Our journey across the United States began in Michigan, where we had sold our house and most of our possessions. We packed the things we thought we be the most useful and the things we couldn't yet come to part with (massive book and record collections) into a 5x10 foot trailer which we would tow to Utah. We temporarily relocated to Salt Lake City where we have family. There we rested a short time and quickly got to work purchasing our slide in truck camper and modifying our truck for the coming overland travel. After spending three sweaty, busy and fun filled months in SLC, we felt ready to hit the road. So off we set, loaded up and ready to roll.
We set off through the western Utah desert, south around the mysterious Dugway Proving Grounds. After a quick stop at the Bonneville Salt Flats, we continued west to the Ruby Mountains. Here we set up camp for a couple of days. Range after range we would cross a great deal of the Great Basin on two track rutted trails, one of which was marked with a sign the Hastings Cutoff Road. It is an exhilarating feeling to be traveling on one of the original tracks taken by European settlers through the area 170 years prior. This is hollowed ground. We love the great West desert. So much magic and wonder lurking in countless mountain ranges and basins. We sought out rock hounding sites and hot spring baths.
After a short stop over in Reno for some supplies, we headed north to the Black Rock Desert where we had first met three years earlier. There we enjoyed hot springs and seeing the mountains again which are home to Burning Man. Our next destination was Mt. Shasta in California where we would be obtaining our solar system for our rig. Mt. Shasta enchanted us. We really enjoyed the vibe there and the fresh water source in the park is some of the best water around. The mountain is a very powerful center on earth. Sacred ground indeed. After almost a week in Shasta, we continued west toward the Pacific where we would eventually reach Arcata. At this point we were still trying to hold a schedule to get to LA within the next week so we rushed south into the redwoods and realized we would be traveling way too fast to enjoy all California has to offer. Thus, we doubled back all the way to Crescent City and would spend the next two months making our way slowly down the coast thru Humboldt county, Mendocino, Sonora, the Bay, Santa Cruz, Monterrey, Big Sur, Los Padres forest, Santa Barbara, L.A., the Cleveland forest and San Diego. In between we would camp anywhere we could. National Forest land, highway 1 turnoffs, walmart parking lots, quiet upper class streets and friends houses. California is a difficult place to travel as we do. The sixties and seventies must have really brought a sour taste for Californians. The place is filled with rules and restrictions. Not much free camping is around, especially near the coast, and the further south you go the less welcoming and open people are. North of Point Arena the vibe is still good, but south of there things are very different. After spending ample time in California, we were ready for cheaper food, welcoming natives and warmer oceans! On to Mexico!