As soon as I can, I’ll update you on my one year trip. I’ve decided to leave everything behind and spend real time with the people that matter the most in my life: my wife and three children. This is my story, I hope it will inspire you to create yours.
You can read my previous “on the road” articles:
On the road #1
On the road #2
On the road #3
On the road #4
On the road #5
On the road #6
On the road #7
On the road #8
On the road #9
Date: from August 25th to September 4th
Miles on the road so far:
States/Province traveled through: Arizona, California
As I’m writing this on the road, I’m already in Mexico. It seems that I’ve already taken a slower beat and getting a little bit behind! Honestly, there was a serious time of adaptation required and this is the reason I’ve focused on what I do best (write about dividend stuff) instead of continuing my journal for a while. But for now, let’s get back to where we were at the end of my latest on the road.
Days #74-75-76-77-78 The Beauty of Antelope, Grand Canyon & Arizona
We finally decided to stayed a lot longer than expected at Lone Rock Beach on the Lake Powell. As I previously mentioned, we were supposed to stayed 1 night. That night got into 4 and finally finished by 6 nights at the very same place. What is really nice when you stay for a while is that you get to know other people. We were lucky to chat almost everyday with an retired couple Nic & Judy. Nic is German, but spent most of his life in the Caribbean’s. He built a company there and made some good money. He is now traveling across the states and visit Judy’s daughter in Canada everyday and spend the rest of his time on an island (can life be any better?). I appreciated the long chat we had and tried to soak as much wisdom as I could from this well accomplished man. He told me the stories about how he was dyslectic, quit school at the age of 15 to go work on a farm and left Germany to Africa at the age of 18. He learned French and English while traveling and at the age of 21, he bought his first tuck boat. A few years later, we was building a tuck boat company in the Caribbean’s and started to build his business. I think the most important thing he told me was: everything leads to something. All experiences open opportunities and it is up to you to seize them. When there is a problem, there is also a gain to be made out of it. I’ll be sure to remember this!
During our last two days in Lake Powell, we took good care of Freefall. We wanted to make sure our RV was in good shape to keep going. I was relieved to learn I only had to change breaks! We also take the Antelope Canyon tour. This is one of the rare attraction we paid for during our trip. However, it was definitely worth the expense!
They take you in a pick-up and bring you directly in the Antelope Canyon. I’ve seen so many pictures of this Canyon that I thought I had seen it. But the beauty of carved stones dancing around you and climbing up to the sky is impossible to describe. We picked one of the earliest tour (as they sold out weeks in advance!) but it gave us the opportunity to have less people in the canyon at the same time. I recommend it to everybody!
After a very relaxing stop by the beach, left early in the morning to go see the Grand Canyon. Nic had recommended we go see the North Rim as it is less crowded while almost as spectacular than the South Rim (plus, I’ll show you picture you probably haven’t seen yet ;-). We made several stops on that day. One was to see the Horseshoe Bend:
And another one to see those gigantic boulder standing on smaller rocks:
And finally, we finished the day with the Grand Canyon Wow… this is quite impressive to see how wide and deep the canyon is!
As we were walking near the cliff, my adventurous side was continuously looking after a lonely rock where we could sit and admire the view all alone. After only a few minutes, I rapidly found the perfect spot. I could even climb there with my kids. They have climbed so many rocks so far I call them my mountain goats ;-). As we were two rocks away from reaching our objective, I contemplated the horizon with great excitement. But I had a weird feeling at the same time. I felt I was being looked at. In fact, I felt I was being stared at. I quickly turn around and I was ready to face any kind of wildlife in front of me… but that was just a ranger telling me I should go down and follow the path… darn! I got caught before I could enjoy the view! Nonetheless, we found many other ways to spend countless minutes staring at the immensity of the canyon… legally!
Thx to Nic, we also spent a really neat and calm night in the forest nearby for free. This was the perfect boondock!
We finished our trip in Arizona by going through Sonora. The road scenery was amazing. We had countless red rocks leading the way while we were driving through the mountains. We even found the perfect spot to stop and enjoy the afternoon nearby natural water slides in a State Park nearby:
We finally stopped our ride in a camping for 2 days, just enough time for me to work a little and play mini golf ;-).
Day #79-80 LA & Its 12 Lanes Highways
We woke up very early that day as we had to drive the whole day from Cottonwoods (where the camping is at) and Los Angeles. We found another amazing couple of Boondockers Welcome ready to host us for the night.
As I was approaching L.A., I remember how difficult it could become to drive with my big bertha in the middle of a fast highway. But L.A. is completely different; there are 10 times the number of highways and lanes! Fortunately, I was lucky enough to not get stuck into too much traffic and reach our host house before 5pm. I couldn’t hope for a better place to stop. This couple lives in Manathan Beach; a very nice neighborhood nearby L.A… and nearby the beach. We had enough time to take a walk and chill on the beach after this long day of driving. The place was incredibly calm and family friendly. We stayed there a good hour, just looking at the beach and enjoying the landscape.
After we ate our supper, our host knocked on our door and offered us to take a glass of wine and chat in their house. Once again, it was another great encounter. It was fascinating to learn that they bought their first house in Manathan Beach for $29,000 almost 45 years ago and it is now worth about 2,9M$! That’s inflation! Funny enough house pricing in Quebec was similar back 45 years go, but the $29,000 house only worth $200,000 today…. Not $2M…
The next morning, we finally meet with the family we encountered during the very first day of our trip. They rushed their way to L.A. so we can meet before crossing the borders. At this point, I can tell you how I was happy to find another family doing the same trip. Crossing the border toward Mexico is not just a step in our itinerary anymore, it’s a reality! Going right in the mouth of the unknown will be another challenge.
We spent the day at Venice Beach. This wasn’t really my choice and I really had the feeling that I lost my day there. Venice Beach is full of cheap stores offering cheap stuff and there are also a bunch of weirdos. It’s an interesting mix, but after working 5 years downtown, I’ve seen enough weirdos that I don’t look at them with interest anymore. We finished the day in a Walmart not too far away from LA. It was a quick trip of 48 hrs in this megapole. I don’t think I will come back though. Not really my type of city, it’s just too big for me.
Day #81-82-83-84 One Last Glass of Wine Before We Go
The next few days are days of preparation. We Needed to buy a few things before hitting the road again. While we were getting fully prepared, we decided to stay at one of the coolest Harvest Host there is: The Bernardo Winery.
This Vineyard has been built with a small village around it. Each door is a small store. You can buy chocolate, olive oil, there is a small coffee shop with amazing lattes, etc. Kids were playing around the village with our new walkie-talkie (that are definitely a must if you travel with another family!) while we were trying different type of wines. We spent 2 days there as we really enjoyed this place.
We did two lasts stops before going to Tecate. One was a campground do to our laundry and the second one was the closest campground to Tecate. It is situated in Portrero, about 5 miles away from the border. The day we crossed the border, we got there to buy our tourist card (which they call a visa) and got fooled by our very first Mexican ;-). The officer at the immigration office asked us $25 per tourist card. Once we paid, we got a receipt showing the price in pesos. I don’t recall exactly, but it was the equivalent to $20 USD. Welcome to Mexico my friend!
In my next on the road, I’ll tell you about my journey through the Baja!