The Excuse: A 4400 Mile, 12 State Adventure
Part 1: RoadTrippin’
I love camping and long road trips, but I don’t enjoy doing them solo. My wife has always been hesitant to join me on some of the longer trips. This year I convinced her to take off two weeks and go on a crazy 4400 mile adventure from Tennessee to Nevada then back across Utah and home. Aside from wanting to embark on an epic adventure, I had a side motivation. I want a GFC Camper, but I can’t justify the money if it’s just me camping. I can happily stay in my Tepui or Hammock, but if the wife enjoyed this long distance trip I could justify getting a GFC for us to use.
I’ve been prepping for this trip for the last few months, trying to make sure everything was perfect to give her the best chance of enjoying this trip. New suspension, new tires, new rock sliders, a waterport… you get the idea. The plan had been to drive out to Las Vegas with two Tacomas. Pick up the second driver of my buddy’s Tacoma at the airport in Vegas, then leave out for a 700+ mile off road adventure in Utah. About a month before we were supposed to leave, the second Tacoma had to backout. Not their fault, life happens. This meant we were running this trip with only one rig. I decided to purchase a Garmin Inreach and get my HAM radio licence as precautions and continue with the trip. I pulled the rear seats of the truck, packed up, and got everything squared away at the house.
On Saturday the 13th of October we left Chattanooga Tennessee for what would be an incredible adventure. The first stop, 25 hours from home, would be the Grand Canyon. We made reservations at the Mather Campground inside the park just to make sure we had a place to stay.
After driving through the night we made a quick stop by Cadillac Ranch off of I-40. The weather had been grey and a little windy all day. As soon as the wife and I walked out to the Cadillacs the sky opened up and pelted us with tiny pellets of ice. With the wind howling and the ice pellets stinging we ran laughing back to the truck after spending no more than 30 seconds at the “display”. I looked at my wife, shivering and smiling, and said “Well, that was an adventure”. Instead of being upset she was laughing. Yep, this was going to be a good trip!
With Cadillac Ranch fading into the rearview mirror we set our sites on a hot shower in Albuquerque New Mexico.
We didn’t stay long in Albuquerque, just long enough for a good nights sleep in a hotel, a quick breakfast and the obligatory Starbucks stop.
Once we had some overpriced / over-sugared coffee in hand we set our sites on the Grand Canyon. We knew we wouldn’t have long to spend there due to already having tickets to see a show in Las Vegas the next evening, but we were too close not to stop by.
The drive through New Mexico and Arizona, even on the interstate, is gorgeous. It’s so different from what I am used to that I found myself glued to the window most of the trip. Luckily my wife enjoy’s driving so we switched back and forth every few gas stops.
As always the crush of humanity and selfie sticks detracts from the magnificent views on the south rim. Next time we’ll take the time to visit the North Rim where I hear it’s a little less crowded.
Our campsite at Mather Campground was actually quite nice for a campground. We had plenty of room and didn’t feel packed in like sardines.
When I woke up, toasty warm thanks to our little buddy heater, it was starting to flurry a bit. I took some pictures around our campsite and crawled back into bed.
About 30 minutes later my wife went on the hunt for a bathroom. When she unzipped the annex she informed me that it was doing a little more than flurrying…
In case anyone is wondering, it’s really difficult to fold up a tent in the snow with no gloves and a stiff RTT cover. I was pretty sure my fingers were going to fall off by the time I got it all zipped up. Now, that’s partly my fault. I keep a 3 inch foam mattress on top of the standard mattress and my wife had left our sleeping bags inside the tent as well. It was pretty stuffed.
On our way out of the park we encountered this big fella! He was really close to the edge of the road and absolutely refused to look at me.
Our next stop was Las Vegas. Neither my wife nor I had been to Vegas, but we were excited to spend our anniversary walking around in the 70 degree weather and checking out Cirque Du soleil “O” and the Blue Man Group. It didn’t take long in Vegas for us to realize that it’s not really our speed. By Friday morning we were ready to head for the mountains and start our 700+ mile off road trip across Utah. Little did we know that before the trip was over we would have to use our traction mats twice, get stuck in wet clay, and back down a narrow snow covered track at 10,000 feet. It was the adventure of a lifetime.
Stay Tuned for more!