Spring Break 2023 #OutWest #Recap

We had been planning our spring break trip to Big Bend National Park in Texas for the past 6 months. Recently our Black Lab has been having some health problems and we found that we would need to bring our dogs with us on this trip. After some additional research we found that Big Bend National Park was NOT very dog friendly, from a rules standpoint. So we had some late night research sessions and cancelled our reservations in Texas.

We switched all of our research to Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. I had a route through this area that was partially planned from years ago. This gave us at least a start in the planning process since we were down to less than a month before we were supposed to leave.

Day 1 - Thursday April 6 - Loves Travel Stop Bates City, MO
- We sent Ava to school, finished packing, hit the road around 9:30 AM
- Drove to my Dad’s to fill up the coolers from his ice machine.
- We wanted to stop by our house to get a few things, but we were behind schedule. So we did without. The framing crews were already at work on our new house and we can’t wait to see progress when we get home.

First stop we got potato chips that we ate right away and three bags of sunflower seeds – ate those for days. The weather was still pretty warm and sunny.

That evening we stopped to cook dinner at a Loves with a dog park and wow! It’s suddenly cold outside. We were wearing summer clothes and had to change and pull out jackets.

Hit some traffic and our 14+ hour day kept looking longer and longer. Started with ETA of midnight, but ended up in the Bates City, MO Love’s to sleep at 3 AM, but really 4 AM at home. LOOONNG day of driving, listening to music, and Audio books
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Day 2 - Friday April 7 - Pikes Peak RV Park
We woke up around 9 AM and took a shower at Love’s. It was very nice to shower and an easy process – going to use that in the future! Got breakfast and a coffee too.

Its still cold outside and now we are headed to Colorado, what are we getting ourselves into? going to be chilly for a few days.
Spent most of the day driving through Kansas – it’s a long state. Listened to Outlander, saw some bunnies, deer, an owl, and other wildlife. KS is flat and beautiful and goes on forever.



Stopped for dinner at Sharon Springs Park and made red curry and fed the dogs while Emily did some yoga – She is trying for 100 days in a row and she's at 70, so she didn't want to stop the streak.




Got to camp at 10 PM and went right to bed – at least we’re finally here!
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Day 3 - Saturday April 8 – Pikes Peak RV

  • Woke up and showered and had breakfast. It started out in the mid-30s, by the time we were ready to explore it was sunny and in the 50s.
  • Went to Pikes Peak, didn’t have enough gas and had to go get some. Started the hour long, 20 mile drive to the top. It got colder and colder all the way down to the 20s.
  • The views along the drive were incredible! Let the dogs out to run around and they were doing great and excited. When we got to the summit, we walked quickly to the building through the cold and both got light headed. We can feel the altitude!
  • Wandered through the gift shop and restaurant, took lots of photos, and headed back to the car – making sure to walk very slowly and take enough deep breaths.
  • The drive down was equally beautiful, but we were more cautious about spending energy. Took out the nice camera and took photos. Getting very hungry for lunch!









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Day 4 - Sunday April 9 – Moab Rim RV Campark

We woke up early, made breakfast, packed up and hit the road by 8 AM.






Drove through Colorado, might be the best views yet! Finished Book 8 of Outlander series – been working on that for a few years now.
Relaxed in the Jeep together and caught up on our camper trip journal because it hadn’t been updated since December 2020!

Stopped at a rest area in Colorado called “No Name” along the Colorado River. Had lunch and took a short walk to the water so the dogs could wet their feet and get a drink. Emily finally touched the Colorado River – it was cold!


Got to Moab around 4 PM and dropped off the camper.



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Day 4 Continued

Unhooked the camper and setup a quick camp to go run Fins n Things for a sunset cruise.
It took about 3 hours and had great views. The best part was the last 2 miles of the trail.











Got to camp late and made dinner. Ran into Allie Meaders and Joe came a little later for a chat. Showered and went to bed to prepare for another day in Moab.
Day 3 April 8 - Pikes Peak Continued - This post is out of order, somehow I missed it when I was creating the posts.





  • Had lunch back at camp and felt better with food, both of us had altitude sickness headaches.
  • Headed to Garden of the Gods. Had a good time wandering through the unofficial gift shop “trading post” and bought a few things – including a sticker of course.
  • Took the audio tour in the car and found the visitor’s center. Decided to do a 1.5 mile hike with the dogs through the central garden with sudden overcast skies and wild wind in some places. Got back in the car and the skies cleared immediately. Haha




  • Went back to camp and did dinner, shower, and early bed time. Need to leave early to get to Moab the next day.
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Day 5 April 10 - Moab Continued

  • Woke up and had breakfast. Headed to Chicken Corners for a scenic drive. It took almost the whole day to drive there and back, but it seemed like we got 100 different views and overlooks. The road was mostly smooth and easy riding.





  • Stopped ¾ of the way down the trail for lunch at Catacomb Rock. It was super fun to explore all the caves throughout and to see how they connected. The dogs got a nice snooze in the sand while we ate lunch.


  • On the way back from the trail, we found a hike some fellow adventurers had recommended. It was easy walking, mostly sandy, along a stream. The dogs loved it and we stopped after a little while so they could swim and we hung out. T Girl loved it and got the zoomies, although they were pretty tame for an old dog. She rolled around, ran, and pranced, and perked up better than she had in months.

  • Got back to camp, made dinner while it was still light out, had a camp fire and hung out together until Em was too tired to continue. Shower time and bed!
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Day 6 April 11 - Moab Continued.

  • Woke up and had breakfast. It was going to be a high of 82 today and boy was it hot as the day wore on!
  • We headed to Canyonlands through Potash Road and Shafer Trail. Got to the top called “Island in the Sky” and stopped to buy some stickers and a magnet.





  • Saw many overlooks and took a lot of pictures! It’s some of the same area as Chicken Corners, but looks totally different from a different perspective. Had lunch at an overlook and drove to as many spots to see as possible. No dogs allowed out of the car here, so not to the best for them.
  • Left Canyonlands and took a backroad across some pasture to Dead Horse State Park. The dogs were allowed here so we took a little walk around Dead Horse Point Overlook. It cost $20 to get in compared to Canyonlands at $30, but much smaller park. Still glad we got to see it.

  • On the way back to camp, we started to get hungry. Had an earlier dinner including collards (takes like home). Took a little time to change out for some fresh clothes – we’re at the halfway point on the trip. It was still an hour and half until sunset. Decided to hit a waterfall trail with the dogs to see if they could swim some more.

  • Started the trail a little later than expected and had to scramble over some rocks near a stream. T Girl had to wade through to made it, but the rest of us stayed dry. We were losing daylight and only made it about halfway. Em stopped to do half a yoga video while the dogs swam and enjoyed the cold stream. Left at just the right time to get back over those rocks or it would have been pitch black and much harder. Roxie slipped and jumped in on the way back this time! Got back to the car in the tiny last remaining minutes of light.

  • Got back to camp and made another campfire. Hung out for a bit, took a shower, and were going to bed when we realized we still hadn’t fixed the fan. It hadn’t been working this whole trip, but tonight was the warmest yet. Spent 30 minutes putting it together, thinking it still didn’t work, and then redoing it all – we have a fan again. We went to bed exhausted!
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Day 7 April 12 - Canyons of Escalante RV Park

  • Woke a little earlier than previous day and made breakfast. Packed up the camper to leave Moab and head on to Escalante. Sad to leave, but it was getting very hot and dusty and we’ve had enough fun for this time.
  • Hit the road and we drove to the first slot canyon hike called Little Wild Horse Canyon (name?). We took Roxie and T Girl into the canyon for about a mile and turned around to go back to the truck – it was an 8 mile total hike and too long for T. It was hot but mostly overcast and windy. It was a fun exploration.



  • Got back to the truck and drove out of the hiking area but saw a lot of remote camping. Decided to stop on the remote camping road near a nook in the rock formation and heated up leftover. The wind was wild and blew all over our food and faces. Luckily, we sheltered the food and readjusted for a little more cover.
  • Hit the road again and drove for several hours through hills and mountains that continued to change, including Capital Reef National Park. The terrain can look totally different every few miles, it’s so crazy. Stopped at a mountain overlook and ended up chatting with Ava for a little bit.



  • Got to Escalante RV Park right at dusk. We setup camp and made a quick dinner. T Girl was limping and has a sore leg from the hike. Put the dogs to bed, had a shower – feels so good to be clean and not dusty, and went to bed.
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