At this point, we've visited nearly a dozen different cities, depending on how many places we decide to visit in upstate New York. I spoke to a good friend from college earlier today who trashed Syracuse and Buffalo, saying they were places that nobody wants to be, in kinder words than he chose to use. While he's often someone whose opinions I take with a grain of salt, his thoughts on these destinations will not be merely discarded. We have seven and a half months before we leave, and in that time I'm striving to be a sponge for raves, rants and other such opinions from anyone who cares to offer them. So I'll continue to examine these places from afar before we hit the road.
Right now we're in Buffalo, having assumedly visited nearby Niagara Falls for some photo ops. From here we're planning a drive southwest for three hours on I-90 to Cleveland. This is fundamentally to get Ohio into the mix - we could theoretically do it on the way back up (which you'll hear about in the next post), but then we'd be going to Cincinnati instead. Perhaps we'll have to indulge in a Cleveland vs. Cincinnati debate somewhere in the future. That could be fun, and boy oh boy, do we encourage comments. Please leave them as plentifully as you desire. 
If we decide to go to Cleveland, we still have to tuck back into Pennsylvania to visit Joey's dad in Pittsburgh, after two and a half hours on routes 80 and 76. Depending on who you talk to, Pittsburgh is either a really cool city or a garbage heap. But we do have Joey's dad to stay with. So we'll see how long we're in town.
Our next stop was originally going to be Lynchburg, Va., because I was misinformed and thought that this was the Lynchburg where Jack Daniels' bourbon is made. I found out that not only was I wrong, but Jack is made in (duh) Tennessee inside a dry county. So the next place we have to go after Pittsburgh is Charlotte, NC. This is a seven hour drive with Roanoke in between, as well as the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia, which sounds like a can't-freakin-wait-to-see-it destination. But once we're in Charlotte, our friend Greg from school is very high on our list of people to see.
Three hours and 200 miles along routes 77 and 26 will bring us down into Charleston, SC, where we'll spend all day gloriously bathing in the sun and, preferably, sleeping on the beach or in the woods somewhere.
This first southern beach stop will be immediately followed by another, with a two hour drive southwest to beautiful Savannah, Ga. This place comes highly recommended by anybody who has ever set foot there, and provides us with a fantastic sight to see on our way further south.
Jacksonville, Fl. is next, two hours south on I-95. Joey is intent on hitting Daytona Beach immediately thereafter, as it's the tourist capital of the world, to paraphrase Joey. We might also go to Orlando while we're nearby, but I've been there before and spent a lot of money (mainly buying drinks at Universal Studios on the way to one of the most hilarious blackout drunks I've ever had). So we'll see about all this.
Further south, we'll make our way to the city where the heat is on, Miami, Will Smith's favorite place to rap about after Philly. This is a five hour drive on routes 95 and 91, with a whole lot of Florida stuff between cities, and we may yet again get sidetracked. We don't have big plans for Miami, and remember that we're on a tight budget, so the extent of our stay is questionable for now.
The last stop on this leg will be Key West, because as long as we're that close, why the hell not.
And from there, it's on to the Midwest.

Image courtesy Google Maps

12/2/2008 03:38:56 am

Tom - what a great idea - it should be a wonderful adventure.
I do have to inject here a problem with your southern route - Charlotte, NC is just another city - rather nice, but just another city.
I highly suggest re-routing into western north carolina - the mountains are grand - these are the OLDEST MOUNTAINS IN THE WORLD!
You must come to Asheville, NC - your friend in Charlotte will know Asheville. Now, that is a place worth stopping by.
No point in blasting through these states just to say you did it - you must take care with your route and make each stop worthy of understanding something new about our country and the variety of people.


Leave a Reply.