With the holiday season upon us, our life is packed full of parties and obligatory functions, keeping us close to home.
Today we craved some fresh air and time with our cameras, so we head over to the Red Rocks in Morrison Colorado. We spent the day hiking, eating snacks in the van and shooting some great photography of the Red Rocks area. Our toddler couldn’t get enough of the Xshot Selfie stick. Enjoy our short video below and let us know what you are doing this time of year to get some fresh air.
The other weekend we had NO PLANS for the two precious days we get a week to spend as a family doing what WE want.
So over our first morning cup of coffee we started throwing out a few ideas. We settled on heading for the ocean. The critical piece to being able to pull off this trip on such short notice was our ability to quickly get on the road in an hour.
In an effort to see you get out more often on family adventures we’ve compiled a quick list of tips that have allowed us the luxury of just picking up and hitting the road at a moments notice!
1. You don’t need all of the things you think you do…
If it’s a weekend trip, take it easy on the clothing, food, books, beer, computers, and games. Try to stick with just what you need, this will save time packing (and unpacking), not to mention space in your car.
a. Ladies: Think light… Do you really need your hair dryer, straightener, full-size shampoo and conditioner, nail polish, and cosmetic bag the size of a suitcase? Have a small (size of a “clutch”) travel toiletries bag always packed.
2. Have you gear organized.
We keep all our camera gear ready to go and have the van stocked with regularly needed items (baby wipes, trash bags, water bottles, phone chargers and camp chairs).
a. If camping, have your stuff all prepped in a large Tupperware, insuring you don’t forget things.
b. For cycling, keep all your helmets, shoes and bike accessories in the same place. Have your bikes already prepped with tire repair kits and water bottles.
3. Plan while on the road.
We rarely have the full trip planned before we depart. The majority of lodging, restaurant, or local attractions can all be researched WHILE you are driving (by the passenger of course) via a smart phone and adds an element of excitement to your voyage. Don’t be paralyzed at home planning the trip.
We hope these few simple tips lead to more adventures on the road for you and your family.
Please share with us your tips and recent adventures!
Our weekend started early on Saturday morning! We packed the Sprinter with a weekend full of gear and headed out to the Blue Ridge Mountains for some last minute camping. First stop, Crossfit Charlottesville to watch a few fellow athletes and coaches compete in the Super Fit Games Charlottesville.
We arrived at the crossfit box at noon and under a hot direct sun! Our team had an easy-up which provided ample shade. The Husband and I rotated between taking photos of the our teammates in the competition and watching the little one. She did a good job of sitting in her stroller for all of about 30 minutes.
By this time, the three of us were ready to move. Donald let he ride her the YBIKE around the area and play ball with the other kids. They even ‘raced’ each other up and down the drive-way!
After about 2 hours of this we called it quits. We said our good-byes and headed to South Street Brewery in downtown Charlottesville for a flight of beer and lunch!
When we had our fill of food, we pointed the Sprinter to the west and headed out! Skyline Drive, in the Shenandoah Mountains was our destination. We jumped on at the southern entrance. There are only 4 places of entry on the 105 mile road.
Loft Mountain campgrounds was our point of interest. Located at mile marker 74.5 on Skyline Drive we were approximately 30 miles away. A nice campground with plenty of space between each site.
We decided to take a nice “easy” 20 mile bike ride at the request of daddy. We didn’t exactly pay attention to the HUGE 2 mile accent we took to the TOP of Loft Mountain to the camp ground. But quickly realized it when we sped to the bottom.
We rode up skyline drive and stopped at a few beautiful overlooks.
When we decided to head back to the campground we took a deep breath and went for it. We both dropped down to our triples and peddled hard. What took us 5 minutes to descend, it took us 25 minutes to ascend.
When we got back to camp it took a while to catch our breath and we realized we didn’t stop for fire wood on the way back up. The camp store was 3/4 a mile down the hill…OOPS. Time to climb again. We rode the big dummy down to the camp store and arrived at exactly 8:02. The camp store closed at 8pm. While we wallowed in irritation, we chatted with another camper. He had a dog with him and was waiting for his wife. As we talked, the camp store manager showed up and said he could give us a bundle of wood. But we needed cash. Of course we didn’t bring cash (another oops).
To our surprise the nice man we chatted with offered to buy the bundle of wood for us! We couldn’t allow him to do that of course, and the camp store manager said we could come back in the morning and pay for it. This encounter reminded us you should always be nice to people. You never know who you will run into!
We hauled the bundle of wood up the hill … slowly.
We made some dinner and helped the little one catch “tinker bells” (fireflies). I then opened a few glow sticks for her and she LOVED IT! She ran around the camp circle until well past her bed time.
To our surprise we all slept until well past 8am! We never sleep that late in the Sprinter! We cleaned up and headed to the bottom of the hill to the camp store! A nice breakfast of eggs and toast with some BAD coffee. I love my coffee and this place had HORRIBLE coffee. Cream and sugar couldn’t even make it better.
We headed North on Skyline Drive to the next entrance/exit point at Swift Run Gap. We took the ‘back way’ home avoiding ALL 95 traffic. This is the way we normally go. Virginia is great except for the horrid humidity and the ridiculous traffic!
Do you want to spend some time on Skyline Drive? Just follow these few simple steps!
We spent the say touring St Simons Island, GA. It is a must stop if you are driving 95 through Georgia. It sits 30 miles north of the Florida boarder. Only about 5 miles off the freeway and down a 2-mile causeway, this slow paced historic island is a great stop!
The Village is more of the historic downtown area with eclectic shops, great food and a beautiful pier. There are two great parks for the kids and to top it off the dolphins love to play near the pier! The island looks like ancient times with the Spanish moss. Take note, the moss is beautiful in the trees but once it falls on the ground, it becomes infested with chiggers, DO NOT WALK IN IT!
We spent a full Saturday riding our bikes around St Simmons Island and checking out all the sites. We parked the Adventure Van at the beginning of the causeway and road the bike path to the island. The fog was dense and visibility was only about a mile or less.
Our first stop on the island was SSI SUPS. The owner has extensive knowledge of SUPs, the island and originally comes from California where SUPs are huge. The walls are full of beautiful photography and the counter was packed with local jewelry.
Stop number two was at the Monkeywrench Bike Shop. A great shop which mainly featured rental bikes and beach cruisers, but the mechanics were a wealth of knowledge. This shop has grown extensively in the past few years. They had a Surly Pugsley on the showroom floor just begging for someone to purchase it and start knocking out some serious miles on the beach.
We took a right out of the parking lot and headed down the bike path alongside the road, passing the golf course, beautiful homes and small shopping centers. We biked to Fort Frederica, which was 5 miles from SSI SUP. A nice ride although the path was pretty bumpy and at times only wide enough for one bike.
We turned around at Fort Frederica and took the paths back. We stopped at The Growler Factory, because who can pass up the opportunity to sample craft beers. For $5 you can buy a growler and for another $5 you have it filled (depending on size and style of beer). There are over 40 kinds of craft brews to choose from.
After The Growler Factory we had lunch at Southern Soul BBQ, which sits at the corner of a busy roundabout in an old gas station. Sounds eclectic right, because it is! There is very limited seating inside, but long picnic tables outside that you can share with 10 of your new BFFs. A huge smoker sits on the outskirts smoking the days BBQ. The menu consists of a variety of options, along with many beers on tap. There is a reason this place has been featured on the Food Network channel; it’s GOOD!
St Simons Island is a great weekend get-away with lots of things for the family to do. The views are great, plenty of places to bike. Maybe rent a SUP from SSI SUPs and spend some time out in the water. St Simons Island is an awesome place to relax via an active vacation.
Have you ever eaten at Southern Soul BBQ? When was your last stop at St. Simons Island?
A few months back we spent some time at Point Lookout, Maryland. Its approximately 2 hours from our house. A nice afternoon drive. We pulled the UAV into the campground and were able to get a nice spot in the RV section.
We biked the island (approximately 5 miles total). It was a nice relaxing ride.
We stopped at the beach and played in the sand! We were surprised at ALL the people at the beach!
After the beach stop, we rode our bikes off the island and around town a little only to get caught in the rain.
We pulled the baby in the Chariot. She LOVES the chariot! She sleeps on EVERY trip! She sings. She waves and talks to people!
The weather was great (MINUS the mosquitos!)
This was one of the last ride with the Trek XO1 before purchasing the Salsa Vaya! This new bike is the HEAT!!!! I love it! Best bike purchase yet!
The sprinter conversion van (Urban Adventure Van as we like to call it!) is our ticket to traveling anywhere we can imagine and knocking down some serious endeavors with our little girl. It has a TON of room for camera equipment, bikes, baby stuff, climbing gear and any other gear we can possibly imagine taking along for a trip. Not the mention, its a cool place to hang out or change in between excursions.
The 2007 Mercedes-built Dodge Sprinter Van is a 140 wheelbase and has a 7′ high top, allowing enough room to stand up inside. It has been decked out by Morehead Design Labs out of North Carolina. Exceptional craftsmanship and well thought out design layout. The van has a Mercedes diesel engine getting over 20 MPG and has more than enough room to standup inside. We have solar, an inverter, fridge, sink, diesel based heater and tons of cabinet space to store anything!
This van has really increased our ability to travel longer distances and sleep where we want with all our gear in relative comfort. Checkout the short video below and hit us up if you would like more details.