Travel-inspired design goods available on my online store:

Dipping my toes back into selling some design products, this time with society6. T-shirts, hoodies, art prints, wall murals and more. Check out my store at society6.com/neilharris.

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Summer 2021 Off-Roading Routes

We knew we were planning on hitting some remote sites on last summer’s trip, so we rented a pickup truck to help us get there. We were impressed just how rugged and unspoiled some of these places actually were. We spent 186 miles (7.5% of the trip) on rocks, gravel, dirt, mud and deep sand, and our trusty Tacoma, AKA “TacoTruck” got us everywhere we wanted to go. Here are a few of the most memorable routes mapped:
(click for larger view)

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Four Corners 2021 Gallery

The Colorado Plateau region never fails to impress. Our recent three week trip was one of the most scenic we’ve ever taken. We’ve been through the area several times before, so this trip allowed us visit some lesser-known attractions to fill in the gaps between previous routes. Out of more than 1,000 photos (I need to stop) I’ve distilled it down to 53. There’s much more to be seen, so check out @highkicktravel on Instagram for more upcoming scenery.

Click on an image to open slideshow and view captions.

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Summer Trip 2021 is Here!

Our latest travel adventure is upon us. On Friday, July 9th, we fly to Albuquerque, NM to begin a three week road trip through the four corners region. After an evening at the vintage El Vado Motel in Albuquerque, we’ll spend two days exploring New Mexico’s Capital, Santa Fe.

Following our urban New Mexico days, we’ll take our rented pickup truck into the wilderness by passing through Valles Caldera National Preserve on the way to a night of camping in Chaco Culture National Historical Park. This remote spot in the northwest of the state features a high concentration of ancient Ancestral Puebloan ruins. Next, we’ll head north into the Southwest corner of Colorado to visit more ruins at Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and then continuing the theme in Utah at Hovenweep National Monument. Our first night in Utah will be spent in a converted mill in Monticello called the Grist Mill Inn. We’ll be tantalizingly close to an area of Canyonlands we visited this spring, but instead we’ll head around the southern side of the Abajo Mountains, making stops at Bears Ears National Monument, Natural Bridges National Monument and various sites on the way to the Fruita Campground in Capitol Reef National Park. We visited Capitol Reef in 2015, so this is a quicker visit, but we’ll still hit up some things we didn’t have time to see last time.

After Capitol Reef, we make the quick drive along the famously scenic Utah Highway 12 into Escalante, where we’ll stay for two nights in an Airbnb that features llamas in the yard. We’ll spend a couple days exploring the sights and slot canyons in the area before making our way to Zion National Park after a morning in Bryce Canyon.

We last visited Zion in 2012, so we’re excited to hit the features we didn’t get to see the first time. Our main objectives (weather-permitting) are The Narrows and Kolob Arch in the more remote northwestern section of the park. Following Zion, we’ll head south into Arizona and spend two nights camping on the less-visited North Rim, where we’ll day hike down to roaring springs and also take in the many viewpoints from the rim level. After departing the Grand Canyon, we’ve secured permits for the South Coyote Buttes area of Vermillion Cliffs National Monument. The nearby “Wave” formation gets most of the area attention, but a hard-to-win lottery makes visiting it a slim chance. South Coyote Buttes still require a permit, but it’s available to reserve online ahead of time.

The next two nights will be spent at Lee’s Ferry Lodge, which will be our base for a kayak trip down the Colorado River around Horseshoe bend. The Navajo Nation just announced a partial reopening to tourism, so we’ve finally been able to reserve a tour of famous Antelope Canyon as we head out of the Page, AZ area toward our final National Park of the trip, Mesa Verde. We’ll spend two nights at the Far View Lodge, exploring the ruins on our first visit since summer 2015.

The final week of the trip is a delayed celebration of my parents’ 50th anniversary. The whole family will meet in a house on the side of a mountain near Fairplay, Colorado. We’ll spend the week whitewater rafting, horseback riding and additional general mountain fun before we hitch a ride back as far as Iowa with the family. 

Here’s the map of our route:

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Infographics: Moab Trip Spring 2021

Some statistics on our March 26-April 4 road trip to Moab, Utah.

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Moab, Utah 2021 Gallery

Images from our recent trip to Moab, featuring Arches National Park, the Island In The Sky and Needles districts of Canyonlands National Park, and Fisher towers. Red rock is heavily featured and the LaSal mountains play a prominent supporting role as the backdrop to the entire region. Click to full size slideshow for captions.

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Elevations of 2020 “River & Ranges” Road Trip

Elevations of locations along our summer road trip route mapped and shown in a linear diagram (below). The labels get pretty small, so click to zoom and get the close-up view.

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Nick & Neil’s Best of 2020

BestOf2020_Header

Travel was somewhat limited in 2020, but we still managed to eat and drink some amazing things and stay in some great lodging. This year’s list leans more heavily on pizza and beer than usual due to pandemic-related convenience (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Cheers to what will hopefully be a mid-2021 return to our more usual routine of seeking out the best classic cocktail bars.

Best Food (Ordered chronologically)
1. Smoked Salmon Sandwich – Uncle Wolfie’s : Milwaukee, WI
2. Alicia Sandwich – Obo’s Deli : Pinedale, WY
3. Pappardelle – Sawtooth Hotel : Stanley, ID
4. Meatloaf – Sawtooth Hotel : Stanley, ID
5. Chickenator Pizza – Papa Brunee’s : Stanley, ID
6. Korean Street Tacos – Sawtooth Brewing Public House : Ketchum, ID
7. Idaho Trout – Tundra : Hailey, ID
8. Cornish Hen – Cucina : Salt Lake City, UT
9. Brunch Bibimbop – Avenues Proper : Salt Lake City, UT
10.
Raspberry & Chocolate Roulade – Maison La Belle Vie : Palisade, CO
11.
Vegetable “Risotto” – Bin707 : Grand Junction, CO
12. Hog Heaven Pizza – Pal’s Brewing : North Platte, NE
13. Asparagus & Fontina Pizza – The Copper Trout : Bayfield, WI
14. Cherry Bacon Marmalade Burger – Cherry Republic Brewing : Glen Arbor, MI
15. Berry Croissant Breakfast Casserole – Cottonwood Inn B&B : Empire, MI

Best Overall Meal:
Cucina : Salt Lake City, UT

Other Outstanding Restaurants:
Sawtooth Hotel : Stanley, ID
Tundra : Hailey, ID

BestOf2020_Food

Best Drinks (Ordered chronologically)
1.
How Dare You Speak To Me IPA – Hacienda Beer Co : Milwaukee, WI
2. Alphabetical Order Pink Guava Gose – Company Brewing, Milwaukee, WI
3. Kringle Monster Pastry Stout with Raspberry – MobCraft : Milwaukee, WI
4. Ghost Town Hazy IPA – Wind River Brewing : Pinedale, WY
5. Sunbeam Imperial IPA – Sockeye Brewing : ID
6. Pika Peanut Butter Milk Stout – Sawtooth Brewing : Ketchum, ID
7. The View – Palisade Brewing : Palidade, CO
8. Villard Blanc – Maison La Belle Vie : Palisade, CO
9. Rosé – Mesa Park Vineyards : Palisade, CO
10. Un-Oaked Chardonnay – Restoration Vineyards : Palisade, CO
11. Operation Dark Snake – Tres Litros Brewing : Salida, CO
12. Smash Face – Hop Lot Brewing : Sutton’s Bay, MI
13. Fun Guv’nr Black IPA – Stormcloud Brewing : Frankfort, MI

Best Drinking State this year: Colorado

BestOf2020_Drinks

Best Hotel:
1.
Sawtooth Hotel – Stanley, ID

Other Outstanding Lodging:
2.
Farm Airbnb – Clifton, CO
3. Cottonwood Inn B&B (Carriage House) – Empire, MI

BestOf2020_Lodging

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2020 Year in Review

2020 was a lighter travel year than usual for us. Most of our original plans had to be scrapped, including our entire spring trip to Utah in April. Our summer trip was drastically altered to avoid air travel any any location that might be crowded. It wasn’t all bad though, because we discovered some hidden gems and managed to salvage a portion of our originally planned route between Stanley, Idaho and Dinosaur National Monument.

Here are some statistics and memorable moments from 2020. Let’s hope 2021 offers increased travel opportunities!

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Statistics: Ranges & Rivers 2020 Road Trip

Some informative information and statistics from our Covid-altered summer road trip to some of the more remote sections of the U.S. (July 14-August 1, 2020)

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