Summer On The Road | WGLT

Summer On The Road

May 27, 2016

Summer Slevin took a stop at a waterfall near Portland, Oregon on her road trip last year.
Credit Summer Slevin

Summer is the perfect time for a road trip and for one Illinois State University alum, it's time to shine with her name. You might remember GLT covering Summer Slevin's road trip across the U.S. last year, but she leaves for her second trip this Sunday.

Her last journey covering 21 states and 10 national parks was focused on nature and meeting new people. This time, she is hitting the road for a completely different reason.

After graduating in May last year, Summer jumped in her car and began a road trip that she would never forget. She started an organic farm in upper Wisconsin for a week before heading to Colorado where she bought a national parks pass and also ended up buying a dog she named Rocky Road Trip Slevin. The duo covered the Rocky Mountains and Yellowstone National Park before hitting Seattle, Vancouver, and Portland where Summer participated in a naked bike ride. They then went to California to deep-sea fish along the Pacific Ocean while also visiting relatives and friends along the way.

Looking back at her trip last summer, Slevin knew she wanted to get back on the road for another adventure. Slevin said even though it will be a much shorter trip, she is very excited for this experience.

"I made a commitment to go to Contact In The Desert, which is the country's largest alien convention," said Slevin. "I have been applying for a few years just because I think it intrigues me. I'm also kind of a journalist and I really like to investigate things and really just get immersed in the environment."  

Slevin said she will be driving about 1900 miles on a route through Colorado and Utah on the way to the convention in Joshua Tree, California. She said the way back home to Illinois will be around 1800 miles bringing her through Arizona and New Mexico.

Slevin said she can save money on the trip by sleeping in her car, eating snacks instead of big meals, and drinking lots of water instead of pop or energy drinks. Slevin said the biggest exertion is the driving time, but she has a schedule that works great for her.

"The first day I don't travel as much because I'm not as used to driving. The second day I really push," said Slevin. "After that, I kind of go shorter and shorter distances every day. The last day I have time to compensate. If I have only drove nine or 10 hours one day, I can put that into the last day and I make that a very small driving time."

Slevin said she also turns away from using technology on the trips to focus on the nature around her instead of looking at constant emails or social media notifications. Unfortunately, Rocky Road Trip Slevin will need to stay back home because the convention does not allow pets. Slevin said she will miss her furry friend because she is the best travel buddy she has ever had.