Monday, August 01, 2005

Day 29

Location: Endwell, NY

Total miles traveled: 11,526

As you can tell, I came back home just a bit early. I left South Bend around 10AM on the 29th - by late afternoon I was near Erie, PA. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a hold of my friend Tom in Buffalo, so I decided I would just continue East towards home (only about 600 miles total for the day).

I got back home shortly after 9PM, despite all the bathroom stops and stretching stops. Its odd...on the latter part of this trip I noticed that the right side of my butt gets all crampy, but I don't have a wallet in my back pocket or anything.

Anyhow, got to see my family before I retired for the night at my parents (I was too tired to go any further). Talked a little about the trip, showed off some mementos, and then went to bed.

It was a great feeling to be back home after 29 days on the road. I don't know if I have mentioned this, but prior to my leaving on the 1st of July I was never away from home for more than 5 days (and most of those times they were family trips).

It's not like I've "found myself" on this trip or any other mushy stuff. However, I did learn a few things on the road that I probably wouldn't have found out otherwise:

For one, I can tolerate being by myself for long periods of time. A lot of people (including my students) thought I was crazy (or would become crazy) going on such a long trip solo. I have vacationed by myself before, but never for so long. Granted, I did make stops to see friends and family, but for the most part I was on my own. I was afraid I'd drive someone crazy if anyone came along. This way, I was my own boss...if there was something I wanted to see, I would go drive and see it...didn't have to ask anyone else.

But now, having seen so much, I know what I'd like others to see. It's an incredible country, and I've learned that even in a short amount of time a lot can be seen. Someday, hopefully, I can bring someone out on a cross-country trip to see some of these amazing places.

Another thing is that I've gained an appreciation for the unique area in which I live. Sure, we don't have tall mountains here, huge rivers, or deep canyons, but my home of hills and valleys has its own unique charm. I feel bad in that I went on this trip to hike in all these different places, yet I have never hiked here. I look forward to spending some time learning more about this area before the summer ends. This way, I hope to have a little more to say when people ask me about where I'm from (and I can say more than "3 hours from NYC").

I never would have thought that so many people would be interested in following one person's drive around the country. Maybe it's because you don't see it happen to often? I thought people would get sick of my writing after Day 2. I'm so grateful for all the positive comments and well-wishes as I went along, and I'm glad so many people liked the photos I took (I already blew up a couple and they've come out great)...if there's any one that you particularly liked, let me know, and I'll get you one printed.

My trip turned out to be more enjoyable and eye-opening than I ever thought it could be. I have said for years I wanted to see the U.S. first before I saw any foreign countries, but after taking this trip, I realized how little of the U.S. I've actually seen. Yes, I did drive almost 12,000 miles in a month, and have been in a lot of states, but believe it or not I have seen so very very little of this great country. And it's encouraging to know that I can take 10 more cross-country trips and I would still have so much left to see.

But as fun as it was being on the road, it's so nice to be back home. My time on this trip flew by, and I could've done another month, easy, if I didn't need to get back.

I'd recommend to anyone to go on a drive and see a little bit more of the U.S. than what they are familiar with. Of course, not everyone can take a month to do it, but even if it means driving to Iowa on a long weekend, or flying out to Texas and renting a car for a week to drive it. There's so much more out there than what a lot of us have seen and are used to, and it's well worth seeing. You can't put a dollar value on it.

Thanks again for following me along on this trip.


Back home with the housemates


Anonymous Lisa Markarian said...


Great read. I loved the pictures. I stumbled upon your site as i'm planning on moving back to Cali from NYC over the summer and want to take the opportunity and make it a road trip.

Nothing like the great outdoors in this country.


Sunday, April 02, 2006 12:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Joe, Loved your trip! My husband & I have been cross-country twice and planning a road trip again for a month this summer '08. We totally agree with "see the US first". We still have so much to see. Loved the Nat'l Parks. We are a lot older than you so stay in hotels every night. One has to love driving but it's the only way to experience so much of the country. We travel in style with our RV being a Corvette and the trunk our suitcase!L&G

Saturday, March 01, 2008 10:11:00 AM  

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