North American Freedom - July & August, 2016

Secrets at the rim of the Grand Canyon on Day 34 of this record-setting marathon trip.

NAFTA Trip Statistics:

Dates: July 8 to Aug. 27, 2016; 30 states in 3 nations


Areas Explored: Practically circumnavigated the U.S.A., hitting parts of Mexico and Canada along the way.

Transportation: 2014 Town & Country with Sears cargo carrier

New Frontiers: Longest trip to date in mileage and days on the run, first time camping and driving into Mexico, first time in LA

Cast: Scott, Jessica, Andrew, Anastasia (with special guest stars Lisa & Grant, Phil & Jillian, and a lonely Marine in Yuma)


Read: An ad hoc journal written on the road!


Trip Notes: Days 1-3: Chicago through Wisconsin's Driftless to Mitchell, SD. Days 4-7: Badlands of the Dakotas and Montana. Days 8-11: Yellowstone and Tetons. Days 12-15: Down the Snake Valley & across the Cascades to Portland, OR. Days 15-20:  The Oregon Coast. Days 20-23: Northern California, from the Redwoods to Frisco Bay. Days 24-27: Big Sur through L.A. to the border. Days 28-31: Baja California from Ensenada to Sonora. Days 31-35: The spine of Arizona from Yuma through Scottsdale and Sedona to the Grand Canyon and the Navajo Nation. Days 35-38: Across New Mexico to Amarillo, TX. Days 38-40: Along Route 66 into Arkansas to Memphis. Days 40-43: Across the Deep South to the Florida Panhandle and Georgia. Days 43-46: Along the south Atlantic through the Carolinas' Outer Banks to old Virginia. Days 46-49: Mid Atlantic from DC to Gettysburg then across the Alleghenies to Batavia, NY. Days 49-51: Through Niagara and Ontario to Detroit then back home.

Click on route in map to see more details on part of journey.

Yellow Mounds Overlook in Badlands NP, South Dakota. (below)

Page 1: Days 1-3 Across the Mississippi to South Dakota

"The place would see waves of tour bus people come in for their 'free doughnut.' Elderly, confused, zombie-like, nametag-wearing crowds would shuffle around blocking doorways and complaining about the system of food distribution."

The Little Missouri River in Theodore Roosevelt NP, North Dakota. (below)

Page 2: Days 4-5 The Northern High Plains

I stayed back to do chores and on my way up the hill to the van noticed other campers staring at me from two different directions. I know I'm not that interesting, so my next guess was spot on: a bison bull was near me or my path. There he was, quiet, and within seconds those four legs carried the creature right by me. I spoke softly, asking him to leave. He did oblige with a huff.  Continue reading...

Bison herd at Hayden Valley in Yellowstone NP, Wyoming. (below)
Stage  3: Days 6-8 Amazing, awesome, inspiring Yellowstone 

A Japanese tourist decided to photograph our family picnic. I grabbed our camera because I was going to go take photos of him if he tried it again, but he decided pointing was better than photographing the Americans having a picnic in the woods. Perhaps this is because he comes from a country where they individually wrap gummi-bears. So eating outside must have seemed foolish and quaint.  Continue reading...


Antler archway in Jackson Square  in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. (below)
Page 4: Days 9-12 Downhill, all the way to the Pacific 

The road passes through elk and pronghorn filled fields of sage. Down a hill is a rushing river and a variety of trees. In the trees I saw a moose. When I pulled a u-turn to see it again, it was gone. I continued on with my eyes on the river and not too far down we spotted two moose in the water... After they decided we were no harm, they continued their moose activities consisting mostly of continuously twitching to remove mosquitos.  Read more...


Gray whale spouting in the Pacific Ocean, just north of Depoe Bay, Oregon. (below)
Page 5: Days 13-16 Oregon's Pacific Coast 

The deckhands unloaded half a dozen plastic totes full of salmon and crabs. The fish cleaners got to work gutting and preparing the fish. As soon as the boat pulled in, a trio of harbor seals raced to the water under the cleaners and lifted their heads up out of the water, hoping for a scrap to fall. They looked more like dogs than they usually do. Read more...

  Photo Album Click on the thumbnails to see the whole photo or to see a slideshow. 


Somewhere along CA-1 in Big Sur country, California. (below) 
Page 6: Days 16-20 California's Pacific Coast 

There were close to sixty of them snorting and huffing. Some wore faces of perfect contentment laying in the Big Sur sun, occasionally itching themselves with a fin. Another comfort to them seemed to be throwing sand on themselves. The big males bellowed, their long noses flapping, their breath making steam in the cool air.


The Sangre de Cristos Range near San Luis, Colorado. (below) 
Stage 8: Days 29-31 Through Baja California and the Sea of Cortez  

"We were chosen for a search, but agent simply opened our side door and satisfied we were legit, told us to bugger off. No passport check...."

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