RoadTrip America

Routes, Planning, & Inspiration for Your North American Road Trip


RoadTrip Report
June, 2004
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Fulfillment
NEW THIS MONTH

Drive Safe With Uncle Bob:
Learn the latest techniques for defensive driving from expert Robert Schaller in this weekly column.

RVing With Alice & Jaimie
Authors Jaimie Hall and Alice Zyetz have been on the road with their husbands fulltime for over ten years. Their latest column is about membership RV parks and discount camping clubs.

Book Reviews:
Highway 61 Revisited, by Tim Steil

The Milepost 2004 with Plan-A-Trip Map, edited by Kris Graef

And of course, MORE FUNNY SIGNS!

Many 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.

When 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 to live!

Through 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:

Del Leu & the Bixby Bridge
The span Uncle Henry built: Del Leu at Big Sur's Bixby Bridge

RELATIVES 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.

THE 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.

DRIVING FOR DOLLARS
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 www.drivearoundtheworld.com.

In 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.

LET'S 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 they sampled.

Whatever 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

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