As I explained to Joey and Sarah in an email a few weeks ago, WWG stands for "Where We're Going," the ever-growing section of our website that lists the stops on our itinerary and, eventually, will include writeups for each city and the specific destinations therein.
While I was the guy writing this section during the early going, Sarah has been a trooper and has taken up her pen (keyboard) for a number of her own contributions to the page. Between the two of us, we put up three new posts over the past 24 or so hours - Daytona Beach, Miami and Atlanta. Check them out - not just because we put our blood, sweat and tears into them, but also because they provide our options for itineraries once we get into town. We've overstuffed them with everything we're thinking about seeing on even a remote level, so that once the time somes to narrow things down, we've got everything in front of us, ready to be either circled or crossed off.
So have a look, so that all that work isn't just a waste of time.



As I write this, the wind is whipping fiercely around my window, my feet are tucked snugly beneath my thighs and the gas tank downstairs in my house is furiously pumping away. This is the way things happen every year - the cold weather resurfaces each winter, and I respond by retreating to my house and not leaving for anything besides work.
It's a depressing, frustrating time of year. Depressing, in that I feel useless for not getting up off the couch and living life to a fuller extent. And frustrating for the fact that if I try to venture out the door, I just end up uncomfortable, irritated and not wanting anything more than to come back inside.

But when the seasons change, everything changes. Every year I'm usually the first person I know wearing shorts and sandals, besides of course for that guy who wears shorts all winter long and pretends not to be cold. We all know one of those guys, I'm sure. Forget about it man, I want to say. We all know you're cold, we can see your goosebumps. Just wear pants like a normal person.
I'm not that guy. But I do love to dress light. And this summer, I'll be putting my love for warm weather to the test in some of the more southern locales, like the fourth of July in Hotlanta, or the week in Texas during the middle of September. My mother has begged me not to go to Death Valley, but doggone it, I just can't resist it.
To me, the summer is like awakening from hibernation, taking a break from one of the many constraints that this body of mine uses to impede my ability to enjoy the world around me. In college, our summertime began not so much when school got out, but when the creek was warm enough for us to go tubing. Likewise, this year, my summer on May 31 - the day our trip begins.
Homer Simpson once said, "When you're my age, you miss every summer." And I used to think that was true.

Not this year.



Remember my post about the Excel file that was going to incorporate all the drive times and make planning a cinch?  Here it is in all of its updated glory.  Some notes:

1. The Input area to the right, which can be hidden, is where the name of the city, the arrival time, and the travel time can be entered.  Departure time and travel time are formula driven and can not be edited directly.

2. The travel time is 0:00 before and/or after the Blue Ridge Parkway and Highway 1.  In this case, the travel is the destination and travel time is included in “time in location.”

3. Departure time is rounded down to the last 15 minutes.  Though a good level of planning is important to try to organize anything, I can’t pretend that we know exactly what time we will be leaving or arriving at any given place.  When all the departure times said things like 10:36 PM or 8:12 AM, well… it seemed a little too precise for what we’re planning.

Again, for additional details, see the earlier post linked above.

File Size: 139 kb
File Type: xls
Download File


Joey is one of the most fun-loving people I know - otherwise I wouldn't be going on this grand excursion with him. Anyone who knew Joey in college can attest to his propensity for a beverage or two in the evenings after a long day.
But one of Joey's many unusual quirks is his tendency to fall asleep when he should still be partying. This was demonstrated over the weekend during our friend Nancy's birthday celebration at a bar in Bryn Mawr: I showed up after finishing a shift at my restaurant, and had to catch up to everyone else. Joey, however, was already close to the end of his night when I arrived. He stayed as long as I did, but spent a good portion of that time napping at a table with Sarah watching patiently. What a nice girlfriend she is.
This behavior simply will not fly when we're on the road. If that means I have to drive a little extra so that Joey can have his beauty rest in the back seat, then so be it. But for his own sake, it would be a terrible thing for him to sleep through our nightlife travels this summer.
Consider this a public chastising.



Since our trip officially begins at noon on May 31, 2009 in DC, there are now officially 100 days left until departure.  Said another way, from here on out there is less time to spend waiting for the trip then we will spend on the trip.  Said another way, half of the next 200 days will be spent exploring the great country that we grew up in but don’t really know as well as we should.   Said another way, from now until we leave, every minute we spend planning, sleeping, eating, working, or anything else, will be matched by the time we spend on the road.  Needless to say, we are all really excited.  I captured the above screen shot to mark the occasion.



Jeez oh man, we got a lot done today.
In the waning hours of my visit to Joey and Sarah's house, we talked our way through our itinerary between the three of us, city by city, and planned out what time we'd like to arrive in and leave each stop on our route.

In doing so, we got realistic about a few places along the way - most notably, Anaheim, Ca. Git outta here. I don't really know why we had it in there to start, besides for being the home of a baseball team that can't seem to figure out where it's from. In its stead, we're giving an extra day to California wine country, and possibly giving the time and attention to beautiful Sonoma Valley, pictured here.
By a 2 to 1 vote, we're definitely bigger beer lovers than we are oenophiles. But Sarah has more than once been known to enjoy a glass of vino here and there. Watch for her smile to grow three sizes during those sunny days in September.

Tonight we also purchased our tickets to the 10,000 Lakes Festival, which we'll meet with in Detroit Lakes, Mich. from July 22 until the morning of June 26. We bought not three, but four tickets, as we're all extremely excited for my beautiful girlfriend Bernadette to come out and meet us for the festival.
And to top it off, we had a record number of pageviews today. So to those of you who were following our live blogging today, thanks, and I hope you enjoyed our coverage of the day's activities. For those who didn't, today's posts aren't going anywhere.


(From top) Photo by Rick Bolen courtesy Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau; image courtesy 10,000 Lakes Festival and Musical Earth


Remember that time I blogged about how we’re going through each of the Contiguous United States and that I couldn’t in my wildest dreams imagine any further tinkering what so ever on this itinerary? Remember how I said what are boys good for if not for keeping a girl on her toes?  Yeah. We’ve been re-working the itinerary since 7 or so. We have given our second half what you might call the face lift of the itinerary monster we are slowly creating and recreating as we merrily go along with our planning business. But we still end our grand adventure on a Monday. How fitting.



Dinner. Sarah's world-famous meatloaf. Enough said.



D'oh! We did it again. While we were analyzing our Canyon Tour during the second half of our route, we made a frightening observation - that we'd omitted Yosemite National Park. Given the way we'd neglected Yellowstone until about a month ago, I think we could have planned our park visit a little from the outset.
No matter. We caught our snag and we've fixed it, at the cost of less time in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. Salt Lake City has been cut to a half day, and Las Vegas to two nights and one day.
Yosemite is in California, but a considerable drive from the coastal route we'd originally intended to take from Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz. There's really no way to see this park without giving it a day of its own, and once again, we should probably be giving it more. But I reiterate, it's a good thing we caught it now, before we'd set anything deeper into stone.

Up next, dinner.


Photo courtesy pdphoto.org


With Orlando gone from our itinerary, we've given ourselves another day in the first half of the trip to play with. We've decided to give it to Shenandoah National Park, which you'll see at right.
One of the big days on our trip is the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is supposed to be among the most beautiful drives in the entire world. It starts in Shenandoah and lasts for what should be a full day of driving, if not more. By giving a day to the drive from Williamsport, Pa. to Shenandoah, we'll not only be able to give the Blue Ridge Parkway the attention it deserves, but we'll also be able to drop in and visit our alma mater, Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa.

And the plot thickens...


Photo by John F. Mitchell courtesy nps.gov