Hayspur Hatchery, ID

Monday, June 27

My Walmart neighbor (the retired rodeo clown) tells me that since I’m heading north out of Twin Falls, ID, I need to stop at the visitor center and see the Snake River and bridge. When I wake up this morning their Bounder is already gone. Safe travels and happy trails, folks.

I’ve seen plenty of rivers running through plenty of cities and saw several waterways coming into Twin Falls and am not sure why he was so insistent about this one, until I park in the ample lot and walk to the ledge. Woah.

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History time!

The Snake River Canyon was shaped by the Bonneville Flood, one of the largest to have ever occurred on Earth. About 17,400 years ago during the last Ice Age, Lake Bonneville covered much of northern Utah, and parts of Idaho and Nevada. As the lake grew in the moist, cool climate, it eventually spilled across one of its natural barriers at Red Rock Pass in southeastern Idaho. The flowing water quickly eroded away the loose gravel and sand of the pass, lowering the lake’s elevation by 400 feet as it released a massive flood that roared northward into the Snake River Basin.

It’s estimated that flood waters rushed through the narrow canyon walls at speeds up to 70 mph, moving huge boulders and gouging out channels along the canyon floor, deepening the canyon into what we see today.

Could you jump off it?

Could you jump off it?

The bridge is a favorite destination for BASE jumpers from all over, and I see a group of them with a camera crew preparing to jump when I arrive. Farther east along the Snake River are the iconic Shoshone and Pillar Falls that give the city it’s name. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to see them before I leave the area.

Crossing the bridge on highway 93, Twin Falls is quickly left behind among farm and ranch land. I continue north to a dot on the map called Shoshone, where 93 becomes 75. Past that, 75 intersects with I20 and I turn east. My destination is one the left.

Hayspur Hatchery is managed by the Idaho Fish and Game department. It’s a trout hatchery, but has a great perk – a free campground (donations encouraged) with a 16 day stay limit. And unlike other free camping options in the area, it has a great Verizon signal. This is where I’ll be through the 4th for the book launch.

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The campground doesn’t have designated sites, it’s a field with a line of trees near the road, and you park where you like. Picnic tables and fire rings are scattered about, there’s a pit toilet and water spigot, and yes, a trout pond and stream for fishermen to enjoy. Trash is pack in pack out. It’s possible it’ll end up getting busy over the holiday weekend, but for now it’s quiet, there are maybe six other campers here.

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That’s the Sawtooth Mountains behind

Tuesday, June 28

In the morning I take a short walk down to the pond, it’s quite nice!

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In the evening, I walk the short nature trail along Loving Creek. Hayspur Hatchery was completed in 1907, with water coming from both Butte Creek and Loving Creek. This stretch is actually a 1,610 foot man-made canal which returns water from the hatchery back to its original source, a project that took over six years of planning and digging to realize.

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I haven’t seen a single chipmunk or ground squirrel at this campground, but there’s an amazing variety of birds. I hear their calls from the trees near the water. Grass grows tall in the shallows, the water is very clear, but it’s so late in the day that the sunlight reflects off the surface instead of piercing it to reveal the bottom.

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The setting sun turns the hills around the hatchery golden, then orange. By the time I get back to the Casita, it looks like it’s been painted pink in sunlight. It’s after 9 pm, sunset is 9:20. At 10 it still won’t be completely dark.

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Wednesday, June 29

Mountains, here I come! With the launch impending, this’ll be my last chance to escape the Casita for a few days. I’ll want to stick close to my computer starting tomorrow to make sure I’m available in case there are any problems.

Sawtooth National Forest is about an hour from Hayspur Hatchery, and I’m surprised by the number of towns along the way heading north on 75: Bellevue, Hailey, Gimlet, and Sun Valley. Most of them are touristy in nature, there are ski resorts along the edge of the mountains so I suppose it makes sense.

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Past the NF boundary, the residences and businesses disappear and nature rules. I stop at the visitor center for some maps of hiking trails. I don’t have enough time to hike today, but will be prepared for next time. The building is neat looking and surrounded by aspen trees. The clouds growing outside the windows have me a bit concerned though. I left my solar panel sitting out when I left and while the panel itself is waterproof, the charge controller attached to the back of it is not.

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Highway 75 winds up a valley of grass and sage, full of wildflowers. The mountains grow taller the farther in you get, and a couple of them still have traces of snow at the top.

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I didn’t come here intending to look for boondocks, but when I see a couple campers hiding among the trees curiosity gets the better of me. I start driving down spur roads northeast of 75 that point to the Big Wood River, that’s where most of the dispersed spots seem to be. I find several along the stretch between Baker Creek Picnic Area and where the river crosses the road back to the southwest, including Prairie Creek Campground which is no charge and has pit toilets, and a dirt road labeled 167 on maps which parallels 75 and has a lot of open space and evidence of camping, good for large groups of ATVers. Online sources say Bakers Creek Road (162) has several dispersed camping sites with firepits, and some with picnic tables too.

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The bad news is none of these areas gets even a lick of Verizon signal. The good news is it’s really gorgeous. My favorite is on an unnamed spur road near mile marker 145. It’s right on the river, there are a couple of pines around for shade but it’s open enough to get solar power, and the view of the mountains is fantastic. Ruts at the entry to the campsite warn that the ground gets soft when it rains, but today it’s just fine.

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I think next week once the holiday is over I’ll drive up to this area to camp for a bit. It’s not a far drive down to Sun Valley for internet and it’s much cooler and more pleasant up here.

Flowers by my favorite site

Flowers by my favorite site

I do get in a bit of trouble taking a dirt road I later learn is 182, or Spring Creek Road. Like many Forest Service roads it’s a narrow one lane track without room to pass or turn around. It follows a tiny nameless creek up the side of a hill. No flat land for camping here.

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Since I’ve started boondocking, I’ve gotten more familiar with dirt roads and more adventurous about where I drive the truck. Bertha’s tires are in good shape and she’s high clearance, but only 2-wheel drive.

Back in the fall of 2011 when I bought Bertha, I decided that 4/all wheel drive capabilities were not at the top of my priorities list, knowing that I wouldn’t be boondocking (at least not extensively, given that I had to make my living work-camping) for years and that 2-wheel drive vehicles are cheaper to buy and have slightly better gas mileage. The longer I boondock though, the more I think I’ll make 4-wheel drive a priority for my next tow vehicle.

I’m driving up 182, the road is getting steeper, the storm clouds are moving in and thunder rolls down the mountains. I arrive at a spot where a little spring comes out of the side of the hill and forms a puddle in a dip in the road. It’s not deep, but I worry about traction getting out the other side given the slope.

So I put the truck in reverse and back all the way down the mountain again. This is why it’s a good idea for boondockers to scout out camping areas before bringing their full rig. On the way back to camp I get a picture of the rain coming in. Luckily it sticks to the mountains (at least this day), and my solar equipment is dry and safe when I return.

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* * *

I hope everyone’s having a great 4th of July!

Just a quick reminder that the introductory sale on The Little Guide To Dreaming Big ends tonight at 6 pm MDT (8 pm Eastern, 5 pm Pacific), so if you’re interested in the e-book and haven’t gotten it yet, you’ll want to act before then for the $3.99 price. Thank you everyone for making this such a wonderful launch!

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Becky

At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.

58 Comments

  1. MarDee McDougal on March 8, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    Brought back some WONDERFUL memories.
    My dad, O.A. Henderson, was Supt. of Hayspur Hatchery from late 20’s to 1939 when we moved to the homestead in Owyhee Co. He passed away in 1985 @ age 98 1/2.
    I remember the Hatchery well and would love to pay a visit there this coming summer.



    • Becky on March 10, 2017 at 11:10 am

      I’m glad MarDee! Yes it’s a pretty little spot, free, and in good shape – definitely worth going back to relive some memories. Have fun!



  2. John s on August 6, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Your post are well written. Love that Casita!



    • Becky on August 9, 2016 at 8:58 pm

      I love my Casita too! Glad you enjoyed this John.



  3. Liz on July 26, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Lovely pictures Becky!
    We are going full time rving at the end of October, we can’t wait. we will be traveling with 4 doxies in an Ace Thorn and hopefully I can introduce my poochies to my future friends vie blogs.
    You are an inspiration,



    • Becky on July 26, 2016 at 3:24 pm

      Congrats on your impending departure Liz, I remember that excitement you’re feeling. Dogs are a great way to meet people while you travel, they provide a good opening for conversation when you’re out walking them. πŸ™‚

      I’m glad that IO has helped inspire you, thanks for reading.



  4. Jay on July 8, 2016 at 9:40 am

    HI Becky,
    I have been so busy and now I’m catching up on your adventures, you have been moving right along and thanks for so many great photos and places for us to enjoy.
    Have fun and I will check back in soon, Jay



    • Becky on July 8, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      Yeah life gets busy sometimes Jay, glad you’re enjoying my posts and thanks for following along.



  5. Don Bledsoe on July 6, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    Welcome to Idaho! Lots of beautiful country to see here, and most is off the main highways, as you have found. Idaho has been our home State for 35 years now (originally escaped from California back in 79, did two years in the State of Washington then moved to Boise). It’s been a love affair since.

    We have a little Jayco 165 Feather Sport. We’re not full timers… yet.

    Don



    • Becky on July 7, 2016 at 8:11 pm

      Thanks Don, so far I’m really liking Idaho!

      Jaycos are nice little trailers, I hope you continue to enjoy yours. And maybe someday our paths will cross on the road. πŸ™‚



      • Don Bledsoe on July 7, 2016 at 9:41 pm

        Jayco’s have their problems but what trailer doesn’t. We have been happy with ours so far (Bought new in 09).

        We just returned from five days on the Snake River at Three Island Crossing State park, just outside the beautiful town of Glenns Ferry, Idaho. Old style Americana at it best for the 4th of July. A beautiful old style 4th parade and an exceptional 4th fireworks display from such a little town (population 1200).

        Hope to cross paths with you someday.

        We are headed to basically the same area you are now in, but during the month of August, to escape the heat here in the Boise Valley.

        We will be following your adventures.

        Stay safe and enjoy!

        Don & Christi



        • Becky on July 8, 2016 at 7:37 pm

          Sounds like fun. I can already tell I’m going to have to come back to Idaho to see more another time. Take care!



  6. Ed@Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets on July 5, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Hey Becky! Bought your book. When we met you in Q for ice cream, we were on one of a few 30 day shakedown “cruises”. As of July 1st, we are officially full-timers. For the month of July, we’re staying at Jojoba Hills, an Escapees Co-op. I’m sure we will cross paths somewhere. Happy Trails.
    Ed@Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets recently posted..Day 1My Profile



    • Becky on July 6, 2016 at 3:07 pm

      Congrats Ed! I hope you two have a great time and yes, hopefully our paths will cross again. Thanks for purchasing my guide and I hope you enjoy it.



  7. Pamela b on July 5, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Very nice post, Becky. I learned a lot – geology and history. Still amazed at your beautiful phone photos. I will be getting a new camera before I head out the first of August. My Kodak easy share has held up very well for many years. I really enjoy your blog. Happy trails.



    • Becky on July 6, 2016 at 3:06 pm

      Glad you enjoyed this Pamela! I will be upgrading my phone soon as my current one (now 4 years old) doesn’t hold a charge very long anymore which is a problem when boondocking. Take care!



  8. Jeff on July 4, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    Glad you have escaped the fires in the Eastern Sierra! Dang – I so like that country it is always sad to hear of any loss. We’ll be in Twin Falls next year for the solar eclipse, your post is quite welcome with info on the area. Any plans yet for the event?



    • Becky on July 5, 2016 at 9:33 am

      Yeah Jeff, the scar from the burn will be around for a long time. I’m glad I got pictures of the area before it happened.

      I’ve heard of the eclipse but nope, no plans right now. That’s farther ahead than I usually think, haha.



  9. Debbie on July 4, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Looking forward to Sun Valley in a couple of weeks when we leave Bend, OR. Great photos.



    • Becky on July 5, 2016 at 9:31 am

      You’ll like it Debbie, it’s a neat place. πŸ™‚



  10. Kent on July 4, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Yet another wonderful post Becky. Beautiful country near and dear to my own heart since you crossed the path of the Oregon Trail at Twin Falls.

    Great history lesson on Bonneville.

    You have me thinking of reversing your path this fall from Montana to Arizona rather than heading straight south.

    Thanks!



    • Becky on July 5, 2016 at 9:08 am

      Glad you enjoyed this Kent and you’re welcome. This is a beautiful area and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you come this way.



  11. Robert Hess on July 4, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    Hey Becky,

    I follow Cherie & Chris who make interesting videos from their Bus then you popped up in one so I subscribed to Orchard last week. Good article, I did a big loop in 2008 with a Sprinter van Itasca Navion now have a Coleman 17′ towing behind a 4 wheel Drive jeep Grand Cherokee. Not full time – yet (ha). So the 4 wheel issue is definitely something to put on your list not only for towing but when I get somewhere and unhitch I can go do more serious exploring, a real plus.

    Am thinking next of a Ford 350 diesel with a Truck camper (Lance 1062 new one is remarkably roomy). Not having to tow and still being able to leave the camper jacked up & attached to utilities while you drive the truck away is a huge benefit. You have a destination camper (great at the site) AND a adventure in route camper (pull in & out & backup with ease anywhere). What are your thoughts on that having seen a lot of units in your travels and, I assume, spoken to folks about their experiences?
    Robert



    • Becky on July 5, 2016 at 9:04 am

      Robert,

      Welcome to IO and I hope you enjoy your time here! Cherie and Chris were one of my inspirations when I was preparing to hit the road (they were in a 17′ Oliver at the time) and I’m very happy to have gotten to know them once I started full-timing myself. The two videos I’ve done with them were both fun.

      Truck campers have great utility and the people I’ve known who’ve traveled in them have liked them for the same reasons you mentioned. I know only one or two full-timers with truck campers though, most people who have them are part-timers. I couldn’t tell you the reason why they aren’t as popular, maybe because a truck big enough for a reasonable-sized camper isn’t going to have good fuel economy and a big truck is harder to find parking for on runs to town, etc, that’s what decided me against the idea. There are positives and negatives to every camper choice and as someone who has already got quite a bit of RVing experience, you’ll know what you need more than anyone else does. If it feels right, go for it!



      • Robert Hess on July 7, 2016 at 10:34 am

        Good Points. I think the truck camper trap is going with the extended “super” or “crew” cab which adds weight and reduces Payload capacity. Then you need to go “dually” and then you have a truck that is not a “run around town” vehicle. The only setup I saw that would work on all fronts is a standard cab F-350 non-dually with a camper on it. Now the truck is short, narrow, and manageable and you get best of all worlds.

        Anyway thanks for the reply and enjoy your travels.

        Also, do you like to bbq grill? I have a 17 trailer with tongue similar to yours. I set up a Weber baby Q grill (the only credible small grill I know of) on the tongue by getting a spare tire tire carrier off Amazon and bolting it to the starboard frame just aft of the propane tank then using a piece of 3/4″ exterior plywood to fasten the grill to and bolt that assembly to the tire carrier top bar (grill ends up at waist level). Then just put an Amazon propane “splitter” on the propane tank and I can grill anytime (even if just at a rest area) without any trouble. Grilling eliminates dishwashing of cooking pans etc! it’s easy and tasty. Will send you a pic if you want with basic instructions.
        OK in the interest of full disclosure I am a Mechanical Engineer and I did spend 20 years design on Nuclear Submarines but I swear it is an easy fast setup ! ha.

        Robert



        • Becky on July 7, 2016 at 8:16 pm

          Sounds like you’ve put a lot of thought into the truck camper idea Robert and I wish you the best with it.

          I’m not a grill person (not much of a cook in generally actually) but that is a really clever idea. Maybe someone else reading these comments will find it helpful. πŸ™‚



          • Robert Hess on July 8, 2016 at 12:24 pm

            Enjoy, and good luck with the book !



          • Becky on July 8, 2016 at 7:34 pm

            Thanks!



        • Karen on August 1, 2016 at 7:06 am

          Hi Becky, I just love reading these posts and seeing the places through your lens!

          To Robert, above, I would love to see pictures of his grill set up. Not sure how to go about asking him. My email is cocolemonds@ gmail.com if he reads this maybe he could send photos.

          Have a wonder-filled day!



          • Becky on August 1, 2016 at 10:25 am

            Hopefully he’ll see it Karen, you have a good day as well!



  12. Julie on July 4, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Being an Idaho girl I might suggest a few places near where you are located. For camping or just a day trip, go over Galena summit & to Stanley so you have a magnificent view of the Sawtooths. If you continue on Hwy 21 out of Stanley, there is quite a bit of dispersed camping as well as beautiful cg’s especially Stanley Lake. A visit to Redfish Lake just to see it is worth a stop but wouldn’t want to camp there this time of year. There is usually no service in the area except in Stanley proper (at least with ATT, maybe better with Verizon)

    If you want to go south from Twin Falls, Rock Creek area is beautiful with lots of cg’s but also with ATVs.



    • Becky on July 4, 2016 at 6:04 pm

      Thanks for the travel tips Julie, Idaho is a beautiful state. πŸ™‚



  13. John Warren Simpson on July 4, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    This is a great post. I have been exploring the extent of the former Lake Bonneville from my home in Salt Lake City for the last 10 years. The old shoreline is distinctly visible in many places. I don’t know if this is on your agenda, but Craters of the Moon is a worthwhile destination. Will be visiting southwestern Sawtooth NF and City of Rocks on a little road trip truck camping the end of August. Happy and safe travels!



    • Becky on July 4, 2016 at 6:04 pm

      Yep Craters of the Moon is on the agenda John. Glad you enjoyed this post and I bet it’s interesting seeing that old shore line! Enjoy your trip in August and take care.



  14. Ron Mothershead on July 4, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Welcome to Idaho Becky. We live about 5 miles from the Perrine Bridge and boondock all around the state. Not sure where your heading, but if your going North, Stanley is 65 miles from Ketchum, and has numerous boondocking possibilities. If going East Craters of the Moon is worth a stop. Mackay ID, another 60 miles or so from Craters, has a free tourist park for camping rright in town. Mackay has an extensive mining history and is near the tallest peaks in Idaho. Also, very good cell service from the tourist park. Hope you enjoy Idaho



    • Becky on July 4, 2016 at 6:02 pm

      Thanks for the welcome Ron. I’ll be boondocking in the Sawtooth (Sawteeth? lol) for a bit and then heading east. I do intend to visit Craters of the Moon when I get close. Thanks for the ideas!



  15. sarah shillinger on July 4, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    Hi I already bought and read your book. I must admit I was a little skeptical because I am so much older than you, however, the book is wonderful and my concerns were groundless. Very well done.
    Sarah



    • Becky on July 4, 2016 at 5:59 pm

      Glad you enjoyed The Little Guide To Dreaming Big Sarah, thanks for purchasing. πŸ™‚



  16. marijka on July 4, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Beautiful pics! There’s a fish hatchery about 45 min. from me, fun place to visit and, yes lots of birds and geese snooping around. πŸ™‚ Even with 2wd, I’ll bet the camper top balances out your truck weight nicely, and you’ve always got 1st and 2nd gear for better control on iffy surfaces. I love (and highly recommend) my 4wd FJ Cruiser with manual transmission and can go anywhere I want in it, but that truck of yours sure looks nice! You’re smart not to over-buy until you’re ready to put something else to use.



    • Becky on July 4, 2016 at 5:58 pm

      As near as I can figure, the trailer weighs about 3,500 and the truck weighs about (or max weight rating perhaps?) 4,100. I’m glad you’ve found a vehicle that works well for you Marijka and I certainly have not been unhappy with my Dakota.



  17. Swankie on July 4, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    I stayed there a couple days, and there were too many people for me. I also kayaked somewhere near there but don’t remember where. Loved the overall area though.
    Swankie recently posted..Exploring Colorado–days off from Camp hosting.My Profile



    • Becky on July 4, 2016 at 5:55 pm

      It actually wasn’t as crowded as I thought it was going to be this weekend, I was pleasantly surprised. Nor were any of the vacationers up partying or shooting off fireworks after dark which is quite amazing. Hope you found a nice quiet place to spend the holiday Swankie, take care!



  18. Judith Blinkenberg on July 4, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Oh what lovely scenery, and such an Awesome report! Thank you Becky. Wish I were there. Texas is way too hot! Have a wonderful 4th and enjoy your stay!



    • Becky on July 4, 2016 at 5:54 pm

      You’re welcome Judith, hopefully you’ll be getting some relief from the heat soon. A happy 4th to you as well!



  19. Guenter on July 4, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Much enjoy your posts – and the crisp pictures, Becky! Yesterday I picked up my ’98 Dodge B-3500 Coach House, but can’t go anywhere for now, as my funds are depleted (incl. not registering or taxes due – I know, there will be penalties). But I’m sitting in it, dreaming. Don’t even know if everything works properly. It’ll be alright. I have the dream which you’re already living. Can’t wait… Thanks again for sharing your adventures!



    • Becky on July 4, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      You’re welcome Guenter and I’m glad you’re finding IO enjoyable. Congrats on your new-to-you RV and I hope you get the chance to hit the road soon. Take care!



  20. AZDonna on July 4, 2016 at 10:27 am

    Pretty warm there at Hayspur, isn’t it? How do you keep cool during the day?



    • Becky on July 4, 2016 at 5:51 pm

      Last week it was pretty warm, temperatures have cooled down over the weekend though which is nice, and there’s usually a good breeze in the afternoons which also helps. I sit under the trees during the hottest part of the day and cool off in the trout stream.



  21. Pam on July 4, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Love reading your posts!! Keep on camping!



    • Becky on July 4, 2016 at 5:49 pm

      I certainly will Pam, take care. πŸ™‚



  22. GK Lott on July 4, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Another excellent post. Thanks for sharing your adventure.



    • Becky on July 4, 2016 at 5:49 pm

      You’re welcome GK.



  23. Park Kitchings on July 4, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Becky….hitting the road in a few weeks so thanks for the heads up on the free camping at the fish hatchery. I can relate to you wanting four wheel drive. I’m headed off this time in a class B van with no four wheel and leaving the toyota w/camper behind. I hope I don’t miss it as I really like to get off road. We’ll see how it goes. I think the postings on my blog may change quite a bit without the four wheel drive feature. Be safe out there and who knows, we may cross paths.
    Park Kitchings recently posted..A Brief SojurnMy Profile



    • Becky on July 4, 2016 at 5:47 pm

      You’re welcome Park, have a good time out there! At least a Class B is still relatively small so tight quarters and sharper turns won’t be an issue.



  24. Tom Moore on July 4, 2016 at 9:47 am

    I have been a reader from the first.

    I have watched you morph into a great wordsmith and photographer.

    I hope your book does well and that the road becomes your income.

    I will buy the first addition and hope we run into each other so you can sign it for me.



    • Becky on July 4, 2016 at 5:44 pm

      Thanks for following along Tom and I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the adventure. The paperback edition of both guides are still a ways off but I’m working on it. Take care!



  25. Alan Belisle on July 4, 2016 at 9:08 am

    Always such beautiful photos. How do you get the through-the-windshield photos while you are driving? Do you have a mount on the dash?

    Sell lots of books!
    Alan Belisle recently posted..Crossing The Plains 6/18 – 6/24My Profile



    • Becky on July 4, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      Glad you enjoyed them Alan, thanks! As for the windshield photos – something like that. πŸ˜‰



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