Planning for Winter

There’s snow in the forecast for Grand Teton, so we’re leaving a day early, which suits us fine seeing as how the crowds have kept us from enjoying the park the way we’d hoped. Maybe if we were to stay through the snow the crowds would thin out, but then we’d have to endure the cold nights and mornings, and who wants that? It was 28 F one morning when I walked Banjo, and my cold clothes are packed away in the truck bed.

Time to move on.

The Skeleton of Our Plans

Maybe it was a mistake to spend our first winter on the road in Florida, six weeks of which was in the Keys: what a warm, welcoming idea as the cold sets in here. But, we’re not going back there (yet) because we don’t want any repeat trips while there’s still so much to see. Plus, it was mighty expensive! So, southern Arizona, here we come.

You guys have asked how we plan what we’re doing when, so here goes a loose description for this leg. (I’ve written a similar post, but that was so long ago.)

Tracy and I share a couple of calendars via Google (not an easy trick because he runs Linux and I use Apple). First we write in dates for appointments we have to plan around.

For example, later in September we have an appointment in Idaho Falls at a Ram dealership for the truck to get worked on, and then one in Boise at an Airstream service center to get the trailer worked on (I’ll post about that when we get there; that list may grow). Finally, I have a routine doctor’s appointment I might as well schedule for Idaho while we’re having so much fun. So those dates we work around.

The dates on my calendar in purple are reservations we’ve made at campgrounds, since we’ll be in urban areas for the appointments and need to be sure to have places to stay. We found those campgrounds via the various websites and apps we use, such as and Campendium.

Yellow is tentative. The first one, for example: because we’re leaving here a night before we’d planned, we need to stay somewhere just one night, and that’s the perfect opportunity for a Harvest Host stay. Below is a screen cap of the Harvest Host locations in the area; the orange beer mug ones are the breweries. I’m waiting to hear back from one brewery that’s right on our route. Once they confirm, I’ll add the details to the calendar and change the event color.

There are lots of blank days there, but either Tracy has ideas on boondocking for them, or we’ll find something right as the dates approach. As long as we’re not at or near a vacation destination, we’re hoping camping opportunities will be less hard to find now that school is back in session.

Fleshing It Out

After those appointments, we don’t have any plans except to make our way south, slowly enough that we don’t end up in our destination—southern Arizona—so quickly that we spend all winter there and get restless, but quickly enough to avoid the cold. While we meander there, we’re going through spots we’d both like to see in Utah, plus Lake Mead in Nevada.

We have friends to the west and east of this route, but this time going south we’d like to see a few bucket-list sites before we go wildly off course, especially because snow storms can pop up unexpectedly around here. We will be back with the friends as the skeleton next time.

This is one layer (a driving route) in my Google My Maps URL; Tracy and I share another layer. I have a layer for friends, places we’ve gone, places we want to go, yadda yadda. But this is the rough plan.

Winter in the Desert

I’ve never been to the southwest before! Where we stay will be limited to low-elevation areas so we can, again, avoid the cold, at least the extreme cold. If it does get too cold or if we stay long enough to get restless, we’ll go into Mexico.

Either way, I bought new boots (snakes!) and a new hat (sun!). Yeah, I know … my shopping is not what you signed up for when you went to read this blog. I’d mentioned my search in my last post though, so here’s evidence of my success.

Ukulele Segment

The day we went into Jackson to shop, I was relatively clean and wearing presentable clothes, so I took the opportunity to film my blog theme song (once again). We play this (a certain Grateful Dead version—thanks for the recommendation, John) each time we pull out of a campsite, and neither of us is tired of it yet.

That’s a terrible opening shot, but later I’m grinning at the trailer is shaking. I have my iPad resting on the propane tank cover as I record, and Tracy’s walking around inside the trailer getting ready to go, which is rocking it. Don’t come knocking when the trailer is rocking! Cause I’m recording, is why. I probably should have done another take, but it was time to go. It is time to go.

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