Hiking

Impromptu Road Trip!

Road trip across the southwest

In both of our families, September and I are known as adventurers – up for just about anything, the crazier the better. So when September’s aunt & uncle needed their car and dog (the fluffy, enthusiastic pup Raffles) delivered from Sarasota, FL to San Francisco, CA, they called US to make the road trip!

On Saturday, Sep, Raffles and I will spend 6 days driving across the southwest U.S. The trip alone is nearly 3,000 miles and takes over 41 hours… excluding pit stops, detours and must-see sites (which I am a sucker for).

Our itinerary:

  • Day 1: Tampa –> Gulfport, Mississippi (588 miles; 8.5 hours) – Point B on the map above
  • Day 2: Gulfport –> San Antonio, Texas (600 miles; 9 hours) – C
  • Day 3: San Antonio –> Tucson, Arizona (870 miles; 12.5 hours) – D
  • Day 4: Tucson –> Kingman, Arizona (300 miles; 4.5 hours) – E
  • Day 5: Kingman –> Yosemite Village, California (520 miles; 8 hours) – F
  • Day 6: Yosemite –> San Francisco, California (200 miles; 4 hours) – G

We’re stopping at things like the Alamo, Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park (and if we have extra time, Joshua Tree National Park) but we’ve got some 30 other sites that are off-the-beaten-path…. sites like the world’s largest rocking chair, a 25-ton tiki head and a house made completely of beer cans, that are just too wild to pass up. At Roadside America, we searched for cities on the various legs of our trip to see what bizarre, strangely awesome, roadside sites we’ll pass. There are TONS!

Time will surely be a limiting factor on this trip but we hope to move quickly (seeing as much as we can along the way), so we can gain some free time at the end of our journey to enjoy the Grand Canyon and Yosemite. Neither one of us has traveled the southwest U.S. before and we’re so excited and grateful for this amazing adventure!

Be sure to follow along – we’ll be posting regularly with pictures, videos and fun updates! (Thank goodness for the mobile WordPress app).

ROAD TRIP!

Photo courtesy of DiscoverAmerica.com

Please note: Our online shop, Top Knotch Gear, will be “on vacation” and we will not be processing orders until we return. If you have any questions/requests regarding gear, please direct them to us via email. Thanks!

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Categories: Adventure, Backpacking, Extreme Vacation/Adventures, Family, Florida, Hiking, Landscape Photograph, Mountains, Nature, Outdoors, Packing, Parachute Cord, Paracord, Photography, Planning vacation, Rock Climbing, RTW, Survival gear, Top Knotch Gear, Tourist Site, Trails, Transportation, Travel, Travel Photography, Trip planning, Uncategorized, UNESCO World Heritage, World's Largest | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hiking Humor

Some hiking laughs courtesy of one of our favorite outdoor/adventure retailers, REI

 

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Travel Tip Tuesday!

Our tip for today: TRAVEL LIKE INDIANA JONES!

Need some inspiration for your next adventure? Try following this Hollywood hunk’s footsteps from South America to the Middle East and visit some of the sites from the films! Check out what Gadling writes about these adventure-packed destinations: Peru, Nepal, Egypt, China, India, and Jordan. Don’t forget your passport!

Categories: Adventure, Africa, Around the World, Asia, Backpacking, Celebrities, Europe, Hiking, Nature, Nepal, Outdoors, RTW, South America, Top Knotch Gear, Travel, Travel Tips, World Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Travel Tip Tuesday!

Travel, be it a family vacation, business trip or RTW adventure, has gone digital. Between the internet cafés (which are quickly becoming a thing of the past), 4G and matchbook-sized travel devices, there are plenty of gizmos to keep you constantly connected to the rest of the world on the other side of cyberspace. Mobile apps like Facebook and Instagram are some of the most common – seriously, who doesn’t use them? But have you heard of some of these others? Below is a [truncated] list of the “Ultimate Travel Apps” – a list compiled by CNNGo. I’ve summarized 5 apps that I’d splurge on. To view the whole list, click here.

1) UNESCO World Heritage Location Guide – Over 900 sites all over the world to browse from, this is a great app for those travelers looking for something on the road less traveled. (Don’t worry, all the famous sites are on there, too.)

 

2) mTrip – Great for big cities in Asia (i.e.: Bangkok, Hong Kong… all my faves). It tells you what places you’d enjoy visiting (based on preferences you enter once downloaded) and even lets you send virtual postcards to friends and family! I am a sucker for postcards – physical or digital – so I think this one is perfect.

 

3) Trip Advisor – As small business owners, Trip Advisor is some of the best word-of-mouth advertising we could ask for. Whenever we go on trips (even if it’s just a of couple hours away), we’ll hit up this site for activities, things to do and hotel recommendations. NOTE: In my experience, this site has only been beneficial for places in the U.S. (If you want to check out our business on Trip Advisor, just click here!)

 

4) Tripline – This app lets you document your trip with pictures, notes and a mapped timeline of everywhere you’ve been. You can check in at various places on your journey just by snapping a photo! Then return home and replay your adventures at your next family function.

5) EveryTrail – Perfect for nature freaks and hiking junkies, this app lets you find trips and trails nearest you, allows you to map your route with the phone’s GPS and even find other hikers in your area. You can view stats (like elevation and distance), see pictures of what’s around the bend and search tons of other trips that fellow nature nuts have taken.

Last tip: Make sure you’ll actually be able to use your smartphone or mobile device where you’re traveling. Just because you have lightning-speed service doesn’t mean you’ll be able to catch a signal in all corners of the globe.

Safe travels!

Categories: Accessories, Adventure, Around the World, Asia, Backpacking, Beach Snoballs, Communication, Europe, Explore, Gear, Hiking, Nature, News, Outdoors, Paracord, Photography, Planning vacation, RTW, Top Knotch Gear, Tourist Site, Trails, Transportation, Travel, Travel Tips, Trip planning, UNESCO World Heritage, World Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Travel Tip Tuesday!

We’re back! After a brief hiatus to handle a family emergency, we’re back in Florida.

This week’s Travel Tip Tuesday is all about how to save money WHILE TRAVELING. So you’ve already hit the road, you’re on an adventure and you want to be sure you stay within your budget. The tips below will help effectively budget your money and not go broke while traveling.

How to save money while traveling:

Forego fancy restaurants – Utilize the local markets and vendors to make your own food or eat the street food (which is MUCH cheaper than restaurants, usually). That being said, you’ll want to navigate street foods carefully and have anti-diarrhea pills handy.

Save the souvenirs – My first trip to China, I bought 3 tea sets (I’m an impulse buyer) without factoring in that China was only the first stop on my itinerary. The lesson: Buy souvenirs and ship them home or stick to smaller items that you can easily put it your pack and carry with you (jewelry, magnets, etc.)

Tipping – An easy way to save money while you’re traveling is researching local customs to see if tipping is necessary. In the U.S., we tip for everything but in some cities in China, it’s rude to tip. Do the research and you may be able to save a chunk of change.

Taxi Troubles – If you can get around without using a taxi, do it. If you can’t, try to negotiate the fare before getting in. (If you’re a woman, fight hard. There are many countries that will try to take advantage of you if you’re a foreign woman).

Exchanging Money – Exchange money for the currency you want BEFORE you get to that country. Don’t exchange at the airport and if you use a kiosk, don’t forget there are fees. I like to use ATM’s… but watch out… there are international and bank fees that apply to ATM’s, too.

Tours and Tickets – This is my weakness. It’s so tempting to book every boat charter, snorkeling trip, zip line and caving tour out there but these activities will drain your bank. Set a budget and stick to it. Or investigate what the tours do (where they go, how they get there, what’s included) and do some of the same activities on your own.

For more tips and tricks to saving money while overseas, check out AirTreks Travel Blog.

Categories: Adventure, Alcohol, Around the World, Asia, Asian Food, Australia, Backpacking, Bracelet, Camping, Caving, China, Circumnavigation, Climbing, Europe, Explore, Extreme Vacation/Adventures, Food, Fresh Food, Gear, Globetrotting, Hiking, Jewelry, Nature, Packing, Planning vacation, RTW, Seafood, South America, Top Knotch Gear, Tourist Site, Trails, Transportation, Travel, Travel Tips, Trek, Trip planning, Vegetarian, World Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Travel is Priceless

Travel is priceless

Categories: Adventure, Hiking, Outdoors, Top Knotch Gear, Travel, Travel Photography, Travel Tips | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Travel Tip Tuesday!

It’s Travel Tip Tuesday today! And the theme today is light & smart packing.

The following tips are geared more toward backpackers and hikers but general travelers could definitely apply some of these, too. Below are 7 tips for smart packing:

  1. DON’T pack when you’re hungry – just like don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. You’ll pack more and spend more.
  2.  Don’t waste space on bringing items in their original packaging. If they are loose and have to be stored in something, downsize to smaller containers that aren’t as bulky.
  3. Small bottles, big help – Tiny bottles (like eye-drop bottles) make great storage containers for small amounts of soap, disinfectant, even hot sauce if you can’t live without it… which I can’t.
  4. No redundancy – if you’re traveling or hiking with a group, check to see what the others are bringing so you don’t bring any duplicates. Why carry 2 of something when you only need 1?
  5. Multitask – bring items that have multiple uses. Double-duty = more space and lighter pack.
  6. The essentials: Fire starter, food, clean water, shelter/rain gear, and sleeping bag.
  7. Don’t forget it gets DARK in nature – so pack things like your flashlight, headlamp, etc. either in the brain of your pack so you know exactly where they are or with glow-in-the-dark tape so you can find them when the lights go out. (Or you can use our GLOW paracord to help with this!)

Categories: Backpacking, Camping, Gear, Hiking, Nature, Outdoors, Parachute Cord, Paracord, Survival Bracelet, Survival gear, Top Knotch Gear, Trails, Travel, Travel help, Travel Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Plug this into your GPS…

Categories: Adventure, Asia, Australia, Backpacking, Circumnavigation, Europe, Explore, Globetrotting, Hiking, Nature, Outdoors, Pinterest, South America, Top Knotch Gear, Tourist Site, Trails, Transportation, Travel, Travel Tips, Trek | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s On Your Bucket List?

Categories: Adventure, Asia, Backpacking, Climbing, Hiking, Mountains, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Pinterest, Top Knotch Gear, Travel, Travel Photography, Trek, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

More New Paracord Bracelets!

We’ve been busy experimenting with new designs, new knots and new color combos. Below are a couple more new bracelets we’ve just debuted at our online store. All of them can be custom sized with your choice of color(s)! And don’t forget to ‘Like’ Top Knotch Gear on Facebook!

The Czech - Paracord Survival Bracelet

The Hammock - Paracord Survival Bracelet

Categories: Accessories, Adventure, Asia, Backpacking, Black and Blue, Bracelet, Bright colors, Camping, Caves, Czech Republic, Etsy, Europe, Explore, Gear, Hiking, Kayaking, Knots, Nature, Outdoors, Packing, Parachute Cord, Paracord, Paracord Dog Collar, Paracord Pet Gear, Paracord Pet Supplies, Paracord Watch, Pinterest, Rock Climbing, Survival Bracelet, Survival gear, Top Knotch Gear, Travel, Trek | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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