A Jillion Miles with a Thule Roof Box

thule atlantis 1600xt - val in real life

For quite a few years my trusty Subaru Forester has served as the main adventure-mobile for my explorations with Fred and George. She’s been in semi-retirement as life has moved on but this week “Blubaru,” as she’s known, is headed out for her first cross-country trip in a couple of years. George and I will be trekking from Georgia to …

Roadschooling at Arizona’s Meteor Crater

Meteor Crater in Arizona - Val in Real LIfe

As you know, we here at Val in Real Life like to learn when we’re traveling. Fred and George don’t travel with me as often these days but when they do, I still like to sneak in some learning that doesn’t feel like education. So when George asked if we could stop at Meteor Crater on our way through Arizona …

Western Adventure Road Trip Wrap-Up

I recently wrapped up another western adventure. This road trip chimed in at 31 days, 5,890 miles, and spanned 11 states, making it one of my smaller undertakings. I spent 18 of those days exploring solo before Fred and George joined me. In that time, I ventured to Overland Expo and explored the joys of eastern Nevada. After I picked …

Overland Expo West 2015

ovelranad expo 2015 - val in real life

I’ve been debating what to write about Overland Expo this year… about writing anything at all, actually. Because it was such an unusual and trying endeavor this time, I’ve spent the last few weeks attempting to sort what the true take-away was. For my first foray into Overland Expo, I had no idea what to expect or if it would …

Embracing My Wheelhouse…

I’ve gotten in the habit of naming my longer trips. It’s a label that makes for easy reference. Over the last few years we’ve taken on George’s Birthday Adventure, Geowoodstock to TBEX, Overland Expo to TBEX, and The Pacific Northwest Tour. As you can see, I’m a road trip veteran and today I begin another one. But this one is …

2014: Real Adventure. Real Life.

Seems it’s that time again… to review one year before beginning another. With the 2015 calendar staring at us and inspiring introspection, I marvel at what 2014 held for me as well as my boys. 2014 Recap… Overall, 2014 was a year that began in lots of excitement but ended on a mellow note. The bulk of our adventures were …

Virginia City, Nevada: Room and Board

Obviously when I visited Virginia City last month, I didn’t just wander around visiting museums. I did have to eat and sleep. And, as I mentioned, it is a small town and there are no franchises or chain stores so you won’t be tempted by the familiar. Don’t worry though, you won’t miss them because Virginia City’s unique offerings will …

The Car-Camping Guide: Road Trip Tips and Tricks

subaru gauges

Before I left on The Pacific Northwest Tour, I shared my road trip essentials… the things I do to prepare from a safety standpoint. Now for a random selection of road trip tips and tricks I use on the road that help make the trips more manageable and fun. Urban stops… For myself, I could quite do with minimal hotel …

The Pacific Northwest Tour: Sunset Crater and Wupatki

As a largely indy traveler, I always revel in finding groovy little destinations that aren’t overrun by crowds. I love iconic places as much as the next person but hoards of people can take the fun out of that experience. That’s one of the reasons I’m partial to Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument and its nearby sister, Wupatki National Monument. …

The Pacific Northwest Tour: Adventures in Cooking

So you know from my Fishpeople Seafood review that I’m quite the reluctant cook. The process just doesn’t excite me so I tend to muddle my way through for lack of inspiration and interest. This is why for me to be writing a cooking post is really very funny. But it occurred to me that someone has to keep it …