70 days. 2 countries.
23 states. 12,000 miles.
From June to August 2016, Justin and I set out in our freshly renovated 1995 Volkswagen Eurovan on an adventure of a lifetime with our two traveling companions, a pair of Siberian Huskies named Nico and Taj. Our journey: a detailed cross-country road trip stopping at many popular landmarks and national parks along the way.
The road trip idea was sparked when I was asked to be a bridesmaid in my cousin’s wedding in early July in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Having just completed veterinary school at UC Davis, I was eager to explore and take a mental health break. As such, Justin and I decided to turn a short visit home into a couple month, cross country adventure.
After months of planning and researching, as well as buying and renovating our very own VW Eurovan, we were set to hit the road. Little did we know, ahead lay the feeling of every crack and pebble on the pavement under our antiquated suspension, the quick defeat of engine power when climbing anything with even the slightest incline, and the agitation of sleeping in 90 deg F at 2am with no AC. What would deter many into committing to such an endeavor, also led us to some of the most memorable moments (like listening to the wolf pups howl in the Lamar Valley of Yosemite National Park) and biggest learning experiences (like what to do when your coolant light flashes in the middle of Death Valley midday) of our lives.
Once summertime hit, we departed our home in Woodland, California and began making the journey across the southern United States, taking approximately a month to meander the route. Admittedly, we spent the majority of that time in the southwest. With so much in the area on our travel bucketlist, it was easy to fill our time in Utah and Arizona before moving further east to New Mexico and Texas. Our stops included Zion National Park, Arches National Park, White Sands National Monument, Grand Canyon National Park, and Antelope Canyon among others.
After taking the southern US to Pennsylvania, Justin and I were eager to return to the pavement outstretched before us, this time taking another month to cross the states along the northern route. Luckily for us and our van, the weather was significantly cooler despite being July. Up north, we stopped at popular locations such as Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, and Olympic National Park. We also popped over the border into Canada to visit Banff National Park in Alberta.
While there is still so much to see and explore in this beautiful country, the road trip was an incredible and unforgettable experience. We’re fidgeting in our seats to hit the road again sometime in the future (hey, Colorado and New England, we’re looking at you!), but Justin and I are certainly happy to have returned to the comfort of home for a bit. Now sleeping in our own bed, we can’t help to dream where to head to next…
Travel. As much as you can. As far as you can. As long as you can. Life is not meant to be lived in one place.