Our lives have changed for the better since we set off on this journey. We went from our former “American-Dream lifestyle” of Monday-Friday work, Saturday-Sunday relax and let loose to a common confusion of “What day is it?” Without responsibilities and schedules, we tried to paint a picture in this post of what it is we do with our newfound freedom. Most days contain some form of normalcy that includes starting with morning coffee and the news and then about 3-4 hours of research, project work, and ideation, and then 1-2 hours of adventure and exercise. Weaved in between is time spent exploring new places, various errands, and minutes, or sometimes hours, of meal preparation since we now almost always cook three meals a day. Not to mention that when your home is on wheels, ordinary tasks can seem like luxuries because now time has to be found to include necessities like hauling water back and forth to the camper, setting up and maintaining our power sources, finding the next spot for our home, and hours in a laundromat. When it comes to relaxation and entertainment, catching our favorite shows is a thing of the past. Partly because most dispersed camping sites lack decent cellular data, and also because we don’t seem to need the decompression from work time anymore. Instead, we enjoy reading, listening to podcasts, playing board games, exploring, and lots and lots of talking to one another. Below is a week in the life in the good ol’ Mesa Ridge.
MONDAY: Moving Day
- 4.5-hour drive from Nederland, CO to Saratoga, WY
- 2-hour Wal-Mart stop in Laramie, WY — (A semi crashed into a pole in the parking lot by us; we were trapped by an ambulance, police cars, and various personnel for 30 minutes until the scene was cleared (the driver was fine).)
- Set-up camp at Saratoga Lake, WY — This town did a good job of taking photos from the right angles to portray this camping spot as something much more majestic than reality.
- Explored the new town via moped
TUESDAY: Exploring Saratoga, WY
- Saratoga Lake run — A 30-minute run turned into a 2-hour expedition when county roads didn’t match their promised destinations on Google Maps. Luckily, we found the town cemetery to make for a convenient shortcut.
- Saratoga natural mineral hot springs
- Free public showers!
- Community center – free Wifi! This state-of-the-art center was an odd fit for the 1700 population of Saratoga, but we appreciated and took full use of the computer lab.
WEDNESDAY: Exploring Saratoga, WY
- Morning workout at the campground park — Pull-ups on the swing set, push-ups on the park bench, and total body transformation on the dino.
- Community center – more free Wifi!
- Saratoga Farmer’s Market — It showcased a whole two stands, but we did walk away with some delicious mouth-scolding habanero barbecue sauce.
- Rainy afternoon — Kayaking adventure cancelled.
THURSDAY: Moving Day
- 3-hour drive from Saratoga to Casper, WY — Google Maps advised the back-way up to Casper Mountain, but as the saying goes, there are no shortcuts in life. Thirteen miles of a steep, washed-out, uninhabited red-dirt road eventually led us to the campground.
- Scouted campsites and set-up camp
- Rainy evening; War for the Planet of the Apes in downtown Casper — On Moving Day, we don’t want to be around the camper any longer than we have to, so we went to the theater. This was a reminder of how out of the loop we are with pop culture; our disconnection from the entertainment buzz would earn us a 14% from Rotten Tomatoes. It was a strange feeling not recognizing any of the current movies, so fortunately there was a sequel.
FRIDAY: Casper Mountain, WY
- Mountain biked and hiked — Kristin got lost while hiking with Bella and feared for her life with the looming bears hiding in the forest. Carl had to backtrack on his ride to reroute her to safety. Thank goodness for the Find Friends app.
- Rainy afternoon; lots of research and project work — Carl decided he wanted to buy stock and spent much of the time researching options. Carl and Kristin extensively brainstormed a new business venture called The Green Experience. But that’s all we can tell you for now.
SATURDAY: Exploring Casper, WY
- Carl got a haircut! It was a big improvement from the previous haircut Kristin gave him a few days into the trip. YIKES
- Worked out and showered at the local rec center
- Shopped around downtown Casper and found potential adventure hats
- Explored Casper’s Hot Air Balloon Roundup — Kristin did extensive research about this fascinating event that included a park festival that had, with just a $6 admission, live music with beer gardens and food trucks. A quick drive-by showed a few tents and a sparse crowd in front of the stage probably made up of the band’s family and friends. We detoured back downtown where demonstrations of hot air balloons’ open flames terrified Bella and caused us to go home. Even after two attempts, including a 5 a.m. try, we never saw any hot air balloons during the hot air balloon festival.
SUNDAY: Exploring Casper, WY
- Woke up to what looked like a large church service occurring outside our window
- Indulged in libations the previous night; compensated with a heavily carb’d breakfast and chill morning
- Kayaked and fished the North Platte Rive — We floated 11 miles on the river toward downtown Casper. This activity seems to be a highlight in the town, outside of the mountain, where the calm-flowing waters appear quiet and clear except for the occasional group of local tubers enjoying boozin’ on a Sunday.