“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” –Gloria Steinem
The second quinquennial Road Trip is no longer a dream, but is actually going to happen. And I could not be more excited. Actually, I could be. I mean, I could win the lottery AND be going on another road trip. After much contemplation, the 2016 Road Trip will take me across the northern US and land me in the granddaddy of our national park system – the one that started them all – Yellowstone.
Yellowstone has been on my list for such a long time. It’s been the proverbial unicorn – my white whale if you will. I’ve decided that life is too short and that it needs to happen now. So come May 2016, I’ll head back across the country, just as I did in 2011, with a new string of destinations, a new Jeep, and a whole new set of expectations to fulfill. While Yellowstone is the focus, my planning also involves Grand Teton National Park and the surrounding areas. The area itself is so beautiful that I’ll likely spend just as much time exploring the back country as I do inside the parks. As I did in 2011, I picked up the best book I could find to help me do just that.
This kind of pre-planning, the time, the research, the bookmarking, the highlighting, is now what takes up the small portion of free time that I might get in between changing planes, or waiting in traffic in the backseat of a taxi. The Google Image Searches for iconic photography locations, the trip reviews, the forum threads – all slowly leading up to a road trip that I expect it to be. 2011 set the bar very high and I have faith I can do it again. (And hopefully every 5 years after that.)
Part of all of this planning adds an element that most people don’t bother with – vehicle prep. In 2011, I took my then 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee on the journey. Knowing the terrain I wanted to cover, I ended up slightly modifying it (a small lift, off road tires, etc) to better suit my needs of exploration.
In 2016, the 2015 Jeep Wrangler will earn its Rubicon / Trail Rated badge and take me back into the wild. As much more capable as this Jeep is over the last, the destinations are also much more challenging. For that reason, in addition to all of this logistical planning, I’m also undertaking what I like to call “Project: Overland”.
Overlanding is self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal. Typically, but not exclusively, it is accomplished with mechanized off-road capable transport (from bicycles to trucks) where the principal form of lodging is camping, often lasting for extended lengths of time (months to years) and spanning international boundaries – or so says Wikipedia. Basically, I’m going to try and live out of my Jeep the entire time. That requires certain gizmos, gadgets, and equipment. Project: Overland is about my pre-adventure of making my Wrangler into that support vehicle. And because I love to tinker, it’s has become a fun way to familiarize myself with all the engineering and nuances of this vehicle should I need to fix something on the road.
Well, that’s enough for now, but with the trip preparations picking up, I’ll be posting here much more often. And with Project: Overland keeping me busy on the side, I’ll likely post topics about that as well. Stay tuned and I’ll drag you through the lead up and adventure along the way.
“Don’t worry, I got this…”