To read part one of this story, click here.
Meet Jiri, CEO and founder of a software company called Racom. Jiri had a conference to attend in Las Vegas, so he and his wife decided that this was their opportunity to road trip across the United States, a vacation they have dreamed about for years. After much research and consideration, Jiri, from the Czech Republic, chose Advanced RV for his cross-country tour of the U.S. Read on to learn more about Jiri and his travels, in his own words:
After three days and two nights we eventually landed in an equipped campground (Red River, KY) and did the first dump – in fact only the grey water tank was at 80% and we knew very well why, we did lot of washing dishes and took showers regularly. The batteries seem to be inexhaustible when one drives every-now-and-then.
Two funny short stories:
– when we left for Niagara, I simply followed what the navi told me. Only after 40 miles on the state road and many many traffic lights I started to smell a rat. The navi was set to the shortest distance route (not the fastest)…
– I found a mid-way campground somewhere close to Pittsburgh for the second night. The navi have led us directly to the gate, however a closed one. The campground seemed to be out of operation for some time. Well, so what – we spent the night in front of that gate comfortably and happily, saving some monies for our next meal.
Driving Grace is a pleasure. She just glides – we did close to 500 miles today, I took part in an international meeting and sorted out couple of mails while on the road. My holiday starts tomorrow (eventually).
Just did our first climbing in Miur valley, Red River Gorge, KY. Had a wonderful hike yesterday around the Natural Bridge Park. New York was very interesting and the Falls awesome, however both places were far too crowded for our liking. Here when we meet someone at the rocks or during a hike it’s a good opportunity to have a little chat. That’s the way we like to travel.
Tomorrow we plan to set sail, start the crossing of great plains 🙂
Today we have visited the National Frontier Trail museum in Independence, Missouri, and seen the original wagons and other artifacts and learned many interesting historical facts. Now we are following Missouri and North Platte rivers towards the Rockies. The Great plains are …well, great.
Today is our fourth day off the hook and still all tanks are ok, grey water at 50%. We keep learning :-).
We crossed Nebraska by the Sandhills Journey Hwy 2 today – a little detour (compared to I-70 or I-80), there was really beautiful scenery all the way. Ended up the day very properly close to the Chimney rock on the Oregon trail. The sun was too low for a good photo, yet Zdenka tried – see the attachment.
We are spending the night fully hooked after 5 days on the road. Grace is simply great! We did 2300 miles from Cleveland. Our plan for tomorrow are the Wildcat hills – a “secret” tip from the book Viki supplied us.
The wonderful scenic hwy2 played a dirty trick on us on Monday. Seemingly very even road climbed almost 4000 ft. in 300 miles, which we didn’t take the slightest notice of. Then in the morning we learned very fast how to operate Grace’s heating system – there were 43F both outside and inside. 3 days and 1500 miles ago we sweated in 96F. Sure there were some cold fronts along the way as well.
We eventually arrived to Rockies. Wow! Arriving to Denver was far from impressive, the city outskirts are vast and simply ugly and mountains were hidden from us in low clouds. We arrived late in the night to the Clear Creek Canyon and slept at a gas station there. In the morning (today) we just stared at the beautiful nature around. Truly clear stream, steep cliffs, forest, and sunny sky again. We enjoyed some easy climbing, had a stroll along the creek and then drove 70 miles north to Estes park. The ride through the mountains was spectacular and Grace demonstrated her abilities again – driving mountain roads is pleasure again. Concentrating on driving was the hardest part, the display on the windscreen was so distracting…
We discovered the right campground for us (and Grace as well) – the Hermit Park (about 6 miles east from Estes park center). Secluded byways deep in the forest, no infrastructure, just dumping station at the gate. We share the place with bears only.
One local (a guy renting 4-wheels) gave us a tip to an unknown lake in Peaceful valley, said to be a favorite place of moose. There was a primitive campground in the valley, truly a peaceful place. We hoped and feared to see a bear in the campground, there were instruction leaflets and bear-proof boxes everywhere. The only thing which surprised us in the morning was the layer of ice on Grace’s windows. Thanks to the automatic heating, we slept fine. The we hurried to the lake, to see the moos … we’ve met squirrels and chipmunks, wild ducks and one tortoise, but no moos. The lake is a gem, accessible by a tiny path only, so calm that the click sound of the camera felt seriously disturbing.
We eventually crossed the Great divide and set our driving altitude record along the way – we used the Trail Ridge Road which reaches 12.183 ft. Grace took it in a very casual manner, there were no signs of complaints :-). Then we loosely followed the Colorado river course, made a day-long stop at Fruita to visit the Dinosaur museum and then did a hike in the National Monument park. Wonderful place indeed. This very moment we are few miles inside Utah, on the I-70 again.
I want to share one useful piece of information I learned in the RMNP visitor center (probably nothing new for you, just in case). There is a free smartphone application from Avenza, called PDF maps, where one can download free maps of National forest roads where so called “distributed camping” including overnight parking of an RV is allowed. We used it twice so far, always having a true back-country experience. See the attached photo of a parking lot at road 600 along Deep creek close to Dotsero, CO. Of course I always carefully check whether such road is suitable for Grace before entering it.
Big thanks to Mike for directing us to road 128 to Moab. We liked it very much and next day we rented an inflatable kayak and floated about 12 miles of the Colorado river there. The rental company did not provide transport, so we folded the bed in Grace, covered it with a tarp and fit the fully inflated 2-seater kayak inside! Then I had to hitchhike from our finish point to the start. Thanks to that I have met a village preacher from Castle valley – very interesting conversation we have had.
Today we discovered the Dead horse point state park. If you never heard of it, it is a smaller brother of the Grand canyon. Experts say it is even more pronounced and many films have been shot there. That solved our dilemma whether to go to the Grand canyon or not – it would be a serious detour and sure there would be far too many people for our liking (Niagara falls taught us a lesson). Tomorrow we plan to part with the Colorado river and turn west again.
Stay tuned for the final installment of Jiri’s cross country trip in our next newsletter.
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