Where to in 2016?

2015-12-25-AZ-1340972As another calendar year of our life on the road closes, a whole new blank slate opens.  We thank all of you who have “jammed on down the road” with us so far, and we hope you’ve enjoyed the ride.  The final chapter of our first retirement goal will be completed this year as we visit the final four U.S. states and two more Canadian provinces.  Then we will have visited all 49 states of this beautiful country, exploring hundreds of hidden gems and enjoying so much stunning beauty along the way.  If only Betsy could float to Hawaii we could have made all 50!

Steve recently agreed to become our “map master”, and he’s spent many hours converting our old maps and learning ways to create better ones in the future using Umap.  The image below shows all of our stops since starting our journey in March of 2012 and going through 2015.  It’s easy to see the open area we intend to cover this year.  An interactive version of this map resides on our map page, along with our individual travel routes by year.

All travels so far
By the colors: 2012 – black and cyan; 2013 – purple and magenta; 2014 – green; 2015 – red

The beautiful states of Utah, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho are the final four we’ll explore this year.  Our planned route begins from our current location in Arizona, and from here we’ll slowly work our way north all the way into Saskatchewan and Alberta Canada in late summer.  Then we’ll take a circuitous route back south, eventually ending up in California’s bay area – where it all began – for a break in late fall.  Finally, we’ll head down to SoCal and hopefully hang out with other RV’ers while we figure out what’s next for us.

The “stick map” below is a rough outline of our planned route, and we have many stops planned along the way that don’t show up.  It’s simply too early to add any more detail, and of course unplanned personal and mechanical events will likely change things along the way.  But that’s how this lifestyle works, right?

2016 planned route

As in the past, your tips, “must see’s,” and “must do’s” along our planned route are invaluable to us, and we always consider them in our planning.  That’s how we’ve discovered so many hidden gems that we would have otherwise missed.  So we once again welcome your suggestions.

We’re really excited to be back in the west, and looking forward to another thrilling travel year!




  1. Must do: Icefields Parkway through Lake Louise & up to Jasper (Banff is crowded & over-rated IMO) The drive from Banff through Kananaskis Country, west of Calgary, is amazing as well. Love reading your adventures; thank you!

  2. Love the photo of the cute birds on top of the cactus. We always enjoy your blogs and photos. May 2016 be filled with more exciting travels and much health and happiness. Be safe.

  3. You’ve got plenty of treats in store for 2016, especially the National Parks in Utah. I’m sure you’ve planned them already. Seems like Steve is a map geek like me except he’s more into the IT versions. I used to stick our new states onto the side of the RV, very low tech. Looking forward to the interactive map.

  4. Great map, now to see if Dave can work on it…I remember Steve saying it was a bit time consuming but hey we’re retired now. See you down the road.

  5. How fun to see your travels all laid-out in such a great map! Creating a map is on my list — maybe I can get Eric to do it! 🙂 You saved some of the most amazing states for your travels this year — I hope your stick map extends to Lopez Island….if not, we’ll definitely figure out a way to see you guys in either Oregon or Washington!

  6. Let us know when you are heading back south through Oregon and we can show you some great places to visit in the High Desert of Oregon. So many people visit the Oregon coast, which is beautiful, but miss the wonderful mountains, hikes, and adventures in central and eastern Oregon.

    • Yes you are right Melinda, this time around we will stay mostly on the eastern side of Oregon. Be sure to keep an eye on us once we are in WA, so we can plot our Oregon route. Thank you.

  7. You saved the best for last. You will be amazed by what you will see this year. Have an great time during your travels. I hope I can do that some day.

  8. I found the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho to be so beautiful, I’m willing to go there twice. Include the town of Stanley “where the middle of nowhere is somewhere” and the main street is named “Ace of Diamonds Street”. Check out nearby Custer City.

  9. We second what Denimlady said, MonaLiza. Must-must-must do the Icefields Parkway. We flew up to Calgary and spent a week up there once. Truly the finest scenery we’ve ever seen, including Alaska.

  10. I love maps and I like the look of these. I’ll have to check out UMap. There is so much to see and do in these four states and two Canadian provinces I don’t know where to begin with suggestions. Utah – Arches, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Capital Reef and Canyonlands National Parks plus several interesting state parks and beautiful drives. Wyoming – Yellowstone, the Tetons, and Devil’s Tower. Idaho – we actually stayed in Island Park, Idaho to visit Yellowstone and the Tetons. We enjoyed visiting Mesa Falls State Park one day while we were there. Montana – Glacier National Park and Hardin to see Little Bighorn Battlefield Monument. We’ve had a few one night stays in different parts of Montana while traveling. Alberta – Lots of wildlife and beautiful scenery in Jasper and Banff National Parks. Be sure to take the tour to walk on the icefield. Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court in Banff is one of the best laid out campgrounds for big rigs I’ve ever seen and has full hookups. Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site near Ft. MacLeod was very interesting. Saskatcheon – we drove from Edmonton through this province to cross back into the states in North Dakota and saw flat farmland and very few trees as far as the eye could see.

    You have picked some wonderful places to wrap up your 49 states and all the provinces! Safe Travels!

    • Thanks Beth, some of the stops you mentioned are now on our list. I know we have so much ground to cover out there, but we will try for sure. We will take it as a mini trip to AK 🙂

  11. Beautiful map. Nicely done! As for stuff to see and do on your route. I see you’re headed to the OP so definitely a stop at the furthest NW point (Cape Flattery) plus I highly recommend hitting the Lavender Festival in Sequim (if it fits into the schedule) and of course lovely Port Townsend, WA. In Wyoming, the Tetons (definitely) and Yellowstone. Near Las Vegas in NV definitely Valley of Fire State Park (gorgeous).

    Looks like a great jello plan!!!!


    • Steve is definitely grateful for your map blog and the link you had for the tutorial. He did not stop working on it until he got what he wanted to see.
      Valley of Fire is definitely on our route. The Tetons is on our list but will skip Yellowstone.
      We will go through your archives for the OP and the surrounding areas there. I would love to go to the Lavender Festival, but will see how our time goes.

  12. I’m so glad we are going to be getting together soon. You are heading to some of my favorite places:) Also, we don’t know where we are going after May so maybe you have some ideas for us!! See you two soon:)

  13. Boy this sounds like a wonderful year up coming. I don’t think I can add anything to all the suggestions you’ve already gotten. I’m in envy of your being so close to having 49. I don’t suppose I can borrow your map man. Those are fantastic. Please say it isn’t so hard to learn that it will take hours.

  14. 2016 looks to be filled with some amazing places. I know you won’t be disappointed. I look forward to following along. Utah is one of my favorite states with so much to see and do. Great map and love that header photo.

  15. Oooooh, you’re visiting some lovely areas in 2016! Can’t wait to see what you get into!

    We’ll definitely be in San Diego at the end of 2016 so our paths should cross then.

  16. Yet another year filled with adventure for you two! Look forward to hearing what you have planned for this year. We will be in MT later this summer. Perhaps we can meet-up.

  17. I second the recommendations about the Icefield Parkway & Jasper.

    While you are in Banff, you MUST go to Lake Louise, which is one of my favourite spots on the planet.

    The badlands & dinosaur museum in Drumheller, Alberta (east of Calgary), would be worth a visit.

    I notice you are not planning to venture very far into Saskatchewan. I would recommend extending your trip eastward to Moose Jaw — there is a mineral springs spa there, which my parents love to visit, & underground tunnels supposedly built by Al Capone during Prohibition to help smuggle liquor across the border to the U.S. 🙂 Further east is the beautiful Qu’Appelle Valley — rolling hills in the middle of flatness. And while much of southern Saskatchewan is stereotypically flat, if you venture further north, you’ll find lovely rolling hills and forests (e.g., Prince Albert National Park). Enjoy!

    • Thank you Loribeth, Yes the places you mentioned in Alberta are definitely on the list. We will also take note of the mineral springs sp and the Qu’Appele Valley. We will try to squeeze them in our route.

  18. Looks like you can’t go wrong this year, as you have saved some of the best places for the last. I am ready to tag along to all the hidden gems you guys turn up in these areas.

    I bow to the map master! Maps are one of my favorite parts of RV blogs and yours are at the top of the pile. What a great job you have done, making it so easy to check campsites and see your routes.

    Enjoy Montana, Wyoming and Utah and Idaho. These states have more than their fair share of beautiful and wild areas to explore. Their National Parks are awesome. Have fun exploring!

    • I hope not, we saved the best for last but we also know we can’t do it all.
      Im glad the map master took on the job, I don’t have the patience to create such details.

  19. Saving the best for last, indeed! You’ll be sharing some more beautiful memories…excited for this run! Check my blog on the comments…I’m getting from others. Still unsure what happened. A post coming soon…might have our summer plans confirmed too. Happy new Year!

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