I’m momentarily back in Fayetteville and sitting in the iconic Ozark Mountain Smokehouse that we get to call our offices. During our first three months on the road, we ended up driving 14,000 miles, visiting every state out West, though it feels we have only scratched the surface of each...
My girlfriend, Gracie and I headed out July 1st for a journey across the United States. It was an idea that we started planning a year prior to leaving, and we picked up the finished rig from Modus Studio the night before leaving Fayetteville. The thought of leaving routine for the unknown was an aspect of life that I was excited to make happen. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, but quickly found ourselves happier than ever.
I made a point to try and slow down how I tackled the business week by incorporating meditation in the mornings, eating healthy, & being active everyday with the sports I enjoy.
While my weekdays were still filled with the normal pulse of business, I always made a peaceful afternoon break on nearby trails or rivers. If we connected with a town or area we tried to make a point to stay for a week. Our van is set up for back country & small towns so we stayed away from big city or crowds.
Roadtripper’s Guide: our favorite towns
Surrounding views include box canyons and their outdoor culture is contagious. It’s a one-way-in town that seems to deter large tourist crowds. I fell in love with the boomtown architecture and enjoyed free gondola rides for hitting the downhill trails.
Santa Fe, NM
This is a special place to me from memories of many family trips skiing and vacationing as a kid. The Windsor Mountain Biking Trail was some of my favorite single track this Summer and we always enjoy checking out Ten Thousand Waves, a world class Japanese inspired spa in the mountains.
Big Sur, CA
We only had a limited time here due to the wildfires, but it’s very majestic feeling and was my first time to see old growth Redwood trees. It was amazing to have our front yard on the cliffs overlooking the ocean.
Cannon Beach, OR
The Oregon coast is a site to see. We enjoyed getting to make fires during sunsets that were hidden in nooks of the expansive coastline.
Orcas Island, WA
The van took it’s maiden voyage on a ferry to get here. We mountain biked all over, had fresh oysters, & learned what all the hype was about with Huckleberries and lavender ice cream.
Roadtripper’s Guide: Notables & Tips for the Road
The first thing many people asked was how do you two not get tired of each other? We found that travel actually brought us closer.
Not having service for our phones, or tv to distract us, we naturally communicate more, which has brought us closer. The van life allows us to live with out all the distractions of the modern world. Being able to share in our passion for travel and see something new each day keeps things fresh and exciting for our relationship.
The road offers continual, “if this is it in life, I’m content” moments.
I started noticing these early in the trip by being present in time and finding pure joy of being outside & with the sports we were doing on the road.
I never paid such close attention to usage of water and electricity until this trip.
With only a 26 gallon tank of freshwater and using power from Solar, we were forced to be extra cautious of these resources.
The road changed our relationship with food.
We spend $70 - $100 a week on food and never let anything go to waste. Preparing raw meat isn’t something we attempt often. Cooking becomes a practice in efficiency. We always have a bottle of Pinot Noir to join with our dinners.
The road offers the luxury of time.
I noticed we spent lots of time together helping each other with the daily tasks of life and never felt a need to rush.
The road offers simplicity.
We didn’t watch TV for 3 months. We would play card games, journal, read or do the ole talking thing. We ended up listening to many books on tape during long drives. I stopped using a credit card because a feeling of full-time vacation spending mode isn’t sustainable. You can’t be bashful of using restroom outside or in public places.
Preparation before hitting the road is important.
The prep of living in a 300 sq ft mountain shack before hitting the road was invaluable for our travels. The year prior to travel allowed us time to clear personal overhead and donate belongings we didn’t use.
Sleeping on the road.
First time in life being under 6 ft tall was a plus. The bed and height of the van is limited. National Forests & BLM were our picks most of the time for sleeping after working in coffee shops for the day. We found out very early that RV parks isn’t a scene and setting that we were interested in.
Discovering new places along the way is one of the best parts.
Living in digital age with GPS, Internet, YELP - Makes discovery of new places an ease and allows for on the move planning. We always found the locals’ beta by going to bike shops & fly shops to know the spots. Mountain Biking in new areas? I’d recommend using MTB Project app.
Hot shower, full kitchen, & large fridge were amenities that make working and living on the road obtainable for long stretches of time.
Onward to Southern California
The next couple of months we will be heading to Southern California to be close to our manufacturing facilities and see the full process of how our products are made. I’m also very eager to go deeper into our supply chain while being on the factory floor and see where we can improve our quality and sustainability of manufacturing. Surfing and mountain biking will be the sports in the Winter and looking forward to linking up with the team in Salt Lake City, UT for Winter Outdoor Retailer in January.
Thanks for reading and look forward to sharing the next round of the journey. You can follow the trip on our company IG @fayettechill & personal accounts @elliottmo / @graciedwards
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