Photo of 1985 Westfalia

The Book Tour of a Lifetime told (mostly) through numbers

Let’s just say it’s been amazing from beginning to end (and it isn’t over yet!).

Months on the road 5
Miles 40,000
States visited 34
National Parks and Monuments visited 27
State Parks and Campgrounds visited 46
Nights spent at Camp WalMart, Rest Areas or Truck Stops 21
Total appearances 56
Appearances at L.L. Bean stores 32
Van repairs 3
Best repair shop Walt’s VW Repair, Columbia, MO
Worst roads in the country Connecticut. (Imagine the sound of two large boulders in a commercial dryer and you get the idea.)
Best roads in the country Kansas
Friendliest state Oklahoma
Business cards handed out 1,000
Longest day of driving  16 hours
Most 18 wheelers per highway mile  Pennsylvania
Number of times I had to drive in the rain 3
Number of floods  1 (Detroit)
Greatest pet peeve Talking gas pumps
Greatest gift Complete solitude (desert hiking)
Best meal Church Street Cafe, Albuquerque
Best gas price $1.79 (Oklahoma City)
Best hiking venue Sedona, AZ
Most unlikely book sale  Gas station attendant on NJ Turnpike
Friends reconnected with 14 (My deepest gratitude to all of you!)
Longest time since I had seen an old friend 36 years
Best name encountered Genesis Aurora Santiago
Favorite place to drive Anywhere in the wide open west.
Best “better than I remembered” moment Driving across the Texas panhandle.
(When I did it in my 20s I was bored. This time, I was enchanted.)
Best impromptu decision Exploring New Mexico’s El Malpais National Monument for the day.
Second best impromptu decision Visiting the site of the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair  in NY (and its great museum).
Best campground appearing just when I was about to fall asleep moment Homolovi State Park, AZ
Worst Google Maps moment Attempting to find Canyon De Shelly National Monument, Google maps sent me on a 60-mile road trip of despair on dirt roads that almost made my teeth fall out. (I gave up.)
Most unexpected reasons for hope

1. Businessman in Fort Collins, CO in hotel lobby acknowledging black TV screen. “Thank god it’s off. Television is poison.”

2. Man in Danbury, CT picking up a discarded fast food bag in the parking lot and throwing it away just as I was walking over to do the same.

Best food shopping discovery Wegmans – There is no shopping experience like it on earth. They are merchandising geniuses.
Best impromptu blogging location Blue Ridge Parkway. I stopped to make a sandwich at a scenic overlook. The next thing you know, I was writing with a spectacular mountain view.
What I thought I couldn’t live without and did Music. (I barely listened to any.)
What I almost didn’t buy and was really glad I did Collapsable sink (for washing dishes in campsites)
Best “helped by stranger” moment Danny in Sedona helping me solve my van stalling problem.
Best “pay it forward” moment  Stopping to help couple change tire in upstate NY.
Best take away There are great people everywhere in this country. If you travel with an open mind and a generous perspective, you will be consistently amazed.

 

3 thoughts on “The Book Tour of a Lifetime told (mostly) through numbers

  1. The writing is phenomenal. Very rare combination of style, color and design flow a reader cannot help but enjoy. Interesting contextual choices in which both author and reader can find mutually shared joy.

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