From Sea to Shining Sea

Stormy Pacific Beach Sunset California

Pacific Beach, California

It took me by surprise. Not the ocean. That we found right where we expected to. What surprised me was the strange sense of accomplishment that washed over me upon seeing it.

Almost three years ago we set out to travel the country by motor home. During that time we’ve followed the seasons north and south like migratory birds methodically making their way from cool place to cool place. Along the way we’ve tried to keep our drive times short and avoid backtracking whenever possible. Do that long enough and you eventually drive from coast to coast without ever specifically planning to. That is, after all, how we ended up on California’s Pacific Beach.

It’s not the first time we’ve been to the Pacific Coast. But this time was somehow different. Driving across the country is the kind of thing that frequently appears on “Bucket Lists.” Not many people actually do it even though it represents one of the quintessentially American travel dreams.

We never really thought much about it, though. Driving coast to coast wasn’t ever a specific objective of ours. We embarked on this Great American Road Trip not to cross the country, but to see it. Getting from place to place, even from shore to shore, was never more than a means to an end. Which is why it surprised me that arriving at this ocean, so similar to the one we left long ago but for its cliff-lined coasts and sun that sets where it should rise, felt like victory.

It’s a strange thing to feel accomplishment in crossing off a goal I never set from a list I never wrote. Somewhere I must be keeping a bucket list of sorts, one that is secret even from me. Driving across country is apparently on that list, now proudly checked off.

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24 Comments on “From Sea to Shining Sea”

  1. Jane Lurie February 4, 2013 at 8:01 am #

    Congrats and beautiful image!


  2. Touring NH February 4, 2013 at 8:13 am #

    An inspiring accomplishment! I’m half way to following in your “tire tracks” We already have the motorhome and when I am done Touring NH I’m hoping we can start our tour of the USA!


    • Brian February 4, 2013 at 10:30 am #

      It’s an awesome trip. Take your time and enjoy the ride.


  3. pleisbilongtumi February 4, 2013 at 8:14 am #

    So lovely and stunning! thanks for sharing


  4. John February 4, 2013 at 8:38 am #

    A great accomplishment, congrats to you both. 🙂


  5. Carolin Grandin February 4, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    Congratulations! Where to next?


    • Brian February 4, 2013 at 10:32 am #

      We still have all of CA, WA, OR, AK, and HI on our near-term to-do list.


  6. Buck February 4, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    Congratulations! Quite an adventure and one that sounds like is only just beginning. Can we hope to expect a “Best Of Between the Coasts” post? Would be great to hear about some of your highlights!


    • Brian February 4, 2013 at 10:36 am #

      We do an annual “Best of” post that you can find here: We’ll have the third installment up in a couple of months (our travel anniversary is in April). After we finish our U.S. travels, we’ll probably do an America the Beautiful post too, so stay tuned.


      • Buck February 4, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

        Awesome. Looking forward to the America post!


  7. digger666 February 4, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    Reblogged this on digger666 and commented:
    More amazing adventures from Shannon and Brian at…with a great photo thrown in to capture the imagination.


  8. mairedubhtx February 4, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    The Pacific is beautiful and this is an especially wonderful photo. It’s magical.


  9. Debra Kolkka February 4, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    It is a great acheivement…congratulations! What’s next?


    • Brian February 4, 2013 at 10:38 am #

      We’ll spend the spring heading up the West Coast and the summer in Alaska with a diversion to Hawaii thrown in the middle.


  10. knod56 February 4, 2013 at 10:46 am #

    Beautiful shot. Congratulations on making from coast to coast. I am envious.


  11. Luddy's Lens February 4, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    The best trip I’ve ever taken was coast to coast by train — from Los Angeles to DC and then up to New York; when we can, my husband and I take the occasional road trip to family in the Midwest and So. Cal. By road or rail is the only way to grasp the breadth and beauty of this country.

    Can’t believe you’ve yet to cruise the West Coast! Really look forward to your journal on that trip.


  12. Deb February 4, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    Beautiful shot. On your way up the west coast you should do a diversion to the Southern Gulf Islands of Canada; they are gems on the road less travelled.
    ( and )


  13. Cat February 4, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    Beautiful photo! As a wanderer, is your full time job blogging? Is the revenue enough to keep you going?

    No one comes to my blog, and I don’t know if they ever will, but I keep blogging away!

    Maybe more people will read once I start my adventure on the 26th of this month, the one where I left my job with nothing planned and bought a one way ticket to Hawaii.

    Sometimes you just can’t fight your emotions and desire to travel!


  14. Gunta February 4, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    Coming north out of California, you really need to make a stop at Bandon. It’s has a far more interesting beach than any other IMHO. Even Cannon Beach doesn’t quite match it for the fascinating sea stacks. Drop me a line if you need a guide. 🙂

    BTW… I’ve done many trips cross country (a dozen or more, if you count each direction) traveling through all 48 states. It’s the best way to really see the country.


  15. hswinson February 4, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    What an incredible photograph! Not to mention inspiring story. Congrats on your huge accomplishment 🙂


  16. Betty Londergan February 4, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

    Go, travelers, go!! Lovely shot and beautiful prose!


  17. fotoeins February 4, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

    Lovely photo! I also imagine that with anyone who’s ever lived or spent significant time next to an ocean will have experienced something equally similar after a long period of time away from the ocean: a big sigh of relief at the sight of open open water. 🙂


  18. Arizona girl February 6, 2013 at 5:39 am #

    What an amazing experience you guys have had!!!



  1. Circumnavigating the Globe | Everywhere Once - August 6, 2014

    […] took us almost four years to drive our motor home from the East Coast of the U.S. to the West Coast. We didn’t set out with a specific goal to drive across the continent. We just started heading […]


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