After traveling for over a month in our Little Guy Max, we didn’t think anything could top the magic of Yellowstone or the beauty of the desert. But then we reached Estes Park, Colorado, and we were bowled over by how lovely it was.
The river sparkled, a vibrant sapphire color that reflected back the deep blue of the sky. Snow-capped mountains and hills ringed the entire valley while bald eagles soared overhead. Wildflowers dotted every patch of grass. And once we drove into the park itself, we couldn’t believe we hadn’t visited it sooner. We hiked past alpine lakes, scrambled over boulders, sang back to the woodpeckers chittering at us, and witnessed an incredible tussle between two marmots. It was wild and serene and magical all at once. Of all of the places we visited on our trip, Colorado is one where I could see us returning again and again.
The river sparkled, a vibrant sapphire color that reflected back the deep blue of the sky. Snow-capped mountains and hills ringed the entire valley while bald eagles soared overhead.
We fairly flew through the remainder of our trip, eager to be reunited with our beloved dogs. One night stays in Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri led us to our final destination before home: Nashville. We took our son to Centennial Park to the spot where my husband and I got engaged (although he was far more interested in meeting the dogs that were being walked there) and enjoyed a leisurely afternoon at the zoo, where we pet kangaroos, alpacas, and goats.
And then we arrived home, gave our dogs as many hugs as they would tolerate, and immediately began thinking about our next trip.
We loved our time in the Little Guy Max, and we truly can’t wait to take off in it again. It was easy to tow and super comfortable for our little family of three. That said, there are a few recommendations I would make for anyone considering a Little Guy or planning their own long-term trip.
One: get the Rough Rider package. We didn’t plan on boondocking or taking our camper off-road so we didn’t select the optional larger tires and higher clearance, but I wish we had. The bottom of the smart jack is a few inches lower than the clearance on the trailer, and it occasionally scraped the road when we had to drive over bumps and dips.
Two: if you’re planning to sleep three for any length of time, replace the dinette cushions with a real mattress. We did this and we slept so much more comfortably. A foam mattress can be purchased online for as little as $50, and you can use large scissors or an electric knife to trim it down to size (the dinette is about 6 inches narrower than a typical twin). Lastly, invest in some sheet suspenders to pull your twin sheets taught over the smaller mattress.
Three: don’t even think about traveling with anything breakable, especially dishes. Every one of our cabinets and drawers opened at some point over our 6-week trip, which we weren’t particularly surprised about — after all, you’re bound to hit some unexpected bumps on such a long trip. This meant that the Corelle dishes that I assumed were indestructible did, in fact, destruct. By the end of the trip we were down to just paper plates and plastic tumblers. If you do plan to only travel with plastic dinnerware, make sure they’re microwave-safe before attempting to heat anything up in them.
Four: stock tons of quarters or consider getting a portable air compressor for filling tires. The main cause of RV breakdowns is due to tire malfunction. We checked ours every morning before we left for a new campground and we frequently adjusted the air in the tires to compensate for altitude and temperature variations. Having a portable compressor and an easy-to-use digital gauge made this task so much easier.
Five: don’t rely on campground cable. We never found a place with decent cable connection — it was always snowy. We brought our Roku with us instead and used a combination of Netflix and a Sling TV subscription to stream shows and movies. Most campgrounds we visited had a decent enough WiFi connection to allow for streaming, and when we didn’t, we used the excellent built-in antenna on the Max to find PBS and other local stations.
We’ll continue to try to instill in our son an appreciation for adventure, an eagerness to embrace the world around him, and a desire for new experiences over “stuff.”
As for traveling with kids…
We didn’t know exactly what to expect when traveling with our son, but it was so much easier than we expected. A few things contributed to this. First of all, we planned our drives to never be more than 4 hours a day and always broke it up with a stop for lunch. If we were lucky, he would fall asleep for his nap right after eating and snooze through the remainder of the drive until we reached the campground. Second, we preserved the key routines that he was used to. This meant bathtime every evening, followed by stories and snuggling until he fell asleep. We never had to fight him on bedtime as long as we kept to this schedule. Third, we picked campgrounds that were kid-friendly and asked to be placed as close to the playground as possible. This made every campground a destination that he looked forward to, and gave us a great way to keep him entertained while setting up or breaking down camp. By following these measures, our son enjoyed the traveling just as much as we did. We brought a stroller and a frame pack and took him hiking every day. He saw all kinds of animals in the wild that he had only seen before in books or zoos, and he made friends with new dogs at every campground we visited. It was so rewarding watching him enjoy this trip, and even if he doesn’t remember it when he’s older, my husband and I will always cherish these memories we made as a family. We’ll continue to try to instill in our son an appreciation for adventure, an eagerness to embrace the world around him, and a desire for new experiences over “stuff.” And we’ll do this by living simply and traveling as frequently as possible in our Little Guy Max — our tiny home on wheels.
Thanks for following along on our family adventure!
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