Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Why Route 66 & Beyond?

I turned 50 this year.

I'm not sure what that has to do with anything; perhaps just some sort of lame justification for the crazy things I've done lately. Or the crazy things, planned and otherwise, that I'll do throughout the remainder of the year. Not exactly a midlife crisis since 50 is probably well beyond midlife, and I'm not in crisis mode - I'm actually pretty happy with the way things are in my life. Nonetheless, if I'm to accomplish all of these insane and inane acts before I turn 51, I'd better get crackin'.

Next on my list is an 8,000 mile (more or less) road trip. I began thinking about this long before I turned 50, but each time I brought it up Sue would just look at me like I'd suddenly gone mad; at least in part because I kept inviting her to go with me. "What makes you think I want to travel 8,000 miles in a car with you?", she would ask incredulously. And I would sheepishly shrug, putting my trip on the back burner until I would think to bring it up again the next year. And the next. But turning 50 has been my salvation. Sue, saint that she is, has chosen for whatever reason to put up with my craziness this year. Although not exactly willing to climb in the car with me, she has allowed me the pleasure of a solo sojourn; a three week trip around the country.

So here's the plan: Beginning Friday, June 1st I pile into my G35, fill it up with gas, and begin my trek toward Chicago. There I will pick up the beginning of the Mother Road - Route 66. I'll follow Route 66 as closely as I can, until I reach Santa Monica, California. From there I'll take the Pacific Coast Highway north to a point just west of Eugene, Oregon, where I will pick up U.S. 20 and begin my long drive east. Assuming that I can maintain my schedule, I'll take U.S. 20 all the way to Boston. Then I'll backtrack to Mount Washington, New Hampshire where I'll meander south along side the Appalachian Mountains, finally winding up where I started in Brevard, North Carolina.

The entire trip has to be accomplished in 20 days. I don't get home from my Dallas business trip until May 31st. Then on June 21st I leave for a business trip to Salt Lake City, so I have from June 1st through the 20th to get back home, whether I have completed the entire trip or not.

As I travel, I plan to follow a few rules. Rule #1 is to avoid as many interstate highways as possible. If you have ever read "Blue Highways" by William Least Heat Moon you will recognize him as my kindred spirit, and you'll understand my need to take the slow, meandering routes through the countryside. Rule #2 is to eat in as many roadside diners and cafes as possible. No restaurant chains if I can help it. Rule #3 pertains to the Route 66 portion of the trip; I plan to stay only in the traditional motels and motor lodges along the Mother Road. There are some specific ones I already have in mind. After Route 66 I may alter my sleeping plans. It just depends on how I feel at that point.

This blog is my way to keep in touch with everyone throughout my sojourn. I plan to update it every night, posting pictures and details of the day's activities. If you've read this far I'm hopeful that you won't get too bored and that you'll remember to check in from time to time. If nothing else, you'll know which of the 27 states I'm traveling through that I'll be in at any given time.

See you on June 1st!