10 and 2: Vancation in New York State


It’s been a full week since I’ve been in the driver’s seat of my van.  I’ve also been two timezones away in the Adirondacks.  I’ve also been sleeping in real beds for the last 7 nights.  I can’t say that I miss the van bed, but I can say that I’m ready to get back in the driver’s seat and head back into the mountains.  Our next stop is Teton National Park and the Yellowstone Valley.  I’ve been waiting for this leg of the trip since May 1st.


My girlfriend, with whom I’ve been living and working in our van for the last 4 months, is from New York state.  Each year, she makes the pilgrimage back to Saratoga Springs, NY for the weekend of the Travers Stakes horse race, and the last 2 racing seasons I’ve joined her on that journey.  Usually it only involves scheduling a few vacation days and booking a flight and rental car, but when your destinations (life) are only planned 7-10 days in advance, it’s pretty tough to know where you need to buy a plane ticket from.


We departed from Salt Lake City, UT, which was a good fit for us — there’s cheap parking at the airport, it’s a city we both wanted to explore a bit, and it’s an area with mountains everywhere.  Stephani explored the Wasatch Mountains around Sundance and summited Mount Timpanogos, while I stayed at a lower elevation and spent the day fly fishing in the Provo River.  She encountered a hiker who needed to be airlifted due to the elevation, while I dodged a bull moose who made it pretty clear that the stretch of river we shared was actually his and not mine.  Luckily, neither of us ended up in the hospital.


We departed SLC for the Adirondack Mountains in the morning and landed in Albany, NY late that night.  The next couple of days were spent with my girlfriend’s family at their lake house in the Adirondacks.  Several nights spent in a real bed were great, but the lakefront views of the lifting fog and the sunrises were better.  We spent the mornings canoeing along the shoreline and casting her father’s old lures to anything that might bite, the afternoons collecting wood in the ATVs, and the evenings around the crackle of a lakeside campfire.


Eventually, the calm of the mountains gave way to the spectacle that is Race Day in Saratoga Springs.  Race Day tends to be an eclectic mix of individuals: burnout race track junkies, college students there for the party, horse race aficionados, those who attend for “tradition”, and just about everything you can imagine in between.  For us, it’s a combination of everything (the party, the races, and to keep up a tradition with friends), plus we had the opportunity to see Triple Crown winner American Pharaoh grace the track.  As most of you saw or later heard, he lost his race and the large purse that came with it.  I did lose a small bet on him, but I can say that I beat the track and walked away with a nice win on a trifecta bet in the first race that covered my betting for the day. Unfortunately, my winnings weren’t enough to facilitate an early retirement, but I guess I really can’t complain too much.


We just returned to the van (which was baking in the heat of the last week), and will be headed back north to Wyoming and Montana where we’ll (hopefully) find some cooler weather under the shadows of the Tetons, smaller crowds at the National Parks, some good food and drink in Jackson, and some cutthroat and brown trout waiting for me in Yosemite Valley.


So what is 10 and 2? Meet Ryan and learn about why he’s on the road with Crown & Caliber.

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Ryan O’Connor is recovering from a decade of work in the investment management industry. He’s currently living out of his van and traveling the United States with his girlfriend, taking a very long route to Texas. In addition to long walks on the beach, sunsets, and production paperwork, he digs photography, fly fishing, hunting, rye whiskey, and Texas BBQ.

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