RV Tip: Stop and Smell the Roses

By:  Kelly Barnett

1st Nov, 17

Before Michael retired from the Army our vacations were always so busy and hurried that by the time we got back home, and it was time to go back to work, we felt like we needed a vacation from our vacation!

With that in mind, when we hit the road with our 2011 Heartland Landmark Key Largo, we vowed to take our time when we traveled and enjoy the scenery and the sights along the way.

On travel days we try to limit our mileage to 250 to 350 miles with 250 miles being our ideal travel day…less than 250 is even more awesome. While we have driven 400 or more miles in a single day, it is not something we do often or like to do.

We usually make at least three stops on travel days…one for lunch and two for potty breaks/stretch your legs breaks. But we've also been known to stop and see the sights along the way too…and those are probably our more memorable travel days.

One day while traveling west from Vancouver, Washington, toward Elkhart, Indiana, we happened to see a sign for Little Bighorn, and we decided then and there to make a pit stop and visit the famous battlefield. We toured the area, visited the cemetery, and learned more than we did about the Battle of Little Bighorn than before we arrived. You can read more about that visit by clicking HERE.

A monument stands where every soldier died during the battle of Little Bighorn. There are also monuments for each of the Indians that died, as well as the cavalry horses.

Mile marker 420 (actually 419.99) was another fun stop we made during a travel day. I found this particular stop by using Roadside America (I swear by it!). The 420 mile marker in Colorado on I-70 has been replaced so many times that they eventually just replaced it with mile marker 419.99.

If you're wondering why mile marker 420 is so significant it's because 4:20 pm was the socially acceptable time to consume marijuana - or so it was said - way back in 1971 by a group of high school students. April 20th (4/20) has also become the international holiday for celebrating and consuming marijuana…who knew!? I blogged about our stop at the mile marker and you can read that article by clicking HERE

Another unplanned stop we made was when we were traveling from Glendale, Utah, to Las Vegas, Nevada, in the fall of 2016. Once again, as we were driving along I spied a sign for a National Monument along our travel path. I quickly used my phone to look it up and to scout out the parking lot and found that it was doable with our 5th wheel!

Michael followed the signs to the Pipe Spring National Monument which had plenty of space for our RV (plus several other already parked there!). We spent quite a bit of time roaming the grounds, perusing the gift shop and taking a ranger guided tour of the small fort. You can read about our impromptu stop at Pipe Springs HERE.

I mentioned that we stop for lunch too. Most often it's at what we call 'Kelly's Kitchen' (it's also the name of my website where I post RV-friendly recipes). Kelly's Kitchen just means that we're eating at home. Most often it's at a rest area, but we've been known to stop for lunch in various parking lots, small parks, wherever we can park and be comfortable.

We like a place that has ample parking for the coach and covered picnic tables but if there are no tables available we just eat in the RV in the comfort of our recliners or even at the dining table. We're not hard to please.

Kelly's Kitchen offers a variety of dishes, but we're partial to salads, sandwiches, wraps or just cheese, crackers, nuts, and fruit. I normally do the biggest part of any prep work the day before we travel and then just assemble when we stop for lunch. I have a bamboo tray that stores behind the couch that I place everything on and leave it by the door so that it's easy to get to when lunch time arrives (of course refrigerated items are left in the fridge until needed).

Another fun Roadside America find was Tree in the Rock which served as that day's Kelly's Kitchen location. Tree in the Rock is located in Wyoming along I-80. Here a Limber Pine tree grows in the middle of a big boulder. Even back when the railroad was being built the tree existed, and the railroad workers left it be and built the railroad around it. There's plenty of parking for an RV and an informational marker for your reading pleasure.

We don't always stop for sight-seeing, but when time allows you can bet we will. There are times that we put a rush on things, if needed. Grandbabies being born, Nana hasn't seen the grandbabies for a while or we have appointments that need to be kept. Life's too short to not enjoy our travels.

*Kelly Barnett (2PSNAPOD) is a paid contributor to HeartlandRV's blog. All opinions expressed are her own.*

Kelly Barnett

Kelly Barnett

RV There Yet Chronicles

My husband, Michael, and I have been living fulltime in our 2011 Landmark Key Largo since April of 2011 and LOVE every minute of it. 

When Michael retired from the US Army in October of 2012 (after 29 years of service) we hit the road and haven’t looked back. 

We usually work in the south Texas oilfields in the winter and spend time with our two sons and their families in the summer. We travel and sight-see as much and often as possible.