Reason for taking this trip:
Travel and adventure are in my DNA.
Why did you decide to drive?:
Driving provides extra freedom, flexibility, moderate cost, and the ability to slow down and explore an area and get to know its people in greater detail.
What type of car are you driving?:
Chevrolet Suburban at the moment, but I'm open to other options.
Did you make any modifications to your car for this trip?:
Memory foam mattress in the back!
How did you save up or finance your trip?:
I lead night photography workshops in Bodie State Historic Park, and landscape photography workshops in Yosemite, Death Valley and the Eastern Sierra region of California.
How long do you plan on traveling?:
I thrive on the road, so hopefully I can continue for the rest of my life.
Where do you plan on driving? :
Alaska is high on my list, so Western Canada and the Western U.S. will be on the itinerary. I've cone laps from Banff, Alberta to San Diego California to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado so far, and a lot of that needs to be revisited. I'm looking into South America as well (this site looks like a great resource).
Do you have a favorite place that you've visited?:
For scenery, Mono Lake and California's Eastern Sierra is hard to beat. For wildlife and geothermal features, Yellowstone National Park rocks. Hiking in Utah is great for slot canyons, arches and other geological features. For waterfalls, Oregon's Columbia Gorge is hard to beat. For glacial blue water, Morraine Lake in Alberta was really cool. For skiing the snow and terrain at Alta Ski Resort in Utah are the best. Backpacking is the best in so many High Sierra locations. Whale watching was great in Puget Sound, out of Port Townsend, Washington (and the wooden boat festival was fun). The fishing was amazing in the Frying Pan River and just about anywhere in Colorado (or Oregon coastal rivers for steelhead and salmon). The snorkeling is great along the California Coast at Sea Ranch.
What was the weirdest thing you experienced on your trip?:
I pissed off a huuuge grizzly bear in Glacier National Park. I was jogging down a trail to get to my dawn photography spot by a lake, and startled the bear away from a berry bush. He returned and stood behind the bush, gnashed his teeth, foaming at the mouth, and raked his claws into the bush several times. He got so worked up, he started making this deep huffing noise (which turns out to be one of the last things that hikers attacked by grizzly bears report hearing... the ones that survived). I had no bear spray, so I had to back away slowly, ready to drop gear and clothing as a distraction if he charged, and be ready to hold my ground, in case it was a bluff charge. The one thing you really can't do, and live to tell about it, is run!
What was the worst border crossing?:
The crossings in and out of Canada were fine, but coming from the Northwest into California, they confiscated my apples and cherries.
Do you have any advice for others who may be considering driving the Americas?:
Remember it's the journey that's important, not the destination!
Sunday, May 8, 2016 - 10:49