I grew up in Montana, but spent the latter half of my life in the Chicago area. Apparently I had forgotten the vast rawness of the western part of the US. Seriously, other than the highway itself, it felt like man had never stepped foot into many of the scenic byways of Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and the Dakotas.
As I drove through the eastern side of Yellowstone in Wyoming, the steam from geysers melted the snow-covered timbers burned from a previous wildfire, boulders tumbled down the sheer granite cliffs, bison and elk grazed steps away. I spent several nights on public land, boondocking miles away from modern civilization. I went up and over so many rugged mountain passes, I felt like a sherpa. It was a climate-controlled, leather-bound, front-row seat to an unforgettable experience!
I just wish the weather would have cooperated. The last month has been some of the most nasty, most dreary, most unpleasant weather of the last year. Many of my photographs just didn’t capture the natural beauty of the West.
After months of anticipation, I finally got to test out the Touareg and the Airstream in the mountains. Admittedly, I still haven’t done the tallest peaks on my itinerary, but I got up over 7,500 feet with some serious ascents and descents.
My first mountain stop was in Park City, Utah. I actually had forgotten it was on my route, and had no plans to stay there until I rolled through on I-80. I pulled up Google Maps, picked the first campground on the list (Park City RV Resort), and ended up staying a couple of days. I toured Olympic Park, visited the trendy downtown, and even drove to some of the surrounding towns. Park City definitely made my Top 10 list!
After a quick stop at the Bonneville Salt Flats a few hours west of Salt Lake City, I drove across the high desert of northern Nevada. Man, there is just not much going on for miles and miles (well, other than the endless road construction). But, the final destination of Lake Tahoe made the boring drive completely worth it!
Seriously, how have I never been to Lake Tahoe? With majestic mountains, water as blue as an ocean and beaches with smooth white sand, it is paradise at 6,200 feet above sea level! I kayaked through the clear waters of Zephyr Cove and Emerald Bay, relaxed on the beach at D.L. Bliss State Park, and even got some work done at the Tiki bar just steps away from my 3-day home at Zephyr Cove RV Park & Campground. During my stay, I met two other families with new Airstreams. Hope you guys stay in touch!
In addition to the usual photos, I broke out the video camera to show just a glimpse of the roads around Lake Tahoe. I slowly made it around the lake just fine, but some of the steep climbs and hairpin curves were intense. Of the nearly 10,000 miles so far, the last 50 were easily the hardest.