Crunching the Numbers

2 June 2008

Philadelphia, PA

Over the course of this trip, I kept track of a lot of numbers: Mileage, itemized expenses, gas consumption, and more. I was curious how everything would add up at the end, and I thought it might be useful information for anyone who wanted to do a similar road trip. If that’s you, and you want your trip to be exactly like mine (which would really require you to go back in time, access my DNA, etc.), these are the numbers you can expect.

Keep in mind that some of these numbers are more approximate than others, and the total expenses listed were mostly split two ways. Also, there are things I wish I had recorded (such as time spent unconscious versus time spent conscious) and things I recorded that I don’t feel the need to publish (such as food and gift expenses). The remaining numbers still offer insights that none of the stories from the road could.

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Home Is Where the Party Is

1 June 2008

Philadelphia, PA

Brooklyn is not terribly far from where I live, so waking up there this morning made a clear enough impression that I would be arriving home today. But I still just couldn’t get my head around the idea of being home and staying there. Perhaps in a subconscious attempt to slow the approach, I made a few stops on the way. There was a very nice breakfast with Stan and Shawn Morrison at DuMont in Williamsburg; there was the interminable line of cars waiting to get into the Holland Tunnel; and there was a stop in north Jersey to see Leah’s mom, one of the most vocal Rob Across America supporters. Soon, there was nowhere else to stop, and Philadelphia’s gleaming spires loomed on the horizon.

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Stunt Driving Toward the Finish Line

31 May 2008

Brooklyn, NY

The best and most substantial part of today’s drive from Boston to New York City was through Connecticut on the Merritt Parkway. Enclosed by trees reaching over it and divided by a wide, grassy median, it is not only easy on the eyes but stimulating to the imagination: At any given time, you expect and almost hope Robin Hood and his band of merry men will pull up alongside you on horseback and cheerfully relieve you of your cargo.

It wouldn’t be easy for them to do so. For one thing, their horses would have to be on some pretty serious steroids. For another, entrance ramps pop up so frequently that the right lane is unofficially reserved exclusively for merging vehicles. People traveling the full length of the Parkway, as I did today, are crowded into the left lane, invariably led by someone moving more slowly than his followers would prefer. Attempts to get around the slowpokes and glimpse a stretch of open road are typically, shall we say, daring.

When I first embarked on this journey, a great many people wished me safe travels and encouraged me to drive safely. This is very funny to me now, because, while I didn’t realize it at the time, driving away from the northeast was actually the safest thing I could have done. For better or worse, I have returned to the Land of Asshole Drivers.

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Pahk da Cah in da Hahvid Yahd

30 May 2008


Cambridge, MA

For my first visit to central Boston, just last year, I approached from Logan International Airport, northeast of the city. The entire five-mile ride was underground, which wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow if I had been on a subway, but I was in a cab. I knew I was traveling through the results of the Big Dig, Boston’s impressive system of tunnels named after area politicians, civil rights leaders, and baseball players. But experiencing it firsthand really had me wondering if the Boston I was heading into wasn’t actually a post-apocalyptic, subterranean dystopia populated entirely by a savage and bloodthirsty race of atomic mutants.

The cab eventually surfaced, of course, to reveal New England’s metropolis to be quite charming, and reminiscent in many ways of my hometown of Philadelphia. Since I was attending a conference, I barely got out of Copley Square during that visit, and I vowed to return to see more. Today, I did just that.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

29 May 2008

Stockbridge, MA

Wayne hopped on a bus bound for Columbus this morning. He then flew from there back to Philadelphia, from which he’ll fly to San Francisco on Saturday for a week-long family vacation in northern California. You may recall we spent some time there recently. In the parlance of his students, Wayne is an all-star partyer.

My party is almost over, and as much as I’m really looking forward to getting home, I’m oddly apprehensive toward the idea of being stationary. I guess a body in motion really does tend to stay in motion. I’ll have to get used to being home in much the same way I had to get used to living on the road.

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What’s This All About?

Rob Weychert circumnavigated the United States of America in his luxurious 1994 Toyota Corolla during the month of May, 2008. His adventures are chronicled here.

The Story So Far