or 5,000 miles across USA with a trailer.
Photography: Rey Joaquin, Martin Ahe
Copy: Rey Joaquin, Martin Ahe
A month after our time at Techstars ended, team Wonders embarked on a 2-week roadtrip from Austin, TX to Seattle, WA. Partly due to desire for adventure, partly to help a friend drive a U-Haul trailer of things, and partly as a break from it all. These are the chronicles of the places we went, the people we met, and the stories we’ll tell.
Leg 1: Austin, TX - New MexicoWe just picked up our “adventure mobile” from our friend Josh’s place - a car with a trailer hitched at its tail for the long haul. To be honest, we weren’t quite sure that we’d make it all the way to Washington. One because the trailer was heavy, and two because we weren’t sure the car could get the job done. With naive optimism, we aimed to drive through Texas and New Mexico to arrive in Boulder, CO by the end of the day.
Texas is huge! It took almost the entire day to get out of the damn state! Don’t get me wrong, we love Texas, for sure. We just didn’t realize how massive and very flat it was...
By the time the sun began to set we barely crossed the TX-NM border. We didn’t want to drive throughout the night, so we decided to camp somewhere after a full day’s worth of driving and found this gem - a State Park along our route called Lake Sumner. It was magical. We had the entire park to ourselves and ate a delicious dinner by the clean idyllic waters of the lake.
As night approached, we set up our Kammok Roo’s before making dinner. It was a good thing we also had our Dragonfly bug nets. We slept lakeside that night, and the bugs were everywhere. We woke up the next day, having survived the swarm. One of them did manage to get into Martin’s net and bit him in the middle of his face - it looked like he had two noses.
Leg 2: New Mexico - ColoradoThe next day, we finally made it to Colorful Colorado! What a beautiful state. Every which way, mountains rose up from the horizon. Colorado is beautiful in the summertime. The fields are vibrant green, speckled with colorful wild flowers as far as the eye can see. The last remnants of Winter can be seen in some areas near the peaks. They trailed along into cold, glacier streams.
Our route changed a bit. Instead of going through Colorado Springs up to Boulder, we decided to drive through the ski towns of Breckenridge, Aspen, and Telluride. We had dinner in Telluride and walked a bit around the town before heading out to the wilderness again. Who knew Martin would move to that magical town in just a few months’ time for the skiing season!?Honestly, once we left Telluride, the scenery immediately turned into wild forests and we couldn’t see a thing. We were tired from driving the whole day, and all we wanted was a campsite. After a while, we decided to pull up to a cliff, parked our car, and set up camp. We could hear the white rapids below, crashing against the rocks. It was a soothing sound to sleep to. The next few days were spent in Boulder and Denver, exploring the cities, meeting new friends, and spending time with old ones. Some nights, we had beds and blankets and showers and friends. Other nights, we slept in cars and parking lots. I don’t know why, but I don’t think that Colorado is ever a bad idea.
Leg 3: Colorado - Idaho
We got to Idaho, starving and beaten (what else was new?). The sun was setting fast, and we decided it was best to stop by somewhere around Coeur d’Alene for the night. But we couldn’t find anywhere near enough to the town, and it was getting dark. So we stopped near the closest body of water we found: Rose Lake, just 20 or so minutes from Coeur d’Alene.
There was a small pit so we made a fire. 20 mins later 2 fire trucks appear... Disappointed by the size of our fire, they put it out and explained that the whole region was under high level of fire hazard and the pit was improvised... Bummer... But learning that 3 firefighters had died in Washington just days before that makes me wonder whether these deaths could have been prevented... First, lets be careful with fire out there. Second, as the region experiences one of the worst droughts in history I cannot help but see a link between these deaths and our laissez-faire policies on the environment.
The next morning, we went down to the lake to take a quick dip before heading back on the road. We still couldn’t believe what happened the night before. But putting that all behind us, we know now that we will never freeze to death at night.
Leg 4: Idaho - Monana
We arrived in Montana after driving through Wyoming the whole day. Man, were we excited to make it all the way up to Glacier National Park that we were giddy the entire drive there. After traveling so much on the road, it was a nice change of pace to spend time with familiar faces.
We met our pals from America Y’all in Glacier to spend 4th of July with them, and boy it was sweet, indeed, to celebrate freedom with the freest people we know. As usual, Jeremy was in charge of food, preparing the best camp cookery burgers anyone ever did have.
Glacier National Park was truly unbelievable. Each view was breath-taking. We’d never seen bluer, purer water than the glacial runoffs and rivers at the park. The water was so cold and so clean--we don’t think that we’d tasted better. The nights were, indeed, cold as well. It rained while we were there, so that made the night more bitter. Kammok’s Firebelly kept us warm through the entire night, though--even through the night shower. The higher up we went, the colder and colder it got. At one point, we were up in the clouds. It was a different land up there, where the last of the ancients still live--glaciers. They sat and stood the test of time, nature, and man. I wish I could say they were ardent and steadfast, but the truth is, they were changing ever more so than before.
Leg 5: Montana - Pacific Northwest
It’s sad to say that this is our last stretch. We had our hearts and minds set for the Pacific Coast from the moment we even started talking about doing this crazy trip from Austin to Seattle.
After waking up in Idaho, we were anxious to finally see the big water. Instead of jumping right into Washington, we decided to make a little detour and check out the Oregon coast first and then make our way up to Seattle.
For the first part of the trip the scenery was pretty arid and unspectacular. But the moment we crossed over the mountains that divided the state, our surroundings began to change. The lifeless yellow grasslands turned lush and green, and the air began to cool.
Our first stop was Pacific City, Oregon. We’ve never experienced PNW surfing before, but that was a big part of why we were there, so we got slightly upset about pretty flat conditions when we arrived. However, we still decided to rent a board - a standard rental 8-footer and gave it a shot... The conditions hadn't improved much, but it was still fun to paddle around and be in the water.
This was the last full day of a 2-week journey and to celebrate we bought some Salmon from the local fishermen and made a Ceviche! If kings drank Pabst and Bourbon with lemon-cooked fish in tin cups and plastic wares, we totally ate like kings that night... The PNW wilderness is truly a marvel. Reflecting on the past 2 weeks we were stunned by how many cool memories, stories and experiences we've had. We've grown more than we could have imagined, met some really cool people and enjoyed some of the most beautiful scenery we had ever seen. We wouldn't trade it for anything else and now, weeks later, we still continue living in its afterglow, while planning our next adventure...
McKinsey & Company
McKinsey & Company
McKinsey & Company
McKinsey & Company
McKinsey & Company
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