Sign of a successful roadtrip: can't wait to start planning the next one!
We drove 5202 miles through 13 states, the largest chunk spent in New Mexico. This map shows where we stayed and the approximate route:
For a day-by-day account, with photos, use the 2008 journal index, from Oct 8 -30.
Theme that emerged: Wonder at the American terrain, coupled with the American exuberance for engaging with that terrain and making it productive -- farms, dams, mines, oil, wind farms, etc. Yeah, we Americans thought we could do anything without consequences and wreaked havoc here and there (and now just about everywhere), but still, I can't help being awestruck by the boldness and the imagination and the inventiveness of Americans moving west. (Why does this feel politically incorrect? I guess because we grabbed a lot of land and killed a lot of people in the process... yep, we Americans can go overboard in our zeal.)
Secret of Success. Surely two people can't live in a car with one another for a month unless they enjoy each other's company -- a lot! We did well, with Jim doing most of the driving and me navigating, "entertaining," and (oops) occasionally co-piloting. My conclusion is that as long as you can stay in the moment, anxieties and fleeting grumpiness fades away. There is no place but here, no time but now...
I was able to keep my "expressive" anxieties under control with the daily opportunity to blog, upload photos and fool around with my "Zuzu & Zim" characters. (Photo below is a bit Photoshopped.)
The whole trip was a visual extravaganza -- nature and art. We aren't foodies -- our nourishment was absorbed through our eyes. We didn't talk much to anyone but ourselves. Music -- mostly old folk songs -- got us through a few long stretches. But mostly our eyes feasted.
Motel camping. Where we took care to plan ahead, we got great accommodations -- esp. in Taos and Santa Fe. Otherwise, we played motel roulette. We don't need luxury, but comfort and convenience rule. Best Western was usually our best value. Holiday Inn Express was a little classier (because of interior corridors) but not always worth the extra $. The nights we rolled the dice for more expensive chain hotels, we were always mildly disappointed.
P.S. From our motel rooms we also witnessed both the economic meltdown and the finale of the presidential campaign... historic times...