Remember that episode where Whitney Lauritsen talked about being nervous while preparing for a trip? Well, she’s back from it! And in contrast to what she expected, it all went smoothly and was even more rewarding. In this episode, she shares her recent trip to Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. She takes us through each day of her trip, what she did, what products she used, and what lessons she learned along the way. If there is one word to describe Whitney’s road trip, it is prepared. She shows that no trip can go crazy if you just have your trusty tools and products with you—from gears to charging equipment to food! Join Whitney on this trip as she shares stories of healing from the Rocky Mountain.
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Rocky Mountain Healin’: Stories From My Latest Road Trip
This episode is all about my trip to Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. I got back from that trip on Friday the 13th, or technically, Saturday the 14th, 2022. It was shortly after midnight. It’s Wednesday, May 18, 2022. I still feel like I’m recovering. That is a lesson that I feel like I need to stress. I have done a lot of traveling, especially road trips, over the past few years, and I’m learning more about how much time I need to recover from them.
It was a great idea for me to return on a “Friday night” even if it was technically Saturday morning, because I had all of Saturday and Sunday to rest without feeling any work guilt, as I often do. I felt a little of it because I have to consult freelance clients, and I did a pretty good job keeping up with the important work but there are still some things I was behind on.
I was trying not to feel too rushed to do any of that work. Monday was rough. I was definitely feeling tired. I did my best to limit the amount of work I had then. On Tuesday and I also felt tired. Wednesday, I’m still feeling it. As crazy as it sounds, I need a vacation after a “vacation.” I put that in air quotes because it’s tough for me to qualify anything as a vacation based on the way my life has been set up. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with that. Perhaps, what we commonly view as vacations are set up in a system where people are typically working 40-hour work weeks for somebody else, commuting, and all the burnout that comes along with that.
When I switched to freelance work and made my own schedule, I found myself feeling very fluid with my work but the downside to that is that I never feel off. I always feel like there are opportunities to work a little bit every single day, and it’s very rare that I will have several continuous days with no work. Even the weekends are tough for me but I have been working on, especially in 2022, not assigning myself work, taking meetings on the weekends, and reducing as much as possible.
The one exception to that is Beyond Measure, my private online community, which by the way, you are more than welcome to join. It has been one of the greatest joys for the past few years, and it keeps getting better and better. We have traditionally done most of our calls and our group gatherings on Saturday morning/afternoon, depending on your time zone. I started experimenting with doing those calls on different days of the week. We had one of those calls, and it was one of the best we have ever had. I had this feeling of immense joy because I had skipped the previous week’s call due to travel.
What I’m going to do is take you through each day of my trip, share what I did, some lessons that I learned along the way, and any products that I use. It’s going to be a full story of the trip. One thing I want to convey and not forget to talk about is how in the episode leading up to this trip, I mentioned how I was feeling a little bit nervous or anxious. I remember almost having what I thought could be an intuitive hit that something was going to go wrong, and that scared me. I was nervous that something bad was going to happen.
I am very happy to report that this trip wins smoothly. I honestly cannot think of a single major thing that went wrong, except for one little issue with my sister, who was part of my trip I will share. To my recollection, I think that was it. I feel like there was one other thing that was pretty insignificant. Maybe I will recall it but honestly, this trip couldn’t have gone better. I’m grateful. I have been full of so much emotion for this trip. I may cry in this episode because there were a few big moments. I have shared this a bit on Instagram. I don’t usually post a ton on @WhitLauritsen. That’s my private account. I also have an account for the show, which is @Wellevatr.
That show’s account is mainly about the guests that come on the show. My personal account is about me, and I don’t post that much. It’s not my thing. I only post when I feel drawn to it, and after that trip, I wanted to share. If you want to see some visuals, they will be on Instagram. If you go to Wellevatr.com, there will be images immediately from this trip, so you can get some visuals based on what I’m sharing.
Day 1: Planning And Preparing
My day started pretty early, although I didn’t leave until about 9:30 AM at the timestamps on all of these pictures and videos I have been going through to tell the story. I did not fully have this memorized but I did create a pretty in-depth itinerary. I do this for a few reasons, mainly because I need to plan out for charging my electric car.
I also need to plan out if I’m going to be staying at a campground or in an RV park, which I did on this trip. I often reserve those in advance to give myself that security when making plans with friends. I also like to share my itinerary with my family. This time, I didn’t end up doing that. I meant to but things added up to the point where I didn’t finalize my itinerary before.
I knew for myself but I usually create a whole Google Sheet spreadsheet of my trip and send it to my mom. Nobody else cares. I said this to my dad and my sister in the past and they were like, “What am I going to do with this?” My mom appreciated it. That’s part of the way that I’ve looked out for my safety but I didn’t get around to it. I ended up checking in with my parents most days of the trip to let them know where I was. I also had a cool new security measure, which I’m going to talk about momentarily.
The first stop I made was related to this security measure that was to go to REI. I was given an REI gift certificate for Christmas for $300. It was exciting to have that much money, although that’s not a ton when it comes to REI because when I go in there, I could buy up the whole store. They have so many cool things. I went in there a week or so before my trip and was a little bit overwhelmed but there was one thing, in particular, I had my eye on. This is called the Garmin inReach Mini. It was a huge financial splurge, except for the fact that I had the $300 gift certificate. This thing costs $400 plus tax.
I researched all the REIs at the root of my trip to see who had the lowest tax price. One of them was about an hour or two away from Los Angeles in Rancho Cucamonga. I saved a little bit on tax versus if I had bought it in town before or left. It came out to $440 minus the $300 gift certificate I had. I had a $50 random visa gift card. I ended up paying $80 for this thing. This is a two-way satellite device. Nothing is sponsored here. I read great things about this and thought about this for a long time. Normally, spending $440 on something like this would not be something I would do because this device, I feel like, is mainly for people who are hiking, who are out in the backcountry.
It’s not necessary for the type of trips I take by car but it gave me such great peace of mind because I traveled entirely by myself. This is probably the first time I’ve mentioned that because I didn’t want to mention it before I went on my trip. I usually do these long trips by myself and meet people on the way. I didn’t even bring Evie on this trip, which was a big change mainly because of some of the things I was doing. That was hard to leave her behind. Traveling truly by myself, I thought I wanted to have as many safety measures in place as possible. There was something about this device that felt like it would be helpful for me.When I switched to freelance work and made my own schedule, I felt very fluid with my work, but the downside is that I never really felt off. Click To Tweet
I got it. There are two versions. There’s the inReach Mini and the inReach Mini 2. The second one is the one I ended up buying, which is a little bit more expensive. It’s the newer version of it. This allows you to send your location to people while you are traveling, no matter where you are, because it’s a satellite. It doesn’t rely on a cell phone signal. Based on some of my previous trips, I have had the experience of being in areas with no cell coverage, especially in the national parks.
That concerned my family a little bit. The main reason was I could always share my location. There’s also an SOS button on this thing. If I ever ended up in a bad situation without a cell phone signal, I could press this and be rescued. It would probably make sense if you are hiking and get stuck somewhere. The same thing could happen. What if my car tire, something happened to it, and I’m on the side of the road with no cell phone coverage in the middle of the night. That would be scary for me on my own, even though that happened to me.
One time when I was driving from San Francisco to LA at 2:00 AM, my tire completely got destroyed, not a flat tire. It was literally down to the wheel, out of nowhere. I had to pull over. Evie was with me. Some nice person came and helped me out. I did have a cell phone signal but I remember feeling so helpless and had never changed a tire before. I was like, “Great.”
With the Tesla, which is what I have now, I don’t have a spare tire. You can buy them for $300 from this third-party company, they are big and bulky. I’ve decided not to use one of those. I do have a tire repair kit. That’s something I added to my gear for my cross-country trip. In 2022, I also bought a 12-volt tire inflator. You can plug it into the cigarette adapter, which Teslas have. They are awesome. I use that for some of my equipment. I have a little bit of a setup for a flat tire but I digress. The Garmin inReach Mini also allows you to send text messages to people. It also connects to your phone, so you can type it out through your phone and send it through this device but I haven’t tried that yet.
This was an expensive peace of mind that I had planned to have for many years. It’s super valuable. If I ever decide to sell it, I feel like it will retain its value. In addition to the cost of this, you also have to pay a monthly fee but you can do it month by month. It’s $15 a month. You can cancel any time. What I did not realize until after I got it was that there was a $35 or $30 activation fee. It was $45 for me to use it for two weeks on this trip. I will use it again. I’m going to cancel the plan and then reactivate it when I go on my next trip.
I went to REI, and that was the first part of my trip to get this thing. I used their store pickup, which was awesome. They brought her right out to my car. It was super convenient. While I was there, I also used for the very first time something I’ve mentioned in a previous episode. My intention at least is to review The Carloo. This was a game-changer for me, which is at a fraction, it was a tenth of the price. It’s $40 for this thing versus this $400 device, which you would think would be the greatest thing ever. To me, The Carloo to me was amazing. It’s a mini toilet designed to be used in a car, thus The Carloo.
You can urinate in it. You can do any type of going to the bathroom in it. I ended up trying both, although I do not recommend the latter. It is ideal for peeing but not so ideal for pooping, to be honest. I will get into not-so-graphic details but I’m going to share the realities of travel. I used it for the very first time to pee when I was at REI in the parking lot waiting. I was like, “This is unbelievable. It’s comfortable. It was convenient. It was easy to clean.” I used it more times than I could count on this trip. It did not spill once. It did not have a smell at all. I cleaned it using a combination of some wipes that I have. I love these wipes. They are called Combat Wipes.
I usually use them mostly for my body but you can use them on all parts of your body. Plus, I would use them to wipe things off like The Carloo. I also used my mini handwashing station. It’s called Suds2Go. I’ve mentioned this before because I got it in 2020. It is stored in the side pocket of my driver’s side door. I could pump the soap into it and rinse it out easily. That system worked amazing. I’m sure it would be incredible for kids. It has a special sealant top that you put on it. It still can leak, which I learned, nothing super unfortunate happened.
Sometimes when I was trying to store it under the seat, it leaked a little bit, not urine or any other human waste but the water that I would rent it out, and it wouldn’t be completely dry. If it had a few drops of water and if I turned it sideways, some of it would come out. The idea of that grossed me out. One thing I would change about The Carloo is for it to be fully sealed or leak-proof but for the most part, it works splendidly. Probably the reason that happened, if you are wondering, is there are two compartments.
There’s the outside. It looks like oversight Tupperware because it’s plastic with handles. It’s very discrete looking. The inside has a stainless steel bowl and then a little plastic seat like a toilet would. That stainless steel bowl has a special cover. That part inside would not leak. Sometimes when I was cleaning it, I would clean the exterior casing too, even condensation would make it leak. There are lots of details for you.
I’m not going to hold anything back on this trip, as you can already tell. That one is great. Along with that, if you are curious, you can use these special compostable bags and great powder that you put in there that absorbs liquid, so you can toss human waste away in a trash can. That’s a very common camping thing that I’ve learned. I got the bags and the special powder for my trip and I have a foldable toilet that I’ve used too.
I now have three different ways to use the bathroom while traveling. One is The Tinkle Belle, which is a female urination device that allows women to pee standing up. That was what I did in 2020. It’s awesome when you have privacy but if you don’t, it is awkward to use it, depending on your personality. One of my friends pees anywhere. She will squat or pee in between car doors on trips. I’ve heard many stories about how people use the bathroom. I’m not shy about it anymore. My friend Leanne and I use The Tinkle Belle on our 2020 road trip. It was always trying to find someplace we felt comfortable peeing. When you are driving long distances, pulling over to the side of the road made me feel vulnerable.
I was never sure if it was okay for me to pee places. In 2021, I got this fold-up toilet, which is great. That’s what I got those special bags and the powder is for but I found out on that trip that it was hard to use for my car, specifically in the front seat. The toilet is probably 6 inches high. I’m putting them on the seat and then trying to sit on it. I literally was hunched over. The way it folds up, it felt like it was going to fall apart as I was using it and I was like, “I’m not doing this anymore.” That’s why I got very excited about The Carloo. It is short. The shortness of it is what makes it hard to do anything other than urination inside of it. I learned that awkwardly. I’m trying not to be TMI alert. I want to be transparent about what it’s like to travel.
It was 6:00 or 7:00 in the morning. I was in this big parking lot charging my car, and nothing was open, maybe something was but I had to go to the bathroom badly suddenly. I was like, “I’m going to use The Carloo for number two, and let’s see how it goes.” That’s when I learned that you need a little bit more room when you are going to the bathroom. You would have to hover over it and position the bags that you are going into it. It was literally a very messy situation. I was like, “I would prefer not to use this for that,” but you can. They say right on their website. I would highly recommend using the bags and the powder for much easier clean-up and finding a big trash can. You could put it in any trash can.It's incredibly important to acknowledge that all of this traveling comes with a certain amount of privilege. Click To Tweet
The one thing that I would like to learn more about is what rules there are for disposing of human waste. From what I hear of campers, they either dig holes if they are available. The news came out in May 2022 that the leave no trace rules have changed. Now a lot of campsites and parks require you to pack out your own human waste. That’s where people get these plastic, compostable bags, as well as that powder that turns your waste, helps it degrades, and also turns liquid into more of a gel-like substance, which is easier to carry.
Don’t quote me on this because I need to study this more. Based on my current knowledge and research, if you do that method, you can dispose of it in a trash can. That’s what I did, and it seemed to be okay. I thought it was not that different from an animal. If your dog were to use the bathroom, you would scoop it up and throw it in the trashcan. People don’t think twice about that.
With The Carloo, you can close it up and drive it to a bathroom and empty it into a toilet. I did that sometimes too, if it was accessible but then that defeats the purpose. The benefit is that when I was at some of these parks and various locations, there would be lines to use the bathroom. If you have to go badly or you don’t feel comfortable sitting on the toilet and these places, you can take your time and have your privacy, do whatever you need to do in your car, and then dispose of it in the toilet.
I suppose that’s an option. It’s part of the experience when you are camping and on long road trips. This time, I did use regular bathrooms as well. I tend to bring hand sanitizer with me. I wear my mask when I go into bathrooms and sometimes wipe down handles. I will bring in some of those Combat Wipes. I have been doing this since 2020. I bring those in not just to clean myself but to wipe down handles and stuff. I get a little concerned about germs in bathrooms. I thoroughly wash my hands, being mindful of what bathrooms I use but certainly, those are more pleasant to use than going to the bathroom in your car.
I jumped right into probably the most bizarre parts of trips. I’m not going to hold anything back, apparently. That was the REI experience. After that, I went to this cartoon station in Beaumont, California. They had a grocery outlet there. That was a big highlight. I’m a huge fan of grocery outlets. They had some of my favorite snacks, Biena Chickpea Snacks, which happened to be vegan and keto. I have been trying to eat fairly low-carb on these trips. It makes me feel better. Although unfortunately, chickpeas messed with my stomach. I had a lot of stomach issues during this trip. I saw a picture of what I use along with The Carloo are these amazing wipes for women.
They are anti-microbial re-usable wipes that are designed for female campers or travelers. Instead of toilet paper, it’s only for urination. You can wipe yourself and rinse it off, clean it off, and dries quickly. They are called Kula Cloth. I got one of those in 2021, and I love mine. It’s from this amazing female-owned company. They have these cool designs. That, plus The Carloo, was the most amazing combination, the Combat Wipes as a third. The partnership of those three things together is fantastic. The Combat Wipes are biodegradable and compostable. Technically, you could bury them outside, and they would naturally biodegrade but I’m not 100% sure. That’s just based on my memory.
The Kula Cloth is great. Those would also work super well with a bidet. It’s something I have been thinking about getting from my home. They make travel bidets for you to use with a toilet, all different types of configurations but a Kula Cloth would allow you to dry yourself off after using a travel bidet, so you wouldn’t have to use toilet paper. It’s a super eco-friendly option and a lovely company.
Another product I’ve mentioned before but worth mentioning again for trips, especially where I’m traveling during hot times of the year, warm summer or going through areas like Arizona and Utah on this trip where it gets hot, and the sun is coming in my car. I absolutely love my sunshades. Mine is from a company called QuickSnap.
They sent them to me in 2020 and are one of my favorite car accessories for trips. I use them to block out the sunlight on the side windows. At a different company, I got car covers for the top because my Tesla has glass all the way across the top, and the sun will come in strong. Any car can benefit from these. They are not only great for keeping the sun out but are wonderful for privacy because they give your car and natural tint.
I use them in parking lots because that way, people can’t see inside my car. That has been a game-changer with these road trips when I feel nervous about people seeing what’s inside if I go running an errand, and then I will put a typical window shade in the windshield to cover that up, so it’s hard for people to look inside my car.
Some people will even use that for sleeping in their car. Although for me, I use a cool car cover for my car camping called Tesmat. There are companies that make these for other car brands but Tesmat specializes in the mattress that I sleep on. As an added-on accessory, their window covers are fantastic because they block out every part of the windows of the car.
They don’t block out the top but with my car, the Model 3, it’s tinted at the top. It’s hard to see inside unless the lights are on in the inside but thus the sunshades I use have an added benefit. I’m giving you all the details. These are the things that really add up and matter. Keep in mind that I have been adding to my road trip collection for years now.
I will continue to add. This is my favorite thing to do. The sunshade is a game-changer for so many reasons. I documented all the things I used. I always have some lip balm up in the front seat with me. In 2021 and 2022, I have been using this company called Ladybug Jane. Maybe I even started using it in 2020. They are awesome. It’s a vegan lip balm, organic, and they have great flavors. They have all sorts of interesting things like bubble gum, mango, and blueberry. I can’t even remember but they sent me every flavor that they make, and they are all awesome.
I work in my car, and one of the best things I got for that is a steering wheel tray. You can get this for any car. They are pretty affordable, around $10. They attach to the base of your steering wheel and can turn it into a food tray. Mine has, on one side, a little cup holder inlet. It’s not perfectly spilled proof but you can put a can of Coke or whatever soda. I don’t drink Coke. I drink Zevia and sparkling waters. It’s one of my favorite. You can put that there, and then it has a little inlet for food to make it less likely to slip off. When you flip the tray over, it has a flat surface that’s great for working on your computer. I have been doing this since 2021.Part of being neurodivergent is being very clumsy, talking really fast, and going on tangents. Click To Tweet
That’s when I got that tray. I tether my phone to my computer so that I can use the Wi-Fi from my phone. I have thought about getting a hotspot or the little devices you pay extra for them and they give you internet wherever you go. My phone got an unlimited hotspot as part of the plan that I have. I don’t know if most cell phone plans have that but it works awesome.
I’m not going to upload or download videos on it but for emails, accessing basic internet things, it works like a charm as long as I have a signal. You can also lookup ahead of time where the signal is poor. If you are going to a campsite, for example, it will tell you if your service or whatever company you are using for your cell phone has service there.
Lots of reliable sites will give you that information. One of the benefits of using a place like an RV park, which I tend to go to, is they have Wi-Fi for free as part of your plan. I will talk more about my campground and RV park experiences too. I try to work at least some of the car charging stops. This is one of the biggest questions people ask me about having an electric car because they are like, “How long does it take you to charge the car? How many times do you have to stop?”
The answer is it depends where you are going, what part of the country, in my case with the US. They do have Tesla stations in other countries. I might go to Canada so that I can experience that. I have not had a problem finding car chargers, for the most part. Car charging depends on where you are going, where the chargers are located, how fast you are driving, what the temperature is outside, and which car you have exactly.
Even within the Tesla family, they have different ranges based on the car and the package you get. There are many factors. You can’t average it out very easily. If I had to stop every 2 to 3 hours for about 20 minutes, that depends on whether or not I was camping the night before and, what I left with, whether my car was fully charged. It also depends on how far apart the charging stations were. It is very hard to determine. Since I plan most of the trip ahead of time, I have a general idea of when I will be stopping, where I will be stopping, and for how long.
I love this tool called A Better Routeplanner, which is designed for all different types of electric cars to find out where they can charge and plan their whole trip around it. It’s a game-changer. It’s not perfect but there’s a free version of it. That’s amazing. It helps me out with 90% of my trip planning, then I leave 10% room for error or things changing. That’s when I try to estimate when I will be working so I can get my clients a heads up or plan on one day I will be able to work and when I can’t.
Day 1: Phoenix, Arizona
The first day I was in Phoenix, Arizona, I stayed at this cool Airbnb. It was a wonderful experience. I don’t know if Tampa Bay is part of Phoenix or outside Phoenix. I’m not even sure but all I know is the area called Tampa Bay. I went and spoke at this event called the Creator Economy Expo. If you want to know about that, I did an episode talking about my experience there. One of my clients, we have a show called The Live eCommerce Podcast. The episode that we did was all about what we thought, learned, and our whole experience at CEX.
The summary was great. I spoke twice. I spoke on Monday, which is May 2, 2022, and then Wednesday, May 4, 2022. I was at this event for three full days. It is the 2nd conference but 3rd big event that I have been to during the pandemic. It was interesting because I feel like in May 2022, people are feeling pretty comfortable with the pandemic. I’m still on the cautious side. I was one of the very few people wearing a mask. I found out the following week that I was exposed to somebody who tested positive for COVID, and spoiler alert, I have not tested positive for COVID. I haven’t had any symptoms. To my knowledge, I have never had COVID. I have tested positive for it once.
I got one positive COVID test in 2020 after my first big road trip but I went and tested myself the next day because I didn’t have any symptoms, and the following day I tested negative. I convinced myself that it was a false positive but maybe I did have it and was asymptomatic. I digress for this trip that I’m talking about now. I did not test positive. I took a test when I got to Phoenix because it was required for the conference I went to.
I took a self at-home test with Binax, and that was negative. I got an alert on my phone the following week saying that somebody at CEX tested positive. It’s because I have alerts set up on my phone, and they had alerts set up on their phone, our phones communicated and were like, “The person that owns this phone tested positive.” That made me a little nervous but because I was wearing my mask throughout the event, I felt fairly confident that I would be okay.
When I tested, I was. I took the On/Go. It is this cool-looking test that has this whole app that guides you through the experience. It was a very Millennial-friendly test and a little bit different from the Binax test. Both of them do nasal swabs and take about 10 or 15 minutes to give you results. I liked the On/Go experience. I would recommend that if you are looking to buy them.
That’s a great thing to bring with you. I brought both tests with me on the trip. I had one remaining by the next test, and I brought On/Go as a backup in case I needed a test multiple times as I did. I got to see the comparison between the two and they are both great but if you want the whole app experience and cool branding, On/Go is a good choice.
The Airbnb was amazing. It was everything you could need. It felt safe. It was clean. They have every amenity, and it is affordable. I split it with one of my clients. We stayed there and went to the event together. I met up with my friend, Julie. She came and got us a salad from this place, Salad And Go, which is becoming our little tradition. She lives in Phoenix, and she loves this drive through the salad place. They allow you to take these delicious big salads for $6 or $7. It’s nuts. It’s like Subway but just for a salad. She came over to the Airbnb, and we hung out. It was such a wonderful experience.
CEX was at this place called the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa. I felt a little jealous of the people that got to stay there. Most of the attendees of that event stayed at this hotel. It was a full resort. They have a water park there. When you are a guest, you might get wristbands for free to go to the water park. I could have gone. They had spare wristbands but it didn’t work out timing-wise.It's so interesting to think of how different destinations give you different feelings. Click To Tweet
I was a little bummed about that but I had a great time at the event. Part of the event is the company rally which I’ve talked about in previous episodes, where I have my social token, which is virtually a cryptocurrency called the WELL coin. That’s on this platform called Rally.io. They had a whole day where I met other Rally creators and learned more about Web3 and NFTs. It was super interesting.
They even catered it and served vegan food. In fact, all of CEX had catering and always had vegan options. I felt very well taken care of. I did bring my own snacks and lots of food on this trip snacks. Aside from the Biena Snacks, I also love this brand called Barebells. They make both vegan and non-vegan protein bars basically, but they taste like candy, like Snickers.
The vegan flavors are salted peanut and hazelnut. They are two separate flavors, and they sell them at Trader Joe’s for $2 each. I loaded up on those, and they hit the spot. They are good for my sweet tooth, but they also fill me up. I love having them for breakfast early on in the day, and sometimes I will even have them for dessert. I packed those.
I packed some Biena Snacks, and there was always salad at the events. I ate a ton of salads. I also brought my own salad ingredients with me because my favorite lunch, whether I’m traveling or not, is this Tahini salad. I make it with lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, olives, pumpkin seeds, nutritional use, and tahini. It is amazing. It hits the spot. It fills me up.
I bring a refrigerator with me on these trips. My next piece of gear that I love, I bought this in July of 2021. It connects to the 12-volt cigarette adapter in my car or you can connect it to a battery. It is something I’m planning to buy later in 2022 and that I have been eyeing for a while. It’s called Jackery. It is this power brick. It’s like a big, portable power unit.
They come in all different sizes. By size, I mostly mean capacity, and they are solar-powered. I have been eyeing this thing for so long. They are a little on the pricey side but after I bought this little Garmin unit, I feel like the Jackery doesn’t feel like that big of a spend. They have one for $200. It might be the cheapest. I have been eyeing one that’s $300. It has USB-C ports on it, so I can easily charge my computer and my iPad there. It also has USB2 and regular power units. Some people that have refrigerators for their cars use the Jackery to power that instead of the 12-volt cigarette adapter because that could drain the battery of your car.
I haven’t had any issues with that battery on my Tesla but it does make me a little nervous. The Jackery is also cool because you could plug anything into it. I’m using the 12-volt, plus my car has a USB outlet. I plug my phone in there to charge throughout the day. I will charge my Apple Watch. I try to charge other devices up fully before I leave for a trip and whenever I have access to power, wherever I go. That’s worked out pretty well.
I don’t really need the Jackery but I love the idea of having ongoing power. It’s also great if the power goes out at your home because it’s fully solar-powered. If there was ever an emergency and you didn’t have power for a few days, you could depend on a Jackery to keep all your devices powered up, whatever you needed. I like that for my overall survival kit.
The Jackery I have been looking at is $300 for the unit, and then the solar panels are about $300. It’s about a $600 investment. I have been saving up for it. The other tip that I have is because I’ve fallen in love with travel and become more aware of things I might need and costs, including car charging, food, campgrounds, Airbnb, and all this stuff. I got these general ideas of how much a trip will cost. This trip, I totaled up it came to about $850 for the main things that I needed for car charging, accommodations, food, and some activities. Those were my main categories that did not include purchases like the Garmin inReach Mini.
Day 1: Finances
I bought some new clothes for the trip. I bought a new tent. I bought a number of new pieces of gear. It was a bit on the pricey side. Two things have helped me when it comes to finances. One is planning ahead. I’ve started savings accounts, not a travel savings account but the savings account that I have allows me to separate my savings into buckets. I have a travel bucket in there. It’s like having an envelope for travel. Some people put all their cash in envelopes or keep it organized for various things. I do that digitally through my savings. I have one for savings, and every month, they contribute money to it.
In 2022, I started to get more into travel around credit card rewards. Not in the sense that a lot of travelers do where they get rewards for flights and hotels. Since I don’t fly that much anymore and I don’t stay at a lot of hotels, I redeem my credit card points back onto my credit card like a statement credit. Every time I spend on my credit card, I get X amount percent back and that goes right back in.
I’ve become more strategic about the stores I buy from and which credit cards I use. I have two main credit card companies. I will just look and see, “Do they have a partnership with whatever company?” I will use shopping sites to help me determine who sells what? I got more into the travel hacking to help me save money and get rewards for things, and the savings helped too. It’s because travel has become important to me. I want to make sure I have money for it. I want to also prioritize it in my life.
With all that said, it’s incredibly important to acknowledge that all of this comes with a certain amount of privilege. I never want to be someone who assumes that everybody can do what I can do. I’m not trying to say that from a place of ego. I’m saying that I have spent the past years now setting up my freelance life. It certainly has not been easy financially. There have been a lot of struggles, as I’ve talked about in episodes, and always happy to talk more about it if you want to read it.
In 2021, I had a rigorous, intense drive. I spent all of 2021 paying off credit card debt. In 2022, I will manage it every month so I never have debt. I paid it down, created a savings account, and opened up more financial flexibility. Even in 2020, when I did my first cross-country trip in my Tesla, I remember feeling financially stretched then. I did not have any of the stuff I mentioned. I didn’t have the fridge, the Garmin or The Carloo.
My friend and I, Leanne, did a whole episode on that trip. We borrowed a tent from somebody for her to sleep in and some other camping equipment. We got a bunch of brands to send us products to talk about. We patched it all together. We spent $300 or $400 each, going all the way across the country. For me spending $850, not including the gear from this trip, it definitely was more of a splurge. I bought a lot of groceries. That was the biggest chunk.
Car charging was about $330. Keep in mind that this trip I’m telling you about was about the same distance as driving one way from Los Angeles to Massachusetts and my cross-country trips because I went to many places on this trip, which I barely even started telling you about where I went. Los Angeles to Phoenix is where I currently am. I will share the next steps with you.
Day 1: East Street Only
I was with this company called eStreamly. They are one of my clients, and they sponsored the event. I adore them. If you are interested in live streaming and eCommerce, I couldn’t recommend them enough. They are the ones that have the show, The Live eCommerce Podcast, that I do with a couple of other food shout-outs. I love Evolved Keto Cups. They are these delicious, sugar-free or low sugar. I’m not sure what they qualify as exactly but they are low carb and are all vegan, simple ingredients.
They melt easily. I store them up in my refrigerator, and they are my favorite sweet treat aside from the Barebells. Second to that are SmartSweets and Project 7. They make delicious gummies. I brought some of those with me too. The Biena Snacks are usually my favorite crunchy snacks. Snacklins, are deliciously crispy. They are supposed to be a vegan version of a pork rind. I brought those with me too, and they hit the spot. I get very particular about the type of snacks that I bring. I always am prepared at events because I assume that they are not going to have any plant-based low carb things but I was surprised. They had lots of good salad.
I bring that squeezable tahini. I don’t remember the brand but it is organic, absolutely delicious, has great texture, and is super convenient for these trips. My time in Phoenix ended on a pretty cool note. I went to a pizzeria that happened to have some accidentally vegan options there. It’s called Bianco, and I was invited to go by somebody I had never met in person before named Matt Frazier. If you are not familiar with him, he runs a brand called No Meat Athlete.
Matt and I have worked together. In some ways, he ran one of the bundle sales that I used to do. It’s called the Plant-Based Bundle sale. I don’t do it and don’t even know if he does it anymore but his company has been in charge of that. He’s also good friends with my friend, Robert Cheeke. They wrote a fantastic book about The Plant-Based Athletes together. Matt does awesome work.
We’ve known each other. We have communicated indirectly in a lot of ways. I never met him in person. He just happened to be at this event. He and his mom were there. They invited me out to dinner. We had a great time, and the restaurant was lovely. Their pizza was fantastic. They also had some good vegetables, and it made me happy.
Day 2: Hiking And Camping At Sedona, Arizona
It was one of the few times I have been to a restaurant with a bunch of people during the pandemic. I felt a little vulnerable at times. I’ve done it off and on throughout the pandemic but I’m not even going to get into a pandemic now. It felt like a stretch for me to go do that. Thursday, May 5th, 2022, I woke up in Phoenix. I hit the road at around 8:00 AM and started making my way to Sedona, Arizona. I went there only one time on my 2020 road trip. I loved it. I couldn’t wait to go back. It was on my way to some of these other destinations I’m going to mention. I went on a hike, and that was pretty much it. I walked around the town.
There’s a good general town area that I hadn’t explored before, one at a hike, and it was beautiful. The weather was perfect. I randomly broke my pinky toe on my birthday, March 21st, 2022. I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to walk comfortably during this big trip. I went to the doctor right before the trip started, and he said I was all clear. The big test for me was going hiking. I went to this multi-day event, felt fine, and was wearing high heels even then. When I hiked around Sedona, my toe felt perfectly fine. I was thrilled. As a result of that, I hadn’t brought a lot of hiking shoe options.
That became a bit of an issue because as I got more confident about hiking, I found myself in situations where I was like, “I don’t have the right shoes for this.” Something that I want to add to my list for my next trip is a pair of actual hiking shoes, which I have never owned, to my recollection. I’ve owned plenty of running and tennis shoes. I have had multiple pairs of Vibrams, which are the coolest shoes in my opinion but some people think they are the ugliest things ever because they are called five fingers. You could see your individual toes in them but there’s great for hiking. That’s the closest I have ever had to a hiking shoe. I will be breadboarding for some official hiking boots so that I can be prepared for my next trip.
Sedona is lovely. It feels peaceful. It does feel a little bit touristy, though, that I didn’t love part of the element of taking a hike. Made it feel a little bit more nourished in nature. One big thing that’s worth mentioning, probably the most important piece of “gear” that I bought in 2021, is an interagency park pass. Otherwise known as The National Park Pass. That’s not even the right term but that’s what I’ve always thought of it as. This is part of being neurodivergent. I’ve learned to be very clumsy and talk fast and go on tangents. I feel like this whole episode is a very unmasked experience for me.
It’s called America The Beautiful Pass and is also referred to as a Federal Interagency Pass. You can get it annually. It’s about $80 for the average person but they do have different price points for seniors, people in the military or that have disabilities. They have all different options. There are maybe five different passes. I have the regular annual pass. I bought it at REI. When you get it from them, you donate money. I remember there was some perk for getting it at REI. Plus, if you are an REI member, you get money back because they are technically a co-op. That’s another good little piece of information.
If you get into camping, traveling, car trips or road trips like me, it may be worth getting an REI membership so that you can get special deals on gear, plus you get rewards back dividends, and then they also have special offers like what they do at the Interagency Pass. I bought it for $80, knowing that I was going to go to three parks. Since I bought that pass, I have been to at least twenty national parks, which blows my mind. On this trip alone, I went to eight different national parks. I haven’t even told you about the first one yet.
The Interagency Pass does not only get you access to national parks. It gets you to access to national monuments. I don’t even know what the difference is between a park and monument art because they look about the same to me. It gets you to access to the national forest. In places like Sedona, some of their parks honor this Interagency Pass. When I went to the park to go on my hike, it was normally $5 but if you have an Interagency Pass, you display that on your windshields, and you get to go as part of the $80 you paid for the year. It saved me so much money.
It is nuts. I could not recommend it more. There are probably some perks to that pass that I don’t even know about because it covers so much. I got to take this free shuttle, and it took you all around Sedona and dropped you off at different places to go hiking. It was amazing. From there, I drove up to Flagstaff to charge my car, and then I went to the first national park, which is the Petrified Forest. I have zero recollection of learning about Petrified wood in school.
A lot of people I’ve talked to are like, “I remember hearing about trees turning to stone.” I was like, “Why don’t I remember this?” When I thought about trees turning into stone, I thought it was going to be not very exciting. I thought it was literally going to be like crumbling old trees that were gray or brown.
I was wrong because, at this part, you can walk around and see these huge trees that have turned into beautiful stones. At this park, they are called Rainbow Petrified Wood because they have multiple colors in them, and they’re stunning. I wanted to go buy some but I ran out of time. I did see some at other parks, which I will tell you about later because you can find Petrified wood around the country and even the world.
On my way into the park, there was this huge shop that had all of this wood, and I didn’t stop because I thought maybe they were doing something illegal. I later found out that the Petrified National Park is only a small portion of all the Petrified woods. Outside of that, there are all these different sections that people will go to find and sell the woods.
Maybe I will collect some one day, but they are good for walking around. They even had like animal fossils. There’s all this history to learn, the visitor center. It was just cool. This big open space, you can drive through it and stop there, overlooks looking out over into all these cool rock formations. It reminded me of the Badlands, where I went in 2020. It was very peaceful. There weren’t a ton of people there. I’ve heard that the Petrified Forest is not that exciting compared to other parks, which I guess I could relate to but I still found it pretty amazing. I was glad that I went. I spent the night at an RV park in this random place. It was in New Mexico called Gallup. It was such a great park.
It is the USA RV Park. I did a ton of research to try to find the best place to stay. That one felt like a great choice, instinctually. It was perfect. The thing I like about RV parks is many of them are inexpensive, especially if you get a tent site. They are known for RVs, which supply electricity and water to the big RVs. Most of these places also have what they call tent sites. Some of those include electricity. For me, I can charge my car overnight and get a spot to put my car. In this case, I bought a tent. I did not sleep in my tent but I wanted what they call an SUV tent. I spent weeks researching these things.
They are big tents that have special attachments that go on the back of your car. You don’t have to have an SUV. There are plenty of other Tesla drivers with the Model 3, which is like the Sedan model that they have. I saw other people using these SUV tents. It’s like a pocket or tunnel that you connect to your car and seals it all in. Why would I get a tent if I wasn’t going to sleep in it? It gave me extra peace of mind. I found in my last few years of car camping by myself that when I would go to a campsite or RV park, I was all contained in my car, not only did I feel claustrophobic and limited with space in my little Sedan but I also felt like I stood out more and a little vulnerable in a Tesla.
I felt out of place in these areas where they are mostly RVs, SUVs, and rugged vehicles. Here I am in this black Tesla, feeling like I didn’t want the attention on me. I got the tent to make me look official and give me more room for storage during the night for changing my clothes, to have a space protected from bugs if it ever got buggy, and I love my tent. It’s a pain to set up. There are a number of options. This one was $89, a low price point. It was great throughout the whole trip. It’s not super big in terms of storage but when you fold it out, it’s huge. It can sleep five people. I was trying to think long-term as well.
If other people come with me on the trips in the future, which hopefully they will or do separate trips with other people, we could all stay together. I would have loved to have had this when I did my trip in 2020 with Leanne because she stayed in this tiny little tent next to my car, and it was sad. I always felt weird we had to separate, and how cool would it have been if she got to stay in a tent connected to my car? Why do I sleep in my car? If you haven’t heard me talk about this before, my car has Camp Mode, and that inspired all of these trips I’ve taken. It’s the coolest thing. It keeps the temperature perfect in the car. It keeps your electricity on and is designed to give you a camp experience inside of a Tesla.
I got that Tesmattress, I set the temperature, plugged in my electricity devices, folded the seats down, and lay perfectly in there, and it’s super cozy. Now with the new tent, I attached the tent to it and stored some of my stuff in there overnight, changed my clothes, and used the bathroom in the tent. It’s nice as a setup. That was Gallup. It is a lovely place. I was happy to be there. I remembered feeling regular was the first official day of my trip since I wasn’t staying in an Airbnb anymore. Another thing that I have been using is a little propane stove. I got a third-party company that makes this great little stove. I can heat up soup.
You can heat up anything coffee. It has a French press attachment. I use a cold brew coffee maker that I prefer over the French press experience, but anything you need to heat up. On one part of my trip, I used some refrigerated vegan case and heated it up and that little propane stove. That was neat. I have a solar-powered lantern that I bring with me and a rechargeable headlamp. I use that at night for light in the tent, and the headlamp is great for when you are walking around and setting things up. I brush my teeth and all of that. Usually, when I check out these campgrounds or RV parks, I look for places that have running water and bathrooms so that I can use those instead of The Carloo.
I will go and brush my teeth in the bathroom. Most of them have showers too, if you need them. I spend the night in the car, wake up the next day, brush my teeth again, wash my face, and I’m ready to hit the road. If I don’t have access to a bathroom or, for some reason, I don’t want to use the bathroom on the premises, The Carloo, and the Suds2Go hand-washing station, do the trick.
I brushed my teeth and used the water from my water bottle to rinse. I try to practice the leave no trace. I will spit into some cup or something and empty it out later on so that everything is contained in the car. The bathroom is definitely a more pleasant way to go. When I go on these trips too, I like to bring my favorite pillow. I also bring my weighted blanket, which keeps me feeling safe and secure with the weight on my body. It helps me sleep better.
That has been a game-changer since I got that in 2021. I love bringing my memory foam blanket. I also bring my electric fan to make some white noise. It’s not an actual fan. It’s called an electro fan, and it makes the sound of a fan but it’s this tiny little device for white noise. It helps me sleep in case there’s any noise. A lot of things that people complained about at campgrounds or RV parks was that they are noisy but when you have a white noise machine set up, you can’t hear a thing as long as it doesn’t make you uncomfortable from a safety standpoint.
Day 3: Mesa Verde And Black Canyon Of The Gunnison
The next day on May 6, 2022, I packed everything up and hit the road. I passed this cool area called Shiprock, New Mexico, which is in Navajo Nation. It is a neat part of the country. I listened to the history of Shiprock using this app called HearHere. It is co-founded by Kevin Costner, the actor. It will track where you are as you are driving or visiting certain parts of the country. I don’t know if it’s outside the US but in the US, you can pull up a map, and it has all these little stories about different landmarks. I learned so much about the history of places like Shiprock, New Mexico.
I also listened to a lot of really good audiobooks. I use this app called Libby, which allows me to borrow audiobooks for free through my library card. That is my favorite thing to do. Funny enough, I don’t listen to many podcasts. I often prefer audiobooks. My favorite book on this trip is called The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog. It was an intense but eye-opening book about the psychology of childhood trauma.
I was glued to every word, and it was a long audiobook. It was twelve hours. I remember starting that book around the Shiprock area, and then I went into Mesa Verde National Park, which is fascinating, speaking of history. It has all of the remains of the homes that were built into the side of cliffs and is very impressive. You can see all of the different remaining architecture.
I have a picture of another snack I enjoyed on my trip, which was Outstanding Puffs. They are these vegan, gluten-free protein puffs that also have all these added vitamins into them. You can get your Iron, Calcium, Zinc, and whatever else you need from them. They are also tasty. Those hit the spot. I like having things like that when I’m walking around the national parks too.
Usually, I’m in there for at least a few hours. That’s worth noting too. When I talk about my trips, a lot of people are amazed at how much I can do in 2 weeks but I went to 8 national parks plus the Red Rocks Park, plus one national monument. All in all, I went to at least 10 parks in 2 weeks plus a conference, plus I went to a concert, saw friends, did so much, and I’m only skimming the surface.
I generally spend about two hours in each park, and I’m mostly driving through them with a little walking around and stopping at sites. One thing that’s helped me out is when I get to the park, you pull up, and you have to check in to pay or show your Interagency Pass to the park ranger. They will hand you a map if you would like that. I like to collect the maps as souvenirs.
When they do that, I say, “I’m only here for two hours. What should I see?” One of the park rangers, even circled on the map all the spots I should see. That was at Mesa Verde. That park was interesting because it took 45 minutes from the entrance to the actual destination. It was a ton of driving and an hour and 30 minutes round trip to get from one end of the park to the other.
That does not include the time that it takes to stop and look around. I always try to check out that information. I saw a huge snake. It was the first time I ever saw a big snake out in the wild. It was 6 feet long and slithery across the road. I probably would have run it over if I had not paid attention. I was very grateful I noticed it. I don’t know why I’m sharing that but my mom told me she would have been terrified. I was like deeply fascinated and taking all these photos of it as it crawled across the road, then I started driving up. I was already in Colorado at this point. That’s where Mesa Verde is.
I went through Telluride because they have a car charger there, and it was beautiful snow-covered mountains. I was blown away by the ski towns and in complete disbelief of where I was. That whole drive was unbelievable. I stayed the night. The next national park, which is called Black Canyon of the Gunnison, is these big, deep canyons. It’s also a park I had never heard of before. It seems like not a ton of people go there but there was an amazing campground that included electricity. I got to charge my car fully there. There are different levels of electricity. My car can charge at a 50 amp. They have 50 amp, 30 amp, and 120-volt, which are also 12 amp or 20 amp.
There are different levels of charging. At this charging station, it was $22, which included electricity and a nice bathroom. It was like an awesome campground. I met nice people there, tons of space that you couldn’t reserve it ahead of time, though. I got there not even knowing if I was going to get a camp spot, so I had to have a backup place in mind but luckily, I pulled in and there were plenty of places.
Day 4: Glacier National Park, Garden Of The Gods
I got to choose my campsite and had a lovely night staying there. The next morning I got up early and drove around, checked out the canyons, and it was just amazing. These canyons are so tall. They are double the size of the Eiffel Tower. One of them was the size of the Dubai tower, which I don’t know how big that is but I know it’s big.
It was very impressive. There were some beautiful sunsets and sunrises. My favorite thing to do on these trips is to watch the sunrise. I get up early and see it all come out and walk around. I brought my bear spray with me because I knew there were bears in the area but I did not encounter any. I bought bear spray in 2021 when I was at Glacier National Park in Montana. Bear spray and be good for up to three years. It costs anywhere from $25 to $40, depending on where you buy it and which one you get. I keep it in my car. I have also been told that you can use it on human beings. It’s another security measure.
After I left there, I started my drive to Great Sand Dunes National Park. This might have been my favorite park out of everywhere I went. The sand dunes were hard to describe. Most of these parks do not do them justice but it was stunning to look at. It was super windy. It felt like this huge accomplishment to walk through all the sand. I chose to walk up to one of the higher points, the sand dunes, which was strenuous.
I did a barefoot and was very concerned about my healing broken toe but it did great. I got a heck of a workout. There are people with their dogs. I don’t know if my dog, Evie, would have enjoyed it. I was grateful she wasn’t with me. She probably would have been annoyed and made me turn back early. There were a lot of dogs running around there.
People are flying kites and sledding down the sand dunes. It was pretty neat. That didn’t take me a ton of time. I was only there for an hour but it felt like a very stretched out long, peaceful hour. It was not rushing. It didn’t take that long for me to walk despite how many times I stopped to catch my breath because it was so intense climbing up these hills.
You also have to go through this cold stream at the base of the sand dunes in between the parking lot and the sand. You are walking through mud. It felt like this intense adventure. I absolutely loved it. I got very sandy. There was sand all over my scalp despite wearing a hat and in my ears. It took me days to get the sand off my body.
I got lots of cool pictures. This is one of those things and I can’t wait to show them. Another piece of gear that’s worth mentioning I got in 2020 is a LifeStraw. I have been using their products for a while, but they make these great stainless steel bottles. I absolutely love that water bottle for travel because I can fill it up everywhere and know it’s being filtered. The problem was at the Great Sand Dunes, I took it out to get a drink of water, and the wind was blowing. All the sand got stuck in the crevices of the bottle. That was not fun.
Another thing worth mentioning in these hot conditions and when you are outside is sunscreen. My favorite sunscreen is a toss between MyCHELLE, I love that brand and Alba Botanica. They are sensitive mineral sunscreen. It is what I have been using. They’ve got a great fragment fragrance-free, water-resistant biodegradable formula that feels light. I put it on my face. It worked perfectly and got the job done. Another drink product technically drinks is Swoon. They make these zero sugar drinks, and they have this new one called a Sweet Tea. It was good. I was grateful to have my refrigerator, so I could keep it cool.
After the Sand Dunes, I did stop at a couple of other places on my way to Boulder, where I was going to stay with my friend. Number one was Skyline Drive in Cañon City. It is this little road up at the top of this hill, overlooking the city. There’s no fencing on either side. You are on this super narrow road. I have seen pictures and videos of it. I want to experience it in person. That was pretty cool. It was one of those checks-off-the-list types of things, looking back at the picture.
You can’t tell how cool it is by a photo. Similarly, I went to a place called Garden of the Gods, which I feel is very photogenic but still in person. It’s hard to capture how beautiful and massive these natural structures are. There are these big red rocks. The people created these paths in between the rocks, you walk through them and look up at the sky. It was like perfectly blue clouds and these beautiful, red rock formations. There were deer running around and families, and it was peaceful. I’m glad that I did this trip in May because it wasn’t too crowded and the weather was perfect.
I didn’t have any trouble parking at any of these places but got sunny skies and perfect temperatures. It was lovely. From there, I made a very quick stop at my friend Karen’s place to see her new puppy. Karen lives in Denver, and she adopted a dog. I met up with Karen again in Boulder the following day but she didn’t bring her puppy. I had to make a stop on my way to Boulder on the night of May 7, 2022, and then I got to my friend’s house, where I stayed for four nights. It was a Saturday night. I got there, and we had the best time. This is my first time seeing her house.
Day 5: Rocky Mountain National Park
She has this awesome house up in the hills of Boulder. It was deeply restful there because it was quiet. She had all the windows open. I saw a bobcat. She had the wild turkeys and deer running around there. It was in a fairytale house. She has her own dog and cat. I was nourished by all the animals, nature, and fresh air. I slept amazingly. That’s where my sister met me the next day. Her trip changed. This is part of the very minimal issues that I had on this trip when my sister announced to me that she was changing her flight to arrive on Monday morning. I was disappointed. In hindsight, it doesn’t matter.
At the time, I was quite upset about it. I ended up going to Rocky Mountain National Park by myself. Part of me was upset with my sister was supposed to come with me to the park but she had changed her plans. I went to the park by myself. It was great. It’s interesting because Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the country but in hindsight, I was like, “This is cool.” It was snowing in parts of Rocky Mountain, which is interesting because Boulder was 60 or 70 degrees most of the time I was there, and then I went into the park, which is about 45 minutes an hour away from Boulder. It was 30 something degrees and snowing but it was beautiful.
I drove through, stopped, and looked at a few things. They were moose there. That was probably the highlight for me. I love seeing moose. I enjoyed seeing the Stanley Hotel, which is an Estes Park, at the base or the entrance of Rocky Mountain, there’s this little town. The Stanley hotel is this amazing old hotel that served as the inspiration for The Shining movie.
I don’t know if it inspired the book but it certainly had some influence on the movie, and maybe they filmed part of it. There it’s a little confusing. I need to look up the history to clarify but a number of movies have been filmed there. I have seen it a bunch of times, and it was cool to see it in person. They even had Tesla charging stations there.
I got to charge up my car and walk around. They de haunted tours there, which I did not do because of time. That was cool to witness. The hotel Bates Bradco is at least in early 1900 because one of the photos says 1909. Later that day, I met up with Karen. We went to this restaurant called Thrive, which is an earthy, crunchy vegan restaurant with lots of raw food. It was delicious. We walked around Boulder a bit. We run by that river on multiple occasions. It was neat to experience it on foot. That was special. We went into a tea shop and spent hours together, enjoying the city.
Day 6: Hang Out With My Sister
I went back and went to this cool natural market called Natural Grocers. I got this incredible vegan keto product called Fossil Fuels Donuts. They are more like muffins but are in the shape of a donut with frosting on them. They are made from sunflower seeds and coconuts, and it was fantastic. It’s one of the best foods I had on the trip. I bought three of them throughout the course of my time in Boulder. I highly recommend looking into them. I went and hung out with my friend that night. The next morning, Monday, May 8, 2022, I got up, and we picked my sister up from the airport. That’s where my heart shines because I love my sister so much.
Day 7: My Favorite Musicians In Colorado
We have a mutual friend in Boulder. That was special. We went out to breakfast in town at a place I don’t remember. It was very vegan-friendly. Snooze is the name of that place. They had sweet potato mash. It was tasty, and my sister enjoyed the food too, then we hung out the rest of the day and enjoyed each other’s company and had snacks. We got some food from the grocery store, grilled up some burgers, and watched the sunset. It was nice and peaceful. The next day on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022, centered around one of the big reasons that I went to Colorado. I wanted to visit all these places I have been telling you about.
The second reason was that I wanted to see one of my favorite musicians, Ray LaMontagne play at Red Rocks Amphitheater with my sister. The three of us went and saw him on Tuesday night, and that was absolutely wonderful. One of my Instagram posts was centered around that. Previous to that, we did drive a little bit through different parts of Colorado outside of Boulder.
We went to this place called Nederland. That was cool. It was this small little town mountain town inspired by the Netherlands. I’m not quite sure if it had much influence but it was a nice place and very vegan-friendly. There was a cool natural market there where I got some food, and every restaurant in the area seemed to have some vegan options. Colorado, in general, is very friendly to the plant-based way of eating.
Day 8: Camping At The Colorado National Monument
That was a nice beginning to the wonderful day that ended with the concert. I could not recommend Red Rocks enough. I have been there three times now, and every time it’s an exciting, wonderful and special. I will go back any time. Wednesday, May 11th, 2022, we are coming up towards the end of my trip. We hung out and got some coffee. We went to brunch. I remember it being quite nice. They had the JUST Egg there. It was pretty fancy. It was one of the fancier places that I went to on the trip. Boulder has good prices compared to Los Angeles. It’s called Lucky’s, and it’s part of a grocery store.
It felt a little more upscale for a Boulder cafe in terms of their pricing but they had an awesome vegan omelet, which you could get with either tofu or JUST egg. That’s what I opted for. It was delicious. I dropped my sister off. They have a bus shuttle that goes to the airport, and that was a little bit more convenient for me. She took that.
I felt a little bad that I didn’t get to drop her off but she didn’t mind. That gave me extra time to make my way to my campground for the evening. I drove throughout a good chunk of Colorado. I wanted to get as close to Utah as possible. I stopped at the Colorado National Monument to camp there. I had never even heard of this place but it was covered by the Interagency Pass.
The campground was probably around $20. That campground did not have electricity. Maybe it was a little bit less. I don’t remember but I got to reserve it in advance, and it was insanely windy. I was a little bit nervous that something was going to go wrong. That was probably aside from the mini De Baca with my sister’s change of flight. It’s the only other time that I was like, “Oh-oh.”
It was cool because I had never experienced camping in high winds before. I didn’t set up my tent. I stayed in my car and crossed my fingers that nothing would fall on the car. I was a little nervous that my car was going to blow over or something but everything went fine. There were tons of campers at this campground, even some that were in a tent.
Day 9: Canyon Lands, Goosenecks State Park, Monument Valley
It gave me some peace of mind that everything would be okay. I slept pretty well and got up the next day and continued on my trip to Utah. On Thursday, I got to go to Canyonlands, which is one of the national parks I have not been to in Utah. Canyonland is across the street in the same town as Arches National Park, one of my favorite parks in Moab, Utah. On the way there, you can drive through this remarkable part of Utah. I try to take this road every chance I get. It’s called Highway 128, and it’s jaw-droppingly. It’s gorgeous. It leads you to Arches, and you can go across the street or up the street a little bit and go into Canyonlands.
Canyonlands is pretty cool. It didn’t like fully capture my heart. There were moments that were stunning, and you drive around, get out of your car, hike a little bit, get to an area that overlooks canyons, get back in your car and keep driving, at least that’s how I did it. There are also two parts of Canyonlands. I only went to half of it. Canyonlands might be one of the biggest national parks space-wise.
I was listening to that HearHere audio. There was crazy hearing the history of how they changed the park over time, expanded it, and all these cool historical developments over time. I highly recommend HearHere. You could even listen to it from home. You don’t have to be traveling to hear all those stories. After Canyonlands, I rushed my way to a number of spots. Next, I went to Gooseneck State Park. I had to pay $5 to go in there to look out over the parking lot to see this natural water formation.
The water through the canyons creates something that looks like a gooseneck, this U-shaped formation. I had always wanted to see Horseshoe Bend, which is further down in Arizona, right on the border of Utah and Arizona. A lot of people told me that Goosenecks State Park was more impressive. I went there, and it was cool. I got a little choked up because it had been on my list for many years to see something like that.
In hindsight, it is not as cool because I ended up going to Horseshoe Bend, which was magnificent. You paid $10 to go to Horseshoe Bend but it was well worth it. I got there at sunset, and it blew me away there. It was very crowded. The benefit of Goosenecks State Park is that there are not a ton of people there. There were maybe three people, plus people camping, you can camp along the edge, which I would love to do one day. Horseshoe Bend has 100 plus people around. It didn’t feel private or quiet at all but it was so much cooler looking. That was one of the highlights of this whole trip. It’s magnificent.
In between Goosenecks and Horseshoe Bend, I also drove through Monument Valley, which is one of my favorite places to go. This is my third time. The first time I went was in 2012 with my sister. The second time was in 2020 with my friend Leanne. It was almost as fun going by myself. This was the first time I drove from North to South. The previous times I drove from South to North, it looked completely different depending on the side that you were driving into. You can look up the super famous part of the country where a lot of old westerns were filmed, and it’s known as a big landmark for American culture. I always get excited to go past there again.
Thursday night started the ripple effect of late nights for me. Most of the time on this trip, I got to destinations by sunset or before sunset and was able to slow down and get tons of sleep well because I made many stops on Thursday. I didn’t get to the campground that I chose in Kanab, Utah, in between where Horseshoe Bend is, maybe not quite between but my next stop on Friday was Bryce National Park. It’s close to the wave on all these cool parts of Utah that I had been to before. They have a ton of RV parks and hotels. I stayed at Crazy Horse RV Park, which is one of the nicest I have ever been to, definitely from this trip. The USA RV Park was cool, but the Crazy Horse RV was fancy. They had nice bathrooms.
Day 9: Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park
I got to charge my car there again and didn’t arrive until 10:00 or 10:30 at night. I felt like I had to tiptoe in drive slowly and not shine lights. I basically parked, plugged my car in, got my stuff ready, and went right to sleep so that I could be up at 6:00 AM the next day and head to Bryce National Park. I went there for the first time, and that was cool.
It’s funny. It got a little overshadowed by the next stop I made but it worked out to be a pleasant experience because I got to charge my car, jump on a shuttle bus, and explore Bryce Canyon. I went and went on a 3-mile hike there. It was a beautiful day. It wasn’t super crowded. Everything felt like the perfect place.
It gave me this warm, friendly feeling. The whole time I was there felt very communal. It reminded me of a combination of Glacier National Park in Montana, Yellowstone in Wyoming, where I went in 2021, and also the Grand Teton. Those three parks gave me this good feeling in 2021. That’s how I felt in Bryce. It’s interesting to think of how different destinations give you different feelings. The shuttle bus makes it so easy. A lot of parks have this but in Bryce, you could see almost the entire park by the shuttle bus and a little hiking. It was great. I felt like on cloud nine.
I did that Friday morning. On my way back to Los Angeles, I ended up driving through part of Zion National Park, where I had been before, but to cut across from Bryce over to the area of Utah, I needed to get to head back to Los Angeles. It made sense mileage-wise to go through Zion. I didn’t even realize that the road I was on was part of the park until I got there. I was driving down the road, and suddenly, I was like, “There’s the booth where I have to show my pass.”
It ended up being amazing unintentionally going back into that park because it was the entrance of the park I had never been to. I got to see part of the park that I hadn’t previously experienced. That became the eighth national park I visited. In between Bryce and Zion, I felt a determination to buy a rock or a crystal. When I went to Zion in 2016, I found one of my favorite stones, rose quartz. I bought that in Zion National Park, and it has a special meaning. I love looking at this stone.
I wanted to find something else like that. I ended up coming across this amazing place called Joe’s Rock Shop, where you get in between Bryce and Zion. I could probably do a whole mini-episode on this place but it was amazing. They had all these great stones and crystals, the people that ran this place were kind. It’s blue calcite. They had probably 30 different types of rocks and stones, all of different sizes and conditions. I couldn’t stop looking at this one, and it has the shape of a mountain. It symbolizes this trip where I’ve visited so many beautiful mountains, hillsides, and formations. I absolutely love this. This is becoming one of my new favorite stones, and it was the perfect place to buy from because they were informative.
It didn’t feel touristy. They had great prices. I couldn’t recommend this place enough. I met some people from Minnesota there that said it was one of the best rock shops that they have come across in the area. I was like, “I picked the right place to stop.” I want to do more stories about that place because it was cool. I headed through Zion. After that, I stopped to charge my car.
The final semi-intentional thing that I did was one of the stops I needed to make to charge my car was either in Vegas or outside of Vegas at this place called Primm. I have this fondness for Primm. I don’t know if you have ever been there but it’s a stop on the California and Nevada border when you are traveling either from Vegas or from LA. It’s Route 15. They have like multiple hotels there.
It’s seemingly in the middle of nowhere. I learned from the HearHere app that it has this whole history of being this touristy place to gamble or to get food. I stopped there to charge my car and went into the Primm casino and played a slot machine, which is one of my favorite things to do. I put $10 in, played a few rounds, walked around, and got some food.
Driving Back To LA
I went to Carl’s Jr, which is my favorite fast food place to go because they have the Beyond Burger, and they do it with lettuce wrap. It is delicious and inexpensive. That was it. I drove back to LA. One final stop that is worth mentioning is called EddieWorld. It is one of the largest rest stops in the country. They also happen to have a Tesla charger there. They have the coolest market inside, where they have almost anything you can imagine snack-wise, mostly candy.
They have this enormous candy selection of bulk, but packaged candy is. They are all in like plastic bags. Truly, anything you can imagine beyond candy-wise. They have all these other packaged snacks. It’s a huge refrigerated section. They also have fresh food. They have the impossible burger there. It was the second time I had been there, and it was nice.
They have great bathrooms. It’s cool. I was there at 10:00 PM. The final two hours driving back to Los Angeles of that trip were tough. I honestly would have pulled over on the side of the road and taken a nap. If I had had the option, I kept looking around, I was getting tired, and that also made me nervous. I don’t like to drive when I’m tired.
I didn’t intend to but I was two hours away from home. I didn’t want to spend the night somewhere else. I safely made it home and crawled into bed, rested up, and here I am, almost fully rested from this trip. I feel like I sped through the rest of the trip to get it all in one episode. Hopefully, you enjoyed all of the details. I imagine there are at least a few little things I left out that I may share with you, sprinkled into future episodes. Stay tuned. I hope to make for a TikTok and Instagram at some point. If you want to see the Instagram posts I have made, check them out at @WhitLauritsen account.
Thank you so much for reading. I would love to know, do you have some cool road trip stories to share? Do you have any fun travel stories? Do you want to tell me about parks you have been to or do you want to go to? Do you have questions I didn’t address it? Let me know. Reach out to me on Instagram, via email or whatever works for you. I would be happy to answer you directly or make an episode on it. I will always be back with another episode with a special guest. If you want to get in touch, go to Wellevatr.com. I hope to connect with you at some point. Until then, I wish you all the very best. Bye.
- Beyond Measure
- @WhitLauritsen – Instagram
- @Wellevatr – Instagram
- Garmin inReach Mini 2 – REI Shop
- BETOOLL 67Pc Tire Repair Kit – Amazon
- Helteko Air Compressor Tire Inflator DC 12V – Amazon
- The Carloo
- Combat Wipes ACTIVE Outdoor Wet Wipes – Amazon
- The Tinkle Belle Female Urination Device – Amazon
- Biena Chickpea Snacks
- Kula Cloth
- QuickSnap – Amazon
- Ladybug Jane
- BASENOR Car Eating/Laptop Bamboo Steering Wheel Desk – Amazon
- A Better Routeplanner
- Creator Economy Expo
- The Live eCommerce Podcast – How To Thrive In The Creator Economy: What We Learned At CEX
- BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Self Test – Amazon
- On/Go At-Home COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Self-Test – Amazon
- Salad And Go
- WELL coin
- SetPower 12 volt Refrigerator – Amazon
- Jackery Solar Generator
- Life Lessons From A 10-Day Cross-Country Journey – Past Episode
- Evolved Keto Cups
- Project 7
- Ozark Trail 5-Person Dome Tent – Walmart
- No Meat Athlete
- The Plant-Based Athletes
- BLUU SOLO Backpacking Camping Propane Stove – Amazon
- HISVISION Solar Powered LED Camping Lantern – Amazon
- Outstanding Puffs
- The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog
- MyCHELLE Sun Shield Liquid SPF 50 – Light/Med
- Alba Botanica
- Fossil Fuels Donuts
- LifeStraw Go Stainless Steel Water Filter Bottle – Amazon
- Joe’s Rock Shop – Facebook
- JUST Egg Plant-Based Egg – Lucky’s Market
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