The Golden Trip

The Golden Trip

When you have an almost 14 year old dog every day and every trip is “golden”. If you don’t know us, every Aug/Sept you’ll find us traveling. Every year we a take a week off from the 9-5 grind and travel somewhere (usually new). We are so grateful that even this year we were able to take another one of those annual trips all together just you, me and the dog.

This years adventure was a little different than most because we were (and still are) in the midst of a pandemic. We, like most people this year chose to spend our time out in nature in our home away from home.

Our trip this year consisted of multiple stops ranging from Eastern AZ, crossing the border to NM, up thru the Enchanted Circle of NM and finally back to Southwest CO. Our first stop was in the White Mountains where we spent four days campground hopping with a few of our close friends. If you have not been to the White Mountains in AZ over Labor Day weekend…well you better hope you have a reservation. What we thought was a two night reservation at Hoyer Campground turned out to only be one night. Disclosure: don’t ever let the men do the planning! LOL. It turned out okay because we found Benny Creek Campground which was a very quaint little place, 1) because it had the name Benny and well … 2) because it just was. We would highly recommend Benny Creek Campground. We also stayed a few nights at Big Lake in the Apache Trout Campground loop. There are several different campground “loops” at Big Lake. Do your research before you go because all the loops are different.

After four relaxing days in the mountains we headed East and crossed the border into New Mexico. After only a few hours of driving we made a spontaneous stop in Datil, NM at a a quaint little BLM campground called Datil Well Campground. It was a whopping $5 to stay there and it was very well maintained. We settled in for the afternoon and went on a splendid nature hike. This will be a go-to spot in the future when we are able to stop at the Very Large Array (National Radio Astronomy Observatory) near Soccoro, NM. Due to COVID-19 the observatory was closed, however we were able to take some pictures as we passed by these radio antennas situated ever so precisely in the middle of the desert.

Our destination for the next night was Eagles Nest, NM which is a higher mountain town and was our first stop on our loop through the Enchanted Circle of NM. The Enchanted Circle of NM is a scenic byway that runs from Taos, up through Angel Fire, Eagles Nest, Red River, and then through Questa. It’s a beautiful trip worth taking. Our favorite stop of them all was Red River. It’s a quaint little ski town full of fun things to do including hiking, 4-Wheeling, fishing, shopping, etc. We stayed 3 nights at the 4K River Ranch & Lodge, situated right along the Red River, which we highly recommend. They are open year round, equipped with cabins and RV sites and the staff is excellent. We 4-Wheeled up to Goose Lake on a cold rainy morning. It was very cold and foggy so we didn’t actually see the lake, however we made it to the top.

We also took an afternoon and went back to Angel Fire to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It was the first memorial for Vietnam Veterans in the US. If you yourself are a veteran, or you know someone that is or was a veteran it is worth the trip. One of the best things to see there is the Viking Surprise Huey Helicopter on full display. It’s quite a site to see.

In the midst of a pandemic we tried very hard to avoid doing things or going places with mass crowds or gatherings. This Veterans Memorial is a great place to add to your list for a low key site seeing adventure. The memorial has multiple sites to see outdoor as well as an indoor visitor center and gift shop if you choose to do so. The park is free for those who enter as well as the visitor center/museum, however don’t forget to make a kind donation or small purchase!

After several days of exploring from AZ thru NM we started making our final trek back home to SW Colorado. Along the way we made our final stop at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge about 10 miles NW of Taos NM. This was yet another great way to enjoy our vacation in the midst of a pandemic. Getting out and getting some fresh air and looking at all of natures glory. It was quite spectacular.

We are so grateful that our cute little camper was and still is able to keep us safely social distanced and self contained so we could enjoy a vacation even in the midst of a pandemic. We thank you for reading along and hope that you find some inspiration for planning your next vacation in your home away from home. Please follow along for the next adventure!

Adventure on my friends!

“Martini” the Casita

“Martini” the Casita

Let me quickly introduce ourselves for those of you that don’t know us! I’m Christine (the writer behind this blog). My husband (Mark) and I are “Martini”. We live in CO with our son-dog Benny who I like to call a “cow-chow”. He is 12 years old and is a mix of a chow and Australian cattle dog… hence the “cow-chow” ;). We both work 9-5 jobs and with the stresses of everyday life, every chance we get we try to adventure out into the great outdoors to escape the madness.

Mark and I have been together since Benny was a baby pupper (you do the math) and when we decided to get married we had this great idea that we wanted to take two weeks and camp for our honeymoon. After much deliberation about renting a Cruise America or something similar, we decided to buy a little travel trailer so we could do the same thing on our anniversary every year. We had no money and we had no plans, but we had an idea of what we wanted to do and that’s where it started. We chose a 17′ Casita (Spirit Deluxe model) travel trailer which we later named “Martini”.

Martini then..

Let’s back up a little bit here.,.. Our story of Martini starts back in 2011. Mark and I began planning our big idea to buy a trailer about 5 months before our wedding. When Mark and I decided to buy the Casita we didn’t realize that there was a 6 month waiting list. Long story short, our luck struck gold when we found out that someone backed out of the exact model we were looking for. We knew for sure this was a sign we were doing the right thing so we jumped on the opportunity to buy it. We took that leap of faith, signed the papers and she was delivered to CO from Texas just in time for the big trip.

When we first bought the trailer we had a 1988 GMC long bed truck. Let’s just say were were amateurs and didn’t realize that this truck was not going to be ideal.

The truck was too long and was a single cab so Benny either had to ride on your lap or, well…ride on your lap! LOL. Like I said from the beginning we didn’t have any ideas we just dove in on a leap of faith. The truck was not ideal for towing, nor was it comfortable for long trips. One day when I was headed to work I saw an FJ Cruiser pulling a Casita and I thought, that’s what we need! It’s not too big and it’s not too small and we can fit all of our crap in it! So yet again, in early 2012 we still had no money and now EVEN MORE ideas so we took another leap of faith and we bought a new Toyota FJ Cruiser.



Then the adventures really started to happen!

Martini now...

Martini is now 8 years old with many trips under her belt and still going strong. She is a small but mighty little trailer. We’ve done some improvements so she is not your average Casita. She is tough on the outside and simple on the inside. She has a flipped axle with 6 inches of lift so we can take her just about anywhere. She also has 30″ BFG truck tires on her so she is ready to roll on any ground we cover. She’s a total badass and we love her.

In 2018 we decided to retire the FJ Cruiser and upgrade to something with a little more oomph. We now tow her with a 2018 Chevy Colorado ZR2 that has a Duramax diesel. She’s small but mighty. Mark chose this truck because it has great towing power and is great on gas mileage. It’s also a beast on the back roads and is built for rough trail riding. In the year that we have had the truck we have taken it on some pretty gnarly terrain (which you’ll get to see later).


So…that’s our story, and we couldn’t be happier in our decision that we took 8 years ago. We’ve only just begun our journeys and we’ve already been to so many places and seen so many things. We want you all to know that you shouldn’t wait to do the things that you wish to do. We hope that anyone wanting to take a leap of faith and follow their dreams will do just that. Don’t wait until you retire or until you have money, or for our sake until you have the right vehicle…if you want to do something, have faith and JUST DO IT!

Adventure on my friends.


Exploring Eastern AZ

Exploring Eastern AZ

We recently traveled to our hometown of Prescott AZ for a wedding. We of course took our 17′ Casita travel trailer and turned it into a camping trip.

After the wedding festivities were over, we had a few days to explore before heading back home. On the way back from the wedding we made our way to a little place called Reservation Lake. It’s a quaint little lake on the White Mountain Apache Reservation, about 48 miles southeast of Pinetop. My husband and I fly fish and planned on doing so at Reservation lake. For those of you that are not familiar with spending time on the reservations, it is not the same as other places as they are their own sovereign nation. You must get your own permits (for fishing, camping, recreation, etc.) at either one of the local stores or online. The reservations are very strict and penalties can be severe if you don’t follow the rules.


Mark and I chose to get our permits online at the White Mountain Apache Tribe Game & Fish  website. It’s a little bit pricey if you are camping and fishing because you have to have permits for both, but it’s worth it. We weren’t lucky with catching any fish on this trip but we enjoyed being out on the water anyways!


After our unlucky spell at Reservation lake, we decided to take a detour on our trip and head to the Petrified Forest. I’m a bit of a National Park junkie and always try to stop at one when I get the chance. This trip was the perfect opportunity since we were on that side of AZ, and probably wouldn’t be back that way in a while.

When we arrived to the park it was late in the day. We ended up setting up camp at a privately owned gift shop at the south entrance of the park off of Hwy 180. They offered overnight camping at $10.65 a night with electricity (what a steal!). There was also some free camping at the museum shop right across the street but we decided to splurge and have electricity for the night! This little campground had 10 sites that were for self contained units only (i.e. have their own toilet). The sites were fairly level and had a little cement slab with a picnic table. The sites filled up quick during the evening and cleared out in the morning when the park opened. There are no other campgrounds around or in the park. For those interested in backcountry camping in the actual park itself, you can do so but you must get a free permit from either the Painted Desert Visitor Center or the Rainbow Forest Museum to stay in the wilderness areas of the park. According to the park service you must, at a minimum, hike 1 mile away from two designated parking spots to do any backcountry camping. Considering the view of the milky way at night and the sounds of the desert, this would probably be an incredible experience.

Jasper Forest/Blue Mesa

After we arrived to the park we set up camp and went out exploring for the last few hours of the day before the sun went down. It was absolutely breathtaking seeing these trees that are now stone laying atop the desert floor. The weather was beautiful and watching the sun set on the painted desert was the cherry on top of the trip. For those of you who have not been there, it’s a must see! It’s literally an ancient piece of history laying in the middle of the painted desert.

Jasper Forest/Blue Mesa

Crystal Forest

The park is somewhat divided by the freeway that “intersects” its path. We were on limited time coming and going to the park but made a point to see as much of the lower half as we could the first night, and then most of the rest of the park before noon the next day before having to head back to CO. There are several sites to see, some of which you have to hike out to. Our favorite stop was a small hike through the Crystal Forest. It was absolutely beautiful and we were in awe of the amount of petrified wood that is scattered about. We were also fortunate enough to watch the sun set over the Blue Mesa and Jasper Forest, another one of our favorite stops.

Just imagine yourself roaming around 200 million years ago, these trees would have been alive and dinosaurs would have been roaming around, RIGHT AROUND YOU! It’s an incredible feeling thinking about that. I hope if you have the gumption to go that you will. It’s worth the trek. It’s a smaller national park (26 miles in length) of which you can explore in 2 days to see EVERYTHING. The upper half of the park is a mostly scenic overlooks along with a few treks that can be hiked (don’t forget your backpack, and some H20!). Due to limited time on this trip, we missed a few offshoots that we would have had to hike to, but for the most part if you add all the hours that we explored together (first night & second half-day), we saw just about everything in about a full day.

Definitely add this to your list if you like the thought of seeing ancient history, fossils, or maybe even a few dinosaur bones!

The Tepes/Blue Mesa

Crystal Forest

Adventure on my friends!