As of Friday, August 3rd, I am no longer Director for Intelligence at the National Security Council, and have left federal service. I'll be heading to San Francisco, where I'll be joining Facebook to contribute to their efforts to disrupt information operations (misinformation, disinformation, propaganda) and malicious actors on their platforms. While leaving government is bittersweet, the opportunity to join an energetic, intelligence, and driven team at Facebook is the chance of a lifetime.
However, I have three weeks to play with, and to make the most of it, I'll be driving from Colorado to Las Vegas entirely offroad! If you've followed my instagram feed, you've seen a lot of my heavily-modified Subaru Forester. This will finally be a chance to really put it to the test.
I'll be blogging the entire route here, as well as regularly updating my instagram whenever we can catch a moment of wifi along the route. Expect an exciting compilation of drone videos on my vimeo page as well, as I'll be filming and photographing the entire journey.
The Trans-America Trail (TAT) is an offroad overland route originally trailblazed by Sam Correro and intended for dual-speed motorcycles. However, a team from Land Cruiser set out to complete the entire TAT in a convoy of 4x4 vehicles in 2013, and since then the occasional four-wheeled vehicle has attempted the crossing. As far as we can tell, we're one of the first Subarus to make the traverse, though the Subaru forums are rife with folks seeking advice on the feasibility of getting a Subaru AWD car through narrow slot canyons and towering mountain passes.
The southern route we're following, which breaks from the "traditional" TAT near Arches National Park, was mapped by GPSKevin. While we originally wanted to head all the way to Oregon, the call of the desert (and the need to meet up in Las Vegas) forced us south. Once we hit LV, we'll leave the trail and drive north for seven more days through Death Valley and up California Route 395, which winds through the eastern border of the state and traverses much of California's storied national forestland.
The route is expected to take seven days offroad, and seven more days on-road, assuming we make good time, and we'll be mainly planning to sleep wherever we finish the day's driving - likely in tents in national forestland or parkland.
The modifications to our Forester (suspension lift, body lift, undercarriage protection via steel skid plates and transmission plates, brush bar/aux lighting) plus the carry capacity and increased aux fuel should make this voyage doable - but we're certain to encounter challenges along the way. Our ground clearance right now sits at a comfortable 10 inches (2 over stock), though most stock jeeps are running at 12 inches. I'll post a more detailed breakdown of our planning and packing, both for the vehicle and our preparedness equipment.
Stay tuned for more updates - we begin the drive on August 13th!