My best friend and I have a road trip planned for the second half of September! Sadly, he will not be moving in with me this year, because of the illness and death of a close friend of his that caused his dissertation to be delayed, yea unto the fifteenth year.
But! At least the road trip is happening. We're not going to have as much time as I'd hoped, but it should be good nonetheless. If he can get a couple days off work, we should be able to extend the trip until we have about as much time as we had last time.
We leave the 15th, and return either the 24th or 26th, depending on whether he can find someone to cover for him. I have offered to comp him for lost income (ah, the beauties of a tech job).
We are not going anywhere exciting. The goal is to check off the remaining continental states we haven't been to, aka the boring ones (sorry not sorry).
For him, lucky bastard, this is just Arkansas and North Dakota.
For me, this is Arkansas and North Dakota AND ALSO *deep breath* South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware
, and New Jersey. And DC, the only vaguely interesting place we're going.
My family's rules for states (or countries) visited have always been: flyovers don't count, but any on-the-ground technicalities count! My mom putting one hand/foot in each of the states at the Four Corners counts. My dad's 15 minutes in the Detroit airport count. Layovers where you don't get off the plane count! My friend's and my 15 minutes in a car passing through the tiny southwest corner of Montana between Idaho and Wyoming on the way to Yellowstone counts.
So we will be doing a lot of border-tagging. If we pass the "Welcome To" sign, it counts!
Here are our current plans, assuming he gets the time off work.
I fly to meet him in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he will have been visiting family. We rent a car and head off into the sunset.
We pass through SC, AL, and MI on the way to Louisiana. We were going to visit New Orleans, but given that he's already been there and the main attraction for me was seafood, and given how tight on time we are, we're planning to bow to my shrimp allergy and give it a pass, which will buy us another day or so for the rest of the trip. So we'll just tag the LA border and head up to Little Rock, where he wants to visit the Clinton Presidential Library.
Then the scenic route through the Ozarks, and a lot of weaving across the borders to check off midwestern states for me. I was going to just do this for North Dakota, but he wants to visit Bonanzaville
("a pioneer village with 12 acres, 43 historic buildings, 400,000 artifacts, and millions of memories. Bonanzaville is operated by the Cass County Historical Society, with a mission to collect, display and interpret artifacts relevant to the history and cultural heritage of the Red River Valley.")
Then we detour to Wisconsin, because his family has a timeshare near a lake there, and he coauthored a volume on the local history of the lake and the surrounding community, which delayed his dissertation by at least three years, and he wants to show me the area. I imagine it will be scenic, am hoping for good hiking, and will try not to get eaten by bears.
Depending on how we're doing on time, maybe a quick visit to Laura Ingalls Wilder's birthplace, in WI not far from his lake. If we don't have time, though, I don't mind, as the only place she lived I really wanted to see was De Smet, and we did the tour there on the big cross-country road trip.
Then south, to catch Kentucky and WV on the way to DC. We'll actually spend a day or two in DC visiting museums, and then we'll check off my remaining eastern seaboard states on the way back to Boston, where he will catch a plane back to LA.
Stay tuned for any impromptu detours and sightseeing we come up with along the way! (Last time, it was the fortuitous* realization that Niagara Falls was totally on our route.)
* And I do mean "by chance"--we passed a sign for a Niagara Cave in Minnesota that made me decide to look up exactly where Niagara Falls was, on the suspicion that it was near our route, and it turned out we were passing through Buffalo, so we gave it a visit.