(Written Friday, October 4th at 2pm)
Well, we are finally off on our adventure! It took months of planning and saving, weeks of packing and selling, and days of saying good-byes and tying up loose ends, but we are finally on our way from Northern California to Montana with nothing but our camping gear and a few bags in the backseat of the car. As I write this, Don is in the driver’s seat staring out into Nevada’s high desert and I am flipping through multiple maps, planning out today’s route and tonight’s potential camping spot. We are unemployed, homeless, and finally able to take some deep breaths and accept this awesome adventure as the amazing gift that it is.
It was an incredibly time and energy-consuming process getting to this point. A little over two weeks ago we sold my car, and began relying solely on our bikes as our mode of transportation. We finished selling off almost all of our furniture, and pawning a bunch of other belongings onto our friends and co-workers. We scheduled immunizations, applied for International Driver’s Licenses, ordered new glasses and extra contacts, purchased gear for our travels, changed our address, and all the while worked 40+ hours at our jobs. It felt like every time we crossed one thing off the list, we thought of something else. It was a bit stressful, but we had a ton of support from excited friends and Don and I also kept reminding one another of how it would all be worth it once we got on the road. The last couple days in Portland were spent saying good-bye to some of the most incredible people Don and I have ever known. It was hard not knowing when we’d ever see some friends again, and having to remind people that we were leaving Portland for good, not just taking a long trip.
On the morning of October 1st we rented a Budget moving truck, loaded up the last of our belongings, and drove down to my mother’s house in Northern California to drop it all off and pick up the car that we’d be taking on our road trip. The few days we had with her were busy, but still enjoyable. We had a lot of last-minute preparations to take care of, such as making copies of important documents, backing up computers and phones, and figuring out our final budget (we met our goal for our savings!). Then this morning we woke up early with the intention of driving approximately 14 hours to our first stop somewhere in a national forest in Montana.
As much of a planner as I am, I am trying hard to go with the flow and allow plenty of space on this trip for spontaneity. The general idea is that we will drive around the country for six weeks visiting beautiful places and much missed family and end up in Reno, NV where we can regroup up at Lake Tahoe for a few days before flying to Buenos Aires, Argentina. We are hoping to visit Montana, South Dakota, Michigan, Chicago, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah, while camping and backpacking as much as possible. Our flight is on November 15th from Reno to Los Angeles to Argentina so no matter how this road trip turns out, we do have that deadline to meet. From there we will spend a week in Buenos Aires and then take a bus to the Lake District of Patagonia. We are hoping to spend at least 10 months all together in South America, and will potentially visit Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, and maybe Venezuela. But like I keep telling people, if we go to Patagonia and love it, there is really no reason why we couldn’t stay there the whole time. We are flexible. I am flexible. I have to keep telling myself that. Those of you who are planners understand.
We do have a tentative plan for our time after South America, but I’ll leave that for another post. Tonight we will be camping in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest near Georgetown Lake alongside whichever forest service road catches our eye. Tomorrow we’re planning on a one-night backpacking trip in the “Bob” wilderness and then we’ll be heading into Kalispell, Whitefish, and hopefully Glacier National Park (assuming our government has gotten its act together). We’re taking lots of pictures and they’ll be appearing in blog posts soon. After all, this is only the beginning.