“We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time.”
T. S. Elliot
I’m doing it. I decided a few months ago that this is the year I’m finally taking an extended road trip around the western half of the United States to hike mountains, sleep under stars and gain a wealth of knowledge about myself and my limits. Inspired over the years by blog articles, videos on YouTube and Vimeo, a Ken Burns documentary, and stories from family and friends, it’s all finally coming together.
For several years I have wanted to and have been talking about taking a road trip to explore the west. I think for a lot of people, to be able to drop everything, pack up and travel is a dream. I have a somewhat unique situation that allows me to do this and I feel the need to take better advantage of it. I’ve gotten a taste of ‘westward ho’ from trips to San Francisco, Austin, and Boulder but not yet enough to satisfy. I have a strong desire to step outside of my somewhat normal and urban lifestyle to go explore the world for a bit. I am also determined to ensure, the best I can, that when I am on my inevitable death bed, the regrets of things left undone in this life are limited.
Simply put, I’m going to pack up my Xterra and drive. To discover solitude and to satisfy the spirit of independence, I’m planning on car sleeping in between destinations as much as possible. I’ll also stay with friends and family when I can. This will help keep the trip’s trip’s total costs down. I have had to purchase quite a bit of gear for the trip. I plan on writing more about it in future articles.
- To have a jolly good time.
- To see as much of the west as possible, while never feeling rushed.
- To enjoy the company of infrequently seen friends and family
- To meet some interesting people along the way
- To thoroughly document this trip
In a recent and exciting development, my mom is planning on flying out to San Francisco to meet me for the portion of the trip that includes Yosemite National Park, driving up the west coast (will likely include portions of CA State Highway 1, U.S. 101 and Interstate 5), Seattle (including Whidbey Island where her brother lives), and possibly Vancouver, BC (if I can get my passport in time).
Some trip details:
Cincinnati – May 22nd or 23rd 2013
- Dallas (visiting several friends for Memorial Day Weekend)
- Grand Canyon National Park
- Los Angeles, CA (visit my cousin)
- San Francisco CA (pick up my mom)
- Yosemite National Park (+ my mom)
- Seattle WA (visit my friend along with visiting my Aunt and Uncle (my mom’s brother) on Whidbey Island)
- Vancouver BC (if I can get a passport in time)
- Yellowstone National Park
- Grand Teton National Park
- Minneapolis, MN
- Chicago, IL
Cincinnati – June 23, 2013
Estimate Trip Miles:
Number of states:
2008 Nissan Xterra SE 4×4 (about 20 mpg)
Estimated Fuel Cost:
As stated above, I plan on documenting this trip fairly well. If you’d like to follow along, you can check back or subscribe here.
If you’ve done something similar or have any advice, I’d love to hear about your experiences.