Campsites and Challenges

Dispersed camping is much more common in the West than it is on the East coast, but if you can find it you’ll likely be pleased with your spot. Dispersed camping is essentially free camping on BLM (bureau of land management) or National Forest land. Many dispersed sites have fire rings, but usually that is the only amenity provided. Users are expected to be aware of fire danger in the area and pack out anything they pack in – yes, this includes your toilet paper!

I consider myself a good campsite finder and I’ll let you in on the secret. Patience! Don’t stop at the first campsite you see unless you absolutely love it! Even if it’s starting to get late, and you’re starving. Just look a little further. Anyone who knows me personally would not describe me as patient, but when it comes to finding a campsite, I prefer to drive around and scope out the options. It’s better to hold out for that perfect view or peaceful clearing when setting up a temporary home. 

My campsite priorities are; rivers for the soothing background noise, mountains for the awe inspiring view, or any view of water.  I prefer to have a slightly secluded spot that has a level area for my tent. The best spot will allow me to set up my tent so that I can wake up to the view!

Alright now for the challenges. It’s good to plan how you’ll get your workout in before you leave and to set it up so that you feel obligated to do it, even after a long day of hiking or biking. Before we left town, Melissa, Sofie, and I set a challenge for ourselves to keep us working out while we were away from home. We decided we would do a push-up pyramid every day at our new campsite. Our first night consisted of  24 and by the end we were up to 72 push-ups! 

Check out this fun little video to see our challenges and our campsites! 

More house updates coming soon. Spoiler alert: project patience is hard.

 xoxo

E

The Kitchen is the Heart of the Home

Just a quick break between adventure posts here…I’ll have the campsites and challenges post for you soon! I have to borrow Sofie’s computer to edit the videos for you guys, so have patience!

Moving back into my Tiny has been very inspiring, but like I’ve said before, it’s teaching me something about patience. I want to work on all of my projects immediately, but there just isn’t enough time and money in the bank to make it happen, you know?

The projects are focused on both aesthetics and function. How can I make my Tiny feel comfortable while also making it as efficient as possible? I started in the kitchen because the kitchen is the heart of the home. I’ll give you guys the before and after photos to show what I’ve changed! 

Here’s the before photo. It’s a little hard to tell, but you can see how I have cluttered upper shelves, especially to the right. Also, the bottom shelves look unfinished.

Here’s what it looks like now. Granted, I’m not in the middle of cooking with friends in this after photo so it doesn’t have the same vibe. But, you get the idea. Let me know what you think!

 I rearranged my pantry so that dry goods are stored in jars. The jars add to the aesthetics and get the dry goods (that we’re living in the nice baskets under my shelves) out of there to free up space for things that are in and out or can’t be stored in jars. It’s a simple step that really made a lovely difference. Next, I created curtains to cover the bottom section of the open shelving. In my opinion, they’ve pulled the kitchen together and make it look more finished. I need to hem the curtains still, but I’m trying to decide if I should expose the baskets along the bottom of the shelves or keep them covered.

Excuse the binder clips…😂


My next step is to paint the edges of the shelves that are exposed. What color do you think I should use? As you can see from the fabric, I’m trying to tie red into the kitchen. I’m just not sure if I want to paint the shelving red. I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

Thank you for stopping by, I love reading your comments!! Check back soon to find out why I’m trying to add red to my color scheme.

xoxo

E

Bike Packing Bozeman

Bozeman has been on my list of places to check out ever since two of my friends in CT told me about their time living there. It sounded like my kind of place, so when Melissa and Sofie suggested going to Montana to learn how to fly fish I was all in! 

Let me preface this post by saying that we did not learn how to fly fish on this trip. But we did make it to Bozeman and we spent some quality time by rivers and reservoirs. 

Our Bozeman adventure consisted of taking in the town for a while and then packing up our bikes and riding out of town and up into Hyalite Canyon. 

On the eve of our arrival in Bozeman we tested out some local brews and met some interesting folks, friends of the fellow adventurer who let us camp in his back yard for the night. Then we got to planning our next overnight. 

Decisions were made before going to sleep, the plan was to get up early and start our ride. 10 am rolled around the next morning and we rolled into Bagelworks on Main St. to get some much needed breakfast and coffee. 

We finally packed our bikes for the night and took off at approximately 2:38 pm. This wasn’t the early start we had planned on, but as I mentioned earlier, very little about this trip went as planned and it was perfectly spontaneous. Adventures like these are my favorites because it reminds me to “be like water,” as my wise Uncle Mike would say. 

Anyway, we rode out of Bozeman’s city limits and started the climb up to Hyalite Reservoir. This was a 10-mile climb surrounded by canyon walls, pine trees, and a roaring river. The view made the climb totally enjoyable. We got to the first campground at the reservoir in an hour and a half. We were beginning to realize how full the campgrounds were when a hero on a motorcycle rode up to us to ask if we were looking for a campsite. He had made a reservation, but needed to cancel it. We followed him to the host, Louise, so we could take his campsite and she let us know how lucky we were. Apparently the sites had been reserved since January 1st. Talk about good timing! 

This was my first bike packing trip so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I LOVED it! I borrowed some panniers from a friend and was able to carry all of my camping gear for the night. I strapped our tent to the top of my back rack, along with my sleeping bag. Melissa and Sofie divied up our food and cooking gear because they have slightly larger panniers. 

​Here’s the view of the reservoir from the last stretch of pavement! 

You don’t need a kickstand when you’ve got great touring buddies!


I love traveling in low key ways such as by bike or backpack because it seems that people can sense your good intentions. It’s inspiring to encounter the kindness of strangers, like Vance who gave us his campsite, or Louise who wanted to be sure we were safe, or Karley and friends who let us store our food in her car overnight to save us from the bears. 

Set good intentions and then let ’em ride, my friends! 

xoxo

E

P.S. Thank you for the Beartooth Pass suggestion, we decided to check it out for our last night! Check back soon for road trip challenges and stunning campsites!

Wild About Wildlife

We started the wildlife viewing off on the drive into Grand Teton National Park and it just kept getting better from there. 

Our first sighting was a grizzly bear running along the side of the road. I hate to say this bear was cute, because it’s a GRIZZLY BEAR!, but it was very exciting to spot one. 

​​​


Check out this video of the bear!

Being “Bear Aware” is no joke in Bear Country. We were informed by a ranger that bears in the Tetons and Yellowstone aren’t going to break in to your car to find food. If a bear is found breaking into a car, it is euthanized to avoid generations of bears teaching their cubs to find food from humans. You can be proactive against future problems, and to save the bears, by making sure you lock anything that smells – think chapstick, toothpaste, sunscreen, I mean anything with a smell – in your car or a bear box.
While hiking in the park, we spotted a moose munching along side the trail. Then on our drive out of the Tetons, we saw a black bear and a fox! This fox was white with a big bushy tail, and seemed to be posing for pictures for all the tourists that had pulled off the road.

Our next stop on the road trip was Yellowstone National Park, where we saw countless bison grazing in the meadows. We also saw elk lounging by Mammoth hot springs and three moose with huge antlers chowing down on the side of the road.

Yellowstone is an absolutely beautiful park. It was the first national park, established in 1872, before Montana was even a state! While many people go to see the geothermal features such as Old Faithful, I personally felt lost and found in the river landscape that runs boundless through the park. 

The park’s campsites were full when we arrived, so we drove through to the West Entrance, pit-stopping to see Old Faithful and grab some ice cream!  From the South Entrance to the West Entrance was 69 miles, this park is HUGE! 

We left the park and drove into Galletin National Forest where we found a gorgeous campsite to call home for the night. Here we encountered more wildlife in the form of miniature vampires, more commonly known as mosquitoes. Does anyone know why mosquitoes bite some people more than others? Melissa and Sofie got eaten alive and I managed to get out without a bite. 

The next morning we saw a few more neat things in Yellowstone; Norris Geyser Basin, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Tower Falls, oh yeah and more ice cream, and then made our way to Bozeman. 

Mammoth Hot Springs

Grand Prismatic Spring

Tower Falls

Thanks for stopping by! Stay tuned for our bike packing adventure from Bozeman. 
xoxo

E

Awestruck

Summer is finally here which means it’s time for long adventures! Melissa, Sofie, and I started this summer off with a road trip from Fort Collins to Bozeman. I’ve wanted to see Montana and there are some beautiful National Parks (kinda) along the way. 

Our first destination was Grand Teton National Park. To say this park is beautiful is an understatement. The Tetons are completely majestic. As you’re driving towards them they’re hidden somehow and if you’re anything like me, you’ll continuously point out every mountain range in the general direction you’re heading and ask Sofie, “Are those the Tetons?” But you should know, you won’t have to ask if you’re looking at the Tetons. You’ll just know. If you’re anything like me, they may even move you to tears with there immense, commanding beauty. 

Here’s a video that won’t do them justice, but you can at least see what I mean when I say they appear out of nowhere. 

Once we entered the park, we decided the best way to have a look around would be by bicycle. So we found a place to park and became acquainted with the bike lanes. We rode along the shore of Jenny Lake, a stunning, freezing lake that holds the reflection of the Tetons better than any picture could. And of course, we couldn’t resist jumping in! 

We left the park around 5 to find a campsite for the night. A friend had given us some beta on a campsite with great views, so we had our sights set on that. We drove out into the national forest just outside the park and really put the Subaru to the test trying to make our way to this spot. Our first attempt brought us to a “Road Closed” barricade so we tried a different route. The second attempt also turned out to be fruitless, and treacherous. Just as we decided to turn around and pay for a site at the Jenny Lake campground, we came across the perfect spot. With the Tetons draped in gold as our backdrop, we set up camp and made dinner then spent some quality time enjoying the view. 

Thanks for stopping by, if you enjoy wildlife, check back soon! 

xoxo

E

Storage Loft Style

I’m working on the aesthetics of my Tiny and trying to make everything look as “put together” as possible without losing function. The place proving to be the biggest challenge is the storage loft. I want to be able to access everything up there, but I don’t want it to look like it did before. It looked messy before. 

I tried using uniform milk crates and adding a piece of art, but it’s still not perfect. I’m thinking a macrame curtain might look nice draping over it and would just solve the whole issue. However, then it’d be difficult to get things down. 

Spray painting the milk crates

The finished loft, don’t mind the shoe pile, again…I don’t have a better idea!

 

Please, let me know if you have any ideas!

xoxo

E

Settling In

Here’s a quick update for you! The house is nestled into its new spot, leveled, and good to go! It’s hanging out in a beautiful little cherry grove, surrounded by green, it’s so happy here! My neighbor and good friend, Jonathan, is just a quick walk down the path and Melissa is two plots over! It feels good to be close to friends. 


The house feels more organized than the last time around, though I’m still waiting to get a few big projects finished. I’ll write individual posts about each of those to keep them a bit shorter. 

My cozy bedroom loft 🙂


A few changes can really improve a space!



I had forgotten how inspiring the Tiny can be in terms of projects. It’s almost overwhelming, but it’s teaching me patience. My newest lesson is that it’s okay to leave a project unfinished for a short time. I haven’t finished painting yet because it’s been nonstop between finishing up the school year and getting the Tiny and myself up here. I was going to try to do it this weekend, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Especially not enough sunny ones and I don’t have the electricity working yet. I don’t think painting in the dark would be a great idea, do you? Anyway, instead of painting I spent the time getting everything unpacked, using what I learned from my last go about where to store things and what I use a lot, etc. I’ll finish the paint job when I get back from my upcoming adventure!

Check back soon to hear about it 🙂

xoxo

Ericca

Let’s Try This Again

The itch to change things up started a few months ago,  but the decision making process was a bit bumpier this time than usual. I’ve been working at my current job for two years and have been teaching for about five. I’m ready for a new adventure! So I have decided to take a break from teaching and try something different. I don’t know what yet, so let me know if you have any ideas. 

In bigger news, I’m trying the Tiny again! I found a beautiful spot to park among friends and repainted the inside for a fresh start. I have to say I’m VERY excited! Prairie life was so harsh and lonely, let’s try again, at “the compound”!


The last piece of big news is that I’ve purchased my domain name so I’m going to really try to make something out of this blog! (tinyhomegrandadventures.com) I’ve got a great feeling about it, “I believe in the good things coming”! 

Let me know your thoughts and questions, I’ll try to answer them all in my coming posts.

xoxo

E

It’s All About the People

I consider myself lucky because I am surrounded by people that truly make me feel like I’m living the absolute best life I could ask for. My life is good because of the good people in it.

Is that the case for everyone? 

People are the icing on the cake, sort of speak. They make or break the cake. They are the difference between living an ordinary day and living “the best day of my life.”

This past weekend I was lucky enough to spend my time with wonderful people, doing fun things, in a beautiful place. And I have plans to do the same again, in a totally different beautiful place, this coming weekend. Oh, and all week I spent time with 47 of the coolest kiddos on the planet, not to mention a pretty amazing teaching partner. I’m overflowing with gratitude over here! 

Getting back to this past weekend…I saw a new area of Denver and totally fell in love with it! My dear friend and I took advantage of the beautiful Sunday weather and walked through this neighborhood. We made our way to Denver Biscuit Co., a scrumptious little joint with a menu that will make your mouth water. 

*If you find yourself in Denver, do yourself a favor and look up this biscuit-focused restaurant. I would recommend the shrimp and grits biscuit plate, but I’m sure everything else on the menu is just as good! 



I digress, the food was wonderful, but this day was made with company. Walkin’ , talkin’, even took a little pause to swing on a neighborhood tree swing! It was a casual, urban adventure, but an adventure all the same! 


I hope you’re all planning to surround yourself with smiling friends this weekend! Enjoy!

xoxo,

E

P.S. Stop back soon because I have a question for you guys! 

The Bright Side

Always find the bright side. This is the single most important lesson I’ve learned out of all the lessons.

I told you I had some sad news, but keep in mind it’s not all sad. You can always find a bright side. 

Annie is no longer with me. Her wonderful daycare owner has adopted her. This is terribly sad because I miss Annie and I feel a bit like I’ve let her down. After all we’ve been through together, I couldn’t take good enough care of her. She had been getting increasingly aggressive and finally moved from nipping and barking to full on biting. I didn’t know how else to help her than what I’d already been doing. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to socialize her and get her out among people in different environments, but she just wouldn’t lighten up. I finally realized she would be better off somewhere she can run around with lots of other pups all day and somewhere more constant. 

It turns out I was right. Like I said, there’s always a bright side. Annie is doing so well at her new home. Of course this news brings me so much happiness for Annie and her new family. It also brings a couple tears for me missing her, but at least I know that I did the right thing for her. She hasn’t been barking at the males in the house and is even cuddling with them! 

Anyway, that’s the sad news. When it rains it pours, but don’t worry…I’ve got my eyes peeled for the rainbow, I know it’s just around the corner!

xoxo

E