Mudders on the Move

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There are a lot of ways to get to Mudd: plane, train, bus, freelines (?), and commonly – by car. Sometimes, even from as far as 5,000 miles! After a few days in a small sedan, Mudd’s dorm rooms can feel refreshingly spacious. I asked a few Mudders about their experiences taking road trips either to or from Harvey Mudd College and am counting down the days until I can take my next one.

A screenshot of a GoogleMaps map of the USA. Different places on the map are marked with pins to represent the locations where students have started or ended their road trips.

A few of the places where Mudders have either started or ended their road trips. Mudd is the yellow marker.

After I completed summer math, my older brother and I drove from Claremont to Houston, where I call home. We spent three days traveling and stayed for a night in Phoenix. We got to check out the Biosphere 2 in Arizona and catch up after a long semester of not seeing each other.

My pro-tip to any prospective roadtrippers is to put your phone down and enjoy the company. Sometimes it’s almost instinctive to pick up your phone when unoccupied and sitting still, but a lot of good can come from resisting the temptation and focusing on all there is to appreciate wherever you are.

Three photos taken from inside a car on a road trip. The first one features a pastel sunset, the second one features a sun setting in a rear view mirror, and the third one has a blue sky with clouds.

A few pictures from the road trip my brother and I took this summer. The left photo was taken on our way out of California and the right photo was taken as we entered Texas.

While a lot of Mudders travel with parents or siblings, a fair amount take on the open roads with fellow Mudders! Here’s a few groups of students who traveled together, where their trips took them, and some tips they have to offer:

The left picture is a scenic shot with a sign reading "Loveland Pass. Elevation 11,990FT. Continental Divide." The middle photo is a picture of Jack, Seth, and Abtin in front of Loveland Pass. The right photo is another photo of the nature with a blue sky and clouds.

3 Mudders from the class of 2021, Jack Ontiveros (L), Seth Isaacson (C) , and Abtin Molavi (R), traveled cross country before the beginning of the 2018 school year.

A Google Maps screenshot of a path from Boston to Claremont with 8 stops in between.

An overview of the path that Seth, Jack, and Abtin traveled before starting their sophomore year.

Pro-tip from Seth: “Don’t rush it. There’s a lot of beautiful stuff in the country, and it’s great to have light driving days when you can explore. Also, camping most of the time was really fun and really cheap. If you’re careful, it’s barely more expensive than a plane ticket, and you also get a long vacation out of it.”

Two photos of Matt Kanovsky, Will McDonald, Daniel Brito, Kanoa Gilliland, Mariah Ewing, Steph Blankley, Kira Favakeh, Anna Serbent, Jane Watts, and Lavon Burgo at scenic spots on their road trip.

This group of now juniors took a road trip during their freshman spring break in March of 2017. The students on the trip included Max Maleno, Matt Kanovsky, Will McDonald, Daniel Brito, Kanoa Gilliland, Mariah Ewing, Steph Blankley, Kira Favakeh, Anna Serbent, Jane Watts, and Lavon Burgo.

A Google Maps screenshot started at Claremont, going to Death Valley National Park, then to Zion National Park, before ending back in Claremont.

They drove from Mudd to Death Valley National Park where they stayed for two nights before driving to Zion National Park for another two nights.

Pro-tip from Max : “Be sure to thoroughly pack – we were fully prepared, and everything went smoothly. Angel’s Landing hike must be a top 10 most amazing experience in the United States, 100% worth it!!”

The left photo features the three students Jessica on the left, Will in the middle, and Eric on the right. They're looking up at the sky through glasses that shield their eyes from sun damage so that they can view the eclipse safely. The right photo is a landscape shot of a road with a mountain in the far ground.

The left photo features Jessica Wolf (L), Will McDonald (C), and Eric Contee (R) stopping in Tennessee to check out the eclipse. The photo on the right features a scene from the painted desert where the three of them experienced 2 time zones at once!

A Google Maps screenshot of a path from Princeton, New Jersey to Claremont with five stops in between.

A rough overview of the path that Jess, Will, and Eric traveled on their road trip during the summer of 2017.

Pro-tip from Jess: “Do some research beforehand on interesting places that are on the way! Some of them are easy to miss but definitely worth it.”

Pro-tip from Eric: “Take your time, have a big enough car, distribute driving better, go with people that like similar music as you.”

Here’s some other awesome tips from some experienced Mudd roadtrippers:

  • “ is your friend, Take a few more days than you need and break up the drive. A 12 hour day is really no fun” – Joe Anderson, ’21
  • “Coffee!! Friends! Fun!” – Morgan Frisby, ’19
  • “Plan your food!! Especially if you’re camping” – Thomas Martinez, ’21
  • “Have a great playlist available.” – Jackson Crewe, ’19
  • “Stop and enjoy random stuff on the way. Don’t always eat at fast food places.” – Ben Iten, ’19
  • “Plan ahead, try not to spend more than five hours in the car at a time, and bring music for when you run into places without good radio. The app Roadtripper is actually really helpful.” – Macallan, ’21
  • “Bring a travel pillow; line up some road trip jams; play 20 questions with the driver; BRING SNACKS” – Callie Glanton, ’20
  • “If you’re not going in a busy season, don’t reserve campsites unless you know for sure there’s one place you need to go. We passed tons of campsites that were way better than the ones we had, which were cheaper, and which were empty.” – Domenico Ottolia, ’22
  • “Avoid I-40. Northern roads are prettier” – Blake Larkin, ’19

No matter where you are from or where you want to go, Mudd can be a home for you. Mudders are ambitious adventurers who are in it for the journey. Just don’t forget your seat belt!