Summary of My 2001 - 2002 Trip


December 2002

Some of you (wisely) don't want to read through hundreds of pages of my web updates to see if I survived living on the road for 18 months.  For those who want to "cut to the chase," here's a brief summary of my 2001 - 2002 travels through America, the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia.

My U.S. Trip  (June - October 2001)

As I described on my About page, after working in Portland, Oregon, for 10 years, I quit my job in March of 2001 to begin an 18-month trip around America and overseas.  In June 2001, my 17-year old Toyota truck and I left the Northwest on our trip around America and we spent the next five months on the road.  The main reason I drove around the U.S. was to research my family's history, and during my trip I learned a lot about my roots.  For one thing, I discovered that I'm related to Benedict Arnold and to the Kohler toilet family pretty cool, huh?  Highlights of my U.S. trip included:

  • Visiting friends and relatives in California.

  • Camping for several days in the sunny Utah desert, my favorite part of the U.S.

  • Visiting with old friends in Austin, Texas, and eating the best spaghetti sauce in the world.

  • Meandering for two weeks through the steamy South and retracing the steps of my great-great-grandfather, who fought there for the Union Army during the Civil War.

  • Spending a couple days in Boston and getting a tour of that wonderful city from my old friend, Julie.

  • Doing family research in Massachusetts and learning about my Dad's ancestors, who came over from England in the 1630s.

  • Spending a couple weeks with my brother Don and his family in steamy Syracuse, New York.

  • Spending a few days with my old friend Mark and his family in Minneapolis.

  • Camping for two months in North and South Dakota while researching my Mom's ancestors, who homesteaded in the Midwest during the late 1800s.

My Trip Overseas (December 2001 - April 2002)

After returning to Bellingham, Washington in October of 2001, I spent a month getting ready for my trip overseas, then I left on December 7, 2001.  My first stop was the Cook Islands in the South Pacific, where I spent several days eating mangoes and soaking up the sun.  The Cook Islands are beautiful, relaxing, and relatively undiscovered, and I definitely want to go back someday.


From there, I flew on to Auckland, New Zealand, where I rented a car and spent the next two months driving over 5,000 miles around the country during their summer while visiting just about every corner of the country.  It rained a lot during my first month in New Zealand and it was really crowded (no, I mean REALLY crowded).  But by mid-January, the skies cleared, the crowds dissipated, and I started to enjoy my visit especially after I discovered cricket and fish & chips.  As I learned, New Zealand is a land of incredible scenic diversity.  Imagine all of the scenery in the U.S. packed into a country the size of Colorado or Oregon and you'll get the idea.


After spending a couple of months in New Zealand, I flew on to Australia in February of 2002.  I had a great time there during the next two months as I drove about 9,000 miles around the eastern half of the country, including over 3,000 miles through the desolate Outback all without seeing an Outback Steakhouse.  Australia was a lot different than I expected and I'm definitely glad I went there, especially because of the meat pies and kangaroo burgers.  Frankly, the scenery in Australia was pretty bland compared to New Zealand, but it's a fascinating country nonetheless.  I love deserts, empty highways, and wide-open spaces, so I enjoyed visiting Australia even more than New Zealand.


What impressed me the most about both countries was how friendly the folks there were.  I was astounded by how often total strangers would go out of their way to help me.  Perhaps that's because I was traveling alone or maybe it's because I looked like I was lost which I often was.

My U.S. Trip (Part 2)

After leaving polite and cheerful New Zealand and Australia, I experienced major culture shock when I returned to the loud-and-pushy U.S.  Jeez, was this really the same country that I left four months earlier?  However, I got used to it, unfortunately, and set off in June of 2002 for a two-month trip around the western U.S.  After a leisurely drive down the Oregon Coast, I spent a couple weeks visiting the Colorado Rockies, where I had worked as a ranger and firefighter many years earlier.  That journey was followed by a two-week boat trip on the British Columbia coast with my brother and his family, which was also a lot of fun.


I was planning to return to work in the fall of 2002 but some things came up, so I pushed that plan back.  I've been staying in Bellingham while working on my Dad's house and doing some family history projects.  I plan to go back to work soon, though... so I can pay off all my traveling bills!


And there you have it:  18 months of traveling in just a few paragraphs!

Maps of My 2001 - 2002 Trips