The 48-State Road Trip: One Year Later

Labor day a year ago, I was waking up at 4:30 AM and heading out onto the Nina Moose River with a rented canoe, heading toward Lake Agnes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. This year on Labor Day? I’m writing blog posts in order to avoid doing readings for school. What a difference a year makes.

Labor Day last year.

Labor Day this year.

I miss that trip like I assume most people miss, like, people. I start getting choked up when I start flipping through my photos. Seriously.

Oh well. In memory of the events of last year, here’s an FAQ made up of a few questions I’ve been asked a lot and a much larger number that I’ve never been asked. I guess it’s more just a Q.

Q: What was your favorite place?

A: I understand why that seems like a good question, but it’s not. Seriously, think about it. I was on the road for 129 days, each of which included a very different experience from the one before. What set of criteria could be used to reasonably answer that question? I haven’t come up with one.

Q: What was the prettiest place then?

A: Seriously, that’s the same question. Going back through my photos, I think the Sierras were the most photogenic, but while I was there I don’t know that I felt I was in a prettier place than, say, the Hoh Rain Forest, Glacier, Pictured Rocks, Cathedral Canyon, or in its own way Manhattan.

Q: In which of the places you visited do you think you might want to live?

A: That one’s probably better, although it involves accessing information that had nothing to do with the trip, e.g., average tax rates. But whatever: the Nevada side of Tahoe, Western Oregon, the Spokane area, Western Montana, Northern Michigan, and South Carolina.

Q: After four-and-a-half months, weren’t you sick of it?

A: Not at all. If I could figure out a way to do that as a full-time gig without starving to death or running out of gas, I would absolutely do it. Aside from the fact that it was getting into mid-November and getting pretty cold for camping, I was very disappointed when it was over.

Q: What was the best part of it?

A: I think anyone who might have asked this one was hoping I’d name a state or a park or something, but, yeah, no. The best part of it was being almost entirely free from group social norming, while at the same time feeling like I was making legitimate, productive use of my time and energy.

Q: Do you think it would be as good if you did it again?

A: Probably not as good. One of the other great feelings I had on the trip was the constant feeling of discovery. Obviously I did not “discover” the Adirondacks or Pedernales Falls, but I’d never been there before, so it was all brand new. I imagine it wasn’t *quite* the same as Columbus “discovering” the “New World”, but I’m guessing my feelings were at least 80-percent of the way there. That said, I really enjoyed living out of my truck, traveling from place-to-place, and engaging in a wide range of activities that I couldn’t do while strapped to a desk and executive chair. I think those good parts would always be there for me and that they’d be enough to make re-engaging in that lifestyle a worthwhile endeavor.

Q: Wasn’t it hard to sleep/eat/shower?

A: Not really. After the first week sleeping in the truck, cooking over my JetBoil or Coleman stove, and looking for campgrounds with showers or a private site to set up my portable shower bladder was just normal. At first I felt a little deprived without running water, convenient lighting, or the ability to sit up in bed without hitting my head on the camper shell ceiling, but I got over that. In fact, after the first few nights, I generally slept as well or better on the trip than I did prior to it or have since.

Q: You had a very detailed itinerary. Did you ever feel like you’d over-planned?

A: Not once, no. I planned the exact right amount for me. If I’d done less planning, I would have done less and felt guilty about wasting opportunities. This was another one of my favorite parts of the trip — it was a great stoke to my ego to plan a detailed itinerary, packing list, and considerations for road life and then for that plan to work out exceptionally well.

Q: Is there anything you wish you would have done differently?

A: A more fuel-efficient vehicle would have been nice (although it would have to be large enough to sleep in still, which really limits the options and, from a cost perspective, running my pick-up with its crappy mileage was a more cost-effective solution than purchasing a purpose-bought vehicle). I also took some stuff I didn’t need (the generator never came in handy, I didn’t ever use the X-Box except so that I could say I did, and I could have easily done without my bicycle and inflatable kayak).

Q: Was four-and-a-half months the right amount of time to see all the lower 48 states?

A: Apart from the fact that I wished the trip had gone on longer, yes, that was a pretty good duration, although it also includes about seven days “off” so I could work on grad school applications as well as about seven additional days spent waiting for my transmission to get fixed. If I’d gone less than four months, I think I would have felt deprived to some degree.

Q: Did you visit everywhere you wanted to visit?

A: I visited everywhere I *planned* to visit. I would have liked to have gone to the Everglades and Florida Keys, but they were a long way out of my way and it was the wrong time of year for either location. I also woud have liked to have visited a few places in the mountains in Colorado and spent more time in Southern Utah, but, as earlier implied, it was getting too cold to comfortably camp in those locations.

Q: What did you learn about yourself on the trip?

A: I’m still parsing that one. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I was surprised at how rarely I wished there were other people around — I’d imagined that if I indulged my asocial tendencies to the degree planned on the trip, I’d eventually realize I needed people more than I thought I did; it didn’t turn out that way and while I was happy when I got to see friends and family along the way, I was hardly unhappy when I didn’t.

Q: What did you learn about the country?

A: It’s pretty. From a natural beauty standpoint, I don’t think there’s anything in any other country that’s “better” or “more worthwhile” than any given region in the US. I.e., from a natural beauty standpoint, I got as much out of visiting Michigan for three days as I did out of any three days in Fiji or New Zealand.

Q: What did you learn about people in the US?

A: They’re scared and like the security of groups. I think I always knew that and I think it’s possibly less prounounced in the US than it is in other parts of the world, but still, the trip kind of brought that home. There aren’t a lot of people who are willing to risk arriving at independent conclusions or taking independent actions based on objective considerations.

That’s been further hammered home after the trip. I’ve had numerous people tell me they would “love” to do something similar — but they never will, because doing a trip like this poses some social risk (family, job security, whatever). In what sense, then, would they “love” to do a trip like mine? I’ve come to accept that when people say they would “love” to do something, what they really mean is that if they had infinite time and resources and there were no possibility of social repercussions, they would consider doing it.

Moreso than ever after the trip, I think most people shouldn’t bother saying most of the things they say. Our species should either be more interesting or quieter.

Q: So you didn’t like the people?

A: Generally speaking, when conversations occurred, people were disarmingly friendly. This was considerably less true of old people in Oregon and more true of middle-aged and older single guys, who seemed to have a native understanding for what I was doing and why. Some of the regions that I’d thought would be the most stuck up (Vermont and Maine in particular) had, in fact, some of the most gracious and easy-to-interact-with people that I met. From a random-person-you-meet-on-the-street perspective, Americans are pretty cool.

Q: Where did people have the best accents?

A: The Maine accent was compelling, although I only understood about 80-percent of what the master practitioners were saying. I was also taken aback when I got to (inland) Virginia, heard some locals talking in a diner, and realized they weren’t faking it.

Q: Where was the best driving?

A: Aside from “anywhere where there were no cars”, the upper two-thirds of Michigan were excellent. The drivers there were generally fast, competent, and cooperative.

Q: Where was the worst driving?

A: The South. They dawdle on the road, stop and turn suddenly and without warning, and are wholly impolite when behind the wheel. They will not let you merge and have no compunctions about honking any time you seize the initiative due to their uncooperativeness.

Q: What part of the country felt the “most free”?

A: What an odd question; fortunately, I’ve considered it and have an answer. I was shocked to discover that the western states, from a number of perspectives, feel considerably more weighed down by Big Brother than eastern states. The most aggressive anti-driver messaging in the country is in Wyoming, where every road sign threatens you somehow (“if you speed, we will catch you and you will pay”). There seems to be considerably more trust in a number of the country’s older places, e.g., the midwest and extreme northeast. But the answer is Texas or South Carolina.

Q: Do you think you’ll do another road trip like this again?

A: I hope so. I’m going to be trying to justify doing it after my third year of grad school here, department-willing. I’m also hoping to take a road trip through BC and Alberta and up to Alaska next summer during break.

Q: Why don’t you write about the trip and try to sell it?

A: Because the after-the-fact reflections on the trip would come off as life-affirming as this post. And even if they didn’t and I went with a tone and content set similar to what was on the road trip blog, who would pay money for that? And even if someone would, they still wouldn’t pay very much. I think people who haven’t checked into it usually over-estimate the amount of money made by writers. Writing pays like it’s an avocation, not a vocation.

So there you go. One day I’ll write my coffee table book. It’ll probably be about as upbeat as this blog post and, no, no publisher will pick it up — but that’ll be okay. I’ll be the only one who needs to read it anyway.

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Things I Have to Do Before the Trip

Here ‘is:

  • Get my truck serviced.
  • Move the rest of my non-trip stuff into storage.
  • Move my trip stuff out of storage.
  • Buy a JetBoil.
  • Make reservations for Boundary Waters and other parts of the trip that need reservations.
  • Get signed up on health insurance.
  • Get my interim mailing address squared away.
  • Study for the GMAT.
  • Take the GMAT.
  • Figure out which schools I should be applying to.
  • Get my transcripts and other academic documents put together.
  • Secure all my would-be recommendation-writers.
  • Write drafts of at least a couple of the application essays.
  • Plan and book the family reunion.
  • Go to the beach once.

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(Thanks to Miq for the blog post-as-self guilt trip idea!)

New Website for the Road Trip

Still not leaving for another (let’s count ‘em!) 67 days, but I launched a new cross-country road trip website (the URL: www.48stateroadtrip.com) to accommodate its chronicling. There’s a new version of the itinerary there, for instance. Actually, that’s all that’s there. But anyway — I’ll probably post more stuff there, maybe update your bookmarks accordingly.

I also keep having people tell me I need to take up Twitter, at least for the duration of the road trip and now that I figured out how to get it onto my Blackberry (it was very difficult — involved downloading and installing an app!) I suppose that could happen (my Twitter account is bdunn02 if you’d like to watch that particular apocalypse).

That’s all I have to say about that. And now I can start loading the truck up for my new vacation lifestyle in Laguna Beach.

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48-State Cross Country Roadtrip Itinerary v. 4 or 7, Depending

Here’s the latest version of the roadtrip. It’s still getting tweaked. And full. It’s been run out to 114 days, although at least seven of those are more personal than roadtrip.

First, map:

Map of 48-State Roadtrip Itinerary

So I’ve written off South Florida. I think that needs to be a separate trip during the earlier part of the year (e.g., March). Apparently it rains water and/or insects the rest of the year. I also keep getting told that I have to go see Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, so that might have to find its way onto the official map.

And then here’s the itinerary. Don’t read too much into the dates — unless you want to. The formatting is a little odd due to OmniOutliner not outputting useful HTML, resulting in this text version being the most reasonable. On the other hand, my pioneer ancestors didn’t even have the convenience of digital watches, so — you know.

48 States
- [ ] 7/16 Th - 7/18 Sa
    - [ ] CA
    - [ ] Hearst Castle
    - [ ] San Simeon
    - [ ] Big Sur
        - [ ] McWay Waterfall Trail (0.6 mi.)
        - [ ] Ewoldsen Trail (4.5 mi.)
    - [ ] Monterey Peninsula
        - [ ] 17-mile Drive
        - [ ] Carmel
        - [ ] Coast Guard Pier
        - [ ] Cannery Row
    - [ ] SF
        - [ ] Burger Joint, Hamburger & Fries (#16)
    - [ ] Point Reyes
    - [ ] Napa
        - [ ] Bistro Don Giovanni, Grilled Bistro Burger (#11)
- [ ] 7/19 Su - 7/21 Tu
    - [ ] CA
    - [ ] Yosemite NP
        - [ ] Half Dome (15.7 mi.?)
        - [ ] Sentinel Dome Loop (5.5 mi.)
    - [ ] == SLEEP: YOSEMITE NP ==
        - [ ] Reservation?
- [ ] 7/22 We
    - [ ] CA-NV
    - [ ] Tahoe
        o [ ] Glen Alpine Trail (California), 11.7 mi.
    - [ ] Reno
    - [ ] Placerville
- [ ] 7/23 Th - 7/25 Sa
    - [ ] CA
    - [ ] Lassen Volcanic NP
        - [ ] Hikes List: gorp.away.com—hik_la.htm
              
        - [ ] Bumpass Hell Trail (3 mi.)
        - [ ] Kings Creek Falls Trail (3 mi.)
        - [ ] Lassen Peak (5 mi RT)
        - [ ] Paddling?
    - [ ] == SLEEP: LASSEN VOLCANIC NP ==
        - [ ] Reservation?
- [ ] 7/26 Su - 7/27 Mo
    - [ ] CA-OR
    - [ ] Mt. Shasta
    - [ ] Redwood NP?
    - [ ] Crater Lake NP
        - [ ] Garfield Peak Trail (3.4 mi.)
        - [ ] Annie Creek Canyon (1.7 mi.)
- [ ] 7/28 Tu - 7/30 Th
    - [ ] OR
    - [ ] Oregon Coast
        - [ ] Bandon
        - [ ] North Bend
        - [ ] Umpqua Lighthouse
        - [ ] Tillamook Air Museum
        - [ ] Seaside
        - [ ] Astoria
    - [ ] Mt. Hood
    - [ ] Eagle Creek Trail
        - [ ] 12 mi. r/t, 1,200' elevation gain.
        - [ ] East from PDX on 84, take Exit 41.
- [ ] 7/31 Fr - 8/1 Sa
    - [ ] OR-WA
    - [ ] Mt. St. Helens
        - [ ] Harry's Ridge Trail (7.8 mi.)
            - [ ] 1,000' Elevation Gain
            - [ ] Start at Johnston Ridge Visitor Center
                - [ ] End of Hwy 504
                - [ ] 52 mi. east of Castle Rock
        - [ ] Merrill Lake (Paddle, Fish)
        - [ ] Yale Lake (Camp?)
- [ ] 8/2 Su - 8/5 We
    - [ ] WA
    - [ ] Mt. Rainier NP
        - [ ] Crystal Peak (7.8 mi.)
            - [ ] 3,200' Elevation Gain
            - [ ] Trailhead 4.5 mi. past Crystal Mtn.-side park
                  entrance.
    - [ ] == SLEEP: MT. RAINIER NP ==
        - [ ] Reservation?
- [ ] 8/6 Th
    - [ ] WA
    - [ ] Browns Point
    - [ ] Bremerton
    - [ ] Poulsbo
- [ ] 8/7 Fr - 8/10 Mo
    - [ ] WA
    - [ ] Olympic NP
        - [ ] Hoh River Trail (18 mi.) -- Rainforest
        - [ ] Ozette Ranger Station to Shi Shi Beach (14 mi. one way?!)
              -- Coast
    - [ ] == SLEEP: OLYMPIC NP ==
        - [ ] Reservation?
- [ ] 8/11 Tu - 8/16 Su
    - [ ] WA
- [ ] 8/17 Mo - 8/20 Th
    - [ ] WA-ID-MT
    - [ ] Spokane
        - [ ] Riverfront Park
    - [ ] Glacier NP
        - [ ] Siyeh Pass (10.3 mi.)
            - [ ] Shuttle from trail-end to trailhead.
        - [ ] Swiftcurrent Pass (15 mi. o/w)
    - [ ] == SLEEP: GLACIER NP ==
        - [ ] Bowman Lake Campground ($15, FCFS; historic fill times
              avail. online)
- [ ] 8/21 Fr
    - [ ] MT
    - [ ] Whitefish, MT
        - [ ] Great Northern Railway Depot
    - [ ] Yellowstone NP
    - [ ] == SLEEP: YELLOWSTONE NP ==
        - [ ] Reservation?
- [ ] 8/22 Sa
    - [ ] MT-WY-ID
    - [ ] Teton Valley
    - [ ] Grand Teton
    - [ ] == SLEEP: VICTOR ==
- [ ] 8/23 Su - 8/24 Mo
    - [ ] ID-WY
    - [ ] Jackson Hole
    - [ ] Thermopolis
    - [ ] Sheridan
    - [ ] == SLEEP: SHERIDAN ==
- [ ] 8/25 Tu - 8/28 Fr
    - [ ] WY-NE-SD-ND
    - [ ] Devil's Tower
    - [ ] Mt. Rushmore
    - [ ] Custer State Park (SD)
        - [ ] Eastern Trailhead (12 mi. o/w)
        - [ ] www.sdgfp.info—parks 
    - [ ] Badlands NP
    - [ ] Minuteman Missile NHS
        - [ ] Reservation Reqd, Tour starts at 9 AM
        - [ ] Reservation?
    - [ ] Niobrara National River (NE)
    - [ ] Teddy Roosevelt NP (ND)
    - [ ] Sheyenne National Grasslands (ND)
        - [ ] Trail to Iron Spring Creek (9 mi. o&b r/t)
        - [ ] Start at Eastern Trailhead (near Lisbon)
- [ ] 8/29 Sa - 8/31 Mo
    - [ ] Voyageurs NP
    - [ ] == SLEEP: VOYAGEURS NP ==
- [ ] 9/1 Tu - 9/4 Fr
    - [ ] MN-WI-MI
    - [ ] Duluth
        - [ ] Bike the Waterfront Trail
    - [ ] Pictured Rocks NL
    - [ ] Beaver Island (MI)
    - [ ] Charlevoix (MI)
    - [ ] Mackinac Island
        - [ ] Bike
    - [ ] Sleeping Bear Dunes NL
        - [ ] Paddle (end of river into lake)
        - [ ] Bike
    - [ ] Dearborn
        - [ ] Miller's Bar, Hamburger (#8)
    - [ ] Ypsilanti
        - [ ] Sidetrack Bar and Grill, Our Famous Burger (#19)
    - [ ] University of Michigan
- [ ] 9/5 Sa - 9/7 Mo
    - [ ] MI-IN-IL-IA
    - [ ] Nauvoo
    - [ ] Cahokia Mounds SHS
    - [ ] Chicago
        - [ ] Indiana Dunes SP
            - [ ] Loop Hike (7 mi.)
        - [ ] Poag Mahone's Carvery and Ale House, Hamburger (#18)
    - [ ] == SLEEP: WAYNE ==
- [ ] 9/8 Tu - 9/12 Sa
    - [ ] IL-IN-OH-PA-NY-VT-NH
    - [ ] Indiana U
        - [ ] Purdue
        - [ ] IU
    - [ ] Dayton
        - [ ] USAF Museum
    - [ ] Ohio State
    - [ ] Cuyahoga Valley NP
    - [ ] Zaleski State Forest, OH
        - [ ] Hike to South Loop Turnaround (10.0 mi.)
    - [ ] Kelley's Island SP, OH
    - [ ] Presque Isle SP, PA
    - [ ] Niagara Falls
    - [ ] Palmyra
    - [ ] Adirondacks
        - [ ] Cascade Mountain (4.2 mi.)
            - [ ] Between Lake Placid and Keene
            - [ ] Arrive by 9 AM for Parking Spot
        - [ ] The Brothers (10.3 mi.)
    - [ ] Vermont
        o [ ] Mt. Mansfield Trail, VT (6.8 mi.)
        o [ ] Devil's Gulch (4.6 mi.)
        o [ ] Hunger Mountain (4.4 mi.)
    - [ ] New Hampshire
        o [ ] Franconia Ridge (9 mi.)
        - [ ] Baldface Traverse (9 mi.)
- [ ] 9/13 Su - 9/15 Tu
    - [ ] NH-ME
    - [ ] Mt. Abraham (Maine) (8 mi.)
        - [ ] 3,000' Elevation Gain
    - [ ] Acadia NP
        - [ ] Cadillac Mountain (4 mi.)
            - [ ] "Start early to beat the crowds."
    - [ ] == SLEEP: ACADIA NP ==
        - [ ] Reservation?
- [ ] 9/16 We - 9/22 Tu
    - [ ] ME-MA-RI-CT-NY-PA-NJ-DE-MD-VA
    - [ ] Boston
    - [ ] Nantucket
    - [ ] Newport, RI
        - [ ] Spiced Pear Restaurant, Not Just a Burger (#3)
    - [ ] New Haven
        - [ ] Louis' Lunch, Hamburger Sandwich (#20)
    - [ ] NYC
        - [ ] Statue of Liberty
        - [ ] Peter Luger Steakhouse, Luger Burger (#2)
        - [ ] J. G. Melon, Hamburger (#14)
    - [ ] Philadelphia
        - [ ] Barclay Prime, Kobe Sliders (#5)
        - [ ] Rouge, Rouge Burger (#4)
    - [ ] Annapolis
        - [ ] USNA
        - [ ] Ft. McHenry
    - [ ] Washington
        - [ ] Mall
    - [ ] Quantico
        - [ ] USMC Museum
- [ ] 9/23 We - 9/25 Fr
    - [ ] VA-WV?
    - [ ] Shenandoah NP
        - [ ] Skyline Drive
    - [ ] Beckley, WV
    - [ ] Chesepeake and Ohio Canal NHP
    - [ ] == SLEEP: SHENANDOAH NP==
        - [ ] Reservation?
- [ ] 9/26 Sa - 10/2 Fr
    - [ ] WV-VA-NC-TN
    - [ ] North Fork Mountain Trail, WV (12 mi o/w)
        - [ ] Monongahela National Forest
    - [ ] Charlottesville
        - [ ] Monticello
    - [ ] Appomattox
    - [ ] Richmond
        - [ ] Confederate Capitol
    - [ ] Yorktown
    - [ ] Williamsburg
    - [ ] Jamestown
    - [ ] Wright Brothers NM
    - [ ] Cape Hatteras NS
    - [ ] Raleigh
        - [ ] Duke
        - [ ] UNC
    - [ ] Knoxville
- [ ] 10/3 Sa - 10/4 Su
    - [ ] TN-NC
    - [ ] Great Smoky Mountains NP
        - [ ] Mt. Cammerer (12 mi.)
            - [ ] 2,500' Elevation Gain
            - [ ] Starts at Chestnut Branch Trail
    - [ ] == SLEEP: GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NP==
        - [ ] Reservation?
- [ ] 10/5 Mo - 10/9 Fr
    - [ ] NC-SC-GA-FL-AL-MS-TN
    - [ ] Charleston
        - [ ] Ft. Sumter
    - [ ] Hunting Island SP, SC
        - [ ] Swim
        - [ ] Camp?
    - [ ] Savannah
        - [ ] Ft. Frederica NM
    - [ ] Pensacola
        - [ ] Gulf Islands NS
    - [ ] Mobile
        - [ ] Historic District
        - [ ] USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park
- [ ] 10/10 Sa - 10/11 Su
    - [ ] MS-LA
    - [ ] New Orleans
    - [ ] == SLEEP: NEW ORLEANS ==
        - [ ] Clarion Inn & Suites, $58
        - [ ] Reservation?
- [ ] 10/12 Mo - 10/14 We
    - [ ] LA-MS-AL-TN
    - [ ] Vicksburg
    - [ ] Jackson
    - [ ] Natchez Trace
    - [ ] Nashville
- [ ] 10/15 Th - 10/17 Sa
    - [ ] TN-KY
    - [ ] Mammoth Cave NP
        - [ ] Grand Avenue Tour (10 AM)
            - [ ] Reservation? (recreation.gov)
        - [ ] Historic Tour (3PM)
            - [ ] Reservation?
        - [ ] Kayak in Green River (bring PFD)
        - [ ] Hike
- [ ] 10/18 Su - 10/20 Tu
    - [ ] KY-MO-KS-OK-AR
    - [ ] Memphis
    - [ ] Springfield
    - [ ] Carthage
    - [ ] Cathedral Canyon (5 mi.)
        - [ ] Near Fredericktown.
    - [ ] Joplin
    - [ ] Ozark NF
        - [ ] Redding Trail (8.1 mi., Ark 23 N from Ozark 18 mi., then
              right on FS Rd 1003 for 3 mi.; campground)
        - [ ] Alt campground: Aux Arc ($17)
    - [ ] Seven Hollows Trail, Petit Jean SP, AR (4.5 mi.)
        - [ ] www.petitjeanstatepark.com
              
    - [ ] Hot Springs NP
        - [ ] Bathhouse Row
        - [ ] Bath
- [ ] 10/21 We - 10/23 Fr
    - [ ] AR-TX
    - [ ] Austin
        - [ ] Bat Bridge ("just before dark")
        - [ ] Salt Lick (Driftwood)
    - [ ] San Antonio
        - [ ] The Alamo
    - [ ] Fredericksburg
- [ ] 10/24 Sa - 10/26 Mo
    - [ ] TX
    - [ ] Big Bend NP
        - [ ] Bike Ride? (Rio Grande Village to Panther Jct. and back
              or part way)
        - [ ] Chisos Mountain Lost Mine Trail (4 mi.)
    - [ ] == SLEEP: BIG BEND NP ==
- [ ] 10/27 Tu - 10/29 Th
    - [ ] TX-NM
    - [ ] Carlsbad Caverns
        - [ ] Left Hand Tour (9 AM)
            - [ ] Reservation?
    - [ ] Roswell
    - [ ] White Sands NM
    - [ ] San Antonio (Socorro)
        - [ ] Buckhorn, Buckhorn Burger (#7)
    - [ ] Santa Fe
        - [ ] Bobcat Bite, Hamburger (#12)
- [ ] 10/30 Fr - 10/31 Sa
    - [ ] NM-CO-AZ-UT
    o [ ] Chaco Culture NHP
    - [ ] Four Corners
    - [ ] Hovenweep NM
- [ ] 11/1 Su - 11/4 We
    - [ ] UT
    - [ ] Grand Staircase Escalante
        - [ ] Calf Creek Hike (5.5 mi., Trailhead at campground)
        - [ ] Paria Canyon/Buckskin Gulch Overnighter
            - [ ] Apply for permit three months in advance at:
                  www.blm.gov—permits.htm
                  
            - [ ] Permit?
    - [ ] Canyonlands -- Syncline Loop (8.3 mi.)
        - [ ] Island in the Sky District
        - [ ] Near Upheaval Dome
        - [ ] Hike clockwise.
    - [ ] == SLEEP: CALF CREEK CAMPGROUND ==
- [ ] 11/5 Th - 11/6 Fr
    - [ ] UT-AZ-NV-CA
    - [ ] Lake Mead
        - [ ] Paddle?
        o [ ] Bowl of Fire, NV (7 mi.)
    - [ ] Orange County

So that’s about it. For now.

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Cross-Country Road Trip v3.0: 48 States, 90 Days

Someday. I’m thinking spring departure and going counter-clockwise might be better than summer and clockwise (if nothing else, it should help avoid the problems of hurricane season). Anyway, here’s a map of the latest idea:

48-state cross-country road trip itinerary

 The push-pins are only sort-of significant.

- [ ] Day 1
    - [ ] Mission Viejo to Grand Staircase-Escalante NM (575 mi.,
          CA-NV-AZ-UT)
- [ ] Day 2
    - [ ] Grand Staircase-Escalante NM
- [ ] Day 3
    - [ ] Grand Staircase-Escalante to Four Corners (356 mi.,
          UT-CO-AZ-NM)
- [ ] Day 4
    - [ ] Four Corners to Chaco Culture NHP (134 mi., AZ-NM)
    - [ ] Chaco Culture NHP to Santa Fe (182 mi., NM)
- [ ] Day 5
    - [ ] Santa Fe to Roswell (192 mi., NM)
    - [ ] Roswell to White Sands NM (251 mi., NM)
- [ ] Day 6
    - [ ] White Sands NM to Carlsbad Caverns (246 mi., NM-TX)
- [ ] Day 7
    - [ ] Carlsbad Caverns
- [ ] Day 8
    - [ ] Carlsbad Caverns to Big Bend NP (345 mi., NM-TX)
- [ ] Day 9
    - [ ] Big Bend NP
- [ ] Day 10
    - [ ] Big Bend NP to Fredericksburg (414 mi., TX)
- [ ] Day 11
    - [ ] Fredericksburg to San Antonio (70 mi., TX)
        - [ ] The Alamo
    - [ ] San Antonio to Austin (79 mi., TX)
        - [ ] Bat Bridge ("just before dark")
- [ ] Day 12
    - [ ] Austin to New Orleans (509 mi., TX-LA)
- [ ] Day 13
    - [ ] New Orleans
        - [ ] Bayou Tour
- [ ] Day 14
    - [ ] New Orleans to Vicksburg (224 mi., LA-MS)
    - [ ] Vicksburg to Hot Springs NP (250 mi., MS-AR)
- [ ] Day 15
    - [ ] Hot Springs NP to Joplin (270 mi., AR-OK-KS-MO)
- [ ] Day 16
    - [ ] Joplin to Mammoth Cave NP (602 mi., MO-IL-KY)
- [ ] Day 17
    - [ ] Mammoth Cave NP
- [ ] Day 18
    - [ ] Mammoth Cave NP to Nashville (92 mi., KY-TN)
    - [ ] Nashville to Collinwood (109 mi., TN)
        - [ ] Natchez Trace
- [ ] Day 19
    - [ ] Collinwood to Tupelo (120 mi., TN-AL-MS)
- [ ] Day 20
    - [ ] Tupelo to Little River Canyon NP (234 mi., MS-AL)
- [ ] Day 21
    - [ ] Little River Canyon NP to Everglades NP (813 mi., AL-GA-FL)
- [ ] Day 22
    - [ ] Everglades NP
- [ ] Day 23
    - [ ] Everglades NP to Key West (136 mi., FL)
- [ ] Day 24
    - [ ] Key West to Homestead (129 mi., FL)
        - [ ] Coral Castle
    - [ ] Homestead to Savannah (515 mi., FL-GA)
- [ ] Day 25
    - [ ] Savannah to Hunting Island SP (63 mi., GA-SC)
    - [ ] Hunting Island SP to Charleston (88 mi., SC)
        - [ ] Ft. Sumter
- [ ] Day 26
    - [ ] Charleston to Great Smoky Mountains NP (342 mi., SC-NC-TN)
- [ ] Day 27
    - [ ] Great Smoky Mountains NP (+Knoxville?)
- [ ] Day 28
    - [ ] Knoxville to Raleigh (360 mi., TN-NC)
- [ ] Day 29
    - [ ] Raleigh to Cape Hatteras NS (203 mi., NC)
        - [ ] Wright Bros. NM (20 mi.)
- [ ] Day 30
    - [ ] Wright Bros. NM to Jamestown Settlement (126 mi., NC-VA)
- [ ] Day 31
    - [ ] Jamestown to Richmond (57 mi., VA)
        - [ ] Confederate Capital
    - [ ] Richmond to Appomattox (95 mi., VA)
        - [ ] Appomattox Courthouse NHP
    - [ ] Appomattox to Charlottesville (65 mi., VA)
        - [ ] Monticello
- [ ] Day 32
    - [ ] Charlottesville to Shenandoah NP (78 mi., VA-WV)
- [ ] Day 33
    - [ ] Shenandoah NP
- [ ] Day 34
    - [ ] Shenandoah NP to Quantico, VA (66 mi., VA)
    - [ ] Quantico to Washington (35 mi., VA-DC)
- [ ] Day 35
    - [ ] Washington to Annapolis (32 mi., DC-MD)
    - [ ] Annapolis to Ft. McHenry (32 mi., MD)
- [ ] Day 36
    - [ ] Ft. McHenry to Philadelphia (101 mi., MD-DE-PA)
- [ ] Day 37
    - [ ] Philadelphia to NYC (94 mi., PA-NJ-NY)
- [ ] Day 38
    - [ ] NYC to Nantucket (282 mi., NY-CT-RI-MA)
- [ ] Day 39
    - [ ] Nantucket to Boston (101 mi., MA)
- [ ] Day 40
    - [ ] Boston to Acadia NP (283 mi., MA-NH-ME)
- [ ] Day 41
    - [ ] Acadia NP
- [ ] Day 42
    - [ ] Acadia NP to Bretton Woods, NH (254 mi., ME-NH)
- [ ] Day 43
    - [ ] Bretton Woods to Tupper Lake, NY (278 mi., NH-VT-NY)
- [ ] Day 44
    - [ ] Tupper Lake to Palmyra (225 mi., NY)
    - [ ] Palmyra to Niagara Falls (109 mi., NY)
- [ ] Day 45
    - [ ] Niagara Falls to Presque Isle State Park, PA (121 mi., NY-PA)
    - [ ] Presque Isle State Park to Kelleys Island State Park, OH (182
          mi., PA-OH)
    - [ ] Kelleys Island to Dayton (188 mi., OH)
- [ ] Day 46
    - [ ] Dayton (USAF Museum)
- [ ] Day 47
    - [ ] Dayton to Nauvoo, IL (461 mi., OH-IN-IL-IA)
- [ ] Day 48
    - [ ] Nauvoo to Wayne (240 mi., IL)
- [ ] Day 49
    - [ ] Wayne (Chicago)
- [ ] Day 50
    - [ ] Wayne to Beaver Island (453 mi., IL-IN-MI)
- [ ] Day 51
    - [ ] Beaver Island to Charlevoix (36 mi., MI)
    - [ ] Carlevoix to Pictured Rocks NL (179 mi.)
- [ ] Day 52
    - [ ] Pictured Rocks NL
- [ ] Day 53
    - [ ] Pictured Rocks NL to Duluth (299 mi., MI-WI-MN)
        - [ ] Bike Waterfront Trail
- [ ] Day 54
    - [ ] Duluth to Voyageurs NP (171 mi., MN)
- [ ] Day 55
    - [ ] Voyageurs NP
- [ ] Day 56
    - [ ] Voyageurs NP to Ft. Abercrombie State Historic Site (334 mi.,
          MN-ND)
- [ ] Day 57
    - [ ] Ft. Abercrombie State Historic Site to Niobrara National
          River (455 mi., ND-SD-NE)
    - [ ] Niobrara National River to Minuteman Missile NHS (147 mi.,
          NE-SD)
- [ ] Day 58
    - [ ] Minuteman Missile NHS (Need reservations, tour starts at 9)
    - [ ] Minuteman Missile NHS to Badlands NP (13 mi., SD)
- [ ] Day 59
    - [ ] Badlands NP to Mt. Rushmore (97 mi., SD)
    - [ ] Mt. Rushmore to Devil's Tower (131 mi., SD-WY)
    - [ ] Devil's Tower to Sheridan (165 mi., WY)
- [ ] Day 60
    - [ ] Sheridan
- [ ] Day 61
    - [ ] Sheridan to Thermopolis (159 mi., WY)
    - [ ] Thermopolis to Grand Teton NP (192 mi., WY)
    - [ ] Grand Teton NP to Victor (103 mi., WY-ID)
- [ ] Day 62
    - [ ] Victor to Yellowstone NP (120 mi., ID-WY)
- [ ] Day 63
    - [ ] Yellowstone NP to Whitefish, MT (449 mi., WY-MT)
        - [ ] Great Northern Railway Depot
- [ ] Day 64
    - [ ] Whitefish to Glacier NP (44 mi., MT)
- [ ] Day 65
    - [ ] Glacier NP
- [ ] Day 66
    - [ ] Glacier NP to Spokane (303 mi., MT-ID-WA)
        - [ ] Riverfront Park
    - [ ] Spokane to Browns Point (290 mi., WA)
- [ ] Day 67
    - [ ] Browns Point
- [ ] Day 68
    - [ ] Browns Point to Mt. Rainier NP (97 mi., WA)
- [ ] Day 69
    - [ ] Mt. Rainier NP to Mt. St. Helens NVM (121 mi., WA)
- [ ] Day 70
    - [ ] Mt. St. Helens to Astoria (109 mi., WA-OR)
    - [ ] Astoria to Seaside (16 mi., OR)
    - [ ] Seaside to Tillamook (53 mi., OR)
        - [ ] Tillamook Air Museum
    - [ ] Tillamook to Bandon (68 mi., OR)
- [ ] Day 71
    - [ ] Bandon to Crater Lake NP (180 mi., OR)
- [ ] Day 72
    - [ ] Crater Lake NP to Lassen Volcanic NP (250 mi., OR-CA)
- [ ] Day 73
    - [ ] Lassen Volcanic NP
- [ ] Day 74
    - [ ] Lassen Volcanic NP to Yosemite NP (369 mi., CA)
- [ ] Day 75
    - [ ] Yosemite NP
- [ ] Day 76
    - [ ] Yosemite NP to Monterey (202 mi., CA)
    - [ ] Monterey to Big Sur (29 mi., CA)
- [ ] Day 77
    - [ ] Big Sur to Mission Viejo (354 mi., CA)

Yeah, so you might notice there are only 77 days in there. I was trying to keep things as compressed as possible when I put this itinerary together, so the next step would be to go back through and figure out where the breathing room needs to come in at. Could be things like spending an extra day at a few of the NPs listed, following the Natchez Trace all the way down to Natchez, going to see another cave somewhere, etc., etc.

Also, I kind of just threw things on there with only a little regard to whether I’d be driving in the morning or in the evening. I think the next step might also include taking a shot at indicating where I’m going to sleep each night — although I worry a little about over-planning. (On the other hand, I also worry about the availability of campsites at Great Smoky Mountain and other national parks.) We’ll see how it goes.

bkd

Cross-Country Road Trip Itinerary 2.0: 3 Months of Car Camping!

A follow-up to my initial cross-country road trip plans. Been thinking about this a little bit more and I figure, yes, three months is the right length. Maybe 3.5. I mean, if I don’t suffer due to the length and squalor, I haven’t really accomplished what I set out to do, right? Which brings me to my list of secret trip goals:

  • Suffer.
  • Learn how to enjoy the suffering.

Ultimately, and this is rational self talking here whom I should reference often during the trip (and I’ll need to create a list of dicta to ensure this), I need this trip to be memorable and educational more than I need it to be enjoyable. ‘Course, I’m hoping it’s all those.

I should mention I don’t actually know when I’m going to get around to doing this, but my new itinerary assumes a spring departure from Southern California. I think I’d like to do it in spring-summer rather than summer-fall. I just like spring better as seasons go. But if for whatever reason I don’t end up starting in CA, that could change the optimal start date. Like, if I were to be leaving from Seattle, I’d want it to be the middle of summer so I don’t freeze to death in Oregon. Freezing to death in Montana would be cool, but Oregon? No thank you.

Enough:

  • Death Valley NP
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante NM
  • Glen Canyon NRA- Lake Powell
  • Chaco Culture NHP
  • White Sands NM
  • Roswell
  • Carlsbad Caverns NP
  • Big Bend NP
  • Fredericksburg
  • San Antonio – Alamo
  • New Orleans
  • Vicksburg NMP
  • Everglades NP
  • Key West
  • Charleston – Ft. Sumter NM
  • Cape Hatteras NS
  • Kitty Hawk
  • Great Smoky Mountains NP
  • Mammoth Cave NP
  • Shenandoah NP
  • Monticello
  • USMC Museum (Quantico)
  • Ft. McHenry NM
  • NYC
  • Acadia NP
  • White Mountain NF
  • Adirondacks
  • Niagara Falls
  • USAF Museum (Wright-Patterson)
  • Pictured Rocks NL
  • Chicago
  • St. Louis Arch
  • Chippewa NF
  • Teddy Roosevelt NP
  • Badlands NP
  • Mt. Rushmore NM
  • Devil’s Tower NM
  • Yellowstone NP
  • Glacier NP
  • Columbia River Gorge
  • Oregon Coast
  • Crater Lake NP
  • Redwood NP
  • Lassen Volcanic NP
  • Yosemite NP
  • Monterey – Central Coast

For the sake of explaining a couple stops up there — I am kind of hoping to crash at the domiciles of friends and family members. I also worry that there are 47 stops listed above and 91 or 92 days to hit them — meaning it’s more programmed than not programmed, especially when you consider travel times. I could probably drop the Everglades-Key West leg, although those are both places within the USA that I’d like to visit.

Also should mention that the above itinerary was based on the thought of hitting all 47 legitimate US states and commonwealths.

Also, I mentioned before staying off interstates altogether. I still want to do that, but I’m guessing that intra-metro area travel would suck beyond reason if pursued off-interstate.

So: if anyone out there has any thoughts on this go-round, please lmk.

Thx,

bkd

Cross-Country Road Trip Plans

Not sure when I’m going to get around to it, but I’m planning on taking a three- or four-month cross-country road trip. I’d be interested to hear what anyone has to say about where I should or shouldn’t go.

Here are my priorities:

  • States I’ve never set foot or tire in (from left to right: North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Aarkansas (it should be spelled that way), Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine).
  • National Parks and places to hike.
  • “Checklist” stuff I haven’t seen before (e.g., Mt. Rushmore).
  • Historical sites, monuments, and museums.

Here’s what I have so far as must-see locations (ordered clockwise starting in SoCal):

  • Big Sur and Monterey
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park
  • Crater Lake National Park
  • Glacier National Park
  • Mt. Rushmore
  • That whole claw part of Michigan
  • Wright-Patterson National Museum of the US Air Force
  • Niagara Falls
  • The Adirondacks
  • The far northeastern corner of the country (probably Acadia National Park will suffice)
  • New York City (I’ve been there, I’d just like to go again)
  • Ft. McHenry
  • National Museum of the Marine Corps
  • Shenandoah National Park and the Appalachian Trail (I’m not walking the whole thing)
  • The Outer Banks
  • New Orleans (so at least I know why it is I don’t like the place — or can be convinced otherwise)
  • The Alamo
  • Carlsbad Caverns

Otherwise I’m wide open… If I were to leave in the summer from Southern California, I’d head clockwise (up north through California then into Oregon, across the top of the country, then back down the eastern seaboard and across the southern US). If I were to leave in spring, I’d go counter-clockwise (start out heading east into Arizona).

What else? Rules of the road:

  • Stay in a hotel no more (or less than) once a week — just to get cleaned up.
  • Camp or stay with someone otherwise.
  • Cell phone and laptop: yes.
  • Stick to the state highways (and avoid interstates) as much as possible.
  • Stop to help anyone I see on the side of the road.

I’d need to get a different car for the trip — 17 mpg isn’t going to cut it over 10,000 miles. If I had to choose today, I’d probably go with the Honda Fit (better gas mileage) or the Subaru WRX Wagon (better driving). Both seem pretty versatile (read: I could sleep in either one).

We’ll have to wait and see when it happens.

bkd