We made it to my hometown near Bel Air, MD in time to grab some of my favorite crabcakes from Boxhill Pizzeria so I could show these Massholes why I don't eat anything crab outside of Maryland. Then it was off to my sister's place in Baltimore to try to catch the end of the O's vs. Nat's game. After an awesome Orioles rally to come back and win in extras, we hit Pickles Pub (a staple of baseball season in Bmore) and on to Federal Hill to meet up with some of my old coworkers and friends. Agawam crew members tried out the bus for sleeping that night while Jeff and I took the opportunity to have beds in my sister's house in Locust Point (thanks, Maddie).
Once we could all get our last shower for the foreseeable future, we headed out to brunch, grabbed some business cards we had made, and gave the guys a quick driving tour of some parts of Bmore. We hit the road to head out to an awesome hike overlooking Harper's Ferry West Virginia I had done with my sister when she went to Shepherd University right nearby just in time for sunset. Then we found a local bar with the Celtics game on to catch the end of the game 5 W.
Today (Thursday) we got up and hit the road en route to Skyline Caverns. After a last minute tour of some sweet rock formations, we hit Skyline Drive. Visibility was low and it was foggy and rainy but the GMB pulled through and we still got some awesome views into valleys when the fog would briefly lift. Dinner was at the Big Meadows Lodge with some local brews and damn good food. Our hike back to the bus involved loud talking and walking in formation #BearCountry.
\nNow, its back on to finish out the Skyline Drive down to the Great Smoky Mountains. Stay tuned, follow along. And DONATE!
It has been a long time coming. We bought the bus on a whim, back in November of 2016, and had little to no expectations, just a dream. Now, it is finally time to hit the road. We've had a lot of time to prepare for our departure but on trips like this there is only so much you can prepare for. Obstacles are everywhere, and we will embrace them if not conquer them. We are eager, motivated, confident, and most importantly, curious, after all, that is what brought us all here. So, we are off, to see the sights "from sea to shining sea", to get in touch with nature, to live off the earth (mostly baked goods so far), to hang out in national parks and hike far stretches of land, and to get stuck in bumper to bumper traffic in New York City after illegally taking the parkway and cringing every time we approached an overpass. Yes, after five months of planning, working, and building, our dream is now reality. It may not have fully settled in our anxious minds,but we are, in fact, living a dream we created for ourselves. To reach this point alone has been a great journey. From buying the bus, to getting involved with the great organization that is,The David Ortiz Children's Fund, to creating a website, and hearing from others about how we are 'driving to inspire'. That, after all, is one of the main reasons why we are here.
From the road,
Jesse and the GMB Crew
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...