Friday, August 6, 2010

The Road Trip Itinerary: It's Actually Happening


This map has been about four years in the making. Ever since I decided to go to school in California, the idea of a cross-country road trip has been brewing in my mind, slowly fermenting like a delicious IPA (mmm... beer). For me, I've never really seen the middle of the country other than the occasional airport. I've visited my grampa in South Bend, Indiana and gone to a Cubs game once, but that doesn't really count--when I talk about a road trip, I'm talking about seeing cornfields and mountains and all that natural gorgeousness I usually fly over on the way to school.

Unfortunately, I lost my means of doing a road trip when I totaled my car on some black ice during my senior year of high school. There's a long story about why this shouldn't have happened--my tires were bald because I thought it was ridiculous to put $400 worth of tires onto a car that I only paid $800 for, and who expects black ice in late April?--but that's irrelevant now. The point is that I flipped my car sideways into some trees and was lucky to walk away without getting hurt--I think I even played baseball the next day. But for the rest of senior year and the next two summers, I didn't have a ride to school, work, or prom. The accident forced me to drive a delivery van more than I would have liked (though, thankfully, not to prom) and put my road trip plans on indefinite hold.

It took me about two years to earn enough money to pay for a new car, new (more expensive) insurance, and all the other little costs associated with owning a vehicle. I could, in theory, have done this road trip at the end of last summer, but because I was going abroad for second semester I didn't want to have to deal with either a) driving back during the winter, or b) storing my car out west. Since I was already coming off traveling in the Middle East and Europe, I figured that a cross-country road trip would be the perfect way to cap off my summer and start senior year.

And here I am now, T-minus 4 days from beginning the trek on the map above. It's a 4176.78-mile journey through 18 states that will in theory take 12 days and just under 70 hours of driving. I don't have any driving buddies until after I get to Chicago, where I'm going to pick up John Holler and Stefan Castellanos. I haven't seen these guys for over a year because of study abroad, so it'll be awesome to finally be reunited. We're going to put a roof rack on my car to hold all of our stuff and cram three people into a Honda Civic. Only Holler and I can drive because my car is a stick-shift, so this should be interesting.


3 guys plus all of their luggage will fit in this car. Believe it.

We're going to hit up a lot of interesting places on the trip, including but not limited to the Chicago Air and Water Show, the Wisconsin State Fair, Mt. Rushmore/Badlands National Park, Denver/the world headquarters of the Coors Brewing Company, Arches National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, Vegas, and Zyzyx, CA. Obviously, we'll find only the best roadside food to eat along the way. Thanks to Stefan's rewards points, we'll be staying almost exclusively at Holiday Inn/Holiday Inn Express locations, though I am looking forward to staying with Chris McGuire in NYC and Alex Yates in Prescott, AZ. We're capping everything off by going to a Dodgers game and moving into our dorms a week early (and perhaps doing some interesting dorm construction projects, too--more on that later).

So that's the plan. I don't know how much time and/or energy I'll have to write during the trip, but I promise to recap all the best stories afterward. Until then... to infinity, and beyond!

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