It all started last fall when Luke and Jesse, two of my close friends, shared a Craigslist post with me. When I followed the link, I found an old school bus that had been turned into a mobile home and taken cross country by a group of guys last summer. They had nicknamed it "The Green Monster Bus" and painted it the iconic green color of Fenway Park's infamous outfield wall. "Pretty cool", I replied, not realizing that my friends were actually suggesting we buy the bus for a trip of our own. Hearing this, I was skeptical at first, but after a little convincing I was on board for what promised to be the trip of a lifetime. I took the idea to Shane and Jeff, two of my roommates, who shared a love for travel. Realizing that this would be the perfect "last hurrah" after graduation and before entering the working world, they agreed to join us. With that, we had our crew of five. After a quick trip out to Manchester-by-the-sea, the bus was officially ours.
After buying the bus, it was time for renovations. The previous owners had left the bus mostly furnished, but we wanted to improve it and "make it our own" so we stripped it down to its bare bones and started the rebuild. This included building bunks, mounting a table and cabinet, and securing a futon. We also spent hours touching up the paint on the exterior, painting the rims, and replacing the radio. The bus had a few mechanical issues too, so it spent a couple weeks in the shop getting an oil change, repairing a brake leak, and adding some power to the engine. The AC needed fixing as well, something we realized we wouldn't want to go without when traveling through the South in May.
While all of this work was happening, we were also busy planning a route and looking for things to do along the way. We reached out to friends and family that we knew across the country to see when and where we could meet up. We also made plans with friends from home to fly out and meet us on the road. A lot could change between now and when we leave, but our current route covers almost the entire country, with major stops in Baltimore, Nashville, New Orleans, El Paso, San Diego, LA, Seattle, Denver and Chicago, among others. Along the way, we plan to spend time exploring cities, national parks, and major landmarks. Altogether, we expect to cover about 10,000 miles.
While planning the route, we had an idea. We were lucky enough to have the time and ability to afford this trip, but there are others out there who are much less fortunate. We saw the trip as an opportunity to give back, and began searching for the right organization to partner with. Given that we all have ties to the Boston area, and 4 of the 5 of us are lifelong Red Sox fans, our search quickly led us to the David Ortiz Children's Fund. The DOCF raises money to provide life-saving heart surgeries to children in the New England area, as well as the Dominican Republic. Inspired by their mission, we knew we had found the right partner. We set a goal to raise $10,000 by the end of our trip, representing roughly a dollar per mile. With each surgery costing roughly $5,000, this should be enough to help save two lives. If you're reading this, we encourage you to donate what you can to a great cause, and help us reach our goal!
As of right now, our departure date is set for May 9th, and we can't wait to hit the road! We'll spend these final few weeks putting some finishing touches on the bus, doing some final planning, and packing for the trip.
Should be one hell of a ride...