Angela is a San Diego girl who hadn’t been back to visit her California roots since she was a toddler. I was a Tennessee guy who had circled the world without ever seeing the western United States. But we recognized the unrequited love of travel in each other and vowed to make it an integral part of who we would become, ranging further with each passing year.
We had taken some interesting trips before, finding the lost corners and unexplored regions that could be easily reached from our home base. The unscripted camping adventure where we discovered the wonderful state parks of Cloudland Canyon and Hard Labor Creek on our way to Congaree National Park. The weekend of luxury spent at Hot Springs. The impromptu day trip that lasted a week and took us to Niagara Falls.
But we were looking for something more. It was time to pull the trigger on a family vacation greater than a weekend getaway and experience what it would feel like to be truly gone, with the very real possibility of never returning.
Together, we embraced the adventure we had already married and charted a route from our present home in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Angela’s childhood home just outside La Jolla, California. The trip took over three weeks, traversed thirteen states, and provided the opportunity to visit ten national parks. I bought a new pickup truck and a 30-foot travel trailer for the epic journey, and we set out just after the conclusion of the boys’ school year.
To provide something of an overview for this adventure, I have included the trip map above and a compilation video that we shot on a GoPro camera, followed by a list of the locations we visited. As we write each of the components, we will link them up.
- Cross-Country Road Trip: St. Louis Arch with the Amish
- Cross-Country Road Trip: Near-Miss Twisters and Burnt Ends in Kansas City
- Cross-Country Road Trip: Watching the Rockies Rise
- Cross-Country Road Trip: Colorado’s Hanging Lake
- Cross-Country Road Trip: Arches National Park, Done Three Ways
- Cross-Country Road Trip: Magical Moab and Canyonlands National Park
- Cross-Country Road Trip: Drive-Through Tour of Capitol Reef National Park
- Cross-Country Road Trip: Bryce Canyon National Park
- Cross-Country Road Trip: Cold Water Rafting in Arizona’s Glen Canyon
- Cross-Country Road Trip: Native Medicine in Grand Canyon National Park
- Cross-Country Road Trip: What Happens in Vegas Stays in the ER
- Cross-Country Road Trip: Joshua Tree National Park
- Cross-Country Road Trip: Back to the Beginning in San Diego, California
- Cross-Country Road Trip: Cougar Hiking in Guadalupe Mtns. National Park
- Cross-Country Road Trip: Carlsbad Caverns National Park
- Cross-Country Road Trip: Awkward Baths in Hot Springs National Park
We hope you’ll join us for this epic American adventure!