It was a whirlwind of a spring, from exploring New Zealand in a campervan, to buying a Toyota Tacoma in Denver, flying back and building my home in it, and selling my VW van, when I finally hit the road for the summer of 2018 I was in search of wide open spaces, wilderness, and a little wifi to catch up on work.
Each summer really kicks off with Born To Run, the running, art, music, and friendship festival in Southern California that is an annual family gathering with my dirtbag friends. This year was a bit different because I didn’t have my VW van home, but I made due with some pretty sweet upgrades to Terk the Tacoma truck camper (read about the truck camper build here).
After Born To Run I headed back to Colorado to finish some work on the truck and hang out with my brother. Tyler and I ended up testing out our adventure rigs in the Rockies, exploring and camping near an old mine in Cinnamon Gulch for a night.
The views were fantastic, and the high elevation camp was peaceful until we were woken up in the middle of the night by something careening into the sides of the trucks. I called out to Tyler, a little nervous about what was attacking our rigs, but when we peeked out of our camper shells we saw a whole herd of mountain goats scavenging around our trucks, with the little billy goats romping around and bolting head first into our bumpers. Definitely an experience we’ll never forget!
From there I headed to Steamboat Springs and stumbled into the annual Hot Air Balloon Rodeo. I stayed for several days, working from coffee shops and their awesome public library, running trails, and camping outside of town.
Next I made my way toward Crystal Mill, a 100+ year old waterwheel powerhouse that has been on my radar for years. The 5 mile forest road is notoriously difficult, but I figured the Tacoma was the ideal tool. I made it to the mill and back, but the slow bumpy track over sharp rocks next to sheer cliffs left me pretty white knuckled and I think next time I’ll just take my running pack and stick to foot travel. But, it was absolutely worth it!
I happened to be within striking distance of Southwestern Colorado while one of my friends was running the Hardrock 100 Mile Endurance Run, so I drove over to watch. Little did I know that I’d be asked to jump in and pace him for 25 miles overnight and across some of Colorado’s most rugged terrain, but I loved every minute of it! My next stop was a straight shot to Las Vegas for my cousin’s bachelor party, and as much fun as it was to spend time with him, I definitely couldn’t wait to get out of that town, even if it did mean I was going back to cooking my meals in a parking garage in Utah.
I caught up on work, visited Bryce Canyon, got hailed on while cooking dinner on my tailgate, drove my new favorite route (Highway 12 in Utah), checked out Devil’s Backbone Bridge, and got red dirt on my tires in Capitol Reef National Park. I would have stayed in Utah longer, but it’s hot in the summer, and nearly impossible to fall asleep in a truck camper shell at night when it’s still a sticky 100+ degrees.
In search of cooler temps I made my way back to Colorado and took refuge in Telluride, working from coffee shops and the library by day, and setting off into the forest by night, finding high elevation camps where I needed to bundle up in my sleeping bag to stay warm, a welcome reprieve from the desert heat.
Montrose ended up being an ideal place for a homeless digital nomad, working a little each day, running in the afternoon, and finding a free place to stay each night at Walmart. I stayed for nearly a week, setting up in the Starbucks and library, settling into Walmart at night, and even taking the maiden voyage of my DIY packraft down the river through town. Happily, I didn’t sink!
From Montrose I steered toward Gunnison where I explored Crested Butte, worked in coffee shops, and camped for free each night on BLM land just outside of town. One night I even woke up at 2 AM, grabbed a few beers, sat on my tailgate, and watched a meteor shower sprinkle stars across the Colorado sky.
After passing through Denver one last time for 2018 I made a stop at Lake Mcconaughy in Nebraska for the solitude of a waterfront camp to process everything as the summer was coming to an end.
Summer In A Truck Camper
I was crossing the Mississippi and heading back to the Midwest to park the truck, fly to the Puget Sound for a Labor Day yacht party, give a presentation about my life and business to entrepreneurship students at Ball State University, and then park the truck and pack a bag to fly to Munich, Germany for a trade show. With a one way flight to Europe I didn’t have any real plans, but was looking forward to some awesome fall and winter adventures across the pond!