Colorado is our home state, and it is one of the BEST places to see fall colors. Even though we both grew up in Colorado, and we've each seen 20+ Colorado falls already in our lives, this year we got extreme FOMO by having been away from Colorado the past three years during its prime fall season. In our three years of full timing, we've screwed up our fall plans 3/3 years. By this, ...
In August, Blake’s friend Toby and his girlfriend, Annika, wanted to visit us from Germany. They knew we were living on the road, so we planned a road trip with them. We started in Denver and they said they wanted to visit Yellowstone and Seattle, which meant a 1300+ mile road trip. Before you wonder how the heck we slept 4 people in the camper- don’t worry- they got a hotel each night. That would’ve been crazy. But we did have to reorganize the back seat of the truck to fit everyone in. We only have a super cab, so its already hard to fit anyone in the back seat of the truck. And normally the back seat is full of our pelican cases of camera gear, so we had to put 3 large pelicans into the back of the camper. They were piled up between the oven and fridge and I had to prop up the top one any time I wanted to get in to the fridge. On top of that, we had Toby and Annika’s big roller suitcases in the back of the camper too. So with all of that, we pretty much were not able to walk inside the camper for two weeks. We did a lot of driving, lots of sight seeing, picnicked outside, hung out in their hotels, and Blake and I only stepped over all the boxes to go to sleep each night.
What we’ve learned about road tripping over the past year is that it’s better when you try to not have to move everyday, and try to spend a couple days in each location, but sometimes that just isn’t practical. Since we planned a 1300 mile route, we pretty much had to keep moving to new locations every day, and Toby and Annika had a new hotel every night.
The first day in Denver we drove up Mt. Evans, the highest paved road in the continental US. and we were lucky to see tons of mountain goats. For early August it was surprisingly cold and rainy, which ended up being really neat because we’ve normally only seen the tops of 14k foot mountains on clear sky days when it’s safe to hike them. Since we were summiting the mountain from the car though, we got to see the stormy skies and the cloud layers below us.
Annika told us when she arrived to Denver that she was scared of snakes, and we were talking about the fact that Germany doesn’t have bears. Then we took them to Fish Creek falls hike in Steamboat and saw both a snake and a bear in the first 10 minutes. It was actually surprising to see a bear even for us being from Colorado, we don’t see that many in the wild. It freaked them out a bit, but it just prepared them for what they might see in Yellowstone and the the Grand Tetons.
It was funny that we didn’t see any wildlife in Wyoming or Montana except a couple elk and a bison pretty far away. But one of the AirBnBs in West Yellowstone showed Toby a picture of the mama grizzly and her cubs that had been outside the airbnb the previous morning (right after Toby went on a run). Needless to say Toby was no longer asking to go on a run!
Blake and I have both already been to Yellowstone and the Tetons, so we wanted to add in some stops on the way that were new for both of us. On our way to Jackson Hole, we drove through the Dinosaur National Monument on the Colorado/Utah border, which Blake and I had never been to! It’s right off the highway, with a pretty neat fossil museum. From there we drove north through the Flaming Gorge, also new to us, and saw so many camp spots that we’ll have to return for another day. Toby and Annika really liked seeing the canyon, but couldn’t believe how close we were allowed to get to the edge. They said in Germany the whole thing would be fenced off and no one would be allowed to get that close.
Driving through the national parks can be so stressful, with so much traffic, and following other slow rigs. We missed seeing Old Faithful erupt by about 1 minute, so we stuck around another hour and a half for the next eruption. Even though we’d been here before, we made sure our friends saw all the best spots in Yellowstone, including the Grand Prismatic and Yellowstone Falls.
After stops in Jackson Hole, Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone, we got to Big Sky. We had done a ton of driving each day for the first week of the trip, so we tried to take the second week a bit slower. We stopped in Bozeman, where we also got to visit a friend, and went to the Montana Grizzly Encounter so Toby and Annika could see a grizzly for real.
When we started our nomadic lifestyle, we told all our friends they should come visit us, but they all know how hectic our lifestyle is. They don’t often know what state we’re in. One day we’re camping in Utah, and the next we’re filming in LA. Our jobs normally come up with no notice, and it’s hard to say no to a job when that’s our way of making money and staying on the road. Toby and Annika were so flexible for this roadtrip, it really was the only way to make it possible. They flew in to Denver, and home from Seattle, and put up with our crazy camper lifestyle everyday. We ended up cutting the trip a couple days short when we got to Spokane so Blake and I could fly to LA for a gig, and they rented a car and drove the rest of the way to Seattle. It was really special they were able to come visit and get a taste of our lifestyle. We listened to German Apres Ski hits the whole time, and debated the differences between the US and Germany. Next year we’re thinking we’ll have to visit Germany, but definitely not in our current rig.