Marywood student Molly Butler travels cross country over summer break


Photo credit/ Photo Courtesy of Molly Butler

Sara Paulson (left), Molly Butler (middle), and Alana Simrell (right) stand in front of Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park. The three friends traveled across the country in May to take in the sights.

This summer, junior speech pathology major Molly Butler and her two friends, Sara Paulson, an English major at Temple University, and Alana Simrell, a double major in math and computer science at Saint Joe’s University, embarked on a once in a lifetime adventure. The trio bought an RV and prepared for a trip they described as action packed, scary, exhausting and inspiring.

When Butler and her friends decided that they were serious about the trip, they started saving their money and working out all of the details.

They worked out the cost of everything, the itinerary, and the packing list. The trip began in May and lasted for three weeks, and Butler and her friends found the perfect RV at an affordable price.

“The RV was in great shape for being 17 years old, but we wanted to redecorate it a bit. We spent a lot of time cleaning the RV, reupholstering cushions, hanging lights, mirrors, and painting hardware,” said Butler.

Price was a big factor in their trip and they raised money by selling their gently used clothes on Instagram. Once their RV was all decked out and ready to go, they began booking the campsites, tours, and experiences for each state they were going to visit.

“Our favorite state, by far, was Montana, ” said Butler. “We spent 3 days there, which was the longest amount of time we spent in any place because it was a very fast paced trip, and we absolutely loved it.”

Along the way, the group stopped at several national parks, including Glacier National Park in Montana, Yosemite National Park in California, Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

“The breathtaking scenery was like nothing I had ever seen before,” said Butler.

However, the trip was not completely free of difficulties.

“The most difficult part of the trip was definitely when we broke down in California at 7/11 at 11 p.m.,” said Paulson. “We were not in a very safe area and there was no one who could come out at that time to tow us. Luckily, the cashier in the 7/11 was the nicest woman ever and she let us leave the RV there until the next morning and pointed us towards a hotel in a safer part of town.”

Butler said their biggest fear was that the RV would be beyond repair and that they would have to fly home. However Butler said she and her friends found help from the locals and the repairmen, got back on the road, and everything ended up okay.

Beyond vehicle problems, Butler said that keeping up the momentum and staying motivated after long hours of driving was also difficult during the trip.

Butler said that their biggest takeaway from the trip was “that there is always a solution.” Butler and her friends proved that there is always a way out of a tough situation.

In addition, Butler said that the most important lesson they learned was to have good communication skills. Being in a small vehicle with the same people every second of every day for 3 weeks requires great communication skills and compromise. Luckily Butler, Paulson, and Simrell said they were able to communicate well and compromise easily, making their trip a fantastic experience.

Butler also said that the feeling of accomplishment was overwhelming when the three of them finally crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and realized that they had achieved their goal of making it across the country. The bridge represented the gateway to their success and was something that Butler, Paulson, and Simrell said they will never forget.

“Even though there were some bumps along the way, I wouldn’t change a thing about it,” said Butler. “We had the time of our lives and are already thinking of where we can take the RV on our next adventure.”

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