“Mountains Rising” in Boulder, CO

I woke up at 6:30 on the top deck of a parking garage in Lawrence to get a jump start on the next leg of my drive. On my way out a heavy fog weighed my path.

‘Dead Mist’ taken in Maple Grove Cemetery

Past Lawrence, Kansas as seen from the I-70 was about as expected: plain and flat. But there was a raw beauty I appreciated about it for a while, maybe just because it was different. Among the plains I saw buffalo, swimming cows, and even a turtle thinking about likely making the worst decision of his life by crossing the road. About halfway through Kansas I started seeing more and more crossovers fitted with rooftop boxes like mine. Kindred spirits with the same destination, no doubt. So I sat cross-legged and barreled down the straightest, emptiest road I’ve yet been on, layering the front of my car with dismembered bug parts. Eight hours and a mile in elevation later, the plains became mountains.

‘Sunset Peaks’ taken South of Boulder

I’ve never more immediately identified with a town than I did with Boulder. Nestled under the shadows of the Flatirons, it’s a quick five minute drive to the trailhead from downtown. And after some evening exploration, that trailhead became my home for the night.

Woke up in Lawrence, KS.

Sleeping in Boulder, CO.

585 miles.

“Signs of Life” in Lawrence, KS

Bypassed the thriving metropolises (officially demanding metropoli be made a word because the actual plural gives me an aneurysm) … such as St. Louis and Kansas City to find myself in the quirky town of Lawrence. With expectations low, I crossed paths with a wild zebra and got a pretty girl to smile at me. Take that, expectations.

‘Wall Tattoo’ taken in downtown Lawrence

On the way here I binged NPR’s TED Radio Hour podcasts and got my mind blown by discussions of the promises (and dangers) of deep learning artificial intelligence, why city mayors should actually rule the world, and how grandmas-turned-solar-engineers in India are changing the fabric of their local communities.

Currently zenning out to City of the Sun while occupying a corner in a hole in the wall coffee shop called Henry’s; they’re open till 2 AM so I intend to be here late (they may also double as a bar…).

‘Not Naked Enough’ taken in Henry’s

Woke up in Louisville, KY.

Sleeping in Lawrence, KS.

545 miles.

“Goodbye and Hello” in Smith Mountain Lake, VA

‘The Belly of the Buffalo’ taken on the I-81

Goodbye, friends, family, and enemies.

Hello, adventure.

For the next two-and-a-half months I will live out of my car (aptly dubbed The White Buffalo by Dustyn). Together, Dustyn and I will be exploring, rock climbing, fly fishing, slacklining, and skating the American West.

Stoked Folk is our story.

Today, though, I set out ahead of Dustyn. The Buffalo’s makeshift platform bed is built and level, the gear has been packed, and the fresh hat hides the horrendous haircut I gave myself this morning.

My only solo days of the entire trip will be the first few — will catch Moon in Vail in a week and then fetch Dustyn from DEN on the 14th. But in the meantime that means no one can stop me from taking selfies while I drive. Into the wild I go.

‘Toys for the Playground’ taken back home

Woke up in Smith Mountain Lake, VA.

Sleeping in Louisville, KY.

439 miles.