Inspiring Winnebago Rialta Photos from a Year on the Road

Last updated Jun 2, 2021 | Published on Jun 2, 2021
Winnebago Rialta motorhome at Glen Canyon near Page Arizona

A year ago, my husband Daniel and I purchased our beloved 2000 Winnebago Rialta named Appa. Ever since then, she has been our constant companion as we’ve driven around the country on our Great America (Socially-Distanced) Road Trip. We’ve spent hours customizing our VW Rialta motorhome and traveled from Joshua Tree to Niagara Falls and everywhere in between. We’ve also documented every step of our journey and taken hundreds of Winnebago Rialta photos along the way.

But it is time for a change. As the pandemic loosens its grip on the world, we are eager to resume our international travels. Ever since we abruptly left Europe due to the Coronavirus outbreak in Italy, we’ve been impatient to return. So, we parked our Rialta at my parents’ house earlier this week and are preparing for the next stage of our vagabonding adventure.

Parting from Appa is a bittersweet experience. She’s the closest thing we’ve had to a home since we began this journey in 2019. We have so many happy memories from our year on the road together and feel deeply connected to her.

But owning and maintaining a motorhome is a big financial responsibility. We’re not sure it’s wise to hang onto our motorhome while we gallivant around the globe. So, we are strongly considering selling her. In the meantime, Appa is enjoying a nice retirement up at my parents’ house while we sort out our plans.

In tribute to Appa, here is a collection of my favorite Winnebago Rialta photos from our year on the road together.

What’s your favorite photo? Let me know in the comments below.

Photo of the author with her husband Daniel in front of Mount Rushmore as viewed from South Dakota Highway 244. Only a portion of Washington's head is visible from this angle. Our Winnebago Rialta motorhome is parked in the background.

Photo #1: Daniel, Unicorn and Appa at Mount Rushmore

Winnebago Rialta Photos from National and State Parks

Joshua Tree National Park

Daniel and I spent two months exploring the high desert and hiking trails at Joshua Tree, California in January and February 2021. You can read more about our visit in the following blog posts:

Winnebago Rialta parked at Quail Springs Picnic Area, Joshua Tree National Park

Photo #2: Quail Springs Picnic Area, Joshua Tree National Park

Winnebago Rialta parked at Hidden Valley Picnic Area, Joshua Tree National Park

Photo #3: Hidden Valley Picnic Area, Joshua Tree National Park

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park, Montana was the first stop of our socially-distant road trip in 2020. The famous Going-to-the-Sun road was not yet open for the season when we arrived, but luckily it opened on our last day. You can read more about our visit in this blog post:

Winnebago Rialta Parked on Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, Montana

Photo #4: Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park

Grand Teton National Park

The Teton mountain range rises dramatically out of the ground and dominates the skyline in Grand Teton National Park. You can read more about our visit in these blog posts:

Winnebago Rialta motorhome parked at Grand Teton National Park

Photo #5: Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Winnebago Rialta at Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Photo #6: Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Badlands National Park

The rugged beauty of Badlands National Park, South Dakota is absolutely stunning. You can read more about our visit to the Badlands in this blog post:

Winnebago Rialta drives along the road in Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Photo #7: Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Winnebago Rialta parked at Badlands National Park, South Dakota at sunset

Photo #8: Sunset in the Badlands

Appa parked next to a stop sign at sunset in Badlands National Park

Photo #9: Sunset in the Badlands

Avenue of the Giants

Located in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Avenue of the Giants is home to the world’s tallest trees: Sequoia sempervirens (also known as California redwoods or coastal redwoods). You can read more about our visit to the Avenue of the Giants in the following blog post:

Appa parked under towering Redwood Trees in the Avenue of the Giants

Photo #10: Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

Yellowstone National Park

Daniel and I drove through Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming in July 2020 and had an amazing time exploring the geysers and watching bison and other wildlife. You can read more about our visit in the following blog posts:

Appa parked under a blue sky with puffy white clouds in Yellowstone National Park

Photo #11: Yellowstone National Park

Winnebago Rialta motorhome parked along the road in Yellowstone National Park

Photo #12: Yellowstone National Park

Saguaro National Park

Wandering among forests of towering Saguaro cacti was one of my favorite activities from this past year.  You can read more about our visit to Saguaro National Park in the following blog post:

Winnebago Rialta parked among a Saguaro cactus forest at Saguaro National Park

Photo #13: Saguaro National Park, Arizona

Zion National Park

Driving among the soaring red cliffs of Zion Canyon is a must-do experience. Stay tuned for a blog post about our experience at Zion National Park in March, 2021.

Winnebago Rialta parked along side the red cliffs on the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway in Zion National Park

Photo #14: Zion-Mount Carmel Highway in Zion National Park

Appa parked along the road in Zion National Park, framed by steep red cliffs in the background

Photo #15: Zion National Park

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park is the hottest, driest and lowest National Park in the United States. Stay tuned for a blog post about our experience at Death Valley National Park in March, 2021.

Winnebago Rialta at Death Valley National Park, California

Photo #16: Death Valley National Park, California

Winnebago Rialta Photos from other Scenic Locations

Vermillion Cliffs, Arizona

Driving the Vermillion Cliffs Scenic Highway is a great way to view the spectacular red walls that form Vermillion Cliffs National Monument.  You can read more about our visit in the following blog post:

Winnebago Rialta parked at the Pasture Canyon Lookout with views of the Vermillion Cliffs in the distance

Photo 17: Pasture Canyon Lookout at Vermillion Cliffs National Monument

Bear’s Lodge (aka Devil’s Tower), Wyoming

Bear’s Lodge, more commonly known as Devil’s Tower, is a picturesque butte that rises 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River in Wyoming. You can read more about our visit to Bear’s Lodge in the following blog posts:

Winnebago Rialta with the tall Bear's Lodge butte rising in the background

Photo #18: Bear’s Lodge (Devil’s Tower)

Grand Staircase-Escalante, Utah

In March 2021, I visited an area near Grand-Staircase Escalante to hike the Wahweap Hoodoos Trail. You can read more about my visit in the following blog post:

Photo #19: Grand-Staircase Escalante, Utah

Upper Peninsula, Michigan

The area near Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is spectacular in the fall. You can read more about our visit to the U.P. in the following blog post:

Winnebago Rialta parked under trees with autumn colors of reds, oranges and yellows in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Photo #20: Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the Autumn

Vantage Bridge, Washington

Perched on the shoreline above the Columbia River, Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park offers spectacular views of the entire Columbia River valley and beyond. You can read more about our visit in the following blog post:

Winnebago Rialta parked near the edge of the enormous Columbia River with a view of Vantage Bridge

Photo #21: View of Vantage Bridge over the Columbia River at Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park

Pacific Coast Highway, California

The Pacific Coast Highway, also known as Highway 1, is famous for spectacular views as well as legendary twists and turns. You can read more about our drive along Highway 1 in the following blog post:

Winnebago Rialta parked along the Pacific Coast Highway through some farmlands in California

Photo #22: Highway 1, also known as the Pacific Coast Highway

Mojave National Preserve, California

We drove through the Mojave National Preserve on our way to Zion National Park in 2021. You can read more about our visit to the Mojave in the following blog post:

Winnebago Rialta parked near the trailhead for Kelso Dunes with colorful mountains in the distance at Mojave National Preserve

Photo #23: Mojave National Preserve, California

South Padre Island, Texas

The sleepy resort community of South Padre Island is located on a barrier island off the southern coast of Texas. You can read more about our visit to South Padre Island in the following blog posts:

Winnebago Rialta parked along a sandy beach with dunes framing the road on either side in South Padre Island

Photo #24: End of the Road on South Padre Island, Texas

Winnebago Rialta Photos from Monuments and Tourist Attractions

Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota

When we visited Mount Rushmore, it was so crowded that I found the experience rather overwhelming. I preferred this vantage from South Dakota Highway 244. Only Washington’s head is visible but the area is much less crowded. You can read more about our visit in the following blog post:

Winnebago Rialta parked in front of Mount Rushmore as viewed from South Dakota Highway 244. Only a portion of Washington's head is visible from this angle.

Photo #25: Mount Rushmore as viewed from South Dakota Highway 244

Crazy Horse Monument, South Dakota

The Crazy-Horse Monument is a massive sculpture of the revered Lakota leader, Crazy Horse. Only the face is finished so far. The final dimensions are planned to be 641 feet long by 563 feet tall. You can read more about our visit in the following blog post:

Winnebago Rialta parked in front of the partially-finished Crazy horse Monument.

Photo #26: Crazy Horse Monument, South Dakota

Big Steer and Bison – Mitchell, South Dakota

We stopped in Mitchell, South Dakota to visit the Corn Palace and found these handsome fellas by the side of road. Appa decided to join them for a while. You can read more about our visit in the following blog post:

Winnebago Rialta parked next to the Big Steer and Bison Statues. The motorhome is parked next to the statues like it is planning to join them.

Photo #27: Big Steer and Bison Statues in Mitchell, South Dakota

Wall Drug, South Dakota

Wall Drug is a sprawling roadside attraction that occupies an entire city block. More of a mall than a drug store, the business is a kitschy paradise which draws over two million visitors a year. You can read more about our visit in the following blog post:

Photo #28: The famous 80-foot green dinosaur statue advertising Wall Drug along I-90 in South Dakota

Prairie Dogs in South Dakota

Prairie dogs are everywhere in Wind Cave National Park and throughout South Dakota. You can read more about our visit in the following blog post:

Photo #29: Prairie dogs in Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota

Tweedy’s Cafe – North Bend, Washington

Tweedy’s Cafe in North Bend was famously used as the shooting location for the “Double R Diner” from the Twin Peaks television series. North Bend is also a terrific hiking destination. You can read more about our visit in the following blog post:

Winnebago Rialta parked at Tweedy's Cafe in the small town of North Bend. Mount Si rises majestically in the background.

Photo #30: Tweedy’s Cafe, aka the “Double R Diner” in North Bend, Washington

Circus Circus, Nevada

Did you know you can camp right in the middle of Las Vegas? Circus Circus has an RV Park in the back parking lot which is conveniently located near the strip. I did not write a blog post about this location, but you can read my husband Daniel’s take on his blog:

Winnebago Rialta parked at the Circus Circus campground in Las Vegas, Nevada

Photo #31: Circus Circus in Las Vegas, Nevada

Winnebago Rialta Photos from Life on the Road

Here’s a peek at what it was like to live inside of a 21-foot Winnebago Rialta for the past year. Life on the road had its challenges but it was also a lot of fun.

Living Inside a Rialta

Living inside of a 21-foot Winnebago Rialta 22HD can be a bit cramped sometimes but we made it work. Here are some photos from the interior of the motorhome.

Daniel lounges in the back of our Rialta on one of the dinette seats

Photo 32: Daniel lounges in the back of our Rialta

the author stands inside the Rialta motorhome near the back dinette seats and folding table

Photo 33: This photo of me is taken from outside the back window of the Rialta.

Photo of the author snuggled under a blanket with a cup of cocoa in the back dinette seat of the Rialta

Photo 34: Sick day in the Rialta. We spent the day watching our portable TV.

Daniel asleep on the bed in the back of the Rialta. He is fully clothed with his shoes on and sunglasses on.

Photo 35: Daniel takes a nap while we wait for the transmission to cool down after trying to drive over a mountain pass

Eating on the Road

The Rialta has a nice little kitchen setup that is great for cooking meals. We also ate out frequently on long driving days. Thankfully we could easily fit through most drive-through windows.

Daniel cooks onions in a skillet inside of the motorhome while wearing a bright green apron.

Photo #36: Daniel cooks dinner. He is 6’2″ tall and this is about the only spot where he can stand up straight inside the motorhome.

Daniel eats salmon and brussels sprouts inside the RV

Photo #37: Dinner time in the Rialta! We usually prefer to eat at the back dinette seats, but when we are too lazy to make the bed we can also eat the table up front.

The author eats an apple while driving the motorhome

Photo #38: Apples are delicious!

The Rialta parked at a drive-thru window for a fast food restaurant

Photo #39: Time to drive through a drive-thru

Winnebago Rialta Maintenance

When driving an older motorhome like a Rialta, keeping the vehicle maintained is a constant struggle. It seems like something is always going wrong, or about to go wrong. And in a Rialta, this is especially challenging because not very mechanics will work on them.

But what can we say, we love our Rialta!

Daniel stands on a chair in a hotel parking lot to caulk around the windows to prevent leaks

Photo #40: Daniel fixes leaky windows

The Rialta is stranded on the side of a busy road at night while the tire is changed

Photo #41: The flat tire incident

Photo #42: New tires! We bought them at Wal-Mart but they would not install the tires… so we had to drive them to a VW mechanic to put them on.

The Rialta gets a bath at a car wash that is large enough for motorhomes

Photo #43: Time for a bath

Winnebago Rialta on a CAT Scale at a truck stop

Photo #44: It’s very easy to overload Rialtas so we weigh our motorhome periodically to ensure she’s not too heavy.


What’s your favorite Winnebago Rialta photo? Let me know in the comments below.

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Hi, I'm Unicorn!

I am an avid hiker, traveler, and adventurer who is on the mission to explore hiking trails around the world.  I’m also obsessed with National Parks, long-distance trails and other outdoorsy things.

I hope to share this knowledge with you and inspire you to explore new hiking trails too!

4 Comments

  1. Bonnie Rae

    I love all of these. Your blog has been great inspiration as we consider some RV time in the near future. Happy trails wherever you go !

    Reply
    • Unicorn

      Thanks Bonnie Rae!

      Reply
  2. Silvia

    Waiting for you in Italy again🙂

    Reply
    • Unicorn

      I hope to return to Italy too!

      Reply

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