As much as we have enjoyed our winter of no plans, the time has come to think about what the rest of 2016 will bring. This year the big event dominating the direction of our travels is my brother’s wedding in Maine at the beginning of July.
That means as of right now we have three and half months to travel from southern Utah all the way across the country to northern Maine. The logical, easy route would be to simply drive straight across Colorado, Kansas, and all those other middle-of-the-country states until we reach Maine. But we have never claimed to do things the logical or easy way. Where’s the adventure in that? So after much back and forth I think we’ve decided on a loosey goosey kind of route that should get us where we need to be while allowing us to sneak in some fun along the way.
Here is the general route.
As you can see we’re not taking the most direct route from Utah to Maine. Far from it in fact. But we are taking a route that allows us to explore some new places and have some new experiences. Since we’re still up in the air on exact routes, and have decided to make as few reservations and finite plans as possible, we thought it would be fun (and helpful) to share our plans with all of you in hopes that we can get some advice and recommendations.
Hurricane to Moab – Utah
We only have two places that we’ve committed to being at a specific time as we make our way to Maine. The first is Moab, Utah for the last two weeks of April. Here we will be meeting my mom and step-dad who are newly retired and beginning their life as part-time RVers. A few years ago we spent three weeks in Moab and fell in love with the small town vibe and abundance of amazing nature to explore. So we’re excited to share this special place with them. But first we have to get there.
Right now we’re boondocking outside of Zion National Park. There are basically three ways to get to Moab from here; up I-15, across I-70 and then down to Moab, south to Page, AZ, east to the Monument Valley area, and then up Rt. 191 to Moab, or through Zion and along Rt. 12. The first two are the safe routes — meaning no chance of snow or other complications. But we’ve also traveled those routes in the past, and have long wanted to visit all the famous national and state parks along Rt. 12. So we picked the hard way. Or rather…we picked the cold way.
We’ve been watching the weather and decided now is an okay time to make our move north. Yes, we are pushing the season, and yes it will be cold (50s and 60s during the day — 20s and 30s at night), but we’ve survived cold weather before and know that as long as the temps get above freezing during the day we have no need to worry.
We’re only giving ourselves two weeks to travel Rt. 12. In part because of the cold, but also because so much of the area is lacking in cell service which makes it impossible for us to stay and work during the week. This puts us in the Moab area sometime in early April, and while we’ll probably move around a bit, it will be nice to be in the same general area for a three to four weeks.
Moab to Minnesota
The next commitment we have is all the way up in northern Minnesota where we plan to embark on our first overnight kayaking trip in Voyageurs National Park. Our starting point will be the Wooden Frog Campground that came highly recommend from some of our fellow travelers. Wooden Frog does not take reservations, but the back country campsites do, so we snagged ourselves two nights on our very own little island in mid-June.
Assuming we do in fact leave Moab the first week of May that gives us six weeks to reach northern Minnesota. We choose to go north through Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota then east across North Dakota for a few reasons.
For one, while we’ve traveled through Wyoming twice, we’ve missed out on the Devil’s Tower both times. Two, we’ve never been to North Dakota and this route will allows us to visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park. And finally, this route skips over all major cities and most major highways. We’re going on the assumption that it will be early enough in the summer that we don’t need to make reservations on this route, but this is all unchartered territory for us. Any suggestions or recommendations? Place we should see, roads to avoid, or campgrounds to check out?
Minnesota to Maine
Here’s where things get a little wacky. To get to Maine from Minnesota we’ll be going the way of Canada. The other option was to travel across the Upper Peninsula, down through Michigan, and across OH, NY, VT & NH. Except we already did that route in reverse when we left Vermont. And while we’d love to re-visit Michigan, we’re also in search of something new and different. So Canada is it. We basically have 11-12 days to travel 1,600 miles. This is so far from our normal travel schedule that it’s almost scary.
The plan is for Tim to take the last two weeks of June off work so we can drive some everyday and still have time for kayaking. Or, if we find a place we really like to spend a day or two and then put in a few longer driving days. Again, this route is completely new for us and we’re hoping to not make any reservations or definite plans along the way. We’ve only spent a week traveling in Canada so any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Maine to Florida
After the wedding we plan to spend the entire month of July in Maine. We’ll be staying at the Narrows Too campground just outside Mt. Desert Island. We spent two weeks here last year and found it to be a convenient and affordable option. From there we’ll head to New Hampshire for a week with Tim’s family, followed by a month in Vermont visiting friends & family, and then start making our way south.
Other than trying to visit Cap Cod in September after all the rug rats have gone back to school, and stopping at my mom’s house in North Carolina for Thanksgiving, we’ve not yet given much thought to this route. As you can see by the map all options are still on the table. We’ll probably not start planning this leg of the journey for quite some time, but I thought it was worth mentioning because we are positive that we’ll be in Florida next winter. In fact, the big news is that for the first time ever we’ll be storing the Airstream and renting a house for two months — in the Florida Keys! We’ve already put down a deposit on a house about five miles from my dad’s house on Big Pine Key and are looking forward to two glorious months of palm trees and tropical breezes.
Thanks in advance for any and all advice and recommendations :)