July 23, 2013

24 States!

Summer is always a time for road trips and reflection. While driving back from Kentucky, Matt and I added up our travels from the past 12 months and were surprised to realize we went to 24 states (plus DC) from July 2012-June 2013. This was our busiest travel year yet!
We are lucky ducks to have the time and means (and sense of humor) to road trip it so often. We went to 22 states together, Matt went to Missouri alone and I went to New York with my sister (also the only trip by plane). I'm not sure exactly how many miles we drove traveling, but it's at least 17,000 - crazy!!!

Summer 2012-Summer 2013 Travels
June/July - Glacier Hiking Vacation
June - Denver WeekendKentucky Research Trip
July - New Braunfels Family Trip, Lake Athens Friends Trip

Besides being lots of miles, what makes 24 states surprising is that we weren't even trying to make this a big travel year. After going to Big Bend (US/Mexico border park) in December 2011 I thought it would be fun to go to Glacier (US/Canada border park) for our summer break trip next. All the other trips just kind of happened after invites, research opportunities, and a spring break sync fell into place. Guess you never know what fun the future holds?

Up for the next 12 months: Guadalupe Peak for my Dad's 60th birthday, several trips to the Houston-area for baby Abbott events, and a big drive to Alaska next summer if the calendar works out.


We took our first big road trip together on our honeymoon [Santa Fe/Taos 2005] and have had lots of practice doing nothing in the car since. These are our best trip tips to pass the time...
  • Switch drivers frequently - we usually trade driving every time we stop and it really does make the day go faster and easier.
  • Listen to podcasts - How Did This Get Made? is the best ever, plus Freakonomics, ebrakes from The Ticket (Matt's contribution), Snap Judgement, and This American Life (free if you subscribe to weekly downloads). I use the Podcast app on my phone to subscribe and download them all in advance so we can listen when we're out of cell service areas.
  • Check out audiobooks free via Overdrive, humor is the only genre we usually both like, I also check out books for myself to listen to with headphones.
  • Listen to Pandora - we like singer-songwriter stuff (Bon Iver, My Morning Jacket, Fleet Foxes) and sing along to Disney hits when we get tired.
  • Read maps and Trip Advisor reviews as you go, get lost on Wikipedia, play sudoku and solitaire, take a bunch of pictures of yourself in the car, eat your snacks incredibly slow, etc.
  • Use a Rest Area app to plan your breaks - if it wasn't already available free this would have been my big invention.
  • We also take our water bottles and refill them at rest areas along the way, hit up all the state welcome centers for free coffee, and take plenty of snacks/sandwich stuff in the car so we can picnic on the road.
Happy Travels!

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