Our trip began with a bang. We held events at Birch Aquarium on day one, south central LA on day two, the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco on day four, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland on day eight, and the Seattle Audubon Society on day nine. That comes out to six official events, 1983 cups of ice cream given away, and 2057 miles driven all in less than 10 days. The pace of the opening leg didn't allow much time to explore the cities, or even sleep for that matter, but it sure was an exciting start. Reminiscent of being shot out of a cannon, I suppose.
While planning the route, I saw Seattle as the start of a new leg of our journey. Traveling southeast, we would have some time and space to explore during the seven days between events in Washington and Colorado. To start, we stayed for two days on Bainbridge Island nearby Seattle with the parents of one of my good friends from Stanford. As it is an island, we brought the ice cream truck aboard a ferry. Of course there was curiosity from the passengers onboard, and we couldn't resist throwing an impromptu ice cream party!
Bainbridge was a special place to relax and reflect on the trip thus far. The house overlooked Puget Sound, with Mount Baker in the distance and Seattle and Mount Rainier behind tall trees. In these trees, two Bald Eagles made their home and would put on dazzling displays while catching salmon in the sound below. We ate fresh oysters and blackberries, kayaked in the sound, and took in all the sights of the idyllic Pacific northwest.
Soon, it was time to keep moving. We restocked on ice cream, picked up a friend, and set off towards eastern Washington and Montana. By the time we reached the northern handle of Idaho, it was already past midnight. We had no plans on where to stay, so we drove our ice cream truck into the Coeur D'Alene National Forest to camp for the night. As soon as we turned off the headlights, we saw a brilliant night sky. With no moon and little light pollution, we saw a vibrant milky way and at least one shooting star per minute as we slept on top of the truck. It was a magical experience that made us step back and reflect on what a unique and privileged position that we are in.
Jordan and I figured that this might be our only time to visit Glacier National Park in this geographically isolated region, and decided that Betty (our truck) could handle the task. Despite google maps predicting a quick four-hour journey, it took more than six hours to reach the park. After jumping in a glacial stream to freshen up, we realized that every minute of the trip was worthwhile.
The main thoroughfare through Glacier, called Going-to-the-Sun Road, is a 50-mile tight and winding route that takes you to the top of 6,646 ft Logan Pass. We drove above stunning glacial valleys and atop thousand-foot cliffs, while seeing glacial ice and streams and bighorn sheep. An incredible sight--especially from this vantage point.
We left the truck at the top of the pass to explore some of the trails. Once we returned, the truck was surrounded by people intrigued by this unique ice cream truck in an unexpected location. As is a theme on our trip, we can't resist giving ice cream to an interested crowd. So, we gave away ice cream and talked with the travelers on the top of the pass.
From there, it was a two day journey under the big skies of Montana and Wyoming before reaching my hometown of Colorado Springs where the adventure continues. Going into it, we knew the truck would take us interesting places, but we are still in awe every day.