Back in June, my brother, Joe, and I drove a 2011 Toyota Tacoma pickup from Pennsylvania to Oregon to deliver it to my son, in Portland. So, it wasnâ€™t quite a Tacoma to Tacoma trip because we didnâ€™t actually get to Tacoma, Washington, but we were within a few miles on our swing up through Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.
It was truck camping about as basically as you can do it. We collected a tent that fit the Tacoma’s bed and tailgate, plus sleeping bags, a cooler and a few other things, and headed west. We had something of a deadline, so we took only a week to cross the country. On another trip it would have been fun to go for weeks. And perhaps it was the last time we’ll drive cross-country in a fossil-fuel-burning vehicle.
Because it was early in the season, the campgrounds werenâ€™t jammed yet, but, for as early in the summer as it was, they were pretty full. We drove all day, with a few side trips, and started looking for campgrounds on the cell phone late in the afternoon: state parks, national parks, county parks, national forestsâ€”we went for whatever was nearest and always found good spots.
It wasnâ€™t the best way to travel for photography, but we did get to some interesting places: the Wisconsin Dells, the Black Hills, the Badlands, Yellowstone and the coast of Oregon and Washington. We crossed and recrossed the Oregon Trail and the Bozeman Trail and the route of Lewis & Clark and met some interesting people.
On this page: top, the Cape Disappointment, Washington, lighthouse; the truck set up on the north branch of the Shoshone River in Wyoming; Lake Crescent, Washington; Pacific Ocean, Washington; Cape Disappointment, not far from where the Columbia River flows into the Pacific; above the Sandy River, Gresham, Oregon; just outside the eastern entrance of Yellowstone National Park; near Story, Wyoming; Badlands National Park, South Dakota; somewhere on I-90; Oregon greenery.
Click here for the armchair-travel version, from East to West.