Way back in 2011, before Mr and Mrs Adventure, there was still Mr and Mrs Adventure… we just didn’t know it yet! Bright eyed and bushy tailed, we graduated from The University of Florida, and after living in the college bubble for 5 years, we were ready for a real adventure. After contemplating a few different ideas for places to move, it all came down to Colorado and California. We we looking for a place that would provide us with endless opportunities to get outside, an infectiously young and motivating energy and abundant opportunities for us to create an incredible future. We also wanted to build faith in challenging ourselves to learn that we could make it on our own no matter where we were. After not much hesitation at all, our hearts both settled on Los Angeles, California! We soon got to work on mapping out our trans-america road trip. We were going to see as much of the US as we could, including all the various friends and family members scattered along the way. At this time I had only ever been to 4 states, we didn’t do too many road trips when I was a kid, but Drew on the other hand, had been to 38 states – I had some serious catching up to do.
On the morning of August 8th, 2011: with all our belongings stuffed into my 2-door Ford Focus, our mountain bikes strapped onto the back and our hearts overflowing with courage and excitement, we turned up our California playlist and began the trip that would ultimately lead us to our true selves and change the path of our lives forever.
With places to go, things to do and people to see, we stuck Rodney, our hula dancing monkey, on the dashboard, and off we went. For the next 2 weeks, we had no plan, just a vision of making great things happen. We stopped at a few epic landmarks, including: Graceland, home of Elvis Presley, aka. The King:
The Historic Route 66 for a cheap hotel, the best carrot cake of life and a few of those really odd nicnac shops: I wish this one wasn’t so blurry – doesn’t do the cake justice (all of these photos were taken before we graduated to our precious SLR).
And we can’t forget the National Parks! We hit up Mesa Verde NP in Colorado:
Arches NP in Utah:
And we will never forget the Grand Canyon, one of the most difficult hikes we have yet to do, second only to Mount Whitney (so far). We hiked down on the South Kaibab Trail – 7.1 miles long, with over 5,000 feet in elevation loss… which we would be paying for on our way out.
We originally hadn’t planned on hiking the Grand Canyon but after talking to some people who had done it and learning about Phantom Ranch, the little cabin community at the bottom which books a year in advance, we decided to call and ask about availability – why not right!? Amazingly enough, 2 people had just cancelled, leaving 1 spot in both the male and female cabins available – we were in!
The next day most people were up and at it by 5am. We apparently had missed that alarm and didn’t get started until about 8:30am. We hiked out and up on the Bright Angel Trail, which was 9.9 miles with about 5,000 feet elevation gain… ouch. It was also 103 degrees! By 1pm we had made it out in time to enjoy a hardy lunch and some incredible views. I don’t think we willingly stood up again for the rest of the day: With the Grand Canyon being one of the most memorable experiences of the trip, something else to mention are the unbelievable sunsets that guided us along the way. It was night after night of glowing rays, vibrant colors and awe inspiring skies telling us that we were on the right path:
Another highlight of our trip was visiting Skip and Winnie Yowell. Skip, the founder of JanSport, is basically the entire reason Drew and I met (you can read more about this on our about page), so needless to say, visiting him was very important to us. We drove miles and miles on an old dirt road and arrived to a tiny town where there were definitely way more sunflowers than people: One morning while we were there, we decided to go for a bike ride – these cows stared at us like they had never seen a bicycle before in their lives! Some other things that happened – we biked the 17-mile loop around the Arkansas River over the famous Big Dam Bridge: We camped in Colorado where Drew ate the most ginormously wonderful marshmallows of life!:
I mistook this black angus cow for a friendly cow… apparently these ones are far more aggressive. After this photo was taken, Drew knew something was up and told me to slowly get back into the car… seconds later I was literally chased back into the car! I won’t ever be doing that again. We camped next to our car/ the highway and were woken up by a tribe of Indians chanting around our tent! Guess we didn’t realize when we pulled over at 2am that we were on an Indian reservation: We mountain biked Moab‘s Klondike Bluffs Trail, famous for its Jurassic Period dinosaur footprints! This 9.6 mile roundtrip loop is perfect for advanced beginners – with over 800 feet in elevation gain in 4 miles, we definitely wouldn’t classify it as easy.
The last .5 miles of this trail could only be accessed by foot, so we put our bikes aside and hiked to an incredible view of the Klondike Bluffs: This was before I got the headstand thing down: After 14 days, 4,000 miles and 781 photos, we finally found ourselves in The Golden State – first stop? THE BEACH: We found the last stop on Route 66 on the Santa Monica Pier! Then what? So, we made it to California but how were we going to stay here? At this point we had no choice but to be optimistic. We stayed with my dad’s best friend in Beverly Hills for the first month while we looked for jobs and an apartment. We soon found a place we could call our own and slept in our sleeping bags on our first night – we wouldn’t have had it any other way: With 18 million people living in Los Angeles, getting started was not easy – jobs were few and far between. We worked odd hours, hard jobs and got paid way below what we deserved, but what mattered was that we approached each day with a yes mentality, courage and humility. In time we eventually discovered what we were truly capable of, and more importantly, we soon found what everyone else was already pursuing – our very own dream: It’s easy to feel lost in such a huge city. Everyone has an agenda, a talent, an agent, a label… but no matter where you are, as long as you know who you are and believe in where you are going, you will always be able to find your place and live from your heart.