road trips are inspired by a desire to find something. The "something"
can be external - a new home or ancestral roots. It can also be
internal - a search for happiness or the meaning of life. The journey
may be long and arduous, or it may be short and fulfilling. When
travelers set out on such quests, they might well have no itinerary,
no idea of how long their trips might last, or the slightest notion
of how to finance their wanderings.
we hit the road in March, 1994, we were embarking on a quest.
In the beginning, we were searching for a new life in the wake
of the fire that destroyed all our earthly belongings. As the
adventure continued (and lasted years longer than the six months
we originally anticipated) our purpose expanded and evolved. Although
we no longer live fulltime in a motorhome, "journey"
has become our metaphor for life itself. It's an energizing way
RoadTrip America, we have met (both online and in real life)
many travelers on questing journeys. A number maintain wonderful
Web sites. Here are a few that just might inspire you to embark
on a quest of your own:
The span Uncle Henry built: Del Leu at Big Sur's Bixby Bridge
YOU NEVER KNEW EXISTED
In March, 2001, Del Leu quit his long-term job as a transportation
planner for a consulting firm in Oregon and began preparing for
an extended road trip that would take him all over the USA, Australia,
and New Zealand. His Web site chronicles his on-the-road adventure
from May, 2001, to December, 2003. On his quest, Del discovered
a rich family heritage he was completely unaware of before his
journey. He now knows that he is related to Benedict Arnold, to
the family that manufactures Kohler toilets, and to Gustav Rasche,
who was known throughout Minnesota in the 1800's as "Mr.
Alfalfa. He visited the famous "Bixby Bridge" near Big
Sur, where his great uncle once worked, and he wrote a detailed
account of the attack at Pearl Harbor related to him by his uncle.
Del has created a truly memorable site with great maps, well-written
articles, and over 4,000 photos. Del's site is online at www.delsjourney.com.
TRUE MEANING OF SUCCESS
Brian Ardinger and Chris Moeller hit the road in a Jeep
Cherokee in July, 1998. Their quest was to find out what makes
people consider their lives successful. In the course of their
175-day journey, Brian and Chris covered 23,129 miles in the continental
United States. They also conducted 48 interviews with people from
all walks of life. The interviews are online along with their
itinerary, which is a great resource for anyone interested in
visiting all "lower 48" states in a limited amount of
time. Visit the site at www.quest-4.com.
Raising funds for a worthy cause inspires a number of road
trips each year. A little simple math reveals that the cost of
many of these quests exceeds the sum raised for their causes,
but the good will they can generate is a priceless intangible.
Here are two of our favorite money-raising road trips:
Four identical Land Rovers are, right this very minute,
exploring the Australian outback while raising funds for Parkinson's
disease research. The team's quest is to drive across 34 countries
while circumnavigating the whole world. Check out the site at
August, 2003, Gary and Peter Flanagan drove a 1995 Chevy conversion
van 8,563 miles from Hyder, Alaska, to Pawtucket, Rhode Island,
in a record 8 days and 27 minutes. Along the way, they managed
to visit all 50 U.S. states (even Hawaii, with a little help from
a jet) to raise funds for the victims of the 2003 fire at The
Station nightclub in Rhode Island. Click
here to read about it online.
HAVE ANOTHER PIECE OF PIE
At first glance, Bill and Barbara Windsor's quest to sample
pies in all 50 states sounds like a "challenge" road
trip (which we discussed last
month), but their inspiration sets their journey apart. What
they wanted to do was discover small town America, and sampling
desserts at local eateries turned out to be a perfect way to accomplish
it. After 29,000 miles, Bill and Barbara had visited all 50 states
and checked out 2,500 small towns. Their site, online at www.roundamerica.com,
is a delight, and they
even rated every piece of pie, cake, crisp, and other desserts
your quest and whatever your means of travel -- even a mouse
-- summer is a great time to hit the highway. Hope to see you
on the road and online!
Mark Sedenquist & Megan Edwards
May | June