Camper Life: The Maiden Voyage

“All Good Things are Wild & Free.” – Henry David Thoreau

I believe this to be true and I want our life to be full of those wild and free things – hence, the reason we gout ourselves a truck camper. Mike had been researching, poking around on forums and checking Facebook marketplace for Truck campers – and we actually had one fall through, one that wasn’t as nice as we thought for the price, one that was told would be available and wasn’t and finally, one we landed on. It had a steep price ($30K), but was THE camper of all campers, with a generator, two awnings, stereo system, a queen bed, solar panels, a dry bath (Mike can stand up in the shower!) and it was a Lance – which had a great reputation. We were sold.

Despite there being quite a bit of trouble after we purchased it (generator not working, gas tank leaking, water system needing new hose clamps to stop a leak) Mike took all in stride and we were still extremely excited. The Maiden Voyage would be to Idaho – a state neither of us had been to and I had done a ton of research for. Well, all good plans need to have an exit strategy and we quickly found that being able to pivot was not only a strength of ours, but a necessity.

On Friday, June 25, we headed out of Fraser Colorado (after running to Murdouchs to look for an air compressor, because the one we had just bought just stopped working!) way later than we had planned to and after just a few snippity words exchanged due to the stressful situation, we were officially off! We had thought we’d head outside of Grand Junction (about 4 hours drive from Denver) but, this would be the many of pivots needed, so we headed the west route, over Rabit Ears Pass, only about an hour and a half. The rig, or our home for the next ten days, was pretty hefty, so driving slower was necessary and driving at night wasn’t something we wanted to do, so we started keeping our eyes peeled for a spot. The App Campendium was pretty great for researching what campsites, BLM or dump stations were in the area. We ended up pulling down an access road that wasn’t actually on the app, but was dispersed campaign and absolutely beautiful. It had started to drizzle on the way, so we ended up setting up camp for the first time in the cold dampness – probably a good reminder that we needed to be ready for the unexpected, all things and weather. The night was perfect, with a spicy Thai dish as our first camp dinner, and a cool night to snuggle into our camper with.

Dinosaur National Monument

Next stop – Park City! But first, we headed into Steamboat springs to find an air compressor and another battery – because the one we had, that was sold to us as in good condition, sh*t the bed. Ah, camper life! We went into town, to several hardware stores and a lumber store that ended up having a battery. A plus in having to stop in town was the amazing brewery, Storm Peak. The Chowder was a must – and we actually got a growler to go! Down the road from Steamboat was the Murdouchs, in Craig, Colorado, where we found the air compressor we needed – so Mike filled up the airbags that helped handle the weight from the truck – and we were off to Park City. To split up the long drive, we ended up stopping for a 2 mile hike in Dinosaur National Monument. Absolutely no one was there and the views were absolutely spectacular! Back in the car &I onto Park City, where we’d stay with a high school Buddy. Pulling up at 8:30pm, we barely made it up his steep driveway and had a delicious meal on his lovely back patio.

Wasatch Crest Trail

Sunday was for Mountain Biking! Our crew had some coffee out back, scarfed some cereal & dropped our RV off at a high school so we could shuttle to the top of Wasatch Crest Trail. Mike noticed the left airbag was low, really really low, so planned to fill it when we got back. After hopping in Ryan’s truck, we headed up into park city, climbing the hills to get to the trailhead that would promise some of the best decent trails we’ve ever had. It was a crowded weekend, with fancy people all about, cars stacked into the parking lots, and blue bird skies. We parked on the road, suited up and began the accent. A bit of the climb was on the road, not ideal, but not horrible. At the top of the hill, we ducked into the woods and were off – the 16+ miles of Crest Trail had some of the most iconic, beautiful vistas of the Wasatch Valley I’ve ever seen – hell, of any valley. This ride had it all – Puke Hill, wild flowers, miles and miles of downhill gloriousness. This was by far my most favorite mountain bike ride to date.

It ended close to the high school we parked at, so after stopping at 711 to get some 16 oz Model-O’s (cause we keep it classy), we headed back to our rig to get ready to drive back up to retrieve Ryan’s car – or not. Mike had left the keys in the damn door of Ryan’s truck at the top of the hill! Thank goodness Ryan’s buddy, who was watching his little girl while we rode, could lend us a car to zip up and get the truck. A Porsche non-the less! We were definitely in Park City.

Post-MTB Beers

Post ride beers, we headed to the grocery for shrimp taco supplies & had a great night in. Mike realized the air bag was in fact faulty – discovery a faulty fitting that was causing air to leak immediately, so he did some research on where he could take it the next day. Thank goodness for friends with houses – cause ours was out of commission. Morning came & I got to work – the beauty of being able to work anywhere – while Mike headed to the RV dealer to sort out the airbags. After several hours of work, a fixed RV, and a hot sweaty mountain bike ride, we packed it up and headed west. Due to the camper issues, yet again, we decided to head to an Idaho destination that was several hours closer than our original destination, McCall. Unfortunately, I hadn’t done any research of the area Mike chose, but that’s the beauty of Camper Life – to be spontaneous and nimble! He found a great campsite with WiFi, close to mountain biking trails and the town Pocatello, which I had never heard of! It was about two and a half hours from Park city – which was great!

Scout Campground, Idaho

Monday night, we pulled up to Scout Campground, up a windy remote road, high on a hill. The site was great, full of shaded campsites and we chose one that had a view of Scout Mountain. Home for the next three nights! We settled in, rolling out our awnings, leveling our happy jacks, unpacking our bikes. We didn’t yet have a bike wrack for the rig, so every time we were on the move, the bike were laid out on our bed and the table that turned into a couch. Not ideal, but not terrible. The camper jugged along the winding road up to the Scout campground & we hunkered down our home, then biked around the campground, with Winnie in toe. That night we made a lovely one skillet Thai dish We were home for a few!

Scout Mountain Sunset

Tuesday, June 29th

The next morning, after a short forest yoga session, I settled into ‘work from camper life’ while Mike went on a BIG ride right from the campsite. I took a short walk around the camp to stretch my legs during lunch, exploring the beautiful Scout Mountain views. Winnie took a dip in a small creek, as it was hot, and then we bumped into Mike! He had pedaled all the way up the road after a grind of a ride, so we made some lunch and Mike took a rest. After I wrapped up work, we planned to head into the town of Pocatello for some supplies & to check out the brewery scene. After heading to one that didn’t allow dogs, one that wasn’t that great, we landed at Portneuf Valley Brewing for a great pilsner before heading to the grocery store & re-stocking. That night, we grilled up some peppers, onions & brats over the open-grate grill and enjoyed an al fresco evening. After dinner we wandered to a secret spot where we watched the most beautiful sunset, with pinks and soft yellows.  Camper life was alright!

Work from camp

Wednesday, we awoke and did some more camp yoga, then I got to work. Mike agreed to hike with me later in the day, so when I wrapped up work, we chose a trail that was down the mountain, that promised good views and 1,000ft+ of vert. Just what I needed after being on the computer all day! Many of my friends asked how I was able to work on the road – we chose campgrounds that had good signals and I used my phone as a hot spot. It wasn’t a meeting heavy week either, so it really worked out well. The hike was lovely, although it was extremely hot and full of cows. Winnie had a blast running after them – and scaring them quite a bit!

Corral Creek Trail, Pocatello, Idaho

The evening brought us back to camp, with a hot-pot tofu tika masala dish and a bike around camp to our favorite sunset spot. The next day we would leave for Swan Valley Idaho, after 3 nights at this beautiful spot we were ready to head to the next part of our adventure.

Sunset Smiles

On July 1st, we headed out super early so we could get to the next spot before my work day started – and I actually got great reception in the car, so was able to work on building out several projects I had – love the flexibility technology allows! Mike had found a great site called Falls Campground – very close to a huge reservoir where we could escape the heat, and right along the Snake River. Only about 30 minutes from the border of Wyoming, it seemed to have it all…and the next 3 nights would unfold beautifully.

Swan Valley, Idaho

After selecting a campsite, setting up shop, we decided to venture out. We were getting good at packing and unpacking our outfit, each pitching in to make sure our home would be comfortable for the next few days. The spot we selected was a large pull through that was quite private – and we felt grateful there were spots left, it being a holiday weekend and all! I set up to work and Mike putzed around with bike stuff until it was time for a work-break. Hoping on our bikes we rode up the rode to the waterfalls that were about a mile away from our campsite – and wow, they were beautiful! We managed to climb down and get behind them, with the beautiful mountains in the background, the snake river switch-backing through the valley – this was by far my favorite spot yet! I had to get back to work, so we rode back to camp, but later that evening, we got our shoes and bathing suits on and went back, with no one else around to really explore. Absolutely breathtaking wading through the powerful falls, to the calm pools, over the volcanic rock. These were some of the most beautiful natural falls I’d ever seen – and we’ve seen quite a few in Costa Rica & Belize.

Falls Creek Falls, Swan Valley
Mike and I scaled the Falls
The pools of water were surprisingly warm!

Friday meant MTB riding, so after amor I got of work, we drove up to a trail that ended up being quite the cattle herding venture – and I cut off early to bush-wack through single track, wash off in the river, and go back to the camp to finish work & rescue baby Winnie. Was nice to stretch my legs though! That evening we headed to Melvin Brewery for food & delicious libation….

Saturday came and so did the lake! We decided to head to Palisades reservoir to SUP – we hit up Melvin brewery, paddled on the snake River and floated in the palisades reservoir. Winnie did not love it, but we had a blast!

Idaho Single Track

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