So, you might remember that Charles and I had just begun living in a van in France and were planning on driving it down to Morocco. Well, plans have changed! The van is currently safe and sound in France, but we are now in Utah. We had waited about six months to receive the grey card (registration paper) for the van, and by the time my Schengen Visa was up, it still hadn’t arrived! It ended up arriving about two weeks after I flew back to America, but they had printed the wrong address.
Since for some reason the French administration is still stuck in the 1980s, Charles had to start the process all over again – which could take up to another six months. I’ll never complain about the American DMV again. Since we have to wait for the grey card in order to legally take the van out of France, and I had to leave the Schengen Area, we decided to spend the summer exploring Western America instead.
The hike to Lake Blanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah
So what’s the plan now?
I flew to America, bought a ’99 Subaru Outback (actually my dream car), and after a 21 hour layover in Iceland Charles met me out west. Now we’re getting all of the gear we need to live out of the station wagon for the summer and do a big road trip around many of the national parks. Entrance to many of the national parks can be between $20-$30 per car, but a pass called America the Beautiful is offered for $80, which includes unlimited entrances to any of the parks for an entire year! The pass also covers entrance fees at national wildlife refuges, as well as day use fees at national forests, grasslands, and lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. You can purchase these passes online, or at any of the federal recreation areas where the pass is accepted.
We’ve begun our trip out in Utah where my parents live. We’ve explored the Bonneville Salt Flats on the border of Utah and Nevada (seen on the featured image of this post), as well as hiked up to Lake Blanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon. When we reached the lake we saw a female moose drinking right on the other side! We’re gathering up the last of the gear we need and then heading north through Wyoming and Montana, then over to Washington, Oregon and Northern California. We’ll be hitting all of the desert areas south of Utah later in the summer when the weather isn’t so ruthless. Although I wasn’t planning on being back in America so soon, it feels good to view it from an outsider’s perspective and be able to explore a lot of areas I haven’t had the chance to in the past. See you out there!