Preparing for the trip of a lifetime

I’ve been going walking every evening with my daughter to try to clear my head of all the stuff swirling around in it. Concentration is becoming very difficult because I’ve got a bad case of “I’m ready to go” fever—It’s a lot like cabin fever!—but there’s stuff I’ve got to do before I can jump in the truck and get out of here.

A new release last week, two books in the works right now—one co-authored, one on my own—and trying to keep my head on straight, get all my chores finished and affairs in order for the next two months, while my mind constantly wanders to my upcoming adventure.

Two weeks from today I head across the USA in my little Ford Ranger with my daughter. Though we’ve taken road trips together—many of them—over her 14 years, this is the longest both in time and ground covered. Seven weeks from the West Coast, to the East Coast, and back again.

I have studied maps and a few guidebooks dropped in my lap by my mother. Scenic Highways and Byways, America’s Hidden Corners, The Official Guide to America’s Historic Triangle (Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown). The odd, strange, or oft overlooked—intentional or not—can be found everywhere on the Internet. There is, I’ve found, something to see almost everywhere.
On our last road trip, just in North Dakota alone, we saw the world’s largest Holstein and the world’s largest buffalo! Let me tell you how exciting that was!!! Yes, I jest. *grin* But really, there’s not much else to do/see in North Dakota heading across I-94. When you get a chance to see anything other than fields of cattle, you take it.

This year it’s about back roads, beauty, and history. Teaching my teenage American girl about America. So, we might be stopping to see the world’s largest…whatever…now and then if it happens to be along the way, but I’m going to drown my daughter in what I feel the USA is all about. Small towns and their founders, mountains and the explorers who mapped them, beautiful vistas not many people get a chance to see. We’re avoiding the interstates where possible and taking every back road we can find that will take us someplace new—maybe not exciting, but usually interesting. We’re camping and staying in cheap motels. Okay, we’re not roughing it in Washington DC, but other than that… *grin* Heck, we’re even going to use the DC transit system—something new for the both of us!

And what am I looking for in this trip? I love seeing the look in my daughter’s eyes when she finds something interesting. But mostly, I’m in it for the history, the ideas that always grow when I take tours as we’re planning to in Gettysburg—not only a battlefield tour, but also a nighttime ghost walk through town.

I’m a writer, and even if I don’t get a book out of any one thing in particular, I have a feeling that by the time I get home the ideas will be flowing.
I’ll keep you posted!

Anna Leigh Keaton

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4 responses to “Preparing for the trip of a lifetime

  1. Sounds like so much fun! I’m jealous! (though I’m not sure I could do seven weeks, yikes! 😀 )

    K

  2. How exciting! Don’t know how you can sleep nights. It’s also wonderful you can share it with your daughter. Trips like this beg to have someone along you can grab by the elbow and say, “Oh, look.” But you will also create a whole slew of memories for both of you. In ten or twenty years, you may look back and realize this was the most important thing you ever did together. I’m happy for you.

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