How We Began
Was This Anyway?)
How did we ever get started on our adventures? Below you'll
find the original letter we wrote to visitors to our web site
about our very first trip around the country.
The Idea For This Trip
The idea for this journey, adventure, trip, or some like to
call it "extended vacation" began as a brainstorm
late in the fall of 1997. I called Beth and proposed a trip
around the United States or a backpacking trip around Europe.
After a very short debate, we decided to see our own country
first (yes, that is an open-ended statement).
Where Do We Go?
Before us sat a very monumental task. Where do we go? How
do we get there? How long do we go? How much will it cost?
Our first order of business was for each of us to make a list,
no holds-barred, of everywhere we wanted to go in the United
States. We e-mailed our proposed cities to each other and
surprisingly, the lists were very similar.
From these lists we troubleshot a path and decided to do
a clockwise loop around the outside part of the United States
starting in Maryland. We then divided the trip in half, San
Francisco being the midpoint. I was to plan what to see until
San Francisco and Beth would pick up the planning from there.
I, in all of my anal retentive glory, was overwhelmed by the
task ahead of me. So I went to the AAA and slowly accumulated
every map, tour book, camp book and destination guide between
Washington D.C. and San Francisco. I sat down on the metro
and read these tour books on my way to and from work. Now
Terry, my brother, would say that this is just way too much
planning, but as long as your flexible, you can never plan
enough. I didn't make it through every book, but I was fairly
close. I did more reading while on the trip (see flexibility).
The next big step was for Beth to fly down to D.C. for a
weekend and actually plan the trip, day by day. "Seven
weeks, that's so long," people tell me. After planning
and traveling this trip, I can tell you it's way too short
and goes by way too fast. I am so glad we did this because
we really didn't have enough time at the end of the trip.
If we hadn't planned, I think we would have missed a lot of
sites and would have spent too long in some areas. Yes, there's
plenty that we missed, but that's part of the fun, leaving
something to come back to see.
So back to Beth flying down to D.C. We sat down with our
calendars and our trip plan. With the dates and route planned
on Saturday, we sat down with our trusty AAA books and decided
where we were camping and where we were staying in hotels.
The longest camping stretch we wanted was 3 nights (we later
changed that on the trip). We then sat in the kitchen on a
rainy afternoon calling hotels, haggling over prices, and
juggling credit cards.
That weekend was crazy. We purchased a cell phone, charted
our trip on Rand McNally's TripMaker, made Excel spreadsheets
of our plans, opened a checking account, and bought supplies
at Walmart and Target.
Before we left, we gave our parents and close friends a list
of our stops. We finished minute details and Beth flew down
to D.C.and we left.
A Few Thoughts on the Trip
A few more thoughts before you journey through our web site.
A lot of people want to know what I've "gotten out of
this trip". I learned innumerable things as I'm sure
you can imagine, but there are two that stick out in my mind.
First, what a great country we live in. We met so many kind
people who were interesting and simply good, honest people.
This country is a diverse land of endless places to go and
people to see and I've never been prouder in my life to be
The other is that friends are grand. Your friends are a reflection
of you and when you have one or two or three that are honest,
who will tell you when you have a piece of toilet paper stuck
on your shoe, will listen to your problems without falling
asleep in their soup, and will be happy for you and with you,
then you have one of the greatest gifts in the world. Thanks
to all of my friends, you know who you are.
The Best and the Worst
Everybody else wants to know what I loved and what I didn't
like. To be short, I loved: Las Vegas (it's larger than life),
New Orleans (it's a party at night and relaxing during the
day), and Portland, Oregon (it's everything a Generation Xer
looks for). I wasn't too fond of Fresno, CA (boring), the
Alamo (bad tourist trap) and El Paso (extra boring).
So to end, I'll tell you what I've been telling myself for
quite a few years now: "Live your life so that you can
never say, the words 'I wish I would have'". The only
thing standing between you and your dreams, whatever they
are, is you.
Enjoy the Journey.
Kristy & Beth