Wanderlust Part 2: Eastward Journey

In Part 1, I wrote about my travel accommodations. In Part 2, I will be writing about some of the places I explored as I traveled from California to Vermont.

After staying with my friend in Sacramento for about a week, we decided to go hiking at Lake Tahoe on my way out. This was in early September so the weather was perfect and the scenery a wonderful escape from the city. I was somewhat surprised by the amount of development around the lake as well as the campground rates (around $40!) as it was my first time there, so after we parted, I continued to drive around the lake, through Reno at night, eventually sleeping in my car at a rest stop somewhere in Nevada.

I spent the next day driving through the desert in northern Nevada and Utah, passing through Salt Lake City and watching a spectacular sunset at the Flaming Gorge in Wyoming where I camped that night. I drove through the rolling hills of southern Wyoming the following day near the route of the Oregon Trail, stopping for a break at Independence Rock. As I neared the Black Hills area that evening, I found a place to park my car and slept inside once again, wrapped in my cozy 20 degree down sleeping bag.

In the morning, I watched the Bison roam through Custer State Park and saw Mt. Rushmore from a distance. It was my third time in the area so I didn't check on the progress of Crazy Horse, hike down into the caves or drive on the Needles Highway, all of which I recommend checking out if you haven't been there before. Since I was traveling with a limited budget, I decided to spend my money on things I hadn't yet experienced. I had purchased a National Park Pass earlier this year (a great investment), so I decided to check out some of the Badlands before heading east.

The remainder of the day I drove through fields of corn in South Dakota and southern Minnesota until I reached my parent's house late that evening. In that following week, I spent time catching up with family, eating lots of home cooked food, going to a car show, and learning about the Minnesota wine development at a winery in the area. Apparently there are cold season grapes native to Minnesota that they cross with European grapes to make varieties unique to the area. Wineries have been popping up all over the state in the last 10 years with a current number around 50.

Heading north from my parent's farm in southern MN, I drove through Minneapolis, the downtown skyline and U of M exits still familiar. I decided to take my route through Duluth and the UP where I had yet to travel and was treated with forests and spectacular views of Lake Superior. Fall was at it's beginning with the leaves just starting to turn. I can only imagine what it looked like a few weeks after I passed through. I crossed the border at Sault Ste. Marie and after a few questions about who I was, where I was from, where I was going, and why I was in Canada, I continued on my way.

Canada was beautiful. Most of the landscape I drove through in Ontario and Quebec was full of forests and lakes with scattered towns and cities. There is a large Amish community up there and the shoulders of the freeway are extra wide to accommodate their horses and wagons. I stayed the night at a hotel in North Bay and drove through the cities of Ottawa and Montreal the following day before crossing the border back into the States in New York. At some point, I would like to go back and spend more time up there. 

Soon after I crossed the border, I refueled since I had tested my luck with the size of my gas tank due to the high cost of gas in Canada. I found that my tank actually holds at least 14.2 gallons, possibly even more since my gas light didn't come on. I did also consider that it may not be working. After I filled my tank, I drove on a narrow two lane highway across the islands of Lake Champlain, catching the sunset and then driving the remainder of the way in the dark to my destination: Yestermorrow Design/Build School near Waitsfield, VT where I would be taking the Tiny House Workshop.