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Chris Magyar

If you're going to dream, dream crazy

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When we were talking about our honeymoon plans for next year, my wife delightfully chose to rekindle a childhood dream of mine to drive around the perimeter of the continental United States.

It started when I was a young boy mowing the lawn. My parents' backyard is vaguely US-shaped, although New England is cut off and marooned in the neighbors' yard. A side yard stretches around the right side of the house to form Florida, and an odd peninsula of grass reaching into the rose garden did a decent impression of Michigan, complete with a short upper peninsula. The vegetable garden put a Puget-like intrusion into Washington. Texas was the cement front porch. Like most people, I did two trips around the edge of the yard before cutting across in alternating strips, and it was while I was doing the perimeter that I daydreamed up the greatest road trip of all time, touching 35 states and taking, I'm guessing, three or four months.

V said we should do it instead of Europe or the Caribbean or some other well-trod dream. I initially dismissed the idea as folly, but then I thought if I could sell a book proposal with a decent advance and get a leave of absence from work...

We'd start in Brownsville, which is the southernmost tip of Texas and a nice visual dot from which to begin. We would have two rules: 1) We must take the road nearest to the coast and/or border, no matter what that means, even if it takes us through neighborhoods and down windy dirt roads; 2) no more than eight hours of drive time in any given day, to ensure plenty of stopping and looking, because it's a journey, not a race. 

A quick Amazon search confirms that this is still more or less virgin territory, though people have done something like it by plane and by boat. I don't know how seriously anyone should take this dream, or if it's feasible to pull off by next year. Too many resources and coincidences must come together in time, not to mention this is a trip that requires more planning than either of us has ever put into something. We'd need some sort of shower-and-kitchen-equipped vehicle with a low enough profile to handle fairly standard overpasses. We'd need a crazily comprehensive map. And we'd need oodles and oodles of time, the ultimate luxury item.

The dog would come. Naturally, there would be a daily blog. Every day would bring incremental progress, with no days off, no tempting deviations from the border into nearby cities (unless 'nearby' means less than a mile and we need gas or food). Stupid fantasy or thing that will change our lives forever? We shall see...

Day 1 crazy itinerary: South Padre Island (Brownsville, TX) to Port Aransas (Corpus Christi, TX)

285 miles. Google estimate: 8 hours, 15 minutes.


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