Why did you name the company Escapenorthwest if you travel all over?
–Yeah. It’s a name. It’s where we’re from mostly but we travel all over. And technically all of our trips depart or arrive in the Northwestern Region of the United States. So we think it’s a pretty good name. Escape is a powerful word and I think people kind of have a negative connotation with it. But lets be real. That’s what I’m about. That’s what we are about. Is there something you’d like to get away from? Or perhaps something you want to run to? Either way leave it behind, or move toward it, come join us and return a changed, stronger person with a story to tell.
What is your favorite part of the country?
-That would depend on the time of year which is reflected in this years’ schedule. We try to stay in the Northwest during the peak time for good weather and then venture out to other parts of the country when the weather isn’t so perfect for camping up here. That being said, we aren’t scared of camping in the rain. We think any night spent in a tent is a win. I love being in the desert during the spring and fall though. You can’t beat the Northwest during the late summer months, and if you can sneak down to Florida during the spring time before it gets super humid you’re in for a treat. If you check out the site and take a look at the trips this year. We’re basically trying to do that.
What makes you qualified to run these trips?
-It takes a certain type of person to want to be on a road trip for 3+ weeks, that’s the shortest trip we have scheduled this summer. To be honest it’s difficult to know if a leader can actually do it unless they have tried it. We do training trips for new tour leaders that last 3 weeks and we don’t hire people who haven’t traveled somewhat extensively. Personally, I’ve been taking long range road trips for 10+ years now. Of which, 7 of those were spent as a tour leader for other companies. My other tour leaders are friends of mine I know from the road with a wide range of experience and skill level. The one common intangible thing, I think we all have is: we rally. We always have a rally in us. That means, even if we’re tired, the thought of making another sunset or sunrise at the top of some mountain peak, or perhaps having to motivate our group out of their comfort zone a little bit to experience something extraordinary–we do it. This isn’t about being comfortable all the time. If you want to lay around at an all inclusive resort–these tours aren’t for you. But with a little sacrifice and drive to make it, we find ourselves in some pretty awesome spots with some pretty awesome people. You can be comfortable when you get home and show everyone the pictures of the smiling faces you met and the horizons your eyes gazed upon.
Where do your trips go?
–This year’s line-up and schedule can be seen on our site. We go all the way down to Key West, up the Mississippi River delta, across interstate 90 up to Seattle on our first trip. That’s a good one. It’s beaches and bars for awhile, then music and food, then the rugged western states, National Parks and wildlife. You get a little of everything and it’s a cross country trip too. So you can put that feather in your cap once it’s finished. We have a couple of good loops leaving Seattle and circling all the way into the SW, hitting up all the cool National Parks down there, and ending in the crown jeweled National Parks of Alberta and British Columbia Canada. Those are awesome trips, provide a lot of photography and hiking opportunities along with so few climbing side bars if we want to. Then there’s the big ol’ Dream Pilgrimage which is a new trip this year. It goes down the West Coast and into Baja, across the Sea of Cortez into the mainland of Mexico. We kinda don’t know where we’re going after that but where ever it is…for the next couple days will be fun. Believe that. I imagine the type of person who books this trip will have that level of adventure in mind, “lets see what happens.” Sort of attitude. Then we head up to Big Bend, National park on the way to a little favorite of mine White Sands National Park. Then up the Rockies into Canada, similar to the other loops we have. As I get older the longer trips are becoming more and more appealing. Something about the amount of commitment a person has undertaking such a journey. Mental peaks and valleys will ensue but the end result is something unparalleled by any other type of travel. Road trips, they stick with you.
What is your vehicle like?
-We switch around our vehicles from Mercedes sprinters with all the bells and whistles to a converted ‘skoolie’ as they’re calling them now. Basically a short bus all tricked out with the right combination of comfort and character.
-The Tour leader/manager will do all the driving. They are a commercial permitted driver with plenty of experience leading these types of trips. There are many days when the majority of the day is driving, where we arrive at camp around 3-4pm. Sometimes this can be a bummer but these long drives are needed to get to all the destinations our customers/collaborators pay for. We’ve tried to make the itineraries where we space the long drive days apart both for the drivers and the customers. We always seem to have a good time where ever we go. Whether it be a gas station in the middle of nowhere or on top of the world somewhere watching the sun chase the moon.
Who goes on these trips?
Mostly we’re getting a lot of attention from people in their mid twenties all the way up. You would want to have had some type of overland travel experience I would imagine, but it’s not required obviously. These trips are not always relaxing. Don’t get me wrong, we spend a lot of nights, any night we can, around the campfire or meeting other campers along the journey, we spend nights in the backcountry chillin’, we listen to a lot of reggae in the van on rainy days you know but sometimes it’s tough on the road. Stuff happens, flat tires happen, inclement weather happens, roads get closed, border crossings can be a bitch. We deal with it and make the best out the situation knowing good and well, tomorrow is a new day, a new destination is on the horizon.
When do your trips depart?
This summer we’re running 5 trips. The trips and the departure dates/cities can be seen on the website. The homepage has the trip itineraries. Keep in mind the ininteriaries are flexible, some groups will be more into the backcountry options so we’ll park the skoolie and hike deep into the National Parks and outlying areas and spend a couple nights out there. Other groups will be more interested in photography and a lighter hiking schedule. We’re open to all of it. And we try our best to accommodate everyone’s needs while on the road.
Do you take bookings from single travelers?
Absolutely. Traveling in a small group as a single traveler might be the best of both worlds if there ever was such a thing. You get to hang out with other like minded people on the road trip of a lifetime, which offers safety, unity and a sense of community while traveling, all the while you’re doing it on your own. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me. If you’re traveling with a friend or a group of friends we encourage you to book with us as well. You’ll get a chance to meet new people and spread your friendly vibe with us.