We are a married couple in our mid-twenties. We have two dogs, Pearl and Boomhauer, who travel everywhere with us in our 1974 VW Westfalia that we have dubbed "The Pearl" for her all white exterior. This whole lifestyle change emerged after a long walk along the beach in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, where we were talking about how much we had just spent to rent the little house at the beach for the week and how cool it would be to find a way to do more for less. Talk about "one of those old hippie buses" came up and it was all over. We immediately began research on them and not long after, started searching for ones for sale near by. It took a few months, but we finally found "The Pearl". The owner of this beautiful bus also ended up being the man who rebuilt the engine and transmission and restoring odds and ends that eventually made our current home on wheels.
We spent the following Fall breaking in the engine, traveling to the mountains, the beach, and nearby lakes. There were ups and downs along the way, including one tow home, but we loved every single minute of it. Not long after camping season ended we caught the travel bug yet again, only this time we went big. We decided we wanted to see Western USA and spend the entire summer doing so. Neither of us had traveled past Tennessee and we were eager to see the Rockies, the plains, the West Coast, Oregon, Montana, and Wyoming. We started saving money like crazy and prepared to take the entire summer off to make our dreams come true. That Spring we made additions to the bus, ordered extra parts, and started making insane lists of things to pack, and researching camping spots and must-sees.
This past June we officially hit the road, traveling from North Carolina to Colorado, from Colorado throughout Utah, spending time in Rocky Mountain National Park, Pike and Gunnison National Forest, Arches National Park, Moab and the surrounding canyons. From there we cruised clear across Nevada, surviving the Loneliest Road in America and breaking for an afternoon at Great Basin National Park. Next up was California, where we spent Independence Day in the Sierra Nevada Mountains before passing through Yosemite and then cruising the California coast from Morro Bay to the Oregon line, spending time along the Rogue River and around Crater Lake National Park. After a beautiful week or so in Oregon we pointed our sights East and headed for the Sawtooth Mountain in Idaho where we scored one of our favorite campsites to this day, which was recommended to us by other adventure seekers and travelers, SprinterVanDiaries. Next up was Montana, where we drove Going to the Sun Road through Glacier National Park before spending a few relaxing days in the Crazy Mountains outside Boseman, Montana. Following Montana, we spent time climbing up Beartooth Pass, one of the most beautiful drives we have ever done in our lives, and then down in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
After a beautiful journey all summer, we were still stunned by the natural beauty of Colorado and had been craving a return to Gunnison National Forest. The trip came full circle when we crossed the Wyoming-Colorado line and spent out last two weeks taking it easy and making memories in Gunnison National Forest amongst wildflowers, stunning views, and perfect weather. When the summer started to wave goodbye, we pointed The Pearl East and headed home to NC, taking Interstate 40 all the way home and passing through Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee.
The trip is one that will probably never be topped. We learned so much about ourselves, how precious time is, and how important it is to do what makes you happy and keeps you feeling alive. We grew closer together as a couple and made memories all over the United States with our two dogs. We got to run through desert sand, hike up 12,000 foot mountains, dip our toes in the Pacific Ocean for the first time,see remnants of volcanic eruptions, stand on edges of enormous canyons, and watch steam blow from geysers. These experiences are something that no one can ever take from us and we will remember forever. Many of these experiences are ones that can only be made on the road, where sunset watching replaces nightly couch vegging in front of the TV and seeing something new every day replaces the mundane repetition that so many of us call "life". We will cherish it forever and hope to inspire others to get out there and chase their dreams too! You can follow us on Facebook and Instagram @wanderingwesty and our website