I have a feeling it's going to be a little while before we know exactly how this trip is going to look, and I'll tell you why.
Our outline of city stops have been growing by the day since we started planning for this venture. At this point, we plan to set foot in somewhere around 42 or 43 different states, spending appropriate amounts of time in different cities based on just how much we want to be there, and how much there is to see, and so forth.
But the other day, during our meeting, we threshed out just how long we saw ourselves staying in each individual city, having recently revamped out itinerary. We allotted time in a pretty fair manner, giving as many as three days to important places like New York, New Orleans, Denver... and being realistic about places like Mobile, Al. and the like. I really don't see us spending a huge amount of time there, to be honest.
Anyway, we looked at all our stops from start to finish, and counted up our time. And as of right now, we're at 64 days... 36 short of our allotment.
Believe you me, we didn't come up with this plan, this name and this fantastic logo just to shed more than 1/3 of our trip time. So once again, we've got some significant expanding to do, and I think this might be the point where we start wandering deeper into the wilderness.


During our meeting on Monday evening, Joey, Sarah and I discussed the possibility of expanding our itinerary. We came to the conclusion that given the rosy condition of gas prices (see my last post), we would be making a mistake is we didn't use the opportunity for extra mileage to our advantage. And if prices go up, it's better to have everything we could possibly want to see all on one plate so we can cut out the portions that are the most unnecessary. So we took a good, long look at where we should be going, beyond our original plans. And here, my good friends, are our newest additions.

1. Cape Cod, Ma. This was a favorite locale for my father's side of our family during any vacation that they tried to throw at us while I was growing up. My grandparents brought me here with my older sister when we were much younger, and the four of us stayed at a quaint bed & breakfast owned by a woman named Mrs. Hickey. And my father took the family for a lovely day trip to Provincetown, which as near as I can tell is the gay capital of the East Coast. This was somewhat confusing for my three- or four-year-old brother at the time, I recall. But those visits aside, this is a lovely shore region with plenty to see and, if I have my way, lots of fun gay people out at the very end of the cape. This new addition will fall into the beginning section of the trip.

2. Birmingham, Al. We had this on our plot at the outset, but took it off in favor of a jaunt south to Pensacola instead. Frankly, we figured we could stop off in Montgomery on the way and get pretty much the same effect. But now with just a tad extra in gas expenditure, we're going to visit both Birmingham and Montgomery in the same day, and make a civil rights movement day of it. Should be interesting, to say the least. Tack this onto the third leg of our trip.

3. Louisville, Ky. Apparently, Joey has a cousin here, or at least that's what Sarah was totally convinced of the other day, even though Joey didn't really react as much. Anyway, we felt a little bad that we were leaving Kentucky out completely, even though its not too far out of the way. So after we hit St. Louis, we'll bop over to Louisville before we drive north to Indianapolis, and eventually to Chicago. And you know, looking at the map now, we'll be awfully close to Cincinnati once we reach Louisville... maybe we'll have to make further arrangements in this little scheme of ours. This addition also falls into the third leg of the trip.

4. Plenty of Texas. This state seems to exude more personality than most others. Yet we had originally limited our visit to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, and a hop through Amarillo on the way to Denver. What a bad idea. Instead, we're going to cover a fair share of the state between those two cities, including Houston, Austin and San Antonio. We've figured out our route so that we don't backtrack over any of the same roads, and we get to drive through Abilene, the town made famous by the Grateful Dead in the song "Loser." While we're here, we'll be looking for barbecue, a rodeo and a Pentecostal church. This jaunt into the lone star state will fall into our trip's fourth leg.

Those are the big ones. We have a few lunch stops we'll throw in but I'm not feeling sprightly enough to go into detail right now. Next time, we'll talk about our schedule, and just how hilarious it looks at the moment.

-Tom Stanley


With the kind of outrageous excursion that we're putting together, it's clear that our fuel costs will be among the most expensive elements of our budget. And when we initially began planning, it was the beginning of the summer - a time that saw the highest gas prices I've seen in my entire life, ultimately reaching a high of just over $4.11/gal, according to AAA.
However, our luck has changed for the better on this front, as the national average for this essential commodity has plunged to a jawdropping $1.82/gal as of today. That's a drop of more than half, in less than six months.
This could be a gamechanger for us. Our original plan, when mapped out on Google Maps from city to city, gave us a trip that lasted just over 9,000 miles. In a car that gets 30 mpg on the highway, that meant 300 gallons of gas. We'd estimated that gas could go as high as $5.00/gal by the beginning of June 2009, so between the three of us, that would bring our gas total to $1,500 - or $500 a head. Bearing in mind all the different places we planned on visiting, this was still a fairly reasonable price tag.
But look at the state of things today - we have reason to celebrate the sad condition of our poor economy. If we left now, and gas stayed steady the whole time, we'd conquer that original route for less than $600 in gas costs. And frankly, if that were the case, we'd be pretty upset at ourselves if we didn't spread our 100 days around to some other destinations.
So that's what we've begun doing, starting with the additions of places like Key West, Minneapolis and the Dakota Badlands to our itinerary. As soon as I'm finished writing this post, Joey, Sarah and I will be discussing whether we can't add on a few other stops on our way, among other things.
As enthusiastic as we all are for a new president and his plans to save our economy, we looooove these gas prices. Here's hoping they stay put for a while.

-Tom Stanley

Photo courtesy wwlp.com