Woman sets out to see Amer­ica with her mower

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By BRI­ANNA SHEA

bshea@ce­cil­whig.com

— When most peo­ple set out on a cross­coun­try jour­ney, they prep a car or bi­cy­cle, but one woman who stopped here while mak­ing such a jour­ney Thurs­day was tow­ing a much dif­fer­ent ride: a Honda HT-3813 lawn mower.

Kelly Dvo­rak, 23, be­gan her trek in her home­town of By­ron, Mich., on June 24 af­ter grad­u­at­ing from Cen­tral Michi­gan Univer­sity with a de­gree in ge­ol­ogy. Yearn­ing to travel af­ter grad­u­a­tion but lack­ing the funds to leave home, Dvo­rak said she came up with a plan: mow lawns in each place she vis­its as a way to raise money to con­tinue the trip.

“I like to travel in the sum­mer­time and I just wanted to see all the states,” she said Thurs­day morn­ing. “So this just seemed like a good way to fund the trip and travel as long as I want.”

Dvo­rak said the trip will help her find her fa­vorite state, af­ter which she plans put down roots and start a ca­reer re­lated to her stud­ies.

ELK­TON

She said does not have a set fee for her ser­vices, but in­stead lets cus­tomers pay what they want and even em­ploys a barter sys­tem. In Maine, she did some work in ex­change for a hair­cut af­ter the lady rec­og­nized her in the park­ing lot of a store. In Hart­ford, Conn., she did work in ex­change for a tour around the capi­tol build­ing.

Dvo­rak said she plans to visit the 48 con­ti­nen­tal states. So far, she’s trav­eled to Michi­gan, Ohio, Penn­syl­va­nia, New York, Ver­mont, New Hamp­shire, Maine, Mas­sachusetts, Rhode Is­land, Con­necti­cut, New Jer­sey, Delaware and Mary­land. She said the next few states she will travel to in­clude Vir­ginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Dvo­rak spends nights in Wal-Mart park­ing lots and state parks, where she sets up her bed­room in the trailer af­ter un­load­ing the equip­ment. The trailer in­cludes a small win­dow on the side and a so­lar panel, which she uses to charge her phone and lap­top, she said.

She has also met gen­er­ous fam­i­lies who have asked her to stay for din­ner and spend a night in their homes. Her plan was not to use the trailer, but in­stead her mower, which is liq­uid­cooled trac­tor.

“Orig­i­nally, I was go­ing to drive the lawn mower across the coun­try and I thought that lawn mower would hold up, it’s liq­uid­cooled, so the mo­tor would last longer,” she said.

How­ever, due to safety con­cerns, Dvo­rak de­cided to load her trailer to her Saturn SUV and travel that way.

On Thurs­day, Dvo­rak stopped in Elk­ton to see her aunt and un­cle, Suzanne and Glenn Wright. Suzanne said she found out about her niece’s plan through Face­book.

Suzanne said she and Glenn do­nated a push mower as an­other mode for her to cut lawns, as well as some other items for her trip.

“I think it’s great,” Dvo­rak said. “I think it’s re­ally cool, re­ally gen­er­ous of them.”

Her par­ents are sup­port­ive of her choice to travel around the coun­try, but they do have some safety con­cerns, Dvo­rak said. She she checks in with her par- ents and send­ing them her lo­ca­tion via her phone.

Suzanne said she shares the same con­cerns as Dvo­rak’s par­ents for her safety, but knows Dvo­rak will be safe.

“I know Kelly can take of her­self and she’s got a great head on her shoul­ders,” Su- zanne said.

To fol­low Dvo­rak’s jour­ney, visit www.face­book. com/ mowingacrossamer­ica/.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY BRI­ANNA SHEA

Kelly Dvo­rak sits on her Honda HT-3813 trac­tor with her weed whacker and push mower do­nated to her by her aunt and un­cle, Suzanne and Glenn Wright, on Thurs­day.

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