30 Days and Counting…
On September 18, 2012 at approximately 7pm we officially finished packing our gear and departed on our trip in a total downpour of rain and tears. As we were throwing some last minute things into the back of the truck, we discovered a leak forming a river in our new cap. It was draining right into the bed area due to the pressure from the newly installed roof rack. Oh well, we threw some good ol’ duct tape on it and hit the road!
Our first stop was North Conway, NH for some delicious eats. For some reason leaving was more emotional this time. Possibly due to the fact that we are leaving for a much longer period of time or because this has been something we have only dreamed of for the past two years… until now! As we were sitting at the bar feeling a bit homesick, in walks two of our close friends from home, Jay and Alexis! We were pumped! After hanging out and sharing some laughs for a while, we attempted to continue our drive through the windy, forest roads of the White Mountains in the pouring rain. It became too difficult to see and was a little too late so we decided to park at a trailhead and spend the night.
The next couple of weeks were spent relaxing in Vermont at Nate’s family’s cabin, tent camping on Grout Pond in southern Vermont, and driving long days to make it to Ohio to visit with family. We had a great visit with them… full of love, laughs, doggie licks and talks of guns and other “man stuff” that I only pretending to be interested in. We were also given the secret to long-term travel from Nate’s little cousin Izze- “All you need is a Twix bar” she says. Well alright, we will have to give that a shot!
From Ohio, we were on a deadline to make it to Arkansas to meet up with Danny from Dodge Off Road. Prior to leaving home, we attempted to complete the rear shackle flip to finalize our rear suspension. As standard in Maine, everything was seized with rust. We got in contact with Danny who had a custom solution for us. While we were there, we learned what true Southern hospitality was all about! We had dinner with Danny and his wife Janna consisting of delicious rib-eyes, french fries and Dr. Pepper. It was the first Dr. Pepper I had ever tried. Danny couldn’t believe it as he essentially lives off of the stuff! We spent about a week in Arkansas, staying at one of the most beautiful state parks we have ever stayed at, wrenching on the truck, touring through caves and also getting interviewed by the local newspaper about our trip! You can check out the article here.
After leaving Arkansas, we decided New Mexico was our next planned destination. We drove to Taos, New Mexico- an eclectic, artsy town also home to the largest existing pueblo structure in the US. We visited Taos Pueblo and learned all about adobe buildings and got to see a native village firsthand. We spent Nate’s birthday there as well, where we over-indulged on delicious food and beverages all day and night. We asked a couple of locals where a good 8-10 mile hike would be and they told us about this loop trail that goes through the ski valley. What an incredible hike! The view from the top was beautiful and we even had the opportunity to see our first Bighorn Sheep. The hike was strenuous and at 12,110 feet, the elevation made it difficult on us. Seeing as how we both grew up pretty much at sea-level, our lungs were not very happy with us!
We have had a very eventful and fast paced first thirty days to our trip. We have had to re-learn how to live out of the truck, find places to bush camp and work with the everyday to do list while on the road. It has taken us a little while to decompress, get back into the swing of things and find our rhythm. The pace is finally slowing down and the true living has begun!