April 3, 2012

25 Thousand Miles

The windshield wipers slashed futily at the northwest’s signature rain as the Syncro hummed along at 63 mph up I-5 in southern Oregon.  Due to the limited top speed and my frequent breaks to take photos and refuel,  I had traveled just over 400 miles in 11 hours.    Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion on tape kept me occupied and I was in no rush to make it back to familiar sites.  Kicking off my shoes,  I turned up the heat and prepared myself for another chapter of Kesey’s novel.

Dusk faded into night as tales from a logging community somewhere to my west continued on.  I peered down from my blank gaze north. The gas gauge hovered just over 1/8th full, or 7/8ths empty.  Already?  Taking the next exit, I headed towards an Arco.  Filling the tank with premium and grabbing a cup of shitty coffee,  I leaned against the side of the Syncro and read emails on my iPhone.  The nozzle clunked, satisfied with 17 gallons. Locking the gas cap,  I hopped back into the van and reset the trip meter on the odometer.

Accessing the vital signs, oil pressure, coolant temperature…, before hitting the road again, I paused at the total mileage on the odometer.  Subtracting the existing mileage from what was on it when I picked her up nine months ago left me with just over 25,000 miles.  The Chrysler sedan waiting patiently behind me flashed its lights, reminding me that I was taking my sweet ass time.

Pulling back on to I-5, I opted for the best of Dire Straits over an audio book and reminisced over the last 25k miles.

I’ve filled up the Syncro over a hundred times since July. This was one of most harmful for the her heart.

I could live here.

Cold times surfing on the Oregon Coast.

Capturing the last bit of summer at Elk Lake in central Oregon.

Surfing at County Line near Malibu.

For the first time since moving to Maine in 2006, I saw the seasons change in the Pacific Northwest.

Weeks spent in Northern California.

Last fall, I worked on The Impossible Project for Urban Outfitters.  Check out this post for more info.

Exploring the Gunnison National Forrest.

US 50 cuts through one of the least populated parts of the lower 48.  Dan and I spent a few days exploring the surrounding area in September.

This van started me on my quest to document vans and other vehicles I come across on the road.

An unforgettable backpacking trip on the Lost Coast.

Working on the Burning House book in LA.

In Nevada, I ran into Nate Damn as he was closing in on the final stretch of his walk across America.

I saw and rode some beautiful waves in Santa Cruz.

Basin and Range regions often look similar.  Beautiful.

A baja buggy in Baja Mexico.

Summer run steelhead in the Columbia River Gorge.

A mentor of mine once told me that if you take the most fun, responsible option at every opportunity, you’ll live a fulfilling life.  I was back from New York on a long weekend and we had just split a bottle of wine. Although I didn’t think much of it at the time, I now look back to that as one of the moments that started me on the path I am now on.

The more I make decisions with this mantra, the easier it gets.  The first 12,000 miles were more hard fought than the last 13,000.   Momentum builds quickly.

Thank you for being a part of my travels.

Here are some more links,

25k Miles (Facebook).


  • April 3 , 2012

    I can imagine how wonderful and challenging those 25k miles have been. So tempted to start my own trip post-grad…

  • April 3 , 2012

    I’m a middle-aged guy living in the middle of Pennsylvania who’s never been on a surfboard. I’ve been enjoying your travels vicariously. The writing and the photos are both top notch. Keep up the good work!

  • April 3 , 2012

    This is a wonderful post. Definitely does justice to the 25k.

  • April 3 , 2012

    Thanks for the recap, what beautiful photos. I will have to go back and explore the posts more closely. (Sometimes A Great Notion is in my top 5 books of all time,)

  • April 4 , 2012

    It really wasnt that challenging. Like most things, the hardest part was deciding to do it.

    Thanks for the kind words, I plan on continuing to travel and share it online.

    Thanks for the kind words,

    Some times a great notion is amazing, so far, i havent finished it yet. I hope you get a chance to check out some of the posts.


  • April 4 , 2012

    Congratulations with flipping the digits on your pony. Always a spike of excitement when my bookmarks toolbar shows me that you’ve posted again. Cheers to life buddy. May she give you 100,000 more.
    go get ‘em

  • April 4 , 2012

    GORGEOUS photos, love the surf shot!

  • Christopher
    April 4 , 2012

    I wonder where the next 25,000 will take you? How have you and the van changed and developed? You lead such an interesting and inspirational journey.

  • April 5 , 2012

    Wow. Just stumbled across your blog and am incredibly impressed. I’ve always dreamed of picking up and traveling for as long as I can, but I’m too tied down right now and not ready to cut those ties. Maybe someday. Until then, cheers!

  • April 5 , 2012

    100k is certainly something to aim for.

    thanks for the kind words.

    I want to head north during the summer and explore the washington/ bc and alaska coasts.

    Its easier than you think to hit the road.


  • April 9 , 2012

    Love the opening photograph. I’m taking a 3 week vacation this summer and heading West. I’d hate to say you didn’t inspire me to want to explore the west. Hoping to take as many photos as possible and see as much as time allows.

    Take care my man.

  • Rick
    April 13 , 2012

    It’s been a joy to follow your trip. Thanks for sharing your photos and thoughts. Best from SoPo, ME