May 8, 2015 Leave a comment
I found myself in heaven after a while. 3-4 weeks had passed since I had finished my hike, and I was bouncing between Cushing Maine (and that big beautiful comfortable vacation house that I wish was mine) and New Hampshire with the girl I was hanging out with, and Swazey was ALWAYS at a beach.
But it came down to the point where summer was winding down, and I knew I was running low on funds. I still had to drive back to Phoenix (gas money, places to stay, food) and I also had only rented out my house until September 1st. For me, there were 2 ways to go home. Straight to Phoenix, which would be a no fun 3 day road trip. OR a spur of the moment whatever I felt like road trip, where I could camp everywhere and go see places like the Redwoods! OH and I have never been north of Santa Barbara California! Whaaaaaat. I knew I wanted to go to the Northwest. Guy on a Buffalo (a fellow thru-hiker) offered me a place to stay in Olympia Washington, so I vaguely knew where I was going.
I put the dog in the car, said bye to my super amazing parents, my friends, and the East Coast. I stopped down in Hartford Connecticut for lunch to see my friend Monika who I NEVER get to see because she just moved back from Italy, and set my sights on Ohio. I didn’t know where I was going, I just knew how long I wanted to drive. I picked a town not far away and googled campgrounds near it. I found an AWESOME one, no idea of the name. I instantly met a guy fishing with loud music drinking beers and made him my best friend for the day. He let me fish with him, we caught 3 bass, he taught me how to filet the fish and then we cooked them over a camp fire. I found out he was living at the campground for the last 6 months, because he likes being outside. He works as a metal welder but just liked camping. I love his style.
The next morning, I awoke to the most BEAUTIFUL sunrise over the fishing pond.
Friggin surreal right?! Damn I love camping. So I did a little digging with my phone. I found a GREAT website for car camping. Did you know you can car camp the entire US for FREE? I didn’t. I paid $15 for that campsite the night before. But that was literally the last one for a while. www.freecampsites.net allows you to input a destination, and find FREE campsites within 50 miles of your destination. They also post paid campsites if you want to be a snob. Some paid sites are really dope of course. This was the greatest information ever! I wish someone had told me about this long ago. I found some of the most remote and beautiful campsites because of this website.
Anyways, I b-lined it to Cedar Rapids Iowa next, because why not? Also I have a lot of friends there. I ended up staying there for about 3-4 days for free on someones couch and it was just a giant binge drinking week. Swazey loved it too,
For my next trick, I decided to take a guy (another thru hiker I met on the trail, named Uffda) up on his offer for me to come crash at his place in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Shit, I had never been to North Dakota, so why not?!? PLUS, it takes me right through Minnesota, and there is another place I’ve never been to… I found the dopest dog park outside of Minneapolis using yelp or something like that, it was 25 acres with huge lakes and all that. Swazey went nuts and got very very dirty.
Now that I had mud in my car, I moved on. The sky was beautiful on and off, rainstorms in the distance, or sometimes on top of me. BUT I WAS IN A CAR! HA! Take that mother nature! (Hiking the Appalachian Trail had mother nature making me its bitch).
Well, I made it to Grandforks, and Uffda showed me the hockey stadium that city is apparently famous for. It’s called the Taj Mahal of hockey, and cost $104 million dollars to build. Former NHL hockey player Wayne Gretzky has called the structure “one of the most beautiful buildings we have in North America”. So what the fuck, I went and saw it.
Cash Money! This road trip is a blast, and is a lot to share… SOOOOOO I will write more about it soon!