Our First Travel Trailer Road Trip

We are back home from our very first road trip with our new travel trailer! This trip took us from our home near Houston, Texas, to the Pacific Coast - over 3,000 miles in 11 days.  We saw so many beautiful sights - white sand deserts, amazing mountains and valleys, clear lakes and colorful sunsets.  And, our trailer provided a comfortable and familiar escape at the end of long days of traveling and sightseeing.   

To make our first trip even more interesting, we had a few passengers on board - our two pups - Mia and Shelby.   

This was their first ever road trip and they did great.  Traveling with pups (especially two rather large ones) makes for an entirely different type of trip, but it was a lot of fun.  Rest break locations along the way were determined by the existence of grass or landscape mulch!

We agreed that this first trip, our major focus would be to relax, become familiar with our new trailer and acclimate ourselves to camp set-up/breakdown routines.  

We're happy to report that we had pleasant stays at all of the campgrounds we stayed at - with the exception of Mother Nature being a little vocal at our last stop.  

Bottomless Lakes State Park - Roswell, NM

This was our first stop and we arrived well after dark the first day.  

The park is absolutely beautiful and the lakes are clear and clean.  The campgrounds were quiet this time of year (after Labor Day) and we enjoyed taking the pups for a swim in the cool lake and walks around the park the two days we were there.  

Our campsite was surrounded on two sides by hills.   

The  extraterrestrial town of Roswell is only 15 miles away and offers lots of restaurant, shopping and fuel options - along with their famous Alien Museum.

We discovered that raccoons are abundant after dark and not at all shy about letting you know you're visiting THEIR home.  :)

Lazydays KOA Campground - Tucson, AZ  

This campground was super clean, entirely paved and meticulously landscaped with native plants.  Each site also has citrus trees loaded with lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit.  We enjoyed this location so much that we stayed again on our return trip home.  The campground restaurant really came in handy on our one night stays - no need to unhitch the tow vehicle to search for a restaurant for dinner.

Their fenced dog park was the nicest we encountered on this trip - so unusual to find grassy areas in the desert, but their spacious park was all grass, with shade trees.  The pups thought they were back at home and didn't want to leave.  

The campground features these unique covered solar structures that shade over 2 acres. 

Canyon Trail RV Park, Boulder City, NV

This campground is located five miles from Lake Mead and Hoover Dam and one hour from Las Vegas.  Very well maintained and two fenced dog parks (sand - no grass).   

The hot gravel and asphalt surfaces proved to be a bit of a challenge for getting two 60# pups to the dog parks.  Fortunately, we did so with no pad burns.  

And, we even squeezed in a day trip to Vegas.  We saw the filming location for Pawn Stars and hubby got a chance to tour Count's Kustoms as we celebrated his birthday while on the road.

The views from the campsite were stunning!

Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve - Santee, CA

This was our ultimate destination and 3 night home base as we explored San Diego and the Pacific Coast Highway.  This campground is a favorite of locals and the lakes are filled entirely with recycled water.  They're also stocked with fish year round.

All of the beaches along the PCH were amazing and Laguna Beach did not disappoint.

We found the San Diego area to be extremely pet friendly and the pups had fun romping and playing in the surf at Ocean Beach Dog Beach - one of the first off leash beaches in the US.  

They also enjoyed dining with us at beach cafes, coffee bars, and a really cute cafe along the PCH - the 101 Cafe.  

At Day Break Island Grill, they enjoyed their own meal ...

They were totally spoiled on this trip!

Returning home took us through the lush green fields of the Imperial Valley of California, to Tuscson for another one night stay at the relaxing Lazydays KOA Campground and through the beautiful Guadalupe Mountains to Carlsbad NM.

Carlsbad KOA - Carlsbad, NM

Our overnight stay in Carlsbad was a bit too exciting - we were entertained by a lightening and hail storm that passed through late evening producing golf ball size hail.  Thankfully, no one in the campground was injured and we were blessed with no broken trailer windows or visible travel trailer roof damage (will have it inspected).  Our truck didn't fare as well and sustained quite a bit of hail damage but gratefully, no broken windows.  

Except for the noise of the storm (!!), this was the quietest park we stayed in.

After 11 days on the road, we feel we have a good foundation for setting up camp (in total darkness even!) and breaking down camp (checklists are invaluable).  It also gave me a good idea of which items to pack for future trips, and which items I packed that proved to be totally unnecessary. 

We met lots of really nice fellow campers along the way and look forward to hitching up soon for a weekend getaway!

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I look forward to your thoughts and ideas!  I try to respond to comments via email as soon as I can. If your email address isn't available, I will comment here. Thanks so much for visiting!

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  1. Sounds like you had a lovely trip! Sorry your truck suffered damage in the hail storm, though. Hope the damage wasn't too great or too expensive to fix.

    1. Thanks, Bless. The insurance adjuster counted 70 dents on the top of the truck cab and 30 on the hood. We're very blessed it wasn't much worse.

  2. Carolyn, Thanks for finding us and sharing at Brag About it. I enjoyed reading about your trip! We do family road trips every year and it is always nice to see where people stay. Sounds like you had an enjoyable trip (minus the hail). No doubt you will have many wonderful trips in your new trailer!

    1. Aren't road trips great? Honestly, all of the parks and campgrounds we stayed in were pleasant experiences and each was so different. Loved the diversity ... a mix of seasonal campers and also vacationers like us. :)

  3. Wow! Sounds like y'all had a lovely time! I bet the pups had a blast too. Gorgeous pictures! Too bad about the hail storm, but at least there weren't any broken windows.

    1. The pups did so well and had fun ... especially being served meals in cafes. LOL. The dog beach was a treat for them too.

  4. I want a trailer to travel. We love road trips. Thanks for joining us at the Inspiration Spotlight party. Shared.

    1. Hi Theresa! We've always preferred road trips to flying and now with the trailer it's nice to sleep in a familiar bed along the way. Appreciate you stopping by!

  5. I want a trailer to travel. We love road trips. Thanks for joining us at the Inspiration Spotlight party. Shared.

  6. How fun.. Such beautiful country and what a beautiful camper you have [I have read the other post, It is like having your home with you, smile. ] Love it.
    SO proud you two [and your two babies] had such a lovely trip..

    1. Oh Judy ... you're so right. All the comforts of home just on a smaller scale. Spending 11 days in it did make us realize we could easily live in a smaller space (maybe just slightly larger than the trailer). LOL