Wyoming

this is a compilation of all 72 days of the journey i took from chicagoland to california and then to florida, from september 6th to november 16th in 2012. this is running at 5x the normal speed (otherwise it’d be around 19.5 hours long). it includes all of the following parts:

– from chicagoland to california [a five week adventure]
– life in california [three and a half weeks]
– from california to florida [just under two weeks]

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,camplife,nature,truckcamper,journal,ontheroad,park,liveyouradventure,waterfall,yellowstone,homeonwheels,nationalpark,blog,exploremore,rvlife,wanderlust,optoutside,geyser,exploretocreate,driving,homeiswhereyouparkit,travel,vlog,roadtrippin,roadtrip,stayandwander,getoutside,nomadiclife,liveoutdoors,lifeontheroad,journey,writing
four years ago today [2012.09.12]

i woke up at dawn and headed into yellowstone national park.  i think i was told it'd take eight hours to drive the whole loop though decided to do it anyway.  i think i stopped at most of the main locations around the loop for at least a little bit.  at one of the areas i decided to go on a hike down a trail where i only saw one other person.  part of me was a little concerned as there could be bears in the area, though i had no encounters or issues.  it ended up being nice exploring an area that felt pretty remote as most spots in the park had other tourists.

i made it around the loop and to old faithful around dusk.  someone had said it wasn't going to be that long for it to go off, so i walked around and waited a bit.  it was getting really cold and was pretty dark, though after having waited so long already, i figured i might as well stay as it couldn't be that much longer.  i ended up waiting over an hour for it to go off.  it was pretty neat and went really high in the air.

freezing after having waited so long for the old faithful geyser at yellowstone to off, i spent the night in the parking lot there.  i think there were signs saying no overnight parking or camping or something, and i had seen buffalo wandering in a nearby parking lot, so i kept the top down and slept on the roll over couch rather than the bed over the cab.  i was still on my first propane tank and had wondered how long it would last.  this night, the coldest night of life on the road so far, i found out what happened when it ran out.  in the middle of the night i woke up hearing the heater just clicking every so often like it was trying to start but not igniting.  most of my bedding was up under the closed pop up top.. i only had one small blanket and it was below freezing outside.  i didn't go outside to figure out how to switch out the tank and just tried to stay warm and make it through the night.  the next morning, the temperature was well below freezing, something like 21 or 23 degrees.

[a.k.a. life on the road]

[a.k.a. life on the road]

See how nature--trees, flowers, grass--grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, the sun, how they move in silence.

- Mother Teresa
 

these are all the star-lapses i shot on the journey i took from chicagoland to california and then to florida, between september and november of 2012

blog,camper,camping,devilstower,driving,exploremore,f150,fields,fordf150,fourwheelcampers,getoutside,hike,homeiswhereyouparkit,instagram,journal,journey,land,lifeontheroad,nature,park,roadtrip,rocks,rv,starlapse,stars,timelapse,trail,travel,truckcamper,vlog,wanderlust,writing
four years ago today [2012.09.10]

on this day i woke up just outside of devil's tower national monument.  i think i had seen a photo or something of it not that long before this trip and thought it'd be neat to go out there.  it was awesome to be exploring and seeing these places i wanted to visit.  i went into the park and explored some of the trails in the morning and then headed back into south dakota on the not so direct route to montana via north dakota.  i stopped at a green spot on the map there, just outside of theodore roosevelt national park, where i saw some interesting landscapes.

in a lot of places i visited or drove through, i felt i could've stayed longer and explored more, though i wanted to keep on heading west to stay on track to make it to the west coast before it got colder (as i had begun the journey much later than i originally wanted to). in the future i'd eliminate as many constraints as possible to being open for spontaneity.  i faced a few limitations, like non-existent phone service when a web application client decided they want much more than they originally asked for, having paid a lot for a campground membership that was running out with locations only on the west coast states, and having left when it was already starting to get cold in some places in my journey.  next time, i wouldn't drive as much each day and would see how i feel during the journey rather than sticking to a pretty rigid plan.

i did this a little later for part of the trip and would enjoy doing it the whole time.  life is so much nicer when we're relaxed and in the present moment rather than thinking we need to follow a certain plan.

allowing ourselves to be more flexible and spontaneous opens us up to new opportunities.  the day before this when i was at the tour at wind’s cave national park (which going there wasn’t part of my plan), i recall i was in the elevator with the young park ranger who gave the tour, and i think after everyone else had gotten out, she said something about being hungry (wanting pizza or something).. had i been more flexible and spontaneous, i could’ve asked if she wanted to join me for dinner and perhaps made a new friend.

[a.k.a. life on the road]

this is everywhere i’ve been when traveling in my truck camper since i got it. a couple of places (mostly around florida) may be missing as i didn’t track it all in the beginning, and some routes might be slightly off as some gps data was missing [the lines on the map that are straight without any curves probably aren’t the exact route i took, but rather the average from one point to another further away when the gps location was saved].

 
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four years ago today [2012.09.13]

having run out of propane in the middle of the night, with temperatures in the low 20’s, i worried about the water pipes freezing in the camper.  i got up at dawn and quickly headed down to a lower elevation where it'd be warmer.  there were no issues.. the inside temperature of the camper was probably over freezing from having had the heat on part of the night.  on my way out of yellowstone, i saw the sun rising and stopped to explore at a spot where i heard strange animal sounds/calls i had never heard before.  leaving yellowstone, i crossed the continental divide and was most of the way to the west coast.

i headed towards the grand tetons and saw it was pretty hazy due to recent fires.  i had breakfast when i got there, and went to the visitor center where i talked to a young park ranger about some of the areas to explore.  when she told me about one of the trails she’d recently been on, i remember her asking if i knew what to do if i saw a bear.. i think i said “don’t run?” and she gave me other suggestions.  i wandered about the park and found some nice lakes with views of the mountains.  it was nice to be in warmer temperatures than the night before.  it was crazy how much the temperature could change in the mountains.  it was in the low 20’s on this morning, when just 2-3 days prior it was 90 degrees, and the following day it’d be 85.  i saw more wildlife and on my way out of the park, went looking for the spot where ansel adams created his famous photograph from.  i met someone else there who said he thought it was just down a little bit from the overlook where we were.

after leaving the park, i crossed teton pass, a 10% grade climb up to a nearly 1.6 mile elevation.. i only got 5.1 mpg driving up it.  i dropped down to 2nd and then 1st gear on the descent, which my truck read as 6 degrees, or a 12% grade.. the engine was loud but i didn’t have to wear down the brakes nor experience the 4 tons of truck and camper quickly accelerating out of control down the winding road.  it was good to know my rig could handle the mountain roads, and fun to encounter drives i didn’t know would be part of the adventure.

[a.k.a. life on the road]

[a.k.a. life on the road]

this is a map of the journeys i’ve taken in my truck camper in the first year, month, and week [minus a day] that i’ve had it. the yellow stars are where i went in the first year, and the red line is where i drove the following 5 weeks. now, i just gotta take it to tennessee, kentucky, and the northeast to have gone through all the continental us!

Looks like I finally got the internet hotspot connection through my phone! I just made it to Devil’s Tower. Almost didn’t come this far as I was a little tired and also didn’t want to drive in the dark and miss out on potentially interesting landscapes along the way. I’m glad I made it and decided to go [wasn’t sure if I could even get anywhere near the tower at night]. I just set up a time-lapse of the stars […]