Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Home Stretch...

My original departure date was May 1st, but I've pushed it back to May 10th to be home for Mother's Day. At this time on May 10th I will be somewhere in PA, on my way to the Dakotas. I've taken a few road trips, some short, some ridiculously long.... common element for me... leave before daybreak. After sleep, of course (if possible that night). Driving west with the rising sun in the rear-view is an experience hard to duplicate. It gets even better as the sun and my eyes paint over landscapes unseen in front of me.

I don't like making stretches longer than 12 hours, if only because I can't stand driving for 12 minutes. People....

One of my favorite things to do on a long trip is to find a secluded rest-stop or park, grab a pillow and sheet, and nap in the sun for about an hour or two. On a trip to AK, I did just that on the WI/MN border. When I woke up, the sun was setting and a snake was stretching and squirming it's way south in the form of thousands upon thousands of Common Nighthawks. It went on forever... I stood still, just watching, for about 15 minutes before something else caught my eye, this time much bigger. A flock of 15 Sandhill Cranes managed to move their massive bodies silently over the rocks and hills to warmer climes. Once the cranes were out of sight, the Nighthawks were still going strong. I finally convinced myself I needed to get going, jumped in the truck, and was then presented with a stunning view of a feeding American Bittern in a small pool just past the rest-stop. It's colors felt so warm in the fading sunlight. All 3 of the species were life birds. All in about 30 minutes, by accident, after a nap.

25 days. 25 days and I am on my way. To wherever I want to go. Anywhere. And I plan to do just that. I cannot even begin to describe the feeling one gets with an entire country in front of them, pulling and tugging in every direction to see America's beauty. The cities, the towns with 1 stoplight, the 6 hour drives of nothing but sunflowers, antelope in the fields, Golden eagles patrolling the plains, the locals, the bars, the history.... I want it all.

Main cities that will be at least driven through (if not visited):

NYC, Cleveland, Chicago, Madison, the Twin Cities, Rapid City (SD), Fargo, Great Falls and Helena (WY), Idaho Falls, Salt Lake City, Boulder and Denver, Vegas, Reno, San Francisco (back tracking a bit by here... can't pass up a chance to cruise south along the Pacific in Cali), Monteray, LA, San Diego, (still on the fence about Baja... to keep it in the US or not, hmm....) Phoenix, Tuscon, Santa Fe, Roswell (and small towns from Natural Born Killers), Carlsbad, El Paso, San Antonio, Houston, Corpus Christi, Galveston, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Mobile, Tallahassee, Daytona, Orlando, Miami, Ft. Laudy, The Keys, Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah (that is going to be amazing....), Charleston, Cape Hatteras, Richmond, DC, Annapolis, Philly, Trenton.... argg... Stratford.

I have from May 10th until July 27th to go wherever. I know going in that there is a distinct possibility I miss some planned destinations. Whether it be because the funds are dry, I can't leave one place, weather... it happens. I only have to be home for the Gathering of the Vibes at Seaside Park in BPT, CT. This will be, I believe, my 6th straight, since it was in upstate NY in Mariahville. Those that have seen me know I fit into the 'hippy' category, though I don't really subscribe to that label. Musically, absolutely. Music will be an integral and intense part of this whole trip. There is a song for every moment, place, person, thing, feeling and state of mind. My 2 iPods are already filled. Some bands that are absolutely needed:

Tool, Plain White T's, Jack Johnson, Citizen Cope, moe (the song Big Country fits so well), The Doors, Simon & Garfunkel, Keller Williams, Radiohead, The String Cheese Incident, Gin Blossoms, Floyd, Zep, The Grateful Dead, Phil Lesh & Friends (I'll take them over Phish anyday.... too bad Bobby can't get it right with Ratdog), Peter Tosh/Marley/The Wailers, Remembering Never, Hopesfall, Cage, Jethro Tull, Widespread Panic (Space Wrangler... man), Pearl Jam, DMB, Senses Fail, Dashboard, the Blow soundtrack, 311, Santana, Alice 'n Chains, Metallica (STRICTLY pre-Load... sellout jerk tools... they are horrible now), Ryan Montbleu Band, Poison the Well..... off the top of my head.

I want to thank any and everyone who helped/is helping me with my trip. Everything helps. From spare jumper cables to feeding my reptiles.

The countdown continues......


  1. Hey Brian, remember what Luke said about getting a GPS? Well, he's right. During my CA/AZ trip in February I realized how much time and frustration it was saving me. Around here I can deal with using the GPS minimally because I don't do that much driving, and when I do I just enjoy using maps sometimes. But on my trip, time was of the essence, and the GPS saved me quite a bit of it.

  2. You are now the 3rd to suggest that (Alex Burdo did in an e-mail today).

    I mean, I drove to AK with just a North American atlas... and half the fun is 'winging' it. But then again.... driving in hundreds of thousands of miles of nothign in Buffalo Gap Nat'l Grassland (ANY BIRDER NEEDS TO GO THERE)... it comes in handy.

    It is on the list (the neverending money spending list.... BEFORE I leave), but I'm not sure which brand/type top get. Hand-held? Car mount that can be taken out?? STraight car-mount? Garmin? Tom-tom??

    Any advice will help, as I am GONZO in less than 24 days!! (Nick, Luke, Alex...)