Warren & Emily SwanTrips → 2016 California

This 10 day vacation trip was mainly for one goal, with several neat windfalls.  We drove out to California for an appointment with Bel-Air Camper Shells to have a custom-built camper shell* put onto our Tacoma.  We were a little more rushed on the way out, because of the appointment.  We didn’t fiddle around with a tent and camping on this trip, we stayed in motels both directions.  The idea is to get back to camping, but with a hard shell “tent”. 

The main stop going out was to visit the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest.

Painted Desert
Painted Desert National Park

We made it to Garden Grove, California in plenty of time to get the truck over to Bel-Air in the morning, where it would spend over 6 hours.  The hotel we were staying in was just a short walk down the road.

New Camper Shell at the hotel
Parked at the hotel just after having the camper shell installed

We had enough time to spend about a half a day at the Grand Caņon.

Grand Caņon National Park
Looking down over the Bright Angel Trail from the interchange area for the village and Hermit’s Rest buses

One evening we were able to visit with Warren’s uncle Dan and aunt Nancy for several hours, and the next morning we visited with Warren’s aunt Mary and cousin Julie for a while before heading home.  Another nice thing is that we were able to spend some time with Olive in Bartlesville, OK at both ends of the trip.

* So what’s a camper shell?  It looks like one of those $15,000 campers for a pickup truck, but it has nothing inside but what you put in it; and it costs a fraction of the price!  Being tent campers that are simply going to a hard shell unit, we did not want the kitchen and the bathroom and cabinets and everything else that takes up space. The campgrounds have bathrooms (and showers often), and we’re used to cooking on the picnic table.  We just needed a “tent” with sleeping quarters and a place to change clothes.  No more setting up or taking down a tent in the rain.


visited 6 states (12%)
Create your own visited map of The United States