The cross-country road trip. A great American tradition since Jack Kerouac documented his journey in 1957’s On The Road. Many have done it, but no one has done it quite like this. Three young Coloradans—Caleb Kruse, 22, Cameron Kruse, 24, and Jordan Fatke, 25—are taking an ice cream truck cross-country and handing out free frozen treats from sea to shining sea.
The guys started July 17 in San Diego and are ending in New York in September. The trip had been in the making for about three years, but it really got its legs when the three applied for and won a Young Explorers Grant from National Geographic. The trio will be doing a public event in Boulder Monday, August 4.
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This is a dream, right? I can’t think of a more fun way to spend the summer (other than interning at 5280 magazine, of course).
Caleb Kruse: Yeah, it’s been remarkable so far. People approach us and they say: How much is ice cream? And we say, actually it’s free and they’re kind of blown away and typically we end up talking to them for 10 to 15 minutes sharing life with one another. It’s been really neat. There’s nothing better than giving free ice cream to people. It’s been a blast so far.
What were you doing before this trip?
Jordan Fatke: We all just graduated school. I finished film school up in Portland. The intent is to make a documentary of this entire road trip across the country and the stories that we encounter along the way. Once this whole thing is done, we’re going to sit down, maybe take a day or two to sleep, because sleep is a rare thing with us, and then we’re going to hash out a story and write a documentary of the trip.
How do you entertain yourselves on the road?
Caleb: We haven’t been more than 100 feet from one another in the past week, but so far we’re fairing all right. I’m sure it’ll breakdown at some point.
Jordan: I’m sure we’ll end up in tears.
Caleb: But if things get too bad, our ice cream truck is situated as such that the front cab has two seats and then in the back you can slide a door shut.
Jordan: And we have a huge freezer of ice cream so if we need to cool down a little bit and think about it, we can help ourselves to a gallon of ice cream and reassess our anger toward one another.
Caleb: It’s going to get hot soon; we’ll see what happens.
Where are you sleeping?
Caleb: We haven’t had any hotels yet and we don’t really plan on it. We started in San Diego and moved up the west coast, so there we just stayed with friends and family. We had some really wonderful places to stay. When people put us up and support us, of course, we give them unlimited free ice cream. But, in the past few days, as we moved through the less populated areas of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, we have the capability of staying in the truck.
Jordan: And what’s been a favorite of ours is actually the roof of the truck. You get to see the stars like you’ve never seen them before, it’s the dark sky and they’re just so close. It’s a humbling moment when you realize you’re sitting on top of an ice cream truck in the middle of nowhere Montana. What are we doing?
Follow the ice cream expedition here.