a long way with this product. What I love about this hair oil is that is doesn’t make your hair greasy. I use this product almost daily and it never makes my hair feel gross. I have tried hair oils that completely ruin my hair and I have to rewatch it. This product doesn’t do that. Yes, it’s a little expensive, but, this product will last you a long, long time. My hair seriously feels silky smooth with it. Okay, next! I use dry shampoo daily. I want to wait as long as possible before washing my hair (usually about 4 days with my short hair). In the past, I have used the Batiste dry shampoo many times, but, decided to try to find a cheaper option. I have been really loving the Not Your Mother’s “Clean Freak” Dry Shampoo lately. I got this from Target for about $4. This is a great product with a great price. The only thing that I would say is that this product can leave your scalp slightly dry. Maybe I am just more sensitive to it because of my dry skin, but, that is my only con about it. The Not Your Mother’s Company has a lot of amazing, inexpensive hair products. One of my favorites is their “She’s a Tease” hairspray. What I love about this product is that it doesn’t leave your hair sticky or greasy. I can use this and not have to feel it in my hair the next day. I am also a huge fan of the “Beach Babe Sea Salt Spray”. It gives your hair some texture and helps create soft waves. I always loved getting out of the water at the beach and seeing how my hair dries. There is nothing like having sea salt in your hair. That’s what this product does. Make sure that you are aware of how much you are applying. Go less at first. And the last hair product is from Pureology. If you are familiar with this brand, you are aware that they are expensive. This “Hydrate Air Blow Dry Cream” was $29. I will say that it just about to run out and has lasted me for almost a full year. I use this right after I wash my hair while it’s still wet. It feels keep your hair silky and air dry beautifully. 

OKAY. Last category: Make up! I love make up. I love doing make up on other people. I have just been wanting more simplicity when it comes to my make up than I did before. Part of that probably has to do with age and the other part with being on the go all of the time. I rarely ever apply concealer or blush or powders throughout my normal week, especially now that we are traveling. My normal make up routine was very simple to begin with: concealer, blush, translucent powder, brows, light brown eyeshadow, highlight, maybe a lip. I never ever wear foundation. I don’t even own one. I just hate how it makes me feel like I’m wearing a mask and that you can see it on my skin. I like enhancing my features, not hiding them. I used to really struggle with my acne scars a few years ago. I would always have to wear make up and cover them up with a concealer. I’m sick and tired of caring. If I have a pimple or an acne scar, so be it. I have gotten so used to feeling confident without make up, that it almost feels weird to wear it now. To be completely honest, I usually just apply my moisturizers and a highlighter and call it a day. Because I have such dry skin (take a shot every time I have said that, my gosh), I love looking dewy. That’s what the highlighter does. It makes me look moisturized, fresh, and youthful. Plus when I am hiking and the sun hits my face, some light is brought to my cheekbones.

My two favorite drugstore highlighters are both from Wet n Wild. They are hands down the best highlighters you can get at the drugstore. The first favorite from Wet n Wild is the “Precious Pedal” Megaglow highlighter for less than $5. You can’t beat that price. In my opinion, it is better than some of the more expensive brands. The second favorite from Wet n Wild is the loose powder highlighter in the shade “I’m so lit” (I can’t stand the names). This highlighter is a little more expensive than the last one, pricing at around $7. I will say a little goes a long way. I mean the slightest pinch of it can be too much at times. I could use this product every day for a year and still not make a dent. The last hightlighter and my absolute favorite is the Ofra Cosmetics highlighter in the shade “Everglow.” This is my fancy highlighter, being priced at $35. I did get this while the brand was having a sale, but, I would forever pay the full price for this product. It makes your skin looking so dewy and glowy. It’s like glass on your face (weird description). The formula for this product is very buttery and is so easy to work with. Another thing that I absolutely love about this product is that any skin tone can use this. You can really mix and match the colors to get a shade that works for you. I usually mix the two lightest shades for my cheeks. I have used the more bronze shade as an eyeshadow and it was stunning. So on a normal day while I’m traveling it’s just lotions and highlighters, however, I want to show you the other products that I use for my face make up that I know and love.

I guess that I should just go through the products in order for how I apply them. My go-to concealer has been the Morphe concealer that they recently launched. The Morphe brand came out with a huge shade range for concealers. They pretty much covered all skin tones and under tones: warm, neutral, olive, cool. I purchased this at Ulta (or you can get it on their website) for $9 in the shade C1.55. It is the fair neutral shade. What I absolutely love about this concealer is that is it very thin and lightweight feeling on the face, but, provides a lot of coverage. It doesn’t cake up on the skin and looks like you aren’t wearing any make up. I always make sure to set my concealer with a powder after I apply it. I have been obsessed with the Laura Mercier translucent powder for many years. This particular powder is quite pricey, costing $39. With that price being said, this powder will last me over a year. The powder is very light and doesn’t dry my under eyes out when I apply it. I usually apply a light, light layer just under my eyes, chin, nose, and forehead. For brows, I really love the “Brow Precise Fiber Volumizer” by Maybelline in the shade soft brown. This product is a brow gel that has little fibers to make your brows look thicker. I love using this product for quick make up days. You just have to brush it through your brows and on you go. I always make sure to go through my brows (after applying this product) with a eyebrow spoolie to make sure that my brows aren’t stuck together. It’s just my personal preference. For blush, I have been using this limited edition palette from Becca Cosmetics x Jacyln Hill for many years. Unfortunately, I purchased this in 2015 and it is no longer available. I do love the formula for Becca blushes. They are easy to blend and very pigmented. Another one of my favorite blushes are blushes from Wet n Wild if you are looking for a cheaper option. I usually stick with pinky blushes because I have a lot of pink undertones in my skin. My favorite mascara is the “Voluminous Original” for L’Oréal. It is fairly priced, doesn’t leave your lashes chunky, and gives my lashes some volume. I have only used this mascara for the past few years and love it. Last product for this blog post is my favorite eyeshadow palette. This is the only palette that I brought along with me for this trip, the Jacyln Hill x Morphe palette.

This palette is $38 and you can find it in an Ulta or on the Morphe website. You can tell that my palette has been well-loved. It has the best mixture of colors for so many different make up looks. The eyeshadows are very easy to blend and are very pigmented. I love the selection of browns and simmer shades. It’s just that go-to, ideal, everyday palette. If you have not tried this, please go pick one up.

Alright, I think that that is everything. These are my go-to products while I am traveling and on the road. Like I have said, some of these I don’t use everyday. It is nice to have them with me when I do want to use them. If you do end up trying out anything that I mentioned, let me know what you think! And now onto more adventures!

Brenchley Travels

New blog posts every Monday and Friday.

Our truck is broken.

April 20-25: We are towing Callie and our truck? This has been an interesting last few days for us. We have had more truck problems. Everyone should expect that when they are traveling full-time and towing a RV to have car problems. They will happen. You need to flexible and just go with it. We have had truck problems a few weeks ago, but, we were still able to drive it. This time was different. I had mentioned in the last blog post that we broke down on the side of the road in the middle of the desert. Allow me to retell the story for the people who don’t know what I am talking about. A few days ago, we were in Grand Staircase-Escalante in the desert and our truck broke down. The road was a very bumpy, dirt road and the truck had enough. I went to accelerate and simply couldn’t. Alec told me to pull off to the side of the road and as we put the front hood up, fluid poured out. The transmission fluid hose came off the transmission cooler causing the fluid to pour out. We had a wonderful lady named Fay from Oregon stop and agree to drive at least 30 minutes into town for us to get transmission fluid. Grand Staircase-Escalante is a very small town. The local grocery store closes by 19:00, thats how tiny it is. We were able to find 13 cans of transmission fluid within this gas station so that the truck would work (thank you, God). We refilled the transmission fluid and were back at our campsite right before the sun went down. The total time from when our car broke down to getting back to our campground was just over 2 hours. That is absolutely unheard of, especially because we were literally in the middle of the desert. It was a beautiful night. The following day we just had a simple day around Callie. Alec worked on the YouTube video for Wednesday (if you haven’t check those out, there is a tab for our YouTube videos on this website). I cleaned Callie even though I knew the sand would find its way back inside. Alec had checked the transmission fluid. There was no leaks and the levels looked good. We didn’t move the truck though. We were confident that when we wanted to move the truck with Callie that following day, that we would have no problems. We were wrong.

Alec started the truck and was unable to move it forward or backward. Okay, so it needs more transmission fluid. That was okay because we bought a little more than we actually needed just in case. Alec remained laying underneath the truck to make sure the fluid wasn’t leak while I poured the transmission fluid into our hose. Even though there was no leak the previous day, there was a leak that morning. Alec could see that it was now leaking where the transmission and engine met. We had planned to leave that area and head over to Zion National Park. That was clearly not happening. We decided after refilling the transmission fluid to try to drive into town to the one AutoParts store to see if they could fix the job. One good look under the car and the guy basically told us to just go to a Ford dealership and have them fix it. Being the one auto store in this entire area, they were slammed with cars to fix. We were told that they wouldn’t even be able to check out the problem for another 2 weeks. Well, okay then. We are in the middle of no-where-ville and need to get our truck and Callie to a Ford dealership. The closest one that we could find was 2.5 hours away and through some mountain passes in a city called Cedar City, UT. Even if we chance driving that with just our truck, what would we do with Callie? We would have to leave our RV 2.5 hours away and find a hotel to stay in while our truck was being worked on. That wasn’t our option. We decided to sit down at a coffee shop in town, clear our heads, and make a plan. We both decided that we weren’t going to get stressed or nervous about the situation. Car problems happen. It is what it is. We just have to figure the problem out. I will say for being in a sticky situation everything went very smoothly. We were able to get a tow with both Callie and our truck with Geico insurance for free. Huge blessing. It took about 4 hours for the tow to actually get to us. Our tow company was coming from Ceder City 2.5 hours away and the driver accidentally locked his keys in the car and had to wait for an out. That put him back about a hour. That was fine. We were just chillin’ in Callie waiting for him. We both worked on things that needed to get done and had some alone time. It was wonderful actually.  The tow driver finally came. His name was Laramie. Born and raised in Utah, he works for the family towing business, Ladd’s Towing Company.  It was a very quick 2.5 hour drive. We all chatted the entire time.

The truck was very clean, safe, and Laramie was very professional. He was very aware of how we were, if we were too warm or too cold in the car. Alec and I were both very impressed with the quality of service. We were both very surprised by how lovely the city of Cedar City was. It’s a very charming city full of shops, coffee bars, restaurants, grocery stores. We have been so used to the desert of Utah, so it was refreshing to be in Cedar City. It was surrounded by beautiful mountains. Laramie not only dropped our truck off at the dealership, but, he personally towed our RV around town looking for a good place to set up campground. We saw that there was some BLM Land called Coal Creek just outside of the downtown area. Laramie drove us there and the land was very crowded. It is right by a river and don’t have a whole lot of land to actually park in. There was no cell phone service which didn’t work for the truck problems. We wanted a space where we could easily get ahold of the company. A light went off over Laramie’s head and he started driving towards a pull off area just a mile from the Ford dealership. It looks like it’s an off-roading course of some sort. We weren’t really sure we could technically stay there, but, we were going to try. Laramie being a locally was obviously very familiar with that area. He claimed that people camp there all of the time. It is right next to a more rich neighborhood, so we don’t really know if we are allowed to be here. If we run into any trouble, we will just call Laramie to tow us out. Simple fix. Ladd’s Towing Company is definitely high recommended for this area.

They are cheaper than the normal towing company (even though our insurance completely covered us) and very professional. They actually care about the people that they are helping, which is so refreshing. I know that you may never get to Cedar City in Utah ,however, you mostly likely will get to Zion National Park. Zion is only a hour from the towing company in Cedar City. If you are in a pickle and need a tow, call them. You wont be disappointed.

The area that we are camping in is great.

It’s literally just one mile away from the Ford dealership, downtown, grocery stores, and the laundry mat. Seems boring (which it is), but, your life can’t be put on hold because you’re traveling. Laundry still needs to get done. We both try to use that downtime to work on blog posts or videos, so we don’t waste our time. It all works out. I have never done laundry at a laundry mat before this trip. Honestly, it’s not terrible. It can be slightly expensive, but, it gets all of our laundry done at once. You don’t have to wait for the washer to be done before putting another one in Iike at home. It’s a hour, hour and a half and all of the laundry is done. We usually wait for about a week and a half before doing our laundry. We want to make the most when we actually do do laundry.

Okay, so it turns that that there was metal found in our transmission. This has been a strange period for us when it comes to this trip. We were faced with some tough decisions and problems. Cedar City is a big, small town. There really is only one real dealership in town, which means that if we did want to trade in our truck for another, that there isn’t much for selections. We went back and forth between replacing the transmission on our current truck or trading it in and purchasing a new used truck. I was definitely on the fence towards just replacing the transmission. We know our truck, we built out our truck. If we got a new vehicle, we would have to rebuild the back and have to get another truck bed topper for storage. I wasn’t a big fan of the monthly payments and the high interest rates. Because we don’t have a job as of now, it would be a high interest rate. Even though, our truck is completely paid off and we have a perfect payment history, we don’t have a job. We understand. It just isn’t the best time to purchase a vehicle. Alec was going back and forth because of costs. The transmission would be a good chunk of what the truck is actually worth. The good thing about the new transmission is the warranty we will now have through it. We ended up just sucking up the price and the headache of paying for a new transmission and just went that route. I had peace knowing that we would have our truck back. The Ford dealership said that they will push to get our truck done by Friday. We unfortunately lost a week of traveling because of this, but, that’s the reality of full-time traveling.

I had mentioned in this blog post that we weren’t sure if we were allowed to camp in the location that we were towed to. Well the people in the community finally noticed us and called the cops. It only took 2 full days. They told us that there was no camping within city limits. We told them that Ladd’s Towing Company personally towed us to this location and that we were waiting for our transmission to be replaced just a mile down the road. With the situation clearly painted, the officer had absolutely no problem with us being there. They were super nice and understanding. They just didn’t know who we were and if we were taking advantage of the free space. I mean, we are, but, not because we want to be. The officer even gave us his personal card if we ran into problems and said that he would inform the dispatch about us if they got any more calls. We completely understand. We are a random RV set up within a course where kids take their dirt bikes. We were very thankful that this area is safe and that the police care. They were lovely towards us. Even though this situation isn’t the most ideal, we were blessed with the police on our side and with a free (and close) campground. We even had a women who lives in the neighborhood stop by, introduce herself, give us freshly baked cookies, and offer a ride into town to Walmart. She gave us her number and said to call anytime we need anything. It was a lovely surprise. So many blessings are happening all around us.

Here’s to an addition to our adventures. Here’s to a better upcoming 9th week into our journey.

Brenchley Travels

New posts every Monday and Friday.

Question time and dinosaur tracks.

April 17-20: Question time. I feel like I have just been giving details about our trip. Mainly for the purpose to look back at on this blog one day myself and remember the adventures that Alec and I had. I have, at times, answered a few questions about living in an RV and the struggles/highlights of this trip. I figured for anyone who is interested (and to see it for myself one day), I would answer some questions that I have been asked by friends through this process. We are just about enter into week 8 of this trip. I don’t understand where the time has gone. Anyways, I feel like I have some good insight of what this lifestyle actually brings and/or looks like. I’m sure that the answers to these questions will slightly change after 6 months of doing this. I guess that’s the fun of it all. Learning and growing from this experience. 

The number one question that Alec and I seem to get is, “How does it feel living in such a close living space? Are you guy getting sick of being together all of the time?” 

Moving from a two story house to a 21 foot RV is always going to have its challenges. We were both surprised by how comfortable Callie is to live in for the two of us. The good thing about this unit is that it has two slideouts on both sides. That means that we have a lot more living and walking space. The kitchen and sink set up is very comfortably. We have three burners and a 9×13 oven space. I have never felt like I didn’t have what I needed to cook anything. We have cooked Mexican casseroles, deer tacos, Asian dishes, burgers, cookies, etc. We have an island sink in the middle of Callie, making it feel very spacious and never crammed. We have a dining booth and a couch, so we can sit in separate areas if we needed. Our bed is (now) so comfortable that I hate getting out of it in the morning. We are very comfortable living in a close area. We are not sick of each other. It’s just been a great learning lesson for us both. We have traveled a lot in the past. This is obviously different because we are constantly together for weeks on end. We are used to having a work routine. We saw each other in the morning and spent our quality time together at night after work. It has definitely been an adjustment being together all of the time. We have been learned how to have our “alone time”. Alec will work on truck stuff outside while I’m inside of Callie. I have talked about this before, but, we spend a lot of alone time in our minds throughout car rides. It’s like reenergizing our mental batteries. Of course, we both find ourselves getting more annoyed than we did before this trip. That’s where constant vulnerability and honesty has to come into play. We address things almost immediately, never trying to be mean or yelling. It’s been a healthy growing lesson for our marriage when it comes to communication, boundaries, and honesty. 

“Do we have a lot of free time? Does traveling keep you busy?”

We surprisingly don’t have a ton of free time. Alec and I just chatted about this the other day, how we never really seem to stop moving. We wake up around 07:30 and don’t really stop until we are in bed. We wanted to make a routine for ourselves even though we aren’t employed at the moment. Wake up, eat breakfast, make lunches for the day to bring, and off we go. Of course each day is different, depending if we are moving that day or just exploring. Moving days are another ball game. We have to reorganize Callie to pack her up to move: dinette cabinets closed, kitchen counters clear, sink buckets stowed, dishes put away, fridge closed, lights off, water pump off, water heater off, stuff on shower floor, shower locked, water out of toilet bowl, toilet closed, remotes in basket, bed up, shoes off floor, things out of the way for slides, bath door closed, bath lights off, cell antenna down, solar off of roof, port slide in, starboard slide in, RV locked, steps up, handle in, stabilizers up, X-chocks put away, regular chocks put away, electrical cords put away, water hose put away, sewer hose put away ( last three for full RV hookups), hitch lock put away, hitch pin in place, safety chains in, electric connected, check light, tongue jacks put away, pass through storage doors locked. That is our check list of when we move. We do these steps (not 100% in order depending of what we are doing) every time we move. We have gotten a lot faster over these few weeks, but, it still takes about 45 minutes to pack up. We also usually dump our sewage and refill our water/propane on moving days, which takes some time.  I don’t think that people understand the amount of work people have to do to maintain and live out of a RV. It’s work. It’s great and wonderful and fun. It is just a lot sometimes. When we are having exploring days, we try to find free places to go have adventures in. Sometimes we are out the entire day, exploring the new area. When we aren’t exploring or driving hours to a different location, we are trying our best to document this journey. We want it for ourselves, our family, and our friends. We both have been really strict on ourselves to get the content out by the day we say we will. So to answer the question. No, we don’t have a lot of free time. Yes, traveling around keeps us very busy. 

“What has been the most unexpected part of this trip? Good or bad?”

We have had so many amazing experiences throughout this trip already. It was absolutely fantastic to be able to see my friends and family. That made the first month of this journey to see them again. Unexpected good was the amazing times that we got with them. To be able to share this adventure with my brother and his family, my sister in-law, my best friend was priceless. Another unexpected thing has been driving through America and seeing the beauty of the scenery around us. I honestly had no clue that America was this diverse and beautiful. We would have never been able to see America from this light if we didn’t take our time to explore and look around. When we announced this trip to my work, I had someone tell me that “people invented airplanes for a reason”. Not going to lie, I wanted to slap this individual. If we took an airplane to travel, we would have never been able to see all of the beautiful country, the open lands, the desert in its fullness, the fresh snow in the mountains, the wildlife, the housing, the people. We would have missed out of one of the most special parts of this journey. People really underestimate the driving portion for this types of trips. I would say that they are just as important. The other day, we were driving through the desert and saw things that I can’t fully describe. Rock formations out of the side of sand dunes.

The most interesting and unique thing and just while driving to our next destination. Another unexpected good is the way that we manage money. We were decent with money before, no overspending or going crazy with it. I would say that this trip has made us even better with how we spend our money, how we meal plan to accommodate budgets, etc. OKAY, now for the bad. Yesterday, I asked Alec what he thought was an unexpected bad. He couldn’t really answer that. He simply said that we planned for the worst and so we have been okay when the worst has happened. The worst of this trip would be the unexpected car problems. Just yesterday, we had a freak truck problem. We were in the middle of the desert driving back from a hike when I couldn’t accelerate. We pulled off to the side to see liquid rushing out of the front hood. The inlet hose to the transmission cooler had loosened over time, causing all of the transmission fluid to rush out. That meant that we were stuck in the middle of the desert with a truck that wasn’t functional. Things like this unfortunately happen while traveling full time. The best thing is to keep calm and think clearly. “God help us”. A lady from Idaho pulled up next to us and asked if we needed help. She agreed to drive us into town (30 minutes at least) to get us transmission fluid. We are in a small town called Grand Staircase Escalante. They don’t even have an Auto Parts store downtown, that’s how small this place is. We needed 13 cans of transmission fluid and magically found 13 cans of it at a gas station. We had our truck refilled with transmisson fluid and running in less than 2 hours. An unexpected bad turned into an unexpected good. That’s something that we have found throughout this trip. God has provides for us again and again and again. So, yes we have had for fair share of unexpected bad. Truck problems seem to happen when you are towing a brick behind you. I will say that God has always provided for us turning it into an unexpected good.

“How has it been driving the truck while towing Callie (the caravan)?”

The first time I ever towed Callie, it was extremely intimidating. Alec is used to towing trailers from working as an electrician, but, I was just used to driving a small Camry. Alec made sure that I felt comfortable and continues to try to make me feel comfortable. The first month that we had Callie, we would go to the mall parking lots and practice driving around and backing up (in the open sections, of course). I am very comfortable driving while towing Callie now. The only times that I feel slightly nervous is when we are going through the mountains with steep grades. I get hung up on when I should down shift or up shift. How fast I should accelerate so I don’t completely kill the truck. How to brake when we are doing down the mountain, over-braking. I find myself overly-analyzing what I need to do. I am getting better and more confident. I just need to conquer towing through the mountains. I will get there.

“Do you guys have a Go Fund Me?”

The other day we were in Moab, UT and we saw this girl holding up a sign that basically said that she needed money to fund her full-time traveling needs. That made me laugh and frustrated. If you want to travel or have fun, you need to work to do so. No, we have never asked people for a single dime. We had this dream to travel the United States and worked very hard to save up and go do it. I am very proud of Alec and I as a team. We had this vision and never lost sight of it. We had a savings account made 3 years ago and just dumped all of our money into it for this trip. I never imagined a trip looking this wonderful while saving. This trip has just excessed the expectation that I thought of when I daydreamed about doing this. We did have a few people give us gas station gift cards as a going away gift. That was a huge blessing from those people. But to answer the question, we never Go Funded Me. We planned how much this would cost per month, worked hard, and saved. 

Okay, enough with the questions. Now to tell you guys what we have been up to, but, a shortened version this time. I really wanted to get my hair cut while in Moab. I loved having my colored hair, but, it faded within weeks and I hated the bleach in my hair. I cut my hair off. I am very cautious going to new people for my hair, but, had no other choice. It could have been the worst hair cut or best hair cut. The Atomic Hair Salon in downtown Moab, UT had great ratings online. I got my hair cut by a lovely lady named Rebecca and she did a fantastic job for a decent price. If you are in the Moab, UT area and are jonesin’ for a good haircut, go check out the Atomic Hair Salon. 

Driving up and down through Moab, there is an unlimited amount of dinosaur activities: museums, track findings, stores. I was determined to see some dino tracks after my hair cut. There is a beautiful place called the Poison Spider Dinosaur Tracksite Trail. It is a very short 0.3 mile track that requires some climbing on boulder rocks to get to the tracks. It is definitely not wheelchair accessible. You are surrounded by bright green trees, blue skies, and canyons.

A very short climb and there they are, dino tracks. This particular slab of rock had fallen off of the top of the canyon in front of us, exposing the old dinosaur foot prints. 

Pretty cool, huh?They site not only had dino tracks, but, also had petroglyphs. It was worth that simple hike/climb. 

It was time to leave Moab, Ut. We loved our time there, the national parks, the views, our campground. We had stayed there for 5 days or so and it was ready to move along with our time. We do have a mandatory date to be in Alaska in July and a lot more stops along the way. Moab was good to us. Our free BLM land (Daltons Wells road) that we stayed on was beautiful and 20 minutes away from downtown Moab.

Dalton Wells Road BLM Land in Moab, UT

We were off to the southwestern part of Utah. We wanted to go check out some of the other national parks and lands that Utah had to offer. Like I had mentioned before, the drive was outstanding. Just outstanding. I would highly recommend to anyone to save up some money and check out the west. The desert is an unique and beautiful place. It’s definitely unlike anything we have seen.

We accidentally drove through the Capitol Reef National Park on our travels that day. An unexpected surprise for us both.

Capitol Reef National Park

We were off to the Grand Staircase-Escalante. Alec has heard some great things about this area and had to stop to check it out before hitting the national parks. We found some free BLM land called the Hole in the Rock Campground.

Hole in the Rock Campground

It’s about 8 minutes from downtown and 20 minutes from some of the hikes. This place is known for great hiking, off-roading, and dinosaur finds. The downtown is very small and slightly underdeveloped for the amount of visitors they get each month. They have a few gas stations and a small grocery. If you have any allergies to foods, be sure that you stock up on those food items before coming here. They only have essentials foods in their grocery store. And now things to do, I had recently busted my knee on the car hitch (stupid freaking hitch) and so I didn’t really want to do anything super strenuous.

My second knee cap.

So, we just went for a 6 mile hike and climbed through some slot canyons (sarcasm). My knee was busted, bruised, and extremely swollen, but, that didn’t stop me. I had researched this area and found so amazing slot canyons that I had to hike too. That has been something that I have wanted to do and see for some time now, so my knee wasn’t stopping me. The trail was called the Zebra Slot Canyon. It was about 6 miles round trip and takes you through beautiful desert to some slot canyons.

The rocks were striped and twirling with white and orange patterns. It reminded me of the orange twist frozen yogurt I used to get back in Florida. My knee did hurt throughout the hike, but, I just took my steps carefully and slowly. Be sure to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. The desert is a dry and hot place (duh). They trailheads literally have signs that say “You could die here”.

That’s how harsh the weather conditions are. The slot canyons were very narrow, so narrow I had to take my backpack and place it to my side. You place one foot at a time (sideways) just to squeeze yourself in through around the next corner. Even though it was tight, it was so magical. I’m not even going to try to describe them. Pictures are here for that.

At one point while in the slot canyons, buckets of sand and wind poured down on us. It was an intimidating moment because we were so stuck and so far back in the canyon. Mother Nature can get ya. Make sure it’s not going to rain so you don’t stuck in a flash flood or worse….a slot canyon with no where to go while the rain or elements dump down on you. I can’t wait to find some more slot canyons because it was a magical experience. Now onto our next location!

Brenchley Travels.

New posts every Monday and Friday.

The desert is magical.

April 13-17: We were in Utah and we were ready to explore. Coming from Colorado, first thing to do is settle down Callie. Alec found a free BLM land called Moab Isolation Center Ruins and Dalton Wells on the Campendium app.

I have said this before and I will say this again, please don’t pay any ungodly amount of money for RV parks. There are so many free or super cheap options out there. Use the apps and use your resources. It will save you a lot of money. The land was in the perfect location. It’s just 30 minutes away from the Arches National Park and the Canyonlands National Park. Almost immediately after unpacking Callie, we met our neighbors. They were a super nice couple from Montana who are retired and travel full time. They were with two other couples that do the same thing. Every year, they all met up and go do off-roading trails. The couple even gave us a tour through our fifth wheeler RV. That’s something that I absolutely love about camping and exploring. We have met so many amazing couples and people along the way. There isn’t a day that goes by where we haven’t met someone and had a conversation with them. The wonderful thing about social media is that we can continue relationships with all of these cool people that we meet. It’s just amazing to me. I have really loved that. With our driving setup washed (last blog post ) and Callie unpacked, we were ready to go explore Utah. 

We decided to go to the Arches National Park first. This is a park like no other. I know that I keep saying that throughout my blogs, but, its true. It’s been difficult for me to decide which park has been my favorite. The Arches National Park is just speculator. It’s very difficult to put into words because it’s so vast and big and beautiful….(that’s what she said). I need to calm down. It was absolutely breathtaking. Alec and I both thought that this park put the Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs to shame. That park is still absolutely beautiful, but, just isn’t the same. The Arches goes on for miles and miles. Open desert land with massive, ridged red rock formations in the background.

There are snow-covered mountains just in the distance to make this park an absolute dream. We spent over 4 hours in this park and I feel Iike we just scratched the surface of what it offered. We did do just one of the many hikes available out to the Delicate Arch. This arch way is the most popular arch in the park. It was about 1.5 miles one way. I would dare to say that it was longer. That hike felt like it took forever. It was interesting though because the hike itself was so diverse. You went from concrete pathway, to sand, to rock boulder, to more sand desert, to a side path on the side of a cliff (without any railings).

It was probably the most diverse hike that I have been on. I will say that the end result was worth it all. You walk around the corner to see that tall and striking arch in the distance.

The snow-covered mountains are peaking in between the negative space, saying hello. It was a very populated hike, but, totally worth it. If you can do one hike within that park, go do the Delicate Arch hike. You won’t be disappointed. We ended our time at the park watching the sunset while sitting on the Sky Line Arch.

The bright blues, greens, oranges, reds just popped in that golden hour. I would dare to say that The Arches National Park was my favorite national park that I have ever been too. I feel like that’s a huge statement to make. That’s just how overwhelming beautiful it was. The park is $30 to get into and lasts for 7 days. Or it’s free with your annual national parks pass. Be sure to get that big boy if you are going to full time travel like us. Not only can you use that thing for national parks, but, some campgrounds will honor it and give you the price half off. Long story short, it will save you some coin. We drove back to our RV on a 4 wheel road. This is Alec’s happy place. He loves going fast through the windy, dirt roads. The sun was still setting in the distance and was giving off the most vibrant greens and blues. I have never seen a sunset quite like that.

We slept in the next day. AMEN. HALLELUJAH. I sound so high maintenance or like I’m complaining about first world problems. We usually wake up around 7:30 and are on the road by 09:00. Alec didn’t even try to wake up that morning. He is so wonderful sometimes. I woke up at a whooping 09:30. Going crazy in Utah! We have really tried to maintain a routine while being on this trip. It’s easy to get lost without having the routine of a job and regular house. It’s also really easy to run yourself thin while trying to do too many things. I was thankful for that extra hour or so of sleep. Ready to conquer the world, we started off towards Canyonlands National Parks. Moab, UT not only is a amazing little town for outdoor activities, but, a place with some of the most amazing national parks around. I just love Utah. Mountain-sized canyons line the highways. The drive to Canyonlands was almost as beautiful as the park itself. The desert is a magical place. I love how all of the rocks tell a story through the changes from water, wind, gravity, and time. All of the rocks and surfaces have their own unique textures and patterns. I have been so incredibly inspired by the organic flow of each surface.

Even the wood is super swirly and twisted.

I have never seen bark twirl into itself like that before. Character and texture. We stopped at the Dead Horse State Park on the way to Canyonlands. It’s just on the way. I have seen pictures all over of rivers that circle around the canyons and had to see it for myself. It was $20 to enter the park and it was valid for 3 days after purchase. The park had many bike trails, hiking trails, and the iconic overlook. It was a beautiful view.

According to the internet, it is one of the most photographed views in the world. With that being said, for a person who is trying to save their money for things that are worth it, save it for the Canyonlands National Park. The park is a lot larger and has better views.

Canyonlands National Park.

What an absolute massive piece of protected land, over 300,000 acres. The park is so big that it is split into 3 sections: The Island in the Sky (most popular and closet to Moab), The Needles, and The Maze. We did the Island in the Sky that day and the Needles the next. I understand why the Island in the Sky section of this national park is the most popular. It just is beautiful and breathtaking. The views in this park make you feel so tiny. Endless miles of different sized and shaped red rock formations. Snow-covered mountains high up in the background. It was $30 for entry and was valid for 7 days. We got into the park for free because we were smart and got an annual National parks pass. I’m going to be super annoying and keep making that point. If you were to pay, you really get a lot out of that $30. Biking trails, hiking trails, permitted only off-roading trails. We did a few hikes while we were there. The first hike was a very simple, easy hike (1 mile)to the Upheaval Dome. It was just an overlook area. The second hike was a little longer and more extensive of a hike. We hiked out to something called the Grand View Point Overlook. It was about 3 miles round trip and totally worth it. I think that the views that we got at this outlook were my absolute favorite. I won’t try to describe them. I will just provide pictures. Enjoy.

We split up the Island in the Sky and the Needles sections of this park into two separate days. It’s just too much ground to comfortably cover. Plus, the Needles section of this park is about a hour and half from Moab. It’s a hike just to even get out there. The Needles was a beautiful, but, different section of the park. The day before in the Island in the Sky, most of the views were looking down into the open areas. The Needles park was looking up into the canyons. It reminded me a lot of space. A lot of “moon-like” surfaces. We were basically in the Star Wars set or at least I felt like it. We did a few hikes in The Needles, as well as a off-roading route. I would highly recommend going and talking with the park ranger about the off-roading routes before doing them. Some of them are closed and some of them aren’t suitable for certain vehicles. 

Speaking of complicated off-roading trails, the next day we did the 7 mile off-road trail. All of the trails have a rating from 0-9 and this scored a 4. Alec was so excited. Moab, Utah has a huge community for off-reading. He has been watching and reading about Moab trails for a long time. It was finally his chance. We thankfully paired with another couple that we found at the beginning of the route. Todd and Heather from Oregon. We were super lucky that we ran into them and that they agreed to go along with us. We needed them. Turns out that this trail was quite extensive. A score of a 4, my butt. We are lucky that we made the entire route with our F150 truck. The 7 mile trail is definitely for a high-clearance, short wheel-based vehicle. We obviously do not have that. It took us 6 hours to complete this. We had people in groups of Jeeps stop us the entire way questioning us how we got so far. There were a lot of tight pathways, drop-off ledges, and short turns. The couple from Oregon really brought great direction for where to place the wheels, how to turn, and how fast to go. I was Alec’s main spotter, but, it’s always fantastic to have another opinion. I could tell that Alec, even though extremely challenged, was living his best life. He loves technical driving. His mom tells me all of the time how much he has always loved a good problem to solve. This was just another one of his problems to solve through. He did a great job. I only did 5 minutes of it, which was enough stress for the entire day. Alec is fantastic at building confidence in me about my driving, especially about technical driving. Even while I doubted myself, he was there supporting me. “You can and will do this.” We made it through without any damage to our truck.

The 7 mile trail has some great views.

Thank the Lord. Let’s just say with all of the stress from the day and technical thinking, we both slept very well that night.

Brenchley Travels

New posts every Monday and Friday.

See ya later, Colorado.

April 10-11: here comes the blizzard. April 10th was the blizzard day. We didn’t really know about it until a day before, so we weren’t leaving. If we left, we would have experienced the blizzard while driving in the mountains. That’s a no go. We heard from the news that it was about to dump 6-10 inches with high wind gusts as high as the 60s. Alec wasn’t spooked, but, I was. I didn’t want any damage to Callie from the snow or from the winds. I’m a Floridian. I have been born and raised there. The idea of a blizzard is 100% foreign to me. We can sit here and talk hurricanes all day long, but, not blizzards. I had no clue what to expect. It went completely fine. We even did some errands around town while it was going on. We did spend a lot of time in our RV, but, we also went out. There is a humane society a block away from our campgrounds, so you know we went there. I’m not going to lie. I left that place in tears. They seem like a great place for the dogs and cats. They have volunteers walking the dogs down the street throughout the day, even during the blizzard storm. I just hated to see dogs in small rooms like that. You guys have no clue how much I want a dog. I think that I remind Alec of that daily. 2020 is looking like a bright year for an addition of a furry fellow. I can’t wait. We did a lot of Game of Thrones that day. The newest season comes out this week and we have been rewatching the series again. If you haven’t started watching that, I don’t understand. You better go download that series. It’s amazing! It was fun watching the snow come down. It’s an experience that I have seen only a few times in the past. Fresh beds of snow lined Callie. Thankfully, we did not get the worst of the blizzard. We were blocked by the surrounding mountains. No wind damage or snow damage was done to Callie. We were thankful.

The next day, Alec was itching to go somewhere. He is very similar to me in the sense that we both don’t like to be inside for too long. It was the day for the Rocky Mountain National Park.

This was another huge recommendation that we got from people when talking to about Colorado. Even though it had been snowing up in the mountains, we were going. It was free with our Annual National Parks Pass. If you are going to be traveling like us soon, go ahead and get yourself a national parks pass. It will save you so much money. We drove through the roads in what looked like Narnia. Snow-covered trees, rock formations, and lots of wildlife animals.

It was beautiful. We came across deer, elk, and even moose while being in the park. That was probably the best part for me. I love to see animals like that. The views from the outlooks were a little hard to see. It was snowing while we were in the park, which made the surrounding mountain views almost impossible to see. We did go for a few snow walks while being there. We went to Bear Lake (0.6 mile hike) and Sprague Lake (1 mile hike).

They were both short and easy. That’s exactly what I wanted. The snow was coming down with fiery and it made walking around very uncomfortable. I’m really glad that we did. Even though our shoes were completely covered in snow, it was still a fun experience doing that. The snow is Colorado is so light and airy, so you know that I jumped in in. Let’s just say that the ground came a lot quicker than expected. I would love to revisit and experience the Rocky Mountain National Park without the snow. The pictures of the mountains look beautiful online. Next time! 

April 12-13: onto Utah. The Boulder Fairgrounds Campground was absolutely amazing. If you are in the Denver, CO./ Boulder areas, go check that out. That was the absolute cheapest campground that we could find besides free land. Unfortunately, even if it’s in April, we found the land completely snowed in and uninhabitable. Not only do they have very inexpensive campsites, but, they also have water and sewage. We made sure to fill up the water before driving out west. We were so excited to travel to Utah. There are so many beautiful looking national parks and areas in Utah. The desert was something that I haven’t really seen (being from Florida). From Boulder, it was about 6 hours or so to Moab, UT. We didn’t want to make the complete drive in one day. We had things to get accomplished before getting there. First thing was to finish fixing our truck. Our car was wonderful over the past few days. We just experienced leaking oil and the occasional steam, but, it was still fully functional. We got around, even pulling Callie, for a week without fixing the problem. Mind you, we had to wait four full days before the part even got into Denver. We also couldn’t fix the truck with an open hood while we were in a blizzard. We left our campsite with Callie and found an Auto Parts store parking lot that Alec could work on the truck in. While he did that, I thoroughly cleaned Callie. It’s amazing how dirty this camper can get overnight. I was surprised by how much sand and dirt we track in and out with our shoes, especially after the blizzard. Our floor was needing some lovin’. I need a clean space. That’s how I function in my best. I can’t stand dishes in the sink, clothes everywhere, or shoes in our way. It felt nice to make Callie nice and shiny. It took Alec less then 2 hours to replace the car part and we were off. It was a beautiful ride. We drove through Vail, CO and got to see all about the people doing snow sports on the mountains. It was a little intimidating driving through Vail. It was very snowy and we were going up and down steep graded mountains. We survived to tell the tale (sarcasm). I really loved Colorado. I have ever been in a more diverse state. There is a new terrain around every corner. Snow, sand, ice, red rock formations, snow-covered mountains, desert. It’s an endless list. When we thought that Colorado couldn’t get more amazing, Alec stops at a hot spring. This was a bucket list item that I personally wanted to do. I have been to a hot spring in Nicaragua, but, never in the states. It was the South Canyon Hot Spring. It was a very short walk just over a hill and there is was.

Steam rose up from the water. Snow-covered mountains and desert hills surrounded it. It was like a dream. We only stayed for about 30 minutes because we still wanted to get to our campground before sundown to find a spot. It so warm and peaceful. Colorado has a great selection of natural hot springs. Go find yourself one!

Alec found a free BLM land campground in western Colorado called North Fruita Desert.

This was a very popular camping space. Hundreds of people with their RVs, tents, tent RV hybrids all gathered on the land. It was in a great location. Not only was it beautiful with mountains and sand dunes, but, it was very centrally located. It was 30 minutes from Grand Junction where they have their Colorado Monument. It was also only a hour and a half from Moab, UT. It was a windy night, but, a great free land for camp. We woke up the next day, ready to be in Utah. We made a few stops on the way. One being for coffee because we were out. We found a delicious coffee shop called Kiln Coffee Bar. They make their own vanilla coffee syrup. They even made a heart for my latte. It’s the small things that count.

It was a simple drive to Moab, Utah. I can’t tell you the amount of excitement both Alec and I got from seeing the “Welcome to Utah” sign.

We were acting like little kids again. Eventually, we made it to Moab, UT. Massive red formations and canyons lined the highway coming in. Moab is a very touristy town. Loads of off-roading, biking, hiking, climbing stores. It was like our Disney World. Before we settle down Callie and go on with an adventure, we had to wash the truck and Callie. Our set up got a little salty from the salted, snowy roads. With our truck and Callie washed, we were ready to go to our free BLM land for the next few days.

Brenchley Travels

New posts every Monday and Friday

Denver, CO is so expensive.

April 7-8: We woke up in the Bass Pro Shops parking lot, ready to start the day. We had a big day ahead of us. Not only were we wanting to go on a morning adventure, but, we also had to drive almost 2 hours north to meet up with some friends. One of the top places to go to in Colorado Springs is the infamous Pikes Peak Mountain. Alec was beyond excited to drive to the top, claiming that it is one of the most popular drives out there. They have races up this mountain to see who can get up the fastest. After driving up it myself, you could never pay me enough money to do that. It was only $10 to drive up the mountain, which wasn’t bad. It was a long drive up to the top with very well-kept roads. The drive itself was beautiful. It was different around every turn. Going through the windy roads, you started off seeing the grand view of the Pikes Peak Mountain, which then turned into snow-covered trees, to (what seemed like) straight up roads through the piles of snow.

The roads were very windy and towards the top, there was no more railings. You were going around a corner right next in a steep mountain side without any railings. It was a bit nerve-racking. With an altitude of 14,115 feet, the elevation throughout this drive was increase was no joke. You gain over 6,000 feet from start to finish. Elevation sickness, dehydration, and bad headaches are very common for people who aren’t used to being on a mountain this tall. That was the highest mountain that I have personally been on. You can only imagine the type of views you got from being that high up. It was spectacular. Just amazing.

It was chilly at the top. We sat there the day before and watched the snow hit Pikes Peak Mountain. A fresh bed of snow greeted us with the chilly winds. The snow in Colorado is so different from other snows that I have felt. It’s light and airy. It’s a dry snow. Alec and I both struggled with the elevation. They have a gift shop on the top and we sat in there for a little bit trying to gain ourselves. We are pathetic Floridians. I swear. The total amount of time we spent at the Peaks Pike was about a hour and a half.

Now to start moving fast. It was already after noon by this time and we had to meet some friends 2 hours north by 1600. That includes packing up Callie, leaving her at a campsite, and driving the 2 hours north. We were meeting Alec’s friend, Devin, and her boyfriend, Logan, at the New Belgian Brewery. We found a Cabellas store half way to the brewery in Denver, CO. We have had no problems parking overnight at Bass Pro or Cabellas leading up to this moment. The city of Denver is quite strange about you parking overnight in company’s parking lots. We think because there are so many people taking advantage of it. They are using parking lots as their base camp for days. By that point in the day, we didn’t really have another choice. We were running out of time to meet with our friends and needed a place in that area. We went into the store and asked the general manager for approval. He was completely okay with us staying there. We decided to just take his word and take a chance that the city wouldn’t get us out of the their parking lot. We quickly unpacked Callie and left towards the brewery. Guys, we made it in time. Not really sure how we did that, but, we did. It was a very busy brewery. Devon managed to get 4 spots in for their 1600 beer tour. She was telling us how fast people snatch the tour tickets. They are completely free and you get free beer throughout it. It’s a win, win. It was a cool tour, lasting about a hour and a half.

Our tour guide was telling us about the cool perks about working for their company. They have a clinic on site with their own doctor, so they provide free health insurance for the employees/families. You get your own bike (they are known for their fat tire beer) after a year. After 5 years, the send you out to Belgian to go drink beer and have fun. It’s was impressive what employees get. That’s why the company is so successful. Not only do they have great products, but, they treat their employees like gold. The tour ended with us sliding down a swirly slide. You read that right. I totally did it, too. It was made for metal and so I sled down sideways the entire time. It was magical. The tour guide even gave me a free gluten-free beer from the bar after the tour because I couldn’t drink anything that they had on the tour. They were amazing. It was so lovely seeing Devin and Logan. They are the nicest couple. Thank you guys for treating us to a great night. 

We drove back to the Cabellas parking lot to see that Callie was still there. The cops had not towed it. We were still a little nervous that we would run into some problems (even though we got direct permission from the manager) , but, we didn’t. We both got a peaceful sleep. The good thing about Cabellas is that they have water and sewage stations for RVs for only $5. We figured out that if you buy anything in the store, you get a code for free dumpage/ water. You could literally just buy a soda or candy bar for $1.50 and get the free code. We fill up our water and drained our sewage. We were ready for the upcoming week.

Since the city of Denver is not okay with staying in company’s parking lots, we had to move and find another campsite. It was a struggle to find one. Denver is not cheap. We were both absolutely shocked by the high prices for a campground. We found dry camping ( no electrical hook ups, no water, no sewage), for $28 a night! Can you believe that crap?! We have been staying in parking lots, in state parks, and in BLM lands all for free. We couldn’t wrap our minds around paying that much for a space. We were determined to find something else cheaper. Alec found some free state forest land up in the mountains just passed Boulder, CO near Bald Mountain.

It was a far drive up there, about 35 minutes. We got to the top and found that the gates where closed to the land. Snow and ice completed covered the campground. We decided to continue on the road to try and find something available. We only found one lot of land that would be okay to park. It still was very snowy and icy, but, semi-open. It just wasn’t a good idea. The wind gusts were severe. If something were to happen, we were 35 minutes up in a mountain with terrible weather and no cell phone service. If was the first time ever in our RV we went to a campground and decided not to stay there. We both were obviously disappointed. It was a beautiful drive with the snow and mountains, but, we just wasted gas money. Not everything can work out throughout a trip like this. We tried to see the positive in it. I’m so glad that we didn’t stay on the top of that mountain with those weather conditions because little did we know that a blizzard would be coming through a few days later. We will get to that soon. We ended up finding the most inexpensive campground we could. The Boulder County Fairgrounds have some RV camp spaces for very inexpensive.

It was the best deal we could find: $15 dry camping, $20 camping with electrical hook ups, and $25 for full RV hook ups. We were very pleasantly surprised by how nice the campgrounds were. We have a nice view of some surrounding mountains and some walking trails throughout the grounds. We found the campgrounds through the app “Campendium”.

April 9: my birthday. We woke up in Boulder, CO at the Fairgrounds. We weren’t really sure what we wanted to do for my birthday. All that I really wanted was some kind of GF treat. I wanted to go explore downtown Denver. I also wanted to maybe go for a hike. Alec started my morning by making me some blueberry pancakes. Even if we are always together, he still wants me to feel loved and cared for. He made my birthday so special. We decided to start off our adventure with coffee. The most essential part of any morning. Alec found a cute coffee shop downtown Boulder named Box Car Coffee. The coffee shop not only had coffee, but, it had a whole selection of cheeses, wines, jams, and crackers. It was like your charcuterie board starter kit. Next stop was the GF treats, another absolute essential for the day.  I found a place called Deby’s Gluten Free in Denver. This gluten free-dedicated bakery not only sells treats, but, flours and goods. I saw online that they had GF donuts. I crave regular donuts all of the time. You guys have no clue how much I just want a Krispy Kreme donut. Turns out that the bakery only has fresh donuts on Saturdays. They did have some donuts in packages in the freezer section, so that’s what we did. They were absolutely amazing. They were the closest to a Krispy Kreme donut that I have ever found in 11 years. They were very inexpensive as well. 6 donuts for only 6 dollars is a steal for gluten free. After getting the treats, we really didn’t know where we wanted to go. We have been recommended by a few friends to go check out the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater. Looking online, it looked beautiful, but, we weren’t sure if it was worth the stop. I am so glad that we did. The pictures online really don’t do that park any service. It is a venue in between two giant rock formations. In the distance, you have a complete view of downtown Denver.

Parking and exploring the grounds were completely free. A lot of people use the seats and steps of the venue as a work out place. Props to them. There are also trails just next to the amphitheater where you can walk throughout the canyons. If you are in the Denver area, go see that venue. Or if you can see a concert there, even better. We met a lot of people at the Red Rocks Park. One man told us about a severe blizzard that was heading our way the following day. Uhm, what?? We live in a small RV, not a house. The idea of severe winds and snow while living in a RV freaked me out. We couldn’t leave at this point. If we left, we would meet the snow in the mountains. That was a definite no go. We had a moment where we didn’t know what exactly we should do. At the end of it all, we decided to stay at our campground. Okay now for dinner. We decided to go downtown Denver and grab some dinner. I was a little hesitant about eating out. Actually, no. I was very hesitant about eating out. I am so budget minded and we had already spent money on coffee and treats. Alec looked right at me and told me we were going out to dinner for my birthday. My handsome and sexy husband taking care of me again. We had no clue where to eat. There were so many amazing food options, especially gluten free. The parking downtown Denver in some of those parking lots were $6 for every 30 minutes. Yeah, no. After searching around for a decent place to park, we finally stumbled upon a REI. They have 2 hour free parking for their store. Of course we went into the store, but, we also took advantage of that deal. Thank you REI. Thankfully right across the street from REI was a sushi place that was recommended by some of the workers. I didn’t really know what I wanted to eat (I am the most indecisive person ever), but, in that moment I knew. It was going to be sushi. It’s a place was called Sushi Sasa. The sushi was fresh and delicious.

They even had GF soy sauce. It was definitely satisfying. It was still early by the time we were done eating and we wanted to explore. I have found that sometimes I rather just got home and relax, especially after a long day of adventures. Not tonight. We had heard from locals to go check out of the Union Station and get a free bus ride to the 16th street shopping mall, so that’s exactly what we did. I have never been to a train station. It was beautiful.

The inside of the station was full of bars, hotels, and shops. It was very crowded. That’s something that I was surprised about Denver. It was a Tuesday and still absolutely crowded with people. It reminded me a lot of NYC, which I love. It was nice to get my big city fix. From the Union Station, we went on the free mall bus that shuttled people around. Downtown Denver has a long outdoor shopping mall on 16th street.

Pay Less, Target, bowling, bars, etc. It was filled with places to spend your money. Alec enjoys the city, but, only for a few hours. He is truly meant for the mountains and great outdoors.  We went back to the RV, hoping that the blizzard wouldn’t too severe that upcoming day. 

Brenchley Travels

New blog posts every Monday and Friday. 

Sand and snow in the same day.

April 4-6: traveling to Colorado. We woke up early in the morning, ate breakfast, packed up Callie, and started on our way towards Colorado. We knew that it was going to be a long day of travel. Our single longest day of traveling yet for the trip. It’s a good 10 hour drive from Oklahoma City to Colorado. We weren’t going to make any stops for hikes, museums, or site seeing. It was going to be just straight traveling. We went west through Oklahoma on 40 into northern Texas. Western Oklahoma was full of farmlands, wind turbines, and hills.

It wasn’t as flat as the eastern side. Northern Texas was full of dry weather, deep red canyons, and open farm land.

We went through a lot of open, open farm lands. There was nothing, I mean nothing, for miles except for the farm land. Oil mines and cow farms (which smelt absolutely disgusting), were the things that we could look at. No shopping malls, no stores, nothing. It was strange for me to see that. It’s not like I have never seen an area without big shopping centers. I did a lot of mission work in the small villages of Nicaragua. It was just strange because it was open land for miles on miles on miles on miles. The small towns that we did pass through every 50 miles or so were old and looked like the Wild West. Alec pointed out that everyone had a truck. Yep, those Texans…they only drive trucks. We cut through the northeastern corner of New Mexico before getting to Colorado. I was soo excited to be in New Mexico.

There was new, fresh terrain that I have never experienced before. The first month was full of states and places that we were both very familiar with. The west is something that we haven’t explored. It’s new and it’s fun. The small section of New Mexico that we went through was beautiful. Dry mountains and open desert fields. It’s the small things in life. We had planned this trip for many years and it’s so amazing that we can now explore the west. The whole idea of what we are doing with this trip has finally hit me, even though we have been doing this for over a month now. 

We went over a hill and there it was, Colorado. You could see the big, white- tipped mountains from a distance. It was so exciting for us both to see that. After over 9 hours of driving, we finally entered Colorado. Up and down through the snow-covered mountains, rocky cliffs, and dessert fields. It was just stunning. We both were grinning from ear to ear looking around while driving. It was just so crazy for us to finally be in Colorado. We had gotten through the first month visiting friends and family and now it’s off to explore. It was just a crazy feeling. (I will say that a lot from now on.) A little more driving and we finally reached the place that we were going to be staying at.

Alec found free, open camping at the BLM Sacred White Shell Mountain. We turned into the property and it was just open fields that were completely surrounded by mountains.

It was stunning. We found a lot of land (with a neighbor) and settled down for the night. Waking up was just as exciting as getting there. The sun was shining right on the beautiful mountains around us. The weather was chilly but not too chilly. The sun was out. It was perfect. We were both eager to get started for the day because we had a day planned out at The Great Sand Dunes National Park. Our campsite was only about 15 miles down the road from it, so it was an easy drive. If you are looking for a free campsite near The Great Sand Dunes National Park, try the BLM Sacred White Shell Mountain. You will not be disappointed. As we were on the way to the Sand Dunes, our car started to steam AGAIN. It was so frustrating for us. We immediately went back to our campsite (which wasn’t far like I previously said) and started looking into the problem. Oil was leaking out of the valve cover gasket but this time on the other section of the car. We called a Ford Dealership in Denver, CO and they were able to get the part in by Tuesday. It was currently Friday. That meant that we would have to wait 4 days before we could replace that part, in the hopes that our car wasn’t going to set on fire. Alec was able to temporarily stop the leaking, so we were still able to go out back to the Sand Dunes and use our car. Take 2. The Great Sand Dunes National Park is like something that I have never seen before.

We have been on dozens on hikes throughout America, Canada, and Scotland ,but, this was different. It was absolutely breathtaking. I have never seen, in person, sand dunes to that size. Massive sand dunes rolled around the terrain with big, snow-covered mountains as their background. Like they weren’t beautiful enough, mountains had to join the party.

I was extremely excited to be able to climb them and experience that. Stepping out onto the sand made me miss the beaches back home (only for a second). It was interesting walking on that sand with hiking boots on.

You could feel the height of your shoes with every step. We wanted to get to the top of one of the peaks. That was our mission. We just had absolutely no clue who difficult that would actually be. I would say that hiking up those sand dunes was the hardest hike that I have personally done. You are in shoes in sand. That’s difficult enough. The sand was very loose which made it difficult to find our footing while climbing. Let’s just say that I never walked in a straight line that entire time. We gained a lot of elevation quickly and we were already at a good elevation to begin with the base of the sand dunes. You could feel the weight of that on your lungs with each step. At first, we were extremely ambitious and climbing quickly. That stopped fast. We found ourselves stopping to just catch our breathe every 20 yards or so. The sand dunes were steep, so it took a lot out of you. The elevation increase made it extremely difficult to breathe in. In through the nose and out through the mouth. I felt like I was at work again in the hospital. Throughout our stops, we made sure that we were drinking plenty of water. It’s easy to pass out in situations like that. I was also experiencing the start of having slight elevation sickness. I felt nauseous. Strong winds pushed on us and we really wanted to stop half way up the sand dunes. We were already half way up and we weren’t going to stop now. It was totally worth all of it. Getting to the top of the peak, seeing the mountains, and looking out into the surrounding areas, made all of that trouble worth it.

It was beautiful, absolutely beautiful. We sat up there for a while on the top of the peak and enjoyed the beautiful sun. With all of that negative crap being said, it was an absolutely amazing hike. We just learned a lot of lessons throughout it. One..always stay very, very hydrated. Two..bring gum with you in you are increasing in elevation quickly to help with the sickness. Three..don’t start the hike so ambitiously and completely waste your energy for the rest of it. Just little things to always remember when hiking. Going down it was a lot easier…obviously. Our feet, at times, were sinking down into the sand as we went down the hills. The sand poured down the hills, resembling the flow of water. We were glad to be down at the end. The Great Sand Dunes National Park also had an off-road section where you could drive through and find a picnic table. We used that for our lunch. We had a complete overview of the sand dunes and the mountains while we ate.

With our eyes out for bears, we enjoyed our lunch and the view.

Down a few miles from the national park was a waterfall hike called The Zapata Falls. We just came across this waterfall going to the sand dunes. The 3 mile drive up to the trailhead was extremely rocky and uneven. Something to think about if you are in a smaller vehicle. Even in our F150 truck and with some of the air out of our tires (helps when you are off-roading), we found ourself shaking around on that road. The hike to the waterfall was very short and simple, only about 0.9 miles. It was lined with some leftover snow making it look like a winter wonderland.

There was a nice view of the sand dunes from a distance. The trail had a good number of benches so that you can sit down and enjoy the view. We got to the end of the trail and all you could see was large rock faces and a thick layer of snow.

I felt like I was in Narnia. You could hear the steady running of water, but, couldn’t really see the flow. Only a few spots of water peaked through the ice. It was amazing. Alec went around a little sliver in the rock and screamed, “Natalie! You have got to come here!”. Thinking that he was setting me up for a prank, I hesitated. He insisted that I should come look around through the rocks. So I did. I stepped through the snow into the sliver in the rock to see the most beautiful and magical thing I think that I have ever seen. Have you ever seen beauty so great that it makes you stop in you tracks? That’s what Zapata Falls did to us.

The waterfall was frozen from winter and sparkled throughout the caynon. Hues of icy blues captivated us. The sound of the running water underneath the ice echoed. We stood there on there in the canyon on the ice from this waterfall just taken back. It was like nothing that I have ever seen in my life. It was very slippery from the icy ground, but, we managed to walk to the base of the falls. The pictures don’t do it any justice. All I can say is that it was magical. 

We decided that we had done enough for the day. Climbing through the sand in the sun and wind really beat us up. We went back back to Callie and were greeted by our neighbors. We had the most amazing neighbors at our campsite. They are a cute married couple from New York and have been traveling full time for 6 months now. They are able to work from their RV. We ,unfortunately, don’t have jobs that we can do from our RV. We had to save up everything for many years to get to this point. It was awesome to meet people who have that system. We have met a lot of couples that travel full time lately. We didn’t know this, but, there is a huge community of people doing what we are. We had a great night hanging out with them and their friends. We even got a grand tour of their 34 foot RV. It was beautiful inside. If you interested in following a super cute full time traveling couple, go check out their instagram page @opentotheroad. We had a great last night at our free and beautiful campsite at the BLM Sacred White Shell Mountain. 

We woke up early that next morning. It was time to move Callie again. It is always slightly nerve racking towing a 21 foot RV with a leaky car problem. After praying and finding some peace from the situation, we packed up the car and were off. We were off to Colorado Springs. It was a 2 and a half hours from the campsite. We had a few places that we wanted to go see that were recommended by friends. Thankfully, it was a very, very smooth drive without any car complications. What a blessing. We only needed a place to stay for one night in Colorado Springs. I found a Bass Pro Shop on the Campendium app. I love that app. If you are living in a RV or thinking about doing that, don’t spend tons of money at an RV campground. There are SOO many places you can park at overnight that are for free. You can park in a lot of company’s parking lots for the night for free. The western states have state parks and BLM lands. Use your resources and use some RV apps on your phone. You can save yourself a lot of money doing that.  We actually really love staying at Bass Pro Shops.

They are always super fun to go look through before unpacking Callie. They have security cameras and usually are in good areas. Usually Cabellas or Bass Pro have options for water refills and sewage drainage. It’s a great place for a night or two. The Bass Pro Shop that I found was right in Colorado Springs. You can see Pikes Peak Mountain from your window.

We also have a lot of restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores around us. We normally don’t eat out (budget), but, it’s always nice to have some options if need be. This particular Bass Pro (13012 Bass Pro Dr, Colorado Springs) is about 20 minutes from The Gardens of the Gods and 30 minutes from Pikes Peak National Forest.

We were off to go explore The Garden of the Gods.

This place has been HIGHLY recommended by almost everyone. We were, again, blow away. You drive up looking at these gorgeous snow-covered mountains and turn a corner and BAM. Tall, red, sharp rock formations are coming out of the ground.

It is difficult for me to sit here and write about it because it is so hard to put into words. It was just stunning. Again just like the Sand Dunes, the rock canyons were surrounded by the big, grand mountains. This time it was Pikes Peak Mountain. They both had some great natural back drops. It’s like God created them or something. We parked in the overflow parking just outside of the park itself and walked in. We were sooo glad that we did that. Going there on a Saturday, there were tons of people who also wanted to enjoy this beautiful FREE park. That’s right. From parking to entering on the grounds, it is completely free. When doing some research on the park, Google told us that the average amount of time people stayed at was about a hour and a half. We stayed there over 4 hours. We walked throughout the entire park, through all of the canyons.

We sit there on these beautiful rocks, overlooking pikes peak mountain and the surrounding cities. The good thing about this park, besides it being completely free, is that you can also drive around it if you don’t want to walk. They have parking lots all around the canyons. It is a very well traveled place to go, but, totally worth it. We ended our day in the parking lot of Bass Pro Shop with Callie for our overnight stay. We had a big day coming up that next day.

Brenchley Travels 

New blog posts every Monday and Friday. 

Camping in a parking lot.

April 1-2: April 1 means one thing. We have officially been traveling for one straight month. That is crazy. One month, four states, many new acquaintances, and lots of visits with friends and family. This has been a fantastic month to say the least. It’s weird to sit here and reflect on the past month. March 1, we set out. We drove off from Alec’s and my childhood homes without a clue how this trip would actually look like. We just had faith in God and faith in each other that it would hopefully go smoothly. It has been some of the best times so far. Many learning lessons, but, many more blessings. This month, we have been able to stay with friends and family which has been wonderful. Not only have we been able to visit and spend time with them, but, we haven’t had to worry about spending money for lodging. Robert, the campground manager from North Mills River Campground outside of Asheville, NC, gave us a free campground for ten days for working for him. Another blessing where we didn’t have to worry about the cost for lodging. We have met so many amazing and random people throughout our hikes. The conversations that we have been able to have with random people has been very motivating and inspiring. I just am sitting here in Callie the Caravan absolutely full. It’s just a joyous time.

It’s our eighth day here in Arkansas with Alec’s sister and her husband. If you didn’t read my last blog post, we have been kind of stuck here for a few days. Our plan was to leave AR and head out west this past Sunday, but, we have been having truck problems. The car part doesn’t come into the Ford dealership until tomorrow. I think saying “stuck” is such a negative word. Yes, we can’t really drive our truck right now. Yes, we are a few days behind from our “schedule”. BUT, we are in the best place. We are in the best company. Laurie and Jason are two genuine people. They are just the most funny, kind, and wonderful humans. We have full hook ups with our RV, which includes hooks up for our sewage.

We even had our own front porch with the thanks to Alec’s brother-in-law.

They gave us one of their cars to be able to run errands while they have to work. And the biggest and greatest blessing is that Jason has a full car workshop. He has saved us hundreds of dollars helping us fixing the small issue that our truck has. We aren’t on a mountain without people. We are with family. It’s the small blessings. They are wonderful. Our plan is set off to the west on Wednesday. We were able to actually sit down today at a little coffee shop downtown Little Rock called Nexus Coffee and start planning out the route through the west. We had planned out the first month of our route…seeing people and planning things to hike/do. We just didn’t start on the route throughout the west. That’s another blessing from our truck problems. We were forced to sit down and really look at what we wanted to do throughout the western states. Alec and I ended up splitting a cran-vanilla nitro cold brew.

Cran-vanilla nitro cold brew.

It seems like it would be a lot. It wasn’t. Smooth, creamy, not overly sweet or bitter, and just absolutely delicious. The coffee shop had a great location to sit down and get some work done. It was a good and productive afternoon for us both. 

 We had one last day in Little Rock, Arkansas. We got another chance to hang out with Alec’s sister, Laurie, and her cute dogs. I love their dogs. I told them that if one of them was missing, that they knew who took it.

The Ford dealership finally got the truck part in after many days of waiting for it. The car part was placed and we were officially ready to leave Arkansas.

Well, only after we tested the car first. With a quick test run of the truck before we left, we noticed that steam kept coming from the hood of the car. Thank the Lord that the car just had some extra leaked oil from the previous problem on the car that was causing the steam. And now its time to start packing up to leave in the morning. We went back to Callie and started to prepare moving again. The night before we pick up and move to a different location, we always go through a routine check. We start putting things away. Taking some of my candles and signs off the counters and start placing them in drawers. We put away any extra shoes, clothes, etc. I usually like to go through and give Callie a good clean before we move. I cleaned the countertops, bathroom, and mopped the floors. I swear. Even if I clean the floors, they will be dirty in a matter of hours. We track a lot in with our shoes. In and out. Callie had a nice sparkle to her that night. We are both very excited for our travels through the West. The West (besides California) is a place that I have never explored. 

April 3-4: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. See ya later Arkansas! It was bittersweet leaving Arkansas. We had such an amazing time with family. Thank you to Laurie and Jason for not only letting us stay on your property, but, for all the help with the truck. The drive from Little Rock to Oklahoma City is just over 5 hours. You always have to account for the time to get gas, stop to explore, and for towing the RV. If the GPS says that it will take 4 hours, just go ahead and add an extra hour on that. You aren’t able to go 70 up the big hills and mountains when towing a RV. Just not good for the car. Alec ended up finding a hike on the way to Oklahoma in the Ozark National Park. Alec has been wanting to go there for some time, so he was excited. The hike was called Devils Caynon Trail. It was slightly difficult to find the trailhead. The beginning paths leading to the trailhead is also someone’s driveway. I thought at first that we were on someone’s private property. The trail was overgrown and right by the side of a cliff.

Campsites were right next to those cliffs.

That would be a great campground for anyone who is in northern Arkansas. The trail is a loop and is over 2.5 miles which leads out to beautiful rocky waterfalls. We didn’t do the full loop due to the lack of time, but, we did get to see a few waterfalls.

Beautiful turquoise, clear water. It would be the perfect spot to go swimming in during the summer. 

Oklahoma looked very similar to Arkansas. Lots of farmlands and pretty much nothing else. It took over 15 miles to get to any type of gas station. Very bare compared to what we are used to. Our friend, Mary Dreves, moved to Oklahoma so we had to stop to see her as we were making our way through the west. Our plan was to stay only one night in Oklahoma before heading to Colorado. It was great to see Mary. We went downtown Oklahoma City to get some tacos at a place called Big Truck Tacos. They converted an old gas station into this really cool taco place with inside or outside seating. It wasn’t a food truck like I had originally thought. The food was delicious and fairly inexpensive.

After we sat there, ate, and chatted for a while, Mary drove us around Oklahoma City. To my surprise, it was absolutely beautiful. I didn’t really know what to expect because the rest of Oklahoma had been so bare. This was definitely different. It was very artistic with many different uniquely lit pathways, a river walk with fun restaurants, and art installations. It was a fun looking city. Unfortunately, it was raining so we didn’t get to walk around (And no pictures were taken off downtown). I would have loved to go around the shops and bars. Next stop. If you are that area, go check out Oklahoma City downtown for yourself. It’s a really underrated place. It was a great night catching up with Mary.

We stayed in the parking lot of a Cabellas for one night. If you aren’t familiar with what a Cabellas store is, it’s like another version of Bass Pro Shops. It was wonderful. The store had a little area just for RVs. You could stay there overnight for free. They even had water and sewage if you were needing to fill up or dump your waste. Alec found that option through the “Campendium” app and called the store just to make sure that we could stay overnight. You would be amazed by the stores that allow overnight RV parking: Walmart, Lowes, Cabellas. You just have to call ahead and make sure that it is okay. It was a great place to stay for just one night. We felt very safe knowing that the store had security.

I wasn’t able to get the best picture due to the bad weather. I guess that this is better than nothing.

We did, however, have a scare throughout the night. A severe thunderstorm had rolled in and it was bad. The winds got into the 50s and it started to move our RV. It was one of those moments where you go “Well, crap!”. We were in the middle of tornado valley in the start of tornado season and the wind was moving our RV. You can imagine the amount of praying we were doing. “God, please calm this storm.” RVs are comfortable to live in, but, they weren’t made for that type of weather. Thankfully the weather and winds slowed down, giving our minds some peace to go to sleep. It was a late night from the weather. It was nice because once we were asleep, we were asleep. Packing up the RV in the morning was a piece of cake. We left the RV still attached to our truck, so we didn’t have to unpack it that much the night before. We were packed up and were ready for the road in 15 minutes. Easy, easy. Next stop, Colorado. 10 hours away, being our longest single day travel time for this trip. With our coffee in hand, we were ready to go.

Brenchley Travels 

New posts every Monday and Friday.

We are stuck in Arkansas.

March 28-31: I’m not going to lie. I think that constantly moving from place to place has finally caught up with me. I still feel as excited as ever, but, I have noticed a slight shift in my energy levels. This trip is an opportunity of a lifetime. It’s a dream that was achieved. It is a huge and continuous blessing.  It is just exhausting or can be. Moving from place to place, always working on routes or writing can be a lot. You know the feeling of being exhausted after your vacation and just wanting to go home to relax? That is how I have felt lately. It’s week 4 of traveling and I just need to relax. I told Alec just yesterday that I have felt every unmotivated to even write these blog posts anymore. I was just tired. I just needed an energy boost. That’s what Arkansas has been for me. We are here in Little Rock, Arkansas visiting Alec’s sister, Laurie, and her husband, Jason. They are like a breath of fresh air. Not only are they super accommodating people, but, they are spiritually refreshing. They have spoken so much life into Alec and I over these past few days. One of the things that they have helped me remember is the weight of words. If I say “I’m tired”, then I will really feel tired. It’s the energy or weight that the word can have. I never want to take this opportunity for granted. Even if I’m tired, I need to remember that this is a great blessing and to shift my words towards the positive. It’s just refreshing. 

We have spend a lot of time with Laurie and Jason over this past week. They took off Thursday and Friday from work to be able to hang out with us (which was super nice). Thursday, we decided to go check out to the Hot Springs National Park. Now when you think of a National Park, what do you think of? I think of trails and woods. It was not like that at all. The Hot Springs is a tourism town that was centered around the ‘healing properties” of the natural hot springs. Back to the 1800s, people had rerouted the springs to go into their hotels forming bathhouses. People from all of the country would come to these bathhouses to be healed of their diseases and some, just to enjoy the hot water. Even though the Hot Springs is a little town with many little shops, restaurants, and bathhouses (still opened and in use today), they made it into a National Park to help preserve the history. It’s a cool little place. One of the bathhouses was made into a museum where we walked through it. We got to see the rows of little rooms with baths in it, dressing rooms, formal rooms, etc. The rooms had props of the 1920s fashion, weird massaging equipment (that looked terrifying), a old-fashioned gym. Another weird fact about this small town in Arkansas. The town has an extensive history of being the neutral place for gang members to come and relax in the bathhouses. Hot Springs has some natural springs left over where you can go put your hand in the water.

I didn’t think that it would be super hot, but, it was. I could make my tea with that water. 

Jason has been very good for Alec. I believe that I have mentioned this before in another blog post, but, Alec is a worker. Jason has every toy and tool that you can think of in his three sectioned garage shop. It’s like heaven for Alec. It’s always fun to watch Alec and his skills come back to life with the right equipment now back in his hands. They have been paling around together a lot, getting things done around the camper and the truck. I had mentioned very briefly in the last blog post that our shower walls have lifted on one side, causing a leak. They had completely taken care of that problem. A little caulking and some additional wooden pieces under the shower’s flooring and we have ourselves an improved shower. So many blessings along the way. 

We had have an issue with our truck over the last few weeks. We have noticed that steam has been coming from the front hood of the truck. Fortunately for us, Jason has built many cars and has a good understanding of fixing vehicles. Jason was able to find the problem. There was a leak in the valve cover gasket. This issue has been such a headache for both Jason and Alec. They first got the wrong part. Then when they were installing the new piece, Jason accidentally broke the plastic valve gasket cover (which he feels so bad about). That cover was found in only one Ford dealership in Arkansas and won’t be here until Tuesday. We were supposed to leave Arkansas and meet a friend in Oklahoma City on Sunday. These types of trips are all about flexibility. You need to have that, otherwise, you will drive yourself mad. So it looks we have a few more days than we had planned here in the good state of Arkansas. We are just thankful that it happened here in Jason’s workshop and not on the side of a mountain. Can you imagine? It’s a great place to be “stuck” at. We have full RV hook ups. They are offering to let us borrow a vehicle. Alec might even go work with Jason, which would be GREAT for Alec. I know that thats something that Alec craves again. To work. It’s all about recognizing the small blessings and going with the flow. We will get out west soon enough. So if the meantime, we are going to continue to enjoy the time that we have with family, continue to plan our routes throughout the west, and enjoy the state of Arkansas. 

Brenchley Travels.

New blog posts every Monday and Friday.