Day 222: Magical Moab

Day 222 of the Nowhere To Be Project happened in one of the world’s most majestic settings: Moab, Utah. I have visited Moab previously in the heat of June and simply could not wait to return in the RV during the crisp air of autumn. The day began in line at the entrance of the awesome and extremely popular Arches National Park. The things you’ll see here are probably unlike anything you’ve seen before (in the best way possible). The beauty of this place is nothing short of inspiring! It is $30 per vehicle and there are ample stops for photographs, hikes, restrooms and picnicking. We spent about four hours touring the full length of the park. The pooch had to stay in the RV for most of our time at Arches due to their limited pet access, but thankfully the day was cold and windy so he was fine in the RV. I would not have felt comfortable visiting with him in the heat of summer even with air conditioning.

From Arches we headed toward stunning Canyonlands National Park. This park is also $30 per car for entry, but is not nearly as large as Arches. We spent about an hour and half touring the length of Canyonlands. Whatever you do, be sure to stay the course until the very end because that is where the magic happens! Just outside of the gates of Canyondlands is Dead Horse Point Park, another must-see Moab destination. I wasn’t surprised to learn that the ending scene of Thelma and Louise (where they take their permanent plunge) was filmed at Dead Horse Point. It is surely a breathtaking corner of our little world. Both Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point offer campsites, shaded picnic areas, restrooms and hiking/biking options. My only regret from today is that I’m in an area with limited service which means my lovely photographs can’t be fully shared…just one of the challenges of off-road blogging, I guess:-)!

Day 215: Winter is a Bully

I awoke on day 215 of the Nowhere To Be Project to snow-covered peaks hovering above me. It is so lovely to be surrounded by postcard beauty, but I’m just not ready for winter yet. Autumn is simply too precious to be cut short by an over-eager winter. Sweaters and colorful falling leaves and crisp (not freezing) air have just arrived and yet they are already being overshadowed by snowflakes! Maybe (hopefully) winter just needed to fire off a warning shot to let us know it is lying in wait. Just a few more weeks, please?

Day 212: Coffee at Dawn

Day 211 of the Nowhere To Be Project completely escaped me. I guess I’ve been too focused on indulging in all the yummy offers during Vail’s restaurant week. With that, Day 212 began with an amazing sunrise in the mountains. As the colors illuminated the sky, I sipped my coffee and munched on my vegan scrambled eggs on sourdough. Mornings like this make the 6am wake up call from the dog a bit easier to swallow. Did you find beauty n your day today?

Coffee at Dawn!

Day 210: Sipping Sangria

Day 210 of the Nowhere To Be Project was spent lazily sipping sangria at Blue Moose Pizzeria in the Lionshead corridor of Vail. While the sangria was effervescent, fruity and refreshing, the best part was the price, $2.18. This was just one more wonderful promotion for Vail’s restaurant week. There are still several days left to enjoy affordable food in Vail and that’s not something we can say very often! Cheers!

Day 209: Can’t Every Week Be Restaurant Week in Vail?

Every year at this time, something wonderful happens in Vail. It is called restaurant week! Most restaurants in town slash prices or offer specials specific to the year. This year $20.18 is the magic number!

My first round of restaurant week took place on day 209 of the Nowhere To Be Project at Sweet Basil. Sweet Basil is a staple in town and is widely known as Vail’s best fine dining restaurant. I have been to Sweet Basil many times over the years, but my daughter had yet to try it. Restaurant week inspired Sweet Basil to create a special three course meal for $20.18 and my daughter and I gave it a go for lunch. There were two choices for the first two courses, but the dessert course was a given. The appetizer course presented a choice between a caesar salad with egg or roasted cauliflower soup. The entree course consisted of either a pork sandwich with fries or a mixed green salad with roasted chicken. Finally, the dessert coarse was a trio of banana and citrus sorbet.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

My daughter chose the cauliflower soup and the pork sandwich. Since the only strictly vegan option on the special menu was the sorbet, I decided to go with an off menu salad instead. I did sneak a few fries and some sorbet from my daughter though, both of which were outstanding. The roasted cauliflower soup was my daughter’s favorite part of the meal. It certainly had a lovely presentation and aroma. To me, the pork sandwich looked like old fashioned Shake and Bake pork chops. According to my daughter, the bread was the best part of that sandwich. Personally, I would have been thrilled to see vegan choices included among the restaurant week specials and was shocked that there weren’t even vegetarian options on offer. Nonetheless, we had a wonderful time and enjoyed a lovely creekside lunch for under fifty dollars in Vail. That could only happen during Vail’s restaurant week!

My Daughter’s Choice: Pork Sandwich with Fries
The Sorbet!

Day 207: The Hidden Secret of Colorado’s Priciest Town

Day 207 of the Nowhere To Be Project was the best Sunday of late. It began as most of my days do with coffee by the fire followed by a thigh-busting Peloton ride. Then it was on to a lovely creekside lunch with my daughter and a walk through the second to last farmer’s market of the season. Finally, a long windy walk with the pup through layers of crunchy fallen leaves closed out the day in quiet solitude with nary a person in sight.

The perfection that was today represents most Vail days at this time of year. This leads me to Vail’s best kept secret: October is the optimal time to visit. There’s a saying around town that people come for the winter, but stay for the summer. That may be true, but is very short-sighted because it doesn’t mention the glorious month of October. October is a time when the leaf-peepers are mostly gone, and when the town looks to the locals instead of the tourists to fill the coffers. I can confidently say that there are more dogs than people in Vail in October! This means that everything is ON SALE. From restaurant week (more on that later in the week) to the end-of-the-season sales in most shops and hotels, bargains abound. In short, prices in Vail fall with the quaking Aspen leaves. That first snowflake will usher in the harsh reality of living in one of the priciest communities around (recently ranked #1 most expensive in Colorado), so get here now if you’re like me and live for the bargain!

He loves having the mountain to himself!

Day 205: Hobby Oriented Travel

On day 205 of the Nowhere To Be Project I visited an adorable new shop in the Vail Valley called Maker+Stitch. The Edwards, Colorado boutique’s website describes it as a yarn shop. It certainly does have a bounty of beautiful yarn from all over the world. It also has a few ready-made pieces for sale. I loved literally everything they had available for purchase, but as a knitter with very primitive skills I don’t yet feel worthy of a $20 or $30 skein. Thankfully, they offer classes, workshops and other events focused on teaching and learning needle crafts. I hope to try a class in hopes of improving my skills to a level that would warrant fine yarn. Perhaps even better than the classes are their planned retreats which strive to combine the inspiration that only nature can provide with needle work. These outings take advantage of the beauty of the Vail valley to inspire creativity and may include a hike, snowshoeing, or even skiing.

One of the many walls of yarn at Maker+Stitch

My visit to Maker+Stitch reminded me how fun it is to incorporate hobbies into travel. I would love to plan an entire trip around knitting, or genealogy, or hiking, but have yet to do so. I always try to include my hobbies in some way on my travels (e.g. knitting while on the road in the RV, hunting down cemeteries for genealogy, etc.) but have never planned a trip entirely around a hobby. Have you? If so, I’d love to hear all about it. Feel free to reach out via twitter, instagram or email (nowheretobeproject@gmail.com) with your hobby travel experiences and ideas.

Day 204: Vail’s Best Bargain

As a Vail resident, I’ll be the first to admit that aren’t a lot of bargains in town. However, day 204 of the Nowhere To Be Project opened up a whole new world for me and my family in terms of transportation. You see, Vail is 100 miles from Denver. It can take between two and three hours, depending on weather and traffic, to reach Denver International Airport from our home. Despite the fact that we are constant travelers, we rarely drive ourselves to and from the airport (for various reasons) and have been relying on Colorado Mountain Express (now Epic Mountain Express) for transportation to and from DIA for years. The prices we’ve paid for the popular shuttle service per passenger for a one way fare range from $55 to $120 plus tip. The service is owned and operated by Vail Resorts, so the high prices are to be expected. Nevertheless, it really adds up with frequent trips and multiple riders. Thankfully, we’ve discovered a brand new option!

The 7:05am Bustang at Vail’s Transportation Center

Bustang is a bus service that runs several Eastbound and Westbound routes each day between Denver and the mountains. My husband was brave enough to give it a try for the first time today. His ticket was less than $20 and the travel time was just over two hours. After departing Vail at 7:05am, the bus stopped briefly along the way in Frisco, Idaho Falls and Lakewood before arriving at Denver’s Union Station. He then hopped on a direct train to the airport (35 minutes) for another $9.

My husband described the bathroom-equipped Bustang as clean and relatively comfortable. The WIFI was reliable and there was ample space to store bags, equipment and even bicycles. He felt that he had a lot more legroom (he’s over six feet tall) and privacy on this big bus as compared to the jam-packed eight to ten passenger vans that are most often used by Colorado Mountain Express.

Bustang provides much more space than the passenger vans used by other companies

I simply can’t wait to give Bustang a try! It is vastly more affordable than other transportation options in Vail and seems to provide a more comfortable experience. I also love the fact that tickets are quickly and easily purchased via the Bustang app and are not date-specific which means no expensive change fees! One drawback might be the fact that riders must haul their bags from a bus to a train before reaching the airport, but that seems very minor when the savings is factored in to the equation.

My happy traveler!

Day 200: Desperately Seeking Kohlrabi

My trophy kohlrabi

Day 200 of the Nowhere To Be Project brought me a mysterious gift…kohlrabi. I just learned about kohlrabi last week from chef and author Celia Brooks at her SUPERVEG book signing Related Blog Post. She raved about the merits of this elusive and mysterious vegetable so much that I became obsessed with getting my hands on one. I inquired at three different grocery stores without a sniff of luck. Most of those I queried were like me, completely kohlrabi illiterate. I had all but given up on ever sinking my teeth into one when just as with love, I happened upon it when I was least expecting it (during my usual Sunday visit to the Vail Farmer’s Market). The lovely ladies of Trout Creek Farm always bring the finest produce to the market and on this day the holy grail that is Kohlrabi was included in their harvest. I snatched one up for just $2 along with my usual bounty of sprouts and greens.

All that’s left now is for me to decide what to do with my prized kohlrabi. I could use it to create a salad with mint and poppy seeds as exemplified by Celia Brooks in SUPERVEG?!? Or maybe I should be more indulgent and make fries out of it?!? I’m going to give it a day or so to consider it. If you have any clever ways of preparing kohlrabi, I’m dying to hear them. Please connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or via email at nowheretobeproject@gmail.com. I’ll be sure to share the fate of my kohlrabi.

Day 198: Did We Just Become Boondockers? KOA Steamboat Springs

Day 198 of the Nowhere To Be Project is dedicated to a full review of my recent stay at the KOA in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. First, a little background info…We reserved a deluxe full hook up RV spot online a few days before our arrival. The rate for each night was $61.89 plus tax and we stayed three nights. We visited in mid-September, but the park is open year round.

The Pool at KOA Steamboat Springs

The park is located on a busy highway just three miles from downtown Steamboat Springs. Our first night was spent in spot 69, but the trees on the spot blocked our satellite dish so we moved to spot 30 for the next two nights. The first spot was beside the busy highway. This created a 24 hour soundtrack of semis blowing by. The second spot backed up to a trailer park which created a 24 hour soundtrack of a very different type (use your imagination:). Unfortunately, spot 30 also had a serious problem with flies. I think this is the result of a dumpster on the trailer park side of the fence. This made outdoor dining impossible. Another issue was a complete lack of internet despite the fact that the website touts wifi access throughout the park.

Spot 30, our second home within the park. Just over the fence is a trailer park where a dumpster created a festival of flies for us.

The park offers a pool, hot tub, laundry room and shower rooms, all of which were clean. There is also a playground and putt putt golf (we didn’t partake in these activities). Perhaps the best feature of the KOA Steamboat Springs is the onsite bus stop. This makes it so easy to take advantage of the free bus to and from town.

Honestly, we usually shy away from KOA campgrounds because we’ve never really found one worth the price. We chose this one due to its proximity to town. My husband and I decided that we would not stay here again as it was crowded, noisy and very overpriced. Furthermore, we learned of several very scenic options for dry camping in the area which we think would offer a much more authentic mountain experience. And just like that, we seem to have transitioned from convenience campers to boondockers! I guess it is a process…

We’re seeking this type of view and solitude. I guess it’s the boondocking life for us from now on?!?