The Pursuit of Life

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So, what exactly do you guys do all day?

Driving through British Columbia

We get this question often – what exactly do you do all day on your road trip?  What’s a typical day look like?  Excellent question, and honestly it varies from day to day and area to area.  But here I’ll break down some examples for you.

Road tripping through the Yukon

Driving.  The number one activity that we do is driving.  A LOT of driving.  We have covered over 20,000 miles so far on the trip and have lots and lots more miles to go, so one thing that we do consistently and nearly every single day is to hit the road and drive around.  Sometimes that means driving to new locations with Gelly in tow, and sometimes that just means staking out one spot for a few days and driving around on day trips to explore the region.  We have explored from Tijuana to Alaska and so much in between, so you have to put some miles on the tires to cover so much ground.  Ryan and I both love road trips – obviously, we wouldn’t have done this if we didn’t – and we don’t mind driving around.  We jam out to some of our favorite tunes, listen to podcasts and audiobooks, and do lots and lots of looking around – hopping in the car is simply one of the best ways to see the world.  I do have my limit though and sometimes we just have to take a break, get some exercise, or set up camp for the night when it’s just been too much.

Hiking Seduction Trail, Haines, Alaska

Hiking.  Our number two activity (after driving) is hiking.  We both love to hike – it’s hard to understand why anyone wouldn’t like to hike; by definition it is walking around in nature!  But we probably like to hike more than the average person, and longer hikes are our preference, to really cover some ground, see some great sights and get in some great exercise, especially after those long driving days I mentioned!

Hiking Southern Utah

Some of my favorite hikes so far have been the Bright Angel and South Kaibab Trails in the Grand Canyon, Angel’s Landing in Zion, Bullet Canyon in the Grand Gulch Primitive Area in Utah, Seduction Point Trail in Haines, Alaska and the Hoh River Trail in Olympic National Park.

Hiking the South Kaibab Trail in the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Eating (and Drinking!).  We are mostly eating home cooked meals on the trip, or eating quick lunches in between hikes or in the car while we’re on the road.  I love to cook and have enjoyed getting creative with road trip cooking.  We have a two burner camp stove on the back of the camper, so mostly I am cooking foods that we’d normally eat at home on the stove, rather than cooking over the campfire.  [I already admitted here how I don’t really love campfires!]

Breakfast on the road

Ryan loves spaghetti, so we eat that somewhat regularly, eat lots of salads to try to keep up with fresh and healthy veggies, usually do some sort of tacos or enchiladas every couple weeks, grilled chicken with sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli, etc.

Baking peach cobbler on the campfire!

We try to vary it up, because I really hate eating the same thing over and over again (unless it’s nachos of course), and I do have to be creative sometimes in terms of figuring out how to cook in a condensed way using the few utensils that I have.  I realize that I use the oven often at home, so on the road I’ve experimented, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, with using the stovetop for making dinners that I’d usually bake in the oven.

Campfire cuisine

And of course I do cook from time to time in my Lodge cast iron dutch oven that I absolutely adore.  I’ve semi-mastered Sourdough bread in the dutch oven over coals (see the post here!), but recently lost my sourdough starter to the water in the bottom of the cooler.  I am still in mourning and don’t want to talk about it!

Campfire sourdough bread

And I have done some delicious soups and stews as well as a peach cobbler in the dutch oven – yum yum!  We do eat out from time to time, usually if we hit a big city and find a special restaurant that we want to try.  Or if it’s raining and I simply can’t bring myself to stand in the rain to cook dinner – that usually brings us to a restaurant too!  Lots of seafood in coastal British Columbia and Alaska of course!

Alaskan Ale, Hyder, Alaska

Of course there have been lots of craft breweries along the way that we’ve tried – when in Rome, right?  We just happen to be in places where craft beer is becoming a huge thing, so you have to sample the local offerings!

Brews with a view, Cascade Locks, Oregon

Other Activities Based On Our Current Area.  When we were in Portland, we wandered around the city, ate at Voodoo Donuts, and then killed some time binge watching Making a Murderer because (A) it was raining, (B) we had access to Netflix because we were staying in a Tinyhouse and (C) we had heard so much about it and felt like being lazy indoors!

Voodoo Donuts, Portland, Oregon

Voodoo Donuts, Portland, Oregon

Tiny House Portland, Oregon

We have also done quite a bit of fishing as we have come to good streams, we’ve rafted in Oregon, gone canyoneering near Zion, explored ancient ruins in Southern Utah, kayaking in Arizona and Alaska, and lots of other fun activities as they strike our fancy.   Salmon Fishing, Kenai River, Soldotna, Alaska

Hiking southern Utah

We aren’t making many plans in advance, and have been relying on recommendations from people that we meet along the way or friends and family who have been to a spot that we are visiting, and so we often don’t know what the next few days will hold.

Reading.  I have been reading up a storm – which is all I really want to do in life.  I’ve reviewed a few of the books that I’ve read – here, here and here.  Mostly my reads have been non-fiction lately, but I’ve also been peppering in some great novels also. Most recently I finished Behind the Beautiful Forevers, by Katherine Boo, 1861 by Adam Goodheart and Thunderstruck, by Erik Larson.  And up next for me is Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff.  Do you have any suggestions for books that I should read next?

Surfing Tofino, British Columbia, Canada

A Day in the Life …  So a typical day for us might look like this:

Ryan wakes up at 6am – because he simply doesn’t sleep well and can’t sleep past about 6 or 6:30.  After me complaining that there’s no reason to wake up at 6am, he’s learned to either do a bit of reading, or get up and wander around camp for a bit until I wake up, which is usually around 7:30 or 8.  We eat some breakfast (sometimes cooking a bigger eggs + bacon type of meal, but usually grabbing a quicker oatmeal or yogurt breakfast), and then get in the car to drive to a hike.  We will usually try to do a bit of a longer hike to stretch the legs, maybe 5-10 miles, depending on the location.

Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah

We’ll do a lunch of fruit, cheese + salami + crackers, olives, some hummus, maybe a granola bar.  And in the afternoon we might fish nearby if there’s a good stream and the weather is cooperating.  Then we’ll head back to camp and I’ll cook some dinner for us, after which Ryan (the expert disher in our family) does the dishes.  We usually climb into the camper, or hang out in our camp chairs if the weather is nice and the bugs are not too bad, do a little bit of reading, maybe some blogging or a bit of work for Ryan, and maybe chat with some of our neighbors if we are in a campsite near others.  Then we usually climb in the camper for a bit more reading and winding down and then try to go to sleep as early as we can – though it’s increasingly getting difficult because here in Alaska the sun is out ALL THE TIME!

Homer Spit, Alaska

And that’s a typical day for us if we don’t have a big day of driving to get to a new point. Hope that satisfied the curiosity for some of you who have been asking!  And as always, you can see more of our day-to-day activities by following @thepursuitof_life on Instagram!

BY Jackie
BLOGGED FROM Prince George, British Columbia, Canada