2017 RV Road TripFollow along as we take Monkeypod on the road and figure out how to run a business from a 1984 Ford Brougham, er, from my 2007 Mercury Mountaineer
Now that the trip has concluded, you can jump right to the summary/recap videos here.
Update One: June 30, 2017
Update Two: July 9th, 2017
Well, today we drove 731 miles, and tonight we’re staying with an old friend of mine in Salt Lake before we hit the road for another long day of driving up to Kootenay National Park.
I wish I had more to update you on, but the first week of “travel” has been relatively anticlimactic. We had hoped to set out on July 1st, but that didn’t happen. And since then we’ve had three different repair shops work on the RV, one false-start on the road trip (where we turned around after 3 hours), and are finally officially resigned to our Plan C and on the road packed into my Mountaineer.
I wanted to get a quick video together to bring ya’ll up to speed, so I recorded this before we left this morning, and edited it from the road during Sara’s turn driving. Thanks for your interest and for all the well wishes! We’re remaining optimistic and we’re excited to finally be making progress!
Update Three: July 14th, 2017
Finally time for some good news – we’ve made it to the Canadian Rockies, and now we’re on our third National Park in four days (we’re definitely making up for lost time). I’ll give you a quick personal recap, and the a business one.
It’s absolutely stunning. Sara and I highly recommend visiting this part of the world if you can. We spent a full day in Kootenay National Park, and then one day in Yoho, and now the last two in Jasper. It’s hard to pick a favorite, because the scenery is similar and the parks in this area all blend together so nicely, but we’ve definitely seen more of Jasper than the other two (it’s also 10x bigger, so we allocated more time here).
The only hike we haven’t fully enjoyed was the very first one we did (Dog Lake), and that was because it was the single worst mosquito experience either Sara or I have ever endured. (We’re basically polka dotted now.)
The mountains are gorgeous, which we expected, but they’re also very steep, and very jagged, I suppose kind of like the name “Rocky Mountains” might imply. But despite the beautiful panoramic views, the rivers and lakes that decorate the landscape have completely stolen the show. The turquoise water looks fake. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve compared what we’re looking at to a Bob Ross painting, or commented that our pictures are so vibrant people will think they’re photo-shopped (they’re not).
Lastly, the wildlife. We didn’t see anything other than squirrels for the first 48 hours, but then yesterday we had a flurry where it felt like we were accidentally driving through a zoo. In a stretch of 30 minutes (driving North from the town of Jasper to our campsite) we passed 3 black bears, a handful of elk. two big horn sheep, and a coyote.
All things considered, Monkeypod is movin’ and groovin’. I’ve been staying as available as cell service will allow, but unfortunately that’s less than I had originally expected. We switched to an unlimited data plan before this trip to make sure we’d be available, but we’ve discovered two things: a) unlimited data only helps when you have cell service, and b) even the unlimited plan has some restrictions after you’ve hit 500mb of usage (they deprioritize your data, aka, slower).
I also have to give a shout out to Brandon Hendrix, some of you may know him from the time he worked at Infusionsoft, but if you don’t, he’s a friend of mine who I originally hired to do some video editing, and now I’ve tricked him into more of a “trusty sidekick” type role. He’s been keeping a pulse on things for me and helping me prioritize when I’m able to connect.
Much thanks to automation, my business is still growing even while I’m out here. But one hitch I had this week was a new member signed up (Welcome Sean!) and had an immediate issue they were looking for help resolving – this is totally normal, and typically I jump at the chance to help save the day; but because of the limited connection my response time has been a little slower than usual. And with an important issue, for a new member, that’s not the best customer experience. We’re getting Sean taken care of, but the lesson for me moving forward is to make sure that I adjust the expectations I set around my availability when someone signs up while I’m out of town.
That’s it for now, we’re off to Calgary for the weekend, take care!
Update Four: July 20, 2017
Yeah, so, Banff is awesome….and, the car broke down.
Keeping with the “Things haven’t gone as planned” theme of the trip, the Mountaineer decided that Banff National Park was the right time for it to start having issues. So, we parked it at a mechanic for a few days, and explored the park in a rented 2017 Kia Forte (which was surprisingly nice).
Other than the wildfire haze, Banff was majestic. It’s connected to the other parks we’ve visited, so again, the landscape was similar. Lush green forests, turquoise glacial lakes and fast flowing rivers and streams, and this time we also made sure to explore some of the actual rocky glacier plains.
Work has been rockin’ and rollin’ basically as before. Spending a little time in Calgary meant a flurry of productivity for me, which was nice. I’m training myself to switch “work mode” on and off as connectivity allows. Thanks to everyone for the support (and patience)!
Update Five: July 24, 2017
So, we drove from Banff to Yellowstone National Park, spending a night in the charming Pincher Creek (population 3,642) and passing quickly through Waterton Lakes National Park (which is small, but totally worth a visit).
We explored Yellowstone by car (as it’s not all that dog friendly), and then drove through Grand Teton National Park to get to Salt Lake a few days early (and just in time for Pioneer Day, which is a thing) because….drumroll please….my car was having issues, again.
We’re learning the hard way that driving 4,000+ miles over a few short weeks is a good way to exacerbate any automotive issues you may have (and create new ones).
The car is repaired (for now) and we’ll be on the road again tomorrow as we add my younger brother to our rag tag band of road warriors.
Update Six: July 30, 2017
Alright, so we collected my brother Danny from the Salt Lake Airport, and we hit the road for Moab. We visited Arches in the afternoon, and then spent the evening exploring the desert town, before crashing at The Apache Motel, John Wayne’s favorite. The next morning we saw Canyonlands, and then made the drive to Bryce Canyon.
We went back to Bryce the following morning for another quick visit before jumping in the car and heading to Las Vegas for the final night of our trip. If you’re thinking that we flew through those final three parks, we did. And if you’re thinking that it must have been hard to see everything the parks had to offer, you’re right.
We knew the US parks would be harder because they’re less dog friendly, so the last handful of parks we didn’t do much more than drive around, and snap pictures of the various breathtaking overlooks.
After a quick night in Vegas, we finished out the trip by driving back to San Diego on day 21. Concluding our Monkeypod Summer 2017
All things said and done, here are the final trip statistics:
|Total US States: 6 (California, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nevada)
Total Canadian Provinces: 2 (BC, Alberta)
Total National Parks: 10 (Canadian: Kootenay, Yoho, Jasper, Banff, Waterton Lakes | US: Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce)
Total Miles Driven: 4600 (7400 km)
Total Mechanics Visited: 3
|Business Related Numbers (July 9-30):
New Blog Posts Published: 3
Leads Captured: 57
Blog Subscribers: 16
New Customers: 12
New OG Members: 7
Open Rate (last 30): 50.46%
Click Rate (last 30): 13%
Update Seven: August 4, 2017
Alright, I took a few moments to record a summary of and a little reflection on the roadtrip, and I also created a quick highlight video if you just want to see some of the pics from the trip. Enjoy either, or both. Oh, and for anyone who’s thinking “When is he gonna cut to the chase and give me three minutes of his dog hiking…”, I gotchu.
Trip Summary and Lessons Recap
Trip Highlights and Pics
Final Reflections: August 18, 2017
This trip had some frustrations, no doubt about that, but one thing that helped keep it in perspective was remembering the experience of starting Monkeypod, and all the things that didn’t go as planned at that point. I decided to share that story in the hopes that it may help you think about the way we all frame our obstacles. Enjoy!