Delayed, but finally written

I finally reached a place where I could go through my travel journal and learn from my solo months on the road. I had not wanted to open my journal as there was some fear about the many emotions I knew would come flooding back, but here I am sharing my journey, the good, the beautiful, the real, the dark, and the heavy parts of my journey. Beyond grammatical editing and some further thoughts, what I have presented here is my authentic thoughts and notes from my 3 months on the road.

To start from the beginning, scroll day until you find Day 1.

Day 19

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Saturday, June 2, 2018

Novato, CA—-Redwood National Park, CA

233,470 km on the odometer 

Made today a bit longer than it needed to be, but the drive was pretty. I headed north up the 101 upon leaving Novato then cut off to the 128 across the Anderson Valley and connected to the 1. Just beautiful.  Simple as that.  Stopped at Glass Beach which was surprisingly slightly underwhelming.  Kept moving and got into the Redwood National Park area late-ish.  Kept circling for camping and drove close to 30 extra miles looking for a suitable camping spot.  One of the pitfalls of having a trip relatively unplanned and open ended, night time accommodations can prove difficult in some places.  Finally settled on an overgrown piece of land which looked like a home once stood there, but the plot was free of no trespassing signs and no camping signs, so I went for it.  I was hungry, or should I say hangry, and settled for eating a granola bar for dinner, not my best camp dinner.  

On one of my many circles on the few smaller roads in the area I was graced with being able to watch a mama black bear with her two cubs cross the road.  Bomba and I watched patiently enjoying the sight before they slipped into the brush on the other side and disappeared into the dense growth of ferns. 

Day 18

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Friday, June 1, 2018

Santa Barbara, CA —-Novato, CA

It was time to leave the comforts of home and finally make some moves.  I left Santa Barbara and headed north.  My friend Dave was in Novato for some work along with the rest of the Land Rover Driver Training Team. He graciously offered a spot to crash for the evening, and plenty of time to catch up.  I stopped off at Pinnacles National Park on my way north, drove in from the west side.  The park isn’t super dog friendly, so it was a quick visit, but still worth the stop.  Had a lovely sushi dinner with the group when I got into town, then it was a good night’s sleep.

Day 11-17

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Friday, May 25, 2018-Thursday, May 31, 2018

Santa Barbara, CA

I spent my time at home finishing off all the little projects that got shelved with my time crunch before Expo.  I finished my mosquito window nets, changed my oil, taught my brother how to change his, on his new to him FJ80, and so many other little things I can’t even remember.  Beyond my little projects, my time was filled with family, hiking, catching up with friends and making a few new ones.  Probably spending to much time at a local watering hole, Llama Dog, thanks Greg!  It was a bit of a long stay at home, but the rest felt amazing and needed.  By the end of the week I barely sounded like a man!

This was the first time I had really gotten to hike in the front country and see the devastation of the Thomas Fire, and the subsequent fatal debris flows.  The landscapes I grew up hiking have been drastically changed, creeks widened by car size boulders plowing through them, hills with nothing but dirt left.  Just a complete change.  A lot of time was spent reflecting with my family on the natural disasters of the year prior.

Day 10

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Toquerville, UT—Santa Barabra, CA

Got up early and drove straight through to my parents in Santa Barbara, CA.  We stopped off at Lake Mead to get a walk in and soak in the sunshine as the water lapped at our feet.  I drive a bit of a funky way home and dropped down to the 40, then headed west to Barstow which connected us to the 15.  This cuts out the two huge grades you encounter on the 15 as you enter California.  On hot summer days those grades would do Beastie in, my route may be longer, but I think better for ol’ Beastie.  After an uneventful drive I made it home relatively early for a change. *and yes I grew up in California nad refer to interstates with the preposition ‘the’

Day 9

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Lake Powell, UT—House Rock Valley Road, UT—Woody’s in Toquerville, UT

Mellow morning. I again was fed out of the kindness of the Young’s and Scully’s, as they knew I needed to go grocery shopping but said I should just wait, enjoy the morning, as they had plenty of food to go around. 

After some goodbyes, Travis and I, headed to town (Page, AZ) to resupply and then made our way to House Rock Valley Road for a hike.  We didn’t make it to the trailhead early enough to beat the heat.  We tried to head down Buckskin Gulch, but the ground was already too hot for the pups.  We called it and turned back to relax at our vehicles.  We enjoyed a bite with our newly acquired groceries and some shade provided by Travis’s awning, then soon it was our turn to part ways.  


I always find it incredible how much emotion a location can hold, good and bad.  I met a old boyfriend on House Rock, and I still feel those emotions every time I turn down that red dirt road and cross the fateful mud-pit that forced our wonderful meeting.  We may not be together anymore, but Josh will always hold a spot in my heart, he’s a wonderful human being and one of my best friends, and I have to mention Bomba’s dad! Sometimes I find myself heading down House Rock Road just to have a smile spread across my face as I remember that incredible meeting and first few weeks together.  A big thank you to Josh for sticking with me as a friend, our friendship has always meant a lot to me. 


After a bit of reminiscing, I headed toward my friends Heather and Brian’s in Toquerville, UT.  I joined them and a few of their friends for drinks and dinner.  Brian and Heather have been incredible.  Anytime I’m in their area I know I have a spot to crash, Brian once got mad at me for not staying with them when he found out I was camping nearby. I know them through the Cruiser community, like many of my friends scattered across the country and world for that matter, Brian aka Woody is the proprietor of IH8MUD, the largest Land Cruiser forum in the world.  My time at their house is always filled with laughs, great conversation, and usually a shower I’m in desperate need of.  I can’t thank these two enough for the landing pad.  After dinner, we headed back the house and I slept, hard.  

Day 8


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Lake Powell, UT

Mellow mellow day.  A little R&R after the craziness that is Overland Expo.  Slowly, very slowly my voice started to return.  Still sounded like a man. Sun and sand.  Bomba ran around like a crazy wild thing all day, clearly she had some pent up energy that she needed to burn.  Tim Scully joined today with his family, Ashely, and their two year old Gigi, in their Land Rover Defender 90.  Gigi was a hoot!  Travis joined us as well.  Good conversation and company.  Kept notes to a minimum.

Day 7


Monday, May 21, 2018

Flagstaff, AZ-Lake Powell, UT

Helped break down part of the Camel Trophy training area before lunch, and then the 7P crew helped put the synthetic winch line they sponsored on Beasties newly functioning winch! It was a little bit of a process.  Very thankful to Nick and everyone who helped make that project complete.  I went to a synthetic line over the stock steel cable, so I had something easier to handle if need be when I was on the road by myself.  Leaving Expo is always hard.  It’s always hard leaving such an incredible group of people, the camaraderie, the community, the feeling of fitting.  I have to remind myself I know I’ll see them again and we’ll all have new stories and adventures to share over good food and beer.  

From Flagstaff I headed NW to Lake Powell, UT to join some friends and camp along the shores at Lone Rock.  I met up with my friend Basil Lynch and Matt of Off Grid Engineering.  Also in the group was James and Clarie of “This Big Road Trip”, and english couple who had moved to Canada and then sold everything to travel the world in a Dodge Ram with camper.

Day 3-6


Thursday, May 17, 2018-Sunday, May 20, 2018

Flagstaff, AZ

Finished signage across the Camel Trophy/Moto/training arena.  Still rolling in the 130.  Bomba was an angel and hung out in Beastie patiently at camp, where the shade was.  I was assigned to help the incredible Connie Rodman, Staff Camp manager/chef/everything person, with lunch for the staff. Snuck in an afternoon shower, which was much needed, thanks to my good friend Dave who was staying at a hotel nearby with Land Rover.  Bomba slept in the air conditioned room for an hour.  Then it was time to prepare for classes which were set to begin the following day!

All of Expo was busy busy busy! It was day 1 of the show and I had already lost my voice, dry air and dust, I think, being the biggest factors.  Teaching classes all day with no voice was an interesting challenge but I accepted it! I really got to begin to get to know the staff and crew a lot more and I could not be happier to feel a part of such an incredible group of people. Just wish we weren’t always spread across the globe.  

Saturday rolled around and I had more teaching, and an even more hoarse voice.  Even with my sad voice, my classes seemed to be well received.  Here’s hoping I can take on more classes at East *east came around and I did take on a lot more! Happily so*.  The Equipt party was a bit of a let down.  

Spent my relatively open Sunday morning to run around the vendor area, dealing with some tweaks to the cargo box, and a huge mess up on Nemo’s part in regards to a recent order I placed.  That never really got resolved even after talking to the founder/CEO.  Still peeved about that situation.  Then back to teaching and a great BBQ in the afternoon followed by an amazingly silly and fun evening with the staff.  

All of Expo, Bomba was incredible!  Handled the crowds really well and got plenty of love from the 7P crew.  Very happy to have my adventure buddy with me, she’s the ultimate support crew. 

Day 1 -2


Tuesday, May 15, 2018- Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Boulder, CO (Home)—Moab, UT—Valley of the Gods—Flagstaff, AZ

Starting mileage (kms)—230,460km

Busted out much of my drive to Overland Expo, in Flagstaff, AZ in a day.  I was dealing with a bit of a time crunch as I only got Beastie back from my incredible mechanic Robbie a day before I was set to leave and had just finished up my last final a day prior.  Robbie did a lot of work to help me prep for our journey to come.  I had the transmission rebuilt, the seal replaced between the transmission and transfer case, and the PTO winch completely overhauled amongst a few other things.  Robbie let me come in and repack the wheel bearings as he worked on the big ticket items.  I got a late start the morning I left.  Stopped in Moab quickly for a bite and kept on pushing.  Landed in Valley of the Gods in southern Utah at about 11PM.  Settled in for the night before finishing off the drive Wednesday morning.  Expo was set to begin that Thursday.  

I left camp in the Valley of the Gods early early, and ended up making it to Flagstaff 8AM on Wednesday.  Headed to work straight away helping with set up, primarily around the training area.  Got to drive a Defender 130 as my supply haul rig.  Not a Cruiser but still pretty neat!  The simplicity of my task of putting up signs was exactly what I needed for my tired mind and tired feet.  Ended my night at the Cool Rig Contest with Travis Wolcott, my fellow Change  Your World Fund grantee, ate incredible pizza and headed back to the event site.  


When I first started my travel journal I had grandiose ideas of making more technical notes, mileage, how Beastie was running.  That didn’t last long, but I’ll include my ‘technical notes’ from the first little bit. 

Beastie ran a little hot through the Rockies but at elevation that wasn’t to much of a surprise.  Just turned my heat to full blast and spent my drive sweating, but at least Beastie was running at a better temp.  

From Grand Junction, CO to Tuba City, AZ the drive was 539km.  Filled up with 19.1 gallons of diesel in Tuba City and after some conversion math I landed on 28.1mpg at an average of 85km/h.  Pretty good for a 32 year old vehicle!