Plans are nothing; planning is everything. – DE

As far as things go, the last half of 2015 and the first half of 2016 were bad. I had several challenges arise that were both stressful and demoralizing. I try to look at things in a positive light. As my boss might say, “tragedies are opportunities for growth.” But with all that occurred, it was very difficult.

Perhaps the most stressful piece of the past year was my mother’s health. Starting in 2014 her balance had been exponentially worsening. By July of 2015 she was so dizzy she would often fall down and threw up most everything she ate. After countless tests, scans, and probes they found the problem. She had a brain tumor in one of the worst possible spots of the brain (as if there’s ever a good place for any tumor).

From her surgery through her recovery I visited her almost every day. Sadly her birthday weekend was when the Pope visited Philadelphia. With the city being closed off I wasn’t able to make the trek from my home in Delaware. Beyond that roadblock (pun intended), I would make my daily commute after work which could take 45 minutes to 2 hours one way depending on traffic. While at the hospital and then her rehab center, I mostly sat quietly in my mom’s room while she slept. To keep my sanity I began planning a road trip. As I stated in my first post this blog is mainly to document the planning of The Trip and The Trip itself. I’ll be throwing in some other posts of past trips and travel book/movie/website reviews to keep me active between planning stages.

I don’t want to make any post too long so I just want to mention the first ideation of this trip. Of the many road trip websites I subscribe to or read, Roadtrippers started the foundation of The Trip. While sitting on the floor of the ICU, I read one of their weekly emails featuring an article about the Enchanted Highway in Regent, North Dakota. While that originally became the destination, I decided to dream bigger. If I was going to drive half-way across the country, why stop? Why not just keep going until I hit the other ocean? I’ve done it before, why not do it again? And if I’m going to take such a drive, why make it a straight line there and back? Why not make a loop? Why not try to circumnavigate (I love that word) the U.S.?

I spent the next month working on a plan. Using Roadside America, Roadtrippers, Google, and Ran McNally TripMaker I started a rough draft. Below is the first map of The Trip. It has changed several times with stops being added or removed, but this was the initial plan.

Map Very First

In my next post I hope to cover the three websites I’ve used for plotting these stops, what I liked and disliked about each, and finally show off the second and third incarnations of The Trip.

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