Dwayne Parton was a man living what he called a “good, normal life” but “it didn’t feel right.” There was no passion in anything he was doing, he explained to iHeartDogs.com.
He felt like he was waiting to live.
Then he hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in 2014 and went on a extended road trip with a friend after that. He told iHeartDogs.com:
“It was during those times I felt like I was really alive. There were pieces of who I wanted to be in them. So I made up my mind to move into my truck, chase those pieces to see if I could put myself together, and drive until I knew what I wanted. It didn’t matter how long it took. As far as I was concerned it was permanent and I was not coming back until I knew it was where I was supposed to be. So I took my dog, moved into my truck, and headed toward Prudehoe Bay, Alaska.”
A web developer, Parton can work from anywhere he gets internet, allowing him complete freedom to roam.
He isn’t alone, however. He brought along his faithful sidekick, Bobby. Bobby is a lab/pitty mix, about 8 years old, that Parton has had since 2007. “We’ve been through lots together, and he’s still with me. He loves riding in the car. There are a few magic words I have to make his ears perk, ‘Car Ride?’ ‘Hike?’ ‘Hungry?’ He’s a great friend and very low maintenance. He’s super smart, and has a bit of a rebellious streak in him.” Together, they live in Parton’s Toyota Tacoma, which he has rigged up to be a camper.
He has blackout curtains over the canopy windows for sleeping, battery powered LEW rope lights that use minimal power, and a charger to charge the battery while driving. He custom made a frame for his bed that sits up a bit so he has storage underneath. The bed itself is just a 3.5” piece of memory foam, but he says, “I love this bed and sleep fantastic on it.” Everything is velcroed in to prevent it from sliding around. Traveling with a dog can be a bit of a challenge, but Parton says Bobby makes it pretty easy. The only thing would be if it was hot (not a problem in Alaska this time of year!), because the camper would be too hot for Bobby, Parton explains.
When asked where he was headed to next, Parton’s answer is exactly what we expected:
“I’m not sure. I’m spending the winter in Alaska. We rented a room and want to explore the state more. It’s so big!!! I keep dreaming of Patagonia, but there are lots of options. I have some long hikes I’d like to do, but I don’t want to get a head of myself. I’m hoping to make some connections in Alaska, learn some Rock Climbing, and work on writing my first book about the Appalachian Trail. You never know who you’ll meet, so I’m trying to keep an open mind. Maybe one day I’ll get to write a story for Nat Geo!! It’s ok to dream a little right?!”
Parton’s life sounds like a dream already, to most of us stuck on our day to day routines, while he and Bobby have a new adventure every day, lucky dogs. You can live vicariously through them by visiting Parton’s website and Instagram. The following images are reprinted with permission from Dwayne Parton.
It’s a rainy day in Anchorage but we decided to go to the Turnagain Arm anyways. A photo posted by Dwayne Parton (@dwayneparton) on
I love traveling with this guy… #doglovers #dogs #bestfriends A photo posted by Dwayne Parton (@dwayneparton) on
It truly is larger than life! #yukon #lifeoutside #sometimesiwander #brysoncityoutdoors A photo posted by Dwayne Parton (@dwayneparton) on
Emerald Lake #sometimesiwander #travel #roadtrip #montana #brysoncityoutdoors #hyalitecanyon #lifeoutside #dogs A photo posted by Dwayne Parton (@dwayneparton) on
NOTE: Bobby has passed away since Dwayne spoke with iHeartDogs. Dwayne will never forget him. He has since adopted Gentri, and is making new memories.