The only thing that makes me happier than making lists of things that need to be done, purchased, taken care of, etc., is poring over maps and planning routes. I’ve done both today.
The lists are for various iterations of camping trips – depending on where we go and for how long, and who we go with. There is a possibility Steve and Meg can go with us – the time is running short for when Megan can comfortably do the camping thing (she is due around the 1st of September). If they go they will bring their truck camper/cabover on my truck, which will give me an idea of how they work, fit into the bed of the pickup, etc. Steve and I were talking about it – we can let the dogs – Lady and Rocco – ride in the camper, and we will use the back seats of the truck so all four of us can travel together. We’ll carry the tent and sleeping bags in the camper. I’m getting psyched!
Then the maps. I’ve been considering possible routes to NY in September (and back to CA), taking in the places I have always wanted to see. Now I’m looking at actual routes and a mix of interstate plus mostly US highways with a few state routes thrown in as shortcuts. I’m certain the route will expand and contract as reality sets in, both as to time and money. I plan to mapquest it for the most elaborate, possible routing – just to see how many miles it would involve, plus estimated time. Then I will refine it to my own reality and send it to AAA in Sioux Falls, where they will do the classic manual triptik I’ve always used and loved. I might check with AAA Sacramento to see if they still do the classic maps, but I will have my potential route already on paper or in an email so there isn’t any confusion about what I want. I don’t mind if they suggest changing a portion due to construction or whatever. I no longer have to worry about overhead clearances though, as I will definitely not be getting an RV or camper that will tower over my truck and be a problem.
I know I will get comments about how wonderful Microsoft Streets and Trips can be, or other online tools for planning and routing. I love paper maps. I love unfolding them, and my heart always skips a beat when I see the familiar routes emerge before my eyes, as well as those I didn’t realize existed. I love to look at the United States map, giving perspective to size, distance, and direction, and bringing back memories of so many previous trips, weather encountered, detours required, and above all, the scenery. There isn’t a state in this country that isn’t absolutely beautiful, albeit in its own way, and there is no reason to compare the majesty of snow capped mountains, to coastal marshes or fields of grain waving as far as the eye can see.
From the broad picture of the US map, I then go to regional maps and get a closer-up view of my options, and then, glory be, to the state maps that show those hidden little towns and byways. God, how I love this country, and I’m going to have to work hard at seeing all I can in whatever time I have left. God bless America!
(And then, I will plan my Canada trip!)