It’s been over two weeks since Dan and I have been back in Philadelphia, and I am finally blogging about our incredible road trip. Rest assured, this by no means indicates that I’m not ecstatic to share stories and photos. Instead, the reason is twofold.

One, I hit the ground running the second we got back. Our plane landed on a Wednesday at 10:30 AM and I somehow managed to get myself into work that night. Unfortunately, it feels like I’ve been at work ever since.

Two, I was at a complete loss as to how I could sum up so much amazingness in one blog post. Plus, I was overwhelmed by the 2000+ photos that we took. That’s when it dawned on me: write a blog series! Duh. So, welcome to my intro post.

Six stops. Two weeks. One amazing adventure. That’s our trip in a nutshell. But, of course, I’m always down to go into the nitty-gritty details. This adventure of a lifetime was two years in the making and was everything we thought it would be and more.

It all started by us flying from Philadelphia, PA (PHL) to Fresno, CA (FAT). From there, we rented an SUV and ultimately flew out of Seattle, WA (SEA). Here’s what we did in between:

PHL to FAT

2 hour drive

Yosemite National Park (CA)
Duration: three days, two nights
Shelter: campsite

4 hour drive

Lake Tahoe (CA)
Duration: three days, two nights
Shelter: Airbnb

6 hour drive

Crater Lake National Park (OR)
Duration: two days, one night
Shelter: campsite

5 hour drive

Portland (OR)
Duration: four days, three nights
Shelter: Airbnb

4 hour drive

Olympic National Park (WA)
Duration: three days, two nights
Shelter: campsite

3 hour drive

Seattle (WA)
Duration: four days, three nights
Shelter: hotel

SEA to PHL

As you can see, we rotated national parks and cities, and that wasn’t by coincidence. Being that I hadn’t done a great deal of camping prior to this trip, I didn’t know how much I could handle. As it turns out, camping was one of my favorite aspects of our trip. Still, it was better to be safe than sorry. Plus, the unlimited showers at our Airbnbs and hotel were a godsend. ;)

Renting a vehicle for this trip is a must. More specifically, I would recommend a fuel-efficient SUV. For starters, I couldn’t imagine a sedan on those windy, mountainous roads. Further, it was nice to have the extra cargo space given that we were essentially living out of our vehicle for two weeks. Keep in mind that you will have the usual travel essentials plus camping gear.

Speaking of camping gear, here is the bare minimum that you will need for two people:

  • A two-person tent
  • Two 30°F sleeping bags
  • Two compact pillows
  • A full-sized air mattress and an electric air pump with car adapter
  • Two towels
  • Paracord for a clothesline
  • Trash bags
  • Durable dinnerware, cutlery, thermoses, and water bottles
  • Multi-use, biodegradable soap for dishwashing and handwashing
  • An LED lantern with extra batteries
  • Two flashlights with extra batteries
  • Firewood, a magnesium fire starter, and a pocket knife
  • Bug spray and a citronella candle
  • A large backpacking pack that will fit all of the above
  • A large cooler with ice
  • Easy-to-make food that won’t easily spoil (pb&j, trail mix, protein bars, apples, instant coffee, etc.)
  • Extra water!

We checked our backpacking pack at the airport. Meanwhile, we purchased the cooler, ice, food, and water once we landed and replenished as needed throughout the trip. Prior to heading back to Philadelphia, we filled the cooler with any leftover food and water and donated it to the homeless.

In terms of weather, we couldn’t be more grateful for the abundance of sunny days that we had. I must note that we took our trip in September, when the days are warm and the nights are chilly. Two words: wear layers! The best thing I did to prepare for our trip was invest in a lightweight, yet insulated jacket.

Regarding national park entrance fees, be sure to purchase the America the Beautiful pass. For just $80 per vehicle, you can visit any national park in the United States for one year. This is a much better deal than paying entrance fees at each park.

With all of that being said, I think I’ve gotten all of the logistical, somewhat boring aspects of our trip out of the way. However, if I’ve missed anything that you’re dying to know about, please let me know!  And, of course, stay tuned for future posts detailing each stop of our trip. :)

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A side-of-the-road photo op en route to Lake Tahoe.