August 23–27, 2018

For years, I had dreamt of exploring Glacier National Park. I had only first heard of the park at some point during my graduate studies in Florida, when a friend visited the park and talked about how glaciologists expected glaciers would be gone from the park by about 2030. To be honest, however, I never really knew much about Montana, and my interest was only piqued in recent years. I had always thought of Montana as a part of the country with lots of cowboys, horseback riding, and rolling rangeland. …


Missoula

August 13–21, 2018

My second trip to Montana came a three weeks after my initial stopover in Big Sky Country. This time, I approached Montana from the West, carrying a payload of personal effects for my friends who were moving from Berlin to Missoula. I drove eight hours straight from Seattle to Missoula, through the very smoky and desert landscape of Central and Eastern Washington. The western forest fires of Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia were at their peak during this time, and it made the whole area look very post-apocalyptic.

Once in Missoula I met another friend Stephen (also…


Seattle

August 10–12, 2018

My first arrival in Seattle was at Green Lake, where my new vanlife friend Francisco and I went for a swim and cooked some dinner. It was a Friday late afternoon, and many people were out for run or swim before beginning their weekend plans. We got to watch a kayak race across the lake and got invited to have some rooftop patio drinks with some people who lived around the corner. …


Canada

August 6–10, 2018

The Black Ball Ferry from Port Angeles, WA to Victoria, BC runs three times daily. It is possible to reserve spots for a vehicle in advance, but many people just show up a few hours before departure time in order to get a stand-by spot the day-of. I got to the port about 4 hours before departure, and was given stand-by number 17 (they told me I didn’t have a very good chance of making it on the next boat). In the time between, I grabbed a coffee, got caught up on some emails and writing, and…


Westport-San Francisco-La Push

July 31 — Aug 5, 2018

After exploring the Olympic National Park for a few days, I wanted to get in some surfing, but I needed both wax and a new set of fins for my board. I had heard that there were a few surf shops down in Westport, WA. I left the beautiful Olympic Peninsula and headed south along US-101.

The drive from Humptulips to Westport is really beautiful. You pass through a mixture of wetlands, mountains, bays, and forests. I arrived in Westport and grabbed a campsite in the Twin Harbors State Park. While the park was…


Olympic National Park

July 27–30, 2018

After a week in Portland, I felt the call of the wild again, and figured I’d escape the 95+ degree temperatures inland for the cool and cloudy pacific coastline. It was a Friday morning, and after debating whether it would be easier to find a camping spot in Oregon or Washington (the latter seemed like a better bet), I decided to head up to the Olympic Peninsula for some hiking, surfing, and exploring of old growth forests.

The drive to the Olympic Peninsula

The drive from Portland to La Push, WA takes about 4.5 hours, and first curves along the Columbia river with…


Portland

July 20–26, 2018

Portland is one of my favorite cities in the United States. The reasons I like Portland are some of the same reasons why I found Berlin such an wonderful place to live. Portland is quirky, weird, eccentric, liberal, accepting, and has a lot of fun little neighborhoods with all sorts of food and beer to try. Portland boasts one of the highest number of breweries per capita in the United States.

I arrived in Portland on Friday evening and met up with an old college friend of mine from Tallahassee, who has graciously shown me a good…


Lake Chelan & Gifford Pinchot National Forest

July 17–20

After driving 6+ hours each day for a week, I was ready for a break from the road. I was blessed with the chance not only to spend some down time relaxing, but to do so with friends and at an incredible place — Lake Chelan, WA. Lake Chelan is the third deepest state in the United States and the 26th deepest lake in the world. We rented a big house on the side of the lake with a dock looking into the crystal clear water. We spent our two days and two nights at the house grilling…


Theodore Roosevelt is considered the father of the National Park systems in the United States, and was a bit of a wild man and explorer in his own day. Legend has it that he first fell in love with the northern Badlands when he came to the region in search of the rugged western lifestyle and to hunt bison. He invested in a couple of ranches, and it was his time spent exploring the strenuous life outdoors that shaped his conservation philosophy. He felt compelled to preserve much of the country’s natural beauty from being developed and exploited. …


The Long Haul.

June 11–18 2018

I had hoped to document each portion of my road trip, a summary of each day on the road, and the sites I saw along the way. However, I quickly realized two things: (1) My higher-than-expected driving-to-sightseeing ratio would make me too tired to want to sit down and write in the evening, and (2) I would have very little cell service/Wifi over the coming weeks to be able to post blog entries in real-time fashion. That being said… I am still dedicated to share my story with you! So here we go…

Day 1: Annapolis to Pennsylvania

As I mentioned in…

Austin C. Todd

Data scientist, musician, and adventurer with a passion for the environment and outdoors. Recently left Berlin to travel through North America in a fire truck.

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