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The Cross Country Blog

What did I learn from the trip?

  • Planning is important, but too much is not a great idea. We had a general plan for where we were going, and about how long it would take to get to each place. We changed only one item along the way -- we rearranged the prairie trip to make it easier.
  • Travelling and site seeing are mutually exclusive. If you want to get somewhere quickly, don't plan on seeing very much.
  • The plains states are boring. Sorry, but as far as I can see, they simply aren't great tourist destinations.
  • The plan was to travel early, break up the driving, and stop early enough to see something before turning in. We tended to leave by 7:30, too early to see much in the local area. However, in most instances we had a waypoint in mind for mid-day. And we tried to be at the next destination before 5.
  • We saw a lot of great sights by being lucky enough to show up just at the right time.

Kansas skyscrapers

It's really about the People

  • Everywhere we went we found people who were interested in us and our trip.
  • It has always seemed to me that the US is blessed wth people who genuinely care about their fellow citizens. This trip confirmed my belief.
  • Although we met a lot of great folks along the way, people in the south really did seem friendlier. In Nashville, we had several people walk up to us to offer directions.
  • And everywhere we went we ran into unique characters that show that the country is certainly not all the same.
  • The visitor centers are staffed by wonderful people, almost always volunteers, many retired, who not only know about their local community, but really like talking to visitors.

If you ever motor west...

  • Be sure to bring someone along to share the driving and discuss the trip. Janet is a very good traveling companion.
  • The Lexus was likw a good "Conestoga wagon", perhaps somewhat updated. With GPS, satellite radio, automatic (speed-adjusting) cruise control, and good seats, we never got so tired that we couldn't enjoy the evening.
  • Driving is tiring. Two drivers are better than one, since naps seem to help.
  • Take breaks every once in a while.
  • Mid-price hotels are a good option. Most nights we spent less than $70 and even got free breakfasts.
  • Four and five star hotels are a nice change of pace. We particularly enjoyed the St. Louis Hilton, a refurbished bank turned into a wonderful hotel close to the arch. And the Inn of the Anasazi is a great small hotel in Santa Fe.
  • Avoid peak travel seasons. It seems likely that much more planning would be needed during vacation seasons.

A few numbers...

  • 4087 miles, approximately 1,000 miles farther than the most direct route from Boston to LA.
  • Approximately 150 gallons of gas, @2.90 (premium gas), or $435.
  • Hotel prices ranged from $49 to $285.

Last Updated: Friday, April 21, 2006 8:17 PM