This is the year we switched from an ordinary life in a house to vanlife. I sold the house and most of my belongings, packed up Bryce, and we hit the road! We had a busy last half of the year and visited a lot of places including 17 National Parks! We mixed in long stretches without moving at all to moving everyday or hitting multiple locations in a day. Have had great views working from the middle of nowhere to being in a Walmart parking lot for 8-9 hours before heading to my next location. With 2022 wrapped up and looking back on the year is sure has been full of surprises and I can't wait to see what 2023 has instore for us!
We stayed a night in Ohio before heading back to Michigan for a quick trip to pick a few things up we were waiting on.
Before leaving Michigan on May 6th we took a trip to the Mackinac Bridge. I worked there for the day and got out to have some fun with Bryce during some breaks.
On our way to see my sister we stopped somewhere in Pennsylvania for a few nights. While the van was far from finished (still moving wood off the bed to sleep) we had a good time and did not see anyone while staying here.
Arrived at my sisters on May 13th and we took a short drive to Valley Forge on the 14th. Was a nice day to walk around the park and got back to her car right when it started to rain.
Stopped by the morning of May 31st right when the park opened. Stayed a few hours, and walked around while Bryce ate. No Dogs allowed past a certain point unfortunately so he hung out at home during my walk.
No one else was here when we stopped by. Walked through a bit, got some video, and made a call. Going to stop by again next year as I did not stay long since I wanted to make it to Utah and have a couple days before being joined by some friends.
Slept in Moab on June 3rd and luckily looked up Arches that night and was able to make a reservation to enter on the 4th. Bryce was not allowed to walk around most places here, but did get a pic of him while we were out. I did run a couple short trails here which was nice. Van temp keep at a good temp the whole time we were here which was around 4 hours.
After Arches we headed to Canyonlands since they are not far apart. The ranger at the booth entrance was great, she gave me a couple place where Bryce and I could hike/run the trails just outside the park and stay the night. While we did not stay that night, opted to head to Bryce Canyon which was a mistake driving there that late, but learned from that.
This has long been my favorite place, what inspired (Our Story) me to find a way to travel full-time, and where I got the name for Bryce. Bryce and I stopped by here for a few days before heading to St. George where he was to be boarded. I had some friends coming in and we were going to due a lot of hiking where he could not go. My friends and I came here for the sunset and a hike on June 9th.
We hit Zion on June 10th for some hiking. Had a great time and got a lot of miles in. After we left the park we stopped in town for dinner before heading back to the airbnb. We did end up hiking up to the start of Angels Landing which was quite a hike, and I sticking to I did not know that was the trail we were on!
Grand Canyon - North Rim
The group split up on June 11th as two members had family in the area that they were going to see. So Kristin and I headed to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Had a great time, walked around part of the Rim, got some good pics, and stopped for dinner on the way back that night.
Zion - The Narrows
Headed back to Zion the afternoon after my friends left to hike the Narrows before picking Bryce up. Ended up having a limited time and flew thru as much as I could (two hours in and another two back). Bryce was excited to see me and we ended up spending two weeks close to Bryce Canyon as shown in the pics below. Will defiantely be coming back to both parks yearly!
After we left Bryce Canyon we headed to Capitol Reef to hit the last of the National Parks in Utah. We drove around a bit, but could not go thru the whole park as there was an issue with flooding so some of the roads were closed.
Arrived the night of June29th and we stayed until July 3rd. Had a great time and a fantastic view. No problem with internet connection for work using Verizon, AT&T was a bit slow, and T Mobile could not connect.
Took the drive here on July 3rd, great scenery and plenty of gas station in the park coming from the Grand Tetons. Went to see Old Faithful and the area was built up a lot more than I was expecting it to be.
Walked around it on July 4th, then had lunch in the van. After lunch I headed to a nearby state park for a quick shower before heading toward Jewel Cave knowing I would not make it that day. That night I saw fireworks during my drive and ended stopping at a Walmart for the night. The next morning was a bit tricky with the town I was in having a 4th of July parade, but once past it driving was a breeze.
Stayed here the night of July 8th, and did a quick drive of the park on the 9th. Cave tours were going to be a bit tricky as Covid risk was high in the area so I may have to come back for a cave tour sometime.
I did not take any pictures here, but stopped by for a short walk and lunch at a picnic area near by. Same as Wind Cave I did not take the cave tour since they are both not that far away from each other the Covid risk was the same.
Took some time off work to head to the Badlands. Had a nice drive here and saw a lot of Wall Drug signs! We ended up spending two nights here (July 10-11), went for a run and hike the first night. The second night some buffalo walked through camp, and later that night we got some hail and 50 mph winds. That night Bryce was a bit scared and jumped in bed with me and was shaking for a bit, but got him calmed down. The next morning had a talk with a ranger that was out putting the door back up on the outhouse since the buffalo tore it off some time the night before. Definately a place we are going to come back to!
I had no clue where I was headed on July 12th and ended up at Yellowtail Dam. After I arrived we stopped by a camp ground close by and entertained the idea of staying here for a few nights until I found my next stop.
Little Bighorn Battlefield
We were here the afternoon of July 12th and took a lot of pictures. Did not know there was a National Cemetary here, but glad I came. Not much for Bryce and I to do here, but we did take the drive thru the park.
Fort Union Trading Post
Stoped by in the early afternoon of July 13th. There were not many people here and it is on the smaller side, but had a good conversation learning about the place with a member of the staff.
Arrievd here on the evening of July 13th and took a drive partway into the park and watched the Buffalo for a bit before filling up on water and stopping for the night. The next day we drove thru the whole park and we were help up for a bit with a buffalo walking the road in front of us for awhile. Pulled off to the sidee at one point and took a short run on a trail that lead to the original park entance, not many people on this trail but did see quite a few prairie dogs.
Knife River Indian Villages
Didn't really know what to expect when heading here, but glad I came. Had a nice walk on the short side and probably spent about an hour here. Not too far away was a state park where we spent the night of July 14th.
Driving through Iowa the morning of July 15th we stopped here for a walk, didn't due much else here as I wanted to head to the next couple stops.
Herbert Hoover NHS
We arrieved here mid day on the 16th of July and just took a short walk around the park. There were some good spots to sit outside and eat too.
Arrived here the night of July 16th and talked to a ranger that told us parking overnight behind the visitors center was allowed. We had a good night here, others were in the lot with us, and it was quite. The next day we headed to the beach, where dogs were not allowed on it, but did have a nice walk on some trails
Made a quick stop here the morning of July 29th, walked around the building and watched the video they were showing in the lower level. They had a good display of outfits Nancy Reagan wore while she was First Lady, and some other First Ladies including minutes of dresses. The building had some nice rooms and was an interesting stop.
Bryce and Istopped by here the afternoon of July 30th and had a good time! We took about a 5 mile walk from what I remember to a water fall. While the water fall was underwhelming, the walk was great. It was a nice clear warm day and can see us stopping by again next year since it is close to some family.
James A Garfield NHS
We stoped by here the evening after our hike at Cuyahoga Valley. Whie Bryce ate I took a walk around the grounds, sat in a rocking chair on the front porch of the house, and talked with a couple other vistors. The vistor center here is inside a building that was on the grounds and just reporpsed for the vistors center. Interesting place to visit, but most likely won't spend more that a couple hours here depending if you take the guided tour. I was here for about an hour which included eating dinner a mapping our trip back to Michigan for a visit.
Not much to say about his other than it is a 23 mile scenic drive that we took on August 14th.
This is the reason I decided to head to Virgina, and on afternoon of August 14th we spent a few hours walking around here. It was nice to see where the old for was, and the excavations and rebuilding they have done. Walking around the island we also saw where some later buildings were. While dogs are allowed on the island they are not allowed in the museum on the island, which is vary interesting. It is build over a old foundation with glass floring in spots allowing you to see the original foundation that was built. Now to get a dog on the island you first need to go into the vistors center and pay for your access, then if you go through the doors to the bridge to walk to the island take a left and you will go see an exit you can take to the parking lot. You can then walk back thru with you dog and walk the island. If you have a vehicle that keeps a regulated temp so it won't get too hot for your dog like I do I would crross over to the island and take a right to first go to the museum on the island then go back for your dog to walk the island with you. If you don't just come back for the museum on your own a different day.
After Jamstowne we had time to drive to Yorktown for another walk down a couple blocks on the street. Some nice old homes that are privately owned, and then there is a driving tour of some other spots that are nice to see.
Arrived her the morning of August 17th, went to the visitors center and scheduled a time to tour the fort. Parked by the sea for the day and worked from there for the day. At lunch I took my self guided tour of the Fort. After work Bryce and I took a walk along the paved trail by the sea. Overall it was a nice place to spend the day and would definately do it again.
Maggie L Walker
Stopped by the morning of August 18th not knowing what to expect and did not stay long at all.
We were here on August 18th and was a place that we drove from stop to stop, got out had a walk around. Spent an hour or two of our morning here before work. It was a nicee place to visit and learn some more history about the Civil War that I did not know.
Arrived here right before my work day on the 18th was to start. There was a nice big field next to the parking lot that I worked from all day. We had a nice walk during lunch and after work before heading out. On our way out of town I did see an old church and bank that were for sale that had me thinking to look into for a possible future home base.
Pulled in on the morning of August 19th and took a quick walk around the grounds. Then I worked from the parking lot, taking a break at lunch to take another walk and tour the buildings before finishing my work day off. We then headed to our next location stopping half way there for a nights rest.
Fredricksburg & Spotsylvania
We arrived early on August 20th not knowing what to expect. There is a sort of driving tour where you can drive from spot to spot, get out and see locations of the battle and read about them. There are also some nice trails that we walked. The picture to the left is a monument built after the war and is not legally accessible being on the other side of the train tracks. Not saying you could not get to it if you wished as I saw a few people walking that way.
George Washington Birthplace
After looking where we should go next decided this would be something worth seeing and it wasn't too far way or off the track we would be going. Arrived in the afternoon of August 20th and took a walk around the grounds. After that made lunch and took a walk with Bryce before heading out.
Prince William Forest
We arrived later in the day on August 20th and hit the trails. Found a nice deck built on one trail and stopped to take in some of the scenery and get some pics. After that we took a dinner break and started to look for where we were going to stay for the night.
We arrived here planning on spending a few days, but it was raining hard the morning of August 21st and was not going to let up for the next couple days. This is a place we need to come back to! Did not end up getting any pics either.
Battle of Cedar Creek
Headed here after Shenadoah and was raining here too, but did get a short quick walk in, but did not take any pictures.
Third park we hit on August 21st, and when we got here it was not raining. We were able to get a walk in and take a few pics. After dinner we left the park to head toward are next location that we want to see tomorrow.
We arrived here on August 22nd and had a good time. Went on some walks and did take one pic.
Stopped by the morning of August 23rd before work. I have been here before as a kid, but has been built up from what I remembered. Came back after work and drove thru the park, but did not end up taking any pictures.
Sleeping Bear Dunes
I have been here many times growing up, and spent a couple hours here on September 5th. Dogs are not allowed on the dune climb so Bryce waited at home while I took the climb up. After we walked around for a bit before to another location to spend a few days.
Muskegon State Park
We spent October 1 - 4 at this campground, hit the beach a few times and had some good walks. This is a place I know well and had been to many times as a kid and did not realize how many memories of my mom would come flooding back. I think it was a good decision to spend some time here as I was able to work thru those memories and feelings. As for Bryce he did not really like the waves coming in as he jumped back when they came in and walked back to the water as the water cleared. Stayed for a sunset one night, and hiked some familiar trails that have changed quite a bit since I was younger. They are built up a lot more than they were but still found some of the older ones I remembered.
Riverside Iowa - Future Birthplace of Captain Kirk
Found out this place existed and decided to take a drive here. I was in Michigan at the time and arrived on October 10th and left the same day.
On our way to the Great Smokey Mountains I saw a sign for the Cumberland Gap so changed our plans for the day up a bit. We arrived the afternoon of November 6th and made our way up to the parking lot before walking to see the overlooks. on our way out decided to take the route through the tunnel to our original destination.
Great Smokey Mountains
It was around 4pm on the 6th when we arrived at the visitors center. Took Bryce for a short walk before dinner and looking where we were going to stay that night.
We spent a week around Columbia, moving from spot to spot each night and day. Different place to work during the day and sleep during the night. Had some nice walks with Bryce and both of us enjoyed the weather. Had to head back to Michigan which did not turn out the best but can't wait to get back to this weather.
We were about a half hour away from here in early November, but headed back to Michigan and ended up stuck there for 3 weeks for some van repairs. After those were done we headed back and arrived here on December 6th. Ended up taking a walk along the board walk here, dogs are welcome, and then headed back home for lunch. After lunch, started looking at where to go next and was thinking about hitting the beach then thought lets go to Floridas panhandle.
Canova Beach Park
We first hit the panhandle and drove around there for a bit before learning of a SpaceX launch on December 6th so we headed to Cocoa Beach. Arrived there on the 4th and started looking for a dog friendly beach and found one. We spent our days here hitting the beach before work, during lunch and after work. The launch was moved to the 8th, and talked with a couple that told us early mornings there are a group of people that come to watch the sunrise and let their dogs run the beach. So the morning of the 7th we joined them and Bryce had a blast! Did not really like the waves any of the days we were there as you can see by clicking on the video below.
Back in Michigan
We headed back to Michigan so Bryce could go the the vet on the 12th. We hit the store to stock up before the vet and heading south for another week before the holidays. The vet went fine, but got back in the van and had another issue the the ESC light which took us back to the dealer for the same issue we just got fixed. Been a week now and still waiting on a part so looking like we will be here till at least Christmas and hoping we can still head out on the 26th as planned.
Van was fixed the morning of the 28th and we headed south the night of the 29th!
To end the year we visited Mammoth Cave on December 31st. We took a short walk on a trail by the vistors center before I took a the Cleveland tour. This tour entered through a man made enterance to the cave letting us bypass the 7 hour walk to this part of the cave. This is a dry cave and the tour took about 2 hours. At one point the tour guide had us close our eyes to just listen to the sounds of the cave and when he told us to open our eyes he had all the lights off in the cave. This made it so dark I could not see my hand in front of my face, and after just finishing Tom Sawyer reminded me of when their candles went out in the cave and just how dark it would have been for them.
After the tour was over Bryce and I took another walk on the same trail while considering if we should head to Florida or some place else. Check 2023 for where we decided to go.