Tag Archives: illinois

Great Western Road Trip, Day 24 – FINAL DAY!

Current Location: Volo, Illinois

Today’s Song: 65daysofstatic – Supermoon

Something about this song describes the scenery of this entire trip to me – starting off slow through the Canadian Prairie Provinces, then into the mountains and the coast and returning over the mountains, and back to the plains.

For the final leg of the road trip, I made the short (this constitutes “short” now!) drive from St. Louis, Missouri to Volo, Illinois. I was intent on getting home, so drove it as quickly as possible, with only a stop in Dwight, Illinois, for lunch. Continuing my attempts to stick to local places, I went to Dwight Pizza, which had a 4.5 star rating on Yelp. It was…OK. The owner was friendly, possibly overly so, but it was a welcome break from the road.

I got home and unloaded the car, put stuff away, and started a load of laundry, then went to pick up Charlie and Nora from Ma’s. To say they were happy to see me was an understatement.

Thus ends the Great Western Road Trip. The final totals:

6,409 miles traveled

126 hours and 10 minutes of driving

I’ll have a final post with my overall thoughts in a day or so, but to answer the biggest questions I get from friends and co-workers:

Was it worth it? Absolutely.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. I might rearrange the scheduling a bit, but that was one of the best vacations of my life.

Stay tuned for the wrap-up!

Great Western Road Trip, Day 0

(Hereafter Great Western Road Trip is abbreviated GWRT)

Today’s Song: Ready To Go, by Republica

Current Location: Volo, Illinois

Everything is packed up, the dogs are with Grandma, the rental car has been procured, and now the reality is setting in: This is really going to happen. I mean, I planned for it but I always suspected some circumstance would force me to put things off.

I have a long trip ahead of me: approximately 8,000 miles in 24 days. My route will take me from Chicago in the upper Midwest to the Canadian Prairie Provinces, over the Rocky Mountains, down the Pacific coast, and then back to Chicago. Along the way I’ll be seeing dozens of friends Dan and I have made through the years, and hopefully making new friends as well.

Why am I doing this? Dan and I had planned to take a two-week Caribbean cruise in April 2017. When he passed away suddenly all of that got cancelled. Now that I had the vacation time and the funds we’d set aside for that available, I kicked around the question of what to do with those for a few weeks. I have always loved road trips, but in the last decade or so they have simply not been possible due to some of Dan’s health issues. So first off this was a way to cross a long road trip like this off my bucket list.

Although we had a wonderful and well-attended memorial for Dan a few weeks ago, many of our dearest friends were unable to join us. I hope to bring the memory of Dan to them, to celebrate his life and to share a toast to an extraordinary man.

What am I hoping to get out of this trip? I know that hopes and what actually happens are two different things but I hope that this trip serves as a reset button, a demarcation point of My Life Before and My Life After. It’s hard to admit it, but it may also mark where “Tom and Dan” ended and where “Just Tom” started (again). In the 100+ hours of driving planned, there’s going to be a lot of time to think and to work things out in my head. Whether this produces anything constructive is anyone’s guess, though.

Throughout the trip I will be posting my experiences to Twitter. I also hope to post a summary of each day here as well, perhaps providing more context for the tweets and additional photos and memories. Way back in the dawn of time (2002, to be exact), I started blogging on LiveJournal. All of those entries are archived here on this site fortunately, since LiveJournal is now a terrible place. I found that I enjoy going back over old posts that talk about what I did where and with whom. This will be a place to keep the memories of this trip in one place. I also hope to have a theme song for each day, as posted above. This will reflect my mood for the day, my location, or a general feeling I get as I drive across the countryside.

Just to recap, here is my full planned itinerary. Things can always change at a moment’s notice though!

Date

Location

6/30/2017 St. Paul, MN
7/1/2017 Winnipeg, MB
7/2/2017 Winnipeg, MB
7/3/2017 Regina, SK
7/4/2017 Regina, SK
7/5/2017 Calgary, AB
7/6/2017 Calgary, AB
7/7/2017 Calgary, AB
7/8/2017 Kalispell, MT
7/9/2017 Richland, WA
7/10/2017 Vancouver, WA
7/11/2017 Vancouver, WA
7/12/2017 Crescent City, CA
7/13/2017 Sunnyvale, CA
7/14/2017 Sunnyvale, CA
7/15/2017 Sunnyvale, CA
7/16/2017 Manteca, CA
7/17/2017 Reno, NV
7/18/2017 Salt Lake City, UT
7/19/2017 Denver, CO
7/20/2017 Denver, CO
7/21/2017 Lenexa, KS
7/22/2017 Florissant, MO
7/23/2017 Volo, IL

See you all tomorrow, when I hit the road for St. Paul, Minnesota!