USA ROAD TRIP 2020 – In 2020, the pandemic played havoc with our plan to travel to Greece for a month. So, we adjusted our plan! We sold Jean’s car, bought a Jeep Wrangler, and set out to explore America the Beautiful.
When we travel, we typically see cities and museums, frequent restaurants and breweries, and visit friends. With the pandemic, however, this trip was to be socially distanced. We instead focused on nature, hikes, and the “places in between” across the USA.
The trip was magnificent. America is blessed with vast and beautiful lands. Having the time to explore and savor was a gift.
- 148 days (~5 months) in a 2-door Jeep Wrangler
- 34 States (we are up to 46, 4 to go!)
- About 23,500 miles, almost the circumference of the earth
- More than 10,000 pictures and hundreds of journal entries
- 333 miles hiking with 50,528 feet in elevation gain
- Two pair of worn-out hiking shoes
- Parks, hikes, and animals beyond count
2020 USA Road Trip Travel Bytes
We particularly enjoyed finding some of the lesser-known state parks, back roads, and monuments across the USA. There are so many beautiful places. I have highlighted some from this Journey in the “Travel Byte” posts below.
Due to COVID, we ate at a restaurant only five times in the five months we travelled. However, we ate very, very well. Jean is a cookbook Author (Confident in the Kitchen) after all! Often working with just a hotplate and our limited camping gear, she made some amazing meals. Early in the trip, she managed to acquire sourdough started from our Airbnb hosts Bill and Joanne in southern Colorado. She picked up a second starter from another host, Dani, in California. She kept both bubbling throughout the trip, and kept us in sourdough heaven. “Oven” became a new Airbnb search criteria! We ate local as well, picking wild blackberries, finding farm stands, and buying fresh seafood off the doc.
Best Part of the Trip
Several people have asked, “what was your favorite part of the trip”? There were so many amazing things that it’s impossible to choose
- Camping… in the Blue Ridge and Smokey Mountains, the desert, and Grand Canyon
- Archeology… the incredible pueblo structures and culture at Chaco, Hovenweep, and Mesa Verde
- Desert… the vast Grand Circle geography from Arches to Grand Escalante to the Grand Canyon, to Joshua Tree
- Secrets… hidden springs nurturing life in the middle of scorching Death Valley and arid southern Idaho
- Volcanos… Cascade landscapes from Shasta, Lassen, St. Helens, Hood, Rainier, North Cascades National Park and Craters of the Moon
- Rivers… Colorado, Snake, Rogue, Columbia, Missouri, Mississippi, Potomac, Shenandoah, Ohio, and Hudson shaping the land and history
- Hiking… breathtaking (literally!) adventures, with mountain vistas, wildlife, dark skies, cold lake swims, the salt and freshwater coasts
- History… following Lewis and Clark from Monticello to Harper’s Ferry, up the Missouri, and down the Columbia
Most of all, it was a great way to start retirement together. To many more Journeys, Jean!