The open road, the desert, and the freedom from the routines of everyday life


~A dirtbag style road trip to the American Southwest~


(4/25/16 to 5/3/16)


Left Portland around 10am after sleeping in on our big Road Trip out West.  Very typical indeed!

Saw a small cat we named Simba at a rest area in Twin Falls, ID.  Left food, water and good thoughts.

Stayed at a Twin Falls, ID Walmart.  Uncomfortable but undisturbed. Lisa’s first foray into the world of overnight Walmart parking lot camping.


Before leaving, we got her a pillow, some tea, and, of course, both utilized the clean bathrooms.

7am to 4pm consisted of driving, fast food excesses, rest stops, and many odd little towns in southern Idaho and Utah.  They all had an eerie, Call of Cthulhu type atmosphere…

Finally at 4pm, the red rocks of Canyonlands came into sight.  Moab Brewery was the place for a celebratory pint!

As the rain came down, we drove around Kane Cr. Canyon Road looking for campsites and taking in the colorful cliffs.

Apparently everyone else had the idea to camp as well; we settled on the slightly overpriced but pleasant Kane Cr. Campground for open fire cooking and drinks.

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Kane Creek Campground


Ran and explored the controversial but historically accurately named Negro Bill Canyon – 4.4 miles to a beautiful arch with few people along the way.

The famous Sand Flats area was a bust for camping…far too many RV’ers and weird, non-adventurous vibes.  There’s something about a sparkling clean, unnecessarily enormous RV that makes me cringe.

So there we had it…back to Kane Cr. Camp for more heavy rain, good food and fun company.

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Kane Creek Campground Night 2


Oh Lazy Lizard Hostel, your showers were greatly needed!

Life on the road begins again.  We traveled back through Utah and into Arizona where we stopped at the Virgin River Campground.

Again, there were the dreaded RV’ers but this time, adventure stayed strong in the air.  Everything was quiet and unmoving as the sun set above the hills.  We were the only tent on the 3 sided rock peninsula overlooking the river.

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Virgin River Campground

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We woke to pure, hot sun for the first time of the trip.

A small hike to the Virgin River gave us a bit of exercise to keep us limber on our upcoming drive to Red Rocks, NV.

Las Vegas popped up in the desert like an oasis, an unsustainable one that surely resembles a sore on the earth from low orbit.

In order to avoid people and the masses, we decided against getting in the long car line for Red Rocks State Park.  Instead, we drove along the road to a pull off where a trail lead through the low brush to the crux of a canyon.  We hiked and ran short distances through the maze of trails to the crux where we turned and headed back.  3 miles of exercise, tanning and health.

Red Rocks campground became home for the night.  A nice buttery steak and asparagus cooked over an open fired capped the end of a successful day of adventure!

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Red Rocks Campground
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A hike into the canyon


It doesn’t rain often in Red Rocks but it followed us for another night of torrential downpours.  The storm woke me up multiple times through the night and kept pounding the tent into the morning hours.  We waited and waited for the rain to slow but it never did.  Finally mid-morning, fully awake and ready, we tore down the tent as heavy water drops fell all around.  It was the most efficient tent take-down yet!

Normally I never say this but a hotel room in Vegas was what was needed….$70 for a last minute booking at the Baymont Suites was not too shabby.  The room was very average with a big bay window overlooking the ac/heater unit…what a view!  We were oh so happy to be indoors, enjoying a shower, standard cable and a well-used bed.

Our dirty clothes became clean in the bathtub with a bit of Campsuds and a forearm workout.  Living out of the ordinary is always preferred.


And now, the Las Vegas experience really begins.  Our love for the average room last night turned into a booking of another room at The Excalibur Hotel directly on The Strip!  Claustrophobia set in as the overwhelming noise and motion made everything more confusing.  However, a little taste of the Vegas stress is quite exciting now and then….

The casino’s resident Italian restaurant Bucca Di Beppo fed and liquored us up for the crazy night ahead.  I drank loads of Sinfire whiskey while Lisa tried to keep it classy with Prosecco.  We both failed as we walked The Strip and finished overpriced jello shots into the night.

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The view from The Excalibur did not disappoint.


Well, here goes another night at The Excalibur.  It turned out to be a much more chill day of finding Lisa a bathing suit (an unnecessarily tedious and long experience in my opinion) and tanning by the resort pool.

We became old people that night, staying in the room and watching the NBA playoffs in bed.


An all day of driving – Las Vegas to Portland – 16 hours on the road through the deserts, rolling hills and dark, narrow forest roads.

I had a taste of life on the road.  It was sweet and just long enough to make it seem normal – driving, hiking, sightseeing, finding a place to sleep, adventuring, living in the moment.

Being back in Portland feels surreal.  It’s an odd sensation that something is not right.  I left feeling burnt out with questions about my life and the future.  I came back more confused than ever.  What a confusing thing life is!


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