Home in Atlanta – Day 137

Home in Atlanta

Day 137 – August 15, 2003 – Friday

Home in Atlanta. The final segment of the trip — Hawaii — will be August 20 to August 25.

We spent the day organizing information for the book and updating the web site. As part of this process, we reflected on the various aspects of the trip. When we began planning the trip, we established 10 Rules of the Road:

Rule #1 — See the real world. Stay off the interstate highways.

Rule #2 — Eat pie. Eat where the locals eat. Avoid franchised restaurants. “Slow food” rather than fast food.

Rule #3 — See the sights that others miss. No need to visit many theme parks.

Rule #4 — Plan to enjoy the unexpected. When something catches your eye, check it out.

Rule #5 — Try new things — new places, new people, new food, new experiences.

Rule #6 — Stop and smell the roses…or whatever. Don’t rush; enjoy the journey.

Rule #7 — Think local. Listen to local radio stations; read local papers; and watch local TV.

Rule #8 — Make the best of every situation, If it seems boring or ugly or wrong, look again.

Rule #9 — Be smart. Be safe. Be prepared. Exercise every day. Keep the gas tank full.

Rule #10 — Preserve the experience. Maintain a journal; keep records; and take a lot of photos.

We did a very good job of following these Rules. We primarily drove on two-lane roads, so we were able to see the “real world.” We ate where the locals eat, and we ate a lot of pie (181 pies in total). And the food was so good; we had only a few disappointing meals. We saw many sights that others miss. We most definitely enjoyed the unexpected. In fact, following tips from people we met along the way or checking out something that we just happened to see or learn about were among the most enjoyable experiences. We tried a lot of new things! We were “smart.” We absolutely preserved the experience — detailed notes on tape, hundreds of pounds of brochures and maps, and 13,884 photos thus far.

There is room for improvement, however. The trip took longer than originally planned, yet we didn’t really have the time to “stop and smell the roses” as we might have liked. To leisurely see all the places we went, one could spend a year-and-a-half or more on the road, and we just couldn’t spend that much time. While we thought local, we never had the time to listen to the radio, read the newspaper, or watch TV. We made the best of most situations — at least for the first half of the trip. Truth is, we got tired and a little lazy for the last 30 days or so. The web site was a very important part of the trip, but it really sapped our energy. The trip was also MUCH harder when Bozzie Jane was not along. It’s hard enough to drive and navigate and take photos, but the big loss when traveling alone is that you don’t have time to review the research and the brochures gathered along the way to make sure you see the best sights. And too much sightseeing time is eaten up with the work of travel.

There isn’t a lot that we will change when we do this again. We’ll try to improve on the areas that need improvement, but we’ll basically just try to live by the Rules of the Road. There are a few changes we’ll make on the preparation for the next trip, so I updated that web page accordingly.

The Daily Journal of Round America:

Each day, we collect our thoughts on a web page just like this. We drop in some of the photos from the day. Our goal with the Daily Journal is to write about the towns we visit, the sights we see, the people we meet, and the pie we eat. We write about where we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going, but we also make observations about what we’ve seen and done as well as about life in general.

You can follow our travels from the Daily Journal section of this web site. Other pages of interest include the running report of “vital statistics” on the Trip Scorecard, our nominations for the Best & Worst of the trip, as well as a rating of the pie we eat. If you’d like to see information for a specific state or town, click here, and then click on the state of interest and the full itinerary is shown.