SARA Park is the hiking and mountain bike headliner in Lake Havasu City. The park is so much fun that it leaves me wondering why more trails haven’t been carved. We hit this park multiple times during our stay.
Crack in the Mountain (SARAs Crack)
We loved this hike! SARAs Crack leads through a narrow canyon eventually reaching Lake Havasu. It’s about 4 miles one way hike to the lake, and the trailhead is only 5 miles from the London Bridge.
Be prepared for some small class 3 down climbing! There is a hand hold rope installed on one section, and a couple other sections require a slow, calculated decent. We took an alternate route back which rewarded us with elevated views of the lake.
My sister and her husband joined us on a hike, and Megan wore the GoPro. Below is the result! Don’t judge my video editing I’m very new to the whole GoPro thing!
We enjoyed this hike in the spring, and it was still HOT. Also, parts of the canyon were knee deep in water. For those looking to hike here, bring plenty of drinking water and proper shoes!
SARA Park is pretty much the only mountain biking in the area. It’s fun, but challenging. Some washy spots and really tough obstacles and impossible climbs. That said, it’s worth doing! We enjoyed some big rolling hills, really fun descents, and for me it was a big challenge to my technical skills.
This was my first helmet cam attempt, and it’s ok. I don’t think it gives enough perspective, but still worth a watch! I also dumped my bike on a washy corner which is fun to have on video!
Lake Havasu City is a place where fun is abundant. Somehow, they’ve missed the mark on mountain biking. I think the city could do a lot to add and improve the trail system. (It really doesn’t help that I’m writing from Steamboat Springs, CO and I’ve got a new rig.)
Still, the Watershed loop in SARA Park was fun and challenging enough for a short visit. If we were to become permanent residents here, I’d certainly campaign for more cycling options!
Why You Should Visit
SARA Park is the hiking and biking spot for Lake Havasu City. Understandably, most of the outdoor activities here are found on the water. But for those who want to get away from the craziness and enjoy a piece of the desert on foot, this is the place to go!
2018 is the year Megan and I became travelers. We drove 4700 miles with our RV. We’ve had a combined 5 employers in 3 states. Since June we’ve driven over 15,000 miles including 4,700 pulling our 5th wheel trailer. We’ve visited 14 states and stayed at least 24 hours in 9 of them. Talk about a big year!
Before diving into the fun stuff, we want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has supported us and help make this possible. We are so grateful to have strong friendships and close family relationships.
Costa Rica was a honeymoon vacation! The country was beautiful, locals were accommodating, and the food was delicious. We are very lucky to have had this opportunity, as this really was a trip of a lifetime!
We were there for a week, split between the two major destinations of the Arenal Volcano, and city of Quepos. This was a trip of a lifetime, and Megan and I both highly suggest Costa Rica as an incredible (and affordable) travel destination. (We found our travel package through Tripmasters.com)
November of 2017 Megan and I made it our goal to purchase an RV and leave our hometown in Denver, CO to travel and live in campgrounds. Megan would work as a travel nurse and I would find work in construction.
In June of 2018 we took home our first RV. We bought a 2018 Grand Design Reflection from Windish RV in Lakewood, CO. Days after we bought a truck to pull it. A used 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Duramax Diesel.
I have to say, this was a massive endeavor for us! This was our first RV purchase, which required a ton of shopping and research. In addition to all of this excitement, Megan was able to connect with an agency who’d eventually place her at her first travel assignment. June and July 2018 were probably the busiest months of our lives!
Megan’s first assignment was at Lewis Gale hospital in Salem, VA. We pulled the RV from Denver, CO to Blacksburg, VA. We stayed here for most of August 2018.
We camped alongside the New River, and a campground New River Junction. The area is stunningly beautiful, through we did get A LOT of rain. We still found time to mountain bike Poverty Creek, road bike local farm roads, hike to Cascade Falls, and paddle on the New River. The nearby Virginia Tech campus and downtown area provided a nearby town for shopping and other resources.
North Carolina & the Outer Banks
We took a drive (with the RV) to Virginia Beach around Labor Day, 2018. We had a reservation to camp, but the campground made a mistake and couldn’t take us in. So, we had to improvise which led us to North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
Despite the frustration of the reservation mix up, we really enjoyed the beauty of the OBX. We spent some relaxing time at Kitty Hawk beach, and relaxing at our waterfront campground. We also had the opportunity to visit First Landing State Park, where I did some exploring on my road & mountain bike.
I hope we get a chance to go back to this area some day. We both felt we could’ve done more, had we planned the location. Still, it’s a beautiful area where downtime should be encouraged.
After a week in the Outer Banks, we moved our home to Middle Creek Campground, near Buchanan Virginia. We nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains and a stones throw from the infamous Appalachian Trail. The area is as beautiful as it is remote, and we stayed for the fall season.
While here, we hiked some of the Appalachian Trail, mountain biked & paddled Carvins Cove, cycled the Blue Ridge Parkway (Peaks of Otter to Buena Vista), and boated around Smith Mountain Lake.
The greater area of Roanoke, VA is a fantastic place for outdoor enthusiasts. We were both surprised how much this area has to offer. The charm of the southeast is very much present and the people are very welcoming.
A short weekend trip before our final days in Virginia. We drove up and tent camped in the park simply to enjoy the fall colors and drive up the beautiful Skyline Drive.
We were treated to a bear scare our first morning, and a bear sighting later that day. Black bears are everywhere out there! Unlike most national parks we’ve visited, Shenandoah had some dog friendly (on a leash of course) hikes. It was a treat to hike with Bojack some of the area.
Lake Havasu City, AZ
We left Virginia to Lake Havasu at the beginning of November. Megan accepted a new assignment so we pulled the RV some 2,300 miles to spend winter in the desert!
In our first month here, we’ve paddled under the London Bridge, mountain biked SARA Park, and made a short day trip to Las Vegas. We have more time here in 2019 and we already love it!
On the trip out, we were able to see friends and family in Nashville, Fort Worth, and Phoenix. It was such a treat to see some familiar faces after our relative seclusion in Virginia. To help us bring in the New Year, Megan’s mom came out to visit which was also a wonderful time!
Welcome to 2019!
Megan and I look forward to continuing our travels in 2019. Here are some infographics showing our travel routes last year.
We are looking forward to continuing this amazing journey we have started. Follow our blog for more updates!
A hurricane is a nightmare for those who are in its path. The media tells us a story, which includes video footage of a newscaster attempting to report while being battered by the fierceness of mother nature. Then, images pour in of large amounts of flooding, wind tearing off roofs, and the obligatory, albeit very saddening, casualty count and those affected by its devastating aftermath. So when Florence started moving in, panic sunk in fast.
In our area, Roanoke, VA, initial reports started claiming forecasts of up to 20″ of rain causing severe flooding, as well as severe wind gusts which could potentially knock down trees and power lines. The instant presumption was, we need to leave. We have a house on wheels, so let’s get out of dodge! Of course, this is much easier said than done. Where are we going to go? Will Megan have to take up lodging near work? If so, where will we park our RV, and will we have to separate for a few days? We decided the best thing to do was to start an evacuation plan, while also keeping our eye on the National Weather Service (NWS) for Roanoke.
For three days, we remained on the cusp of Florence’s predicted path. Our campground host, as well as local community were all mixed in their advice towards us. This was incredibly stressful! DO WE STAY OR DO WE GO! Of course, nobody is going to answer that question for us.
When Florence made landfall in New Bern, NC, it was eerily quiet here. Also, by this time our friends and family back home were reaching out regularly, insuring our safety. We couldn’t help but pray for those in this monster’s path. Being from Colorado, we’ve never been anywhere near a hurricane. All of our experiences came from what we’ve seen in the media. But now we’re waiting for it and only a few hours drive inland, it’s a very different story!
The storm didn’t hit us too hard. We experienced significant rain, and some areas with minor flooding. The access roads near our campground had a fallen tree in the road, and the local creek ran significantly higher, but that was the worst of it for us.
We cannot express enough how terrifying hurricanes are. After this experience, we’re left feeling hurt for those who’ve been impacted. Business as usual resumes for most, rebuilding starts for many.
In the end, we wish to give thanks to those who reached out in concern. Also, we want to send our best to anyone reading who’s been impacted by the storm. It has not left our minds.
Initially, Megan and I planned Labor Day week in Virginia Beach. We faced an approximately 300 mile drive, so we decided to book a campsite and haul our trailer to the coast. The drive there was slow, and we got to our campground at about 5pm. Megan went inside to meet the campground host and check in, while I waited in the truck with Bojack. When Megan came back, she was furious! Our campground booked us on the WRONG MONTH!
People make mistakes. This is not news to me, or anyone else I know. Generally speaking, a mistake of this nature would surely upset, if not ruin someones holiday. However, we’re not just on vacation. We have nowhere to go! Our lives are in this camper, and this reservation failure literally felt like an eviction with nowhere else to go.
Home is where we park it
So, we did what we had to do. We starting calling every campground we could find, looking for a place to park. Even if was just for one night, we needed to buy time so we could make other arraignments. As expected, most campgrounds were booked solid due to the Labor Day holiday (not surprising in a beach town). We managed to find an opening for two nights at Northwest River Park, located on the Virginia side of the Virginia/ North Carolina state line. It’d cost us another 90 minutes of travel and a toll road, but it was worth it. The campground was a muggy swamp next to a big river, and didn’t have water or sewer connections for the RV. Now we can start our vacation! HA!
Northwest River Park is a very nice place. I mean that sincerely, even though we had never intended to go there, nor stay. We got there late, and pretty much went right to bed. First thing in the morning, Megan found a campground near the Outer Banks, NC. Megan took some downtime and relaxed in the RV, I spent the day exploring on my bike. The area is gorgeous, very lush with swampy areas. They had boat rentals where we didn’t try, though it looked amazing. Visitors, bring your bug spray!
The campground in North Carolina (Hampton Lodge Campground) was about an hour drive, so we took our time. We arrived on a Saturday, bringing us officially into the Labor Day weekend. The park was busy, and located western bank of the Currituck Sound, overlooking the Outer Banks and into the Atlantic. FINALLY, it was looking like we could relax!
The Outer Banks (known as the OBX locally) is a string of islands located on the coast of North Carolina and Virginia. These islands are very narrow east to west, maybe the equivalent of three city blocks. On one side you have the Atlantic Ocean. The beaches are soft, waves perfect for your boogie board (and probably a lot more if you know where to go), and stretch for miles. Then, you can walk to the other side, and see across the sound to the mainland. The OBX is a popular place for beach tourism, and is also notable in its history. I will say, it’s hard to believe these islands even exist given the fierceness of the Atlantic right there! *as of the time of this draft, hurricane Florence is forcasted to hit this area. We are very concerned for the people of this area, and they are in our thoughts and prayers.
In retrospect, I would’ve liked to explore the OBX further south (we only got as far as Kill Devil Hills). We enjoyed Kitty Hawk beach, and table full of seafood platters at Hurricane Mo’s. If we had the chance to do some prior research on the area, we could’ve done a much better job as tourists.
(Video) Bojack Fetch!
Honestly, we were both simply exhausted. We’ve been traveling a lot and haven’t had much of a chance to settle in much during these past 6 weeks since leaving Colorado. The mishap on Virginia beach didn’t help either. Effectively, we turned this trip into a beer by the beach and embrace downtime type of vacation!
In the end, we muddled our way into a great little trip. We intended on posting about our week in Virginia Beach, but we’ll take our shorted time in the Outer Banks nonetheless. The campsites, food, and people were all great to us during our stay. We would love to visit again!
Of course I’d have a post about cycling! To be honest, when we left, I had no clue what things would look like in terms of riding my bike. Megan more or less forced me to bring my road bike (stored in the under storage of the RV) plus we both brought our mountain bikes. Considering the space all this bike stuff takes up, we have to get out regularly!
First of all, the mountain bikes are perfect for getting around campgrounds. I’ve toured almost every campground on my bike so far. It’s just a great way to get some fresh air and spin out my legs especially after traveling.
Our first major ride was in the Poverty Creek trail system, outside of Blacksburg, VA. Neither Megan or I consider ourselves expert mountain bikers, so we kept it to the “easy” trails. Easy!? I think NOT. We rode an out and back, single track trail for 10 miles, climbing 900ft. We encountered plenty of obstacles, including large tree roots, rocks, mud, and water. We had so much fun! Each of us dumped our bikes one time, reminding us to stay humble even outside of our home state. This trail system spurred out from Poverty Creek, into more challenging sections. We decided the easy stuff was enough for us, this time around. Maybe when we get some more mountain bike experience, or increase our level of “guts”, we’ll give the other trails a go. Seriously though, very fun trail and definitely recommended!
Megan and I continued to visit this trail system a few times. We even decided to ride our bikes to the trail (5 miles of gravel road from our campground) and then explore the singletrack. The mountain bikes are such a great way to not only get a work out, but also put a smile on your face!
Road biking in Virginia had me anxious before we left Colorado. It is no secret that many motorists loathe road bikes, and I wasn’t sure what that picture would look like here. For certain, I have much more to learn in terms of safe, well traveled routes in this region. However, I couldn’t have been any luckier with a location just outside of Blacksburg. The roads here are seldom used, often accessing farm land or other rural homes. On one occasion, cycling northbound on Spruce Run Rd, I wasn’t overtaken by a car through 5 miles or riding. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the road was absolutely stunning! Pictures can’t describe the fresh air, the smell of the roadside vegetation, and the sounds of a nearby creek. I can honestly say this was some of the nicest riding I’ve done! The only downside is the post ride review on strava, listing all the Virginia Tech cyclists records on the same route. Basically, I’m a snail compared to them!
As indicated in the title of this post, I intend on posting more about cycling in this region. If anyone has suggestions on routes, or how to find them, please let us know!
On our last full day at New River Valley, we decided to take the trip up to Cascade Falls which was highly recommended by the campground owner. We were not disappointed!
The hike is about four miles round trip, and not terribly difficult at all. There is an upper and lower trail to get to the falls. The lower trail was mostly inaccessible due to all the recent rain fall, so we stuck to the upper trail. However, if I get a second chance to hike here, I’d take the lower as it follows the creek all the way to the falls.
Along the trail, we found it to be extremely green and lush. Many large trees gave us a canopy from the sun, and we found lots of moss, mushrooms, and other interesting vegetation along the way. We kept Bojack on a short leash out of fear he might eat a mushroom or run through some tick infested brush.
After climbing up the trail for 2 miles, we finally reached the falls. Because it was a weekday, we pretty much were the only ones there. My understanding from others is you can swim, but it is not suggested at this time due severe undercurrents. Even though I hike in swim trunks, I heeded the advise of other trail users.
This was our first decent hike since arriving, and it was very rewarding. Absolutely a nice way to finish our time near Blacksburg!
Upon return, we grabbed some lunch at a local sandwich shop and made our way home to pack up. Overall, a great day! Highly recommended hike to those interested in exploring the area.
Megan and I hit the road on July 28th, 2018. We’d been planning this day for a long time, and it was so exciting to finally hit the road! It was bittersweet, however, driving away and leaving our friends, family, and former lives behind. We enjoyed a huge party back home shortly before leaving, and our closest friends and family met us to wish us farewell the morning we hit the road. It was hard to say goodbye.
The first day, I did the majority of the driving. We drove from our home in Highlands Ranch, CO, to a small town outside of Hays, KS. The excitement of finally hitting the road clashed heavily with the boring landscape of eastern Colorado and western Kansas. We arrived fairly late to our campground. We were both so exhausted all we could do was unhitch and get some sleep!
The next day, we made our way toward Danville, MO. Megan did an amazing job planning our route keeping us at about 400 miles per day. Today would be a little more exciting, going through Kansas City! We didn’t have any stops planned (navigating through a city is extremely difficult with the trailer) but we knew we wanted some famous KC BBQ! Unfortunately I forgot the name of the restaurant. It was a small place and it catered to truckers… and therefor us!
We stayed the night at Lazy Days campground, near Danville, MO. It was a very nice campground and the owners were very nice. We both wished he had more time to explore the area, especially the nearby rivers! However, Megan and I both wanted to prioritize a trip to Nashville. So, the next day, we packed up and drove another 400 miles to Nashville!
We planned two nights in Nashville, which awesome but not enough time to explore everything we wanted to explore. To make the most of the full day we had, we decided to buy tickets on a hop on hop off tour bus!
Nashville dubs itself as “Music City” and it’s not hard to see why. Not only is there a rich history of music (Elvis, Dolly Parton, & Johnny Cash all recorded here), but the streets share successful and aspiring musicians alike. “Musicians Row” is a neighborhood in Nashville seemingly dedicated to recording some of the biggest musical acts today. Certainly an area I’d love to spend more time next time!
In addition to the overwhelming presence of music, Nashville boasts some incredible architecture and history. We visited the store owned by TVs famed “American Pickers”, saw the Tennessee State Capitol, and the campus of Vanderbilt University.
Bobby’s Idlehour Tavern sits in Music Row, a stones throw from Taylor Swifts recording studio. While we were there, they had $3 drafts and it was singer/ songwriter stage night. My kind of place! Especially with a name like that! Sadly, the bartender informed us they’re being taken over by venture capitalists, and the bar will be shut down shortly. Unfortunate, as this was the only dive on music row. I somehow imagine having a beer here with the guitarist from the Zac Brown Band taking a break from the studio. It was fun to have a couple of drinks and hear some fantastic live music. Hopefully Nashville keeps this place alive!
Two nights in Nashville basically capped off our road trip. It was time to make our way to our new home in Virginia and settle in before Megan starts work. I would say we enjoyed every minute, but the truth is that much travel can be taxing. We were both looking forward to slow things down and see what our next few months in Virginia will bring!