My son Brent turned 21 this year so we decided that it was time to take a classic American summer road trip. Of course the tradition is to ride motorcycles all around the mid-west visiting places like the largest ball of twine. But since Brent is mildly handicapped (Cerebral Palsy) we need to do it in a car. I have adapted the “Dr. Chuck Mobile” – a 2001 Buick LeSabre (215,300 miles) with a left foot accelerator so he can share in the driving.
Here is a short video I made in 2005 just after Brent had recovered from a hip-augmentation surgery and we purchased a Polaris 90cc ATV so we could go out riding.
More recently he has been in several heavy punk/metal bands as the lead singer. I also made this terminally cute and a bit long video to play in the background at Brent’s high school graduation party.
On The Road Again…
So the idea of the road trip is to take two weeks and have absolutely no agenda. The road trip will start early on Tuesday August 14 where we will drive to Chicago and stay at the Palmer house, do an office hour for my Coursera course at the Palmer house, go to listen to some Blues, and then the next morning get up and drive out of Chicago and decide where to go next on the spur of the moment. We will program the destination into the GPS and off we will go pointed at the horizon.
It will be a classic vagabond road trip – we will sleep in Walmart parking lots, sleep in rest areas, take showers in truck stops, eat junk food or at diners and generally smell and look pretty bad – growing beards and wearing hats when our hair looks a mess. Brent calls it our “hobo trip”. Every few days we will spend a night in a hotel to clean up and get re-civilized and then back on the road we will go. Like any good road trip we will not stay at any destination for very long – anywhere from 4 hours to 24-hours and then back on the road we will go. A key element of a road trip is to be on the road – not stopped at one location or another. It is about wandering and being on the move looking for adventure.
We are consciously not doing any planning in terms of agenda and don’t even know when we will exactly come back other than when school starts at Lansing Community College. We will generally likely not go east to explore but we may go as far north as Calgary Canada, as far South as New Orleans, or as far west as Roswell New Mexico and Area 51. We just don’t know.
We will have Twitter and WiFi as we go and I will tweet and blog as we progress. I will ask the Twitterverse for help on things like “Where is a good blues bar in St. Louis?” (if we decide to go there). I have no idea if Brent will do any kind of public blog – he is not on Twitter (sheesh – kids these days).
I may have some office hours for my Coursera course in weird locations like Mount Rushmore or Omaha Nebraska. But I won’t know in advance even where I am going so folks will only find out at the last minute.
I would be glad to get some suggestions and help for how to survive such a road trip. How do I know where there are rest stops? Is there a book of all the truck stops that have showers? There must be a book or even better an app that tells you cool road-trip like places to visit that can use location services on my iPhone. I have this feeling that showers will be the most difficult thing to manage when we become hobos living on the road. Any general advice will be greatly appreciated as this is our first experimental road trip.