With it snowing like crazy outside, I find winter is the best time to plan getaways. It gives you something to work toward when spring comes.
And so this year, I think I know where I'm going. Here it is.
It won't be quite as long as last year's Route 66 trip. Then, I cruised 6,000 miles of American highway. This time it'll only be about 5,000 or so. But really, what's a thousand or two miles?
Seattle's one of those Great American Cities that I've always heard good things about, and - for some weird reason - I thought driving through Montana sounded like the best experience since the Mojave Desert last year.
I did some number-crunching, and I'm looking at about $350-$400 for gas, about $200 for lodging (I'm good at sleeping in my car, it seems - but I haven't really found a place I can't get some shut-eye), probably $300 or so for food, leaving me with a total cost of about $900, with $100 leeway for the Just-In-Cases.
The plan is to high-tail it out west on the interstate (who wants to take their time through North Dakota?), speeding down I-94 and I-90, visiting four new states along the way. Stay in Seattle for three or four days, check out the town, then jog north into Vancouver and British Columbia and take the 1 through Alberta and Calgary east through Saskatchewan, then hit the 16 and 17 through Manitoba and into Ontario, round Lake Superior, and take the southern route home.
My vacation time is set. May 26 through Memorial Day week and on into the next weekend, spending the weekends mostly driving and the week in Washington.
I want to see all four corners of the country, and this will technically be corner number three. I thought about a New England driving trip, but I'll still have vacation time in the fall to do that one - if I still feel ambitious.
Next year will be a train tour through Germany and surrounding countries, and from there who the hell knows.
Now that I've got the skeleton plan set, the rest of the winter and early spring will be filling in details, saving up, and dreaming of the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest.
I'm starting to feel like I should get paid to do this sort of thing. Where is National Geographic or the Travel Channel when I need them? But I'm sure they'd place restrictions on me, and frankly when I leave town I just want to do what pleases me.
What pleases me now is looking forward to another cross-country adventure, seeing vast swaths of barren and isolated Northern Lands, cutting into beloved Canada and seeing it the whole way through, and coming home to crawl into bed, taking a nap, and dreaming of impossible vacations.
That, my friends, is living.