The coming month we are exceeding our travel adventure one step further trying to live together on 10 square meter. In the coolest decorated Camper Van you can find on the American roads we will travel the desert southwest region together. This is our first impressions of camp life and the stunning national parks of North America.
Camping. Crammed. Wet. Organizing. Space. Cold. Dirty. Tiny. Work. Work. Work.
Sounds glamorous to you? No?
Try this instead:
Camping. Nature. Stunning. Happy children. Dirty (yes, lots of dirt, makes children even happier). Cooking food outside (makes parents happy). Watching stars. Being in the now.
Sounds better? Yeah, I thought so.
I love camping, and I must confess that I also dread camping at the same time. Camping is for me freedom – and limitations. But most of all freedom. And this is why the love part takes over. Packing yourself and your kids into a small Van driving wherever you want, knowing that you have what you need to set camp whenever and wherever is kind of the ultimate traveling condition.
Our freedom´s name is Broni (Yeah, I know, who came up with that name, really?). My husband thinks that this name is a disgrace to our four wheeled friend. I think it kind of fits. Broni is my picture of a typical surfer name and our new Camper Van kind of looks like a surf dude, so why not.
Change of plans
Our initial plan was actually to get an RV and go from Denver to Portland and then down the west coast to San Francisco. After several weeks of searching online for good RV deals we almost gave up the chase. RV:s in the US are incredible expensive and it was impossible to find anything for less than 200 dollars a day. ´Til Thomas suddenly stumbled upon this great site that rented out Escape Campervans. Just the name sounded thrilling enough for me to be hooked. And when I saw the Vans I was completely sold. Escape Campervans are rebuilt Vans that have a small kitchen, storage, fridge and sleeping possibilities for up to five people. They are compact, you can park in a normal parking lot and don´t have to worry about driving this huge brick that normal RV:s are. And the Vans are almost half the prize of all the RV:s we were checking out. Perfect! The only problem was that we couldn’t take the Van from Denver to San Francisco, which was our initial plan. But in the end this resulted in a much better route – one that takes us into the stunning desert southwest region of the US – Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.
Bigger, better, more
Places I never thought I would visit now is blooming in front of me. Endless roads, with no one else than us for miles and miles. Landscapes that makes you hold your breath and hope that you will never forget this moment – ever. I have one hand on my camera all the time, thrilled by the fact that we have just started this amazing nature exploration trip. It will only get better. In fact we have gotten so many good advice for these 3,5 weeks that we are on the road with Broni that we would need at least 3,5 months to see it all. Now I know why we chose to go to North America. Everything is bigger here, and I don´t mean just the malls or the choices in dairy products. The nature is so big here. And if you are a dedicated camper you can find camp spots here that you could only dream of in any other place.
Two dollar tacos and a mystic campground
Writing this I am sitting in the middle of the New Mexico wastelands in something called Luna Mystica Hotel. According to Google it is a hotel outside the native American town of Taos, but when we got there it was just a couple of trailers (some more colorful than others) standing in the middle of the desert. I opened the door to a little shack with the name “Office” on it, that was placed in the middle of the trailer park. In there I met a young guy called Patrick, who explained to me that “Yes, this is a hotel” and “Yes, the trailers are the rooms of the hotel” and “yes, we have normal camp sites as well”. Then he told me that we could park wherever we wanted in this magical gravel place. Luxury!
The most luxury part of it all were that next to Luna Mystica Hotel lies the Mothership. No, it´s not a UFO-museum. It is actually a brewery. And they had the most delicious tacos for two dollar each (taco night – weren´t we lucky). So we ate our hearts out and then we hit for our colorful Camping Van.
And here I am. Sitting in a blue camping chair, watching the night sky and listening to the sound from the heater. It is still pretty cold. Yesterday night the temperature hit under zero degrees Celsius, but today it should at least be a couple of degrees during the night says our young hotel manager Patrick. With this I will leave you, promising that you will get more news and pictures from on the road with Broni. During the next weeks we will explore the native American culture, ghost towns and the desert canyon wonders on our way through the magical south west of the US. Don´t miss a thing from this. I sure won´t.
5 places to love on the way from Boulder to Taos
#1 Take highway 285 and enjoy the shifting landscape as you drive further south down the wide landscape of southern Colorado. Watch it get rockier and drier the further south you get into New Mexico.
#2 Don´t miss out on the friendly town of Salida a two hour drive from Boulder. Check out the arty little shops and the creative pulse of this place and have a coffee at Dawns coffee. Lovely place, great coffee, fresh and homemade food and friendly staff.
#3 Stop at Valley View Hot Springs and enjoy the friendliness, the beautiful venue, the hot springs and the nice people that are hosting this nature spot. When you leave the Hot Springs make a stop for a few hours at The Great Sand Dunes, North Americas largest ones and a historically fascinating nature phenomenon. Rent a sand board and fly down the sandy hills.
#4 Make a stop in Rio Grande on the way to the town of Taos. This carved Canyon with a slim and snake shaped river far down on the bottom of the Canyon, is a sight for sore eyes. Even if you are not afraid of heights this will definitely make you feel the butterflies in your stomach.
#5 Stop in city of Taos for some hours. Observe the native American architecture, stop at some of the nice cafés and shop food at Cid´s food market. Fabolous, organic, fresh and interesting for all you food lovers out there.