Alysia Dean and her boyfriend, Michael Love, met at a country music festival in Arizona six years ago. They made it a point to take one big trip a year, but recently decided to change it up: their latest trip took 90 days, and took them across 38 states.
With just over a week to prepare, they converted a utility trailer into a makeshift mobile home, piled in with their dog, Rusty, and stepped on the gas. From winding around precarious roads in Oregon, to breaking down in Montana, to camping in the Tennessee wilderness, Dean, Love, and Rusty worked their way across a good chunk of the United States.
Dean was inspired to take this epic road trip by watching two of Love's friends embark on a similar adventure.
'I used all of their stories in convincing him,' she said. 'All the time, when they would do something fun, I would have to show him and say 'This could be us!''
When he finally agreed, they immediately began planning their road trip. Dean went on leave from her job at the United Services Automobile Association, and Love quit his.
As they were trying to figure out how to save money on the trip, Love's dad joked that they could use his utility trailer.
They took him up on the offer. In just a week and a half, they mounted a bed with a foam pad mattress, installed a makeshift kitchen on a work bench, and added some shelves.
'It's very, very windy, so at first I was really scared because we are not professionals at hauling a trailer, and it was raining on and off throughout our trip,' she said.
'Some of the ocean waters were completely turquoise, clear, some were just that deep blue... literally every time you turned a corner there's something new, and so the whole drive was super exciting.'
The scenery wasn't the only memorable part of their trip. They're still in touch with some of the people they met along the way.
In Virginia Beach, they met a family who convinced them to extend their stay for two more nights to attend a music festival.
'They literally just took us in as family,' she said. 'We're friends with them on Facebook now, and they talk to us all the time, (and) followed our whole trip.'
As avid country music fans, their time in Tennessee was another highlight. They had planned to spend two nights there, and ended up staying a week.
'We love live music, we love country music, and we love the outdoors, so that's everything Tennessee has to offer,' she said. 'It's absolutely beautiful.'
'We want to make sure we can hit all 50 states, because we weren't able to do all of them on this trip, before we do anything international,' Dean said.
'It definitely changes a lot of things,' Dean said. 'When we're sitting around and doing nothing for a day, both of us go absolutely stir-crazy because we know how much can actually be done in one day.'
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