Why I like Driving West

Call me nuts, but I really enjoy the long drives to the mountains from Wisconsin. To see any peak above 8,000' requires me to lay down at least 1,100 miles and spend a minimum of 16 hours in my vehicle. That's some serious driving---especially if I'm going solo.

I like the feeling of having everything I'll need crammed into my vehicle. I even enjoy planning the packing configuration before the packing even begins just to see how much room I'll have in the back to sleep.

I like having a cooler next to me on the passenger seat when I'm driving solo. I've got my dinner, a snack, fruit and milk for tomorow's breakfast right beside me. Man, I don't have to stop for anything. Anything. Those smaller Gatorade bottles are handy for things other than holding Gatorade---if you know what I mean. When Yumi is along, she gets the passenger seat but the cooler is in the back seat within an arms length.

I like being able to drive 80-85 mph through North Dakota and Montana. Makes the trip go much faster, you know? It also sucks gas but that's a small price to pay if it gets me to the mountains faster.

I like scraping dead bugs off the windshield when I stop for gas. Sometimes I forget, which sucks, but I know in 4 hours I'll get another chance. All squeegies are NOT created equal, by the way.

I like listening to whatever music I want to when travelling solo---even my country compilation which Yumi can't stand. I can sing along if I want. Does anyone sound bad when singing alone. No, and I don't either. Favorites for driving: Lapdog, Bon Jovi, Eric Church and Dierks Bentley.

I like pushing on to the next rest stop even though I'm tired and know it's stupid to do so. I'll usually do this at least once after I decide it might be time to stop. Sometimes I'll skip anothert if I get a second wind and it isn't too far.

I like sleeping in the back of my truck at interstate rest areas. Nothing like putting down a therm-a-rest, covering with a light fleece and snoozing 4 or 5 hours next to an 18-wheeler with its engine running or train whistles hooting seemingly a block away. The sounds coming from the interstate are soothing to me---the sounds of freedom, really. I like the soft summer breeze on a warm night somewhere in the Dakota's---it soothes me to sleep. Yeah, I might get eaten by a few mosquitoes, but so what? A small price to pay.I know when I wake up I'll be in the mountains later that day.

Can anything really compare to catching that first glimpse of the mountains after hours and hours of boring prairie? Sometimes you can't really be sure if what your'e seeing is clouds or the mountains. Does it even matter? Not really.

Yes, give this middle-aged guy an Exxon credit card, cooler full of food, my gear and I'll go for a drive to the mountains.

Who wants to go?

Solo Sleeping Configuration (Gear in front seat and/or in roof bag)

Dual travelers Configuration (Side view)

Dual travelers Configuration (Rear view)


July, 2011
Winter camping in the Beartooths in July
teton August, 2010
6 nights in the heart of the Absaroka mountains
July, 2009
Another 7 nights with the crew in the Beartooths
August, 2008
7 nights in the Beartooths with Ward and the Canadian
July, 2008
5 nights in the Bighorns with a Canadian

August, 2007
Yumi and I return to GNP for some fun

July, 2007
6 nights in the heart of the Northern wind Rivers
August, 2006
A 3-night solo in the Absaroka-Beartooth
July, 2006
Yumi and I spend 8 nights in the Wind Rivers
Aug-Sept., 2005
Dorf gets his GNP fix with 8 nights on the trail
July, 2005
A quickie solo in the Cloud Peak Wilderness
July, 2005
Our return to GNP aborted 6 hours in :-(
July, 2004
Two weeks of camping and backpacking in Glacier.
September, 2004
Yumi and I get to the Porkies before fall arrives
July, 2004
Yumi and I take the kids to the Porkies
June, 2004
Todd and I prove that last years' Newport debacle was no fluke
October, 2003
Yumi and I test some more gear and nearly die
September, 2003
Yumi and I decide to do a little camping & test gear


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