The focus of this blog is about to shift from logistics and preparation to a travelogue. One week from today, I fly to Seattle to stay with my Uncle Doug and start my journey. I haven't been blogging too much of the final preparation, because most of it involves taking care of things here in Massachusetts rather than preparing for things out there--and you probably don't care how long I spent on the phone with Verizon getting our internet access switched over to my roommate. But barring emergencies, things are in place for me to take off.
My plan is to arrive in Seattle/Olympia, along with my dad, and hang out at my uncle's for a bit while I buy a vehicle and outfit it as needed. I've never been to the Pacific Northwest, so I'll want to see my uncle's homestead and all the Seattle sights. Dad and I have as-yet unspecified plans to hit up Olympic National Park, and possibly the North Cascades. After that, it's over to the Mountain West to see as much of Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton as I can before arriving in Flagstaff, AZ for the beginning of my Grand Canyon trip on October 6.
(Oh, one preparatory detail that might be interesting: I bought those weird toe-shoe things as water shoes and possible light hiking shoes. They make me look like I have hideous gorilla feet, and I was a bit skeptical until I went on our second island trip of the summer; walking through the woods in those things is revelatory. It's like being barefoot, but without the worry of broken glass, thorns, or sharp pebbles. You can feel and grip and flex on every surface, plus they are eerily silent. I felt so in tune with nature, man!)
But the real purpose of these last few summer weeks in New England has not been preparation, but to hang out with my friends and family once more before I leave. I've sung karaoke, seen shows, met my new niece, dropped my phone in a lake, gone out for dinner, gone swimming, developed a bit of an honest-to-god beer gut, and generally done all the fun, ordinary things people do in the summertime, with the added poignancy that I won't see these awesome people again for several months. I'm very excited to travel, and solitude is part of the appeal, but what I'll miss most is the people I love.
When I describe the trip, many people joke that I might have so much fun that I stay out there forever. But I'm happy to know that the people I care about keep me tied to my real home.