This is my first Blog post, just 5 months, 3 days, 13 hours, and 38 minutes before we embark on our amazing journey. It’s the day after Christmas and it’s time to get to work! There is so much to plan and so much to do before we leave in May. The logistics behind planning an 18 month journey around the United States and Canada are enough on it’s own, but we also need to continue to plan our 18 month trip to 47 countries, which is to follow. At times it can be overwhelming, but we also know that we will have 18 months to finish planning the world trip, so today, we continue to focus on our first leg.
Since we know that we will visit all 48 Continental States (we have already explored Hawaii and Alaska), we had to do some research to find out what was interesting in each state and compare it to our own interests. Our interests generally include exploring nature and animals, beautiful architecture, and science and history. Activities we enjoy are hiking, camping, kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing, diving, white-water rafting, and biking. Oh, and let’s not forget food. Though neither of us are very adventurous when it comes to food, we do appreciate a good meal and will be seeking out some of the best restaurants around the country for some good local grinds (for my Hawaii friends)!
One thing that is making the of planning our trip easier is that we don’t have a definitive timeline. Since we haven’t been to many of these places we really don’t know what to expect, so we have decided to keep our plan fluid. This way we can cut certain parts short if we are bored or don’t think it’s worth the time, and we can add on other activities or places if we hear about something along the way or just want more time in a place that we are enjoying. This also will allow us to be flexible when it comes to weather!
We have the approximate route that we are planning on taking around the country and it factors in spending the approximate time that we are planning on being areas so that we can avoid as much cold and/or stormy weather as possible. No, we won’t be avoiding ALL of the cold and snow, but we will be minimizing it as much as possible. There are even some areas that we are actually hoping to catch when there is snow on the ground.
So, where are we going? I don’t have a point by point list ready to publish yet, and I am sure it will be tweaked a bunch of times before we go, but here is our preliminary map.
Last week, we purchased our travel van and Toni has begun the process of building it out. Keep in mind that we will be living out of the van, not in it. We will spend most of our time at hotels or camping in National and State Parks. When considering a car, vs a van, vs an RV we took into consideration gas mileage, storage, and the ease of driving and parking in cities, and resale value. The van was a clear winner. Toni did tons of research and decided to go with a Dodge Promaster City. We are familiar with these vehicles since we use similar ones in our business, but this van had a little more cargo space, better gas mileage, and it actually has a 9 speed transmission that give it enough power to tow! We won’t be towing anything this trip, but we feel it will come in handy later. So far, I am impressed with the quality of the van as well as it’s get-up-and-go! Here are the before pics of the van.
Our plans are to insulate and build a storage unit in the back that we will keep our belongings in, but will also give us the option to easily convert to a bed for those occasions that we just need a nap but don’t want to actually stop off an put up the tent or stay at a hotel. Again, we are living out of the van and not in it! Toni has taken the reigns on this project and she went out to Home Depot and Lowes to get everything needed to insulate and build the frame. She made some great progress today and is very excited. Here are some pictures of her working hard!
So, that’s it for today. This is Day 1 of our planning and prep with so much more ahead of us. As you can imagine, this huge change in our lives will be exciting and challenging and we are glad that we will have you following us along on this journey!