Walla Walla, WA – Intended launch site for our Journey. Don’t stop believin’.
- Gentlemen of the Road tour: 2+ day concert festival featuring Mumford and Sons, Foo Fighters, Flaming Lips and Tune-Yards among many, many other musical marvels
- Wineries? We heard there were a few. It was shocking, actually. And there are countless wines from Walla Walla unique in all the world; even well-know varietals can behave very differently here.
- Downtown Walla Walla is being shut down for this event, so whatever other manner of merriment and debauchery we can find during this time honored pastime of unwashed concertgoers perpetrating unfettered revelry.
8/16 – 20
Missoula, MT – Middle Aged Traveler Drive Time Reducer AKA Stopover AKA Waypoint
Miles: 390 / 650
- Q: What’s good here?
- A: Tamarack Brewing, Break Espresso, Caras Park public lot, Campus Inn… And, although it is a chain, Einstein Bros. has a ridiculously generous policy on coffee refills and WiFi loitering. Besides all of the above, it is a pretty town with sweet people. A very comfy, easily navigable place to get set for the next phase.
8/20 – 8/21
Jellystone National Park via Gardiner, MT
- Geysers, geezers, buffalo roaming, rubbernecker caused traffic jams, marauding cartoon bears…
8/21-8/25 (WWOOF #1)
Clearmont, WY – SageRidge Mill & Critters
Miles: 336 / 1341
- Alpaca ranching, fiber milling
- Alpaca wrangling, spit dodging
- Emu petting
- The 200-yard alpaca newborn carry
- Try to convince large horses that Charley is not a good place for them to hang out
- And a pocket full of memories.
8/25 – 8/26
Moorcroft, WY – Devils Tower National Monument
Miles: 148 / 1489
- Gawking at geological wonders, photographing them, and hiking around the monument to view it from all angles – a true marvel of nature!
- Conversing (unsuccessfully) with an extensive colony of prairie dogs
Rapid City, SD – Mount Rushmore National Memorial Park
Miles: ? / ? [The underwhelming experience distracted us from recording this]
- Obligatory viewing of socially acceptable defacement of a rock formation in the name of Democracy!
- Obligatory running away at the $11 admission fee for parking for something that was A.) not anywhere near as impressive as the drive east through the gorgeous Black Hills B.) not as impressive as the Crazy Horse memorial and C.) could be easily seen from the road. But, unfortunately, there was no place to park to take a picture so the experience, such as it was, lives only this inadvertently hilarious drive-by snapshot.
8/26 – 8/29 (WWOOF #2)
Hermosa, SD – Windrose Farm
Miles: 191 / 1680
- Learn about constructing a home for living off the grid.
- Learn about organic vegetable gardening in a warm, arid climate.
- Try not to step on rattlesnakes
- Make our first haystack by hand.
- See burrow owls for the first time! Hilarious!
8/31 – 9/1
Badlands National Park, SD
Miles: 182 / 1862
- Oohing and Ahhing over (hopefully) not defaced rock formations
- Day hiking and and snapping some cool pictures – A marvelous success!
9/2 – 9/6 (WWOOF #3)
Lennox, SD – The Good Earth Farm (via Sioux Falls, SD)
Miles: 370 / 2232
- We heard Monk’s House of Ale Repute in Sioux Falls is a worthy spot for weary travelers to wet their whistles – Very good, but a tad expensive (some 9oz pours are $8). They are brewing their own beers now, too, under the Gandy Dancer moniker. We tried the Bindelstiff dark ale (ANOTHER homage to Steinbeck in two days?!) and it was absolutely delicious!
- Learn about organic vegetable farming, CSAs and how to keep a mini menagerie.
- Note the smaller the cherry tomato, the more you have to pick for a mouthfull. Go with larger ones.
- Our first adventures in canning! It was actually very fun and educational. We will definitely take up the practice.
- Brewing equipment can be used for other tasks like canning and cooking large dinners. More reasons to get back into it! 😛
9/8 – 9/13 (WWOOF #4)
Houston, MN – Kara Kahl Farm
Miles: 476 / 2708
- Goat mania!!! Milking? Breeding, even?! No, no breeding. Just the glory of goats in all their magnificence.
- Wine making!
- More pitchfork work than you can shake a… pitchfork? at. Manure? HA! We know how to handle you now.
- The largest garden, replete with lasagna beds, inspiring our future
- We love GOATS!
9/13 – 9/15
Fennimore, WI – Family Visit #1 via SeedSavers in Dacora, IA
Miles: 148 / 2846
- Everyone should garden with heirloom seeds as much as practical
- Familial fun times and brotherly love even though this is not Philadelphia
- Wisconsin has cheese, right? And we contributed!
- Beer? We got that covered, too!
- Passport retrieval (we hope) – Success!
- And the cutest kitty this side of the Mississippi
9/15 – 9/16
Upper Peninsula – Marquette, MI and Bay Furnace Campground. Because of Tom, Liz & Steinbeck.
Miles: 472 / 3318
- Saw Lake Superior in spite of locking ourselves out of Charley
- Even though it gave Lance heartburn for the whole night; Blackened catfish ponchartrain is worth it.
- Camped at Bay Furnace with no real view of the lake (it was night) after the longest day ever and heading out early in the morning. Not gratifying in depth, but at least we had reached the northern border of the US in the Midwest.
9/16 – 9/17
Grand Rapids, MI – and Founders Brewing!
Miles: 452 / 3770
- Visited one of the best breweries (top three?) in the nation!
9/18 – 9/20 Toronto, ON
Miles: 402 / 4227
- Natalie’s Wedding! Great excuse to hang out with fun folks and raise a glass (of the happy couple’s own homemade wine, that was very good)! In Canada!
9/20 – 9/21
Niagara Falls, ON – Because Niagara Falls, Frankie Angel
Miles: 167 / 4394
- Big, tumbling, gushing, mist-making water.
- Photo ops – Gorgeous!
- First stay with a Boondockers Welcome host, the wonderful Karsty! A wonderful gentlemen and a tremendously helpful tour guide!
9/21 – 10/21
Waldo, ME – Family Visit #2 – FINALLY!!!
Miles: 678 / 5072
- Our rendezvous with Jamaica Cottage in South Londonderry, VT didn’t happen because of the vagaries of the road. Unfortunate, but not of any ultimate consequence.
- Attended the Common Ground Country Fair to learn about organic gardening, farming, small building, solar heating and lighting, alternative heating methods (heat pump/inverter, wood pellet, hay pellet, rocket stove/heater), soil building, and earthworks (terracing, swails).
- Hiked Acadia National Park
- Beautiful Belfast, lobstah, loopy roads, frost heaves, knitting and with Mom
- The best breakfast sandwiches on the planet found at St. Joe’s Coffee!
- The second best fries on the planet, though arguably the best restaurant name are found at Duckfat! We’re well aware that that is a terrible endorsement if we’re aspiring vegetarians. Oh well.
- WWOOFing assignment #5 – Sweet Relief Farm near Portland, ME [643/5715 miles]. Veggies, mushrooms, chickens and turkeys, oh my!
- Meditating on the Autumn leaves in New England.
Concord, MA – Walden Pond
Miles: ? / ? [Argh! Can you believe we forgot to write it down? We were out of practice…]
Provincetown, MA – Cape Cod
Miles: 401 / 6116
- Offseason! Festive! Peninsular!
- (almost) Last chance for fresh seafood for thousands of miles!!
- We could put the entire country to our backs, or face it and have the entire country in front of us. A profoundly appropriate place to approach our halfway point.
- Such significance was as inspiring as the Cape was beautiful
Miles: 651 / 6767
- All this for just one thing – perhaps the greatest brewery in the country – perhaps the world – Dogfish Head!!
10/27 – 10/28
Miles: 198 / 6965
- A healthy mixture of reverence and, well, irreverence ensued depending upon the sentiment behind or the overtly phallic nature of any particular monument. Okay, ONE monument in particular.
- The National Mall! (esp. Natural History and Air & Space Museums, National Art Gallery, many monuments)
- Udvar-Hazey Center!
- We were supposed to go to the old post office tower, but it was closed for renovations.
10/29 – 11/2
Roanoke, VA – We never heard a peep out of the Asheville, NC tiny house crowd, so we are took a break in Roanoke to plan in detail the next 1-2 months of our trip, to catch up on blogging and take some R&R.
Miles: 268 / 7233
- Hiked a teensy bit of the beautiful Appalachian Trail to the most photographed point along it: McAfee Knob.
- Experienced a most-welcomed tsunami of wonderful local beer courtesy of Wasena City Tap Room and Parkway Brewing
- Enjoyed time in an eclectic and historic house/neighborhood with the loveliest AirBnB hosts we had encountered to date.
Tulsa, OK – Family Visit #3 / Friend Visit #1 – With the flooding in Texas (not the SRV song) and a streak of not finding lodging in the more southerly portion of our journey we had to trim off that portion of our trip. We hope, much like Chicago, to make New Orleans and Austin their own destination trips in the future. In the mean time, bring on the reconnection! And detailed planning sessions for the rest of the trip through Redondo Beach.
Miles: 1075 / 8308
- Disney Dork Stacy and Walter, the dog with the blog
- Numerous assorted relatives and trips down memory lane
- Blue whale AND World’s Largest Praying Hands!!
- Charley’s first breakdown 😦 And the second one followed around Oklahoma City en route to Albuquerque. Five hours of repair downtime combined with ten hours of driving meant we crashed in Albuquerque, slept in, the immediately headed to…
11/18 – 11/20
Santa Fe, NM – Because Nana said so.
Miles: 784 / 9092
- Art, food, trinkets… There was indeed some money left for funsies, in spite of repair bills, by the time we got here. And oh so many pleasant surprises!
- So relieved to finally be back in the West after more than three months
11/20 – 11/22
Colorado Springs, CO – Middle Aged Traveler Drive Time Reducer AKA Stopover AKA Waypoint
Miles: 306 / 9398
- Tumbleweed Tiny House Company
- “Duh, we’re in the Rockies!”
11/22 – 11/25
Grand Junction, CO – For Uncle Chris
Miles: 383 / 9781
- Successfully traversed the Rockies for the last time on this trip!
- Climb a mesa and stand atop it with arms outstretched. Breathe. Think good thoughts.
- Colorado National Monument
- Unfortunately we didn’t have the time to explore Grand Mesa, but we hope to come back!
11/25 – 11/28
Moab, UT – More fun with geological formations
Miles: 393 / 10,006
- Full of Thanksgiving during Thanksgiving in Arches National Park!
- 10,000 miles and 15 weeks of Ambling Full Tilt!!
- Black Friday tradition of Payette Brewing in Boise – done our way!
11/28 – 12/1
Flagstaff, AZ (don’t forget Winona…) – We had a problem with our camping reservations in Monument Valley (thanks for nothing, Goulding Lodge), so we bailed at least getting to ogle the monuments as we passed. We laid up in Flagstaff with a shocking number of wonderful things to do! As usual we could only scratch the surface and the results will be in an upcoming Picture Pages.
Miles: 342 / 10,348
- Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park (Sedona, AZ)
- Oak Creek Canyon and Red Rock Scenic Byways (also around Sedona)
- Sinagua “Pueblo” Ruins at Walnut Canyon National Monument
- Elden Pueblo ruins
- And Flagstaff is a great place to buy beer!
12/1 – 12/3
Grand Canyon, AZ – A chasm which needs no introduction…
Miles: 207 / 10,555
- Viewed the void in awe… And a teensy bit of terror. It seems counter intuitive that it’s so big from the rim you can’t appreciate it; crawl down in it and the enormity becomes more apparent even though pictures cannot capture this shift.
- Endured one night with an overnight low of 10 with our heater frozen. We then decided a hotel was justifiable.
Las Vegas, NV –Middle Aged Traveler Drive Time Reducer AKA Stopover AKA Waypoint
Miles: 296 / 10,851
- Because when people think “restful”, they think of Vegas. Naturally.
- Crown and Anchor!!
- 40 shades of brown, more garish eyesores than you can shake a cat-o-nine-tails at, people smoking like chimneys and smog, smog, SMOG! We skedaddled as fast as possible and on to…
12/4 – 12/7
Bishop, CA – Family Visit #4
Miles: 216 / 11,067
- Slicing the pie for a slice of pie? Huh, Sus?
- We did not beat the weather in order to play in the Sierras a bit. Perhaps next time?
12/7 – 12/9
Miles: 316 / 11,383
12/9 – 12/11
Hemet, CA – Family Visit #5 – with the other “Aunt Sue.” Yet another delight to meet an ardent AFT supporter!
Miles: 275 / 11,658
12/11 – 12/13
San Diego, CA
Miles: 302 / 11,906
- Begin 70 degrees and sunny territory. Unless El Nino has something to say about that.
- If Lance finds a surfboard, the journey may end here, or so we had thought…
- The El Nino rains were torrential. There was no time nor incentive to go to Tijuana.
- Screw the zoo 😦 We’re sure it’s a fine institution but when we try to budget for $10-$20 a night for lodging a $100 price tag for admission (for two) is a WAY beyond unreasonable it’s not even funny. So we were elated to experience the Living Coast Discovery Center for only $14 (for two!) with the help of Groupon! We petted rays, ogled sharks, admired giant pacific octopus, saw SEA TURTLES!!! reptiles, wetland and riparian birds and got up close and personal with MANY birds of prey. This facility is a MUST SEE for any visitor in the SD area.
- Bidding our kind host and her four legged companions adieu (we would especially miss Chupacabra – one of the most loving kitties on the planet!), we headed up the PCH to…
12/13 – 12/16
Redondo Beach, CA – Family Visit #6 (both sides this time!)
Miles: 117 / 12,023
- As much as Lance would have liked to surf, there was just too much planning business, to say nothing of the business of recovery, to do so. And the winter waves were not the kind to befriend novice surfers.
- Spent lots of time with family (again congrats to the happy couple Tim and Michelle!)
- Got the lowdown on boat living from some old hands
12/16 – 12/18
Big Sur, CA – Limekiln State Park. Another fond memory revisited
Miles: 286 / 12,309
- Morro Bay: Coastal cruising in full effect. The PCH is its own destination. We traveled the entire length of it. Many highways have been “completed” on the AFT route, but this one is special.
- Camping at Kirk Creek Campground: wowed by the ocean crashing, the sunset over the water and all this from the comfort of Charley’s interior!
- Elephant seals – up close and personal and SNORING – yes, Hubert, we’re talking about you!
- Coastal mountain hiking like you wouldn’t believe
- Even five seals said goodbye to us as we left Monterey to the Bay area. With travel constraints and the outlandish cost of the Monterey Aquarium, we were not able to stay here. But Steinbeck was in our thoughts as we traveled.
12/18 – 12/22
El Cerrito, CA – affordable, centrally located base of operations for the Bay Area.
Miles: 194 / 12,503
- San Francisco: Fog, bridges, Chinatown… Other cliché things that probably annoy locals.
- Mt. Tamalpais State Park? YES! Coming…
- Muir Woods National Monument? YES! Coming…
- Perhaps an early trip to pay tribute to Alan Watts? Yes, but that could be a book in and of itself…
12/22 – 01/02
Ocidental, CA – 10-Day Vipassana retreat for Dani where she must refrain from all contact with the outside world. Lance will be on his own. There will likely be a tremendous amount to write about this portion of the trip. And best of all severing contact with the outside world is a great excuse to miss the holidays!
Miles: 131 / 12,634
01/02 – 01/04
Fort Bragg, CA – North Coast Brewing
Miles: 217 / 12,851
- Rest and recuperation! And Le Merle!
01/04 – 01/06
Miles: 160 / 13,011
- Humboldt Redwoods State Park
- Marimba One – You know you’ve always wanted to tour the factory of a world-class marimba company…
- Redwoods National Park
- Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park – with real, live, spawning salmon!
01/06 – 01/08
Crescent City, CA
Miles: 107 / 13,118
- Sicky sick downtime 😦
- Hoping our host Rick, from our last Crescent City stay, will have his brew pub Port O’ Pints up and running.
- Patree’s amazing sourdough pizza and encyclopedic knowledge of Jededia Smith Redwoods State Park, which we were not able to take advantage of due to illness. Next time!
01/08 – 01/10
Umpqua Lighthouse State Park, OR
Miles: 175 / 13,293
- Sickness recovery while camping! Oh well, at least we got to see some sweet salamanders!
Eugene, OR – Friend Visit #2
Miles: 97 / 13,390
- Catching up and talking about the band! The band? THE BAND!
- Octobie visit – Lou is tremendous! We hope this will actually be the hear of our future farm!
- More brews ala Ninkasi, Oakshire, Hop Valley… the greatest place since Bier Thirty in Boise: The Bier Stein!!
01/11 – 01/13
Yachats, OR – ANOTHER beer related stopover at Yachats Brewing and maybe some lot scoping for future tiny house parking?
Miles: 111 / 13,501
- Cape Perpetua, the aforementioned Farmstore (collocated with brewery), yoga and surfing, a seed library at the library, mushroom hunts… This place is magical.
- Hunting for our future homesteading site under hill and dale in some remarkably inhospitable weather. No one ever said this would be easy!
01/13 – 01/17
Portlandia, OR – Friend Visit #3 and Family Visit #7.
Miles: ? / ?
- So much was going on we forgot to write the mileage down!
- Staying with Lance’s cousin Alison, her husband Casey and four of the most adorable cats you have ever laid eyes on (Cosmo refused to let us get a photogenic shot)!
- Reunion with old friends from Boise (Staci, Jared and Roy!), at the brewery of another friend (Ben) who is making a “soft start” in the industry by building his first brewery in Portland; a place known to be ambivalent towards and ignorant of good beer, and generally lacking any brewing expertise. But seriously Ben is setting up shop in one of the most prestigious beer markets in the world and not only is holding his own, he and his fellow owner/brewer Ryan are cranking out some of the tastiest brews in the city! Three cheers for Baerlic!!
- Lots of delicious home cooking
- When we were disappointed to learn a zoning restriction likely would prevent us from being able to build on our best lead yet, we shifted gear and Alison graciously took us on a tour of some wonderful Willamette Valley wineries. What a treat!
01/17 – 01/19
Miles: ? / 13,874
- Lost track of mileage at last stop and visited so many land plots on the way. Life is too crazy!
01/19 – 01/30
Low Pass, OR (Nearby)
Miles: 163 / 14,037
- Staying at the magnificent Ecolodge Gardens with our most generous host, benefactor, and friend/family-by-choice: Marcel!
- Slogging through hundreds of real estate listings trying to find the future location of our microfarm
- Getting a glorious amount of information overload at the Good Earth sustainability fair! Carol Deppe is one of our new favorite people 🙂 Free the seeds!
- Scrap the remaining Ambling Full Tilt plans of Astoria and camping on the Olympic Peninsula. The time seems right to look for land!
- Becoming lay-experts in navigating code/permitting requirements and using the online tools of various Oregon counties (most are pretty clunky).
- Meeting new friends like Teri and Peter who are tremendously kind people and whose work reminds us a mission like ours can actually succeed
01/30 – 02/01
Miles: 797/ 14,834
02/01 – 02/02
Des Moines, WA – Friend Visit #4
Miles: 186 / 15,020
- We ought to look pretty grungy indeed by the time we get here. Is that still a thing?
Les Bois AKA City of Trees AKA Holy Shit We Made It Back to Boise, ID – Home?
Miles: 501 / 15,521
- Now what?