A Road Trip: Freezing in a Hot Spring

photo evidence of Camp Daddy trying to kill us while he drove

It’s finally here! The travel blog encompassing the road trip I took with Camp Daddy and The Rival has been rejuvenated. I know it has been awhile, like long enough you could have probably seen all 50 states since the last post in this adventure, but it’s finally back. I’ve decided to extend the story out into smaller sections and it will probably be a bi-weekly post, but I promise this story will get told!

So anyway, let’s get on with it! Last time I wrote, I told the story about how Camp Daddy, The Rival, and myself made it to Colorado and camped out at a remote site in the Rockies. That day we celebrated The Rival’s birthday before heading to bed.

So the next morning found the three of us waking up around 8:00 am and enjoying the crisp morning air. With how cool the night was, all three of us slept in our clothes and were able to get up and begin our morning routine: eating a breakfast of crushed mini donuts, trying to get coffee started on smoldering embers, putting on deodorant, and brushing our teeth. Did I ever mention The Rival and I decided we didn’t need to shower this trip? We’ll discuss that more later, but just know it drove Camp Daddy up a wall.

Of course taking down the tent is part of any morning camping ritual. Just make sure to be outside of it when it comes down.

Anyway, our big goal for the day was to find the hot springs that was listed near our camp. If you’re in the area I suggest checking it out, the link is here. We had searched around for a bit off the directions on the app, but to no success. Finally, The Rival lost patience and decided to befriend the “Kyles” and when he came back he told us we were very wrong.

Apparently these guys were from overseas and had been just kind of going around camping like we were. They had been to the hot springs area and warned us that it was cold, but we didn’t care. They also had told us there was an area up on the mountain side we had to trek where you could jump down into the Colorado River (something the three of us didn’t do).

So following their directions, the three of us headed out. There was a narrow and steep path that led up the side of a mountain that we first had to climb. I’d say it was easy, but by the time things leveled out, I was winded. From there, we followed a winding path through mountain shrubbery and sage, watching as birds flew overhead and hopped through the brush. It took us about a good 10 minutes to walk over to our destination before we found the sign that showed you could jump into the Colorado River at your own risk.

Sadly, we didn’t get much photographs of this area. The three of us all had low phone batteries and didn’t spend enough time in the car to get them charged. All of us wanted to make sure the hot spring was photographed, and so the phones stayed away as we walked. It took us a few tries to find the hot springs since it didn’t have a sign like the jumping point, but when we did, we were thrilled.

The path down was a narrow climb of rocks on a cliff side. It was another steep drop down, but it appeared people had taken the time to place rocks to have a makeshift “staircase” down to the springs. We slid and flatfooted our way down until it leveled out into the hot springs we were looking for.

The Hot Springs off the Colorado River

We were thrilled to finally be in this spot and felt there was no way that it was cold like our new camping friends said. We each stripped down to our bathing suits and got in. They were right and we were wrong. Although it wasn’t freezing, the water was just slightly warmer than the river that flowed beside it. We took a few minutes and forced ourselves the rest of the way in, we refused to not enjoy the hot springs that we adventured to find.

We spent about a good half hour in the area and during that time we found to areas where warm water was trying its best to make this small pool live up to its name. The first was in a back corner under the water. The Rival had found it after dropping down to his neck in the water. The other was a small flow of water coming out of the wall featured in the photo. During our time here we were able to watch a river tour float on by and while the guide did his best to crack some jokes about poisonous animals by us, The Rival continued to yell back to him, trying his best to be funnier than the guide.

It was at this time I decided it was a perfect opportunity for a “shower.” Although I had no soap, I took the warm water and covered myself in it, getting the fine layer of grease that had started to develop off of my skin. Camp Daddy and The Rival followed suit and then we decided that the hot springs were done for the day. We had the goal of setting up camp near Arches National Park and it was a good 8-10 hour drive away from us.

So we trekked our way back up, Camp Daddy and myself harassing The Rival from a higher perch as he was the last to climb back up and took his time leaving the hot spring. As we were goofing around we heard voices, and fearing it could be a park ranger, we stopped messing around and scurried up to the top.

When we reached the top we encountered two other men around our age with one rocking an awesome Nikon camera and taking shots of the river from above. We exchanged pleasantries and discovered that they were both from Illinois as well and doing some travelling. What was even cooler was that both of them grew up close to where we did. While talking to them, they had highly encouraged us to avoid Arches (it was a tourist trap) and instead go to Canyonlands National Park instead. There they said was less crowded and had more to do. They even told us a story about how they snuck into one area at dawn and beautiful photos of the sun rising over the canyons.

We thanked them for the suggestion, wished each other luck and made our way back to the horrible ride that was our Mitsubishi. If you’re confused on why I say horrible, check back on a previous post that explains our misadventures so far in the vehicle. Anyway, we arrived to find the campground nearly deserted, which worked to our benefit. We took the privacy and changed out of wet swimsuits before climbing into the car and heading out.

We had to drive a good 20 minutes doing nothing but guesswork since there was no service for our phones and most of the phones were dead and dying. We eventually were able to get out of the little range we camped in, found cell service, and routed our way to Moab.

That’s it for this week. Thank you for reading and if you’ve enjoyed this service, go to the bottom of this page and follow me on my social media pages. I promise I talk a lot about writing and do my best to entertain anyone willing to listen. Enjoy!

A Road Trip: Rocky Mountain High

Rocky Mountains, Colorado

Hello, Hello! Sorry for the long delay in this story. Between starting my new job in and being in a constant flux of healthy and sick (who would have thought elementary schools would cause that) I’ve struggled with getting any new posts written.

However, after feeling near 100% once again and finally settling into my new job, I’m ready to continue telling the story of our road trip. I mean after all, there is still plenty of things that happened in Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, so let’s get back to it!

For those that don’t recall or are just jumping into this story, the last place I had left Camp Daddy, The Rival, and myself was in the car on our way to the campsite. The location was fairly remote, and when I say remote, I mean some of the roads were no longer paved and we went dangerously close to the edge on a few occasions.

However, when we finally got to the campsite, we could not have asked for a better location. It was slightly off the main road and although it had a few campers scattered in tents around it, we were getting to set up shop in the middle of the Rockies.

Campsite at O.C. Mugrage Campground

Behind our tent and to the side of it we had a creek that I would say was more roaring over yelling. We weren’t sure if the area had gotten a lot of rain or what the case really was with it, but it was definitely above the noise level of “babbling.”

If you look behind our tent you can get a slight idea of how far other campers were. We called that one and another farther back the “Kyle” area. We aren’t sure whether or not any of them were actually named Kyle, but the way they were chugging Mountain Dew from a two liter while doing vape tricks just lined up too nicely with the popular meme.

Camp Daddy taking a photo of me taking a photo of him

The setup of our tent took no time at all and soon we were pulling out some drinks to help celebrate The Rival’s birthday. It was at this time our “cook,” aka Camp Daddy, decided to pull out all the works for The Rival’s birthday. He wanted to eat like a cowboy, and so a ton of burgers, beans, and corn were soon made.

Camp Daddy making The Rival’s birthday feast

Soon after we finished eating, we made sure that all leftover food was washed down the creek. With this area being remote, there was no area for garbage cans to throw things away, and with the threat of bears, we didn’t want to take the chance. Once everything was cleaned and safely locked in the car, we took some seats around the fire and relaxed.

Overall, it was a relatively relaxing night. We had drove for a full day and were tired by the time we hunkered down to rest. I had called it an earlier night than Camp Daddy and The Rival after my stomach took a bad turn on me. I could hear them from the tent though, talking about Dungeons and Dragons and how two trees across the creek from us looked like they were going to open a portal to the Feywild.

That evening was not as eventful as our first in Kansas, but a few notable things had happened for some of us. I had woken up once to the sounds of animal moving off in the tall grass across the street from our camp. I ended up waking The Rival to step outside with me to use the restroom, since I was still rendered blind with my contacts out and glasses sitting at home.

For The Rival, he had two different things happen to him in the night. The first was him getting attack by Camp Daddy. A fun fact that had been touched on before is that The Rival often likes to pester Camp Daddy by touching him, which is something he hates. Well, when The Rival rolled over in his sleep, apparently Camp Daddy went into ninja mode in his sleep and grasped his arm tightly, scaring The Rival awake.

The other thing that happened to The Rival is he swore up and down that he heard someone whisper his name outside of the tent. Although we had all said it a few times, neither Camp Daddy or myself had woken up to hear this phantom voice pestering The Rival. Since he was the one sleeping closest to the roaring creek, we did our best to chalk it up that.

And that’s it for this post! Come back later this week to read about our next day, which includes a trek to a hot spring that was cold and a long drive to Moab, Utah. Don’t forget to follow me on social media or to just follow this blog if you’ve enjoyed the content!

A Road Trip: Camping in KS

Camp Daddy and me messing with food and tent stuff

Picking up where I left off yesterday, we had just chosen our spot to camp for the night and were quickly getting things laid out for the evening. At first, there was what seemed to be a lot of things working against us.

To start, the tent I had brought had never been put together by any of us. In addition, our grill still needed to be assembled, food still needed to be cooked, AND a fire started. Now granted, all of these should seem like easy tasks, but the three of us are very hit and miss on making things happen.

Thankfully, that night was one where we didn’t have much issues. The Rival and I found a way to work together and had the tent set up in little to no time at all. Camp Daddy did Camp Daddy things and managed to find tools to get the grill quickly assembled (which I didn’t even know we had tools), lit a fire, and was cooking before we completely had the tent set up.

By the time the dust settled we had a beautiful campsite set up and were on our way to relaxation, or so we thought. But more on that later. In the meantime, we chowed down on a mix of spicy sausage, red beans, and rice while admiring the beautiful view we would have from our tent tomorrow.

A picture of our tent with what we referred to as the “sacrificial stone” in front of it

The rest of the evening was spent doing our favorite past time: Dungeons and Dragons. While we were driving, Camp Daddy had written a session for The Rival and I to play in. As much as I would love to give all the juicy details of that session, that would take up an entire post on its own.

So instead I will give you the gist of it. The Rival and I each played a dwarf characters that were trying to find an old dwarven temple. While we were there, we ran into some goblins and spent the remainder of the time threatening and killing them before finding an awesome underground area.

So as we closed down on the session, we began packing up and calling it a night. Everything seemed fine until I made one startling discovery: I had forgotten to pack my glasses. This began a fun new game to play the rest of the trip for Camp Daddy and The Rival: protect me from anything I couldn’t see at night.

The first thing they had to do for me? Identify the flashing lights and bangs I was hearing. Throughout the night while we played Dungeons and Dragons, we heard a constant barrage of explosions along with flashing lights in the distance. For awhile we assumed that it was nothing more than thunderstorms, after all the wind kept picking up and dying and occasionally some light rain would fall.

The rain also made things fun, because it led to us making a mad scramble to put the rain tarp on in the dark, something, as I said before, we had never done. But anyway, back to what was happening in the air around us.

We had went to bed assuming that it was a thunderstorm rolling through. As we laid there, we listened to the constant explosions, adjusting our bodies to deal with the inconsistencies of the ground going from hard to soft. After awhile we dozed off looking out the front of our tent watching the lake and the lightning flashing over it.

image by Frank Cone

It was around 3:00 a.m. that I was awoken by two things simultaneously. The first was the explosions starting up again with absolutely no storms around us. The second was the sound of what I thought were people outside the tent.

I laid silently and stiff as a corpse, in part because I didn’t want anyone to hear I was awake and because my body was that stiff from lying on the ground. After a few minutes I started to believe I was going crazy when I saw headlights.

I positioned myself to look out the window and saw a small red car trolling across the road. Me, being a paranoid person, worried that they were going to stop and come up on our tent. I whispered to The Rival and Camp Daddy, but if they were awake, they didn’t say anything. I watched as the taillights fade into the distance.

Next came another bang. It was at this point that I no longer believed that it was just thunder and so I decided to try and find out what was happening. Naturally, I did what any survivalist would do and googled “what are the explosions near me” on my iPhone.

Surprisingly, a hit came up. Apparently there was a military base called Fort Riley nearby and they tested weapons and equipment at all hours. It would take up too much room to write everything it said, so I’ll give a link to their description here.

After finding out what the noise was, I still was unable to sleep and so I spent the rest of the night waking up and drifting off again until the sun came up. Once this happened, Camp Daddy, The Rival, and I worked together to quickly pack up camp and hit the road again. While we tore down the tent, Camp Daddy was nice enough to even make us coffee over an open flame.

That concluded our first night of camping and although it was a beautiful location, it was nowhere near as perfect where we camped the next evening. But, if you want to know more about that and see double the images from it, you’ll have to follow my pages to see when the next part of the story drops!

A Road Trip: The Battle to Leave Champaign

Who’s ready for another installment of my road trip story? Doesn’t matter, because I’m ready to tell it!

So if you recall from last week’s post, my friends The Rival, Camp Daddy, and myself had decided to take a road trip around the southwestern United States after The Rival had a job fall through in Las Vegas. UPDATE: He’s now taking the same job and going at the end of the month so now he has to travel on his own.

But anyway, this story isn’t just about him, it’s about all three of us. So the morning of July 30th we were all awoken by The Rival and pushed to shower and get ready to leave by 9.

To say we did well at this would be a joke. There was a lot of fumbling around with showering and getting ready and a reluctance to go shopping for groceries since we had put that off. However, in the end we finally got moving.

We first went to McDonald’s for a breakfast that can only be described as “cheap.” For real, I don’t think any of us spent over $5.00 before we headed over to ValuCheck, where we loaded up on what we believed to be all the supplies we needed.

After what seemed like an eternity, which was only 20 minutes in real time, we finally had all our groceries and were headed back to the house to begin packing our “midsize” SUV. I cannot stress enough how much Hertz sucks for giving us the vehicle we didn’t want.

If you’re wondering why I didn’t call and complain either, trust me I did. The few times I called and questioned if I had the right car, they insisted I did and would hang up. Don’t book with them.

Back to the story. Once we came home the true battle was on. A full week’s worth of groceries. Sleeping bags. A tent. Coolers. Random assortment of camping supplies. All of this was to be wrestled into a compact SUV and we still had to get a small charcoal grill to add later on.

It was a long, uphill battle but after some wizarding moves by Camp Daddy (something he’d continue to do the whole trip) we got everything to fit with just enough room for the three of us to sit comfortably. Sadly, we did have to leave behind camp chairs, which would bite us in the ass later on.

Once the car was loaded, there was just one last stop before we hit the road: a pickup at Walmart. It only took us 10 minutes to get there and while Camp Daddy and The Rival went to go snacks and drinks for the trip, I was charged with grabbing the charcoal grill.

The pickup experience at Walmart is what I would call “bizarre.” You essentially enter your information either on their app or a screen near a desk and just wait until someone shows up with your items. There really wasn’t any indication that it worked until someone came out with my product.

Once I had the grill, I decided to sit and wait on a bench for a few minutes as the guys wrapped up shopping. However, this did not last long as I learned a lot of people do not have a concept of personal space, as multiple people about ran into me while I sat looking like a lost child clutching the small grill I picked up.

I eventually went out to the car and waited for Camp Daddy and The Rival to find me. After cranking some pop hits on the radio and blasting the AC they finally arrived. I was given the Kyle Juice I requested and we were on our way to our first camp location, which was found with the help of the Campendium app.

That’s it for today! If you haven’t followed this blog or any of my social media pages, make sure to click the links at the bottom of the page to do so! Also, check out Camp Daddy’s and The Rival’s Instagram pages. Both are well traveled men and have some great content to check out.

Finally home!

Just as the title suggest, I’m back in town and ready to do some writing! These past two weeks have been awesome and I’m excited to share some stories about where I went and what I was up to while I was there.

For now though, I’ll be taking the time to try and compile images, links, and the best stories to tell about my travels. In the meantime, here are some of the places I’ve visited over the last few weeks:

  • Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin (Bachelor party!)
  • Kansas (camping)
  • Colorado (Rocky Mountains and camping)
  • Utah (Canyonlands and camping)
  • Arizona (The Grand Canyon and camping)
  • New Mexico (Camping)
  • Oklahoma (Camping)

So get excited! I’ll have plenty of insight on the places I visited and the shenanigans that took place.

P.S. If you’re looking for up to date content, make sure to follow me on social media. I frequently post new images on Instagram, interact with followers on Twitter, and relay new information on my Facebook. I’ll also continue to post new fiction and writing prompts as I update the blog as well.

If you would like a preview of some of the blogs, check out my friend’s Instagram page here. He took over 500 shots from our road trip and can give you a peek into some of the places I’ll be writing about.