But for the most part, the times in which I've been most disappointed in myself have been of my own doing, in situations when I was the only person accountable and therefore left myself no one to blame besides for yours truly.
With that in mind, today begins the first installment of a many part series here on on Conshohocken Freedom. If I hadn't already settled on an appropriate name for it, I just dreamed up "Freedom From Conshohocken" just now, on the spot - ultimately, what it will mean for me. But more to the point - let me tell you about the Great American Road Trip.
During college, I was privileged enough to be randomly matched to a terrific freshman year roommate, a fellow by the name of Joey, from Williamsport, PA. Sure, he's got his pitfalls - he farts a lot, he pees the bed regularly (though he's gotten better about that since we graduated), and most importantly of all, he scored 10 points lower than I did on the SATs, a point that I make sure to revive as often as I can remember. But aside from that, he's a stand-up guy, and a very good friend of mine.
Joey met a lovely young lady named Sarah during our senior year, a soft-spoken woman from Massachusetts with equally excellent taste in music as Joey's and mine. He did so in the only he way he'll ever be able to pick up a girl - by living next door to her, of course. But lo and behold, they've turned into quite the couple, moving in together after school in Mt. Holly, NJ. The three of us are still very good friends, and have spent nearly all of the Democratic primary season visiting each other to eat, drink and toast each passing Obama victory.
Long story short, the three of us are all looking for an adventure. Joey and Sarah were able to drive cross-country and back during the winter of our senior year, and it only served to whet their appetite for a greater, even loftier adventure. And I'm right there with them. I've never had (or made) the opportunity to do anywhere near as much traveling as I'd like. My biggest trips so far in life have been a week in Traverse City, Mi. by plane, a week in Montreal by bus, a week in Tampa by car, and a flurry of ventures around the northeast United States as a child. A pitiful list of travels by any measure.
So Joey, Sarah and I have begun planning what will take place in May of 2009, tentatively on the 20th. We'll drive up and down this broad country, visiting more than 20 major cities to ultimately end up in Portland, Or. Our plans are to drive there, and stay there.
The drive will begin in Philadelphia with what will undoubtedly be a heartwrenching goodbye. We'll head first to Baltimore, continuing on to Washington, D.C. to visit my lovely older sister Lela. Next stop will be New York City, and on to Boston, followed by Lewiston, Me. to visit our friend Kimmy. Then west to Buffalo to weigh in on the famous wing rivalry between Duff's and someone else (I'll do some research). Southwest to Cleveland, and then south to Charlotte, NC to visit our buddy Chad. Then south to the beach in Charleston, S.C., and further south to Savannah, Ga. Joey insisted on going to Daytona Beach, Fl., which should warrant a stop in Jacksonville, as long as it's on the way. From there, west to Atlanta, followed by an obligatory swing through historic Birmingham. We'll follow with a few days in N'Orleans, followed by a drive north through Jackson, Ms. and a rodeo, by Joey's suggestion, in or around Memphis, Tn. We'll keep driving north to St. Louis, and then visit Chicago for pizza and Milwaukee for beer. Next, southwest to Des Moines, and south to Kansas City on the way to Wichita, to look around for Jack Straw. From there we'll drive south to Dallas, northwest through Amarillo and up to Denver, beautiful Denver. We'll continue westward through the Rockies to Vegas, followed by a drive southeast to Phoenix. We'll swing through Mexicali, and further on to San Diego, with a possible day in Tijuana? Then along the coast to L.A., and of course to San Francisco. Then we'll drive up Highway 1 to 101, stopping off in Eugene and ending, finally, in Portland, a full 100 days later.
The whole trip measures out to just over 9,000 miles of driving. At a $5.00/gal gas estimate, we'll drive my car at about 30 mpg, and each pay around $500 in gas money. We'll stay with friends in cities where we have them, but the rest of the time we'll be on the search for campgrounds. Maybe we'll stay at a motel if it's pouring rain and we find a really cheap one, but otherwise we'll be camping.
The long and the short of it being, it will be the greatest adventure of my life. And the only way it'll ever happen is if we start planning now, which we have. And I have a brand new motivation, a reason to kick ass at work, prepare for the journey and, of course, document every moment of it right here. I guess I'll have to change the blog's name, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.
This will be my loftiest goal. And with Joey, Sarah, and an entire year of planning behind it, it's going to be out of this world.