Ben Hartman: “I graduated from high school in 2020, and my brother Max graduated from college. We decided that there may not be another point in our lives when we both had this much freedom. So we planned a road trip across America.”  

The brothers’ Subaru Forester decorated with stickers from their travels, is seen parked next to their tent as a campfire keeps them warm.
One of Ben and Max’s campsites during the road trip. Photo: Ben Hartman

“We have always been a Subaru family, but our mom wasn’t too keen on us putting over 10,000 miles on her Crosstrek within a month. We searched the internet and found our car: a forest green 1999 Forester. We started in Pittsburgh and headed west.”  

Max Hartman: “We had a rough idea of what national parks we wanted to hit, but we were pretty flexible. We went on to find places to camp. I think before that I had attempted to camp once in the yard with Ben, and we lasted until about midnight before we came inside. We had to learn how to pitch a tent and what supplies to bring.   

“Our mom forced bear spray on us to be safe. But the only major wildlife we saw was in the Tetons. We saw a moose with our binoculars, and we saw a bison on the road. We got to go pretty far back in a lot of the places because the Forester could get us there.”  

Ben: “We made it all the way to California and hit every national park in between, from the Indiana Dunes and the Badlands to Yellowstone and Redwood.”  

Max: “Redwood was one of the coolest places. We were famous for getting to campsites once it was pitch black out, so we were going up this old logging road in the California hills in the dark – climbing mountain after mountain in our Subaru – and we finally made it to this opening with a singular picnic table and set up there.” 

“Obviously, the trees were giant. Coming from the East Coast, we’ve never seen that. Then in the daylight we could see how high up we actually were, with a steep cliff dropping off to our right. I was thankful Ben was driving because I’m scared of heights.”  

Ben: “12,546 miles later, we have memories that will last forever, a greater bond than we ever had before and a 1999 Subaru Forester that runs like the day it was made.”

– Ben Hartman, Max Hartman 
1999 Forester 

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