No, my kids will not be doing summer camps through Rec & Park this summer. Don’t worry, I think I’ll be able to keep them entertained.
As I’ve mentioned previously, I had an epiphany last summer, and bought myself a van. Technically, it’s a Class B motorhome, but I’m too young to own a motorhome, so I just call it a van. All the cool kids are doing it. Ya know, #vanlife and all that.
The plan was to hit the road this summer for my family reunion in Denver in July. We live in San Francisco, so there’s a…how would you say?…fuck ton of cool shit between us and Denver. Especially for climbers. And then you get there, and there’s even more climbing. And you’re already halfway to all these other remote awesome places, so you might as well just make a summer of it.
Without further ado, it is time to unveil our plan:
- 14 weeks / 102 Days
- 6,515 miles + local exploration
- 10 states + 1 Canadian province
- >25 climbing areas*
- 15 National Parks
- 8 National Monuments, National Conservation Areas, and State/Provincial Parks (probably more, hard to remember what all of these places are, I’ll get back to you)
- 1 climbing stewardship workshop in Yosemite
- 1 family reunion
- (hopefully) some volunteer conservation work
- 1 week at Burning Man – my first time ever
You can check out our itinerary here, although with the freedom of the van, we will surely deviate from these plans many times. But hopefully we’ll get to climb climb climb!!
Side note: You should seriously checkout Furkot – it’s the most robust road trip planner I’ve ever imagined! I plugged in our destinations, dates, and durations of stays, and it plotted this route for us. I still need to scrutinize it, to make sure there aren’t any awesome side roads we’d miss with this route, but it sure helps in planning! It will even help you find lodging and activities nearby. Oh, and it will sync with TripIt. I haven’t even scratched the surface on what it can do. Amazing.
The kids will be along about half the time (and no, they’re not coming to Burning Man). I have to share them with their dad, so they’ll be spending a couple of weeks with us at a time. We haven’t made flight arrangements yet, but the plan depends on a combination of:
- Their dad will fly to where we are and explore the area with them, then return them to us and fly home
- Their dad will fly to where we are to pick them up/drop them off
- I will fly to SF to pick them up/drop them off
- Maybe their dad will even rent a van of his own and do some traveling around
Thankfully, he’s being super supportive of this whole plan, and expressed a interest in exploring these places with the boys this summer even before I told him about our BIG idea.
The kids are excited about going to so many places, camping, and climbing so much. They’re not excited to drive a whole lot. We’re trying to break up the driving as much as possible, keeping it to a couple of hours at a time, but sometimes you just have to go a long way in one day! And hopefully while they’re with us we can stay camped and climb in one area for a few days in a row. I think moving every day would wear us all down, not just the kids.
I’m planning on making some improvements to the van before we go. I want to replace the flooring, get a new stereo (the one in there now doesn’t have bluetooth audio, and I’m basically dependent on that technology to function as a driver), have the original decals removed, and get a custom skin put on the lower panel of the outside (here’s an example of what I’m talking about, but we’d have a different pattern). I also need to track down the perfect hitch-mounted cargo box. We’ve been discussing these plans for some time, and now it’s only 50 days away. FIFTY DAYS?! WHAT?! Guys, I gotta go.
One more quick thing – HELP ME! If you have suggestions for any of the following, please comment!
- Places we should see
- Places we should climb
- Secret dispersed camping spots
- Kid-friendly activities/attractions
- Apple Play car stereos
- Hitch-mounted cargo boxes (so far I’m into this one by Rola)
- Road trip essential tips/tricks/gadgets
Related post: The Van
*For the climbers out there, here are the climbing areas we plan to visit:
- Red Rock Canyon NCA, NV
- Indian Creek / Bears Ears NM, UT
- Zion NP / Moab area, UT
- Grand Junction area, CO
- Rocky Mountain NP, CO
- Estes Park, CO
- Ft. Collins area, CO
- South Platte area, CO:
- Cañon City / Shelf Road, CO
- Durango, CO
- Ouray, CO
- Gunnison, CO
- Boulder area, CO:
- Vedauwoo, WY
- Jackson Hole, WY
- Grand Teton NP, WY
- Gallatin Canyon / Bozeman area, MT
- Spokane area, WA
- Squamish area, BC (but which crags???)
- Smith Rock State Park, OR
If you have any favorite crags or routes in these areas, let us know! Bonus points for kid-friendly stuff.
And yes, I know it will be too hot to do much (if anything) in some of these areas, but we’re going to do our best to get in some early morning or late evening climbs at least.