As we did last year, we’re starting out with a somewhat detailed plan for this year’s road trip. We may not stick to the plan– we’re open to the plan changing completely based on people we meet and things we learn along the way. Still, it’s nice to have plan as a “default”.

This year we’re hoping to hit the road on September 1st– a month earlier than last year. This will allow us to spend a little more time up north (or at higher altitude) before things get cold. We plan to take advantage of the added time to visit Yellowstone and Grand Teton, and then to spend a good chunk of time exploring New Mexico.

Here’s our rough itinerary:

Yellowstone National ParkWYEarly Sept
Grand Teton National ParkWYMid Sept
MoabUTLate Sept
Mesa Verde National ParkCOEarly Oct
Great Sand Dunes National ParkCOEarly Oct
Albuquerque Balloon FestivalNMEarly Oct
White Sands National MonumentNMMid Oct
Carlsbad Caverns National ParkNMLate Oct
Big Bend National ParkTXEarly Nov
Greater Tucson AreaAZMid Nov
SedonaAZLate Nov
FlagstaffAZEarly Dec
YumaAZMid Dec
Baja CaliforniaMex.Mid Dec -> Mid Feb
Joshua Tree National ParkCAMid Feb
Death Valley National ParkCAMid Feb
Back in PortlandOREarly Mar
2019 Proposed Route

With the exception of Joshua Tree and Death Valley, all of the National Parks/Monuments on our route will be parks we didn’t visit last year (most we’ve never visited).

We’ll also be re-visiting some cities that we enjoyed last year, including Moab, Tucson, Sedona and Flagstaff. Actually, because of our big laundry fiasco, we really didn’t get to explore Tucson all that much last time.

Last year we had an impromptu 1-week dip into Mexico, and this year we’re hoping to spend a longer stretch of time (perhaps 2 months) exploring Baja California. Sarah and our oldest have been working on their Spanish in home schooling lately (and I really need to start practicing again).

In comparison, take a look at the route we took last year:

Our route looked more like the two lobes of the lungs than a loop. We really really enjoyed spending Christmas with our good friends in Denver last year, but it was quite a haul from Tucson up to Denver, and then from Denver to Las Vegas (and we barely made it out of Denver before a snowstorm blocked the pass). This year we’ll be having a Feliz Navidad in San Felipe, MX as part of the Fulltime Families Mexico ROAM Rally.

We’ll be avoiding the California coast this year, which didn’t offer a lot of camping options, was expensive, and had torrential rain and landslides during the time we were there in February. Instead, we’ll be opting for the eastern side of the Sierra Nevadas on our return this year.

Hope to see some of you on the road! Cheers!