Trips

Cross-country Road Trip started in 2016 (Ended Oct, 2018)

Mission:
To see the wonderful parts of America, we learned growing up. Target the 48 states in the continental United States. And our journey to find a place where the majority of the population haven’t turned into assholes.

Concept:
A unscientific research journey disguised as All-American roadtrip. Pack as a traveller, and drive to various places in America, and live there for a week or two. See if anyone smells your scent, and what they do about it. Blog about the positive things, because most tourists won’t be there for a few weeks. Compile the negative ones, for a pitfall map.

Problems:

  1. Budget We are on a constrained budget for this trip. So some method of revenue via remote site would help. Camp when possible to save on lodging costs.
  2. Fuel This is heavily related to distance
  3. Food Cheap eats
  4. Time More time means more cost. Too little time, means we likely wasted opportunity to do something local while there
  5. Distance Need to get efficient path to minimize distance
  6. Climate Important as camping conditions are limited.
  7. Entertainment …Point of interest search. Great Places to photograph. Things you have to try.

The original plan in Aug
original route
The trip here begins by revisiting New England.

Tools:
The computer just suggests a least distance itinerary, based on destinations I sent. The program used:

  • Google Distance API (to construct distance cost matrix)
  • Google Geocoding API (to verify location is valid)
  • Google Static Maps API (to produce the map images)
  • Google Search (1/15/2017, to get alternative address)
  • Weather Underground website (for historical weather on a date).

Execution Summary:
Follow computer recommendations, as conditions allow.

My Ishikawa diagram or Reasons why the buttered side of toast might land face down

  1. Stealth Camping is frowned upon… everywhere
  2. Parking Tickets
  3. Unknown electronic toll roads, and you won’t know until you return and check your mail
  4. Confusing roads, increase the chance of accidents
  5. Losing GPS or Cell data network in a completely foreign location, or you’re f—ed and delayed hours looking to get on any road you recognize
  6. Unintentionally alarming local law enforcement, or why you always keep your hands in plain sight
  7. Arcadia National Park gets pretty cold for camping, even in November.  Or we need to develop a heat strategy for camping.
  8. There may be gaps of days between showers, depending on location.  Or we need a smell protocol.
  9. Mechanical Problems such as
    1. Leaving car window open during rain storm, caused a short which drained the battery. A jump start solved the problem, but…
    2. Battery died from the full discharge, so replacement was necessary
    3. Coolant system was overheating from malfunction in the fan control system. Only new fuse was needed. But a oil change and several refills were necessary before the diagnostic.
    4. Tire pressure needs to be monitored constantly, esp if you were stealth camping
Week Food Gas Shelter Gratuity Repairs Duties
Still compiling

Conclusion:
Still compiling the data… but initially, if you’re a genuinely nice person, you should probably look for a more neighborly place to live.


Florida Roadtrip #2

Mission:
This trip was all about seeing Miami, a city I missed on my first roadtrip to Florida.

Concept:
The headaches I was getting in NYC was becoming an long-term issue, without an end in sight. I wanted to see if a change of scenery would lessen the effects. So Miami being thousands of miles away, seemed to be the perfect opportunity to test that theory. Drive to Miami, continue on until the effects lessened.

Summary:
Cape May to Lewes Ferry, stopped in Deleware at a Walmart. I was still feeling uneasy about the strange environment, and Jan is a very cloudy and depressing month to travel in. Drove on to Maryland, on way thru Chesapeake Tunnel to Norfolk. Exiting tunnel, I was stopped by Virginia Beach PD, who asked to search my car. I was still feeling very uneasy (contributed by the irregular onset but severe headaches), but there wasn’t any reason why my car wouldn’t pass a search that I knew of. Still his excuse was odd (drug runners), and he called 2 other police cars for a total of 6 officers waiting around, as he searched my Acura TSX which only had blankets and an emergency jumpstarter. He attacked me about having tints, which I explained sheepishly that I didn’t know how to remove them, and that’s why they are still there. And oddly, let me go, with no warning or reason.

I stayed in a hostel in Miami, and I was having even more severe sleep problems in the hostel. Whatever was happening about the mood uneasiness, became more severe in Miami. It was almost disruptive. One episode had my mind feeling like it had a bug running inside it, when a mixed pair group in next room were up all night. Another pair of Indian girls checked into the barrack I was in, and though they spent the night whispering, my emotional state felt creepy, like I was watching Stir of Echoes. A man named Saul started a conversation with me in hostel beer garden, with 2 bodyguard-build looking people on next table, which was odd only in that no one starts conversations with me. He asked that I text his phone, to test his new one. My car got towed in Miami, for expired parking limit in a parking lot. It was expired for maybe 2 hours. It was odd.

I continued on to New Orleans, and the uneasy emotional state my mind was in, returned to pre-Miami state. Wasn’t normal, but wasn’t feeding back on itself, contributing to the emotional uneasiness. It was Mardi Gras, there. There was plenty to see and do, but I chose to wander and have beignets. An feeling of absurdity overcame me there, and I decided to return to Miami for the sun.

Back at the hostel, there the emotional turmoil upticked again.

Conclusion (in 2019):
I’ve never had my car searched before and I don’t have any reason then, why they would start. This episode continued my string of unexplained and strange interactions with the police for last couple of years. Norfolk mall had an unusual amount of loiterers. Some of which contributed to the coughing trend, that certain individuals seem to want me to notice, but gives no clue why.

Miami Beach is beautiful. The rest of Miami is largely like every other large city in America, with a highlight of Little Havana as something special to see. Miami Beach has no free parking. The new scene did not help the emotional uneasiness I felt. In fact, it seemed to rise in waves, with the appearance of new people.

I was certainly not feeling emotionally normal during this trip. If anything, I would describe it as a un-directed depression and fear that caused me to be even more isolated than normal.


Pacific Coast Roadtrip

Mission:
I wanted to see Big Sur. Why not fit in as much as I can, before and after.

Concept:
A roadtrip from the Northern-most end of the Pacific coast of USA, to the southern-most end. And let’s make an adventure of it.

Summary:
This trip was fantastic and I wished I did it younger when I still had friends who travelled with me. Vancouver felt metropolitan in a way that it rarely feels in USA, and you only seem to feel in European countries. Large Asian community. But not necessarily a lot of tourist locations other than Harborfront and Capilano Suspension Bridges. But it was a great place to lounge in coffee shops and malls.

Seattle’s attractions were Pike Market and Space Needle. Pike market, if you wish to try touristy seafood. But plenty of walking shopping and eating in Belltown. Ferries to islands and beaches.

Portland has no real attractions, except maybe the Japanese Garden but you wouldn’t go to Portland just to see that. But the entire downtown area seemed to be a pleasant walking and shopping experience. And a food truck lot. I liked just being there, but there wasn’t a lot to check off on the todo list.

Crater Lake is like the attraction for people who like to see natural phenomenon, but really is just one day for a picnic. It is fascinating to see a volcano caldera and a little island floating there. But unfortunately, it’s pretty far away from any metropolitan areas. I just happened to be travelling between 2 major metropolitan areas.

Napa Valley feels deserted bc it’s very filled with touristy and trendy businesses downtown, but it had to be the offseason bc there was virtually no one there. If that wasn’t the offseason, I would say the place was severely “over-capacity”. But if you have the money and interest, there are plenty of wine tours at wineries.

Surprisingly, I didn’t stay in San Francisco very long. I was here before.

Santa Cruz, Big Sur and San Luis Obispo were all part of same leg of the trip. Shopped in Santa Cruz and had breakfast hash. Saw the seals at the pier. Saw the awesome view of the Pacific from the cliff coasts of Big Sur. Took selfie and picnics next to Bixby Bridge, along with everyone else. And enjoyed the drive to San Luis Opisbo, which feels a lot like everyone would vacation in Napa Valley travelled down there for the season.

Los Angeles is too damn big for just a few days. Griffith observatory if you want to see the city from above (better at night). Dodger Stadium for baseball. Hollywood Blvd for the old kitchy attractions. Rodeo Drive to see the ultra-high end shopping and cars. Santa Monica for the fantastic beaches. And I skipped all the Asian towns on the trip. Spanish food is everywhere.

There isn’t that much to do in San Deigo. It’s like the sunny weather version of Seattle. Decent shopping and food. Mexican food is supposed to be awesome here. Just enjoy the beaches.

Conclusion:
I was still gainfully employed at this time. And I had 2 weeks of vacation. It isn’t necessarily exciting, but that’s what the roadtrip part of it was for. Something to do, then relax. It is a little bit of a waste of money, but I was employed at the time. I thought I had a little to spare.

TBD
Florida Roadtrip and New England Roadtrip summaries. and San Fran summary.

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