My westward journey began early in September 2010 on a fairly cool, humid morning meandering Route 519 studying the fog covered cornfields along the way to pick up my dear friend Aliza at the Hope park-and-ride. As we prepared to cross the Delaware River leaving New Jersey behind, we watched a bald eagle gliding downstream enjoying the air of the late summer morning as it prepared to soar through the Delaware Water Gap and we embraced a long drive across America. Driving through Pennsylvania my mind reeled with dreams of the journey ahead of me, of the wondrous land I would encounter and the adventure I would experience. I knew no set destiny after delivering my friend safely to grad school in Oregon, so my excitement was partnered by a healthy set of nerves. We enjoyed a lovely reunion in Chicago with an old friend, stayed for two days celebrating my birthday and riding bikes along the massive Lake Michigan. Our third day on the road was a solid day in the car on the plains learning that Omaha is not as tiny as I thought, surviving construction driving on the shoulder in the rain and sleeping amongst RV’s in my trusty Kelty tent. I was happy to arrive in Boulder, Colorado, to stretch out a bit, ride my bike, see some friends and spend time climbing with my cousin who had just begun his studies at Colorado University. Departing through Eldorado Canyon, we saw some beautiful scenery along the way to camp at Rabbit Valley in western Colorado. One of the most memorable moments of the trip was watching the morning sun change the colors on the canyon walls as we followed the Colorado River into Moab, Utah. Trying to stay cool we went hiking in Negro Bill’s Canyon, played music at the Xylophone Park and hung out in Big Bend (mostly hiding under the boulders), camping right along the river. After falling in love with Moab, we continued on route 70 through Utah and route 50 in Nevada, which is apparently “the loneliest road in America.” It was the iconic drive west with a long stretch of road ahead of us, not a single car in sight, chasing the sunset through the desert. Resisting temptation to gamble away our gas money, we made it into the pines of Lassen National Park and were totally awestruck by Mount Shasta’s towering 14,179 feet. Arriving in southern Oregon after only 7 days, I was ready to swear off driving forever. After a week of rest and bonding with new friends, I visited friends in Portland and Seattle before spending a few weeks climbing at Smithrock State Forest in central Oregon.