Death Valley Super Bloom

Death Valley Super Bloom - Val in Real Life

A few weeks ago, I got to shuttle myself out to Death Valley National Park for the Super Bloom. The timing was such that I had to be there President’s Day weekend… so it was crowded and a bit before the super bloom’s peak. Given the once-in-a-lifetime nature of this event, I wasn’t going to be picky so I took …

A Motorcyclist Wonders… Can You See Me Now?

motorcycle safety - val in real life

It’s no secret that, in spite of a lot of effort by motorcyclists to remain visible while riding, the all-too-common scenario of “I didn’t see you!” is still the predominant reason riders are involved in crashes. In the UK, there’s a motorcycling acronym: SMIDSY. It stands for Sorry-Mate-I-Didn’t-See-You. It has a flippant tone to it, but this is a very real issue …

Staying inReach with DeLorme

A while back I talked about some of my strategies for personal safety on the trail. One of the pieces of that strategy is a GPS tracking device. Whether I’m traveling by car, motorcycle, or foot, this technology is something I greatly appreciate. Especially when I’m solo. Why carry one? There are various mindsets about carrying a GPS tracker. Some …

#ThankfulForFamilies Instagram Contest

#ThankfulForFamilies - Val in Real LIfe

Your friendly, neighborhood outdoor family bloggers have put together a huge Instagram contest for you! Follow the steps below to enter to win one of the GOBS of prizes in the #ThankfulForFamilies #OutdoorFamilies giveaway! Steps to Enter: Post a NEW photo of your outdoor family on Instagram making sure to include both #ThankfulForFamilies AND #OutdoorFamilies and tell us why you …

Adventures with the TomTom Bandit

TomTom Bandit Review by Val in Real Life

I have a new friend, the TomTom Bandit. This little guy is a feature-packed action camera and I’m quite tickled with it. I’m very new to the action camera market. I only dived in just before I left for Bikes, Blues, and BBQ in September when I bought a Garmin VIRB. Shortly after, TomTom approached me about reviewing the Bandit. …

Overland Expo East 2015

Overland Expo East 2015 - Val in Real Life

Even for adventure travelers, the conditions were somewhat daunting for this year’s Overland Expo East event in North Carolina. The rain and winds were the courtesy of Hurricane Joaquin. At our location near Asheville, we were on the outskirts of the storm but the impacts were still significant. It had many of us longing for the less-challenging conditions of Overland …

Hi-Viz Hydration with GeigerRig

GeigerRig 710 - Val in Real Life

For the last 3,000+ miles on Nina, I’ve been testing out the GeigerRig RIG 710 hydration engine. Here’s the scoop… What’s a GeigerRig? Hydration packs are largely the domain of hikers, runners, and similar outdoors-people, but they’re also great for motorcycling. In fact, many riders use them to stay hydrated on the road. There are many brands out there but …

What is Adventure Travel?

Adventure Travel - Val in Real Life

I’ve been in full-tilt travel mode the last few weeks between three different events. And guess what? Much of that time has been spent riding in the rain, sleeping in a soggy tent, and finding creative ways to extract my motorcycle from mud bogs. It’s been extraordinarity difficult. And I’d do it all again. But make no mistake about the …

Joining Progressive for Bikes, Blues, and BBQ

Bikes, Blues, and BBQ - Val in Real Life

A couple of weeks ago, I partnered with Progressive Insurance to ride to my first major motorcycle rally. Since my motorcycling interests skew towards adventure travel, most of my experience has been with events of the overlanding variety. I knew Bikes, Blues, and BBQ in Fayetteville, Arkansas would be a completely different beast than my typical haunts of Overland Expo …

Parenting Teens

Val in Real Life

This week when I shared the nuts-and-bolts of visiting Bandelier National Monument, I had to think back to why I enjoyed camping there so much. Certainly it’s a very agreeable campground in a technical sense but really it was that the time with my sons went well. There are so many challenges to traveling in a small car with two …