Road Trip 08 Planning: Itinerary

April 29th, 2008

The combination of my impending trip and desire to procrastinate my end of the semester school work leads to: trip planning. I assume most travelers can relate. It’s exciting to pore over maps, calculate costs, plan itineraries, etc. Especially when the traveler is currently engaged in more mundane activities, like work or school. Serious trip planning is almost like taking a mini version of the trip early. The internet is a particularly effective distraction tool for this. Almost everywhere in the world has a website now, and the places that don’t are discussed on other websites anyway.  The very same boring screen my term paper is on, right in front of me in my room, can be instantly turned into Alaska. Or Morocco. Or wherever. It’s incredible. I love the internet. Anyway, since I’ll be documenting my trip on this blog it’s fitting to begin with the planning process. Here are my current goals for the summer’s trip:

  1. Blog the Thing
  2. High Points
  3. Hiking/Bouldering/Running/Biking/Slacklining/Skiing
  4. Microbreweries
  5. Hot Springs
  6. Modern Art Museums
  7. Live Music
  8. Reading
  9. Violin
  10. Web Design

Basically, as a reward to myself for finishing college and being an American with ridiculous amounts of free time and money (compared to the rest of the world), I’m taking the summer to indulge all of my interests. This road trip I hope facilitates my enjoyment of them, especially those that going to school in Bozeman has restrained. There’s not much art or music in Bozeman, for instance, so in leaving I want to hit up as much culture as I can. While in college I haven’t been able to find much time to read for fun, so I’m excited to fit that into the trip (it should fit nicely, my being more removed from TV, parties, etc). I’ve been trying to learn the violin, but can’t seem to find time for that either, so hopefully when I’m camped in the van, alone in some desert, I’ll find the time (out of sheer boredom?). Some of the goals, like bagging some of America’s high points, are require a trip anyway. It’s hard to climb Mt. Whitney if you don’t go to California.

One side note is the 10th point: web design. Since I won’t have a job all summer but have grand designs for myself making a living in web design, I’m hope to work on this during my travels. It will be harder in the wilderness where there’s no internet, but I should be able to work sometimes without it, and I think I’ll have no problem finding open WiFi anytime I’m in a city. So not only will I be bringing my laptop along to blog, but also for work on web pages. Can I travel and live in a van all summer and still get some work done? We’ll see. The technology is there, the only question is my motivation.

This brings me to my potential itinerary. It is still in flux - especially the last half of the summer - but parts of it are starting to firm up. The firmest part is going to Alaska. I’ve got a ton of friends from college who are from there, and this summer looks like the perfect opportunity to visit them and have the best Alaskan experience possible. In future years I may have a job, my friends might not be in Alaska anymore, gas might be $50/gal… who knows. This is the summer. After that plans are more vague. I want to roam around and see the country, especially the mountains. I know some people in California, I’ve never really explored the great mountains there, and I’ve never surfed either so I think Cali is on the agenda. I love the desert of the Southwest, so I’ll probably head there as well. I’ve yet to ride Moab on my new bike. :) I’ve also never been to the San Juans in Colorado, so that might well be on the list too.

After that, I’ll probably either head back home (not sure where that will be yet though…) or take my trip to it’s ludicrous extreme: the east coast. Before I worked Alaska into my plans I intended to head to east for the fall. There are some fun looking High Points in the Appalachians, Adirondacks, etc. I’ve never been east since I “got old”, and I’m excited to check out the east coast scene: Boston, New York, etc. I have family there as well. I’m just not sure this is the summer for it now. It might still be: I’ll already be on the road, in a way I might not be able to replicate in years to come. But I also might be physically and financially exhausted, and either want to head home to stay longer in some place earlier in my trip, like Alaska or California. In any event, here is a short list of some of things I will be doing during my month in Alaska:

  1. Glacier Bay National Park (Haines/Skagway)
  2. Denali National Park
  3. Drive the Denali Highway
  4. Visit Valdez - possibly check out fishing boat
  5. Visit Central, AK
  6. 5-Day raft trip north of Fairbanks
  7. Fly in a bush plane
  8. Hike/bike/camp
  9. See the Midnight Sun
  10. Get eaten alive my mosquito’s
  11. Check out the Last Frontier!

Needless to say I’m stoked, and doing 3D flybys of Denali with Google Earth is much more enjoyable than homework. That’s my thinking-out-loud preview of my trip itinerary. It should be an incredible trip, and I hope you will check my blog once in a while for my stories and pictures!

A final plug for Google Maps:  check out how they not only have topography lines now, but even note in some locations (like Denali) climbing routes! F-yeah!

View Larger Map

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One Response to “Road Trip 08 Planning: Itinerary”

  1. Go for it!

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