There’s No Place Like Home

Camano Island: We bought our little “bungalow” in 2004. It was our week-end getaway, an hour and a half and a world away from our home in Woodinville. The house was okay; the view was spectacular. 5 years ago we started a major renovation and moved back in on our 10th wedding anniversary in 2012. This is still our Shangri-La, our escape from reality.

We saw unbelievably stunning scenery during our trip. And yet we are delighted, almost giddy, to be here in our happy place, Camano Island. Here we have the beauty of Puget Sound, the majesty of the Olympic Mountains, and the brilliance of the sunsets. As we approach the summer solstice, it stays light until well after 10:00 PM, and the sun wakes us up before 5:00 AM.

After 17 days on the road, packing and unpacking, living out of a cooler and our car in between hotels, cabins, B&Bs and condos, we truly appreciate the comforts of our home: a full-sized refrigerator, a washing machine and dryer, our own bed, full-sized Arbonne products (love my lotions & potions!), a huge shower, enough outlets for all of our electronic devices, a gas stove and a Big Green Egg Barbecue, Directv, a walk-in wine cellar (even though we’re not drinking wine right now), a Technivorm Moccamaster coffee maker.

Mike and I would make this trip again, with a few changes. We’d spend more time in

  • Sedona
  • Santa Fe (with a side trip to Albuquerque)
  • Arches National Park
  • Sun Valley
  • Coeur d’Alene

We’d spring for the helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, Mexican Hat, and Monument Valley, and we’d make reservations for activities like white water rafting and guided tours well in advance.

Making this trip before schools let out, during most resorts’ “shoulder season” was unintentionally fortunate. There were fewer crowds, and the accommodation prices were lower. Traffic was non-existent save the occasional roadwork. The only [very slight] downside: the gondolas in the 2 ski resorts were not yet operating.

If I had it to do all over again, I would do a little more research ahead of time and print out all of the directions, creating a folder for each destination (tour book, road and trail maps, reservations for hotels and activities). I’d also pack a little differently, in “bundles” for each stop. Not just clothing, but things like vitamins, shake mixes, travel-sized toiletries, etc.

What worked well:

  • packing our hanging clothes in garment bags that we placed on top of our suitcases in the car
  • starting in Sedona (4327’ elevation) and slowly working our way up to Deer Valley (over 9000’ elevation)
  • having a cooler with snacks, milk for coffee, protein bars, etc. in the trunk
  • sharing the driving between us
  • writing a daily blog post so we clearly remember each place
  • limiting drive time to no more than 7 hours
  • getting AAA tour books ahead of time
  • having state maps in the car
  • traveling during the “shoulder” season (less crowds)

All in all, Mike and I agree that this was a wonderful trip! We also agree that packing 4 weeks’ worth of travel into 17 days was a little crazy. If we hadn’t already booked our upcoming “blended family” cruise to Alaska (less than 2 weeks from now) we probably would have taken more time, done more hikes, taken some jetboat / white water rafting tours and guided tribal land tours, had a few massages and daily naps!


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