Planning an Epic Road Trip: the Prologue

epic: noting or pertaining to a long poetic composition, usually centered upon a hero, in which a series of great achievements or events is narrated in elevated style

I’m sure it’s somewhat obvious (given the name of this site and all), but I love road trips. When provided the opportunity to jump in the car and go someplace new, if time allows I always say yes. Sometimes even if time doesn’t allow I say yes and then find a way to make time.

For example, next March I’ve got a booth at the Travel and Adventure Show in San Diego for The Local Tourist. It will be my third time at the show, and while this year and last I flew to the West Coast, in 2017 my husband and I are going to drive.

Drive? To San Diego? And BACK? For a two-day trade show?

Oh, yeah.

Next year’s transportation choice is different for a few reasons. One is that the shows in Chicago and San Diego are spread further apart on the calendar so we don’t have to rush. 

Another reason is that I’m expanding the concept of The Local Tourist. For over a decade it’s focused on Chicago and I’ve recently, relatively speaking, dipped my toes in Milwaukee and San Diego. Next year, in addition to the existing city guides, the site will expand to cover what it means to be a “Local Tourist” everywhere. I’ll have more details about that on TLT soon, but in the meantime this road trip will help me with the expansion.

Of course, the biggest reason of all is because of this site. While The Local Tourist provides specific recommendations and advice, Drive By Towns is my personal travelogue. It’s where I can dive into the small towns and the spaces between. It’s where I can share my missteps and foibles and bumps in the road, my big surprises and random adventures and child-like wonder.

At this point we’re planning to take a week and a half to get to San Diego, spend a week in the area for the show and to visit with my in-laws, and then take another week and a half to get back. 

And that’s all we’ve got. One destination and a fuzzy timeline.

It’s exciting and overwhelming. We’ve driven cross-country before on Route 66, but then our itinerary was literally mapped out for us. Not only are there a lot more tools available this time around, on this journey we can go ANYWHERE between Elgin, Illinois, and San Diego, California. That’s the overwhelming part, because I want to go EVERYWHERE, but that would take more than a month and at some point we’ll have to come home. (Our cat and my son, who will be taking care of Miss Jada in our absence, would probably appreciate that. Or not. I think she prefers him to us!)

Over the next few weeks I’ll be documenting the planning process for a road trip this epic. I’ll share:

  • How we’re picking our┬ároute
  • What tools we’re using to craft our itinerary
  • What apps we’ll plan to use on the road
  • Where we’ll be staying
  • Where we’ll be camping (yes, there will definitely be camping on this trip!)
  • Packing for both camping and hotels on a road trip
  • Prepping our transportation
  • Budgeting and money-saving ideas
  • Which electronic gear is absolutely necessary (computers and cameras and phones and chargers and whatnot)
  • Getting in hiking shape so we don’t miss a vista
  • All the FOOD and BEER and WINE we hope to eat and drink

I’m sure there will be more, of course, and I’ll tag all of the posts with the Road Trip category to make them easy to find.

Hopefully by sharing our journey planning this journey I can help others who want to stretch their legs and imagination over a few thousand miles. Have you been on an epic road trip, or are you planning on taking one? Please leave a comment and leave any advice, questions, comments, and suggestions!