The last days of Part I of the BT!
We woke up early and set off for Hurricane Utah to meet up with my brother Charlie, his wife Lisa and son Raleigh (LCR). We met up at a local bike shop, where they had found out about the good camping areas and caravanned out to camp. The girls rode out with LCR, and it was then we realized these were the first miles of the trip without the girls in the rig with us. We found a great spot with huge views of the cliffs of Zion national park in the distance, where we camped for 3 nights. We arrived just in time for Happy hour and a great sun set. The cousins were all so happy to be together, we could hardly get them out of the van - Awesome! The girls slept over in the Van as well.
The next day was our 5 months on the road anniversary. We woke up, drank coffee, caught up, had breakfast and then got ready to go out for a mountain bike ride on Gooseberry Mesa. The ride was super fun and challenging (borderline character building for Isla). We all rode together, but naturally broke into small groups- I got the chance to ride with Lisa and we had such a great time chatting and catching up! Afterwards, Charlie and I snuck out for a little longer ride and a bit of bro time. The next few days were filled with goofing around, climbing on rocks, finding petrified wood, biking, roasting marshmallows, playing music, listening to the kids laughing, playing bike sumo, happy houring (new verb), catching up- all the fun stuff! It was a super fun, really connected weekend!
The girls took one last ride in Charles and Lisa’s van from camp to our turn off. Then we said our final goodbyes.
After we said our goodbyes, we went for a mountain bike ride on the Wire Mesa trails and then set off for our last few nights in the camper. We were right near Zion National Park and were really temped to go and do a few hikes and jam way too much into the last few days of camping, but we decided to rein ourselves in and get to camp early.
We drove towards the Vermillion Cliffs in AZ, where we found a great campsite near an abandoned old farmhouse to do some exploring, relaxing and reflecting on the last 5 months of time together.
We had a great time talking about the highs and lows, great campsites, fun people we met, great rides, new and old friends, cool towns, etc. It was a magical way to wind down part 1 of the BT. The next morning we woke to a beautiful sunrise, had a leisurely breakfast and set out for Scottsdale AZ. We did have one stop on the way- Lees Ferry and the Colorado River. Lees Ferry holds a special spot for me as it is the put-in for the Grand Canyon when you run the river. We stopped for a quick dip in the freezing cold (46 degrees) Colorado river. It tuns out I was the only one interested in swimming and not too surprisingly as the girls are all way too smart for that!
From Lee’s Ferry we rumbled on to Scottsdale where Francesca’s parents (D and Christopher) had graciously agreed to let us de-rig, clean, and dry out the camper in their driveway. Rolling into Scottsdale as the odometer turned to 9,137 miles, I couldn’t help but be so proud of my 3 adventurous ladies! They have been such a pleasure to be with over the last 5 months- smart, fun, funny, patient, adventurous, strong, curious, resilient, great teachers and of course most importantly for me- they did not vote me off of our little Island! When you set out on a trip like this you do not know what you will get. You have an idea of what you are wanting/hoping for, but you really do not know how it will turn out. Well I am so happy to report that, so far, the trip has pretty much blown away all of our expectations!
A few days back, we had pulled the plug on going to Spain due to visa issues and bought tickets for Oaxaca Mexico. Our new and improved plan was to fly to Oaxaca, and get into the home school routine, study spanish and check out Oaxaca and it’s surrounding areas. We pushed the Spain part back to at least February 1.
We arrived in Scottsdale to a warm welcome and set about our tasks! We had to empty out all the clothes, gear, food, toys, sand, sleeping bags, supplies, mattresses , rugs, bedding etc from the camper, and then clean it to a near new level so it would not attract ants, mice or any other varmints that might be looking for a new home We were getting the camper ready to be left in the Phoenix area for the next 7 months- sorting what we would leave behind and what we would need for part 2 of the trip. This was a several day project for sure!!
In addition to allowing us to clean out the camper and commandeer the driveway, raid the fridge, put serious mileage on the laundry machines, clog the toilets and generally bring down their neighborhood, D and Christopher were also kind enough to let me invite my sister Sarah and her 2 daughters Maddie and Alix to come stay at their house and visit for a couple of days!
It was great to get the cousins together and visit with my sister! We swam in the pool, told stories, watched a polo match ( yes a polo match), ate great food, stayed up late talking and had a ton of fun! The days in Scottsdale were completely full of family, fun, working, cleaning, visiting, planning etc. As always, D and Christopher went way above and beyond as great hosts and provided a great place to transition from part 1 to part 2 of the BT.
With The Rig ready for storage, we said a heart felt thank you to Ridiculous for safely getting through 9,100 miles of fun and adventure!
We were all excited and a bit nervous casting off the known comforts of camping life and setting out for a new adventure in Oaxaca Mexico and Beyond!