May 12, 1990: Chris J. McCandless graduates from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and tells his parents that he is going to spend the summer traveling in his car.
July 10, 1990: Abandons his car after it is damaged by a flash flood. Loads his belongings into his backpack and sets out on foot.
July–August 1990: Jan Burres and her boyfriend Bob discover McCandless by the side of the road and befriend him, and In Cut Bank, Montana, meets Wayne Westerberg.
October–November 1990: Canoes on the Colorado River, apparently traveling through Lake Havasu, the Bill Williams River, the Colorado River Indian Reservation, the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, and the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground.
October 1991: Arrives in Bullhead City, Arizona, where he works for two months at McDonald's and lives in an empty RV overseen by an old man named Charlie.
January 1992: Meets Ronald Franz while hitchhiking near California's Salton Sea.