Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park are beautiful, but during the past month I have been staring at this map with a growing eagerness. Today is the start of our three-week road trip across Southwestern USA. Starring: Annie and me. The car: a 2000 Plymouth Neon thankfully provided by Annie’s brother Reece. The route: Estes Park – Arches NP – Bryce Canyon NP – Zion NP – Las Vegas – Death Valley NP – Yosemite NP – San Francisco – Pacific Coast – San Diego – Joshua Tree NP – Grand Canyon NP – Great Sand Dunes NP – Estes Park. When I showed this list to my friend Ward he sarcastically asked if I was going to visit the US at the same pace as Americans visit Europe. I know we’ll probably have to drop some of those stops, it’s just a preliminary route. We’d like to visit as many national parks as possible, but don’t want to rush either. The stops are also intended to be at a reasonable distance since Annie is going the only driver. Yes, this man in 29 years old and doesn’t have a driver’s licence. It’s a long but rather short story of procrastination. I’ll try to fulfill my role as co-pilot with perfection. Whenever possible we’re planning on staying with WarmShowers hosts or camping when we get to warmer places. We already arranged hosts for our first four nights at Arches, Zion and in Vegas. I can’t stress enough how much I love the WarmShowers initiative. During my TransAmerican bicycle trip I stayed with so many generous and interesting people and I’m looking forward to adding some more persons to that list. Of course this time I’m traveling by car, so technically we don’t fit the mold for most WarmShowers guests. But I don’t think that should be a problem, and after all we’re bringing our bicycles in the hope to do a few day rides here and there. The annual Pass to all the US national parks I bought a few weeks ago is called “America The Beautiful”. I’m ready to explore. First stop: Moab, Utah.

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