Rolling with Grass in the Mile High State on Highway 285

Roger: We made it to Colorado! Yesterday’s drive from Bernalillo, NM, just south of Santa Fe, was awesome mainly because we got off of the Interstate! It turns out that we aren’t in as much a hurry as everyone else and if there is one thing to remind you that everyone is in a hurry it is the Interstate.

Once we got on highway 285 it was a good amount of climbing up onto the Colorado Plateau until just south of the Colorado border. The wind was kicking up pretty good which makes pulling a 35 foot trailer fun in a not so fun kind of way.

We stopped for lunch at the top of the Climb and got this photo:

Rolling with Grass top of Colorado Plateau on Highway 285

After lunch I added the sway bar to the hitch and magically, or through the power known as leverage, the wind effect was dramatically reduced and the joy of driving returned.

We stopped for gas in Alamosa and headed up the 17 to straight shot across the San Luis Valley. If you are pulling a trailer I do not recommend taking this road as there is a strong crosswind, no shoulder, and the overall condition of the road is quite rough. Instead stay on the 285 which goes more to the West around the valley and then makes its way back East and eventually up to Poncha Pass.

Rolling with Grass from Bernalillo MN to Alamosa CO

map view of san luis valley campground

Our campground was just south of the pass at the San Luis Valley Campground which is a nice small RV park with full hookups and amazing views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the East and Bonita Hill and Flagstaff Mountain to the West. I took a few photos…

kate and zeke at sunset at san luis campground colorado sunset over flagstaff mountain at san luis campground colorado zeke at sunset at san luis campground colorado zeke at sunset at san luis campground colorado kate at sunset at san luis campground colorado kate and zeke at sunset at san luis campground colorado kate and zeke at sunset at san luis campground colorado kate and zeke at sunset at san luis campground colorado kate and zeke at sunset at san luis campground colorado kate and zeke at sunset at san luis campground colorado kate and zeke at sunset at san luis campground colorado kate at sunset at san luis campground colorado kate and truck at san luis campground colorado happy kate at san luis campground colorado flowers in sunset san luis campground colorado Happy Hour at San luis valley campground colorado Rolling With Grass Truck and trailer at san luis valley campground colorado

Day One

Roger: I am writing this from the trailer in a park north of Albuquerque, NM trying to get a grasp on what we have done. So far its mostly just a long vacation and I am doing some work along the way, but just beneath the surface is the reality that we have committed ourselves to living fulltime for at least one year. The house has been rented and we sold or gave away all of our furniture.

The going away party over Labor Day weekend was fantastic and Kate, Zeke, and I want to thank everyone who made it. We truly appreciate the sacrifice you made to spend a long weekend with us in the woods and we hope that you had as much fun as we did.

If you were there then you know I took a lot of photos. I am still processing them and need to figure out how I want to post them here. The photo at the top of this post is from the campfire on the second night after we left our stick and brick house behind.

Overall its a strange feeling not having a fixed home but also very comforting in that everything I own fits in a 30′ by 8′ space that I also work, eat, and sleep in. As we continue down the road I am thinking more about how we lived with so much excess of space and stuff and how relieving it is to pare things down. We are still living incredibly comfortable lives compared to a lot of people and keep that in mind all the time.

Sometimes we are asked what our plan is and we just shrug and say ’70 degrees’. Meaning that we are planning to be where ever the highs are in the 70’s and if that means packing up and moving then so be it. We are now migratory humans travelling across the American landscape looking for adventure while maintaining an income that allows us to keep going.

One of the first lessons we have learned is that its best to hit the road in the morning. This makes packing up camp easier as the temperature is lower and it gives you more flexibility if you want to stop for lunch or take photos. Finally its always nicer to get into camp with some daylight so you can see what the surroundings have in store for you.

The plan is to boondock as much as possible since we have a fairly large solar system that can keep everything going for a long time. So far we haven’t hit that goal yet as we are under the gun to get to Colorado by the end of this week and we need internet connection so I can keep my clients happy (you are happy right?).

As we progress I plan on making posts about the trailer and solar setup we have. I also plan on talking more about day to day trailer life and most importantly how we are making this happen (small secret: we saved up a nice bit of cash, made smart purchases, and took the leap).

Please feel free to let us know if you have any questions and more importantly suggestions about Rolling with Grass.

Solar System Install Initial Phase in Parks AZ

We spent the weekend at an undisclosed location near Parks Arizona where our friends Bruce and Bill helped us start the installation of our solar system for the trailer. We got the panels installed on the roof and ran wiring to the Solar Charge Controller. There will be more posts highlighting our system once it is complete. In the meantime enjoy these photos to understand why we want to be on the road meeting new people and enjoying beautiful places.
Parks AZ RV Solar Panel System Install Trailer and House Shot

Parks AZ RV Solar Panel System Install House Porch Shot

Parks AZ RV Solar Panel System Install House Sunset Shot

Parks AZ RV Solar Panel System Install Sunset Shot

Parks AZ RV Solar Panel System Install Sunset Shot

Parks AZ RV Solar Panel System Install Sunset Shot

Parks AZ RV Solar Panel System Install Sunset Shot

Parks AZ RV Solar Panel System Install Sunset Shot

Boondocking in Chicago

One of the first destinations for our grand road trip is to the Clio Conference in Chicago in Sept 22nd and 23rd 2014. The problem is that the closest RV park is over 50 miles from the conference hotel downtown at the Radisson Blu Hotel which would be a sucky way to start the two days of the conference. So I did some Googling of ‘boondocking in chicago’ and found this PDF talking about the McCormick Place Marshalling Yard:
Boondocking in Chicago PDF McCormick Place Marshalling Yard
McCormick Place Marshalling Yard
31st St and Lakeshore Dr.
312-808-3138

RV Camp Review on the Chicago McCormick Marshalling Yard

RV Network discussion on staying at the Chicago McCormick Marshalling Yard

$30 a night should be plenty of room.

First planned stay: El Malpais National Conservation Area

I know this is a pretty microscopic view of our extended road trip but thats the ADD kicking in. We determined on the last trip that the maximum distance to be driven in one day is 300 miles. At a 50MPH averages which includes stops for fuel and bathroom and lunch means thats 6 hours of driving in one day, which is almost a full time job. The other requirment is that we have decent cell coverage for the Verizon hotspot. As long as I have Verizon LTE access I can do streaming video and generally at better quality than a business Cox cable connection gets.

El Malpais National Conservation Area

Based on that self imposed sanity clause and leaving from somewhere near Flagstaff on Sept 1st towards Fort Collins, CO we have determined that the Joe Skeen campground in the El Malpais National Conservation Area is going to be our first location. At 261 miles we are well within our distance requirement and it looks to be a pretty awesome campsite for FREE with some decent cell phone reception so work will be happening.

Google Map view of the first day of driving:

Great writeup on staying at Joe Skeen campground in El Malpais Conservation Area

Fun blog from Me and My Dog on staying at el malpais national conservation area.

For More Information, Contact:

Paul Yoder
PYoder@BLM.gov
http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/recreation/rio_puerco/el_malpais.html
PO Box 846, Grants, NM 87020
505.280.2918 (Ranger St. 9a-4p)