So it begins. It’s September 2018, and Nora and I are officially no longer residents of New York City—after fourteen years and nine, respectively. Leaving our jobs, our friends and our lives behind was no easy decision, but we are both ready for a new adventure, and ready to start building Lost Lantern.
Over the next few months, The Great Whiskey Road Trip will take us to many places—numerous distilleries, several national parks, and small and large cities all across the country. We don’t know how many distilleries we’ll visit, how many states we’ll pass through, how long we’ll be on the road, or where we’ll live afterward. Finding that out is part of the fun.
I have written about craft whiskey for years, and I’ve had the chance to visit a good number of craft distilleries in that time. The Great Whiskey Road Trip will allow us to visit many more, and see for ourselves what makes each one unique.
Our first month on the road will be a little different from the rest of the road trip. We’re kicking off our adventure by visiting some of the great National Parks of the West. Nothing could be more different from the hustle and bustle of New York City. In September, we’re going first to the Badlands and other South Dakota parks, then to Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Starting in October, we’ll be balancing our time more evenly between outdoor adventures and distillery visits.
We invite you to follow along with our adventures, whether you’re a whiskey lover, someone in the whiskey industry, or friends and family. If you’re a whiskey person, we hope you don’t mind the forthcoming photos of mountains and buffalo; for friends and family, we hope you learn a little bit more about whiskey as we recount our adventures. But we can promise a little something for everyone.
We’ve finished our first month on the road, and it was a big one, most of it spent in the wilds of South Dakota and Wyoming without cell phone service (hence the lack of updates). Still, we wanted to share some details from the beginning of our trip.
Total miles driven so far, as of Oct. 1st: 4,800
States we’ve been in: 13 (New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah)
States we’ve spent the night in: 7 (New York, Ohio, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Pennsylvania)
Biggest place we’ve been in: Chicago (pop. 2.7 million)
Smallest place we’ve been in: Kirby, Wyoming (pop. 92)
Most beautiful drive: Beartooth Pass, leading into Yellowstone
Most difficult drive: 50 miles on gravel roads in the Pine Ridge reservation, heading toward the Black Hills from the Badlands
Mammals we’ve seen: Buffalo, black bear, grizzly bear, moose, elk, mule deer, regular deer, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, regular dogs, squirrels, chipmunks, mice, cats, humans
Mammals we might have seen but didn’t: Wolves, mountain lions, lynx, mountain goats, black-footed ferrets, Bigfoot
Number of National Parks visited: 4 (Badlands, Wind Cave, Yellowstone, Grand Teton)
Number of other parks visited: Lots (Custer State Park, Devils Tower National Monument, and lots of National Forests)
Number of podcasts listened to (Adam edition): Way too many
Number of podcasts listened to (Nora edition): Not nearly enough
Favorite places so far: Custer State Park, the Black Hills, Beartooth Pass, Grand Teton, Wind River Canyon
Number of distilleries visited so far: 1 (Wyoming Whiskey)
State we’ve spent the most time in: Wyoming
State we spent the least time in: Idaho
Places we liked far more than we expected and are telling everyone to go to: South Dakota
Number of places that smelled like rotten eggs: Way too many
Bottles of Whiskey Consumed: 1 (Buffalo Trace)
Thing we miss the most: Places that have actual coffee instead of just little things of creamer (also, friends and family)
Highest elevation reached: 10,947′ (Beartooth Pass)
Trip highlight of the month: Getting engaged!!!!!!!! A kind stranger took this photo of us about a minute before I asked Nora to marry me, and we’ll always have it as a reminder of that special sunny day in Grand Teton.