My Trip by the Numbers

24 days

48 states

11484 total miles

oil changes

cans of pringles

51 different license plates (50 states + DC)

National Parks (Mammoth Cave, Badlands, Yellowstone, Glacier, Redwoods, Grand Canyon)

wild animal encounters (deer, elk, moose, prairie dogs, bison, coyotes, sealions)

campgrounds

speeding ticket

$3.11 cheapest gas (Rock Hill, SC)

$4.29 most expensive gas (a few cities in CA)

7,380 highest elevation in feet (US-550 in NM)

-7 lowest elevation in feet (New Orleans, LA)

29 smallest town population (Strang, NE)

8,336,697 highest city population (New York, NY)

107 highest temperature in degrees Fahrenheit (Vernon, TX)

30 lowest temperature in degrees Fahrenheit (Yellowstone NP)

For more photos click here 🙂

Day 24

States: 3; New Jersey, Connecticut & Rhode Island
Total States: 48!
Miles: 438
Total miles: 11484

My last day! Can’t believe it. Putting my home address in the GPS was so strange. I think I became accustomed to wandering from place to place. This trip was everything I wanted it to be and more. I saw so much of what I wanted to, knowing there is still so much more out there. It went by so incredibly fast! And I’m just so glad that everything went well and I stayed safe for 11k miles 🙂 I met some awesome people along the way, some with their own plans, like a couple who wanted to see as many presidents’ houses as they could.

Today I went to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in Philly. I didn’t do anything else there but I’m glad I was able to experience those important bits of history. Then I set my course for home, but the sign on the highway for the Statue of Liberty caught my attention, and next thing I knew I was on a ferry out to see lady liberty! I’ve been to Manhattan quite a few times so I wasn’t planning to stop, but I haven’t been to the lower end of the island in a few years.

The Staten Island Ferry is free! You get on with a few hundred other people and it brings you right by the statue. There’s also a pretty good view of the buildings in Manhattan from the ferry. I met two engineering students and we talked and enjoyed the ferry together. One was from Australia and the other from Switzerland. Exchanging stories about life here and there was so interesting! They were so nice.

The 48 states became official when I crossed into Rhode Island! And a short while later, I was back in Massachusetts, just an hour from home. It was great to see my family, cat and boyfriend after a month 🙂 I took around 1800 pictures and I don’t know how I’m ever going to go through them all! I also have to unpack my life from the car and start thinking about going back to reality – work!

Thank you to everyone who read any of this blog, it means a lot! 🙂

Day 23

States: 2; Maryland & Delaware 
Total States: 45
Miles: 246
Total miles: 11292

Today was the day I went to the APS convention! My friend Erica completed her master’s thesis at Riv and I worked in the lab with her. I helped out a bit on her project and became second author. Our poster session was at 4pm, so we decided to go to the zoo all day before that! It was really crowded, but it was free, so I couldn’t complain about a free zoo! It was awesome. The poster session went really well. I also got to walk around and see others’ research, plus free candy and equipment from my favorite classic experiment was on display. Overall, a great opportunity to see a little more of Washington and be a psych nerd all in one! After I left, I drove to my hotel outside Philadelphia. 

Day 22

States: 0; Washington D.C.
Total States: 43
Miles: 345
Total miles: 11046

As you can tell from the photos, I spent the whole day wandering all around Washington D.C.! I will be here tomorrow as well, at the Association for Psychological Sciences (APS) Annual Convention. 

The city was easy to navigate, it’s set up more like NYC than Boston if you know what I mean. I did a lot of walking, though! Unfortunately, the Washington Monument was under construction because of damages from the 2011 earthquake. It didn’t reflect in the reflecting pool, either, because it was a cloudy day today. Something was going on in front of the Capital, too, so it ended up in my photo. Oh well!

I also stopped by the White House and several memorials: World War II, Vietnam Veterans, Signers of the Declaration of Independence, and the Lincoln Memorial. After I saw all the monuments and memorials that I could feasibly handle on foot… I headed for the Smithsonian Museums. These are probably the best museums in the country and they are all free!

I could not see them all so I chose Natural History, American History and the Air and Space Museum. I loved them all but wish I had a little more time so I could’ve seen even more! I enjoyed the dinosaurs, learning about the creation of earth and (much later) humankind, all about the solar system and the birth of our country. Overall, my sightseeing in D.C. was fun but exhausting! Tomorrow I will be at the psych convention most of the day but I’ll find something to write about I’m sure 🙂

Day 21

States: 3; North Carolina, Virginia & West Virginia
Total States: 43
Miles: 414
Total miles: 10701

I did a little recuperating this morning by allowing myself to sleep in a bit! I had an awesome breakfast then went to get my third oil change. It’s always good to hear my car is handling this well!

By the time I got to Charlotte, NC, I figured it was a good time to stop for lunch. I wasn’t sure what to do there and I wanted to do something different. So I eventually found the Charlotte Farmer’s Market and loved it! A lot of the fruit was picked that morning and there were vendors with decorations, vegetables, nuts, jams, everything! There were also really nice flower vendors. One of them, an older Greek man, seemed really bored so I sat with him and talked for a while. He showed me a photo album of famous people he met as a limo driver. It was really great to meet such a nice person!

The highways in North Carolina had pretty wildflowers along the sides, and some planted by their dept of transportation. I loved that! And I haven’t seen mountains or dairy farms in a few days, so I welcomed their return of course. I most especially enjoy seeing the baby cows 🙂

I was about to cross into West Virginia when it started down-pouring; flash floods, thunder and lightening. I decided to get dinner while I waited for the storm to pass. When I got to the border to take the photo with the sign, a rainbow popped out! It was only there for a minute or two but you can see it in the photo 🙂

Day 20

States: 2; Georgia & South Carolina
Total States: 40
Miles: 371
Total miles: 10287

Wow, can’t believe I went over the 10k mile mark today! I did all my driving in the morning and spent the rest of the day in lovely Savannah, Georgia. I think it must have been the most gorgeous city I’ve ever been to. I spent my time in the historical district. All the buildings and the design of the area were originally built and laid out in the 1700-1800s.

What makes Savannah unique is that every few blocks, there is a small park called a square. There are 22 squares in all and each is different, usually honoring a person or event with a monument. And almost every one has these amazing trees called live oaks. There are a few bigger parks, too, my favorite was Forsyth Park. It’s the one in my photo with the white fountain.

Savannah is filled with independently owned shops, antique stores, cafes, candy stores and museums. Many of the historical homes and mansions have been restored into inns or museums. They are so nice to look at. Most of them have iron balconies and gardens. I went to the City Market to have lunch and then went to the riverfront. There they have the statue of the Waving Girl and the Olympic torch from 1996. I saw a few tug boats and ferries going by, but then it started to pour! At least at that point I had seen everything I wanted to 🙂 I’m staying a little over the South Carolina border tonight.

Day 19

States: 3; Mississippi, Alabama & Florida
Total States: 38
Miles: 487
Total miles: 9916

My day along the gulf coast was great! From Baton Rouge I drove down to New Orleans and spent the morning in the French Quarter. I got breakfast at famous Cafe Du Monde and it was delicious! I ate it sitting on a bench alongside the Mississippi. I watched the steamships go by. Everyone who walked by me gave me a genuine “good morning, how are you on this lovely morning?” and I just loved it!

Then I window shopped in the French Market and admired the historic architecture. That sounds really made up but it’s really nice! I also went through Jackson Square, the photo above with the Saint Louis Cathedral and the statue of Andrew Jackson. The garden there was beautiful. I basically did not want to leave, but I had three states to go to!

I drove through Mississippi and Alabama, stopping at their welcome centers. People I met were really nice and their accents were so heavy! Then when I crossed into Florida I headed for Pensacola Beach because it was a perfect beach day 🙂 It had the whitest sand I’ve ever seen! I ate lunch at a beachfront restaurant then went out on the pier. Everyone was fishing, surfing and swimming because it was so hot out. I didn’t want to leave there, either. I’m staying in Tallassee tonight, back in Eastern time!

Day 18

States: 1; Louisiana
Total States: 35
Miles: 601
Total miles: 9429

It was another hot day today but so much more humid! I used so much gas running my A/C but it was hard not to. After hearing the very sad news about the devastating damage from today’s tornadoes in Oklahoma, I can’t be thankful enough that I wasn’t caught in an ugly situation. My heart especially goes out to the children who were injured and killed today. These storms were very deadly and I consider myself lucky that my plans didn’t bring me into a dangerous position.

I made my way through northeastern Texas today, passing through Dallas and eventually to the Louisiana border. Whenever I think of Louisiana I remember the book report I did on it in 3rd grade…I always said I would visit one day! I almost had the opportunity to see a friend stationed at the Air Force base in Shreveport, but unfortunately he was working and unable to say hi. So I went to the next major city, Alexandria. It was a nice little city with lots of parks. One of them was a zoological park, so of course I had to go! I was introduced to lots of Louisiana wildlife and they also had exhibits of African, Asian and Australian animals. The humidity was killing me but I really loved the animals!

Next I was on my way to the capital, Baton Rouge, where I am staying tonight. I drove over an 18 mile long bridge to pass over the largest swamp in the country – the Atchafalaya swamp and river. It was actually really cool and they had their own visitor’s center to give information about it. I’m also loving the fact that I’m visiting yet another city right on the Mississippi River. It’s gorgeous! I believe today was the last day that I have to drive a ton of miles 🙂

Day 17

States: 2; Texas & Oklahoma
Total States: 34
Miles: 541
Total miles: 8828

Today was the hottest day of my life! All afternoon the temperature was between 100-107°. The thunderstorms moved north, so no tornados for me! I drove the rest of New Mexico and a good amount of Texas today. I also popped into Oklahoma for a bit, but I must have been in the middle of nowhere because I never saw one car, animal, person or building where I drove!

Nothing really caught my attention to stop and look at today. I wasn’t interested in trying to get a free 72oz steak in Amarillo (by eating the whole thing I’m guessing). I mostly was on 75mph highways with little towns in between big stretches of emptiness. I saw some funny signs like “Don’t mess with Texas” and “Texas…it’s like its own country!” Every town and establishment makes sure that they remind me that I’m in Texas, they are very proud.

I was so happy to get to my hotel and escape the heat! I couldn’t run the A/C all day because my car could overheat and it uses a lot of gas. I decided to get some authentic Texas steak tips for dinner, so no 72oz but still really good! I’m staying in Wichita Falls tonight. I’m a couple days from being back in my own time zone.

Day 16

States: 3; New Mexico, Colorado, Utah
Total States: 32
Miles: 505
Total miles: 8287

This morning we got up at 4am to look at some stars for a few minutes. The sun rose very quickly on us so I only snapped one picture using the very few photography skills I have. The sky was just filled with stars, so unlike home! If you click the above photo to enlarge it you’ll be able to see them a lot better. After the sun rose, it was time to pack up the site and get going. My mom had a plane to catch!

We never accounted for the change to mountain time, so we were running late for my mom’s 3:50 pm flight. We were able to make the stop at the Four Corners, though! I’ve wanted to sit at the Four Corners since I was little so I’m glad we did it! For most of the day we were driving in Native American lands and we saw cool rock formations. We also crossed the continental divide!

I got my mom to the airport in Albuquerque around 3:15 pm, around the time we found out her flight was delayed to 4:15 pm. This caused her to miss her connecting flight to Boston, so she’s in Dallas for the night while I’m in Albuquerque. I’m really going to miss my mom, she was such a good road trip companion and I wish she could finish the trip with me. Now I’m in my hotel keeping an eye on the weather channel because thunderstorms and tornado watches have been issued for my area of Texas tomorrow.