The Big Whirl Wind Final Hurrah Trip

We just released a new YouTube video which kicks off the beginning of a long, 2500+ mile trip. Boy has it been a whirl wind with a lot of new roads and sights being discovered. Way too many miles and adventures for one post and one video. Better to tell the tales in small, delicious, fun bites.

The Big Trip Destinations

Big Trip Destinations

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve had to plan so many stops before setting out on our trips. Typically I simply look forward a few days at a time. However, we wanted to include a long California Coast drive which could require reservations for camping spot. With the temperature’s soaring traveling and staying along the coast sounded like a good tradeoff to always free camping or boondocking. “Reserving” was not only very foreign to me but a little frustrating. Reservation system was simple enough to navigate but finding adequate details to make a good decision on both the campground and a specific site was more work than I anticipated. I eventually found one that fit our travel window. With the heat already melting us and no end in sight, I decided to throw my credit card at a California state campground north of Santa Barbara, CA. This was going to be our last big night, so a splurge sounded appropriate. More on that experience coming in a future post! From there, the back half of the trip came together nicely.

The planning started with 3 pieces of information:

  1. Date to meet Steve’s eldest son and DIL, Christian and Hailey in Spokane
  2. Planning the number of drive days to Spokane and booking a long desired river rafting trip on the way up to Spokane
  3. Knowing we had a deadline back in Southern California limiting our total drive days after Spokane

I kept mapping routes and stay options for several days. Finally I compiled a great mix of Harvest Host stops, Boondocker’s Welcome hosts, and friend’s driveways for us to stay at. That covered all but our one paid night.

Harvest Host / Boondocker’s Welcome

We are big fans of BW and use it a lot. On this years big whirl wind trip and even earlier this summer, we finally found we were utilizing Harvest Host just as often! There are differences in hosts. Harvest Hosts are a businesses that you support with a nominal purchases ($20 recommended) in exchange for a one night parking spot versus a Boondocker’s Welcome host which is a private party offering a driveway or parking spot for 1 or more nights.

Harvest Host Membership

Click HERE for a preview of host map!

Boondocker’s Welcome Membership

Click HERE to view the site and how to join!

I’ll do a stop by stop blog or two of the complete trip plus more on using these hosts at a later date.

Today, you can see our Fun / No Fun first few days.

Leg 1 Summary

Leg 1 starts off from our Idaho property and gets us more than half way up to Spokane by the day we need to meet Christian and Hailey.

We left on a Sunday planning a Riggins, ID area arrival by Wednesday morning. On my map below, that is just the first 3 pins. Following rafting, we planned 2 nights of riverside camping on BLM land before continuing onward.

Big Trip of 18 days

Setting Out

It was a good plan to leave in the evening, drive only 100 miles and land in Boise for the night. By morning we would be ready to do some basic shopping in the area including finding metal stores. We were interested in seeing what metal roofing and siding supplies were in the Boise area for the new home build. Plans may have been good, but the travel gods decided to not make them smooth. We hadn’t been on the road for an hour, and the turbo hose uncoupled (again) causing us to stop on the side of the interstate.

Steve had to reattach the hose twice in that short trip, delaying our arrival at a nice Boondocker’s Welcome side driveway. Dinner was also delayed that evening and we were pooped by the time dark descended.

The 2nd night was another Boondocker’s Welcome host in Cascade. We’d stayed with Russ 2 years ago and it was special to return and just pick up on previous conversations and catch up. Felt like old friends catching up.

It was so, so, so nice to wake up COLD the next morning! Such a pleasant treat compared to our recent weather. Would’ve been nice if the trip was continuing at higher elevation with cooler temperatures. Nope, we were up for some HOT times.

Salmon River Rafting

With Steve’s eyelids barely open we drove 2 hours to our meet up spot. We arrived with plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely brunch, walk cooper and have ourselves organized for the rafting afternoon.

Rafting was a blast and there’s more fun shown in the video. Unfortunately, my GoPro camera’s SD card threw up and I didn’t get much footage of the actual trip. The outfitters, Exodus Rafting, did capture some great photos and a few short, fun clips that are included in the video.

In both of these photos, I’m handling their GoPro camera up on the raft’s font end. The first picture, I’m very visible in the front. Then, a wave of water crashes over the front end (and me) in the second photo! You can’t tell from this small image but, Steve was laughing at my new soggy look as well as my squealing like a girl. I think it was delightful squeals.

So much fun!

Returning to the camper where we left the A/C running for Cooper however, was not as much fun. The refrigerator was reporting Low Refrigerant Error for the 2nd time this summer. Not a good end to a wonderful day.

We headed to campsite for the evening that was in the shade and got as comfortable as you can in 95F+ temperatures. While fans ran fast and furious inside, we sat outside anxiously catching the inadequate breeze.

Fiddle Creek Recreation Area (BLM)

Engine Turbo Hose Repair

Going back to the truck roadside stops we had on the 1st day’s drive, there was a plan in place. Parts had been purchased in Boise. Steve bought cleaning solution and an adhesive to reattach the turbo hose and get it to stay. It wasn’t done yet because he needed to let the engine cool down. Definitely too hot to be successful. So, the next morning he start removing the current clamps, discovering it was compromised too. So, it’s yet another patch job until we can find an auto parts store.

We decided to cut our riverside camping short and start driving north a day early. The first area of business was to drive far enough to pick up cell signal. We had no cell reception in the canyon and needed to locate an HVAC place and auto parts store either in Lewiston, ID (our next destination) or along the way.

Did we accomplish what was needed? Did we cool off enough to even sleep? Watch the video and drop us a comment or a simple hello on YouTube.


Oh, what a mixture of anxiety, unexpected stops, schedule changes and complete fun we had. Here’s my introduction montage:

Big Whirl Wind Trip Part 2

The next leg will take us up to Spokane where we’ll spend a couple of days with new friends (Hey Terri!) and with Christian and Hailey. Fingers crossed we have overcome all our failures we just experienced and can enjoy traveling and sightseeing.

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