Happy Hump Day! If you read our last blog with answers to all of our most frequently asked questions, then you’ll remember we saved question #10 for its own blog; What are your plans for the future?
Before we jump right in, it’s crucial to mention that we barely ever stick to a plan. Frequently, we make announcements of exciting things to come, only to never make another announcement that our plan changed. For example, we announced a move to the US Virgin Islands in 2016, except 3 months later, we were announcing our new home in Denver, CO, quite different than an island. So with that being said, take everything below with a grain of salt because things change quick ’round here.
We are currently just outside of Phoenix, AZ in a little town where we can gear up on supplies and get some work done before starting our journey North. We plan on getting to our favorite place in the world, Moab, Utah, sometime in the last week of March. Which at this point, gives us about 2.5 full weeks to make the voyage up there. With the weather much colder up North, we tried to wait for it to start warming up before leaving the 70’s we grew accustomed to in Central Arizona. We have about 8 stops planned along the way, which is a lot, even for us. The good thing is, if we don’t make it to all of them we can always come back, we won’t be far.
We plan on scoring seasonal jobs while in Moab so we can experience everything we always wanted to do while there. Something we could only do if we commit to working a few days each week. Some of our goals while in Moab for the spring are: rock climbing along Potash, solo skydiving, learning to canyoneer, and renting a jeep to go off-roading in. We are really stoked on our Moab plans, but we are trying to not wish the time away in the meantime, and really enjoy each day and place we experience. If all goes well, we will be staying there until Summer begins.
When we decide to leave Moab, the plan is to head west to San Diego, CA. Of course, we have a ton of places we’d like to stop along the way: Capitol Reef NP, Fishlake NF, Dixie NF, Zion NP, Red Cliffs, Grand Canyon South Rim, Valley of Fire SP, Red Rock Canyon, and the Mojave, to name a few. Once we get to San Diego, we want to spend the summer traveling up the west coast all the way up to Canada. On our way back down, we will go inland before heading south, stopping at every National Park and Monument along the way. Places like Olympic NP, Mt St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Steamboat NP, Crater Lake NP, Lava beds, Lassen Volcanic, Yosemite (so stoked on this after watching Free Solo last night!), Death Valley, Kings Canyon, and Pinnacles are some of the stops we plan on making. We may have to post up to work at some point towards the end, it all depends on how fast we spend our savings.
Come fall, we will probably venture back through Utah, enjoying the fall colors in places we have always dream about, like Ogden, before heading North to Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. Idaho has some of the most incredible hot springs and scenery to explore, we hope to get there in prime time to fully enjoy all that they have to offer. Once we get our fill, we will head over to Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, before getting up to Glacier NP for our first visit. When the cold becomes too much to bare, we will start heading south for warmer weather as Winter begins to roll in.
After this winter, we have definitely figured out what works best for us, and that means, the warmer the nights are, the better. Cold mornings and nights can make even the most basic of tasks difficult to complete, so we will take that into consideration before posting up for the season. We are thinking we will probably work for the season, or at least part of it to take advantage of the shorter days, snow birds, and holiday season while we can.
At the moment, it looks like we will be headed to the Southeast! Our best friend from our time living in Beaufort, SC is marrying the love of her life and they invited us to celebrate with them. Naturally, we will have to utilize the miles as a way to experience a completely different part of the country. We are dying to see New Orleans, LA and it’s probably the one city we can’t wait to experience. We haven’t even began to think about where we will stop because it’s over a year away, but we are really looking forward to seeing our good friends again.
Well, there you have it. Our verrrrry *tentative* plans for the next year. In 2020, we hope to turn our travels international; with extended travels through Canada and Mexico. Our dream is to drive all the way through South America to the tips of Chile and Argentina, but we have a little while to go before we are prepared for a trip like that.
If you have a suggestion on places to stop or visit, let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!
Greetings, from Rainy Arizona! Today we wanted to talk about our most asked about subject: traveling with a dog, in our case, The World’s Best Boy™; Rufio. Living on the road, or even a roadtrip can be tricky when you have a dog, and by tricky, I mean it takes sacrifice, and a willingness and eagerness to make those sacrifices, because it means having your best friend by your side. We took Rufio on his first long roadtrip when he was just 5 months old, and to date, he probably has been on over 50 long trips. Even cooler than that, he has touched every corner of this country and almost every state in between.
Before we jump into what we found works best for us, let’s go over all the obvious things first. It is imperative that you know your dog. Know how they communicate; when they are exhausted but can keep going, and when they are exhausted and can’t. We don’t recommend just jumping into long trips in the car with your pup, if it has only been for rides to the vet. It takes practice and repetition for them to get used to it and even longer for them to like being in the car. Make sure your pup is up to date on shots and takes heartworm medication, on time every month- even if it’s not a *big* (not the point) problem in your area, it may be where you travel. Lastly, talk with your vet before any major travel to make sure there aren’t any other precautions you can take to protect your 4-legged best friend.
Okay, so now that we got that out of the way, let’s dive right on in. Here’s what we found that works not only best for us, but best for Rufio too.
The first thing we do before starting any long car ride is to make sure Rufio gets a little more exercise and running in then usual. Time has taught us that he is a better co-pilot when he is thoroughly exhausted. For us, that means the day before we leave we run him multiple times throughout the day, and on the morning of, we wake up early and give him one last run before we get in the van to go. On the ride, it always helps us to have a comfortable place for him to lay, we use both a dog bed and a blanket and it keeps him still for longer and out of Sean’s lap. On long trips, making the most of stops can make all the difference. Often times, we will find a park to stop at instead of a rest area; it gives Ruf a chance to run off some of that pent up energy and a little space from the noise and chaos of a gas station.
When we get to our site, whether we are staying for 1 night or over a week, we have a routine (visual clues for Rufio) that we try to do before anything else. First, we lay out a large blue rug right outside of the van, put his bed, blanket, food and water bowls out, and find a stick or two for him to play with. This habit let’s Rufio know that this is home for now and he can relax, play, or wander- whatever he wants. Though, he is usually asleep 5 minutes after we setup.
Rufio is always communicating in one way or another, even more so now that we live on the road. We try our best to always listen, even though sometimes what he is saying, is that he is not up for what want to do. A handful of times, we have been eager to go do a hike and Rufio was just not having it, so we all take a nap, even though he is the only one sleepy. This ties into knowing your dog and being confident in those listening skills, understand when they need a break and facilitate it, it builds trust between you.
Rainy days have proven to be the toughest days yet, but we are starting to figure out how to manage them without Ruf getting too stir crazy. Rufio is not a fan of the rain, so we try to keep him active by walking around local pet stores. Each trip can last an hour easy, and we get to inspect every last living creature in the store while Rufio smells every last treat, win-win. Book stores and coffee shops can be another way to beat the rain, just ask first and you’ll be surprised by the amount of eager “yes please do!”‘s you’ll hear. When Rufio starts to get smelly, we’ll take note and use the next rainy day to hit up a nearby self dog wash station, we (not Rufio) have so much fun and (bonus) are usually the only ones there. Finding a balance on these days is part of the fun, lean into it.
If you’ve read our other blog posts, you know that we travel verrryyy light, and when it comes to Rufio, we don’t stray from that principle. We eliminated all toys aside from 1 small frisbee we keep in case we can’t find his real toy- a stick. We found that it was just too much clutter traveling around with multiple dog toys when they are just as happy with a stick and you throwing said stick. Get at it!
Benadryl is a van staple. Rufio has very reactive skin, and can in an hours time, break out in what looks like chicken pox all over his body. Both plants and insects can cause the reaction, and when it happens, we cram 2 pills down his throat (literally), and when he wakes up from that deep slumber he looks brand new. Our vet recommended 1 MG per pound, but consult YOUR vet before administering any OTC medication to your dog (obviously!!).
Lastly, a common question theme we frequently get always surrounds safety: cactus, coyotes, mountain lions, chasing after animals, and every last thing in between. The long story short, no we aren’t worried about him (not in that sense at least). The first few times Rufio hiked around cactus he stepped on what felt like, every single one in sight. Yanking those fishhook needles out of his paws (over 20 once) was no fun for any of us, but he quickly learned not what they looked like, but what they smelled like. It is so fun to watch him run through the landscape that is a littered with cactus so carefully, and much to our dismay, narrowly, missing each and every one. Our boy is learning how to survive in this harsh environment just like we are. He needs the freedom and our confidence to do that, so we let him learn the lessons. When it comes to large dogs and cats in the wild, we respect them, but aren’t afraid of them. Rufio is almost always off leash and you can still find him right at our side. He does not chase after livestock or large animals (sorry rabbits, beavers, and chipmunks), which is important on the land we are often hiking. When we see a plethora (and it happens) of mountain lion tracks, we take caution for all 3 of us, watching behind us, listening closely, and staying alert. Wild Coyotes are just not something we are worried about, they are well fed in the desert, a 75 pound dog with 2 humans is not something a coyote would typically attack. Know your dog and respond accordingly.
Living or being on the road with your dog has a learning curve for you both. It takes time to establish best practices, routines, and to really feel like you have a rhythm, but you will get there with consistency. Seeing the world through your dogs eyes can completely change your perspective and teach you an entirely different way to explore a new place. Sure, we can’t hike every National Park trail, or check out a museum on a whim, but there is so much that we can do, that we don’t care about missing a few things, that often cost money anyway. As long as Rufio is by our side, we are delighted- everything else is just a bonus.
Sean and I are so excited to be sharing this wild journey with you. We have been on the fence on whether or not we would start a blog, and well, after 40 days living in the van, here we are! The next few days are going to be rainy here in Phoenix, Arizona, so we are going to use this time to work hard on getting this thing up and running, and aesthetically pleasing, so please bare with us!
We appreciate all of the love, support, and encouragement you all have sent us these past 40 days. Can’t wait for you to hear and see what all we have been up to! I am going to post some polls on our Instagram (@thebeirnes) relating to content and topics that will be on here, so if you have something you have been wondering- let us know!
Talk Soon Friends + Happy Valentine’s Day!
-Ashley, Sean, + Rufio
“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”
― Alexander Supertramp