Cross-country GT500 road trip is on the way

It’s official: Everything is in place, and in a little less than a week, the wife and I will begin on a ~4200 mile trip from Gilroy, CA to Stanfield, NC over the course of a week. We’ll spend a week visiting family and friends, and then drive back along a different route (exact route to be chosen just before we leave).

This will actually be the third time we’ve driven across the US. The first time was in 2001 when we drove a then-new 2001 Corvette from Charlotte, NC to Seattle, WA and back. We only took five days to get there, going the northerly route through Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin (or WisCAHNsin, as the locals call it), Minnesota (doncha’ know), North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. We got to cuss at Chicago traffic, see some surprisingly beautiful scenery in Wisconsin, marvel at the sky in Montana, visit Yellowstone, and stop at a petrified forest in eastern Washington.

On the way back, we took our time a little more, spending ten days total on a south then east path, hitting Oregon, California, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky, including a visit to the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green.

In both of these cases, we drove the trip with a printed Google map and an atlas. I didn’t have a GPS (they were quite expensive at the time, and I didn’t see a need for them), and our cells were actually phones (remember those days?)

While this will be shocking to those who know me well, as I am an obsessive planner, I didn’t plan for stops, didn’t set up hotels, nothing. In my mind, there were so many variables in play that I had no control over, planning (other than a general outline) was futile.

Despite that (and perhaps partially because of it), we had a great time. In fact, to this day, it stands as perhaps the best vacation we’ve had. Visiting the country from the interior of a fast, comfortable car with no agenda, stopping whenever you see something interesting and laying into it whenever the road opens up, is a very liberating experience. Unfortunately, this was before the digital camera revolution (at least in our house), and all of our photos are on film somewhere.

The last time we drove cross-country was in a 2006 GTO as we were moving out to California. Unfortunately, this was right after my father died, and in addition to being very emotional I was also rushed to make it into my first day of my new job on schedule. We made the trip in three days. What little of it I chronicled was in GPS coordinates and photos of all of the places I spread my father’s ashes on the trip. Needless to say, it wasn’t the triumphant trip out I had hoped for, and not what I would call pleasurable, but we did still manage to see some beautiful scenery.

This time, we are going to take the Shelby cross country, and I am going to catalog the entire trip and try to post up a summary (and photos) every night on my blog. I’m going to plan a little, but mostly just to make sure we hit a few milestones and see some interesting sights. I’ve tried to schedule only eight hours of driving per day to make sure we have plenty of time for stops (both planned and unplanned).

The trip is outlined here, for those who want to check out the route:


It should be a blast, as long as I can keep the shiny side up and stay out of the way of Johnny Law. We leave on July 19, and I should have the first post of the trip up that night. If you have a suggestion for a must-visit location on the way, let me know, and maybe I’ll see you there!

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