• sparkfireswan

A&A Week 20 Life Updates, What We Eat, Where We Stay, Our Travel Route

Updated: Jan 13

End of Week #20


Ancient Cedars Mesa Verde RV Park, Mancos CO > Pinon Flats Campground, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Mosca, CO > Pikes Peak RV Park, Manitou Springs, CO


Miles traveled since last week’s post = 378


Total miles traveled to date = 3765 with trailer


*Did you know we launched our A&A Nomadic Newsletter last Friday, October 11th, in celebration to our 20 week anniversary? Would you like to learn more about the Nomadic Lifestyle, how we made it possible, and how you can make it possible too? You can sign up for FREE, by filling out this link: here.


Newsletters will be sent straight to your inbox on the second Friday of each month. Our next newsletter will be published on Friday November 8th, and will feature all things finances! (By signing up today you will receive a copy of October’s Newsletter too.)*

A&A Week 20 Life Updates, What We Eat, Where We Stay, Our Travel Route, & More!


What a week it has been! We explored some of the lesser known National Parks in Colorado and survived a few nights of very extreme cold in our trailer (& a few hours of zero heat source whatsoever!) Right now we are sitting in our campground in Manitou Springs/Colorado Springs, where we will stay until this coming Saturday the 19th, before starting to make our way south “for the winter”.  🙂 Thankfully, we have avoided actual snowfall so far and only encountered some of that “white stuff” on a hike today!


While we really enjoyed exploring the dunes at Great Sand Dunes NP, I must say – that was one of the most difficult hikes of my entire life! Hiking in sand is no joke, especially at elevation. Thankfully we bought one of those oxygen tubes awhile back and had it with us on the hike – I used it to stop a full on hyperventilation at the top of the dune!

On Friday we ended the week with a milestone celebration – our 20 week anniversary! It feels like such an accomplishment to make it this far, living in a smaller space, moving every couple of days, and navigating the nomadic lifestyle!


Stay tuned for more travel reviews of National Parks, mountain towns, and more! If you “follow” the blog you will never miss an update. 


Travel Route Updates


Typical to the way life goes, we have been making adjustments to our travel plans as we go. With some recent very cold weather here in Colorado we have had to leave a place early, remove two places from our plans entirely, and learn how to cope to adjustments in our routine to deal with our environment. But all things considered, we are doing really well, cats included! I think it’s safe to say we are absolutely loving this lifestyle, and doing our best to thrive at it.


Our Current Route


Here is a map to show our travel route to date, and all the places we have stopped at along the way:

If you would like to look at this route in a web browser: here is the link.


Our Future 2020 *Estimated* Travel Route


Everything is still very estimated and tentative, but I tried to do a better job outlining the route we will likely take the rest of 2019 and into most of 2020. Again, we are hoping to stop back home in Minnesota around late summer/fall of 2020. From there we will head south again and continue on through the east side of the country!


Winter in Texas


As we are nearing the middle of October, it’s hard for us to contain some


After the month near Fort Worth, we are tentatively planning to sit still for ANOTHER month, during December, just a bit south near Houston and the Gulf of Mexico. Staying near the ocean and being as far south as possible in this area sounds like an absolutely fantastic plan for us for December. It will also be nice to sit still during our first huge holidays away from home. This will give us a travel break, give the cats a travel break, (and catch up on all the blog posts and reviews I am behind on!)


Some of the other things we will be doing during our “rest” time during our winter in Texas includes focusing more on making money online. I am diving into life as a digital nomad, and have a few new entrepreneurial endeavors up my sleeve that I hope will bring us abundance and prosperity. I would also like to spend some time expanding our online presence to YouTube videos, essentially creating a vlog, and write extended travel reviews on areas we have already been.


One super exciting plan we have in the works…. involves going to the Dallas / MN Vikings football game on Sunday November 10th! We will be right in the area, and we have found standing room tickets for very cheap. If you’ve been following along in our journey you may remember me mentioning we had a plan to go to the Kansas/ MN Vikings game, however we rerouted those plans and are thinking this game instead! It is way cheaper, and we ultimately had no other reason to drive through the entire state of Kansas right now so we decided to delete that idea entirely. 🙂


What We “Do All Day”


I get this question quite often, and sometimes I almost get offended by it, but I try not to! Honestly, sometimes I feel I am a heck of a lot more busy in my life now than I was in my “old life”. In fact, a lot of days we are out exploring from morning until dinner time! When we aren’t out exploring we sometimes have to spend the ENTIRE day researching places we will stay next, emailing, calling, looking at websites, discussing travel ideas, and the whole process takes hours to solidify. I feel the question of ‘what we do all day’ will be a heck of a lot more prevalent when we are sitting still for a month in Texas, but for the past several months we have been on the road there hasn’t been a single “boring” minute.


A typical adventure day consists of …. waking up, feeding the cats, making coffee, feeding ourselves. Confirming what the plan is for the day, making and packing up a lunch and snacks. Getting ready, getting the hiking backpack ready. Doing some light cleaning to tidy up, and just make sure the trailer is relatively clean. Then we are off, sometimes driving an hour to get to a destination. We often explore for a few hours to up to 7 hours at once. Then we come back home, discuss what to have for dinner, prepare it. Showers. More light cleaning. Then I usually do some sort of writing or internet work, or even journaling to keep up to date on all our activities and adventures. We also sometimes have phone calls with family members or friends.


A typical “rest day” consists of …. the same morning routine as above, and then still typically some light cleaning. We may run errands to the grocery store, to fill up the van with gas, to get more propane, or what have you. We may spend hours researching our next destination and where to go. Adam may do a lot of work outside in checking our tire pressures, checking every nook and cranny of the trailer and the roof, and our surroundings. I may spend a few hours on my computer writing or doing internet work, or even researching activities I want to do. I would also usually do some sort of outdoor workout. The process of doing dishes usually takes about an hour or so. Sometimes I also take the cats outside or go for a walk too!


A typical travel day/relocation day consists of …. packing things up all morning and checking that everything is status quo. Getting the cats and trailer and van ready for travel. Usually we drive an average of 4 hours to get to a new place, sometimes longer or sometimes less time. Then we have to do the process in reverse and set up, unpack and re-situate everything before having the difficult task of figuring out what is for dinner.


See the thing is, everything we do takes way more time than it would in our “old life” so that already is a way we use up a lot of our days. We are never bored, we are never wishing for more to do. Days when we do get to “rest” are an absolutely blessing and usually very needed to recharge. We have an endless world at our fingertips to explore. We have a new backyard every few days, with new opportunities to learn and grow from our surroundings. There is never a dull moment and there is never “too much time”.


[Not to mention, but writing these blog post updates usually takes me several hours to complete as well! It’s no easy task you guys.]


What We Eat


There is no shame in my game, but a lot of times we eat a majority of the same foods every week. Things that travel well, pack well, or our favorite staple foods. The main difference in what we eat now versus before is that now we can’t indulge in our favorite seafoods or go out to eat and experience new dishes. Nowadays we primarily have to prepare everything we eat and purchase that in which is the most affordable at times too!


*We do our best to always buy fresh local goods, and to go organic any chance we can no matter what it is we are buying. If the organic produce is too expensive we will sometimes opt for frozen organic vegetables instead. It is very rare we will go conventional if there is an option for organic. We ate mostly organic in our “old life” and it is something that is very important to us to continue with.*


Breakfast


Our favorite breakfast go-to on a morning we can actually make food is a creation Adam came up with that. It is ALWAYS my preference to have in the morning.

  1. The Adam creation involves a piece of toast, an over easy egg, turkey meat, cheese, spinach, spices, and onion. We refer to it as a brunch breakfast sandwich creation and it is literally the most delicious thing ever! (I also usually also add in some variation of fruit, with my favorites being clementines and watermelon!)

  2. If we don’t have all the ingredients for the above Adam creation, we will sometimes just also have an egg scramble with root vegetable hash browns or potatoes and ALWAYS avocado.

  3. If we have breakfast on the go it consists of an oat cereal with almond milk

  4. OR, sometimes I make overnight oats with almond milk that we can eat the next morning with peanut butter.

  5. If we are REALLY rushed we will have a Clif granola bar and some fruit.

We always try to pair a warm cup of Hempworx CBD coffee with any breakfast, no matter what kind! 


Lunch


This one typically varies based on our activity for the day and what we had for breakfast/what time we had breakfast. Sometimes we really don’t have a formal lunch at all and will have some type of snack in the afternoon, such as a Clif granola bar, some chips, fruit, leftovers, or something else.

  1. If we are packing a lunch to take with us on hiking adventures we usually make a sort of sandwich to help hold us over – either being a tuna salad sandwich or a turkey sandwich with all the fixings.

  2. I have also made energy bars that we will munch on or take with us for an added snack too.

  3. If we are at home I will sometimes prepare as extravagant organic salad with avocado and chicken or turkey, and any random fresh vegetables in the fridge.


Dinner


Even though we eat a lot of the same things, this one always seems to be the hardest to figure out. Ha! Typical meals we prepare include:

  1. Chicken breast, a green vegetable, with either rice or red potatoes. We sometimes mix up the chicken preparation to be made with franks red hot, or honey and soy sauce. Oftentimes if we have electricity we make the chicken in the air fryer.

  2. Turkey meat made into patties, with a green vegetable, and sometimes Adam turns potatoes into french fries in our air fryer.

  3. Ground turkey mixed with rice and mixed vegetables.

  4. A frozen organic pizza.

  5. Less often, we will prepare organic mac and cheese and mix in some vegetables or tuna.

  6. Less often, we will prepare organic pasta and red sauce with ground turkey.

  7. Less often, we will prepare organic pasta with tuna and make a tuna salad.

  8. Once in awhile we will “fend for ourselves” and heat up some soup or other random items from our pantry or freezer.

  9. Sometimes I just prepare a chicken patty and cut it up into a salad with avocado, green pepper, onion and whatever else I can find.

  10. One time, so far anyway, we got REAL expansive and made “trailer turkey tacos”.

Our favorite green vegetables include brussel sprouts, broccoli and green beans. 


Some of the other items we go through the most include ghee butter, avocado cooking oil, himalayan salt, franks red hot, avocados, eggs, organic ranch, and some sort of indulgent chip or chocolate.


If we are in the mood for a late night snack, or if we have the option to have a bonfire, our favorite go-to is brewers yeast popcorn with himalayan salt, avocado oil and brewers yeast. It is seriously THE BEST.


How We Find Places To Stay


Continuously finding a place to stay can be a daunting task, or it can be a fun task – it depends on what your attitude is about it. (Oftentimes my attitude switches daily about it!) I really enjoy planning and organizing and researching things, so I am typically the one to figure this out, but sometimes it is so hard to manage that it takes both of us fully engulfed in our phones and laptops to figure out.


We usually go through the same process of research each time, looking at the same types of resources and then making an executive decision on what is best. I also consider what is in the area that I am going to want to adventure to, to help decide for how many days we should stay in that location.


  1. Boondockers Welcome: designed to allow RVers camp on people’s personal land without a cost. Sometimes the hosts have amenities to offer as well. This is a new resource we are incorporating and will be staying with our first host at the end of the month!

  2. Freecampsites.net: Often used to find free boondocking land to stay at, and to read all the reviews to find out how the roads are to get there, what the surroundings are like, if people enjoyed it, etc. This would involve NO hookups, and has to be planned around if we need water, need to do laundry, need electricity for heat, etc.

  3. Park Advisor App: We use this the most heavily, to find out what RV campgrounds are in an area and look at pictures and reviews of the location. Other RVers will write detailed comments about what they thought of management, the surroundings and the price of the campground.

  4. Google search “RV sites” in xxx town: I usually do this even if I am using one of the other resources to find a place to stay, just to check things out. Sometimes this is the best way to find hidden gems or full hookups if we are in need of them! I open up each campground I find and look over their website, photos, rates, and amenities.

  5. National Parks: My personal favorite place to stay, if we are planning to see a National Park I ALWAYS like to at least look into this option. Often times there are no hookups, but sometimes there are places to dump or fill up water at. They are usually cheaper to stay at and we get into the park free with our Annual Park Pass! The views are also usually the best, but also paired with the comfort and security of knowing there is a host or an entrance station so we can leave our RV unattended while we go explore.

  6. National Forests: Another favorite of mine, as my current favorite campsite is still from the Bridger-Teton National Forest. These options are usually the cheapest for a paid site, offer no amenities, but offer amazing views! There isn’t usually an entrance station, but there is usually a host on duty.

  7. State Parks: Another one of my favorite options to look into, as they are usually very similar to National Parks, but we are finding a lot of State Parks offer hookup amenities! They cost more than National Parks, but still offer great views, comfort and security, and the added bonus of water and electric too.


What we look for in a place to stay


As you’ll notice, there is a theme to what we look into each time we pick a place to stay. We are looking at the price, the views (& reviews), and what type of amenities or hookups are offered and that is weighed against do we need hookups for this stay. We are also always considering safety and security, if there is a host or a paid entrance, and that is weighed against what will we be doing while we stay there – are we going to be leaving a lot to explore, or will we mostly be “resting” and sitting still.


We try to alternate the types of places we stay at and get a full variety. If we just stayed a few times in a row at places with amenities we will maybe have the next one be a boondocking site somewhere. Variety is the best way to experience it all! (And try to save some money in the process.)


*Originally, we went into this journey assuming we would be doing A LOT more boondocking at free locations. While we still try to do this, we have found that it is not always our favorite way to camp, and we don’t yet feel comfortable leaving our entire home and fur babies alone in the vast open wilderness in order to leave to run errands or explore. I can easily say places to stay has been a huge added cost to our journey and we are WAY out of budget, but that’s okay because we are more happy and comfortable with our decision to stay more often in paid locations.*


The places we have stayed to date


We have parked at 25 campsites so far, and I have taken a photo of our set up at each spot. Here is the full feature:


NEXT WEEK:


Since we are about 5 months deep living full-time in an RV together, I figured it would be a good topic to discuss traveling full-time with your significant other, and how that affects your relationship! 🙂 Smaller space, more time together (ALL the time together) -and let’s talk about how we navigate that space (completely unknown to us beforehand). What do we fight about? How has this experience allowed us to learn and grow from each other?


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For more reviews, content, and other adventures, be sure to follow me on Instagram at Spark Fire Swan.

xoxo









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About Me

Hi, I’m Amanda. Thanks for visiting my page!

I was born & raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. I lived there for 30 years of my life, and always dreamed of warmer winters, mountains & palm trees, and life outside of what I always knew. 

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