Mount Rushmore, SD
The American road trip is a common bucket list item. For years I had been saying, “I need to explore the West, I need to get out there!” I have been an East coast girl all my life, with the exception of one brief family outing to California as a sophomore in high school. Although having considered numerous times just sending it West solo, I feared the harsh safety reality of being a female alone on the road, and knew I needed to hang tight and wait for the right opportunity to arise. A big shout out to all the rad ladies that embarked on this venture on their own!
This June the stars aligned and my partner-in-crime, Jason, and I sold almost everything we owned at a yard sale, and waved goodbye to the Green Mountains of Vermont. Our dreams set towards continuing our careers in California and more importantly enjoying our time getting there!
We became road trippers. “Three weeks,” we told our friends. Now on the road for 60 days and counting, we discovered we never want to stop traveling and will drag this adventure out for as long as possible.
We scurried down from VT to spend time with family in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The first campground we hit was Assateague State Park. This spot is magical. Share your space with the wild horses, enjoy the same sandy walk to the ocean. It feels wonderfully wild and safe.
Camp life bliss. Assateague Island, MD
Our excursion continued along the Blue Ridge Parkway. An insanely gorgeous road surrounded by tucked away, wooded campsites. Newly added to my bucket list is cruising this scenic route on the back of a motorcycle.
Tennessee was a must stop. My sister lives there and we had to check out Nashville! Quite the rocking town! We rolled through Nebraska, which had some really cool surprises and ridiculous moments… We were hit with a thunderstorm at Pawnee Lake State Recreation Area that we thought for sure would blow our low-budget tent over. Followed by a dramatic moment of almost losing Jason down the Middle Loup River while he was on a stand up paddle boarding adventure. Jason was found, the other half of our paddle however was not…
What hat would you wear when meeting Elvis?! Nashville, TN
We started to see how big our country is. There are so many people out there, working in their own little nooks, living their day-to-day lives in rural towns. The wilderness around us started to become wilder. Mountain lions, bears, venomous snakes, and birds of prey were all real threats (especially to our little camping kitty we have in tow!)
@mr_gritty in his Turtle Fur best! Fall Creek Falls State Park, TN
Next came South Dakota, just in time for Fourth of July. It was the perfect Americana haven to soak in the patriotism of Independence Day and reflect on the awesomeness of the trip we are on. This was one of the first “big” stops on the journey. The second we crossed the state line, we saw wild bison; we started to realize the greatness that was about to come! Additionally, with Mount Rushmore National Monument, and the Crazy Horse Memorial, we began to uncover some of the rich history that our land is made of. We ended up staying in South Dakota for a week, simply to take it all in and prepare to dive deep into the wild West.
Gazing into the Black Hills National Forest. Custer, SD
Whatever America means to you, you will find it while on the road.
Get out and respect the beauty of our country, manmade and natural. If there is one thing we can all appreciate is true beauty. This country is full of it. Stay tuned for our next stop!
Photo credit: Jason Gerhart @fresh_world_press