Hellllooooo, Austin! It’s good to be back. We pulled into our winter hibernation destination just in time to close the books on 2013 and greet a brand new year. And what a time we’ve had since we left here back in March!

Each year our travels are different – partially because we’re seeing new places – but also because, as the years roll by, we’re changing, too. When we first moved into the RV, we were like kids who’d just discovered summer break … we couldn’t sit still! There was so much to see and do and see – and we just didn’t know how long we might have to take it all in. There was no time to waste! So, 22,000 miles later, 2011 ended up looking like this:

GPF 2011 Map
2011 Travel Map

Whole lee cow!! Just looking at that map is exhausting. I honestly have no idea how we did that.

By 2012 we’d started to find our groove. Somewhere along the way it hit us that we could travel as long as we wanted, so spending time uncovering what made each destination unique became part of the fun. That being said, we still covered more than 13,000 miles, and 2012 ended up looking like this:

GPF 2012 Travel Map
2012 Travel Map

When we left Austin on March 16th to begin the 2013 travel season, we didn’t have much of a plan – and that’s exactly the way we wanted it! For us, traveling is a lot more fun when we’re not tied into reservations weeks in advance and can be spontaneous about where we go and when. It turns out that this was our best season yet! Here’s what it looked like:

GoPetFriendly's 2013 Travel Map
2013 Travel Map

A lovely loop, wouldn’t you agree? We drove the RV just under 10,000 miles – way down from the previous year – partially because we started towing the car behind the Winnebago. Suddenly, day-trips and short jaunts became a lot easier. Using the RV as a home base, we can really dig in and explore each new location. We’re staying places longer, but seeing a lot more.

Winnebago View and RAV4

Our very first stop was one of the highlights of the entire year – Far West Texas. We absolutely loved it and have been looking forward to going back ever since the summer swelter drove us out. Our plan is to make this the first stop of the 2014 travel season as well.

Buster and Ty at Big Bend National Park - TX

Big Bend National Park - TX

From there we headed north to New Mexico to see White Sands and spend some time in Albuquerque. Then we were off to Colorado, where Durango and Telluride really nocked our socks off.Ty and Buster - Durango, CO

Ty and Buster at Bridal Veil Falls - Telluride, CO

When you’re within striking distance and you love the Black Hills of South Dakota as much as I do, you don’t let an opportunity to visit pass you by. So, from Colorado, we stuck to the northbound trail and spent a glorious week in Custer State Park and Rapid City. The hike from Lover’s Leap was one of our most memorable of the year when we got caught in a downpour, complete with hail. It was one of the funniest experiences we had this year.

Buster and Ty at Sylvan Lake - Custer, SD

Needles Drive - Custer, SC

My whole life I can remember Grandma telling me that the prettiest place she’d ever been was Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, and this was the year I finally got to see it with my own eyes … and hers. This spot will always hold a special place in my heart for the connection it gives me to her.

Ty and Buster at Lake Coeur d'Alene, ID

Lake Coeur d'Alene, ID

Glacier National Park has been on our bucket list since … forever, so it was amazing to finally get there. The scenery was outstanding, and, though we couldn’t do as much exploring as we would have liked with the dogs, we found several day-trip options in the area that made our visit a lot of fun.

Ty and Buster at Glacier National Park, MT

McDonald Creek - West Glacier, MT

The theme of 2013 was, “It just keeps getting better!” and heading from Glacier into the Canadian Rockies was no exception. I have never before been in a place that more completely hit the trifecta for exceptional pet friendliness, breathtaking scenery, and entertainment options beyond your wildest dreams. From Calgary to Banff to Lake Louise and Jasper – I spent two weeks here completely awestruck. Ty and Buster at Lake Agnes - Lake Louise, AB

Lake Louise, AB

Albert the Elk - Jasper, AB

Lake Annette - Jasper, AB

At the end of August we had to cut across British Columbia to make my uncle’s wedding in Seattle, which gave us the chance to spend some quality time with family and explore gorgeous West Seattle in the process!

Alki Beach - West Seattle, WA

Alki Beach - West Seattle, WA

And, with summer coming to an end, we made one last run across the border to Victoria, before we started heading south ahead of the frigid temperatures.

Ty and Buster at Butchart Gardens - Victoria, BC

Butchart Gardens - Victoria, BC

As we scurried toward our winter hibernation grounds, we made a decision that will surely change the way we travel in the future … we traded-in our little Winnebago View and bought an Itasca Meridian. We’re now committed to full-time travel for the foreseeable future, and we’re looking forward to the new perspective this will bring for the 2014 travel season.

New 2013 Itasca Meridian 36M

New 2013 Itasca Meridian 36M

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