I believe I was in Rock City when I met a friendly couple also taking a big trip. He was trying to knock out his “50 by 50,” meaning he had to visit each state before his 50th birthday. That’s great and all, but I don’t feel that spending a few hours in a state or hiking a state park really counts as a visit. Instead I made it my goal to sleep in all 50 states. I figure even a one night stand with a state counts as a visit. My recent dogsled trip ticked 4 more states off my list. So here’s some updated maps to keep track of my wanderings.
What a proper quote to start this post! I will now relay how I chose the ranch I’m doing my cattle drive on. That quote is also from Larry McMurtry’s fantastic Lonesome Dove novel, much of which takes place on a cattle drive. It’s actually that movie that made my dad and me want to eventually do a drive. Everyone keeps referencing City Slickers, screw you guys and screw Billy Crystal. I’m going to turn into the stoic rascal Robert Duvall. Anyway this was a hard decision and took a lot of careful consideration from airport transfers to sleeping arrangements.
Before I get a post up about my recent trip to Ireland, I want to offer up an article sent my way. Waiting for me at work this morning was the nicest email. Hannah (blogger Craft Junkie) shared with me her plans for an epic, 3-week RV trip this summer. I’m so jealous as I’ve never actually been in an RV and would love a 3 week adventure in one of those behemoths.
I survived the Clown Motel! There’s a lot that can be said for it but I think it’s better if everyone experiences it for themselves. No database system, no confirmation emails, leaving keys under mats, next to a 100 year old cemetery, sketchy bathroom. This place has it all…or rather has nothing…I don’t know, man, just stay there and figure it out for yourself.
I’ve been a busy guy since my last post.
- Created all my daily agendas. These sheets give addresses, notes about each place, and rough estimates of drive times. This gives me an idea of what time I should check out each morning and about how much time I should devote to each location. Obviously these are just estimates. Unfortunately I was reminded about time zones (thanks mom!) and had to redo them all.
- I found a major mistake in my trip that saves me over 5 hours of driving. I was also worried that I might not make it to a tourist trap before it closed one day, but now that’s not a concern. This is all good news but makes me worry about what other issues I’ve missed.
- I’ve completed my Classic Rock playlist. It has songs from the very late 50’s to the very early 80’s and runs 17.5 hours long. My three playlists (classic rock, 90’s, and 80’s) now run a total of 36 hours! And of course I have hundreds of other albums on top of those. I have another 5 or so hours just of Swingin’ Utters! Go team music!
- I picked up another audiobook.
- Purchased 2 new batteries for my Canon 20D.
- Tried to print out all of my agendas and maps, found out my printer is out of ink, and ordered new ink. My trapper keeper should be complete by Friday night.
- Purchased a journal ledger to keep track of finances, mileage, and other data I want to monitor.
- I read an amazing book on historical tourism concerning a tourist trap in Georgia I’ll be visiting. The book was written by a man in Alabama who’s home I’ll be visiting. I’ll share information about the book on day 18, I don’t want to give away my stops early. I’ll also probably do a book review when I get home since it was so good.
- Bought Delaware themed presents for several of the people I’m going to see on my trip.
- Watched the first 3 Psycho movies so I know warning signs too look when checking into each motel.
This weekend I’m focused on laundry and packing. Getting nervous!
Today I’m not feeling well. All week I’ve been a little lethargic and didn’t sleep well last night. There was also a bit of bad news with my family yesterday. This post is going to help me change my perspective, keep kicking up my blog game, and share a few things. Please watch Shawn Anchor’s 12 minute TED talk embedded below. I’m using his idea that I need to focus on the good to pep up and get back on track.
News to share:
- Reserved and paid for my rental car yesterday.
- Printed out and organized all of my hotel confirmations for my trapper keeper.
- Finished the agendas for the first 6 days of my trip.
- Purchased a Deflecto Early Warning Road Safety Triangle 3-pack.
- Purchased a sun shade for the windshield. I’ve never used one before but I also don’t remember ever getting into a car that’s been sitting in the New Mexico summer sun. I hope it helps keep my hands from bursting into flames when I touch the steering wheel.
- Made my last change to the trip. I substituted a diner I was going to check out with another tourist trap. It’s too close to the trip to make any further revisions. The schedule is in ink, so to speak.
This is all great news and has given me a boost in energy just typing it! Now please watch Shawn’s TED Talk. If you don’t laugh or smile at least once at his jokes I will send you 10 smashed pennies and a jar of fancy mustard from my trip. Promise.
I hope this blog doesn’t come across as critical of some of the things I’ve seen and will see. People think the Mystery Hole and House are silly (and they are) but these are the places I live for. I love John Waters’ quote at the top of this post; these are places I celebrate. I don’t want people to think I’m laughing at these unusual places, I’m enjoying them for what they are. My blog header mentions tourist traps and tacky gift shops but I don’t want to come off glib. I’m spending a lot of time and money to see these places. I respect them and the people who run them.
I got great news today and that’s why I’m clarifying my views of my destinations. A gentleman I contacted has a personal museum of nostalgic items in his house. It appears to be his passion and life’s work. Today he responded to me in a friendly manner inviting me to visit his museum/house. I am extremely grateful for his invitation and would be mortified if anyone thought I was going there to make fun of him or have a laugh at his expense. I feel his collection isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m excited to see it and meet this warm, talented, and interesting man! I’m sure I will enjoy the tour and hopefully come away having made a new friend.
Screw you and your above quote, Mike Dirnt! You have no clue what you’re talking about. For the first time the countdown widget on the side of my blog is measuring time in days and not months! By this time 30-days from now, I will be settling into my first motel room and composing my first update so you readers can find out what stupid things I’ve done and seen on day one of the trip. Don’t worry though, there will be posts coming before that. I still have so much prep work to do!
Based on my maps and spreadsheets, I will be driving over 124 hours. That’s only driving from destination to destination. It does not include pulling off highways for food and gas, detours, or any driving I do my 5 “days off.” I have several playlists on my phone and loads of CDs. I have a 9+ hour 90’s playlist, a 9+ hour 80’s playlist, and I’m working on a classic rock playlist that will hopefully be around the same length. I’m going to need more entertainment than that.