This has been by far one of the best ideas I have ever come up with – 30 days touring the United States with my best friend & lover who happens to also be my beautiful wife (professionally Rebecca / Bum to Grandkids, Son-in-laws & FB).
The trip was dramatically more enjoyable because I left behind all of the trappings of everyday life:
No work to do because I have no Job (Bum says I can do this for a little while longer)
No calendar tasks pending
No intrusive emails that required reply (for the most part the only emails I got were the Hilton Hotel Confirmations)
No tweets, FB posts or phone calls requiring any urgent response.
No drama, no arguments (honestly – she loves me and me her)
No worries at all – thanks to the skills I learned from my Dale Carnegie course (thanks NDA!)
No agenda beyond the consistent statement of “Across the Bottom, up the west Coast and back home across the heartland of the USA”
The only firm date was that we had to be back in NC by January 14, 2011. (unless one of the daughters hit the big lottery)
We promised ourselves that even on the travel days we would stop by 5pm and we generally did.
We did not go to bed before 10pm with few exceptions. (I did get strep @ the Grand Canyon and went to bed early one day there)
We committed to getting out of bed whenever the mood struck, and we did well sticking to this commitment. (Now it’s time to break this habit -quickly).
Bum tracked these statistics of our journey:
Actual Days – 29
Actual Hours – 696
Hours in the Car – 150 (she did this based on 60mph average. We know it’s more like 70mpn average when I drove)
Miles driven – 8847
Hotel rooms – 20
Cities stopped in – 40
States we passed thru – 23
Additional Statistics I tracked:
Four Square Posts – 225
Pictures taken – 2240 (prior to any editing)
Blog Posts – > 50 total by both of us
Gallons of Wine– Not To Be Disclosed
Gallons of Good Beer– Not To Be Disclosed
Glasses of Bad Beer – 2
Good cigars smoked – 2 (what’s up with this?)
$$ spent in a casino – $10.25
Visits to Doctors for Boppy – 2 (no big deal, Strep throat and allergic reaction to Amoxicillin)
Number of times I failed to lock the car doors – 0 (inside joke)
Number of times we ran out of gas – 0 (close is only valid in horse shoes)
Number of times I lost my wallet – 0 (Bum took it once to make a point)
We brought along a bunch of new books that we never found time to read. It’s not that we were too busy, it’s that we had too many other things going on that were enjoyable to do. If we had gotten bored enough to sit back and read a book it would have been a different style of trip.
We only ate at a fast food joint once or twice. We had a food budget but it allowed for a lot more than Wendy’s and McDonalds. Besides we both believe lots of fast food will kill you.
We only ate at a chain restaurant once, and this was because Bum’s Uncle in Iowa had a hankering for Applebee’s. It was good food.
Oops – I lied. We did eat at Rock Bottom Brewery and Hard Rock Cafés twice. Both places have really good drinks and food.
Many times we asked the locals for ideas of good dining places and this was a good idea. They knew better than us tourists.
We found that for the most part, Pubs and Bars & Grilles had the best easy and simple food, generally for mid-day meals.
In the smaller towns we really enjoyed the local diners. In Lima Ohio we had a great meatloaf meal and in Evanston Wyoming we had a pretty good steak with home cooking style sides.
Before embarking on this journey Bum and I discussed how this activity could affect us. We expected that it would leave a lasting effect on our lives. (I tried to use affect and effect properly here.) We thought that we would meet people along the way who would share something with us that had great meaning to us personally. We also hoped that we could have the same effect on some as we shared with them.
Many times we told folks we met about our journey. They asked questions and most of the time their reply was, “Wow, I want to do this.” Our reply was always the same and simple – “Do it – do it as soon as you can.”
We met homeless people in San Francisco who were smiling and happy.
We met pan handlers who were polite yet assertive.
We met smiling waitresses and barmaids who wanted to chat and laugh with us.
We met pleasant hotel staff who were very helpful with everything from directions, suggestions, attraction ideas and recommendations to places where we could do our laundry.
We met people who wanted to share local history and information with us
I talked with the subscription manager at The Business Journal as I stood in front of the First Pony Express Station in Gothenburg Nebraska. He told us lots of history about the Pony Express and then I renewed my subscription for 2011. Thanks Gary Marschall.
We met a family friend’s father who took us out to a really nice restaurant in Omaha Nebraska for lunch. Thanks Brian & Greg
We met a classmate from my high school (Poolesville HS 1976) who shared her story with us. A great woman with enough love for her family to overcome any obstacle and help her kids achieve their life goals.
We met family that we have not seen in years and created new relationships with new generations while we laughed and joked for hours on end.
We met small business owners who told us about their businesses and their passion for doing what they do. Even when things were tough over the past few years, the ones who loved what they were doing, kept plugging along and now are happy they did.
We met trolley engineers and bus drivers who laughed and smiled with great enjoyment for their jobs.
The stories told and heard were enjoyable and in some cases left lasting impressions.
Our blogs got lots of activities. Many days we topped 50 readers each.
Our Facebook posts received lots of attention and good natured joking at and with us
I received dozens of tweets from my Twitter community thanking us for the posts and encouraging us to keep having fun.
One guy sent me a tweet early on and told me my wife does not want to hear any more about this ridiculous journey. Later on he sent me a new tweet and told us that they were planning their trip now.
Many times Bum and I have been asked. “What was the best thing you saw?”
For me, the Grand Canyon and the coast of California stand out the most, but it really is the sum of it all. Palo Duro, Carlsbad, Cadillac Ranch, Golden Gate Bridge, Portland, Seattle, Omaha, etc, etc, etc.
But Bum said it best and I agree with her. The most exciting thing about this trip is that I too spend 30 days with my best friend. We laughed, played and had so much fun together. This is a priceless.
If I could sell all of my possessions and put another few $$ in the bank, I would start all over again and this time instead of traveling at 80 mph I would slow down to 40 and drag it out for 60 days. If we can have as much fun as we did in 696 hours, imagine what we could do in 1392 hours or more. Having to work, take care of household chores and other daily tasks requires us to “find” time for each other. I hate having to do this, but we will do the best we can, until we can schedule another Walk About across the USA or beyond.
The only negative to this trip is that we had to leave our girls and their families behind. This was hard to do. Fortunately we have instant access via Text Message, Skype and FB to compensate as best we could.
This being the only negative, I still can’t be more serious about this recommendation. If you want to do something bad enough – do it. Don’t wait until later, until you retire or until there is enough $$ in the bank. Do it now. The rewards are far greater than you imagine.
This will be my last text post to this blog. I will post a gallery of pictures at some point and link it to this blog and then I will close this blog until our next trip.
Thanks for following us and I hope you enjoyed our journey.